Mattie Beal Birthday Bash set Saturday
The stately mansion that sits at Southwest 5th Street and Summit Avenue has been a Lawton landmark since 1907 when Mattie Beal and her husband Charles Payne built it to be a place of gathering and a social venue.
It will be used for just that purpose again from 4-8 p.m. Saturday when the Lawton Heritage Association hosts the Mattie Beal Birthday Bash.
The bash will include performances by the Southwest Pride Barbershop Quartet and the South Central District Square Dancers, as well as the mayor's proclamation declaring Mattie Beal Day. Tours also will be offered.
The Heritage Association will serve birthday cake and lemonade on the grounds. The public is invited to take blankets or chairs and their supper, or they can purchase a meal from one of the food trucks that will be on site.
If you have lived in Lawton for very long, you have heard the story of Mattie Beal's name being drawn second in the land lottery in 1901 that opened the land around Lawton to white settlement. But what was her background before she was the lucky winner?
Beal was born and raised in Wichita, Kan., and was working as a telephone operator in 1901 when she and a friend rode the train to El Reno and registered for the land lottery. Next thing she knew, a reporter came to her workplace and asked her how it felt to be the second person picked for land.
She moved to Lawton and had many suitors who came to her doorstep and she turned them away. Eventually she met and married Charles Payne, who owned a local lumber yard. They had three daughters, Lahoma, Louisa and Martha. The 14-room home was built in 1907-1909.
Mattie Beal died in 1931 from complications of a diseased gall bladder, and in 1939, her husband sold the house. The home changed hands until the 1970s, when it went to the Heritage Association.