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home : news : history April 28, 2016

11/9/2013 7:31:00 PM
Local author chronicles Small Town America
Author Richard McCullough of Perkins displays his latest book titled “Peaceful Valley: A Portrait of a Prairie Town and the Legacy of Small Town America, Volume I.” The book was published by Valley Press. Journal photo by Van Mitchell
Author Richard McCullough of Perkins displays his latest book titled “Peaceful Valley: A Portrait of a Prairie Town and the Legacy of Small Town America, Volume I.” The book was published by Valley Press.

Journal photo by Van Mitchell
By Van Mitchell, Journal Staff Writer

Richard McCullough says he spent close to 1,300 hours working in his spare time researching, interviewing and writing his latest book "Peaceful Valley: A Portrait of a Prairie Town and The Legacy of Small Town America, Volume I."

And based on the reviews it has received, McCullough, a Perkins resident, said the time and effort has been worth it.

"It was a labor of love," he said. "I had never tried writing anything like this book. I knew it was going to be quite a task. I have invested a lot of time and money in this book. The reviews have been excellent. It makes it all worthwhile."

"Peaceful Valley," chronicles the cultural, economic, political and religious roots of modern-day America developed in the first 50 years of the 20th century as portrayed through the true story of the southwest Oklahoma prairie town of Tipton.

Founded in August 1909, the town of Tipton was born to provide the needs of the farmers who settled the open prairie during the last great land opening in the Oklahoma Territory. Tipton valley is transformed into one of the richest agricultural areas in this section of the country and becomes known as the "Buckle of the Cotton Belt." Imbedded in the story of this small rural community is the legacy of small-town America's cultural, economic, political, and religious roots as formed in the fi rst 50 years of the 20th century.

"The book is a defi nitive history of a small geographical area in southwest Oklahoma that the pioneers called Peaceful Valley," McCullough said. "I record how small town America was affected by this growth during this 50 year period both economically, politically and religiously and culturally."

McCullough said he interviewed about 40 individuals that grew up in Tipton who shared their stories.

"I interviewed about 40 people in their 80s and 90s and I put their personal stories in the book to refl ect the customs and the cultures of the times," he said. "It gives it more of a social commentary. It gives an overview of what early 20th century small town life was like growing up."

McCullough was raised on a cotton farm two miles west of Tipton. The grandson of early Tillman County piogent neers, he experienced growing up on a family farm in the 1950s and 60s. Graduating from Tipton High School in May 1970, he attended Oklahoma State University earning BS degrees in Agriculture and Business Administration. He and his wife Debbie have lived in Perkins since 1984.

Developing an early interest in history, McCullough pursued a life-long personal study of American and world history with special emphasis on the American Civil War, early-day Oklahoma, and both world wars. He began writing in 2003 by contributing a monthly column for Victory Herald, a Christian Internet web magazine popular in southwest Oklahoma.

In July 2007, his fi rst book, "One Man in His Time," was published, which tells the story of his family through the life of his father and the history of early-day rural Oklahoma. McCullough and wife Debbie have been married for 39 years and have two children and nine grandchildren. He has resided in Perkins, Oklahoma, since 1984.

"My first book was my father's biography," McCullough said. "I thought I would write this so that my kids and grandkids would know what kind of man their grandfather and greatgrandfather was."

The reviews of McCullough's latest book have highlighted his attention to details about life during the fi rst half of the 20th century.

Glen R. Roberson with the Oklahoma Historical Society reviewed McCullough's book in the summer 2013 Chronicles of Oklahoma.

"McCullough does an excellent job of describing daily life on the frontier," Roberson wrote. "This is excellent social history. People interested in Oklahoma history should buy and read this book."

Paul Fisher, president Institute of the Great Plains in Lawton echoed those sentiments.

"Richard McCullough has given us a fascinating study of a resilient community," Fisher said. "His book is a resourceful blend of documents and interviews of all types that have never before been assembled to tell Tipton's story. This is an interesting and detailed account of an extremely interesting community. I loved this book and the story that it tells."

McCullough said he has begun work on the second volume of "Peaceful Valley" and he hopes to have it fi nished by July of 2016 or before.

"Currently I am working on Volume Two which is from 1950 to present," he said. "Volume Two covers the golden years in small town America and the decline of small town America."

For more information about the book visit www .peacefulvalleybook.com

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