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September 29, 2013


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For what it’s worth--Before establishing his fortune Charles Colcord (who built the Colcord as well as the Commerce Exchange Building and Biltmore Hotel) was a US Marshal and Oklahoma City’s first chief of police. He was also part of the force deputized to stop the 1911 streetcar strike. Lawrence Jackson says that the “counsel” of Ellison’s father “was valuable during the tense moments of the spring 1911 streetcar strike…”

Maybe Ellison knew about that possible connection? Whatever the personal history was or wasn’t, Colcord was a leading capitalist and well-known lawman who helped track down the Dalton gang. He had been a cattleman and speculator and undoubtedly would have been seen by local organizers as someone who made workers “dance for their money.” When the narrator grabs the leg of Colcord’s chair he thinks about toppling him onto the electrified mat of coins that are mockingly laid out as the boys’ wages. I suppose Ellison might have thought that was a fitting punishment for Colcord and his ilk.

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