Chronicles of Oklahoma

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Chronicles of Oklahoma
Volume 7, No. 3
September, 1929

Page 343


CHARLES D. CARTER was born at Boggy Depot in August, 1869 and died at Ardmore in April, 1929. He therefore saw the marvel which converted the wilderness into a commonwealth and he played a mighty part in making Oklahoma what it is to-day.

There was in Carter’s veins the proud blood of the Cherokee and the Chickasaw—two of the proudest and most spirited and most intellectual of all the American tribes. His father, B. W. Carter, was a Cherokee by blood and a teacher of youth by vocation. His mother was Serena Guy of a prominent Chickasaw family and a sister of William Guy, who at one time was governor of the Chickasaw tribe.

Young Carter received his early education in the schools of the Chickasaw nation, principally at Harley Institute at Tishomingo, where his father held the responsible position of superintendent of the Institute. Later the younger Carter matriculated at Austin College at Sherman, Texas, and there received a college training.

After leaving college Carter worked on a ranch in the Indian country. There he rode the ranges in the wide open spaces and as a cowboy he established or maintained that contact with the plain people which he never lost. Many of his characteristics as a commoner were developed under the stars and on the prairies in what was then a primeval world.

Leaving the ranch behind him Carter went to Ardmore, where he occupied a clerical position in .what was Ardmore’s largest store. This position he held until 1892. Thereafter Ardmore remained his home until the day of his death. He became the city’s most popular citizen, he lived and died among a people who loved him, and he sleeps to-day where the tears of those who knew him longest and best are falling on his grave.

The political life of Carter began in 1892 when he became auditor of the Chickasaw Nation. After two years of faithful service in that important position he became superintendent of schools of the Chickasaw and spent two years in charge of the educational work of his people. His long and distinguished parliamentary career began in 1897 with his election to the Chickasaw legislature. Here he acquired his rudimentary knowledge of parliamentary procedure and laid the foundation of a brilliant congressional career. In the meantime he was establishing himself in the business world and became a director of the City National Bank of Ardmore.

The battle for statehood and the admission of Oklahoma into the federal union opened a wider field of opportunity and brought added honors to Carter. In the campaign of 1906 he served as secretary of the state’s first executive committee of the democratic party. In the state’s first primary election he won the nomination of his party for representative in congress from the third congressional district and subsequently was elected by a flattering majority. The seat he won in that early contest he held without interruption for twenty years.

Of all the men elected to the two houses of congress at statehood Charlie Carter was the last to retire. He remained in congress for years after some of his original colleagues had returned to private life. He therefore acquired the honor of serving Oklahoma in congress longer than any other Oklahoman.

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Such an honor did not come to this brilliant Indian because of political accident. It was not due to any demagogic tactics on the part of the recipient. It was due to Carter’s unrivalled ability as a political campaigner, to the unbounded confidence the people reposed in him, to his widespread popularity with the voters, and more than all else, to the signal service he rendered his people and his state in the capitol of his country.

For Charlie Carter was more than a representative of his people: he was in high degree a leader of representatives. He soon commanded the confidence of his law making associates just as he commanded the confidence of the people of Oklahoma. He became known as a tireless worker, a sound adviser, a trusted coadjutor, and a man whose word could be relied upon under any and all circumstances. Moreover, his associates soon discovered that he knew more about Indian problems (which in a large way are Oklahoma problems) than any other man in congress. When he talked the parliament listened. because all his hearers knew that Carter knew his subject and under no circumstances would mislead or deceive. Because of his state and lineage he became a member of the Committee on Indian Affairs, but it was because of his preeminent knowledge of Indian questions that he was made chairman of that committee when his party acquired control of the congress. It should be a matter of pride to all Oklahomans to know that even after Carter had retired from congress he was frequently consulted in matters of Indian legislation and really exercised a greater influence in a body to which he no longer belonged than many of the actual members of the House.

Two of the highest honors ever won by an Oklahoman in congress were won for the state by Charlie Carter. No more important chairmanship has ever been held by a citizen of the state than that of the Committee on Indian Affairs. And during his last term in the House, Carter was chairman of the Democratic party caucus, which made him the equal of any other democratic congressman in the matter of party influence and responsibility.

Many measures of far reaching importance came from the active mind of Carter. He originated the Carter claims act, which authorized the Chickasaw and Choctaw to bring suit in the court of claims for a federal accounting of tribal funds since April 26, 1906. He fathered the amendment to the federal roads act granting extra appropriations to all states possessing non-taxable Indian lands. He was responsible for the establishment of the tubercular sanitorium at Talihina for the the tubercular Indians of eastern Oklahoma.

The last public office ever held by Charlie Carter, the most arduous, and probably the most unpleasant, was that of state highway commissioner during the last two years of his life. Circumstances over which he had no control and with which he had nothing to do made it utterly impossible for the commission to give the people what they urgently demanded and clamored for. But it stands as a lasting tribute to Carter’s character and disposition that he commanded the full confidence and undiminished esteem of his people when he retired from a position that probably brought to him more vexations than all the other offices he had ever held.

Early in his life Carter was married to Miss Gertrude Wilson, who died at Ardmore in 1901. In 1911 he married Mrs. Cecile Jones of Ardmore, who survives him. His four children are Miss Stella Carter of

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Ardmore, Mrs. Gus Welch of Ashland, Virginia, Mrs. Frank Ernst of Petersburg, Va., and Ben Carter, who is a practicing attorney of Durant.

During his lifetime Carter was affiliated with the Methodist: Church and the Masonic fraternity. He was past exalted ruler of the Elks. He was an active member of the Chickasaw Lake Country Club, the Ardmore Rod and Gun Club, and the National Press Club of Washington.

Deep sorrow touched the heart of Oklahoma when Charlie Carter died. The entire state realized that a brilliant son and faithful servant had taken leave of life. But in the midst of their sorrow the people derived consolation from the realization that Charlie Carter had honored and adorned every position of responsibility ever conferred upon him by his people, that he had never stained his official record with any act that called for apology or regret, that he rendered mighty help in making the state immeasurably better and stronger and more prosperous, and that he conferred upon the very name of "Oklahoman" an honor and a dignity that few of the sons of the commonwealth have ever been able to command in equal measure.



CHARLES H. FILSON, pioneer of Guthrie and statewide political figure, died at 9 p. m., Friday, May 24, at the family residence, 321 N. First St.

Filson was 75 years of age and leaves two sons, Karl and Theodore, as immediate relatives.

It was on Friday, May 17, that the familiar figure of Filson was last seen on Guthrie’s streets. On that day he was in the federal court room for most of the day. On the next day, Saturday, Filson went to bed with bronchial pneumonia from which he died.

Public funeral services were held at the Scottish Rite Cathedral Sunday at 2:30 p. m. The rites were Masonic, Filson being a 32nd degree member of this order and a pioneer in its work. He was buried in the family lot at Summit View.

The death of Filson rips another shred connecting the political past and present of Oklahoma. For many years he was an outstanding and powerful leader of the Republican party of the state and for four years was titular head of the organization as territorial chairman.

Filled High Office

Filson had also filled the governor’s chair of the territory. As secretary of the territory during the administration of Governor Frank Frantz, Filson was ex-ofcio lieutenant governor. In this capacity he succeeded to the office of governor when Frantz was outside the state. During the all-important constitutional convention, Frantz absented himself from the state and Filson was in the chair. He had a knack of being able to treat with the convention leaders, including C. N. Haskell and Alfalfa Bill" Murray.

Filson was born in Largo, Wabash County. Indiana, and spent his early youth and young manhood at Huntington, Indiana. He married Mary McDonald at Huntington, his wife dying here in 1922.

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Established Paper

With Alec DeLong, an uncle, and brother of the famous Indiana political figure, Jim DeLong, Filson established the Huntington Herald, now a daily newspaper of importance.

He was active in politics from the very start, teaming with famous figures, including Charles Fairbanks.

The second train which came into Guthrie, on April 22, the opening day, brought the young newspaper man into this city, and he has resided here since.

Filson immediately became a clerk in the land office, then the most important department of the new territory.

When the first territorial supreme court was organized with Judge E. B. Green as its chief, Filson was made clerk.

During the territorial administration of Governor Cassius M. Barnes, Filson was school land commissioner.

His career as secretary of the territory and acting governor in the Frantz administration already has been cited.

Named Bank Examiner

Filson next took the office of national bank examiner, a place he had held for short periods before. His total time in this office was 24 years and he retired only in 1925 because of his advanced age.

But aside from office-holding, Filson found much time to devote to his party and to the political interests of his friends.

He was chairman of the Republican organization of Oklahoma territory for four years, 1899-1904.

He managed every campaign of Bird S. McGuire for delegate to Congress from the territory with a single exception and that was when McGuire chose Jake Hamon as his captain. However. in the next campaign, McGuire returned to Filson.

Filson was known everywhere as a skillful general in convention fights, where nominations were made in the pioneer days.

Foe of Primary System

The veteran political leader became a bitter foe of the primary System, and fought until his retirement from the active field.

Filson kept his interest in politics until his death. He was a constant subscriber to seven national daily newspapers and read them all to keep alert on political happenings. He was deeply interested in Oklahoma’s political life, though for the past three years unable to participate actively because of ill health.

Filson was seriously ill three years ago and was bedridden for months, but seemed to be recovering somewhat. His heart had been affected however, and he lost his fight when bronchial pneumonia attacked him.


DAVID HOGG, son of Silas Hogg and Louisa Hogg, nee Rose, born in Letcher County, Kentucky, on March 4, 1850. His grandfather Silas Hogg, the son of James Hogg, was born November 19, 1828, in Virginia whence he emigrated to Kentucky and settled with his family and slaves

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on a plantation on the headwaters of Kentucky River. His mother, whose maiden name was Louisa Rose, was born in Wolf County, Kentucky, January 28, 1827, her father’s name being David Rose, who being born in Pennsylvania was taken by his parents to Virginia and from Virginia he emigrated to Kentucky. David Hogg’s first wife was Mary J. Sample and to this union were born T. J. Hogg and James D. Hogg, both of whom now reside near Leedy, Oklahoma, and two daughters Lizzie A. Hogg and Mary J. Hogg, the latter having died September 22, 1884. After the death of his first wife he married Matilda J. Murphy, to whom were born Mary L. Hogg. Charley E. Hogg, Emma F. Hogg, Edna Hogg and Carl D. Hogg. David Hogg was educated in the common schools of Kentucky and at Greenbrier Seminary, near Mt. Sterling, Kentucky. In Kentucky he taught school about eleven years and for eight years he was county clerk of Wolf County. In 1891 leaving Kentucky he settled at Eldorado, than in Greer County, Texas, now Jackson County, Oklahoma. Greer County at that time had just been organized as a part of the State of Texas and there he held the office of justice of the peace and county commissioner under Texas jurisdiction. Later he removed and settled in Day County, Oklahoma, where he was elected and served one term as county treasurer, and in 1904 he was elected and served as a member of the Territorial Legislature from Day and Roger Mills counties. At that time he resided at Grand, the county seat of Day County. In 1906 he was elected as a delegate to the Constitutional Convention from District No. 43 and served on the following committees: agriculture, private corporations, public roads and highways, judicial apportionment, and on other special committees. He died November 13, 1918 and is buried in Roger Mills County, near his old homestead.


LYMAN W. WHITE, son of John and Mary White, born at Salem, Illinois, December 8, 1858, died at Hugo, Oklahoma, April 30, 1910, and buried at Mt. Olivet Cemetery. After completing the course in the highschool of his native city he entered the University of Illinois, receiving Bachelor of Arts and law degrees. He then settled at Pierce City, Missouri, forming a law partnership with Joseph French which continued for two years, when in 1888 he removed to Neosho, Missouri. There he was elected county attorney for two successive terms, during which period he was married to Miss Fleta McElhaney. In 1905 he removed to Hugo, Indian Territory, now Choctaw County, Oklahoma. He was elected and served two successive terms as mayor of the City of Hugo. In 1907 he was elected to the lower house of the legislature for the State of Oklahoma from Choctaw County and relected in 1908, serving two successive terms in the lower house of the legislature. He came from a family of lawyers, his father being a lawyer as well as others of his kin. He left surviving him his wife, Mrs. Fleta White and three children, Ruth, Helen and Emily.


CHARLES MORGAN McCLAIN, son of John Trousdale McClain and Susan Parker Morgan, born April 18, 1840, at Osceolla, St. Clair

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County, Missouri, died January 22, 1915, at Purcell, Oklahoma. His great-grandfather was Judge William McClain of Carthage, Tennessee. His mother was a daughter of General Morgan of Revolutionary fame. Charles Morgan McClain attended the common schools in St. Clair County, Missouri, until he was eighteen years of age and then went to Carthage, Tennessee, where he read law in his grandfather’s law office, being admitted to the bar at said place just as the Civil War was beginning, at which time he enlisted in the Confederate Army and served until the close of said war, when he removed to Texas, settling at Gainesville in Cook County, engaging in the mercantile business until 1885, when he removed to Purcell, Indian Territory, where he resided until his death. He was elected a member of the Constitutional Convention to frame a constitution for the proposed State of Oklahoma from District No. 86, and was chairman of the committee on insurance, and also a member of the committees on Ordinances, and Legislative Department. At the election at which the constitution was ratified he was elected as register of deeds of the County of McClain, which was named for him by said convention. Purcell being the county seat. In 1910 he was re-elected as register of deeds. On January 13, 1915, he was appointed chief assistant to the State Game & Fish Warden. The following survive him, his wife Mrs. Tinsey P. McClain, Norman, Oklahoma, and children, Mrs. Mary Belle Murray, Los Angeles, California, Mrs. Kate M. Nelson, Norman, Oklahoma, Win. H. McClain, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, Charles R. McClain, Ardmore, Oklahoma, and Harvey T. McClain, Los Angeles, California.

He belonged to sturdy pioneer stock, courageous, just, and honest.


EDWIN THEODORE SORRELLS, born near Hartford in Sebastian County, Arkansas, October 30, 1854, died May 4, 1922, and buried at Wilburton, Oklahoma, son of George Washington Sorrels and his wife Charlotte Smedley Sorrels. He was educated in the common schools of the vicinity in which he was born and where he resided until March 9, 1879, when he married Rachel Bloodworth at Hartford on March 9, 1879, and then removed to the Choctaw Nation in the Indian Territory locating near Cullichaha on the Poteau River, a few miles east of Wister where he engaged in farming and stock raising on a limited scale for a number of years and continued to reside in what is now LeFlore County until the erection of the State of Oklahoma. In 1906 he resided at Milton in what is now said county and was elected as a delegate from the 92nd District to the Constitutional Convention, serving on the following committees: Labor and Arbitration, Geological Survey, Public Health, Sanitation, Public Debt and Public Works. He was a careful, thoughtful safe member. At the election in September, 1907, at which time the constitution was ratified, he was elected to the state senate from the counties of LeFlore and Latimer and in 1910 was reelected. In 1914 he was a candidate for the Democratic nomination as Lieutenant Governor but was defeated for the nomination. In 1916 having removed to Wilburton he was elected as a county commissoner for Latimer County and reelected in 1918, serving two terms, at the expiration of which term he retired on account of failing health.

He left surviving in addition to his widow the following children

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Mrs. Charlotte Cox, of Tulsa, Okla., Mrs. Julia A. Coleman, of Ada, Okla., James Washington Sorrels, of Breckenridge, Texas, Miss Esther E. Sorrels, of Ada, Okla., and William Frederick Sorrels, of Breckenridge, Texas.

He was a Royal Arch Mason, Odd Fellow and member of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, and a democrat. He belonged to the sturdy stock of pioneers that have contributed to the development of this country.


JAMES DURRETT MITCHELL born in Henry County, Kentucky, on April 5th, 1856. His father, Benjamin Mitchell, came to Kentucky at an early day from Virginia. His mother, Katherine Durrett, came from an old French family which had lived in Kentucky for many years. Her family had originally spelled its name Duret. A brother to Kathrine Durrett Mitchell, R. T. Durrett was prominent in Kentucky as president of the Filson Club of Louisville. This club was famous for the preservation of early Kentucky history.

At the age of fifteen J. D. Mitchell’s father died; and the boy gained his education in various law offices of Louisville. He was admitted to the bar of Kentucky in the late 80’s; and practiced law in Winchester, Clark County, Kentucky for about twenty years. There he served a term of four years as judge of the Police Courts. Mr. Mitchell owned and edited for five or six years a weekly paper "The Sun," which was Democratic in politics. Later he srved a four year term as County Attorney of Winchester County. To quote from a testimonial used by J. D. Mitchell in his campaign for County Attorney in Garvin County, Oklahoma, several years later, the people of Winchester said: "He made a fine officer and discharged his duty without fear or favor."

In 1904, at the age of forty-eight he came to Indian Territory. Practiced law prior to statehood in Pauls Valley, I. T., and in the first election in 1907 ran for County Attorney of Garvin County and was elected. This made him the first County Attorney in statehood for Garvin County.

On December 7th, 1908 he married Mrs. Virginia G. Mitchell of Louisville, Kentucky. At the end of the two year term as County Attorney, Mr. Mitchell retired from office and bought the "Pauls Valley Democrat," a weekly newspaper, which is still published; edited this paper for about five years and sold it to a Mr. Walton from Missouri, who only kept it a short time. The selling of his paper occurred the same year that Mr. Mitchell ran for County Judge and was elected. He served in this capacity for three successive terms, but did not serve the last one out because of ill health. For seven years he was in ill health which finally terminated in his death May 3rd, 1926. He is buried at Mount Olivet Cemetery, Pauls Valley, Oklahoma.

Mr. Mitchell was a devoted member of the Methodist Church as had been his family. As County Attorney and County Judge he became known as a firm believer in the enforcement of the laws, giving a great deal of his time to the affairs of minors and deceased persons. On account of much of the land of the county being the allotments of minors, that part of his official duty required a great deal of his time and it is said that few allotments, if any, were sold or disposed of during his term of office.

(Data compiled by Miss Sarah Thomason of Pauls Valley, Oklahoma.)

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MILAS LASATER, son of George Milas Lasater a pioneer cattleman of Palo Pinto County, Texas, and of Mary Sophronia Johnson Lasater, born near Oran, formerlly called Black Springs, in Palo Pinto County, Teas, January 8, 1872, and died at his home in Wichita, Kansas, March 11, 1929. His grandfather William L. Lasater came from North Carolina to Tennessee where he married Susan Byers, but soon thereafter removed to Fannin County Texas and later to Palo Pinto County, Texas, where he helped organize said county, serving as its first county judge, in which county he died leaving surviving George Milas Lasater, the father of Milas Lasater. Milas Lasater attended the county subscription schools of Palo Pinto County, Texas; afterwards attending the city schools of Murfreesboro, Tennessee, and also Whitt Academy in Whitt, Parker County, Texas, from which institution he entered De Pauw University, Greencastle, Indiana, where he completed his education. After leaving college he taught in, the rural schools in Texas and Indian Territory and also in the public schools in Archer City, Archer County, Texas, and Strawn College, at Strawn, Texas, and in the Wynnewood, city schools in Garvin County, Oklahoma. At Wynnewood he was associated with Prof. John Lemons and in Archer County with Prof. Amos, Bennett, a former teacher in Whitt Acadamy, who was a graduate of De Pauw University and who had much influence in shaping the educational trend and future life of Milas Lasater.

On December 4, 1895, at Gainesville, Texas, he was married to Miss Sarah Waite of Pauls Valley, Oklahoma, a daughter of Thomas Fletcher Waite, a pioneer settler and merchant of Indian Territory. His wife, an educated and cultured woman, is a graduate of Oberlin College, at Oberlin, Ohio. In 1898 he retired from teaching and engaged in ranching and farming in what is now Garvin County and later engaged in the banking business at Pauls Valley. He was elected in 1906 as a member of the Constitutional Convention for the proposed State of Oklahoma and served as chairman of the Committee on Revision, Compilation, Style and Arrangement, and also on the committees on County Boundaries, Banking, and Public Institutions. In 1908 he was appointed by Governor Haskell as a member of the first text book commission and the same year as a member of the Board of Control of the Training School for Boys at Pauls Valley, and 1909 as State Insurance Commissioner. At one time he was president of the First National Bank of Pauls Valley, and publisher and editor of the Pauls Valley Democrat. Later he was manager of the Equitable Life Insurance Company for the State of Oklahoma. At the time of his death he was president of the Federal Land Bank of Wichita, Kansas, and a director of the Equitable Life Assurance of N. Y., he held many positions of honor among which were President of the Life Insurance Association of Oklahoma. Honorary lien fiber of the Luther Burbank Society, Member of the Oklahoma Life Underwriters Association of Wichita, Kansas, Honorary Member of the Mentor and Geographic Magazine, Member of the Wichita Press Club, Member of the Booster Club for Safety, Member of the Board of Welfare of the Y. M. C. A. of Oklahoma City, Member of the India Temple, 32nd Degree McAlester, Oklahoma,, Member of the Lions Club, Oklahoma City, and Wichita, Kansas, Member of the Chamber of Commerce, Oklahoma City and Wichita, Kansas, Member of the Country Club, Oklahoma City, and Wichita, Kansas, Member of the Town Club, Oklahoma City, and Wichita, Member of the Hammer and

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Tongs, a literary Club of Wichita, Member of the Southern Society, a social Club of Wichita, Member of the Delta Kappa, Epsilon Fraternity, Member of the Unitarian Church, and a Democrat.

He is survived by his wife, Sarah Waite Lasater, and his daughters Corrine Lasater and Carol Lasater, all of Wichita, Kansas.

He exemplied in life the words of Channing:

To live content with small means; to seek elegance rather than luxury, and refinement rather than fashion; to be worthy. not respectable; and wealthy, not rich; to study hard, think quietly, talk gently, act frankly; to lister to stars and birds, to babes and sages with open heart; to bear all cheerfully, do all bravely, await occasions, hurry never; in word, to let the spiritual, unbidden and unconscious, grow tip through the common . . . this is my symphony."

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