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Chronicles of Oklahoma
Volume 10, No. 2
June, 1932

Page 299


John Willimas Duke

Doctor John Williams Duke, son of Jacob K. Duke and Mary Duke, nee Williams, was born near Scobey in Yalobusha County, Mississippi, on June 5, 1868, on a cotton plantation, where he grew to manhood. His great grandfather was also named Jacob K. Duke. The Dukes were related to the Kuykendall and Van Zandt families which at an early date settled in the new world, coming from Holland. The Dukes were from Normandy to England, the fist name being Le Duc, settling in Suffolk. Between 1660 and 1670 emigrating to America, they settled in Virginia and the Carolinas, thence migrating to Alabama, whence his father came to Mississippi, in 1828. His mother's father came from Wales, and her mother, a Davidson, was of Scotch Irish descent. His ancestors on both sides fought on the side of the Colonies in the American Revolution.

Having attended private schools and academies, he entered the state university at Oxford, Mississippi, where he remained two years when he entered the medical department of University of Tennessee, located at Memphis, known as the Memphis Medical College, graduating in 1891. In 1893 he again graduated from the medical department of the University of New York, where he was clinical assistant in the department of mental and nervous diseases. In 1894 he was appointed a member of the medical staff of the Manhattan State Hospital, Ward's Island, New York, from which place he resigned in 1895 to accept a place as assistant physician in the Connecticut State Hospital at Middletown, Connecticut, where he remained until 1900 when he located at Guthrie, Oklahoma Territory. He also studied in Europe attending clinics at the University of Heidelberg, and visited other institutions on the Continent, preparing himself for his future work in his chosen field of medicine.

On January 30, 1901, he was married to Miss Isabel Perkins, daughter of Edward Thomas Perkins and his wife, Lucy Cornelia Perkins, nee Hale. His wife is a lineal descendant of John Haynes, the first governor of Connecticut.

Soon after coming to Guthrie he established a sanitarium for the treatment of mental and nervous diseases, known as the Duke Sanitarium, which he owned and successfully conducted until his death on October 10, 1920. As a physician his influence soon began to extend over an ever widening circle until his services were in demand in every part of Oklahoma Territory and afterward over the State. As his acquaintance extended his personality and influence began to be felt, not only in a professional way, being recognized as its head, but also in business and public affairs. In 1904 he was elected mayor of the city of Guthrie, Oklahoma Territory, then the capital, and continued in that office until after the erection of the new state. In 1911 he became secretary of the State Board of Medical Examiners, and whilst holding this position took the lead in establishing reciprocity with many states as to the licensing of physicians and did much toward elevating the standard of the medical profession in the State of Oklahoma.

In 1912 he became professor of mental and nervous diseases and medical jurisprudence in the Medical College of the, University of Oklahoma, and so continued until his death. In 1915 he was appointed State Commissioner of Health by Governor Robert L. Williams, being given a free hand in the reorganization of that department. His weekly

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health letters, which during his term of office were published in more than four hundred weekly newspapers throughout the state, tended in a great measure toward the uplift in health ideals. Through his influence the legislature was induced to pass an act which placed municipal water sources and sewerage systems under the supervision of the State Board of Health. The State Lunacy Act through his efforts was revised and the management of the State Hospitals for the Insane placed under a board of experts, commitment of patients to such institution under supervision of said Board being required. During his term as health commissioner a pathological and chemical laboratory was established as a part of such department, at which all chemical and pathological work, including the Wassermann test for syphilis, and water supplies, both private and public, was done free of charge, thus bringing the benefit of this laboratory within reach of everyone. He also caused to be reorganized and made efficient the Vital Statistics Department. In 1920 he was elected president of the Oklahoma State Medical Association, which position he held at the time of his death.

During the World War he acted as chairman of the District (Appellate) Exemption Board for the Western District of Oklahoma. These duties in addition to these as state commissioner of health and the supervision of his private affairs, including the sanitarium, must have caused over work and contributed to his death. He also participated in the party activities of the Democratic Party, in 1916 and 1920 being a delegate to the National Democratic Conventions held at St. Louis, Missouri, and San Francisco, California. He was a patriotic citizen and physician of eminence and exceptional integrity.

His death removed from the walks of men not only an upright citizen and learned physician, but also from the thinning ranks of the early settlers of the Territory a man of culture who gave tone and character to the social and intellectual life of that period. As a learned physician with high ideals, as a citizen active in the public welfare, as a neighbor, gentle, dignified and courteous, as a friend, dependable and steadfast, and as a husband devoted, loving and faithful, he will be long remembered. He leaves a heritage of a life well lived and a name unsullied.



Oscar Aydelotte, the father of James Monroe Aydelotte, was born November 3, 1834 at Covington in Kenton County, Kentucky, and died near Prescott in Gibson County, Indiana, on March 16, 1878. Arminda J. Aydelotte, nee Redburn, his mother, was born in Gibson County, Indiana on February 14, 1833 and died in said County on October 16, 1913, his said father and mother having been married in said county.

James Monroe Aydelotte, was born near Princeton in said county on January 31, 1862, and died at Boston, Mass., January 28th, 1922, and is buried at Oklahoma City, Okla. His fore-bears on his father's side were of Hugenot and Welsh extraction.

The Aydelottes coming direct from France to America soon after St. Bartholomew's Massacre, settled at Richmond, Virginia. His father's mother was a Miss Liest, of Welsh descent. His paternal grand father and grand mother at an early date migrated from Virginia to Kentucky and thence to Gibson County, Indiana. He was a contractor engaged in the construction of canals. After the advent of railroads, discontinuing such business, he engaged in farming.

His grand parents on his mother's side were early settlers in Indiana. His grand father, William Redburn, of German descent, came

James Monroe Aydelotte

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from Pennsylvania, and his grand mother, who was a Miss Hosick, of Irish descent, from Maryland.

James Monroe Aydelotte was the second of a family of six children, four boys and two girls. With a limited education such as was afforded at that period by the common schools of his native county and a short course at a commercial college at Lexington, Kentucky, he came in the Fall of 1881 to the Choctaw Nation in the Indian Territory; from that time until 1883 he was in the employ of Mr. Vince Kule, engaged in the timber business. In 1883 he began as a clerk in a general store owned by Mr. L. C. Stiles at Harris Ferry on the south bank of the Red River in Red River County, Texas, and continued in that employment until January 1890 when he and Mr. Sog Scales purchased the store from Mr. Stiles. Mr. Aydelotte continued as manager of the store until 1892 when he and Scales sold the business at Harris' Ferry to Dowdy and Martin.

On November 25, 1890 he was married to Laurie Leola Stiles, the daughter of his former employer and his wife Mellissa Stiles nee Dowdy. To them was born one child, a daughter, Arminda Mellissa Aydelotte, who died on March 9, 1892.

In 1895 Mr. Aydelotte removed to Clarksville, Texas, and became associated in business with Barry Brothers, wholesale and retail grocers, and so continued until 1897 when he became connected with the Clarksville Cotton Oil Company as Assistant Manager. Its directors were F H. Bailey, F. J. Phillips, D. W. Cheatham, J. W. O'Neill and L. C. Stiles.

In 1898 he removed to Shawnee, Oklahoma, where he with others organized the Shawnee Cotton Oil Company, being associated in this undertaking with the late Tom Randolph of Sherman, Texas, J. F. Phillips of Greenville, Texas, and P. A. Norris now of Ada, Oklahoma. He also engaged in the banking business being associated with Mr. H. T. Douglas of Shawnee, Oklahoma.

His first wife, Laurie Leola Stiles was born January 29th, 1871 and died January 19th, 1892.

He was again married on December 28, 1903 in Mt. Vernon, Mo., to Miss Lola Mabel Denney, who was a daughter of Dr. Zachariah C. and Elizabeth C. Denney. From this marriage there was born to them on September 6, 1913 at Boston, Mass., Betty Jane, a daughter, both of whom survive him.

On April 18, 1905 he was elected Mayor of Shawnee, and served in that capacity with fidelity and credit to himself until February 16, 1907.

On April 11, 1915 he was appointed by Robert L. Williams as Governor of the State of Oklahoma to the position as Chairman of the State Board of Public Affairs, he continuing in that capacity until the close of that administration on Janury 13, 1919. On April 8, 1917 he was appointed as Chairman of the Oklahoma State Council of Public Defense, continuing in that capacity until after the close of the World War.

He was in every sense a self-made man. Born and reared on a farm he had only such educational advantages as the common schools of that day afforded with a few months training at a Commercial College, but by continued reading and self application he became a well informed and a very capable and efficient and successful business man. During his entire life he was a student. In carrying out plans on a large scale and in a constructive way he was efficiency personified. Believing that every man owed a duty to his country, when the occasion arose he responded to the call for public service.

When tendered the place as Chairman of the State Board of Public Affairs it was at first declined but after it was made plain to him that in accepting this position and in discharging the duties of this office he had an opportunity to render a needed service to the state, he accepted

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it and for four years rendered great service to the public at a financial sacrifice to himself.

In his home circle he was a kind, loving and faithful husband and father and considerate of all his kindred and neighbors. As a friend he was dependable and faithful. As a citizen he was loyal to the best interests of the state. With his associates he was a wise counselor as well as an efficient administrator. During the years of his official association in state affairs there was never a friction. United harmony in devotion to the public welfare and in the service of country continuously existed. It was during this period that the United States became engaged in the World War. As Chairman of the Oklahoma Council of Public Defense he took the lead on the part of that organization in the great war work which the citienship of the state with so much efficiency patriotically rendered. With fidelity and patriotism he served with the members on the Oklahoma State Council of Public Defense who after his death joined in causing to be presented to the Historical Society protrait of him.

As citizens zealous of the public welfare they thought that his public service should be preserved to future generations by the placing of his portrait in the halls of the Historical Society as a memorial to him.



Born on a plantation in Wilkes County, Georgia, in 1843, he was descended from an old Southern Scotch family. Enlisted in the army of the Confederacy in the early days of the Civil War, in 30th Mississippi Infantry, serving under Generals Bragg, and Hood, he participated in the battles of Franklin and Nashville. Captured by Federals he served six weeks in City Point Prison. He was with General Joe Johnson at the time of surrender to Sherman. Returning home he was married to Mary Edwards, September 14th, 1865. To this union the following children were born.

Anna Littleton, Mack Littleton, Irvin Littleton, Wesley Littleton, Cornelia Littleton, Benjamin Littleton, Pugh Littleton, Ada Littleton.

Only three are now living: Anne, Benjamin and Ada.

Isaac B. Littleton with his family moved to Hayes County, Texas, in 1882, to Raines County, Texas, in 1884, to Chickasaw Nation, Indian Territory in 1886, to Pottawatomie County, Oklahoma Territory, in 1891, At the opening of the Pottawatomie Reservation he filed on claim near Earlsboro where he resided for twenty-five years, then moved to Tecumseh, where he resided until his death. Was a member of the Freewill Baptist Church, the Masonic Lodge and the Democratic Party. He was a member of the Constitutional Convention of Oklahoma from District 32. He died February 7th, 1925, at the age of Eighty-two, and is buried in Tecumseh Cemetery between Tecumseh and Shawnee, Oklahoma. Mary Edwards Littleton his wife survives and will be eighty-eight years of age on the 4th day of August, 1932.

An exemplary citizen and good man, he was affectionately referred to by his neighbors and fellow citizens as Uncle Ike Littleton.

Turner B. Turnbull, Jr.

Page 303


Turner B. Turnbull, Jr., a leading member of the Choctaw Tribe, was born on November 22nd, 1851 at Mt. Pleasant, about 15 miles east of Caddo, Indian Territory, his father being Turner B. Turnbull, Sr., who received his education in the old Choctaw* Academy in Scott County, Kentucky, and his mother being Jerico Turnbull nee Perkins, both full blood Choctaws.

He had three brothers, LeRoy, Daniel and Simeon, and three sisters, Angie, who married Dan Matthis, Mary, who married Henry Benton, and Julia, who married J. M. Flinchum.

He received his education in the Choctaw National School at Mt. Pleasant, in Blue County, Choctaw Nation. After he had finished school he continued to study the problems effecting the Choctaw people. He was active in public affairs, more particularly in management of the schools of the Nation.

On April 26th, 1879 he married Adeline Dwight, a daughter of Rev. Timothy Dwight, of Pigeon Roost, Jackson County, Indian Territory. To them the following children were born; Elizabeth Boland, nee Turnbull, Timothy B. Turnbull, Walter J. Turnbull, Charles C. Turnbull, William P. Turnbull and Janie L. Turnbull.

He served several terms as Representative from Blue County in the Choctaw Legislature. In 1880 he was elected Ranger and served in this office until 1888 at which time he was elected District Trustee of the Third Judicial District of the Choctaw Nation. This District was composed of Blue, Atoka, Jackson, Jackfork and Kiamichi Counties.

The District Trustee had the management of the schools of the District. In this office he kept a complete record of the 72 schools in the district together with a record of the boys admitted to Spencer Academy and the girls admitted to New Hope, during said period from said district.

This record discloses that for 9 months from Sept. 1890 to May 1891 the 72 schools had an attendance of 1414 students. The expense of maintenance of the schools for said period amounted to $16,207.50.

In 1892 he was elected Sheriff of Blue County and served in that office for four years.

In 1897, he was appointed by Governor Green McCurtain as enumerator of Indigent Choctaws for Blue County, his duties being to list all the needy Choctaws in said County and to give them an order on W. H. Ainsworth, Quartermaster, Caddo, for corn for bread purposes, the regulations providing that not over 10 bushels of corn were to be given to any one family. Those who received the corn were required to execute an agreement that the value of the corn advanced was to be deducted from future per capita payments.

He was one of the first of the Choctaw citizens to realize that the prairie country could be used to advantage for agricultural purposes. In the early eighties he built a large two story home on the edge of the prairie where he resided until his death. His widow still resides there.

He operated a large stock farm and also had many acres in cultivation and was active in business affairs, being a director of the First National Bank of Bokchito.

He was a member of the Masonic Lodge at Caddo and of the Presbyterian Church. He erected on his farm a building to be used for school and church purposes for the benefit of the community.

He died at Caddo, Oklahoma, on the 20th day of April, 1908 and was buried in the Turnbull Cemetery on his farm about 10 miles East of Caddo, Oklahoma.

J. L. B.

Page 304


William H. Armstrong was born near Scottsboro, Jackson County, Alabama, on Dec. 20, 1851, died at Boswell, Oklahoma, on May 28, 1908, where he is buried. His father was Louis Armstrong, who was born in Virginia and whose forbears came from Scotland. His mother was Millie Armstrong nee Carlton, born in East Tennessee, her forbears were from North Ireland.

Having attended the common schools of Jackson County, Alabama and taken a business course in a private school, he studied medicine and became a physician. After engaging in his chosen profession for a short while be became a Baptist preacher and engaged actively in the ministry until his death, covering a period of about 35 years.

In 1873 whilst residing near Scottsboro, Alabama, he was married to Mary Roberts. The following children were born to this union: Dora Frances, deceased, and buried at Boswell, Okla., Judge James R. Armstrong, Oklahoma City, Okla.; Win. L. Armstrong, died in 1920 and buried at Boswell, Okla.; Amanda who married F. M. Owen, and resides at Durant, Okla.; Mary who married W. B. Paschall in 1899. (She died at Magnolia, Ark., in 1899). John A. Armstrong, who resides at Boswell, Okla., and who married Miss Lizzie Bryant in 1910; Ada who died in 1887 at the age of 2 years; Wm. J. Armstrong of Oklahoma City, Okla., who married Minnie Lee Burress in 1915.

He was elected in 1894 to the lower House of the Arkansas Legislature from Columbia County, serving through the thirtieth Legislature which convened in January, 1895. He was elected in Sept. 1907 from Choctaw County to the Lower House of the First Legislature of Oklahoma. Having served through its long session he died on the day of its adjournment. He was a good man always aligned on the side of the right as he understood it.


John S. Hancock was born near Louisville, Kentucky, November 12th, 1832, his parents being from Virginia who were among the early Kentucky settlers. In the late Forties he left Kentucky and came West settling in Colorado County, Texas, where he engaged in the cattle business. After the Civil War he was elected Tax Collector of said County.

In 1869 he drove a herd of cattle North to Cherokee County, Kansas, and became a resident of that county, where he engaged in the cattle business, remaining until 1872 when the Missouri Kansas and Texas Railroad Company constructing its lines South through the Indian Territory, laid its rails to Caddo, he located there and engaged in business.

Later he purchased The Caddo Banner, a newspaper then being published in Caddo, and changed its name to The Caddo Herald, which he edited and published until his death on January 15th, 1901.

His first wife, Susan Fannin, died while he resided in Colorado County, Texas. He later married Mary E. Allen. He had two children, Sadie Lowe, a daughter, now deceased, and C. A. Hancock, a son who was one of the early merchants and cattle raisers of Southwest Oklahoma and who is still engaged in the mercantile business at Caddo.

During President Cleveland's second administration he was Post Master at Caddo.

He was one of the Charter Members of the Odd Fellow Lodge at Caddo, and a leading citizen, joining in practically every effort for the good of the community and promotion of the best interests of all the people.

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