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Are you in favor of spending $19.5 million for a long term fix for the Newkirk water system?

Charlie Adams Day Sept. 12
11/7/2013 10:01:50 AM
Last Updated:
8/20/2015 11:17:01 AM

by Karen Dye/Newkirk Main Street

  The date has been set, the Oklahoma Arts Council grant confirmed, and plans made for the 13th annual Charlie Adams Day festival.  Mark your calendars for September 12 from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. on the Kay County Courthouse lawn.

 Once again, there are a few folks out there scratching their heads saying “Who was Charlie Adams – or do they mean Samuel Adams?”  It really is Charlie and here is just a little history about this wonderful fellow and his famous horse, Good Luck.

 He was born near Albany, Kansas on August 31, 1875 and named Charles Francis Adams.  He received a degree in pharmacy from the University of Kansas and opened a drug store in Newkirk in 1899 at the ripe age of 24.  At about the same time, Adams patented Good Luck Liniment which consisted mainly of linseed oil.  He always told his family that in addition to the ingredients listed on the label it also had a “secret” ingredient.  Although the liniment label states “for veterinary use only” many Newkirk residents can attest to its healing powers on the human animal also.  The label states that it “does not smart, burn or blister.”  It does not, however, say anything about the odor.

 At a very early age, Adams fell in love with horses, particularly harness race horses.  He kept his horses in the barn behind his home at 421 North Walnut and maintained a practice track in the 800 block of West 8th in the block that is now home to Robert Stewart and Joe Anderson.    He named his favorite trotter after the patent medicine and in 1941 Good Luck Liniment won more firsts than any trotter in the United States.  He won every start he made over half mile tracks, winning 32 first, five seconds and two thirds.   Good Luck was raised in the Kaw Country, eleven miles east and one and half north of Newkirk.  Adams bought him there in 1937 when he was four years old.  Good Luck had always paced in the pasture, but Adams shod him to trot and had him ready to start in 1940 but was rained out in almost every race meet that year.  After his retirement, Adams entered most of the harness racing circuits in Missouri, Iowa and Nebraska.

 During the war years, Adams and Good Luck were basically idle as far as races were concerned; however, Adams put this time to good use in keeping Good Luck in shape by racing him daily on his practice track.  In 1947 with the war over, Good Luck won every race, losing only one heat in the whole season, and in honor of the pairs amazing success, Newkirk held a parade for the duo in September of that year.  By 1948 Good Luck had won over $13,000 in purses.  In 1949 when Good Luck was 16 and Adams was 74, they won 22 out of 23 races.  The horse, knowing Adams was hard of hearing, let him know when another horse was coming up fast by laying both ears back.

 In addition to being a pharmacist and a horseman, in 1904 Adams built the first home in Newkirk with an indoor bathroom for his young bride Sarah “Sadie” Elizabeth McNaughton.  Charlie and Sadie were the parents of Emily Jeanette, Charles Donald and Mildred.  According to his daughter Jeanette “Jep” he was a skillful harness driver, but he wasn’t so proficient behind the wheel so a more experienced driver for the new fangled automobile usually accompanied him.

 Family members conclude that when Adams was through with a discussion, he would turn his hearing aid off, thus effectively ending all conversations.  In addition to Good Luck, Adams also had a pacer named Miss Good Luck and one named Mentholatum which he sold for $800.  Adams delightful sense of humor showed when he remarked that he bet no other druggist sold that much Mentholatum in one day.

 Adams operated a pharmacy in Newkirk for 40 years originally being located in the Brown Building (where Newkirk Antiques are located today.)  During the latter part of his career he moved two doors north to the Cline building at 107 N. Main.  You may come visit the Newkirk Heritage Center at 116 N. Main to see Charlie and Sadie Adams living room, bedroom and dining room furniture Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m.  Adams grandchildren, Sandra Cline, Juhree Vanderpool and Kim Sherrod donated the furniture.

 To check out the schedule and all the festivities for the day go to  Everything you ever wanted to know is on the site including information about having a booth for the arts and crafts or volunteering to be a cooker.

Visitor Comments

Submitted By: Submitted: 5/10/2015
Kay County wanted the old high school so bad now they want to tear it down. Why don't the court house use it for more office space or storage. Also why don't the elect to vote Jason Orr that isn't from Newkirk out, and why is it that we have an assistant city manager we never had one in the past so Jason Orr don't have to deal with the citizens. All the firemen do an outstanding job. Leave well enough alone. Lets get people that are Newkirk natives in office instead of people that aren't.

Submitted By: mike mcintyreSubmitted: 5/12/2015
great news there always had a commisoner that wanted someone out a dept. the fire always got bad breaks.

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