Chronicles of Oklahoma

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Chronicles of Oklahoma
Volume 17, No. 4
December, 1939

Page 458


Frank Pearson Johnson, who became one of the Southwest's foremost bankers and business leaders, was born August 9, 1872, at Lexington, Mississippi, the first son of Herbert Pearson and Lucy Chase (Fultz) Johnson. When he was five years old the family moved to Kosciusko, Mississippi, where his father was a lawyer and publisher of a weekly newspaper.

When Frank Johnson was eleven years old his father died leaving a very modest estate which the mother determined should be conserved for the education of the children, there being three brothers and one sister. The youthful Frank showed a sparkle of the promise he later fulfilled by being just as determined to earn his own schooling, which he did, entering Mississippi A. & M. College at the age of fourteen and being graduated with first honors in his class and a B. A. degree four years later. While in school young Johnson found time from his studies and his classes to serve as a military cadet and advanced to captain before his graduation.

In 1890, in partnership with his brother, Hugh M. Johnson, he bought the Kosciusko Star, of which his father had been editor, consolidating it with another newspaper and by hustling and working long hours the two brothers built the country weekly into a profitable business.

Frank Johnson sold his interest in The Star to his brother in 1895 and moved to Oklahoma City where he was a school teacher, editor, and in the insurance and mortgage business.

In 1901 he organized the Oklahoma City Savings Bank and it might be said that there his business career really began. At the age of 29, this young man who as a poor boy had been thrown on his own resources in a sleepy Mississippi country town, had become a bank president. He had found his life's work and had entered upon a career which he pursued with a singleness of purpose that was certain to bring success.

The Oklahoma City Savings Bank had a capital of only $15,000, but Frank Johnson made progress with it. In 1903 he effected a merger with the American National Bank and the new institution had capital stock of $100,000. Under his leadership, the American National Bank became one of Oklahoma's strongest banks, capital being increased to $500,000 in 1909 and to $1,000,000 in 1923.

Meanwhile, his brother, Hugh M. Johnson, had come to the First National Bank of Oklahoma City after successfully operating the First National Bank of Chandler, Oklahoma. For eight years the two brothers headed banks across the street from each other at Main and Robinson. Then in 1927 they decided to join forces again, as they had in their youth, and the resulting merger and the later addition of the Security National Bank gave Oklahoma City one of the Southwest's largest financial institutions, the First National Bank and Trust Company, with resources of more than $60,000,000.

Frank Johnson was president of the First National Bank and Trust Company when his unexpected death came from a heart attack, October 5, 1935.

Frank Johnson

Page 459

It is true that Mr. Johnson was absorbed in the banking business. His part in the development of his community was best done, he believed, through the building and maintaining of banking facilities adequate for the needs of a growing city and state. But he was civic-minded and served almost continually as director of the Chamber of Commerce from the time he came to Oklahoma City.

He was president of the Oklahoma City Planning Commission for a number of years and served several times as chairman of the Policies and Projects Committee of the Chamber of Commerce. He had much to do with the Civic Center Development and the erection of the First National, Hightower and other buildings.

In 1928 he was treasurer of the State Democratic Campaign Committee. He was a member of the First Presbyterian Church of Oklahoma City and belonged to the Sigma Alpha Epsilon, B. P. O. E., Men's Dinner Club and the Oklahoma Club.

He was married to Aida Allen, the daughter of James P. and Virginia R. Allen, at Kosciusko, Mississippi, March 28, 1894. They had two children, both now deceased, Ethlyn Lee, who married Wilbur E. Hightower, and Hugh Allen, who died in 1899 at the age of three.

Survivors are the widow who still lives at the family residence, 439 N. W. Fifteenth Street, and two grandchildren, Phyllis and Frank Johnson Hightower, who live with their father at 1500 Drury Lane, Oklahoma City.

J. Cecil Brown

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma


James Sutherlin

James Haskins Sutherlin, son of John Haskins Sutherlin and his wife, Sarah Sutherlin, nee Keener, was born October 25, 1870 at Mansfield, Louisiana. His father was born in Danville, Virginia. His eldest brother was E. W. Sutherlin, a judge of the Court of Appeals of Louisiana, sitting at Shreveport, who was his guardian and supervised his education. Another brother was Dr. W. K. Sutherlin of Shreveport, Louisiana.

The Sutherlins were English, the original spelling of the name being Southerland or Sutherland, which was changed to Sutherlin after the arrival of his ancestors in Virginia. An uncle, Major William T. Sutherlin, who was a tobacco planter and who built a railroad for the purpose of shipping his and his neighbors' tobacco to the seacoast for transportation to Europe. In his will his mansion was left to be used as a Confederate Home. At one time, Jefferson Davis, whilst President of the Confederate States of America, used this mansion as his headquarters.

His parents having died in 1880, he was sent to Thibodaux, Louisiana, to have contact with French speaking people in learning the French language. He subsequently attended Thachers Military Institute in Shreveport, Louisiana. As valedictorian of his class and commandant of the corps of Cadets, he graduated from said institute in 1889. Afterwards, he attended the University of Virginia, from which he received the degree of Bachelor of Arts on June 29, 1892. Returning to Mansfield, he entered upon the study of the law, being admitted to practice in the Louisiana courts in 1893.

On April 3, 1894, he and Irene Stewart Elam of Mansfield, Louisiana, were married.

Page 460

Removing to Santa Fe, New Mexico, he became Clerk of the United States Territorial Court, being admitted to the bar in the Territory of New Mexico in 1894. In 1904, returning from New Mexico, he engaged in the practice of the law at Mansfield, Louisiana. In 1908, he removed to the state of Oklahoma, where he was admitted to the bar of the Supreme Court of said state. He located at Wagoner in Wagoner County and engaged in the practice of the law. He was elected and served as a member of the Fourth and Fifth legislatures as a member of the State Senate from senatorial district No. 32, composed of Wagoner and Okmulgee counties.

On April 6, 1917 he became chief title examiner for the state school land department and continued in that capacity until April 24, 1939, covering a period of over twenty-two years. He was considered to be an authority on Indian land titles.

He died at Oklahoma City on September 2, 1939 and his earthly remains were interred in Fairlawn Cemetery.

As a Democrat he was active in the early day political affairs in the eastern part of the state. He was a member of the Episcopal Church and of Sigma Alpha Epsilon college fraternity.

He is survived by his wife and three daughters: Mrs. Clarence C. Coover, Mrs. Robert Sweeney, and Mrs. Julius I. Meyerson, and a son, Edgar W. Sutherlin, all of Oklahoma City, and a sister, Mrs. George A. White, Shreveport, Louisiana.

A type of the cultured gentleman of the old South and a fine citizen has passed away.1

R. L. Williams

Durant, Oklahoma


Honorable Charles W. Raymond, Federal Judge in Indian Territory with headquarters at Muskogee, died on September 28, 1939 at Watseka, Illinois.

He was born in 1858 in Dubuque, Iowa, the son of William M. and Mary Ellen Meyers Raymond. The father enlisted in the Union Army in the Civil War and attained the rank of captain. He was killed in the battle of Nashville. Judge Raymond in his early youth knew the hardships resulting from the great conflict. His widowed mother, without means, and with three small children dependent on her, obtained for Charles, a home with a farm family, in return for which he helped around the premises and farm, as well as one of his years could. Later his mother moved to Onargo, Illinois, where he joined her and attended school. Afterwards he studied at Wabash College at Crawfordsville, Indiana.

In 1878 he was employed as Deputy County Clerk at Watseka. During his spare hours he studied law diligently and was admitted to the bar in 1886. He had marked ability as a thinker and a mental worker but was backward in the art of public speaking. By the most painstaking efforts he overcame his timidity.

He early became active in Republican politics and was elected a delegate to the Republican State convention where he was elected as a delegate to the National Republican League which met in Buffalo, N. Y.

Charles Raymond

Page 461

His rise was rapid from this beginning. He held numerous positions of trust and confidence, requiring ability and integrity. He supported the election of Hon. William McKinley for President of the United States who in 1901 appointed Judge Raymond United States District Judge for the Northern District of the Indian Territory at Muskogee. He assumed his duties on August 19, 1901 and was succeeded in 1906 by Hon. William R. Lawrence, formerly of Danville, Illinois. In the discharge of his official duties, Judge Raymond was careful, studious, industrious, and conscientious.

Congress provided that the United States Judges in the several judicial districts in the Indian Territory, sit in banc at McAlester as the Indian Territory Court of Appeals. In due time Judge Raymond became Chief Justice of that court. It was seldom that he was reversed in his decisions.

After his retirement from public office, he maintained a law office in Muskogee for a short time. He was offered appointment by President McKinley as United States Civil Service Commissioner, and later President Taft tendered him appointment as United States Circuit Judge, both of which he declined.

He was interested in developing his large holdings in Iroquois County and was very successful in increasing the agricultural productiveness of his farm lands. He wrote several articles relating to agriculture which were published extensively. In order to be more effective in championing the cause of agriculture, he became a candidate for congress in 1924, but was unsuccessful in being elected.

He performed acts of charity by giving of his means; many of which were made in a quiet, private way and were not publicly known. He was a substantial supporter of the American Red Cross.

Soon after his appointment as Federal Judge he was married to a lady he had known for many years. She was Grace Matezbaugh, daughter of the late Josiah Matezbaugh, one of the leading and most substantial citizens of Iroquois County. Mrs. Raymond preceded him in death; his only heir being his stepdaughter, Katharine.

Judge Raymond was laid to rest in the cemetery of Onarga, that city and community being the scenes of his boyhood and early life.

Benjamin J. Martin

Muskogee, Oklahoma


Thomas Wade, Jr.

Thomas Lawrence Wade, Jr., son of Thomas Lawrence Wade, Sr., and his wife, Judith Wade, nee McDonald, was born at Whitesboro, Texas on October 28, 1870. His people on the Wade side came from Ireland to America in an early day. His mother was born in Missouri, her father settling in Montague County, Texas, in 1849.

He was educated in the public schools of Whitesboro and St. Mary's College, at St. Mary's, Kansas.

His father and he and other members of the family came from Grayson County, Texas to the Indian Territory in 1879 or 80, the father purchasing the Rod brand ranch in the Chickasaw Nation from the Marlows. He and his sons continued the operation of the ranch. After the construction of the Santa Fe Railroad through Oklahoma Territory and Indian Territory, he and his sons, including Tom, drove their cattle from the ranch near what is now the town of Marlow to Purcell for

Page 462

shipment to Kansas City markets. Prior to that time they drove their cattle over the Chisholm Trail to Caldwell, Kansas for marketing.

When the Rock Island railroad was constructed through the Chickasaw Nation the Wades founded the townsite of Marlow. On April 3, 1893, with H. L. Jarboe, Jr., of Kansas City, Missouri, the Wades organized the National Bank of Marlow, Thomas Lawrence Wade, Jr., being one of its organizers and connected in an official way with the bank, later becoming its cashier and executive vice-president.

After the interest of Jarboe was acquired by the Wades, it was continued under his management until 1931 when it was consolidated with the First National Bank of Marlow.

During all this time he and his brothers were not only extensively engaged in the cattle business but also part of the time in the oil business.

On August 18, 1898 he and Miss Lela Josephine Darnall were married at Sherman, Texas by the Reverend Father Blum, Rector of the Catholic Church. Her father, W. A. Darnall, who resided at Whitesboro, Texas, was a physician and surgeon.

Thomas Lawrence Wade, Jr., was a member of the Roman Catholic Church and of the Knights of Columbus, being treasurer for many years of the latter organization. He received the Bene Merenti Medal awarded by Pope Pius XI, and a medal from the Knights of Columbus.

He was actively identified with the Democratic party and its organization both prior and after the erection of the state of Oklahoma. He was a delegate to the Democratic National Convention at St. Louis, Missouri in 1904, when he was a member of the platform committee, the late Senators Joseph W. Bailey of Texas and David Bennett Hill of New York, and the late William J. Eryan being leading members of said committee. He was also alternate delegate to the Democratic National Convention held at Denver in 1908, and also a delegate to the Democratic National Convention held in Baltimore in 1912. At the Democratic National Convention at St. Louis in 1916 he became a member of the National Committee from Oklahoma. He was also a delegate to the Democratic National Convention at San Francisco in 1920.

At different times he was not only a member of the Board of Aldermen but also Mayor of Marlow.

He took an active interest in bringing about the passage of the Enabling Act under which the state of Oklahoma was admitted to the Union.

At the time of his death on the 3rd day of November, 1938 he had been postmaster at Marlow since March 1, 1936.

He had the following brothers and sisters: W. A. and J. D. Wade, both now deceased; Charlie Wade of Comanche, Oklahoma; George Wade of Whitesboro, Texas; Mrs. Cecil Smith (Mary Wade) of Sherman, Texas. He is also survived by two brothers-in-law, Ed C. Darnall and W. A. Darnall, both of Marlow, and three sisters-in-law, Mrs. Elma Wade, wife of J. D. Wade, deceased, of Comanche, Oklahoma; Mrs. Charlie Wade, of Comanche, Oklahoma, and Mrs. R. A. Edwards, Duncan, Oklahoma.

He was buried on November 5, 1938 at Marlow, Father James A. Garvey of Oklahoma City, representing the Bishop, and Father Michael McNamee of Duncan, conducting the funeral services.

During all of his life after he reached his majority he was active in business, with the exception of the last two years on account of his health.

Page 463

As a courteous, cheerful, fine citizen and devoted husband, with a grim humor that accompanied him along life's journey, indicating that he had neither cares nor worries, and as a loyal friend, he will be remembered.1


Durant, Oklahoma

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