Orel Casto “Tuck” Fordyce

1887 – 1945

            Tuck Fordyce was born March 9, 1887 at Josephs Mills in Tyler County, West Virginia.  He was the second of three children born to Samuel O Fordyce (1859-1933) and his wife, Helen M. (Lowther) Fordyce (1861-1933).  Tuck’s family had moved to Curry, West Virginia by 1900 and then on to Tulsa, Oklahoma by 1910.  He gave his occupation as either chauffeur or motorman at the Auto Livery Company in Tulsa until 1915.

On January 29, 1916, Tuck got into an argument in front of the Senate cigar store in Tulsa and was gravely wounded when he was shot by Casey Jones who was also from Tulsa.

Tuck recovered from his wounds and joined the United States Army and served in Company M of the 57th Oklahoma Infantry for 11 months from 1918 to 1919, being discharged with the rank of corporal.

It is unclear how Tuck became actively involved in auto racing but he became a regular driver of I.M.C.A. house cars.  His only known connection to Kansas was that his future wife was born there.

Following is a list of the known auto races that Tuck participated in during the 13 months that he drove racing cars:

     

August 22, 1919 – ½ mile dirt oval – Iowa State Fairgrounds in Des Moines, Iowa – Sanctioned by the International Motor Contest Association (I.M.C.A.)

            Car:  Mercer owned by J. Alex Sloan of Minneapolis, Minnesota

Finish:  3rd in the 50-lap feature race behind Leon Duray in a Case and George Clark in a Duesenberg.  All but one of the cars in these races were owned by J. Alex Sloan of Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Feature race winner:  Leon Duray of Cleveland, Ohio who was driving a Case owned by J. Alex Sloan of Minneapolis, Minnesota

     

August 29, 1919 – ½ mile dirt oval – Iowa State Fairgrounds in Des Moines, Iowa – Sanctioned by the International Motor Contest Association (I.M.C.A.)

            Car:  Mercer owned by J. Alex Sloan of Minneapolis, Minnesota

Finish:  Did not finish the 50-lap feature race due to being involved in an accident on the 48th lap.

Feature race winner:  Leon Duray of Cleveland, Ohio who was driving a Case owned by J. Alex Sloan of Minneapolis, Minnesota.  All 19 of the cars that competed in these races were owned by Sloan.

 

September 15, 1919 – ½ mile dirt oval – Kansas State Fairgrounds in Hutchinson, Kansas – Sanctioned by the International Motor Contest Association (I.M.C.A.)

            Car:  Mercer owned by J. Alex Sloan of Minneapolis, Minnesota

Finish:  Tied for 4th fastest 2-lap time in time trials with Mark Jenkins of Des Moines, Iowa in a Stutz with a time of 1:14.0.  That was slower than the times turned in by George Clark of Ft. Worth Texas in a Duesenberg; John Boling of Tulsa, Oklahoma in a Hudson and John Boyd of Tulsa, Oklahoma in a Packard.

            4th in the 20-lap final behind George Clark of Dallas, Texas in a Duesenberg; John Boling of Tulsa, Oklahoma in a Hudson and John Boyd of Tulsa, Oklahoma in a Packard.

Feature race winner:  George Clark of Dallas, Texas in a Duesenberg owned by J. Alex Sloan of Minneapolis, Minnesota

 

September 19, 1919 – ½ mile dirt oval – Kansas State Fairgrounds in Hutchinson, Kansas – Sanctioned by the International Motor Contest Association (I.M.C.A.)

            Car:  Mercer owned by J. Alex Sloan of Minneapolis, Minnesota

Finish:  5th fastest time in time trials of 36.2 which was slower than the laps turned in by George Clark of Dallas, Texas in a Duesenberg; Canadian Harvey Demster in a Peugeot; Dick Seip of Oklahoma City in a Chevrolet and John Boling of Tulsa, Oklahoma in a Hudson.

             3rd in the 8-lap Australian Pursuit behind Harvey Demster of Canada in a Peugeot and John Boling of Tulsa, Oklahoma in a Hudson.

               Won $500 for placing 1st in the Special Division “B” race, running the 6-lap distance in 3:46.0

            Won $459 for placing 2nd in the 30-lap “free-for-all” behind George Clark of Dallas, Texas in a Duesenberg.  Fordyce led this race until he was passed by Clark in the final laps.

Feature race winner:  George Clark of Dallas, Texas in a Duesenberg owned by J. Alex Sloan of Minneapolis, Minnesota

     

 

1919 Oklahoma City newspaper

 

September 20, 1919 – ½ mile dirt oval – Coalgate Speedway in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma – Sanctioned by the International Motor Contest Association (I.M.C.A.)

            Car:  Mercer owned by J. Alex Sloan of Minneapolis, Minnesota

Finish:  Results of these races have yet to be located.

     

September 24, 1919 – ½ mile dirt oval – Coalgate Speedway in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma – Sanctioned by the International Motor Contest Association (I.M.C.A.)

            Car:  Mercer owned by J. Alex Sloan of Minneapolis, Minnesota

Finish:  Results of these races have yet to be located.

     

September 27, 1919 – ½ mile dirt oval – Coalgate Speedway in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma – Sanctioned by the International Motor Contest Association (I.M.C.A.)

            Car:  Mercer owned by J. Alex Sloan of Minneapolis, Minnesota

Finish:  Results of these races have yet to be located.

     

September 28, 1919 – ½ mile dirt oval – Vinita Fairgrounds at Vinita, Oklahoma – Sanctioned by the International Motor Contest Association (I.M.C.A.)

            Car:  Mercer owned by J. Alex Sloan of Minneapolis, Minnesota

Finish:  Results of these races have yet to be located.

     

October 8, 1919 – ½ mile dirt oval – West Side Racetrack in Wichita, Kansas – Sanctioned by the International Motor Contest Association (I.M.C.A.)

            Car:  Mercer owned by J. Alex Sloan of Minneapolis, Minnesota

Finish:  Postponed until October 9, 1919 due to rain.

     

October 9, 1919 – ½ mile dirt oval – West Side Racetrack in Wichita, Kansas – Sanctioned by the International Motor Contest Association (I.M.C.A.)

            Car:  Mercer owned by J. Alex Sloan of Minneapolis, Minnesota

Finish:  8th in time trials with a lap of 36.6 which was slower than the laps turned in by George Clark of Ft. Worth, Texas in a Duesenberg; Dick Seip of Oklahoma City in a Chevrolet; Harry Davies of Kansas City, Missouri in a Nippon; Mark Jenkins of Des Moines, Iowa in a Stutz; Jimmie Costa of Anthony Kansas in a Hudson special; John Boling of Tulsa, Oklahoma in a Hudson and John Boyd of Tulsa, Oklahoma in a Packard.

7th in the 2nd heat race for cars with unlimited engines, behind George Clark of Ft. Worth, Texas; Dick Seip of Oklahoma City; Mark Jenkins of Des Moines, Iowa; Jimmie Costa of Anthony, Kansas in a Hudson special; John Boling of Tulsa, Oklahoma in a Hudson and John Boyd of Tulsa, Oklahoma in a Packard.

1st in the 2nd heat race for cars with 300 cubic inch engines or less.  Dick Seip of Oklahoma City finished a close 2nd in this race in a Chevrolet.

One of the eight cars that competed in the Wheat Show Sweepstakes but did not finish among the top four places.

Feature race winner:  George Clark of Ft. Worth, Texas

     

October 10, 1919 – ½ mile dirt oval – West Side Racetrack in Wichita, Kansas – Sanctioned by the International Motor Contest Association (I.M.C.A.)

            Car:  Mercer owned by J. Alex Sloan of Minneapolis, Minnesota

Finish:  These races were canceled due to cold weather.

     

December 6-9 & 14, 1919 – 1-mile dirt oval – Fair Park at Dallas, Texas – Sanctioned by the International Motor Contest Association (I.M.C.A.)

            Car:  Mercer owned by J. Alex Sloan of Minneapolis, Minnesota

Finish:  7th in time trials running 1-mile in 1:03.0 which was slower than the lap-times turned in by John Boling of Tulsa, Oklahoma in a Hudson; Larry Stone of Birmingham, Alabama in a National; Canadian Harry Demster in a Peugeot; John Boyd of Tulsa, Oklahoma in a Packard; Ed Buchanan in a Chevrolet and Ernie Fosnaugh in a Hudson.

7th in the 50-minute “free-for-all” World Championship race behind John Boyd of Tulsa, Oklahoma in a Packard; John Boling of Tulsa, Oklahoma in a Hudson; Larry Stone of Birmingham, Alabama in a National; George Clark of Ft. Worth, Texas in a Duesenberg and Ernie Fosnaugh in a Hudson special.  Tuck dropped out of this race after the 10th lap with “bad sparkplugs”.

Feature race winner:  John Boyd of Tulsa, Oklahoma in a Packard

     

September 3, 1920 – ½ mile dirt oval – Iowa State Fairgrounds in Des Moines, Iowa – Sanctioned by the International Motor Contest Association (I.M.C.A.)

            Car:  Mercer owned by J. Alex Sloan of Minneapolis, Minnesota

Finish:  4th in the 2nd heat race behind Dave Koetzla of Detroit, Michigan in an Essex; Lou Schiebell of Des Moines, Iowa and Fred Willard of Albert Lea, Minnesota in Monroe owned by J. Alex Sloan.

            3rd in the 4th heat race behind John Boyd of Oklahoma City in a Hudson owned by John Boling of Tulsa, Oklahoma and Dick Dixon in a Packard

            3rd the 5-mile 2nd heat race of the World’s Four-Cornered Challenge Race behind John Boyd of Tulsa, Oklahoma in a Packard and John Boling of Tulsa, Oklahoma in a Hudson.

Feature race winner:  Dave Koetzla of Detroit, Michigan driving an Essex owned by J. Alex Sloan of Minneapolis, Minnesota

 

September 20, 1920 – ½ mile dirt oval – Kansas State Fairgrounds in Hutchinson, Kansas – Sanctioned by the International Motor Contest Association (I.M.C.A.)

            Car:  Mercer owned by J. Alex Sloan of Minneapolis, Minnesota

Finish:  8th fastest time in time trials running two laps in 1:20.0 which was slower than the 2-lap times of John Boyd of Oklahoma City in a Hudson special; Lou Scheibell of Des Moines, Iowa in a Chalmers; Harry Dickson in a Packard; Fred Lentz of Hutchinson, Kansas in a Hudson; Elmer J. Negy of Hutchinson, Kansas in a Haynes; Earl Roberts of Hutchinson in a Studebaker and Jeff Crafford of Hutchinson in a Ford.

             3rd in the 1st 6-lap heat race behind Earl Roberts of Hutchinson in a Studebaker and Harry Dickson in a Packard.

                2nd in the 7-car, 15-lap “free-for-all” behind John Boyd of Oklahoma City in a Hudson special

Feature race winner:  John Boyd of Oklahoma City in a Hudson special owned by John Boling of Tulsa, Oklahoma.

 

September 24, 1920 – ½ mile dirt oval – Kansas State Fairgrounds in Hutchinson, Kansas – Sanctioned by the International Motor Contest Association (I.M.C.A.)

            Car:  Mercer owned by J. Alex Sloan of Minneapolis, Minnesota

Finish:  Fordyce went out 5th of the 9 cars that took time trials and ran the 5th fastest 2-lap time of 1:12.0 which was slower that the times turned in by John Boyd of Oklahoma City in a Hudson special; Fred Rogers of Ponca City, Oklahoma in a Dodge; Harry Dickson in a Packard and Lou Scheibell of Des Moines, Iowa in a Chalmers.

             Won the 1st 6-lap heat race over Fred Lentz of Hutchinson in 3:36.8.

                3rd in the 8-car, 15-lap “free-for-all” Kansas State Sweepstakes race behind John Boyd of Oklahoma City in a Hudson special owned by John Boling of Tulsa, Oklahoma

Feature race winner:  John Boyd of Oklahoma City in a Hudson special owned by John Boling of Tulsa, Oklahoma.

 

 

Tuck Fordyce and Miss Mary Wright were riding in the back seat of a car being driven by Paul M. Hastings (1895-1921) near Tulsa, Oklahoma on August 3, 1921.  Miss Betty Martin was seated next to Hastings in the front seat when the car struck a wire cable that had been stretched across the road to indicate that the road was closed for improvements.  The cable passed over the hood of the car but then sliced through the windshield shearing the top of the car off.  All of the occupants were thrown from the car which continued down the road until it hit a telephone pole.  Hastings and Miss Martin were killed instantly.  Tuck and Miss Wright received serious injuries with Miss Wright receiving a broken arm and broken jaw.  Fordyce suffered severe cuts on his face.

Tuck went to work as an auto mechanic for Clifford E. Van Saun (1893-1963) at his service station and garage at 307 East Second Street in Tulsa, Oklahoma.  He then married Annabelle Calvert on November 20, 1922 in Payne County, Oklahoma.  Annabelle had been born in 1892 in Wichita, Kansas.

By 1926, Tuck was married to Ella M., whose maiden name is unknown.  That same year, Tuck is listed as being the proprietor of his own auto repair garage at 2802 North Cincinnati Avenue in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

He and Ella had moved to Newburg, Missouri by 1930 where Tuck again found work as an auto mechanic.  He was also elected to the Newburg City Council in 1931.  He was also elected Secretary of the Equality Lodge of Masons at Newburg in 1940.

           Tuck Fordyce passed away in Phelps County, Missouri on September 8, 1945 and is buried in the Newburg Cemetery at Newburg, Missouri.

 

 

 

 

Copy of autograph signed June 5, 1917