This article first appeared in the Kiowa County Star-Review, Hobart, OK, May 20, 1965. It was written by David Frost. Permission was given 5/10/2000, by David Frost, to reprint this on the Kiowa County site. This material remains the property of Mr. Frost. Thank you David.

83-Year-Old County Merchant Still Alive
By David Frost
Reprinted from the Kiowa County Star-Review, May 20, 1965

COLD SPRINGS—How long has Arthur T. Henderson had his store in this community in the south part of Kiowa County?

"Too long," he answers with decided good humor.

Henderson, who is 83, may well be the county's oldest merchant although his thriving general store has dwindled to a token grocery, mostly selling soda pop and bread to residents of the Cold Springs community.

Well known to his friends and customers is Henderson's independent personality, demonstrated in his reason for maintaining his store store although Cold Springs itself has dwindled to a population of 21>

"I'm in here, mostly to keep out of my children's way."

But his neighbors might disagree since Henderson has been a Cold Springs fixture for such a long time that the community would not be the same without him. For years he was the only registered Republican in that former precinct - a veritable "Mr. Republican." A member of the Cold Springs Friends Church, he is noted in that are for being a Biblical scholar.

Born Dec. 8, 1881 in Hopkins County, Texas, Henderson came to Indian Territory in 1892 with his family, settling in what was to become Stephens County. He married Miss Mary Sykes Dec. 1, 1905 in Texas and they returned to Stephens County in January, 1909. They came to Cold Springs with his father and several of his brothers and sisters, Mrs. A. B. Cook, who also lives in the Cold Springs community.

Henderson farmed a couple of years and worked at a lumber yard before establishing his general store on Feb. 4, 1913. He has operated the store in Cold Springs since, except "for about three and a half years," he said. The store, where early day residents bought everything from piece goods to services such as binder repairs, was first in a two-story building. In 1915 Henderson moved the store to the present location.

The store was a large building until 1941 when it "blew away and we built it back with what we had left."

When Henderson began his career as a merchant, goods reached Cold Springs by train. In later years all merchandise was brought in by truck. Passenger trains haven't run through the community for years, but a Frisco Freight train still goes through twice daily without stopping.

Mrs. Henderson died in 1957 and the storekeeper has lived alone sincein the quarters behind his one room store. In a typical morning a neighbor may come in, walk back to the refrigerator back in Henderson's quarters, take out a bottle of pop, come out to the store area and chat with Henderson while he drinks and then pay for the pop. Or long time neighbors, such as Mrs. Minnie Py, who has "lived on the hill" in the community about 60 years may drop in for a visit.

Several early-day Cold Springs residents are still living in the community and vividly recall the colorful and busy history of the town, which at its zenith, probably had 250 residents. They remember how North Cold Springs had a resort motel, how the granite firm and the not-too successful gold mine brought in people and promoters, and the time in 1912 when the rivalry between the two towns culminated in the train depots being moved from North to South Cold Springs. The present community is what used to be known as "South Cold Springs", the "South" being dropped after North Cold Springs went out of existence.

After the post offices at Wildman and Mondamin were incorporated into one at Cold springs, Mrs. Henderson served for years as postmistress, with her husband doing the heavy work such as carrying mail from the train.

Four of the Henderson's seven children are living. They are Dr. Earnest Henderson, retired physician now in Glendale, AZ; Mrs. Robert (Loretta) Titus, Inola; Mrs. John (Louise) Agee, near Muleshoe, Texas and C. A. Henderson Of Oklahoma City, who is president of t. G. & Y Stores Co., national variety store. Henderson has twelve grandchildren, including Dr. Bobby Titus, veterinarian on the faculty at Texas A&M College, College Station and several great- grandchildren.

Most of Henderson's store shelves are now empty, but he still has an old pair of scales and a cash register which he ordered from a Sears catalog in 1913. His nameplate is on the register and it can still ring up totals. He has sold an old coffee grinder which was used to grind coffee beans for Cold Springs Residents.

"You just can't run a store like you used to," Henderson mused. "Folks go to town now for bargains. Well, it's just someplace to go."

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