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Chronicles of Oklahoma
Volume 19, No. 3
September, 1941

By Robert L. Williams

Page 245

James Quarles

James Jones Quarles, son of James Jones Quarles,1 and his wife, Sarah Eunice Quarles, nee Buford,2 who were married December 23, 1851, was born at College Hill in Lafayette County, Mississippi May 5, 1862, and died at Pawhuska, Oklahoma February 10, 1941, interment at Fairfax, Oklahoma February 11, 1941.

An early record of a Quarles in Virginia is that of Ellen Quarles at Upper Norfolk in 1638, probably the sister of Richard Quarles, whose name appears of record at same place in 1639, and at Charles City in 1640, who were probably immigrants from England. This Richard Quarles had several children, among whom was one named John, who settled in King William County, Va. about 1702, who had several children, among whom was Roger Quarles, born about 1695.3

1Born Feb. 8, 1830, graduated in the first class at the University of Mississippi in 1851 with first honors, his diploma being the first issued by that institution, which was founded in 1844, and it bears the signatures of A. B. Longstreet, its president, and L. Q. C. Lamar, at that time a professor in its faculty, afterwards member of the Congress and Senate of the United States, and a member of the Secession Convention of Mississippi and during the Civil War served in the Confederate States army and its diplomatic service, Secretary of the Interior in President Cleveland's cabinet and at the time of his death a Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, and by Jacob Thompson, a professor in the faculty, and afterwards a Representative in the United States Congress, and Secretary of the Interior in the cabinet of President Buchanan and also an Inspector General in the Confederate army and a confidential agent of the Confederacy, and by Henry M. Clayton, a member of the Supreme Court of Mississippi. The said James Jones Quarles afterwards held a chair in the faculty of his Alma Mater. On February 15, 1862 at Oxford, Mississippi he enlisted in the Confederate States military service for a period of three years and served as sergeant in Co. B, 30th Regiment, Mississippi Infantry, and from wounds received in the service died in a hospital at Atlanta, Georgia, October 5, 1863. The company muster roll shows him "absent, Hospital, by order of Surgeon, August 16, 1863." (Confederate records in Adjutant General's Office, War Department, Washington, D. C.; Quarles, et al. records, by John Oscar Blakeney, published Little Rock, Ark. 1928, p. 27).

Page 246

Roger Quarles' son, Richard Quarles, who was born about 1736, and who married Frances Powell about 1757, moved to Amelia County, Virginia, and to that union came a son named James Quarles, born in 1760 and died in 1812. They also had a son named Robert Gilliam Quarles, born August 16, 1805 and died August 17, 1843, who married Mary Elizabeth Robertson (born in 1811, and died in 1851) on November 25, 1828.4

Said James Quarles (born in 1760) ran away from his home in Amelia County, Virginia when between 16 and 17 years of age, and enlisted on March 17, 1777 in Capt. John Henington's Company, Wm. Thomas, Colonel, 3rd South Carolina Regiment, on the side of the Colonies, and served until his discharge on February 20, 1780, when he returned to his home in Amelia County, Virginia, and afterwards married Sarah Belcher, daughter of Robert and Susannah Belcher, in 1791, and probably influenced his father to migrate to South Carolina.

The subject of this article was educated at College Hill, in Lafayette County, Mississippi, and on November 6, 1884 married Miss Jimmie Blanch Orr, who died in Osage County, Oklahoma on November 5th, 1902. To this marriage came four children: Frank Orr Quarles, and James Jones Quarles, both now of Fairfax, Oklahoma, Mrs. Alleen Quarles Winters, now of Tulsa, Oklahoma, and Laura Gray Quarles, deceased.

After the death of his first wife he married Mrs. Ella Todd Gravett on April 5, 1905, who had two children, by a former marriage, to-wit, Mrs. Gertrude Gravett Walters and Mrs. Jean Gravett Brunhoff.

From 1888 to 1899 he was engaged according to the order as herein indicated in the (1) mercantile business and (2) with the Bank of Oxford, Mississippi, and (3) later chief of police and ex-officio tag collector of the city of Oxford (Mississippi), when in 1892 he removed to Hominy, Osage Nation, Oklahoma Territory, and (4) became connected with the general trading store of Price and Price, where he remained until 1899, and then engaged in business in said Nation at Gray Horse (5) from 1899 to 1903, and at Fairfax (6) from 1903 to 1916, and again at Gray Horse (7) from 1916 to 1921, and at Pawhuska (8) from 1921 to 1926, and again at Fairfax (9) from 1926 to 1931, when beginning with February in 1931 until the early part of 1935 (10) he was Superintendent of the Oklahoma Boys' Training School at Pauls Valley.

He was connected with and president of the first civic organization in Fairfax, and in every organized or associated effort for the upbuilding and uplift of the community. He was a charter member of the First Presbyterian Church at Fairfax, and so continuing until the time of his death, the funeral services for his interment being held from said church. He caused to be established the first Protes-

Page 247

tant Sunday School in Osage County and aided in its support, his children and grandchildren still contributing thereto, and took the lead in the establishment of the first important independent public school district in the county.

He was a member of the Board of Regents of the Oklahoma Preparatory School at Tonkawa from 1907 to 1911 and of the State Board of Public Affairs from January 11, 1910 until in January, 1911.

As a member of the Constitutional Convention to frame a Constitution for the State of Oklahoma, elected from District 56, he served on the following committees: (1) Executive Department, (2) Education, (3) Municipal Corporations, (4) Public Roads and Highways, (5) Banks and Banking, etc., (6) Schedule, and introduced the following proposals (1) Ordinance concerning the Osage Nation, (2) Education of deaf, (3) convicts and convict labor, (4) capital punishment, (5) exemptions, (6) executive department, (7) qualifications of governor, and (8) other state officers, (9) their terms of office, (10) railroad commission and (11) their term of office.

His services in the Constitutional Convention were able and creditable, characterized by consideration and application to accomplish results.

He worked with the Boy Scouts organization, becoming their elder brother. While others were building for material things, he aided in building a state and developing character to support it. Another has well said of him that as he was approaching the eightieth milepost of life still his cry was "forward, actually fainting by the wayside." We could ill afford to spare him from this life's activities as he passed to a well deserved rest and reward.

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