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Vanoss History



A School Without a Town
This is a historical account of the small schools that consolidated with Vanoss Public School.  It was written in 1984-85 by Vanoss School’s Gifted and Talented classes.

 A Walk Through Memory
This is a memorial written by Dorothy (Watters) Jamar in 1987.  It records her memory and impressions of growing up in Old Midland and Early Vanoss between 1916-1929.


This  research essay, published by the Pontotoc County Historical and Genealogical Society, was written by Mrs. Luther (Wanda Burger) Parish in 1977.  It gives information about the founding of Vanoss,
its businesses, churches, and people.                        

Vanoss: A Rip-Roaring Railroad Town
This conversational essay is the result of a local 3th grade class’ interview in 1999 with H.L. and Estaline Waters.  Mr. and Mrs. Waters tell about growing up in Vanoss in the 1920s.

 Can you name these

1940 baseball players? 

Click here to view photo.

The Walker Family
This research project traces the family of John Wesley Walker and Lucinda Clara Culpepper Walker.  Research was gathered by Uhlan Walker, written by Debra Berger Shaw, and submitted to Vanoss School by Uhlan’s nephew, Clyde Walker.

 The Owens Family
This is a collection of memories, photos, and news articles about the family of Loretta Owens Hill.

The Solomon Family
This Solomon family history was submitted on July 12, 2005 by Carletta (Solomon) Keith.  Ms. Keith was assisted by her nephew, Carl Solomon.  The article traces their family back to the late 1800s.


Vanoss Fight Song

Vanoss will shine tonite
Vanoss will shine
She'll shine in beauty brite
All down the line
Won't she look great tonite
Dressed up so fine
When the sun goes down and
The moon comes up
Vanoss will shine




We have collected
Vanoss Newspaper
Vanoss Postal Cancellations
Vanoss Bank Check
Railroad Schedule Lists Vanoss
Vanoss Depot
Vanoss Main Street Stores
Vanoss Public School in 1920s
Map of Downtown Vanoss #1
Map of Downtown Vanoss #2
Map of Old Midland
Old Midland Stores
H.L. Waters Family
John Wesley Walker Family
Loretta Owens Hill Family
Carletta Solomon Keith Family



     Vanoss is sometimes referred to as "the school without a town".  However, it was once a "rip-roaring railroad town."  About the time of statehood, a Dutch banker, S.F. Van Oss, financed the construction of the Oklahoma Central Railroad (OCRR).  The OCRR's path missed the town of Midland by a few miles, so the town picked up and moved to the railroad tracks.  Midland then changed its name to Vanoss in honor of this man. 
     The Roff Eagle Newspaper (1908) featured a section called Midland News that provides a glimpse of the community's transition from Midland to Vanoss.  Bits of news from several editions included:

  1. Midland Post Office changed its name to Vanoss on April 1.
  2. The Midland Gin Co. sold an old engine and broiler to Oklahoma Central Railroad (OCRR). 
  3. The Midland School was progressing nicely, and a new location for the new Vanoss School had been chosen. 
  4. Professor White and Mrs. Templeman taught school at Midland, and W.L. Baker was hired to teach fall and winter school at Vanoss.
  5. J.E. Kensey's was the last store building to move to the new town. 

     Vanoss quickly grew into a thriving railroad town.  The 1908 editions of the Roff Eagle also mentioned some of the first Vanoss businesses.

  1. J.E. Kensey's store
  2. Mr. Foster's gin and mill
  3. W.J. Collins' blacksmith shop
  4. W.S. Tinsley's restaurant and cold drink stand in the C.M. Long Building
  5. Mrs. W.H. Rodgers' take-over of the Jones Hotel.


     Wanda Berger Parish's published list of Vanoss businesses from about 1910-1920 gives an indication of its size: 2 drug stores, 2 doctors, 3 churches, 1 shoe shop, 2 garages and service stations, 2 barber shops, 1 clean and press shop, 1 hardware and general store, 4 dry goods and grocery stores, 1 café, 1 "First State Bank", 2 cotton gins, 1 lumber yard, 1 flour and grist mill, 1 Union Lodge Hall, used by Masons, Oddfellows, Woodman of the World, and Woodman Circle, 1 summer theatre, 1 Western Union agent and 1 fine, grade and high school, also junior high Wanda also reported that a fire in the late 20s devoured about half of the business section of town including the bank. 

     From its founding till the present, the school and the churches appear to have played a unifying roll in this community.  The Vanoss Missionary Baptist Church still looks much the same as it did in the 1920s and continues to host regular community meetings.  The Vanoss School (in the third building since moving from Midland) continues to be "1 fine, grade and high school, also junior high"There are no structural remains the original school, but an old WPA well house from the second building still remains in the courtyard of today's school.
      The two area cemeteries remind us of an unfinished story.  An abandoned graveyard, Old Moss Cemetery, is located south of the bridge crossing Barrie Creek.  Burial at Old Moss dates from 1894-1908.  At least 10 of the two dozen deaths occurred in 1899 (the year of the Land Run).  Some say this is an old Indian cemetery, but the names do not sound Native American.  Some say it resulted from an ill-fated wagon train coming through the area.  In Midland Cemetery, burial began in 1901 (seven years before Vanoss was established).     

      The history of Midland and Vanoss has survived primarily through an oral tradition.  But it’s documented history seems to have information gaps.  (e.g. What is Midland's history?  Who?  When?  How? Why was it founded?  Who are the people in the Old Moss Cemetery?  What is their story?)  We have documentation that Midland became Vanoss because of the railroad.  The town thrived economically for a time.  Then, for various reasons it lost its hold on both commerce and residents. Today, all that remain of Vanoss are the community center, a few homes, and "1 fine, grade and high school, also junior high" (as described in a 1920s edition of the Roff Eagle).

     A few people have made the effort to record what they know about Midland and Vanoss.  Mrs. Wanda Berger Parish's account of Vanoss was published by the Pontotoc County Historical Society as part of a book entitled History of Pontotoc County, Oklahoma in 1977.  In 1985, The Vanoss High School Gifted and Talented Classes researched and compiled an account of the survival and growth of the school entitled, A School Without a Town, A History of Vanoss.In 1987, Dorothy Watters Jamar wrote extensively of her experiences while growing up in Midland and Vanoss in Part One of the 1981 Genealogy of the David Macklin and Ammah Ethel Bradley Watters Family.  In 2000, H.L. and Estaline Waters helped Vanoss students create a booklet about Vanoss in the 1920s called, Vanoss, The Rip-Roaring Railroad Town.

     Research has produced artifacts such as: cancelled checks from the Vanoss Bank, postmarks from the Vanoss Post Office, a copy of the OCRR schedule that includes the Vanoss Depot, a copy of Vanoss Enterprise Newspaper, news clippings from the Roff Eagle, telephone listings for the Midland Township, and photographs of downtown Vanoss in the 20s.  But there must be more artifacts from Vanoss’ history to be found by those who will search for them.   Please help us collect and maintain a history of Vanoss for future generations.  Search your attics, basements, and closets for things from our past.  Collect it, compile it, and publish it.  Make it available for others to share. 

If we lose a piece of our history, then we lose a piece of ourselves.

Linda Marks, Teacher
Vanoss School