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Chronicles of Oklahoma
Volume 17, No. 1
March, 1939

Page 115


William Alexander

William Lee Alexander, son of Abdon and Martha Jane Sloan Alexander, was born near Charlotte, in Mecklenburg County, North Carolina, on January 29, 1869. His parents located on a farm in Grayson County, Texas, in 1872.

During his youth his unceasing effort was toward securing an education. He made the run into Oklahoma Territory on April 22, 1889. The following year he returned to Texas, entering the Normal School at Denton, and during intervening vacations teaching two terms of country schools. He returned to Oklahoma County to engage in teaching. He taught at Choctaw and vicinity for five years, during this period securing a claim in Pottawatomie County at the opening of the Pottawatomie Reservation. In, 1896 he was nominated by the Democratic County Convention of Oklahoma County for County Treasurer, and elected in the general election. In 1898, being renominated, he was again elected. At the expiration of his second term in 1900, his brother John S. Alexander, was nominated and elected to succeed him.

He had two other brothers, Charles Alexander, who for years served as Deputy State Examiner and Inspector, and James N. Alexander, of Love County.

When the Kiowa and Comanche Reservations were opened for settlement, he removed to Hobart, engaging in the real estate business. After a year and a half, he returned to Oklahoma City and established the Alexander Real Estate and Insurance concern, with his brother, John S. Alexander and Harry Upsher.

An original member of the Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce he served as a director for three years. A member of the Oklahoma Territorial Democratic Committee for ten years, he served for a part of that period as its Secretary. In the campaign in 1902 for the election of the late William (Bill) Cross as a democratic delegate to the Congress of the United States, he was manager. In 1908 he was a delegate to the Democratic National Convention at Denver, Colorado. He was an active and capable worker in the Democratic party organization.

A member of the 89ers Association, he served for a time as its Secretary. He was a member of the Odd Fellows, A. O. U. W. organization, the Masonic Order (32° Mason) and a Shriner.

His first wife, Miss Dora Johnston, whom he married in Texas in 1890, died in 1904. He and Mrs. Cleo Greer of Sherman, Texas, were married in, 1905. No children came to either marriage.

He was descended from the Alexander family that was active in the adopting and promulgating of the Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence,1 the following being among its signers: Colonel Abraham Alexander, Colonel Adam Alexander, John McKnitt Alexander, Hezekiah Alexander, Ezra Alexander, and Charles Alexander.

He was persistently active in business and politics, loyal to his friends—an opponent to be dreaded.

Page 116

In 1914 he was nominated in the democratic primary for state treasurrer and elected, serving faithfully from January 11, 1915, to January 13, 1919. In 1918 he was a formidable candidate for the democratic nomination for governor. In 1923 he was appointed superintendent of the Northern Oklahoma Hospital at Enid, continuing in such capacity until early in 1931, his administration being regarded as efficient and humane. During Governor E. W. Marland's administration he was appointed as superintendent of the East Oklahoma State Home for White Children at Pryor, in which capacity he was faithfully and efficiently erving at the time of his death on October 2, 1938, being buried in Oklahoma City.

His widow, Mrs. Cleo Greer Alexander, two sisters, Mrs. John Godwin of Moore, Oklahoma, and Mrs. Susan Amos of Phoenix, Arizona, a brother, James N. Alexander of Marietta, Oklahoma, and a niece, Mrs. Lotus Alexander Harper of Oklahoma City, survive him.

R. L. Williams.

Durant, Oklahoma.

Page 117


Joseph King

Joseph Francis King, son of John King and his wife, Hannorah Cusic King, was born October 28, 1868, at Leavenworth, Kansas, and died at Oklahoma City on November 10, 1938, being buried at Marshall, Missouri.

His paternal grandmother was a McDonaugh, born and died in County Galway, Ireland, and his maternal grandmother a Crow, born in Ireland but died in Leavenworth, Kansas. Both his father and mother died near Junction City, Kansas.

He was the oldest of four children, the next in order of age being a brother, George W. King, now deceased, survived by two children, Harold King, now living, an attorney, at Denver, Colorado (Symes Building), and Ed King of Scotts Bluff, Nebraska. The third in order of age is Marguerite, a Roman Catholic nun at St. Mary's Academy, Leavenworth, Kansas, known as Sister Sylvera; and the youngest, a brother, James King, now deceased, who lived at Skiddy, Morris County, Kansas, survived by ten children and his widow. One of his daughters, Dorothy King, resides at Topeka, Kansas, and a son, Edward King, at Skiddy, Kansas.

When Joseph Francis King was seven years old his parents moved from Leavenworth, Kansas, to a farm southeast of Junction City, Kansas, where he attended the country schools, and afterwards completed a course of study at St. Mary's Academy at Leavenworth, Kansas, then attended the University of Missouri, for the years of 1878-79, 1879-80 and 1881-82, receiving in March, 1882, the LL. B. degree. The intervening year of 1880-81 he devoted to private study, then returning to the law school—the law course at that time covering a period of two years.

In 1883, having attended the law department of Washington University at St. Louis, Missouri, he was granted by it a LL. B. degree. Immediately thereafter he located at Marshall, Missouri, engaging in the practice of the law, and so continued until 1887 when he removed to Pratt, Kansas, there engaging in the practice of the law until 1894 when he located at Newkirk, in Oklahoma Territory.

While at Marshall, Missouri, he was married to Mary E. Morgan, nee Stuart, the widow of Arthur Morgan. She died at Newkirk, Oklahoma, on March 27, 1910. In November, 1913, he was married to Mrs. Helen E. Diekman, who died on May 20, 1937, at Newkirk, Oklahoma.

Judge King died without any surviving children, none having been born to him during either marriage. He retired from the active practice of law in 1933.

During his long residence at Newkirk, in Kay County, he served for a number of years as president of the Kay County Bar Association and was attorney in said county for the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad.

He was active in public matters, affiliated with the Democratic party, acting for it in many capacities as delegate and chairman of conventions. He served as special Judge on the Supreme Court of Oklahoma and as Referee. He was a delegate from District No. 16 to the Constitutional Convention (1906) which framed the constitution for the state of Okla-  He was temporary chairman of the first caucus of the democratic delegates to said convention, and President Pro Tempore when its permanent officers were elected.1

Page 118

He was chairman of the committee on Revenue and Taxation, and member of other committees as follows: Rules and Procedure (vice-chairman); Judiciary and Judicial Department: Private Corporations; Public Service Corporations; General Provisions; Legal Advisory; and served on the following special committees; Steering, Editing, and Election Ordinance.

He was active in the proceedings of said convention, taking a primary interest in the adoption of the provisions relating to revenue and taxation and the retention of the county seat of Kay County at Newkirk and afterwards was active in the election held in said county which resulted in continuing the county seat at said location.

During the administration of Governor Murray, the appointment as a Commissioner of the Supreme Court was tendered him, which place he would have filled with great ability, but on account of his health and declining years, same was not accepted.

In Frantz, et al., v. Autry, 18 Okla. 561, 91 Pac. 193, in which was passed upon and sustained the ordinance providing for the election as to the ratification of the proposed constitution, he was one of the attorneys on the part of the Constitutional Convention.

Able, courteous, ethical, and honest in the practice of the law, honored as a citizen and loved by all, his memory will be so cherished.

R. L. Williams.

Durant, Oklahoma.

Page 119


Thomas Owen

Judge Thomas Horner Owen, former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Oklahoma, was born February 24, 1873, in Arkansas. He died in Oklahoma City, September 19, 1938. His father was Dr. James Pickett Owen and his mother, Eliza Horner Owen. His mother, whose maiden name was Horner, was born in, Ohio, migrated to Missouri, and Dr. James Pickett Owen was born in Owensburg, Kentucky, and was an officer in the Federal Army. He is buried in the National Cemetery at Ft. Gibson.

Judge Owen studied law with Judge Wm. J. Crump, now of Muskogee, but at that time located in Harrison, Arkansas. Judge Owen was admitted to practice at the Arkansas bar on January 9, 1894, and opened a law office in Muldrow, Oklahoma, January 14, 1895. After practicing there, he moved to Muskogee in 1896 and was the first City Attorney of Muskogee.

Judge Owen was appointed a member of the Criminal Court of Appeals on January 21, 1909, and resigned March 30, 1910, to accept the place of County Attorney of Muskogee County to fill an emergency need.

Governor Robt. L. Williams appointed Judge Owen as a member of the Supreme Court of Oklahoma March 21, 1917, and he served as a Justice of the Court and Chief Justice of the Court until April 30, 1920, when he resigned to enter the practice of law in Oklahoma City.

Many of Judge Owen's opinions called forth praise from the legal fraternity, but his opinion holding the importation of altar wine to not be a violation of the prohibition laws of the state, attracted not only national, but international attention. After leaving the Supreme Court Judge Owen became the trust office of the American First National Bank and Trust Company.

Judge Owen had a distinct distaste for holding office, but was very active in public affairs during the formative period of the State. He was a factor in the organization of the constitutional convention and was active in the organization back of the campaign, which resulted in the election of C. N. Haskell as the first governor.

He was the secretary of the Wilson pre-convention campaign committee, and with McCombs, McAdoo, and Senator Gore, managed the organization, which resulted in Woodrow Wilson's nomination at Baltimore. He was the assistant secretary of the National Committee during the Wilson campaign. He declined the position of Assistant General Attorney of the United States, offered to him by A. Mitchell Palmer, and made it plain that he did not expect position or reward for his work for President Wilson.

He was an active member and an officer of the First Presbyterian Church in Muskogee and was the first President of the Presbyterian Brotherhood at the First Presbyterian Church in Oklahoma City.

Reluctantly yielding to the insistence of friends, he was a candidate for Governor in 1922, but made very little campaign because of the critical illness of his wife. He really had no desire to serve as Governor.

He married Beulah Davis in Muskogee in 1898. She died December 11, 1907, leaving three children, Thos. Horner, Jr., Davis Horner and Jessica Owen. Thomas died in early manhood. In 1916 he married Louise Hall Parker of Vinita, who survives him.

E. M. Kerr.

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Page 120


In the passing of Richard D. (Jack) Morgan. Saturday night, November 19, Durant lost one of its oldest and most useful citizens, one that may well be called a founder of this city.

D. Morgan (he dropped the Richard at an early date) was born in Mecklenburg county, Virginia, April 25, 1854, and was therefore in his 85th year. When still a boy he came to Texas, locating at Wolfe City, where he early engaged in the raising and shipping of cattle, which became his major business in later life. He set out in March, 1890, and settled in Durant, then a town of 300 people, the W. T. Clark Merchandise Company, Ober L. Shannon's drug store and a barber shop being the principal places of business at the time.

Durant at that period was not only a center for the raising of corn and cotton, but as Morgan said, was one of the finest grazing regions he had ever seen. He at once identified himself with the town and region's life. In 1892 he married Lorena Nail, daughter of Ed Nail and his wife Catherine Harkins Nail.

Throughout his early life in Durant, D. Morgan was a leader in every enterprise. Just a few days before his death he wrote down some of his contributions to the life of Durant, the paper being found after his death. It is worth quoting in his own words: "I was one to help build and operate the first chartered bank, the First National Bank, and was vice-president and director for 26 years. I helped build the oil mill, and the first church, the Methodist, and was a principal donor to its construction. I helped build the Presbyterian college, and gave something like $500 to it. Dr. E. Hotchkin can verify this. I helped in nearly every enterprise—had stock in the gins and the Abbott-Haynes Wholesale grocery. I graded the first market road coming into Durant, and built four bridges or culverts on it at my own expense. This road ran by my ranch eight miles east of town, and was the main public road for all the country east of Durant. While connected with the bank I financed many farmers, and not one was ever foreclosed. In 1919 when we had a complete corn failure, I sent Ed Butler to Broken Bow, bought and shipped here six car loads of corn, and sold it to the farmers on time and at cost—some of it I have never collected. I have lived here 48 years and have contributed, when I was able, for the good of the country."

Morgan was one of the founders of the Democratic party in this section, and served as alderman in the first city government. Before statehood he was also prominent in Choctaw politics, being a partisan of the Wilson R. Jones faction.

The Morgan family was a prominent one in old Virginia. His father, W. E. Morgan of Mecklenburg county, was a colonel in the Confederate army and surrendered with Lee at Appomatox.

Funeral services were held for Mr. Morgan at the First Presbyterian Church Monday, November 21, 1938, at 2 o'clock. The services were conducted by Dr. Ebenezer Hotchkin, pioneer Oklahoma missionary and minister and near friend of the deceased, assisted by Dr. W. N. Sholl, pastor of the church.

Mr. Morgan is survived by three sisters, Viola Vernon Morgan and Mrs. David Bolan Lee, of Williamsburg, Virginia; Mrs. Ernest Louden, Houston, Texas; and one brother, James J. Morgan of Umatilla county,

Page 121

Oregon. Of these Mrs. Loudon was the only one able to be present at the time of his passing. He is survived also by the following children, all of whom were present: Floyd E. Morgan Macomber of New York City; Riley D. Morgan, Boston, Massachusetts; Mrs. A. B. Jenkins, Mrs. Sallie Lee, and ,Mrs. Joe B. Click, all of Durant.

W. B. Morrison.

Southeastern State Teachers College

Page 122


Words are inadequate when we want to tell the story of a man who walked up and down the highways of life for more than four score years, leaving his imprint on thousands of individuals with whom he came in contact both in a social and business way.

Joseph Augustus Lawrence was born in Smith County, Texas, October 18, 1856, and died in Tahlequah, Oklahoma, November 10, 1938. For some these vital facts might be all there is to record but for J. A. Lawrence there are volumes that might be written between these two definite statements.

Born and educated in Texas, he followed his chosen profession, law, in Quitman, Texas, Woods County, and was elected prosecuting attorney of this county in 1882 and again in 1884.

From Quitman, Texas, he moved to Tahlequah, Oklahoma, in 1889. In this historic town which was at that time the capital of the Cherokee Nation he engaged in the mercantile business. He realized that there was a great future for agriculture around Tahlequah and encouraged the farmers to raise diversified crops, helping them by arranging for cotton seed to be brought in from Texas.

In 1907 he expanded his mercantile business into a corporation, The Lawrence-Wyly Mercantile Company, and served as its president until his retirement from active business. At the time of his death he was Director in the Mid-Continent Life Insurance Company, the Porter-Crew Wholesale Drug Company, R. T. Stuart and Company, and others. He had also served as president of the First National Bank of Tahlequah from 1907-1910. While he was still president of the bank there occurred the panic of 1907, which is known as the "Rich Man's Panic," and by order of President Theodore Roosevelt, no depositor could draw on his account in excess of fifty dollars ($50.00) per day; however, exception was made because of the sound financial condition of the First National in Tahlequah and no limit was placed upon its depositors. This example of sound business policy is typical of that followed by Mr. Lawrence in all of his business dealings.

In December of 1884, Mr. Lawrence married Miss Dora Wilson, of Quitman, Texas, who died in 1897. A few years later he married Miss Sarah (Bluie) Adair, a teacher in the Cherokee National Female Seminary, from which institution she was graduated. To this marriage were born two sons, J. Adair, who died in March, 1930, while a student in the Medical School of Tulane University, and Gilbert Shelton, of Tahlequah.

The full-blood Cherokees gave Mr. Lawrence the name of Carsolane, meaning coat, because of the fact that when Mr. Lawrence first came to the Cherokee Nation he always wore a long coat, either a Prince Albert or a frock.

To scores of people around Tahlequah and his former home in Texas there is a feeling of loneliness which it is difficult to describe, for Mr. Lawrence meant many things to many people. The following tribute from a boyhood friend expresses the sentiment of friends and neighbors of Mr. Lawrence:

"It is in a mood of reminiscent sadness that the writer finds himself as he undertakes to chronicle the death of an old boyhood friend and chum, J. A. Lawrence, who died at his home in the city of Tahlequah, in the State of Oklahoma, on Thursday, November 10th, 1938,

Joseph Lawrence

Page 123

and was buried in the city cemetery there on Saturday, November 12th, 1938. He died in the fullness of years, having passed his 82nd birthday. He was better known to his many old Wood County friends as Gus Lawrence. He was the son of the late John E. Lawrence who was for many years a respected citizen of Wood County. He was born in, Smith County, Texas. His father and family moved to Wood County in 1867, and located for a while down in the Ebenezer Church community, about three-quarters of a mile from the boyhood home of the writer, and we had known each other intimately from that early time until the day of his death. They moved from this location into the Shady Grove community where he grew to manhood on a farm. Although we never attended the same country school, yet in the days of our youth we picked cotton together in the same cotton field. He was always studious and industrious and was stirred with an ambition to improve his condition in life and to rise in the domain of a busy world's affairs. He was pupil under the late Professor Orr, in Smith County, and later attended school at Sulphur Springs, Texas. He began the study of law soon after he became 21 years of age and was admitted to the bar about the year 1880. He was elected to the office of County Attorney of Wood County in 1882.
"Yes, he whom we know as Gus Lawrence, the honest citizen and successful businessman has gone from the achieving walks of men to his long and well-earned rest. Peace to his ashes and consolation to all who are bereaved and sorrowing by reason of his going."1

Eula Fullerton.

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Page 124


It was almost sixty years ago that a young woman of twenty-one, already a wife and the mother of two baby boys, had a career as manager, editor, and newspaper worker dropped into her willing but inexperienced hands. The story of the next forty years of her life would fill a volume, for its tells of the struggles and strife of pioneer days in Oklahoma, and of the adventures and trials of those hardy ones who sought life in the new country. But also it tells of a fine, true soul whose devotion to her family and to her town and state should prove an inspiration to all who read it.

Mary Emily Mullen was born near Crawfordsville, Indiana, March 10, 1859. She was the eldest daughter of James and Permelia Ann Mullen, and a lineal descendant of John Endicott, first Governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. While still a small child she moved with her parents to Missouri. There she attended school, and in 1873 was married to Travis F. Hensley.

Eagerly ambitious for the success of her husband she encouraged him in every aspiration. First she helped him win a degree from Grand River College, Edinburg, Missouri, and although the degree was his, an equal gain in academic knowledge enriched her bright young mind. Their sons, Claude born in 1876 and Frank born in 1877, added to their financial problems, but valiantly they struggled on. Early in 1880 their dream of a newspaper career began to materialize, and the young couple purchased a weekly newspaper, The People's Press, at Princeton, Missouri. This paper was no sooner well established than Mr. Hensley received a political appointment from President Cleveland to a position in the Pension Department at Washington, D. C.. This seemed too good an opportunity to overlook, and so Mrs. Hensley persuaded him to accept, while she remained in Missouri, assuming full control and managership of the newspaper. This plan continued for five years, Mrs. Hensley gaining in business acumen and writing ability as she successfully pursued her work. Then The People's Press was sold, and the young mother and her sons journeyed to Washington.

Again the Goddess of Learning beckoned, and with his wife's help Mr. Hensley again attended college, this time winning a law degree from Georgetown University. For a time it seemed that newspaper work was over for these two, but with the original opening of lands for homesteading in, Oklahoma the wander-lust struck the Hensley family, and in April of 1892, when the Cheyenne and Arapahoe country was opened for settlement, Mr. Hensley came to El Reno. In May of that year he purchased the Oklahoma Democrat, changed the name to the El Reno Democrat, and his newspaper career in Oklahoma began. Mrs. Hensley and their sons joined him in August of that year, and then for thirty years the newspaper partnership of Mr. and Mrs. T. F. Hensley flourished. During much of this time Mrs. Hensley was active manager and editor of the paper, for like many another veteran Oklahoma editor much of Mr. Hensley's time was taken up by various political activities. Their Oklahoma newspaper ventures included besides the El Reno Democrat, the West Side Democrat of Enid, (which was the first newspaper published in the Cherokee Strip); "Hensley's Magazine"; and "The People's Press" of El Reno.

It is difficult to estimate the value to a new country of the tireless effort put forth by this woman in her years of newspaper work, but in

Emily Hensley

Page 125

the ceaseless struggle to point the way toward a better and stronger Oklahoma, the year after year grind to offer to the people of her community a news organ that might improve their lives and further their Interests, in those things she has indeed a worthwhile record.

An editorial titled "She Carried the Torch," written by H. Merle Woods, President of the Oklahoma Press Association, and published in the El Reno American, briefly eulogizes the life and work of Mary E. Hensley, and it seems fitting to quote it here. Mr. Woods says:

"When the plains of western Oklahoma were opened to settlement in those stirring days of 1889, the pioneer newspaper men and women who ventured into this wild and wooley country bore burdens and hardships which would overpower and crush the softer generation of the present day."

In her book, They Carried the Torch, Mrs. T. B. Ferguson, pioneer Watonga newspaper woman gives an insight into the difficult life experienced by those hardy newspaper folks, and her experiences paralleled in many ways the life of Mrs. T. F. Hensley, pioneer newspaper worker who died November 24th:—

"In 1922 Mr. and Mrs. T. F. Hensley retired from the active newspaper career which had seen them found and build up into successful publications in western Oklahoma a number of interesting, vigorous and well-edited newspapers.

Mrs. Hensley was a most worthy representative of the fourth estate, finding time in addition to her editorial duties to rear a fine family. Since she and her husband retired from active newspaper work sixteen years ago, they have retained their alert interest in state and national affairs and also kept up to date on literary and historical matters.

When Edna Ferber created the character, Sabra, in her famed book, Cimarron, she must have had Mrs. Hensley in mind, so exactly does she fit the part.

In her retirement Mrs. Hensley lost the touch with the outside world to a certain extent, but those who knew El Reno back in 1922 could not help but remember the cheery, friendly newspaper woman who was no minor part of the Hensley team. In her passing we are reminded that she too carried the torch in those early days and helped make Oklahoma journalism more attractive and more worth while."

Mary E. Hensley passed away at El Reno on Thanksgiving Day, November 24, 1938. Besides the husband she leaves to mourn her loss the sons, Claude E. Hensley, of Oklahoma City, Frank Hensley of Houston, Texas, and a daughter, Mrs. Frank M. Engle of Tulsa, Oklahoma. She also leaves three granddaughters, Mrs. Mott Keys of Oklahoma City, Mrs. Hillord Hinson of Houston, and Miss Frances Engle of Tulsa, and two great-granddaughters, Karen and Joan Keys of Oklahoma City.

Joseph B. Thoburn

Union Room
Oklahoma Historical Society

Page 126


George M. Berry, son of Thomas Nelson Berry and his wife, Juliet King Berry, was born December 1, 1858, in Whiteley County, Kentucky. His paternal grandfather and grandmother were John Berry and Nancy Clark Berry. Maternal grandfather and grandmother were Isaac King and Jane Laughlin King.

He received his education in the common schools of Whitley County, Kentucky, and Arkansas City, Kansas, and at a business college in Lawrence, Kansas.

In 1877, from his home in Kansas, he entered the Indian Territory, his destination being the Pawnee Indian Agency, where his brother, Thomas Embassy Berry, had a license to trade with the friendly Indians, a brother, King Berry, being manager of the trading store, George Madison Berry becoming a clerk under his two brothers.

Said traders license was the second granted by the Interior Department for the establishment of a trading store on the Pawnee Reservation, the first license having been granted to Stacey Matlock.

Later, George Madison Berry was a government farmer on said reservation.

Thomas Embassy Berry and King Berry were not only associated in the trading store but also in ranching interests.

George Madison Berry and his brothers, while operating the trading store, loaned money to the Indians when their funds ran low before payments were made by the government. When the Indians were to make payments, the brothers spread a blanket near the cashier's window and designated by sign language just how much each Indian owed. In one payment 1800 silver dollars were thrown into the blanket, and transported in a grain sack to a bank in Arkansas City, Kansas.

George Madison Berry and his brother, Robert Berry, sought claims in the run of '89. George Madison Berry staked his claim northwest of West Guthrie, but released it to his brother, Robert Berry, who in turn won a contest thereon with other claimants. George Madison Berry secured a claim at the opening of the Sac and Fox country midway between Cushing and Chandler. He also leased for ranching purposes other lands in the Sac and Fox country. After he made the run in '89 for a claim, which he released to his brother, Robert Berry, he moved to a place near the present town of Ripley, Oklahoma, residing there until the opening of the Sac and Fox country.

He had two other brothers, Andrew Berry and William Edward Berry.

In 1894 when the Pawnee County Bank, now the First National Bank was organized by C. E. Vandervoort and Frank Thompson and George Madison Berry, he sold two lots which he had secured in the Pawnee townsite to the bank for a site.

From south of Pawnee, where he operated a ranch, he moved his family into Pawnee that his children might attend school. Though a large stockholder in said bank, he was never an active officer, being engaged principally as a cattleman and farmer, dividing his time between the operation of his farm and ranch.

George Berry

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He died on January 21, 1939, in an Oklahoma City Hospital and was buried at Pawnee on Monday, January 23.

He represented District No. 18 in the convention that framed the Constitution for the State of Oklahoma.

He was active in seeking provisions for the development of roads and highways, and also as to judicial and legislative apportionments, and the bringing about of prohibition against the license and sale of intoxicating liqours.

On February 13, 1887, he and Miss Nellie Dowis were married. She and the following children and other near relatives survive him: Three sons, G. Roy Berry, Tulsa; Everett Berry, Wynona, and Robert G. Berry, of Pawnee; five daughters, Mrs. S. E. Darby, Pawnee; Mrs. R. M. Dannenberg, St. Louis, Mo.; Mrs. Thomas M. Scott, Ripley, Tenn., Mrs. W. N. McKinney, Nashville, Tenn., and Miss Margaret Berry, of Pawnee; two brothers, I. King Berry, Los Angeles, Cal.; and Robert C. Berry, Norman; a niece, Mrs. E. C. Mullendore, Cleveland, (Okla.); and a nephew, Lieut-Gov. James E. Berry, of Stillwater, Okla.

A sturdy character and fine citizen, dependable friend and devoted husband and father has passed away.

R. L. Williams

Durant, Oklahoma.

Page 128


Frank Hensley, pioneer Oklahoma newspaper publisher and printer, was the younger son of T. F. Hensley of El Reno, Oklahoma, and the late Mrs. Hensley. He was born October 3, 1877, at Edinburg, Missouri. Born into a family of newspaper workers his earliest recollections centered around a printing office. The smell of printer's ink was in his nostrils, and his lullaby was often. the hum of the presses. As he grew older he played with a printer's stick and a bog of pied type, and so it is not strange that his entire life was built around the printing and publishing business.

His early education was obtained in Princeton, Missouri, and in Washington, D. C., and in 1892 he accompanied his parents into the new Oklahoma Territory, where his father was editor and publisher of the El Reno Democrat.

At the opening of the Cherokee Strip in 1893, he and his father made the run into Enid where they established the West Side Democrat, the first newspaper to be published in the Cherokee Strip. The first issue of this paper was printed at El Reno and taken in by train, and more than a thousand copies were distrributed the day of the opening on the streets of Enid. Then the Enid plant was completed, and the publications were continued there under the active management of Frank Hensley. At that time he was sixteen years of age, and was credited with being the youngest newspaper manager in the United States.

In 1907 he established the New State Tribune at El Reno, which he published until the plant was removed to McAlester. He again entered the El Reno newspaper field as one of the publishers of The People's Press  He continued in this capacity until 1922.

For the past ten years Mr. Hensley had been a resident of Houston, Texas, where he was an employee of the Houston Post.

In 1905 Frank Hensley was married to Rebecca White Miller at El Reno.

Mr. Hensley passed away on February 12, 1939, at the home of his father in El Reno. Besides his widow and his father he leaves to mourn his loss a daughter, Mrs. Hillord Hinson of Houston, Texas; a brother, Claude E. Hensley, of Oklahoma City; and a sister, Mrs. Frank M. Engle, of Tulsa, Oklahoma.

G. H. E.

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Margaret Oakes

Mrs. Thomas E. Oakes passed away at the home of her daughter, Mrs. Howard Morris, Soper, Oklahoma, March 11, 1938. Death was due to the infirmities of age. Funeral services were held in the Soper Methodist Church, conducted by Rev. G. C. Crowell, Presbyterian minister of Hugo. Interment was in the Soper Cemetery, by the side of her husband, who passed away January 16, 1929.

Margaret J. Ervin was born November 27, 1835 at Old Doaksville, near Ft. Towson. She was the daughter of Calvin D, and Sallie Gibson Ervin. Calvin Ervin was teaching school in Gainsville, Alabama, when he met the Indian girl who became his bride. She was the great granddaughter of Hopia Iskitinia, or Captain Little Leader. He was an Indian warrior of the Choctaw tribe in Mississippi. The old buffalo horn spoon which he carried in the War of 1812 is in the Oklahoma Historical Building at Oklahoma City. He gave it to her as a keepsake when she moved from her home in Mississippi to the Indian Territory.

The Choctaw people were separated into clans, and Margaret Ervin was a descendent of the Hyah-Pa-Tusk-Kalo clan, through the line of her mother, Sallie Gibson Ervin.

Calvin D. Ervin and his wife came over the "Trail of Tears" in 1832 to the Indian Territory, where they settled in Doaksville, near the present town of Ft. Towson. They lived here the remainder of their lives and reared a large family of girls and boys.

Margaret Ervin was married to Thomas E. Oakes April 10, 1870, at Rock Hill Church, near old Spencer Academy, by Rev. Mr. Walker, a Presbyterian minister. The greater part of their married life was spent in the country near Soper. To this union twelve children were born, five of whom survive, as follows: D. W. Oakes, Soper; Thos. J. Oakes, Dallas; Edgar O. Oakes, Hugo; Mrs. Sue Morris and Mrs. Rosa Huff, Soper. Besides, she is survived by 24 grandchildren and 14 great grandchildren. She also reared six others by adoption.

Their home was a hospitable one; always open to every one. Any one in need of assistance received it from them. Their kindness and generosity will long be remembered. They were pioneers with the true pioneer spirit, and to know them was to love them.1 Their passing is mourned by a host of friends and relatives.

—Mrs. Thos. O. Kirby.

Jericho, Texas

Page 130


Robert Barnett Mitchell was born near Paris, in Lamar County, Texas, on September 25, 1862, and died on November 30, 1925, son of Forest Mitchell and his wife, Martha Mitchell, both of whom in an early day came from Indiana and settled in Texas.

In 1880 at the age of eighteen years, he came to the Indian Territory, locating about three miles northwest of Albany in the Choctaw Nation. On August 1, 1899, he was married to Missouri Beal, who died on August 8, 1928, both being buried in the Albany Cemetery. He is survived by an adopted daughter, Mrs. Mary A. Mitchell Lewis.

He was appointed and served as United States Deputy Marshal in the Indian Territory during the administration of the late Sheb Williams, United States Marshal for the Eastern District of Texas, when certain parts of the Choctaw Nation and all of the Chickasaw Nation were under that jurisdiction.

He was a member of the Presbyterian Church and affiliated with the Democratic party.

A rugged, honest, and faithful supporter of the law and good government passed away, and his community lost a fine citizen.

—R. L. Williams

Durant, Oklahoma

Page 131


Harvey T. Church, son of Samuel Church and his wife, Bammy Bingham Church, was born March 8, 1879 near the village of Shady Grove, Hickman County, Tennessee; his mother dying when he was eight months of age, his father placed him with his maternal grandparents, who lived on a farm, where he remained until he finished grade school.

From his uncle, Reese Bingham, he obtained a loan that enabled him to attend college near Memphis, Tennessee. Working and teaching, he later entered David Lipscomb College in Tennessee, where he graduated in 1902. Afterward he attended the Southern Norman School at Bowling Green, Kentucky, graduating and receiving a degree on July 31, 1906.

After studying law, he was first admitted to the Bar in Kentucky, engaging in the practice of law at Paducah, Kentucky for a year. Then he came to Oklahoma, locating at Wilburton, in Latimer County, in 1908, being admitted to the Bar of the Supreme Court of Oklahoma on June 4, 1908. In 1909, he was appointed Assistant County Attorney of Latimer County, Oklahoma. From 1912 to the latter part of 1917, he was County Attorney of said county, resigning to become assistant United States District Attorney for the Eastern District of Oklahoma, continuing in such capacity until November, 1918, when he resigned to, return to the practice of the law at Wilburton. In July, 1923, he moved to Tulsa, Oklahoma to engage in the practice of the law, forming a partnership with W. L. Coffey, which was dissolved when Coffey became assistant United States Attorney for the Northern District in January, 1924, Church continuing in the practice of the law.

In November, 1929, Church, having purchased his father's old homestead, closed his law office in Tulsa and returned to the farm in Hickman County, Tennessee. Two years later he returned to Tulsa and re-engaged in the practice of the law in which he continued until his death on April 29, 1933.

On April 12, 1914, he was married to Opal Gladys McIntire at Guthrie, Oklahoma. No children came to this union. She survives him and resides at 923 Lawton Street, Tulsa, Oklahoma.

He was made a Master Mason in Trinity Lodge No. 501, A. F. & A. M. at Shady Grove, Tennessee, P. O., Duck River, Tennessee, November 23, 1906, and demitted March 23, 1907. He later placed his membership in the Lodge at Wilburton, Oklahoma. He was affiliated with the Democratic party.

An exemplary citizen, a good lawyer, and a faithful friend has passed from this earthly sphere.

—R. L. Williams

Durant, Oklahoma

Page 132


A settler's dugout on the western plains of Kansas, then an area barely within the fringes of civilization, was the birthplace of C. Guy Cutlip, a son of pioneer stock who was destined, in his later years, to become one of the outstanding jurists of the state of Oklahoma.

That event occurred on April 6, 1881, about fifteen miles West of Medicine Lodge, not far from the spot where the famed peace treaty between the government and the Plains Indians was signed in the late '60's.

Mr. Cutlip came of Southern ancestry. His father, Thaddeus G. Cutlip was a native of West Virginia; and his mother, Susan Mills, had come west with her parents from Tennessee, where her father had lately been a captain in the Confederate forces of that state.

An impressive recollection in his life was at the age of eight when his family, as '89ers, took part in the epic run for homesteads that opened Oklahoma Territory to settlement. He made the run with his father on the train into Kingfisher.

When C. Guy was 14 years old—in 1895—his family moved to Tecumseh, in the Pottawatomie country, and upon completion of public school, one of his first ventures into the world was as clerk and stenographer for the picturesque Judge J. D. F. Jennings.

He spent all his spare time during those days in reading the classics and the romances, and in studying law—a practice that he continued when, early in 1901, he went to Wewoka, the Indian Territory town which was the capital of the Seminole Nation. He worked there, too, as stenographer for an early day lawyer—at a time when the little village boasted but two or three stores and a population which was principally Indian.

In 1902 Mr. Cutlip and his father went into the banking business in the trading post town, but that venture was short-lived, and somewhat difficult days followed. Meantime he had been married to Miss Amo Butts of Tecumseh. For awhile he worked at odd jobs, tried his hand at newspaper and western story magazine writing, which kept his feet on the ground until he obtained a clerkship with the Atlas Abstract Company of Holdenville, where he soon was transcribing abstracts for all the companies doing business in that part of the country.

This work gave him a new start in life. Through his interest in titles he obtained a familiar insight into the oil leasing business, and the sale of a block of leases to Frank Chesley, one of the discoverers of Glenn pool, enabled him to complete his study of law and hang out his shingle as an attorney.

The town to which he had taken his bride, a village of dusty streets and board sidewalks, on the main line of the Chicago, Oklahoma and Gulf Railroad, was growing as new settlers came in, family by family, to carry on commerce with the Indians.

Their only child, Maxine, was born in Wewoka on January 4, 1906.

Meantime, he was taking a leading part in the affairs of the local Masonic chapter and participating actively in the small civic enterprises that were beginning to evince themselves in the small town; and the year 1908 found him occupying the position of assistant county attorney.

In 1919, having already acquired a great deal of local property, he purchased from Governor John F. Brown, of the Seminoles, his interest

C. Guy Cutlip

Page 133

in the famed Wewoka Trading Company, and in the Wewoka Realty and Trust Company. He built up these properties in Wewoka—only to see them wiped out by fire with a $60,000 loss. It was, naturally, a blow, but he courageously picked up the loose ends and began rebuilding.

It was during this period that he was elected president of the Chamber of Commerce—the first Wewoka ever had—and he was kept in that post by popular demand for a decade.

He formed a law partnership with Thomas J. Horsley, but even his legal business, heavy as it was, failed to divert him from his two principal hobbies—reading and writing. At the time of his death he owned one of the finest private libraries in the state of Oklahoma.

Judge Cutlip also served as Wewoka's first mayor from 1921 to 1926, and in 1930 he was a member of the board of governors for the Oklahoma Bar Association, and in the following year was one of the state's delegates to the Democratic National Convention.

In 1931 when Governor William H. Murray, his life-long friend, created the Superior Court system Mr. Cutlip was the first appointed to the bench in his district, and he was re-elected in 1934.

Much of his judicial philosophy was derived from the career of Judge Isaac C. Parker, of the Federal Court bench at Fort Smith, Arkansas, in old Indian Territorial days.

So great was Judge Cutlip's admiration for Isaac Parker that he spent several years collecting material for a biography of the jurist, a book that his untimely death prevented him from writing. However, he left all his notes for his son-in-law with instructions for him to complete the work.

He also had planned to write a history of the Seminole Indians, a task for which he was extraordinarily well qualified, but this, too, was in note form at the time of his death. Authorship of a book was the one thing that he wanted in the rounding out of his career.

He wrote but one—a small book on the History of Law, the text of a speech he once made at a banquet of the State Bar Association at Oklahoma City. Those who heard it urged him to have it published, and it later was published and translated into five different languages.

He was particularly noted for his knack in story telling and repartee, and his services as a speaker were constantly in demand all over Oklahoma.

A little more than a month after his return from Mexico, shortly after Christmas in 1936, Judge Cutlip become ill of a heart ailment. He was confined to his bed for several months, but returned to his court bench in the summer of 1937. Stricken again in the fall of that year, death came in a hospital at Wewoka—the town which credits him with being its principal builder and citizen—on January 24, 1938.

He was mourned by all Oklahoma, and the following editorial from the Daily Oklahoman, reprinted widely in the state press and in Kansas, is typical of the expressions made on his death:

"The bench of Oklahoma lost one of its brightest ornaments when Judge C. Guy Cutlip died at Wewoka. And Oklahoma lost one of her worthiest citizens when the Seminole jurist passed out of life."

Page 134


Death Sunday morning in St. Anthony's hospital at Oklahoma City closed the long, active career of Mrs. John Randolph Frazier, 63-year-old club woman and church worker.

Mrs. Frazier was stricken November 25 with a cerebral hemorrhage at her home, 100 Northeast Eleventh street, Oklahoma City.

Active in humanitarian enterprises, Mrs. Frazier worked so quietly that the scope of her activities was not generally known. At the time of her death she was president of the Ruth Bryan Owen club, and a member of the Hospitality club, Big Sisters, Cosmopolitan club, American War Mothers, and past matron of the Omega chapter of the Order of Eastern Star.

Members of St. Luke's Methodist church knew her as one who never missed a conference of the church or a missionary council. Years ago, before moving to Indian Territory in 1902, she was vice-chairman of the Women's Missionary conference in Arkansas.

She was president of the State Federation of Woman's clubs, 1921-23; chairman of the Oklahoma Illiteracy commission, 1923-25, and head of the Oklahoma City cancer control committee in 1937.

Born in Hamilton, Alabama, she was taken, while still an infant, by her parents to western Arkansas near Hartford. Her father, Rev. J. M. C. Hamilton, was a Methodist evangelist.

In 1892, she married Frazier, Mansfield, Arkansas, merchant. They had three children and moved in 1902 to Wilburton in Indian Territory, where Frazier operated as a merchant for 27 years.

At Wilburton she organized a study club, one of the first in the territory, and a women's dramatic club. Frazier gave most of his money to build a new church, and Mrs. Frazier obtained the money to install the pews. Her dramatic club raised money to complete the church equipment.

Mrs. Frazier underwrote the first lyceum in what is now eastern Oklahoma. She was affiliated with the national inter-racial commission, the Women in Industry conference, the four national Cause and Cure of War conferences, and the Council of National Defense.

She was responsible for the adoption of 100 French orphans by Americans, a job to which she was appointed by Gov. Robert L. Williams.

Mr. and Mrs. Frazier moved to Oklahoma City in 1930. Frazier died three years ago.

She took care of her extensive real estate properties here. During her spare time she edited a monthly magazine of the State Jeffersonian club.

Survivors include two sons, J. Floyd Frazier, 2605 Northwest Twenty-fourth street, Oklahoma City, president of the Midwest Material Co.; James Randolph Frazier, principal of the Wewoka highschool; a daughter, Mrs. Homer Pace, Wilburton; two brothers, Rev. Argus Hamilton, Earlsboro; S. A. Hamilton, Broken Bow, and a sister, Mrs. Ella E. Love, Sulphur.1

The funeral was held at the Grand Avenue Methodist Church at McAlester, December 6, with Dr. Clovis Chappell of St. Luke's Methodist Church in Oklahoma City preaching the comforting sermon.2

Mrs. Frazier

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