Opal Moss is older than Sand Springs and still telling the story of Charles Page

Photo by Lisa Echohawk-Doss

By: Scott Emigh, Editor-in-Chief

The Book Box, Sand Springs’s lone book store, hosted a Meet-the-Author and Book Signing event Saturday, June 11th.

The guest was Opal Bennefield Clark-Moss, an award winning local author who grew up in Sand Springs in its infancy as a fatherless child at the Sand Springs Home. Moss, 104, was proud to share the fact that she was named the same day as Sand Springs. Her books still show her name as “Opal Bennefield Clark,” but she was remarried in 2012 at the age of 100 to Paul Moss. Moss passed away in 2014.

According to Opal, her mother had intended to name her Oklahoma, but a days after she was born, her three-year old sister accidentally referred to her as “Opal” because she couldn’t pronounce the name of the State. Her mother liked the sound of it and the name stuck.

Her father was attacked and killed by wild boar while riding horseback two months before she was born. Her mother, Daisy, nearly died while Opal was a child, but pulled together enough strength to get her children to the new town Charles Page was starting.

She signed copies of her highly acclaimed biography on Charles Page, as well as her latest publication, a children’s story titled “Leelore’s Unusual Choir,” in which she also did all the illustration. 

The Book Box is located at 214 North McKinley Avenue in downtown Sand Springs. To contact The Book Box, call 918.629.1912.

 From The Publisher:

“Charles Page came to Tulsa during the oil boom at the turn of the century. After many failures he finally made it rich in the oil business. He shared his fortune and his life with hundreds of people in need. Charles Page rescued twenty-one children from a defunct Tulsa orphanage. The result was the Sand Springs Children’s Home built in 1918, followed by the Charles Page Children’s Home, a modernistic building now in use. 

Charles Page also created a Widow’s Colony where women could come to find shelter and get back on their feet.

Charles Page is considered the father of Sand Springs, and his name appears on street markers, over libraries and schools. A trust continues to operate his benevolent enterprises. 

The author, Opal Clark, came to Sand Springs to the Children’s Home in 1916. She worked on the book off and on, for more than twenty–five years. The stories of Charles Page’s childhood were told to the author by "Daddy Page" himself while she stood at his knee as an orphan. 

Charles Page died in December, 1926. The author writes, "I shall never forget that day (of his funeral). Church bells rang and factory sirens gave a mournful wail as the wheels of industry in both Sand Springs and Tulsa came to a halt for ten minutes in his honor. As my sister and I stood weeping, strangers around us spoke in hushed whispers of his greatness. We had never thought of him as they pictured him. We knew him only as Daddy Page." 
His memory and his accomplishments live on through "A Fool’s Enterprise.”