By Robert L. Williams
John B. Doolin, born March 9, 1879 in Caldwell County, Missouri, was the son of John and Alice (Tobin) Doolin. His grandfather, John Doolin, was born in Ireland about 1816 and emigrated and settled in Caldwell County, Missouri, where he died on December 24, 1891. His mother, Alice Tobin, came from Ganaoque, Ontario, Canada, and taught school at Cameron in said county, where she married his father, John Doolin, by whom she had four sons, John B., the oldest, and three others who died in infancy. The father and the three children were interred at Cameron, Missouri, and the mother later died at Mitchell, South Dakota, with interment there.
John B. Doolin was seven years old when bereaved by death of his parents, and then lived with O. C. Crawford, his guardian. He attended the local schools, graduating from the Cameron High School, and when not so engaged worked on a farm, until twenty years of age, and then came to Oklahoma Territory and settled at Alva in Woods County, establishing himself in the clothing business with C. M. Deppen.
Having reached the age of 21 years, and being affiliated with the Democratic Party, he was given the Democratic-Populist fusion nomination for register of deeds for said county, which then embraced the territory now in Alfalfa and Major counties, in addition to the greater part of what is now Woods County. Canvassing with a team and buggy he personally met practically every voter, and being elected served the two-year term.
The late Judge Jesse J. Dunn, Pat J. Oates, Judge Jeff Bower, Henry France and others for county attorney, sheriff, judge, treasurer, etc., were on that ticket, the majority of whom later attained success professionally, politically, and in business—Dunn as chief justice of the Oklahoma Supreme Court and as a lawyer, and Oates as assistant sergeant of arms of the Constitutional Convention, and assistant warden of the Oklahoma Penitentiary at McAlester, where he was killed in a prison outbreak, and Doolin became a leader in business and politics. The late Roy Stafford and Clark Hudson, then operating a newspaper at Alva, gave them their support, and afterward each reached eminence in the state as newspaper men.
Whilst he was register of deeds many townsites within the bounds of Woods County in the Cherokee Outlet were laid out and platted, and thereby the emoluments of his office were greatly increased.
His first entry into Oklahoma territorial-wide politics was at the democratic convention of 1904 when Frank Matthews of Mangum was nominated as a democratic candidate for delegate to Congress, and Doolin then and there, prominently and actively participating, when Dunn was regarded as a promising dark horse, as promoted by his friend, Doolin, and others—each made extensive personal and political acquaintances and attachments which continued after the erection of the state.
When the first state political campaign for Governor of the new state opened, the territorial organization under the leadership of Dunn and Doolin supported Lee Cruce of Ardmore, Doolin managing his campaign, and though Cruce did not succeed at that time in winning the nomination, Doolin established his reputation as a skillful manager and leader. In 1910 Cruce in the succeeding campaign for democratic nomination as a candidate for Governor was successful, in which Doolin assisted John R. Williams as manager who had been his assistant in the prior campaign. Cruce was elected and appointed Doolin state game warden and he discharged the duties with a high standard of ideals, especially as to outdoor and wild life.1
After the close of his term of office as register of deeds, not being a candidate for re-election, he entered into the abstract and title business with John H. Schaefer, which continued until Schaefer's death, and then by Doolin until his death. From time to time as occasion arose he took on new business responsibilities, associated with many organizations. For years vice-president of the Aetna Building and Loan Association of Topeka, Kansas; for a time director of the Oklahoma branch of the Federal Reserve Bank at Oklahoma City and later of the Federal Reserve Bank of the 10th District of Kansas City, and of the State Board of Building and Loan Associations of Oklahoma; a vice-president and director of the Beaver-Meade Englewood Railroad; president of the Schaefer-Doolin Mortgage Company of Alva; a director of the M-K-T Railroad; vice-president of the Canadian Valley Gas Company; active in the Alva Chamber of Commerce and the Rotary Club, and connected with every movement for the betterment of his city, county, and state, including agriculture.
From the erection of the state he was actively connected with the state and national Democratic organizations—in 1908 assistant
1Daily Oklahoman, August 13, 1916; Alva Pioneer, March 18, 1910; Alva Pioneer, August 19, 1910; Daily Oklahoman, March 21, 1911.
treasurer of the National organization with headquarters at Chicago; in 1912 assistant treasurer in the national headquarters at Chicago, and in 1916 at New York City, and practically in every campaign in his quiet, courteous and diplomatic way, he either directed or aided candidacies in primaries, neither duplicating nor bringing about complications.
A strong supporter of the state college at Alva, a Mason, Elk, and a director of the Oklahoma Historical Society, his leadership and assistance was relied on.
On July 3, 1913, at Pawhuska, Oklahoma, he was united in marriage with Miss Leo Museller. To this union came two children, to-wit, John B., Jr., born May 25, 1918, and James Museller, born June 24, 1920. The widow and both sons survive him. He died on December 30, 1939, interment at Alva.
As a fine citizen, faithful and devoted husband and father, he will be remembered. His contribution to his state and nation was uplifting and beneficial.2
2Daily Oklahoman, June 16, 1907; Daily Oklahoman, August 15, 1916; Daily Oklahoman, January 13, 1940; Alva Review-Courier, January 1, 1940; Alva Daily Record, December 31, 1939.