McAlester News-Capital, McAlester, OK

State House

April 15, 2014

History tours begin May 17

ENID, Okla. — A man claiming to be a president’s assassin, the deaths of three Enid law enforcement officials and a number of other historical stories will be brought to life during the eighth annual Chisholm Trail Coalition Walking Tour.

The first tour of 2014 is scheduled for 10 a.m. May 17. Tour organizers have canceled a tour set for this coming Saturday, due to some re-enactors being gone and Garfield County Court House being closed.

Tours are held the third Saturday of each month, from April to September.

Errol Wofford, who serves as a tour guide during the walking tour, said Enid started from the Cherokee Strip Land Run in 1893.

“The Square was laid out by the government,” Wofford said. “Everything that first happened in Enid, happened in the downtown Square area.”

He said the first constructed jail and the land office were located on the Square.

Wofford, who goes by the name “Cactus Jack” during the tour, said he leads participants to approximately 13 stops. At each stop, a re-enactor tells the history of what happened at the site.

During the tour, participants are introduced to a man called David E. George, who claimed to be John Wilkes Booth, President Abraham Lincoln’s assassin.

“We take them upstairs in the old Grand Avenue Hotel and show them the bathroom where that man committed suicide and he tells his story, and Russ Frazee, the owner of the property, tells his story about it,” Wofford said.

There’s a building on the Square where three law enforcement officials have died in the line of duty.

“Only three have been killed, but all three of those have been killed in the same building, at different times, over the years. So we stop and tell that story,” Wofford said, noting it was coincidental that all three would be killed in the same location.

There are people who have lived in Enid their entire lives who go on the tour and say they did not know half of the history told during the tour, Wofford said.

“Everybody finds it very interesting. It is a historical tour,” he said. “Everything is very factual, we’ve researched the history.”

The re-enactors are volunteers who want to preserve the history of the Chisholm Trail and the history of downtown Enid, he said.

Wofford said it is important for those wishing to go on a tour to get tickets ahead of time at Soapweeds & Cactus, 122 N. Independence, in downtown Enid. He said space on the tour is limited and tours fill up at times.

Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for children.

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