Chronicles of Oklahoma

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Chronicles of Oklahoma
Volume 8, No. 3
September, 1930

Page 350


WILLIAM SILAS VERNON, born October 11, 1871, at Fayetteville, Arkansas, son of James A. Vernon and his wife, Miss Woodson Alexander Vernon, his father being a native of Missouri and his mother of Arkansas. He was educated at McKinney and Whiteright, Texas, graduating from Grayson College, Whiteright, Texas, in 1884. Having taught school he studied law and was admitted to the bar and practiced several years at Whiteright, Grayson County, Texas. He was Mayor of the City of Whiteright. Thrifty and saving, his motto was "Lay up for a rainy day," and became a successful business man. In 1906 he located at Coweta in the Creek Nation and organized the First National Bank of Coweta. At the time of his death, October 16, 1929, was president of said bank, and also vice-president and a director of the First National Bank of Porter and vice-president of the Independent Cotton Oil Company of Wagoner.

December 26, 1895, he was married to Miss Clara P. German, daughter of James L. German of Grayson County, Texas, who was an educator and also a member of the Texas Legislature in the early 70's.

His widow and two sons survive him, to-wit: Irving German, a petroleum geologist, and Joseph Vernon, an accountant. Another son, William Vernon, preceded him in death.

He was a member of the Methodist Church and a Thirty-Second Degree Mason. He was also a member of the legislature 1923-24 from Wagoner County, and an active leader in the Democratic Party.


BOONE WILLIAMS, son of Benjamin Franklin Williams and Mollie Boone Williams, born at Rienzi, Mississippi, October 9, 1872. A page in the Mississippi Legislature at the age of ten years, former United States Senator Thomas P. Gore, who had not then entirely lost his eyesight, being also a page at the same time. His father was elected sheriff of Alcorn County, Mississippi, in 1878, being reelected and holding said office until his death in 1887, at which time his son Boone was between fifteen and sixteen years of age. His disabilities being removed by the court he was appointed sheriff to fill the unexpired term of his father. In 1888 he removed to Chattanooga, Tennessee, where he was employed in an abstract office for about two years, and two years later he removed to a point near Sisterville, West Virginia, where he took charge of a coal mining company, remaining there until 1893, when he removed to Lehigh, Indian Territory, becoming bookkeeper for the J. J. Phillips, Mercantile Company, which afterwards was succeeded by the Felix Phillips Mercantile Company. Later with Felix Phillips, V. S. Cook and Dr. L. A. Conners, all now deceased, he and some others organized the first bank in that part of the Choctaw Nation, it being the Bank of Lehigh, later succeeded by the First National Bank of Lehigh. Boone Williams and others before the leasing act of 1904 was passed, secured leases from the Creek Nation on the famous Glenn Pool land, but same were not recognized by the Federal authorities. This oil company was known

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as the Indian Territory Oil Company. At another period, Boone Williams with Ex-Governor Humphrey of Kansas and others secured leases on zinc and lead territory in what is now Ottawa County, Oklahoma, and started operations but were forced to abandon the project for the reason at that time the machinery which is used today was not known and operation under the old system was too expensive.

He was an outstanding citizen in the territory now embraced by Coal County during his residence there, progressive and patriotic in every public endeavor such as building of school houses and commercial organizations and development of coal fields. At one time he was president of the Cattlemen's Association in the Choctaw Nation. He promoted the organization of an ice plant which was located at Phillips half way between Coalgate and Lehigh. He was a member of the executive committee of the single statehood association which fostered the movement for the admission of Indian Territory and Oklahoma Territory as one state. Being nominated as the Democratic candidate for delegate to the constitutional convention from the Lehigh and Coalgate District, he was elected. In 1910 he was appointed by Governor Haskell as a member of the Capitol Commission. Afterwards he engaged in the insurance and real estate business until 1915, when he was appointed under the administration of Governor Williams as Warden of the penitentiary at Granite, Oklahoma. Holding this position for four years, he then resumed his insurance and real estate connections at Coalgate. In 1924 he removed to McAlester, Oklahoma, becoming secretary of the McAlester Chamber of Commerce. In 1926 he removed to Tulsa, Oklahoma, engaging in the brokerage business dealing in oil leases and oil royalties.

In 1927, his health failing, he retired from business and died on January 12, 1930.

He belonged to the Masons, Elks and Knights of Pythias, being a member of the Alpha Class of the Masonic Lodge at McAlester, Knight Templar, and was a member of the Presbyterian Church. He was buried at Lehigh on January 14th, 1930, burial services being conducted from the home of Mr. and Mrs. Dan Farmer and laid to rest in the Lehigh cemetery under the auspices of the Masonic Lodge.

In 1900 he was married to Miss Agnes Larmour of Lehigh, Oklahoma, who survives him.


DAVID SYLVESTER ROSE, born May 29, 1854 at Wellsville, Ohio. son of John Rose and his wife Helen Rose. His grandparents on both sides came from Scotland and with many other Scotch people formed a colony in Northeast Ohio, opposite Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He graduated from Mt. Union College, of Ohio on May 14, 1879, receiving a Bachelor or Arts Degree; later he graduated in law from the Cincinnati Law School. He was admitted to practice law before the Supreme Court of Ohio, but later, in 1889, removed to Kansas entering the office of W. W. Sherwin in Wellington, Kansas, being admitted to practice law in that state at that time. He remained there in the practice of law until 1893 when, at the opening of the Cherokee Strip, he settled at Blackwell, Oklahoma, where he spent the remainder of his life. He was admitted to practice in the courts of Oklahoma on March 14, 1894.

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Was a member of the Oklahoma Territorial Legislature from Kay County, which convened in January, 1857. He was elected as a delegate from District 15 to the Constitutional Convention which framed the Constitution for the State of Oklahoma, and was a member of the following standing committees: Judiciary, Crimes and Punishment, Legislative Apportionment, Schedule, Bill of Rights, and served on many special committees. The journal of that convention discloses that he took a leading and active part in its deliberations. On November 4, 1903, he was married to Mrs. Carrie A. Padon, of Blackwell, Oklahoma. He was a fine citizen and a model husband, a home lover, a loyal friend, an elder and clerk of the session in the Presbyterian Church. He died suddenly, July 30, 1918, near Joplin, Missouri, where he had gone on a business matter, and left surviving him his wife Carrie A. Rose and a foster daughter Louise A. Rose, of Blackwell, and two brothers John and William Rose and a sister Helen Rose. Buried in the Odd Fellows Cemetery at Blackwell, Oklahoma. He was an active member of the Democratic party.


Judge Marum was born near Tuxedo, New York, in 1847; read law and was admitted to the bar in said state residing at Brooklyn. He was descended from Dutch ancestors that settled in New York when it was a province under the jurisdiction of Holland. Coming west from Orange County, New York in the early 80's, at the opening of the Cherokee Strip in 1893 he was serving as United States Commissioner at Fort Supply and also acting as commissary, clerk, Fort Supply then being a government post and an extensive trade being carried on from said post with the Cheyenne, Arapaho and Kiowa Indians, it being the half-way point between Fort Dodge and Fort Reno. When the fort was abandoned about 1895 Judge Marum removed to Woodward and engaged in the practice of law. For a number of years he was associated with the late Temple Houston in the practice of law under the firm name of Houston, Marum & Grant, which was a leading law firm in that part of the country. Having been elected to the Oklahoma Territorial Senate (Council) he introduced a bill for the establishment of what is now known as the Northwest Teachers College, which, under his leadership, was passed and became a law.

Whilst not being a candidate for other public office he was ever active as a private citizen in every movement for the upbuilding of that section of the Territory and State of Oklahoma, practically devoting his life to the welfare of the town and city of Woodward and Northwest Oklahoma. It was mainly through his untiring efforts and leadership that many worth while projects came to Woodward.

He was an active supporter of the movement to create one state out of Oklahoma Territory and Indian Territory, having been an active member of the "Razorbacks," an organization founded to promote said statehood movement. When the statehood bill was passed it was signed by the President with an eagle quill furnished by Judge Marum and "dad" Nall, another Oklahoma northwest pioneer, the quill now being in a collection of the Oklahoma Historical Society at Oklahoma City.

He was especially active in the movement to promote irrigation in the early days when rain fall was so small for that section of the terri-

Senator David P. Marum

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tory, taking the lead in bringing about the holding of the Irrigation Congress in Woodward in 1909, which wasp looking toward the promotion of an irrigation project for the panhandle country.

In 1910 he was manager of the campaign of John J. Gerlach for Congress.

The Federal Building at Woodward and the United States Field Station near there are monuments to his untiring and consistent effort toward the development of that city and country.

For the last nine years of his life he was the publisher and editor of the Woodward Democrat, being an intensive thinker and reader. Being an unselfish man he gave the best years of his service and thought without financial reward, electing to serve his friends and his country rather than being concerned as to material things.

If he had any living relatives they were not known. He was married at Tyler, Texas, in 1897 and immediately brought his bride to Woodward, who lived only two years and is remembered as a gracious and elegant woman. After her death he lived a life of reverence and devotion to her memory. He died at the Main Avenue Hotel on April 13th at 6:45 o'clock after a brief illness, and is buried at Woodward, Oklahoma.

The issue of the Woodward Democrat of Friday May 31, 1929, was issued as a memorial to "David P. Marum, Western Pioneer and Outstanding Citizen."


JAMES SHANNON BUCHANON, son of Thomas and Rebecca Jane (Shannon) Buchanan; grandson of Major John Buchanan, one of the founders of Nashville, Tenn., and a brother of John P. Buchanan, Governor of Tennessee 1890-8; born on October 14, 1864 at Franklin, Tennessee. Attended common schools, and Academy at Murfreesboro, Tennessee and then entered Cumberland University at Lebenon, Tennessee, graduating in 1885 with degree of Bachelor of Science; did graduate work at Vanderbilt University at Nashville, Tennessee 1893-4; graduate work at Chicago University 1896; received LL. D. from Kingfisher College in 1917. Married to Vinnie Galbraith at Terrell, Texas on June 24, 1896. Three children survive him; Frances, James and William. After the death of his first wife on May 15, 1921, he married on the 23d of December, 1924, Catherine, Osterhaus, who survives him.

Principal o fthe Academy at Connersville, Tennessee, 1886-1889; Assistant Superintendent of Public Schools of the State of Tennessee 1890-3; Professor of History, Central Normal School at Edmond, Okla. Ter. 1894; Professor of History of the University of Oklahoma 1895-1908; Dean of Arts and Sciences, University of Oklahoma 1908-1923; President of the University of Oklahoma 1923-1925; and from 1925 until his death on March 20, 1930 was Vice-President of said University.

Member of the Oklahoma Constitutional Convention 1906-7; member of the Council of the City of Norman, Oklahoma; member of the American Historical Society and the Mississippi Valley Historical Society. Not only for a long period was he a member of the Oklahoma Historical Society but was also a director from 1918 until his death. 32nd. degree Mason, Presbyterian, Phi Beta Kappa; Beta Theta Pi; Lions, Faculty Club, Country Club and an Honorary member of the Oklahoma Memorial Association.

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AND WHEREAS, it is with profound sorrow that the Directors of the Oklahoma Historical Society record the death of one of its most earnest and zealous members as well as one of the most distinguished citizens of the State and

WHEREAS, Professor James S. Buchanan gave more than half the years of his life to the cause of education in Oklahoma and to the upbuilding of those historical traditions without which any state is poor and

WHEREAS, his services to the Oklahoma Historical Society have been of inestimable value; now,

THEREFORE, be it resolved by the Directors of the Oklahoma. Historical Society that we record with profound sorrow the passing of one whose life has meant so much to this organization and whose teaching and influence has had so great an effect upon historical scholarship in Oklahoma.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Oklahoma Historical Society, the University of Oklahoma and the State have suffered an irreparable loss by the death of this distinguished teacher and that the Oklahoma Historical Society extend to his bereaved family, his friends, and former students the condolence and sympathy of its Directors and members.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this expression of appreciation be published in the Chronicles of Oklahoma, that a copy be sent to the members of Dr. Buchanan's immediate family and another copy be placed in the minutes of this Society.


Judge R. L. Williams, Chairman,
Judge W. A. Ledbetter,
Judge Phil D. Brewer,
Judge Thos. A. Edwards.
Dr. E. E. Dale.


The Kansas Historical Society has sustained a great loss in the death of Secretary William E. Connelley. A native of Kentucky and a descendent of some of its earliest pioneers, his interest in pioneer history was the passion of his life. For more than forty years, he had been a prolific writer and a painstaking editor of the early history and biography of the region between the Mississippi River and the Rocky Mountains, especially of Kansas and the adjacent states. While he was not the earliest historical writer in that field, it had been his privilege to labor with those who had been so regarded and to be personally acquainted with many of the most eminent pioneers of Kansas, Nebraska and other western states. Because of his determined and successful opposition to the proposed exploitation of the old Wyandotte Indian burial ground, in the municipal limits of the present Kansas City, Kansas, by wild-cat real estate operators, many years ago, he was formally adopted as a member of the Wyandotte tribe—mark of honor which he probably appreciated more than any other distinction which ever came to him. His life work was well done and its effect, in the ideals, sentiments and standards of the citizenship

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Robert B. Ross

of the Sunflower State, will be a more fitting monument to his memory than any of conventional design and material construction which may be reared by the hands of other men. May the mantle of his earnest and devoted spirit fall upon worthy shoulders!—J. B. T.


A notable figure in the history of the former Cherokee Nation and, therefore, of Oklahoma, passed from the scenes and activities of a long life when Robert B. Ross died at his home, at Park Hill, May 12, 1936. Robert Bruce Ross was born at Tahlequah, August 13, 1845, the eldest son of Allen and Jennie (Fields) Ross, who had been numbered among immigrant Cherokees of 1839. His paternal grandfather was the noted John Ross, who served as principal chief of the Cherokee Nation, from 1828 until his death, in 1866.

Robert B. Ross was reared in the Cherokee Nation and was educated in its schools. The outbreak of the Civil War, which came during his early youth, was nothing short of a national tragedy for the Cherokees, since it divided them into two hostile factions and resulted in the destruction or loss of most of their property and all but annihilated their institutional life. Young Ross was but little more than seventeen, when, on November 16, 1862, he enlisted in the Federal military service, as a soldier in Company E. 3d Indian Home Guard Regiment. His company commander was Captain Daniel McCoy Gunter, while his regiment was commanded by Colonel William A. Phillips, the other regimental officers being Lieutenant Colonel Lewis Downing and Major John A. Foreman. This noted oragization was one of the three regiments which constituted the Indian Home Guard Brigade, which was composed of 3,600 men, most of whom were Cherokees, with the Creek and Seminole nations furnishing nearly all of the rest. The 3d Indian Home Guard Regiment saw much active service, in all of which young Ross participated and did his full part as a soldier. At the time of his death, he was the last surviving member of his company and one of the very few surviving soldiers of his regiment.

Soon after the close of the war and with the resumption of Cherokee governmental affairs, Robert B. Ross was selected to serve as clerk of the National Council, and thereafter during many years was often called by the people to serve in official capacity. In 1875 he was elected to the Council as a member from Tahlequah District, was sheriff in 1873, and in 1875-6, and in 1877 was elected to the National Senate, and in 1881 and 1893 again elected to the National Senate.

In 1882, he was a member of the Cherokee delegation which was sent to Washington on behalf of the Nation. In 1888, he was elected treasurer of the Cherokee Nation and, subsequently, he served for eight years as assistant treasurer, under Henry Chambers and D. W. Lipe. During the closing period in the history of the Cherokee Nation, when efforts were being made to settle their affairs, pending the coming of statehood for Oklahoma, he was chairman of the Cherokee Commission which negotiated with the United States Commission the agreement under the provisions of which Cherokee lands were alloted. Several years later, through the appointment of President Roosevelt, he served as postmaster of Tahlequah.

Aside from his official duties, he was for some years engaged in business at Tahlequah and, throughout the long period of his active life,

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he devoted much attention to agricultural matters. Like others who love the great out-of-doors, he found contentment at the old home on the farm, near the Cherokee capital. In recent years, however, he had lived principally at Park Hill. He was married, in his young manhood, to Miss Fannie Thornton, who, like himself was of pioneer lineage. Mrs. Ross died December 31, 1928, only a short time after they had celebrated the sixty-first anniversary of their mariage, leaving him lonely but calm as he pursued the remainder of his journey toward life's sunset. In his religious affiliations, he was a communicant of the Moravian Church, which had been the first denomination to begin active missionary efforts for the conversion of the Cherokee people to the Christian faith. Throughout a period of more than fifty years, he had been a member of Cherokee Lodge No. 10, A. F. & A. M., of Tahlequah.

Mr. Ross was a man of commanding presence, with a gentle, and dignified personality that instantly won the respect of all with whom he came into contact. Although he had passed by some years the allotted span of human life, his erect figure, his interest in friends and affairs and his cheerful optimism, seemed to indicate that he might—perhaps would—pursue for some years to come his quiet way along life's changeful highway. But it was otherwise decreed and he will long be missed and mourned by family, friends all who knew his worth.

Just before the end of his life, a signal honor was bestowed upon Mr. Ross, when he was invited to visit the homeland of his people, in the old Cherokee country, in the states of the Southern Appalachian region, more than ninety years after they had been virtually exiled therefrom. Going from Texas, where he had been spending a season with several of his children who live in that state, his first stop was made at Chattanooga, Tennessee, where he unveiled a bronze tablet which had been placed by the daughters of the American Revolution to mark the site of Ross' Landing, on the Tennessee River, which was the beginning of the beautiful and thriving city of to-day. Not far distant, at the foot of Lookout Mountain, in the year 1800, Daniel Ross, founder of the family among the Cherokees, built his home and trading post and, some years afterward, two sons, John and Lewis Ross, conducted a mercantile establishment at the Landing.

While in Chattanooga, Mr. Ross was the recipient of much social attention, all of which were accepted with a courtly yet modest bearing that won all hearts. From Tennessee he went to northern or "Cherokee Georgia," scenes of eventful occurrences in the history of the original inhabitants, and visited the site of New Echota, the old capital. It was At New Echota that the Cherokee constitution, the first in the history of Indian nations was adopted in 1827, and also the place where was established the first Indian newspaper in the history, the Cherokee Phoenix, in 1828. He visited historic Red Clay and its storied spring; sat in the room of the old home once owned and occupied by Chief John Ross; stood by the granite tomb of Pathkiller, last of the ancient regime to serve as chief before the beginning of the ascendancy of the "new Cherokees," more than one hundred years ago, and in the same burial place visited the grave of Mrs. Harriet Gold Boudinot, first wife of Elias Boudinot, the first Indian editor, her death having occurred in 1836. His photograph, made as he stood near the final resting places of these notable characters of Cherokee history, was the first ever made of a citizen of Oklahoma amid scenes familiar to the founders of the Cherokee Nation in the West. In other places he looked upon scenes famous in the annals of the Cherokees.

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What mingled sentiments thrilled his heart as he gazed upon such scenes, only he could have told and he was silent. Suffice it to say that his visit was a notable incident in the history of those communities in the former Cherokee Nation, east of the Mississippi, as it was also the crowning event of his own notable career. Everywhere, the kind attention and courtesies which were showered upon him were worthily matched by his own courtly appreciation and bearing. It is conceivable that, in the years to come, other descendants of the exiled native American peoples may be invited to visit, in a similar representative way, the lands where their respective tribes once ranged and which their fathers loved more than life itself. If so, like Robert B. Ross, they may be expected to so dignify the occasion as to create a degree of respect for the people of the vanished race such as the present occupants of the land had never before experienced. So, signally honored in the land where his fathers had beep wronged and dispossessed, he looked upon the scenes which had been ever dear in their memories. Then, he came back to his home, ready to go the way of all mortal beings. Three days later, the summons came and he was gone. A soldier in his youth, the end of his life was one of peace.

Following the funeral services in the First Presbyterian church, Tahlequah, on the afternoon of May 15, interment was made with Masonic honors in the Ross cemetery, Park Hill, a burial place for some ninety years, in which lie former Cherokee officials and veterans of the War of 1812, Civil and World wars. At the close of the Masonic ceremony, members of the American Legion post of Tahlequah presented the national colors at the grave and a trumpeter sounded taps—the soldier's farewell.

Numerous messages of condolence—a number of which were from the old Cherokee Country which he had so recently visted—were received.

Surviving are the following children: W. W. Ross, Park Hill, R. D. Ross, Tahlequah; Mrs. J. H. Henderson, Breckenridge, Texas; Mrs. W. E. Duncan, Park Hill; Mrs. J. C. Cobb, Arlington, Texas; Mrs. S. V.Eubanks, Tahlequah; R. B. Ross, Breckenridge, Texas; Mrs. E. W. Pitburn, Denver, Colorado. There are eighteen grandchildren and five great grandchildren. No more splendid encomium can be paid to the lives and characters of Robert B. Ross and his wife than the simple statement that, in addition to their own large family of children, no less than thirteen orphan children were reared to manhood and womanhood in their home.—J. B. T.

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