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Chronicles of Oklahoma
Volume 4, No. 3
September, 1926
BIOGRAPHIES

Page 286

CAPTAIN WILLIAM GRAHAM BAIRD

MRS. LOGAN G. HYSMITH, WILBURTON, OKLA.

Captain William Graham Baird, Latimer County pioneer and oldest citizen in residence as well as years, the first merchant and first Post Master of Wilburton passed to his eternal reward at his home in Wilburton, Sunday July 19, at 10:30 P. M., following an illness of two weeks. His name is written in the history of this town and county and the Choctaw Nation.

We cannot pay too great a tribute to those pioneers, who blazed the way for our civilization and made the history of our great commonwealth. Their usefulness and moral influence shall last through the ages. "A moral man, of moral worth, stands peerless among the power of Earth." Such was our esteemed friend. The entire community bowed in sorrow and did reverence to his name.

The funeral services were conducted Tuesday afternoon at three o’clock at the Presbyterian Church, in the presence of a large number of friends, many of which could not gain entrance into the church. The Reverend J. Y. Bryce of Oklahoma City, former pastor of the Methodist Church of Wilburton, officiated.

The parents of Capt. Baird were the first citizens of Fort Smith, Arkansas, then known as Old Logtown, in which place he was born on March 20, 1892. He was educated at St. Ann’s Academy at Ft. Smith. When war began between the states, he enlisted in the Homeguard, Kings Brigade, Company C, of the Arkansas Volunteers. This company consisted of one hundred twenty-five men, a list of which the Captain had in his possession when he was called away. Of this number only two men survived, James Reed of Ft. Smith, and Capt. Baird of Wilburton. It is interesting to note that Mr. Reed answered the last roll call at McAlester, Oklahoma, two weeks after Captain Baird. From Corporal he was promoted to the rank of Captain, and in 1863, he was transferred from King’s Brigade to General Fragin’s command, and was made Aidde-camp on General Fragin’s staff. Later he was transferred

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to the Indian Territory and attached to the Staff of Gen. J. T. McCurtain, who was at the head of a regiment of fighting pioneers. While stationed in the Kiamichi Mountains, Capt. Baird was sent to Doaksville for orders; arriving there he was informed of Lee’s surrender two months before, and this command was disbanded without ever formally surrendering. From the time he enlisted in the volunteer company in Ft. Smith in 1861 until the close of the war, he served with courage and usefulness to the cause, for which he would have given his life.

As a little boy in the small log town of Ft. Smith, William Baird and Mary DeHart lived across the street from each other and were childhood sweethearts. Their friendship continued, and correspondence was carried on faithfully, although under great difficulty during the early sixties. (Some of these letters are still in Mrs. Baird’s possession.) In January 1865, Captain Baird was given a furlough, and he made his way to Paraclifta, Ark., to claim the sweetheart of his childhood as his bride, and on January 18, they pledged each other a companionship which lasted until death parted them. One amusing incident concerning their marriage, which has often been recalled by them is how Captain Baird, having in his possession a Confederate coat and vest, while journeying to Paraclifta secured material for a pair of trousers of the Confederate color, and how the women sat up all night toiling by hand to make this garment, that he might be married in full uniform.

The bride remained a few months with her parents, the Captain rejoining his company, and when the smoke of battle had cleared away she joined him in their new home at Shawnee town on Red River in the Choctaw Nation. Here their first child was born. Later he entered upon a business career at Wheelock, but the privations and dangers which surrounded them were so great that they returned to the Arkansas River valley and procured a farm in the shadow of old Sugarloaf Mountain, only to return to the Indian Territory in 1868, and establish a trading post at Mountain Station. Later they moved to Colorado where they resided three years. Returning to Indian Territory they settled at Limestone, near the future site of Wilburton, where he was associated with J. T. McCurtain in business, later moving to

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Boiling Springs. When the Post Office was established at this place he named it Ola, for his daughter, Ola Baird, and became the first Postmaster there in 1884. The mail was carried out twice a week from Ft. Smith, via, Brazil, Red Oak, and on to Krebs. When the Ola Post Office was discontinued, and a new one established at Wilburton, he moved there and became the first Postmaster at that place. He was the first merchant in Wilburton and from time to time was engaged in business there, was the first City Treasurer and was always prominent in city and county affairs.

His parents were life-long members of the Presbyterian Church and he was baptized in infancy, in that church. Soon after moving to Wilburton in 1890, he was instrumental in organizing a church of his faith, which was organized by Rev. Burks, in a grove of trees where now stands Mrs. Louis Rockett’s home. Later through the efforts of him and his good wife, a church building was erected.

He became a member of the Masonic Lodge at Camden, Ark., in 1863, and was a charter member of the Wilburton Lodge when it was organized. He was made an honorary member of this lodge in 1922.

A number of persons living in Oklahoma remember with pleasure the occasion of the celebration of Captain and Mrs. Baird’s Golden Wedding, on January 18, 1915, at which time it was the writers privilege to be of the House Party and to assist in the celebration which was attended by hosts of friends, children, grandchildren and great grandchildren.

Besides his courageous and faithful wife, who has been his inspiration during these nearly sixty-two years, he is survived by two sons and two daughters, Mr. Jim Baird, and Mrs. Ola Shaw of Wilburton; Mr. Frank Baird of El Paso, Texas; and Mrs. Marvin Petty of Cleburne, Texas. The oldest son, Charles Baird, died some years ago and is buried at Old Riddle Station, a point on the Ft. Smith and Fort Washita military road.


JUDGE OVERTON LOVE

The subject of this sketch was born in Marshall County, Mississippi, on the 6th of September, 1823. He was educated

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in the common schools of that state, and at the age of twenty years, came with his father to Indian Territory. The family settled on the north bank of Red River, in what is now Love County, the county being named for the Love family, as was also the valley in which they settled, Love’s Valley, about six miles east of Marietta, the county seat of Love County. At one time the Judge owned as many as eight thousand acres of Red River bottom land in this valley, as fine land as there is in the state of Oklahoma; here the judge lived for a period of fifty years or more, engaged in farming and stock raising. Judge Love was one of the outstanding characters of Indian Territory, no man excelled him in the choice of land, location, business affairs or in anything pertaining to his interests or that of his people, the Chickasaws. While he was a farmer and business man, he was none the less successful as a national councilman, county and district Judge, or as a delegate to represent his people in Washington. The Judge was known far and near as a man of integrity, liberal in his views, unselfish in his habits and manners of life, equal in his considerations of all men, the poor as much so as the more fortunate, no hungry man was turned away empty from his door, and no one who really wanted to work, applying to him, was ever rejected; he was a friend to man.

The writer first met the Judge at his home in the valley, the year 1888, and was afterwards a frequent guest in the home, and can speak advisedly, when we say, that any one having been a guest in the Love home, will always have an appreciation for the splendid spirit that prevailed in the home life. The Judge carried on extensive farming interests, and consequently had to do with different types of men, all of whom had a chance to succeed with Judge Love, he gave every man a chance to prove himself, failing in that he had to move to some other quarter. This brings to mind a little incident that shows the true character of the man; he was always mindful of the interests of himself as well as the interests of others, as is shown in the matter of building for school and church purposes, as he did, a house on his land where church services and school accommodations were made possible for all who would take advantage of them. So interested was Judge Love in the matter, that he built the house and furnished it throughout, free of cost to anyone, and turned it over to the commu-

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nity, with the understanding that his renters would attend services of some kind, and patronize the school. The Judge was what we termed then an infidel, his wife was a member of the Presbyterian church. The minister, of whatever faith he might be, always had an invitation to stop in the Love home, and the most of them did so, and the Judge always attended services at the eleven o’clock and evening hour, and saw that every one behaved, and that the dogs stayed on the outside, and that the young men who were disposed to be rowdy, came on the inside or left the premises. Seeing this interest on the part of the Judge, one day I asked him this question: Judge Love, you do not make any pretensions as to being a believer in the Christian religion, why is it you have built this house and are so careful as to order during the hour of service? His answer is as follows: "I may not be a believer in the sense you Christian people profess, but I am a believer in common decency and that which tends to civilization, and I find that the ones who profess to be Christians believe in the same things, and that they make the best renters on my farm, they are not always in trouble, and they do not try to beat me out of my rent, and in return for this, I am willing to help them in the matter of their religious life." The writer feels justified in saying that from our acquaintance with Judge Love, made possible by frequent visits in the home, where one learns to know people, that the Chickasaw Nation never made a greater contribution to prosperity in its march to a higher civilization than that given in the person of him whose name appears at the head of this article. To have known such a character, to have been associated with him and the family, to have been acquainted with him in his views of life, as they had to do with business affairs on the farm, political interests of his people, along with the social development of his community, is a privilege to be highly esteemed by those who have been so favored.

While Judge Love was not a Christian, in the sense in which that word is commonly interpreted, yet there was something in his makeup, that likens him to the things that are eternal. In the constitutionality of my friend there was more than one of the essentials to Christianity; there was fidelity to a trust, loyalty to a cause, the unselfish spirit, magnanimous in its reaches, that enabled him to overlook the defects

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in a fellowman, if he discovered any, that proved him a friend to man.

The treasurer of the Oklahoma Historical Society, Mrs. Jessie R. Moore, is a niece of Judge Love, and is in every sense a worthy kinswoman of the illustrious Love family.

J. Y. BRYCE.


MEMORIAL

We, members of the Bar of the Eastern District of Oklahoma, moved by our high regard for the life and public service of the late Robert King Warren, County Attorney of Choctaw County, Oklahoma, who departed this life on the 24th day of March, 1926, desiring to record the high respect and esteem we entertained for our departed brother and to express our regret for the loss which the Court, the Bar and the people of Oklahoma have sustained in his untimely death, adopt the following

Robert King Warren was born July 10, 1867 at Lavinia, Carroll County, Tennessee, being the son of John B. Warren and Minerva Elizabeth (Smith) Warren. He was educated in the public schools of his native village. He then entered Hendricks College at McKenzie, Tennessee, and remained there unto his junior year. In 1887 he received an appointment in the United States Indian Service and was stationed in what was then Washington Territory. He alter returned to Tennessee and entered the law department of Cumberland University at Lebanon, Tennessee, graduating with the class of ’89. He then entered into the practice of his profession at Huntington, Tennessee, the county seat of Carroll County, with Judge Joseph Hawkins for a period of four years. Suffering a serious illness, which for the time being undermined his health he came west and followed other occupations until 1911 when he opened a law office at Fort Towson, in Choctaw County. In 1912 he was elected County Attorney of Choctaw County, at a time when he had been a resident of the county but a little over a year. He was re-elected to the same office in 1914. In 1916 he was elected a member of the Sixth Legislature of the State of Oklahoma, in which body he served with marked dis-

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tinction. After the adjournment of that Legislature he resumed the private practice of law at Hugo, which he continued until his election as County Attorney in 1924. Though a sick man at the time of his election he assiduously remained at his post of duty until within a few days of his death.

In the discharge of his duties as a prosecuting attorney he possessed to a remarkable degree a desire that justice might be done. The thought of personal glory or renown for a successful prosecution was ever absent from his mind. His record will long stand as being a great prosecutor but likewise will his record of fairness to an accused. He never brought shame to Oklahoma by stooping to conquer. As a lawyer at the bar in private practice he was to be feared by any opponent but he never forgot his duty to the court or to the traditions of his profession. The memory of Robert K. Warren will long live in the hearts of the people of this State. By every standard he is worthy of our esteem and love and its expression in a permanent form.

Therefore, Be It Resolved by the Bar of the Eastern District of Oklahoma that in the death of Robert K. Warren the Bar and the people of his community have sustained a great loss. We express our deep sympathy to his relatives and that this memorial be presented to the United States District Court with the request that it be recorded in its journal.

Filed
Jun. 14, 1926.
W. V. McClure,
Clerk U. S. District Court.
Attest: A true copy of above order, W. Y. McClure, Clerk.
By Maggie Dagley, Deputy.


We, the members of the Bar of the Eastern District of Oklahoma, desiring to perpetuate the memory of our departed brother, Luda Pickens Davenport, who departed this life at his home in Antlers on the 27th day of October, 1924, do adopt the following:

Luda P. Davenport was born at Amite, Louisiana in 1861.

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At the age of six his family removed to Scott County, Arkansas. His father was Dr. Thomas Davenport, who served as a surgeon in the Confederate Army. His mother was Miss Louise Fuller, who was a descendant of the famous Pickens family of South Carolina. Two of this family served as governors of the Palmetto state. This family also gave to the Nation General Andrew Pickens of Revolutionary War fame. Judge Davenport was married in 1885 to Miss Rena McAlister in Arkansas. He commenced the practice of law in Hackett City, Sebastian County, Arkansas in 1887. In 1890 he removed to Antlers and was admitted to practice law in the United States Court in the Indian Territory, by Judge J. M. Shackleford, the first Federal Judge in the Indian Territory.

In 1895 a court was established at Antlers and Col. J. J. McAlester, the United States Marshal, appointed him office deputy, which position he held until the end of that administration in 1897. For the next ten years he was engaged in the law practice, and during 1905 and 1906 served as mayor of Antlers. Upon the coming of statehood in 1907, he was elected as the first county judge of Pushmataha County, and was reelected in 1910, 1912 and 1914. During the next eight years he practised law at Antlers, and was for a time president of a bank at Clayton. In 1922 he was again elected county judge, which office he was filling at the time of his demise.

The passing of Judge Davenport removes one of the old landmarks. He was the second man to engage in the law practice at Antlers, so long the court town for extreme southeast Oklahoma. The deceased was a man of the highest integrity and honor. He conducted the county court so it was ever a shield to safeguard the property rights of a dependent people. He was a pioneer who did much to mold opinion and establish tradition.

Therefore, Be It Resolved by the Bar of the Eastern District of Oklahoma, that in his death we have lost a friend; the State has lost an upright, citizen, but we rejoice that in his living he made his own locality a better place in which to live. We express our deep sympathy to his daughter, Mrs. Floy Boland of Antlers, Oklahoma, and ask the Court to order this

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memorial spread on its journal, and that a copy be sent to his daughter.

Filed
June 14, 1926.
W. V. McClure,
Clerk U. S. District Court.
Attest: A true copy of above order, W. V. McClure, Clerk.
By Maggie Dagley, Deputy.


The Illinois Historical Society has been called upon to mourn the passing of its secretary and librarian, Mrs. Jessie Palmer Weber, who died at her home in Springfield, May 31, 1926. Mrs. Weber was a native of Carlinville, Illinois. She was the daughter of one of the most illustrious citizens of the state—General John M. Palmer, who was so justly distinguished in its civil, military and political life. She graduated from Bettie Stuart Institute, at Springfield, in 1880, and, a year later was married to N. W. Weber, who died many years ago. She served as secretary to her father during his term in the United States Senate, 1891-7. In 1898, she was chosen as librarian of the Illinois Historical Library, which position she filled continuously and with great distinction throughout the remainder of her life. Subsequently, she became a trustee, secretary and treasurer of the Illinois State Historical Society, and was editor-in-chief of the Journal of that Society from the beginning of its publication. She served as secretary of the Illinois State Fort Massac Commission, 1904-17; as commissioner and secretary of the Illinois State Centennial Commission, 1913-19, and as secretary of the Lincoln Circuit Marking Association. She was an active member of the American Library Association and of the American Historical Association, and of several of the patriotic societies, including the D. A. R. and the Daughters of 1812. Her work as a compiler and writer, in her special field, has been of such a monumental character as to add new luster to an already honored name in the annals of the commonwealth which she served so long and so faithfully.

J. B. T.


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NECROLOGY

Jesse J. Dunn, pioneer attorney, political leader, former justice and chief justice of the Oklahoma Supreme Court, a corresponding member of the Oklahoma Historical Society and who, since 1913, had been engaged in the active practice of his profession at Oakland, California, died there, July 27th, 1926. The prominent part which Judge Dunn had borne in the public affairs of Oklahoma, his keen interest in the history of this state and his pertinent and sprightly contributions to the pages of Chronicles of Oklahoma have all been such as to call forth from members of this Society expressions of real sorrow at his untimely passing. A comprehensive account of his life and career will be prepared for publication.

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