Chronicles of Oklahoma

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Chronicles of Oklahoma
Volume 16, No. 4
December, 1938

Page 502


Clement Allen Hancock was born at Columbus, Colorado County, Texas, October 19, 1857. When a mere lad, his father, John S. Hancock, took a herd of about two thousand longhorn cattle from Texas to the Kansas border, during which trek the boy, on the back of a native Texas pony, participated in the drive, neither missing a day out of the saddle nor sleeping in a house during the trip.

For a while he attended school in Baxter Springs, Kansas, after which he and his father followed the M. K. & T. Railroad in its construction until it reached Caddo in the Choctaw Nation in the winter of 1871-72, and from that time he was an outstanding, progressive citizen, and a leader in all worth while things in that community on that Indian reservation—until the birth of the state. A pioneer in every sense, facing dangers, enduring hardships, mastering difficulties, and from that date until the time of his death on December 9, 1937, he continued looking to the betterment of the country in which he lived. He had shot wild deer from his home porch and seen prairie chickens more common than domestic fowl.

When a young man, as an Indian trader, he sold the western Indian, Big Tree Chief, his first pair of pants, showing him how to put them on—a risky performance.

Funeral services for him were held at Caddo on December 11, 1937, at the First Methodist Church, the Rev. A. A. Eggner officiating. Burial was in the Gethsemane Cemetery, at that time having been a resident of Caddo for over sixty-six years. His funeral was largely attended, all business houses closing, taking time to pay honor to his memory.

In 1887 he was married to Miss Dousie Sims. He is survived by his widow, three daughters, Mrs. Harold C. Parker, Enid, Oklahoma, Mrs. Russell Faudree, Atoka, Oklahoma, and Miss Phyllis Hancock, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; and three sons, Paul Hancock, Tulsa, Lee Hancock, Oklahoma City, and John Hancock, Caddo, Oklahoma.

When he first came to Caddo, he clerked in Fenton & Marchand's trading store and then engaged in the mercantile business and later in the cattle business. He participated and aided in the building of the first steel bridge across Blue River at Nail's crossing at the edge of Twelve-Mile Prairie a few miles west of Caddo. He aided in the organization of the old Choctaw Bank, the first bank in the town, and in putting in the first telephone, and in constructing the first street and sidewalks, and the first brick buildings.

His father, the late John S. Hancock, at the time of his death, owned the Caddo Herald. Clement Allen Hancock succeeded to the same but soon thereafter disposed of it to the present owner. In the biographical data as to John S. Hancock,1 it is stated that John S. Hancock had only two children. That should be corrected to read that he had three children: Clement Allen Hancock by his first wife, Mary E. Allen, and two by his second wife, Susan Fannin, to-wit, Sally Low, and Sam Hancock now residing in California.

—R. L. Williams

Durant, Oklahoma.

Clement Hancock

Page 503


Giles Harris

Doctor Giles Edward Harris was born March 15, 1878 near Quitman, Texas, and died September 14, 1938. He was the son of Andrew Jackson Harris and his wife, Dicia Harris. His father's people came from North Carolina and his mother's from from Dalton, Georgia, settling in Texas in what is now Woods County in 1840, when it was a republic. He was educated at Oak Grove, Winnsboro, and Denton, Texas, and at the University of Louisville, taking his medical education and a Doctor of Medicine degree at the University of Louisville, Louisville, Kentucky, serving a hospital interneship in City Hospital, St. Louis, Missouri.

He began the practice of medicine at Boswell, Indian Territory, in 1905. On April 7, 1908, he was married to Miss Tommie Eastwood. In 1911 he moved to Hugo, continuing there in the practice of medicine and remaining there so engaged until his death.

He was a member of the county, state and American medical associations, and Division Surgeon of the St. Louis-San Francisco Railroad Company at Hugo, Superintendent of Health for Choctaw County, and County Physician.

He was a member of the Oklahoma Historical Society, taking an active interest in its work and the preservation of the history of the state. He was a Blue Lodge and a Scottish Rite Mason (32°), Charter member of the Hugo Lions' Club, a member of the Hugo American Legion, and affiliated with the Democratic party.

He is survived by his wife and two daughters, Mrs. Brandon Bickett of San Antonio, Texas, and Mary Dicia Harris, of Hugo, Oklahoma.

A leading and an exemplary citizen, devoted husband and father, prominent in civic and community activities, his death occasioned a great loss.

—R. L. Williams

Durant, Oklahoma.

Page 504


Robert Dunlop was born at or near Garnett, Kansas, September 6, 1869, son of Alexander D. and Mary Whitson Dunlop, natives of Scotland, the former born at Dunlop Place, February 3, 1826, and the later at Kelso, March 24, 1832. His parents were old-school Scotch Presbyterians, and were married in 1865 at Lawrence, Kansas, after the return of the father from service in the Civil War as a private in the One Hundred and Forty-eighth Regiment, Illinois Volunteer Infantry. The parents of his mother came to the United States in 1849, her mother dying in New York shortly afterward. In 1850, his father moved to Quebec, Canada, and in 1856 to Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, settling on the first homestead awarded to a white man in Howard County, Kansas, to-wit, George Hitchens, a pioneer of that state. This homestead is now occupied by Robert Dunlop's two brothers, George and James, located in the vicinity of Longton, Kansas.

Robert Dunlop died on Saturday, June 19, 19381 at Pampa, Texas, and was buried in the McKee Cemetery, south of Tonkawa.

At the opening of Oklahoma in 1889 he drove a team and wagon with an uncle who made the run and homesteaded a claim in Payne County, southwest of Stillwater on Wild Horse near Mulhall, where he stayed in a dugout home for a year and a half, and then in 1893 made the run into the Cherokee Strip, securing a homestead near Tonkawa in Kay County, which was in due time patented to him, becoming the nucleus of a fine half-section farm and a valuable possession, located in one of the finest farm regions of the state. On this farm he successfully grew wheat, oats and alfalfa, under the most efficient and approved methods of agriculture.

In an early day he took a leading and active part in a good roads movement which resulted in the establishment of a system of roads in said county which has never been surpassed in any of the counties of the state.

He was a colorful figure in the early days of Oklahoma politics. In 1902 as a Democrat he was elected County Treasurer of Kay County, Territory of Oklahoma, and re-elected in 1904, holding such office until the erection of the state on November 16, 1907. In the Democratic primary for the nomination of state candidates in 1907, preliminary to the organization of the state government, as a candidate for State Treasurer he was a close runner-up to the late James A. Menefee of Caddo County, who nosed him out for the democratic nomination for State Treasurer by a small margin.

During the administration of the late C. N. Haskell, the first Governor, he served as a member of the Board of Trustees of the Insane Asylum at Fort Supply, taking an active, efficient, humane, and wise interest in its development.

In 1910 he was nominated as State Treasurer in the Democratic primary over the Honorable M. E. Trapp of Guthrie, then state auditor, carrying 61 of the 76 counties, and in the regular election in November being elected. The State Treasurer's office from January 11 1911 to January 13, 1915, the date of the expiration of his full term, was honestly, faithfully and efficiently administered.

Robert Dunlop

Page 505

During his entire life in Oklahoma he maintained his legal residence in Kay County, where his mortal body now rests.

After the expiration of his term of office as State Treasurer he engaged in the oil business, his interest therein being varied. He was credited with discovering the Morse oil pool in eastern Fray County in Texas, and was an operator in the Smackover pool in Arkansas. He also had oil interests in Louisiana, but for the ten years immediately preceding his death, he operated in the Texas field with headquarters at Pampa.

In 1904 at Blackwell, Oklahoma, he was married to Miss Flora Christian, a native of Holden, Missouri, a graduate of the Emporia (Kansas) State Normal School, and a school teacher for several years prior to her marriage. She died in 1905, leaving one daughter, Flora, who now survives him and is now Mrs. Leo Haughan, residing at Ponca City.

He was a member of Blue Lodge No. 57, at Tonkawa, his Knight Templar membership being in Ben Hur Commandery, at Ponca City, Oklahoma, his chapter membership with Hope No. 41, at Howard, Kansas, and his Shrine membership with Akdar Temple, Tulsa, Oklahoma, and also a member of the Knights of Pythias, the Country Club at Newkirk, and the Capital City Gun Club of Oklahoma City.

His success as a progressive citizen was compensation for the early day hardships endured by him, when as a poor young man he followed the herds of cattle over the raw prairies of the unsettled country, having visions of the establishment of a rich and great commonwealth; and when, alone with his gun, he traveled over the wide and wild areas of the unsettled Cherokee Strip that is now one of the state's most prosperous regions. A rugged, honest, faithful, and fine citizen—devoted husband and father and loyal friend—is gone from these earthly surroundings.

—R. L. Williams.

Durant, Oklahoma

Page 506


John Charles Major was born May 20, 1863, at Albion, New York, son of John Major and Mary J. Major, nee Anderson, his paternal grand parents being George Anderson and Mary Tweedy Anderson, from County Down, Ireland.

He attended the common schools in Orleans County, New York, spending three years in the Albion Academy, at a nearby town, paying a tuition of six dollars every ten weeks. His principal business in which he engaged in New York was farming. Thence he came west to Kansas, settling near Goddard, where he resided for several years, engaging in farming, during which period he was a Township Trustee for four years.

In 1893 at the opening of the Cherokee Strip in Oklahoma Territory he made the run, obtaining a homestead constituting a quarter-section of land in Township 21 North, Range 14 West, Indian Meridian, in Woods County as constituted prior to statehood.

He aided in the building of a log schoolhouse near said homestead, it later being converted into a frame school building, and, in 1920, with his participation that district was consolidated with three other districts constituting the Cheyenne Valley Consolidated School with six teachers. This school and his homestead are now located in Major County, which was created out of a portion of Woods County at the erection of the State of Oklahoma.

He was a member of the legislature of Oklahoma Territory beginning January 13, 1903 and concluding on March 13, 1903. To the Convention which framed the Constitution of the proposed state of Oklahoma, he was elected and served as a member from District No. 7. He was also elected and served as a member of the first Legislature of the State of Oklahoma. He was a member of the Thirteenth Legislature of Oklahoma, and also of the Legislature which was elected in November 1936, attending the called session thereof which convened on November 23, 1936, but after the Legislature assembled in regular session, he died on January 30, 1937.

He served for four years as a Deputy Sheriff during the administration of D. C. Oats as Sheriff of Major County, and from 1913 to 1915 as County Treasurer of said county, and from January 1915 for four years, by appointment, he served as a School Land Examiner and Appraiser, during the administration of Governor Robert L. Williams.

His first wife was Susie A. Densmore whom he married on January 20, 1882, residing in Orleans County, New York, until 1891 when he migrated to Kansas. His first two children were born there. His wife died in Oklahoma in 1923. On June 6, 1931, at Syracuse, New York, at the home of his sister, he married Margaret Humphrey, whom he had known in his youth, and who had married Fred L. Rice in 1884, but who died in 1921. She and the following children by his first wife survive him: John Charles Major, Jr., Caldwell, Kansas; Justin W. Major, Orienta, Oklahoma; and Morris Major, Orienta, Oklahoma.

John Charles Major was a Democrat and a member of the Methodist Church. His entire life was characterized by acts of good citizenship. As one has said of him, "he has been a builder, public spirited, and long in service." He served his township in Kansas, his school district, county and the territory, and then the State of Oklahoma in various capacities at public service—A record of long and faithful service for the people, with Christian fortitude. He is entitled to rest in peace not only here but also in the sphere beyond.

—R. L. Williams.

Durant, Oklahoma.

John C. Major

Page 507


Francis Herring

Francis Elgin Herring was born March 2, 1860, in Hill County, Texas, then a frontier county, and died September 15, 1938, at Elk City, Oklahoma. He was a son of Jesse L. and Sarah Ann Herring, his father having come from Illinois to Texas in 1844, when it was a Republic. He was educated in the common schools of Texas, and came to the Kiowa and Comanche reservations in 1884,1 securing employment as a cowboy and foreman, and

through thrifty saving of his earnings, he was enabled to acquire a ranch in Greer County in 1887 where he brought his bride. Prior to March 16, 1896, Greer County was generally considered to be a part of Texas.2

At the opening of the Cheyenne and Arapaho reservation under Act of Congress Mar. 3, 1891, he moved his ranching interests northward to that area, locating in what was constituted as Roger Mills County. At the opening of the Cherokee Strip he made the run into Woodward County. In 1899 he concentrated his ranching interests in Roger Mills County, which comprised then not only what now constitutes Roger Mills County, but also a large part of Beckham County.

Having followed the frontier all of his life up to that time and no more area being available for frontier extension, in 1902 when the Choctaw, Oklahoma & Gulf Railroad had been extended into Roger Mills County to Elk City, he located at that point, embarking in the mercantile business under the firm name of Herring and Young, at one time operating stores not only in Elk City but also at Foss, Hammon, Strong City, Reydon, Erick and Cheyenne. In 1910-12, he was largely instrumental in securing the extension of the Wichita Falls and Northwestern Railroad from Altus to Elk City, which was later extended to Forgan and afterwards taken over by the Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railway Company.

He took an active interest in public affairs, being a member of the Board of Aldermen and Mayor of Elk City, and represented District No. 46 in the Constitutional Convention, serving on the following committees: Municipal Corporations, Public Roads and Highways, Privileges and Elections, and Judicial Apportionment. He took an active part in the creation of Beckham County out of parts of Greer and Roger Mills Counties.

In 1912, his candidacy as a Democrat for nomination as Governor was announced, but in a short while he withdrew in favor of the late Lee Cruce's candidacy, when the principal contest remained between Cruce and W. H. Murray, Cruce being nominated and elected. In 1914, his candidacy was again announced for Governor, becoming a formidable candidate, but the Honorable Robert L. Williams, now a Judge of the United States Circuit Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit was nominated and elected.

Herring took an active and primary interest in the upbuilding of Elk City, giving large financial aid to the Fairgrounds and the Herring Park Swimming Pool. He was a successful rancher, merchant, and businessman.

His life, begun on the frontier of Texas, continued in the extension and development of the frontier, until there was no more frontier for extension and development, and then he settled down in the midst of his latest surroundings where he remained until the close of the evening of his life.

Page 508

He was married at Peoria, Texas, in Hill County, on the 19th day of December, 1886, to Miss Mollie Lee, who survives him. To this union were born two daughters and one son, all of whom survive him, to-wit, Mrs. Elgin Herring Hoover, Elk City, Oklahoma; Mrs. Olice Herring Coates, Elk City, Oklahoma; and Jesse Sanford Herring, Godfrey, Illinois; and a granddaughter, Patty Hoover.

—R. L. Williams.

Durant, Oklahoma.

Page 509


With the passing of Rachel Caroline Eaton, at Claremore, on September 20, 1938, Oklahoma lost its first woman of Indian descent to achieve distinction as an educator and writer of history. Reticent in disposition and positive in her decisions, she was one of the outstanding personalities reared under the regime of the old Cherokee Nation as an Indian republic.

Rachel Caroline Eaton was born on July 7, 1869, in the Cherokee Nation, just west of the line from Maysville, Arkansas. From 1874, the family home was at Claremore Mound where she spent her childhood. The Chronicles of Oklahoma for December, 1930, contains "The Legend of the Battle of Claremore Mound," the noted battle fought between the Cherokees and the Osages in 1818, written by Miss Eaton who had often heard versions of the story when she was growing up.

Caroline was the eldest child of George Washington and Nancy Ward (Williams) Eaton. The father had served in the Confederate Army as a member of Company B, Morgan's Battalion, Texas Cavalry, under Captain Boggs and Lieutenant Charles Morgan. The mother was the namesake of the distinguished member of her family, Nancy Ward, a full-blood Cherokee who, before the American Revolution had won the name among her people as Ghigau or Beloved Woman, a title of high distinction that carried with it the right to speak and vote in the councils of the nation with the men, in times of war and of peace. Throughout life, Caroline Eaton was a loyal and devoted member of the Presbyterian Church. She was proud of the affiliation of her maternal grandmother, Lucy Ward Williams, with early day Presbyterianism among the Cherokees. Caroline's mother had attended old Dwight Mission before the Civil War. Because of these early influences, Miss Eaton at one time considered entering the mission field of the church. However, her life's work was that of the educator.

Miss Eaton's early schooling was in the public schools of the Cherokee Nation. She graduated from the Cherokee Female Seminary in the class of 1887, the last senior class that attended this historic institution in the original building at Park Hill. Subsequently, she completed the college course at Drury College, Springfield, Missouri, graduating with a B. A. degree, in 1895, and having won a well deserved "Cum Laude," for she was a thorough student. Later, she attended Chicago University where she received both her Master of Arts and Doctor of Philosophy degrees.

She began her work as a teacher in the public schools of the Cherokee Nation and for a time was a member of the faculty at the Cherokee Female Seminary, in Tahlequah. She also taught in the Industrial Training School for girls at Columbus, Mississippi; in Lake Erie College, at Painesville, Ohio; and in Trinity University, at Waxahatchie, Texas. Returning to Oklahoma, she was elected as superintendent of schools in Rogers County, in 1920, serving two successive terms.

Upon her retirement from the position of county superintendent, she began devoting her time to research and writing on Cherokee history. She had distinguished herself in this field by her book John Ross and the Cherokee Indians, published in 1910, the text of which had been prepared as her dissertation in her work on her Doctor of Philosophy degree. The book received much favorable comment not only for its subject matter but for its style and presentation. It is still considered one of the authoritative studies on the life of this great chief of the Cherokees.

Page 510

Miss Eaton was active in Federated Club work for many years and in the work of the Eastern Star. She was a member of Tulsa Women's Indian Club and honorary member in the La-kee-kon Club of Tulsa and in The Quest Club of Claremore. In 1936, she was honored in the "Hall of Fame" by the Oklahoma Memorial Association, at Oklahoma City, as one of Oklahoma's outstanding women.

During her later years of literary pursuits, she spent a year on special historical research work in Chicago. For a time, she held residence in both Tulsa and Oklahoma City to carry on her writing more effectively. In 1935, on account of frail health, she returned to her old home that she loved in Claremore. Here she completed her last work, still unpublished, "The History of the Cherokee Indians."

—Muriel H. Wright.

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

Page 511


William Hughes

William Christopher Hughes was born October 24, 1869 in Georgetown, Missouri, the son of Dr. Benjamin Franklin Hughes and Catherine Kidd Hughes. He was married June 14, 1893 to Luella Nelson Gaines, daughter of Jeannette Cameron Gaines and Briscoe Gaines, Clinton, Missouri, was educated in Sedalia, Missouri, and graduated from Kansas City law school at the head of his class.

In 1901 he came to Oklahoma City to practice law. He formed a partnership with Judge W. A. Ledbetter, S. T. Bledsoe and John Mosier-Ledbetter, Bledsoe, Mosier and Hughes—with offices in Oklahoma City and Ardmore. Later he was a member of the firm Hughes, Morse and Standeven in Oklahoma City and Hobart. Following in the footsteps of his father, Dr. B. F. Hughes, a member of the Missouri Constitutional Convention, he was elected a delegate to the Oklahoma Constitutional Convention in 1907 from Oklahoma County. He entered the race as a Democrat and won by an overwhelming majority.

Judge Hughes was defeated for President of the Convention by Honorable William H. Murray, due, his friends felt, to his illness from a throat infection which kept him in bed at the critical time of the election. He and Governor Murray became close friends.

Judge Hughes wrote important laws of the State and by the vote of the Constitutional Convention Hughes County was named for him. After statehood he was Clerk of the Oklahoma County Superior Court although Governor Haskell offered him the Judgeship. In 1914 he went to St. Joseph, Missouri, to give all his time to the legal affairs of the Tootle-Campbell Dry Goods Company. In 1918 he became interested in oil in Pontotoc and Hughes Counties in Oklahoma and spent his time from then until his death in oil development and law. He felt a great pool of oil was to be found there and spent time and money trying to find it, keeping an interest in that territory which resulted in a large oil field being brought in.

In 1928 he moved his family to a country place, Pontotoc Lodge, east of Ada, where he lived at the time of his death. When Governor Murray was elected Governor in 1931 the first name he sent for confirmation was Judge Hughes for Chairman of the State Board of Public Affairs. In this office he rendered a great service and the strain of the long hours and his intense devotion to the State's welfare probably caused his break in health. Always deeply interested in governmental problems and sociology, he was a man of fine sensibilities and intellectual attainments and was beloved for his kindness of heart and great interest in humanity. Judge Hughes died March 22, 1938 and is buried in Fairlawn Cemetery, Oklahoma City. He is survived by his wife, four daughters, Mrs. William M. Morton, St. Joseph, Missouri, Elizabeth, Donna, and Mrs. J. Kyle McIntyre, Oklahoma City, one son, Lt. W. C. Hughes Jr., U. S. N., and four grandchildren, William M. Morton Jr., David Hughes Morton, Hughes Gregory Morton, St. Joseph, Missouri, and Betty Biles, Oklahoma City.


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