Shirle Lamb Williams is a walking, talking history book of knowledge on early days of Wagoner’s founding.
Williams, 93, not only can talk about Wagoner’s early days, but also has many items from 1887 to 1907 in her own private collection. She’s even written a comprehensive book on the rich history of the town.
She just learned that the City of Wagoner would purchase much of her collection to be housed in the newly renovated Wagoner Historical Museum. The reopening is set for Feb. 28 at 3 p.m.
The City of Wagoner was able to afford Williams’ $20,000 asking price when it won $20,000 through the Oklahoma Heritage Preservation Grant.
“I wanted to be sure it would go somewhere to be taken care of and be together,” said Williams of the deal.
The City of Wagoner is getting some priceless items, too.
There is a teapot from one of the first settlers Sallie Hensley McAnally. McAnally is Williams’ great grandmother.
There is a pie safe that made a wagon trail trip from Missouri to Oklahoma. There are early eyeglasses, furniture, kitchen items, pictures and many more.
“My great grand father was the first settler there,” Williams said. “Some came down from Missouri as a family of 23 (people).”
They came by train, wagons and some of the teenage boys rode with the livestock.
The early home of Williams’ relatives was west of town, but was recently torn down.
“I have a world of things that came in those covered wagons,” Williams added.
Another reason Williams is selling the items to the City of Wagoner is because her descendants did not want to take on the huge caretaking task of these items.
Her great grandfather, William McAnally was Wagoner’s second Mayor. Grandfather, V. Lamb, was also a Mayor in 1914.
“My great grandmother was Cherokee so I have a lot of Indian records,” Williams explained.
Maintaining Wagoner’s history and compiling a book on Wagoner has been a labor of love for Williams.
“It’s been a life project,” she added. “I have records of when streets were being built and all that weird stuff people would not think about.
“It’s been a fun thing and I’m sorry my children have not been more interested in it.”
The interest in Wagoner’s history will now shift from one dedicated woman to all the people that will go through the renovated museum.