Cottonwood Grove

by Erik Craddock -
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It’s always good to get back home. For me home is Caddo county, Oklahoma. I went back for a visit a couple of weeks ago. Not much had changed, but honestly I didn’t expect it to, change travels slowly back home. My family has lived in Oklahoma since 1897, several years before Oklahoma became the 46th state in the union. My great grandfather Alonzo Shields Craddock, newly married to Ada Susan Church, moved in 1902 from Stroud, Oklahoma to a farm that was seven miles north and two west of Verden, Oklahoma; known then as Cottonwood Grove.

The property in Cottonwood Grove was won in the Indian Territory Land Lottery of 1901 for a ticket costing the sum of one dollar. As I said earlier my great grandfather Alonzo moved there in 1902. He put up a tent and began work on a house which he completed in 1903. My grandfather Van was born in that tent just before the house was completed. That house is still standing, I recently made a trek out there with my father and found it but not until after I spent some time fighting my way through overgrown brush, weeds and low hanging tree branches. I am told that there were occupants only 5 or 10 years ago.

In around 1908 my great great grandfather David W. Craddock moved to Cottonwood Grove which had been renamed to Verden by this time due to the fact that there was another Cottonwood Grove somewhere in the state. He moved to a small community name Dutton which is a few miles north of Verden. I drove by there but all that is left is one house and a sign that says… well… Dutton. In 1911 David was elected Marshall, the old jail is still standing and let me tell you its kind of spooky in there. I also want to point out that if my math is correct the house my grandfather built is older than this jail.

I had a great time roaming around Caddo and Grady county Oklahoma for the afternoon. It was fun walking over the same ground that my grandfathers had walked over one hundred years ago. Some of the stories that I have heard about them could be turned into blockbuster movies while others are a bit mundane but they all remind me of who I am and partly why I’ve become that way. Hopefully the stories that I leave to my grandchildren are a bit easier to find and are more thoroughly documented. Better yet I hope to actually meet all of my grandchildren so that they have more than pictures and stories.

I hope that more of you will put your memories down to be read by those that come after us. Contact me at with your own stories and be sure to send pictures. If you need any help let me know. I know a thing or two about computers and the internet and I don’t mind helping at all. Your feedback is very welcome I’d love to know what you think about the Craddock Connection.