Haskell County Historical Society

Roye, Charles D. and m1) Ruth J. (Fraser); m2) Deloris (Ford)

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BELLE STARR Rides in Haskell County, Oklahoma

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Biography of the family of Charles D. Roye
Married 1st Ruth J. Fraser
Married 2nd Deloris E. Ford
By Katina Roye Peevyhouse

Charles D. Roye was born 12 July 1929 in the Rose Hill Community near Lequire, Haskell County, Oklahoma. Charles grew up in the Rose Hill Community where he was born; he was the sixth child born to Henry Louis Roye, born 25 Jan 1898 in Pontotoc, Mississippi, and Pearl Lee Amos Roye, born 13 December 1897, in Choctaw Nation, Indian Territory (an area which would later become known as Stigler, Haskell County, Oklahoma). Charles's siblings are as follows:

Edwin Forrest Roye b.16 Nov 1917, d.30 Sep 1992, m. Willie (Coonfield) Daniels;

Mildred Imogene Roye b.23 Aug 1920, d.17 Apr 1938;

Claud Elva Roye b.14 Dec 1922, m1) Joy Belshi, m2) Shirley (Reading) Wade;

Ivan Stegall Roye b.7 Apr 1926, m. Geraldine Warren;

Henry Louis Roye Jr. b.8 Oct 1927, d.24 Oct 1927;

John D. Roye b.13 Jan 1935, m1) Armeta Pugh, m2) Betty Hatfield

Charles received his education at nearby Kinta schools. When asked about his education, he frequently joked that he graduated from the "School of Hard Knocks".

As a teenager he decided to join the Army, but he was so young that his mother had to give her permission for him to do so. His Army records state that he is Charles D. Roye RA 18 172 529 Technician Fifth Grade 7715th Theater Ordnance Schools; date of enlistment and entry into active service 28 Nov 1945; continental service time was 6 months and 20 days; foreign service time was 11 months and 15 days. While in service he received the following decorations and citations: Army of Occupation Medal, World War II Victory Medal. He was given an Honorable Discharge at the Separation Center, Fort Dix, New Jersey, on 2 May 1947. Reason for separation was his minority (he was seventeen years old at the time of his discharge). After returning home from Army service, Charles worked with his father, Henry, in the coal mines near Henryetta, Oklahoma, where he met and courted Ruth Fraser.

Ruth Jeanette Fraser was born 14 January 1932, Henryetta, McIntosh County, Oklahoma, and grew up in the rural areas surrounding Henryetta, such as Dustin, Graham, Weleetka, and etc. Ruth was the youngest daughter of Lemuel Edward Fraser, born ca. 19 August 1898, Weleetka, Indian Territory, and Viola McCormack/Hurst born ca. 4 March 1897, Arkansas. Ruth's siblings are as follows:

Fred A. Fraser b.24 Sep 1917, Oklahoma, d.22 Sep 1979, Henryetta, Okmulgee Co, OK,Bd.in Salem Cemetery, near Henryetta;

Dean Fraser b.about 1921, Oklahoma;

Hazel Fraser b.about 1923, Oklahoma;

Grace Fraser b. about 1925, Oklahoma;

George C. Fraser b. 7 Nov 1926, Oklahoma, d. 18 Jun 1988, California?, bd. Salem Cemetery, near Henryetta;

Al Gene Fraser b. about 1930, Oklahoma;

Edward Eugene Fraser b. about 1935, Oklahoma, d. about 1938, bd. Salem Cemetery.

Ruth attended various rural schools as she was growing up--Graham, Dustin, Weleetka, Henryetta, and etc.

Charles and Ruth were married 30 October 1948 in Durant, Bryan County, Oklahoma, by Justice of the Peace C. A. Woodward, and set up housekeeping near Henry and Pearl in the Rose Hill Community of Haskell County. The birth of their first child, a daughter, Sharon Kay Roye b.3 Dec 1949, Poteau, Leflore County, Oklahoma, was followed tragically by her unexpected death, aged two months; Sharon died at home on 3 Feb 1950, and was buried in Garland Cemetery. Charles and Ruth had four other children:

Charles Henry "Chuck" Roye b.13 Dec 1950, Henryetta, Okmulgee County, Oklahoma, m. Patsy Ann Hamlin b.17 Aug 1951;

Katina Ruth Roye b.3 Aug 1953, Poteau, Leflore County, Oklahoma;

Marlita Joye Roye b.27 Nov 1954, Poteau, Leflore County, Oklahoma;

Kathy Cheryl Roye b.6 Nov 1958, Poteau, Leflore County, Oklahoma

The entire family attended church together and Charles served as a deacon for a number of years. Rose Hill Free Will Baptist Church was located then, as it is today, on Highway 82 a few miles north of Lequire. It was about two miles from our home on the ranch. I remember that we went to church every time the doors were open--that included Wednesday night singing (when applicable), Saturday night service, Sunday school and service, and Sunday night service, as well as special occasions such as revivals, church rallies, community quiltings, baby showers, wedding showers, weddings, and funerals.

When Chuck was in the first grade, he attended Rose Hill School. When the weather was inclimate, Mr. Bill Smith (the teacher) delivered Chuck home after school. More often, Chuck rode his horse two miles to school, and two miles back each day. The year following Chuck's school debut, the Rose Hill School closed and was consolidated into the Kinta school distrist--Chuck began his school career all over again at Kinta. Each in their own turn, the little Royes began riding the big yellow bus and attending Kinta school.

Money was tight during this time, and a favorite saying of Dad's was "Money doesn't grow on trees". Mom was a full-time housewife and mother, she eased the constant money crunch by sewing almost all of her own clothes, as well as clothes for the girls. She was well-known in the local area for her skill as a seamstress--she would look through the "wish-book" (aka Sears catalog) and pick out cute designs to emulate in the clothing she made for her three daughters--she did an excellent job of keeping us well-dressed for very little money spent.

During the time that the four little Royes were growing up, Dad worked in the coal mines at McCurtain and raised cattle on his ranch, located a little less than a mile north of his parents' place at Rose Hill.

[Charles' ranch adjoined the first land owned by his pioneer grandparents in Oklahoma. Edwin and Indiana "Annie" Roye purchased the tract when they moved to Oklahoma from Mississippi. Despite a deep familial and sentimental attachment to that property--an approximately 70-acre tract which lay alongside the Sans Bois Creek in Section 19-T8N-R21E--the land had been sold by the Roye family during hard times. Charles nurtured a dream to restore ownership of that land to the Roye family one day.]

In the early 1960s, Charles invented an automobile oil filter in which a roll of toilet paper was used to filter the oil--this would have been an easily obtainable and cheap replacement for the oil filters of the day--but then he learned that this idea had already been patented.

Charles, Ruth, and kids raised a large garden in those days. Probably we children were more trouble than we were worth. Nevertheless, fond and not-so-fond memories of working the garden leap into my mind when I smell the familiar hint of red-ripe tomatoes roasting in the hot August sun. Immediately my mind is flooded with the sights and sounds of gardening--the dusty rows to hoe, cat-calls back and forth to each other--"Haha I beat you!" "No you didn't!" "Mama! He's being mean!" or "She's stomping down the plants again!" I imagine it seemed to Mom and Dad that there was no end to the bickering they had to endure.

When the garden began to ripen and produce its bounty of corn, tomatoes, squash, beans, peas, and etc., then it was time for the real work to begin--canning, freezing, and pickling were methods of saving the produce for use in later months. Tina and Marty helped their mother in these kitchen duties, as well as with the more mundane chores that had to be done daily or weekly.

One of Marty's favorite recollections of that time is of a then every-Saturday chore--she recalls that Mom would go into the back yard, catch a chicken, then step on its head and twist it off, leaving the headless chicken flopping around "like a chicken with its head cut off". What I recall most about that Saturday chore is plucking feathers; dunking the nearly naked chicken in a pot of boiling water; removing the rest of its plumage; and finally singeing off the last, tiniest pin feathers atop a burner on the gas cook stove. It was only after that, that Mom cut the chicken open in order to remove the "innards". I remember that in the "innards" we would sometimes find the beginnings of immature eggs in various stages of maturity, as they became ready to be laid, each in their own time.

Mom taught me how to cut up a chicken according to her exacting standards and I'm grateful for the knowledge and experience that she gave me, although chicken butchering is no longer one of my activities. In these uncertain times, it's still a comfort to know that if I had to butcher a chicken, I could.

Another well-remembered outdoor activity from those days is "getting up the cows". Dad and Chuck would rise early to saddle the horses--Big Shorty, Little Shorty, and Spider--in preparation for this day of working the cattle. Sometimes Uncle Claud would come along to help. The cattle had to be brought from the far corners of the 620-acre ranch to a cattle lot and working chute, and we used the horses to round them up. Dad would usually send me to an assigned place for that particular day, to watch for him and Chuck, and not let any cows escape. Getting up the cows must have been as stressful for Dad as for me. I'm afraid I wasn't a very attentive cow-hand, at times I'd sit on my horse, daydreaming, and forget to watch for the cows. Sometimes I'd just plain forget what Dad had said, and sit there panicking about what I should do when I saw the cows coming. Other times I'd pray the cows wouldn't come anywhere near me so I wouldn't have to make any decisions. But usually the inevitable did happen, the cattle did come, and I did mess up Dad's roundup plans--leaving him and Chuck to pick up my slack. When we finally reached the cattle lot with the cattle, the rest of the day blurred by in a whirlwind of sweat, dust, cow patties, fly spray, and stock dip, as each cow, calf, and bull was given whatever treatment was required.

Summers were frequently spent mainly in the hay fields. Uncle Claud and Dad worked together to bale each others hay, in addition, they sometimes hired out for other folks who lived nearby. Chuck and I were allowed to help when we were big enough to drive a tractor. Chuck got to mow the hay because he was older. For me, though, happiness was being allowed to rake hay and getting paid 25 cents a ton for doing it. Aboard the old Johnny-popper in the blazing sun, surrounded by clouds of insects and dust, one could daydream one's way to any heights, philosophize, or think about nothing at all. What a joy those days were.

It was from this summer job that Dad crafted my first lesson in business and ultimate self-sufficiency. At the end of the summer Dad said, "You've earned this much money, raking hay. Now do you want me to give it to you to spend, or would you like to use it to buy a heifer calf?" Then he'd coach me until he got the answer he wanted.

A year or so later the lesson continued. When my first heifer had matured and borne a calf of her own, he again called a conference and said, "You have a baby calf. When it grows big enough, we'll sell it. When the money comes, I'll keep half of it to pay for feed and medicine for your cow, and I'll give you the other half. Now do you want me to give the money to you to spend, or would you like to use it to buy a heifer calf?" Then he'd coach me until he got the answer he wanted. Chuck had the same opportunity. It didn't take long for us to catch on to the idea he was promoting, and slowly our assets began to multiply.

When the youngest child, Kathy, was in the first grade (I believe this would have been about 1963) we transferred from Kinta schools to Stigler. This transfer was precipitated by a change in Dad's work and way of life--he stopped working at the coal mines and purchased two coin-operated laundries in Stigler, the Speed Queen located on Broadway (across the street from the Post Office), and the Stigler Laundromat, located on the south side of Main Street (across the street from the Stigler Café). Soon he added a third laundry, in Keota, to the list. For the little Royes, who weren't quite so little any more, the afternoons following school were now filled with the smells of laundry detergent and bleach. Each person had a job to do, and the family worked together for the good of all.

Dad continued our business lessons by calling another family meeting. "This year," he said, "you can use the money from the sale of your calves to buy more cows, OR you can purchase a couple of washers in the laundromat." He explained, "When you purchase a washer, it will be your job to clean it each day. If you keep your washers nice and clean, then customers will want to use them. If you don't, you won't make much money. I'll do the mechanical repairs. Once or twice a week, it's your responsibility to take the money out and count it. You pay half the money for expenses, and you keep the rest. If you save it, you can buy more washers, or cows." I got the picture. Chuck and I both purchased washers and dutifully attended them before and after school. Need I say that this was a good thing?

Dad sold the laundries in _____ (?). He started Roye Realty & Developing, Inc. in 1971? He sold real estate for others, as well as purchased land and developed it for resale. His assets began to multiply.

About 1974 or 1975, Dad and Mom divorced.

Dad remained in Stigler and continued building his business. About 1975 or 1976, he purchased the Time Theatre and Medo Drive-In from Mr. Pierce. He formed a new corporation, Time Theatre and Meadow Drive-In, Inc. for his new entertainment pursuit. One of his first acts as owner of the drive-in was to take the signs which said "Medo" from the sides of the screen building, and replace them with modern red neon letters which marched vertically down the building spelling "MEADOW"--after dark, you could see these letters from afar. I was Dad's right-hand man (so to speak), I served as his corporate Vice-President in Roye Realty & Developing, Inc., as well as Time Theatre and Meadow Drive-In, Inc., worked full-time in the real estate office, and managed the theaters as well.

In 1980 Dad married Deloris (Ford) McQueen; Deloris had one daughter, Megan McQueen. Charles and Deloris built a house on a hill south of Stigler, where kids and grandkids frequently visited them and they enjoyed swimming together in the pool.

About 1983 Dad began his great venture into the world of wild-cat gas well drilling. He borrowed some capital and made his play, and was fortunate and persistent enough to make a success of his companies and himself. Some of his companies are Two-Bit Oilfield Supply, Galaxy Energy, Inc., DelMega, L.L.C., Selrahc, L.L.C., and etc. His picture once appeared on the cover of Time magazine. His business ventures have taken him from the little town of Stigler to countries such as the Cayman Islands, Belize, and Nicaragua, among others.

He might tell you that he has fulfilled the prophecy of his mother when, at a tender young age, he told her of a dream he had wherein he was sitting at a table which was loaded with money--more money than he could count. His mother, Pearl, told him that it meant he was going to be rich, and he spent his life proving her prediction to be correct.

In 2006 Dad and Deloris live in their new home a few miles east of Stigler on Highway 9. He continues to work each day.

After their divorce was final, Mom moved to Tulsa and managed the Woman's World shop in Woodland Hills Mall for a time. While she enjoyed the single life there, she missed her children who were all grown up and living in the Stigler area.

About 1983 (?) Mom acquired Time Theatre and Meadow Drive-In, Inc. She returned to Stigler in order to run the theaters. I continued working as manager. The popularization of video was ultimately the downfall of both theaters. As our business dwindled away, the movie guarantees continued to rise. It seemed that successful movie theater owners had lots of theaters in cities big enough to reach a huge amount of potential customers. It seemed Stigler could not support such an operation, so Time Theatre and Meadow Drive-In were both closed for business in about 1984(?), and thus ended an era.

In 1986 (?) Mom and I donated the building containing the Time Theatre to the City of Stigler, in hopes that they could preserve the memorable and historic structure, and find for it a use which would perpetuate its existence and justify its upkeep.

Mom is semi-retired and lives in her home near Stigler on Fish Creek Road. Arthritis has forced her to give up much of her outside gardening but she still enjoys her craft activities, as well as piecing and quilting. She has always been an accomplished seamstress. On Sunday of each week Mom fixes lunch for her brood--kids, grandkids, and some great-grandkids drift in to partake of Mom's home cooking. She's still the glue that holds our family together.

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