Chronicles of Oklahoma

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Chronicles of Oklahoma
Volume 16, No. 1
March, 1938

Page 130


Joseph John Curl, son of John Curl and his wife, Ann Curl, was born at Bristol, England, on July 33, 1868, and in his early youth came with his parents to the United States, and resided in Cleveland, Ohio, and in St. Louis, Missouri, at which places he received his education through the public schools. He was married on September 14, 1893, to Violet Hamilton Case.

In 1903, he came from Cleveland, Ohio, settling at Bartlesville in the Indian Territory, where he organized the Almeda Oil Company, and engaged in the oil leasing business and the production of oil, drilling on a lease located in the Osage Nation just across the Cherokee line about four miles southwest of Bartlesville. At about this time he also promoted and built the Almeda Hotel, which is still being operated, and then he promoted and built a street-car line in Bartlesville and an interurban line to Dewey, which was known as the Bartlesville Interurban Railroad. Afterwards, he consummated a deal with the Henry L. Doherty Company of New York, by which the Interurban Railroad and plant were taken over by them.

In 1906, he was elected on the Democratic ticket as a delegate to the Constitutional Convention from the Bartlesville district. He was a capable and a faithful member.

After the interurban line was sold to the Henry L. Doherty Company, he returned to Cleveland, Ohio, where he lived until the time of his death on March 22, 1934, at Glenville Hospital, and he was buried in Acacia Park Cemetery.

He was a high-type citizen with ability and industry and his return to Cleveland was a distinct loss to the State of Oklahoma.

—R. L. Williams,

United States Circuit Court of Appeals, Tenth Circuit.

Joseph Curl

Page 131

Albert Kates


Albert Linwood Kates was born in Salem County, New Jersey, April 27, 1861 of respectable tenant farmer parentage. He died January 5, 1938. He attended the rural public schools until he was fifteen years old when he assumed active work on the farm, though even at that period of his life he had expressed the hope that he might some day be a newspaper man. On January 1, 1882, he became a printer's apprentice in the office of the Woodstown (N. J.) Register, working sixty hours a week for two dollars. After some time here, he spent several years as a journeyman printer and as a potential journalist in the east. On December 23, 1886, he married Nellie C. Moore, at Swedesboro, N. J. They had five children, of whom two sons, William C. and Harry, survive, long having been associated with their father in the publishing business. Deciding to move to the west, he found that he could purchase a small and comparatively recently founded local newspaper at the then practically unknown town of Claremore in the Cherokee Nation of the Indian Territory. He bought the Claremore Progress by wire, without having seen the plant and business which he was buying, and arrived in Claremore with his wife and two baby boys, on June 29, 1893. Starting with an antique Army press, some type, and a job press that was operated with a lever, his business grew and prospered with the town and state. He also built a home in that community and a measure of character and of influence that will live in its traditions and in the lives of its people. Although always disposed to peace and harmony, he did not hesitate to stand alone when he thought himself to be right. He was one of the two editors in the Indian Territory who stood for single statehood when the question arose.

Mr. Kates was a man of great charity of spirit. It is said of him that, although he was not affiliated with any religious denomination, he was fair in his treatment of all. Modest and unassuming, he received many honors at the hands of his fellow citizens. Only a few weeks before the end of his life, the Oklahoma Memorial Association singled him out to be honored for his long and useful life. He was also an honorary life member of the Oklahoma Historical Society.

When his end on earth came suddenly, Claremore mourned as it had done only for Captain Clem Vann Rogers and for Will Rogers. Mrs. Kates, who had contributed her full part to the inspiration of his successful career, had passed on in May, 1933, nearly five years before his going. These worthy pioneer community builders will be long and lovingly remembered by the people of Claremore and of Rogers County.

—Joseph B. Thoburn,

Historical Records Survey.

Page 132


Richard Lafayette Fite was born at Pinelog, Bartow county, Georgia, October 17, 1856. He died at Tahlequah, Oklahoma, January 1, 1938. He was the son of Henderson Wesley Fite and Sarah Turner Denman Fite.

His father, H. W. Fite (original name Voight), was a descendant of Peter Voight who came to Philadelphia from Voightland, Bavaria, prior to the Revolutionary War. It was in his home that the Continental Congress met with General Washington in May, 1776. H. W. Fite was a Confederate Veteran. He served as a surgeon on General Johnston's staff.

His mother was Sarah Denman who was a descendant of an English emigrant, Ulathais Denman, founder of Cincinnati, Ohio. Her father, Felix T. Denman, was one of the largest plantation owners in the state of Georgia.

R. L. Fite graduated in medicine from the Southern Medical College in 1878. He later attended the New York Polyclinic. Dr. Fite came to the Indian Territory in 1883. He was elected Medical Superintendent of all the institutions in the Cherokee Nation.

He married Nannie Daniels in 1884, and was the father of eight children: Houston Bartow, Perrin Nicholson (deceased), Richard Carter (deceased), Augustus Willard, Sarah Kathryn, John Wyeth, Laura Turner (deceased), Denman Wyly.

Dr. Fite was esteemed both as a physician and a gentleman by the Cherokee people among whom he lived. Never was weather too severe, the roads too rough, or the streams too high for him to respond to a call to help the sick or injured.

His wife is and has been for many years a prominent leader in the Democratic party of Oklahoma.

His passing reminds us that the pioneers of our state are leaving one by one and the responsibility to carry on the work they have begun is handed to us, their descendants.

—Eula E. Fullerton,

Northeastern State Teachers' College.

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