Written and contributed by: B.O. Roop

Tom Roop was the sixth child of William Henry Roop and Margaret Rebecca Gragg Roop and born in their covered wagon home camped on the Kiamichi River, southeast of Talihina in Leflore County, Ok Sept 25, 1892. His father, Wm. Henry Roop, was listed among the 2290 names of "Intruders" in the Choctaw Nation that Chief J. F. McCurtain wanted removed by Federal Troops. This Intruder list was dated December 22, 1882. The Roop name was mis-spelled Wm. H. Ruph. Joe and Floyd Heavener were spelled Havener. Sam Wilson was spelled correct.

The Arkansas River was on flood stage and the Brent Ferry near Gans south of Sallisaw could not cross. W.H. Roop and Margaret Rebecca Gragg with her sister Adelby Gragg returned to Neosho, Newton County, Mo; where they were Married April 3, 1879 at nearby Baxter Mines. The Methodist Minister wrote her name as Margaret Rebecca Gregg, her sister signed as a witness Adelby Gragg.

They returned to the Blansett Community in Scott County, Ar where his older brother John Morgan Roop lived. Wm. Henry Roop buried daughter Nancy Jane Roop in the nearby Walnut Grove Cemetery B. 24 Feb. 1881, Died 23 July 1881. Henry Gragg joined them at Blansett and is on a business register as a Carpenter in 1884. He is the father of Margaret Rebecca Gragg Roop. Abner Fulton Roop a younger brother was living at Reichert, 5 miles west of Conser, Sugar Loaf County, Choctaw Nation since 1877.

Several railroads were trying to go south to the Gulf coast and by using a helper engine, the shortest route would cross Rich Mountain between Heavener, Okla and Mena, Ark. It would cross Leflore County north to south. The Frisco would start at Monett, Mo., then come south thru Rogers, Springdale to Ft Smith, Ar., then Talihina and Tuskahoma and on to Paris, Tx. Leflore County would have more miles of railroad tracks than any other County except one.

Wm. Henry Roop a "tie hacker" decided to make railroad ties and sell them to the railroad. Logs not good for ties were sold to saw mills. He was doing this when son Tom Roop was born in their Covered Wagon Home camped on the Kiamichi River Sept 25, 1892.

The original survey of Houston Township 5 miles south of Heavener took 12 days, dated May 2-14, 1896. "Houston" with it's large sawmill is the only landmark shown in Sec. 13, Twp 4 N, Range 25 E. Conser is 4 miles west in this Township. The railroad on this original survey is identified as Kansas City-Pittsburg and Gulf Railroad, and in 4 years would become the Kansas City Southern.

Large ad's in the "Wasp " Waldron, Scott County, Ar newspaper
....WANTED-- 150,000 railroad ties----- "one third each Red Oak, White Oak and Post Oak, all solid timber, no Pine, 6 inches thick, 8 inches wide, 8 feet long, ends sawed square, stacked on the siding in racks of 50 ties. Paid on 20th each month". Each tie hacker would make his ties and drag them down off the mountain with one mule to the creek, and then be loaded for delivery to the railroad siding. A big rain caused a flood on Shawnee Creek and washed all ties together. After this Wm. H. Roop "branded" all his ties with two notches on one end. A section hand said these ties are still being found in railroad beds today. He still branded "R- Bar)" on all his stock.

He hauled the building material and supplies from the KCS siding to the top of Rich Mountian for the building of Queen Wilhelmina Inn in 1898. The man that had this job quit because using the brake so much wore the steel rims off of his wagon wheels. Wm. H. Roop had his boys cut a small saplin, tie it to the "couplin pole" and the team did not have to pull very hard to drag it back down the mountain. They lived at the nearby Page Community when young son Lewis Roop born 24 Jan 1898 died Oct 19, 1898 and is buried in an unmarked grave in the Page Cemetery. He was living between Hontubby and Loving when his 20 year old daughter Laura Roop born 28 May 1888 died 22 Nov 1908 and was buried in a new cemetery that was later named the Loving Cemetery. This so grieved W. H. Roop that he decided to settle in this community, build a home and be buried beside their daughter Laura and son Ed at the Loving Cemetery. Edward Roop born 1 Feb 1895 and died 9 June 1916 was buried beside her. Laura died at age 20 and Ed was 21.

A new Post Office named "Loving" was established Dec.` 1908 with Isaac Ward as Postmaster. It was discontinued in 1922 and the community would be served as Route 1, Heavener, Ok.

Wm. H. Roop (a white man) is shown on the 1908 Choctaw Plat Map for Tract 3096. He bought 75 acres in Sec 31, Twp 5N, R27E, 24 Sept 1909 and paid $800. He built a large permanent home. No windows, just drop down shutters. The Choctaws were building a new Church and Schoolhouse a half mile southeast at about the same time.

Another land record was Nov 1909 in Sec 29 and paid $629.15. Two more tracts were bought in 1912. One was a 12 acre tract that the family called "hell's 12 acres" because it was so hard to clear. Another land tract was dated 1914. We visited 94 year old Clarence Manley living at Forrester in the late 1970's, he said "Tom, your Pa and you boys must have cleared half this County".

Thomas I. Roop went to Draughn's Business College in Muskogee, Ok and his Pennmanship Scroll is dated 1915 (beautiful handwriting). He served in the Marines in WW I in 1918, and then returned to marry Bonnie Myrtle Barnes November 25, 1919 at Poteau, Ok.

Jack Avery, editor of the Heavener Ledger Newspaper, July 7, 1927, said of Wm. H. Roop in his Obituary, "he had come to this Territory 47 years ago; and had seen this country develop from its wild state under the Indian Territory regime. He was one of the first pioneers to come to this community".

Tom Roop worked for the Post Office as Rural Route #1 Mail Carrier in his Model A Ford in Feb. 1936 and would go over the same roads that the family had traveled in their wagon since 1881. This 65 mile Route #1 served 400 patrons, on both sides of the Poteau River east to Cauthron, Ar. There is a KCS branch railroad from Heavener, Ok to Waldron, Ar that is two miles north of his new home in the Loving Community with round trip daily service to Ft. Smith, Ar since July 24, 1904.

Tom Roop over 85 years of age, half under his breath said "Pa expected us boys to make 8 ties a day".

B.O. Roop, May 23, 2012

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Copyright 2012 by Delaine Edwards & Submitter.
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