Although Ernest had returned “home” to Oklahoma, undoubtedly it was far from being the home he had known only a few years earlier.  With both parents now dead (see post here) and his younger twin brothers living with relatives in Colorado, he was suddenly very alone.

While he faced an uncertain future personally, the world he lived in was also rapidly changing.  Much of the world was in a state of unrest as the tensions began to mount in Europe.  At the time, few could possibly anticipate how deeply the coming events would impact their lives.

On the 5th of June 1917, approximately two weeks after Congress passed a law to enact a draft, twenty four year old Ernest Ganus joined the ranks of young American men who registered for the draft.

From his registration form, I learned that he was medium height, medium build, with grey eyes and brown hair and that he was living in Morris, Oklahoma, which is just eight miles from Okmulgee.  He worked as a tool dresser for an oil company and so his duties likely included assisting the driller on an oil rig by sharpening and dressing the drill bits.

I wasn’t surprised to learn that Ernest was part of the throng of young men working in the oil fields. In the early 1900’s, Oklahoma was in the midst of a huge oil boom as hundreds of gallons of thick black crude were pumped from the ground.  Along with the flow of oil came a steady flow of men, hopeful that they could make some of the big money.

Whizbang, Oklahoma oil boom town 1922
Oil Boom Town (Whizbang)
Oklahoma early 1920’s

The face of Oklahoma changed dramatically as small towns began to grow and new ones sprang up to provide housing and entertainment to meet the growing demands.  This was the Oklahoma that Ernest returned to and it couldn’t have differed more from the small rural farming town in Colorado where Ernest’s little brothers now lived.

Meanwhile things were heating up overseas and soon even bigger changes would take place in Ernest’s life.

Copyright © Michelle G. Taggart 2014,  All rights reserved

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8 thoughts on “An Uncertain Future – Part 2

  1. The oil rigs didn't do much for the landscape, but I imagine it was a rather exciting time and place to live with so much going on, so much opportunity.

  2. I imagine those were enormous changes that occurred in Oklahoma, brought in by that oil boom. But, depending on where Ernest's family was in Colorado before that point, he may have seen the same sort of "boom" there as well, as miners flocked to the mountains to seek their fortune there. I wonder how much of the country's history could also share that classification; it seems like those times were one of great change, no matter where a person lived or worked.

  3. Yea, I know what you are saying. Reading about the times, it sounded really wild—the types of places that came into those towns and some of the people that it attracted–Yikes! But I agree—some of the people had lived in such poverty and I think they had some high hopes that this would be their ticket up and out.

  4. I know that the mines did thrive in the mountains of Colorado, but the little towns where the twins were have remained much the same as they were then—I love it there for that. It is still predominantly families that have been there for generations and they are still on small family farms. The peace there is hard to beat.

  5. Yes!! It is so hard to piece together his life with the bits of documents etc. that I have here and there for his life. Oh how I wish HE had written something about this time period and I could really know what he was feeling and going through.

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