Chronicles of Oklahoma
Volume 20, No. 4
WAITER DAVIS HUMPHREY
Walter Davis Humphrey, born March 5, 1876, at Richlands, Onslow County, North Carolina, was a son of George Franklin Humphrey,1 a planter and merchant, and his wife, Marenda Anne (Thomas) Humphrey, of Hallsville, Duplin County, North Carolina, the Humphrey
ancestor having emigrated from England to Virginia prior to 1679. His paternal grandfather, Whitehead D. Humphrey II, plantation
owner, was Secretary of the Lafayette Masonic Lodge at Jacksonville, North Carolina and for years sheriff of Onslow County.
In his home the Federal Officers quartered themselves in Sherman's "March to the Sea." His paternal grandmother was Eliza
Jane Sylvester, a daughter of Nathaniel Sylvester, Revolutionary soldier. Whitehead D. Humphrey I, member of the North Carolina
Colonial House of Commons (Legislature), was his paternal great grandfather and his wife, Mary (Polly) Shackleford, daughter
of George Shackelford, a Revolutionary soldier, who was a son of Captain John Shackelford in Colonial service and a Vestryman
in the Episcopal Church, was his paternal great grandmother.
Daniel Humphrey, great-great-grandfather, a revolutionary soldier and at Valley Forge, married Hester Williams (his
great-great-grandmother) daughter of Jesse Williams, a revolutionary soldier and county official, whose father, Benjamin Williams,
was an early settler of the Isle of Wight, whence he migrated to Onslow County, North Carolina.
William Humphrey, his great-great-great-grandfather, Colonial soldier, migrated to Onslow County from Virginia where the
Humphrey family was domiciled before 1747, and married Sarah Wood (his paternal great-great-great grandmother). On his maternal
side Walter Davis Humphrey is a grandson of John Ivey Thomas (English and French) who died from wounds received in battle
at Cold Harbor, as a member of Co. C 51, North Carolina Regiment Confederate States of America, and left as survivors, his
widow, Mary Susan Miller Thomas and eight children. The Thomas family came from Wales to Virginia in the 17th century. William
Thomas, Sr. born about 1694, William Thomas, Jr. born about 1796 and Dr. Gregory Thomas born about 1773, who married Edith
Ivey in 1780 and John Ivey Thomas born in 1812 married said Susan Miller, the mother of Marenda Anne Thomas, who was the mother
of Walter Davis Humphrey. He also was related to the Johnston, Rhodes, Shackelford, Shine, Green, Farnefold, Consolva, Franck,
Kinnear, Kenan, Routledge, Lockhart and Mercer families of Virginia and North Carolina. (See related data contained in Colonists
of North Carolina, Humphrey, Supra).
Walter Davis Humphrey, educated in the common school and in Richlands Academy, (chartered in 1783), Richlands, North
Carolina, where he entered under the tutelage of the late Judge Wade Hampton Kornegay, of Vinita, Oklahoma, where he was a
distinguished student, and graduated in Bingham Academy at Asheville, North Carolina, and then received an appointment to
Annapolis, but did not accept same but came to Vinita, Cherokee Nation, Indian Territory, in 1901, and read law in the office
of said Wade H. Kornegay, and was at Vinita admitted to the Bar of the United States Court of the Northern District of the
Indian Territory in September, 1901, and in May, 1902 opened a law office at Nowata. He was elected Mayor of Nowata four times
in succession, 1903,
1904, 1905, 1906, each time being the only successful candidate on the ticket of his party. In 1906 he resigned, having been
elected to the Constitutional Convention to frame a Constitution for the proposed State of Oklahoma from District 58. This
convention began its sessions at Guthrie on November 20, 1906, and he served with distinction on the following committees:
(1) Enrolling and Engrossing; (2) Legislative Department; (3) Salaries and Compensations; (4) State and School Lands; (5)
Legislative Apportionment; (6) County and Township Organization.
On April 30, 1915 he was appointed to fill a vacancy existing on the State Corporation Commission of Oklahoma and qualified
on that date as a member of that important regulatory body. At the general election in November 1916 he was elected to this
office for a term of six years. In June 1918 he was selected as Chairman of the Corporation Commission at the reorganization
body following the death of Honorable J. E. Love. His service as a member and Chairman of the Corporation Commission was at
time when important jurisdictional questions involving the powers of the Commission were still being determined and his experience
and high capacity as a lawyer proved of exceptional value.
In 1919 Mr. Humphrey resigned from the Commission to re-engage in the practice of law.
Always a prodigious reader and profound student, he was familiar with the classics, both ancient and modern, of literature
government, many of the former of which he read in the original. His personal law library exceeded 4,000 volumes.
In the early part of 1931 he was appointed a Member of the Oklahoma Tax Commission and continued as a Member of said
body from that time until early in the year 1935, when he retired and resumed the practice of law at Tulsa, which he continued
until February 13, 1935, when he became a Principal Examiner under the Federal Communications Commission at Washington, D.
C., and on September 1, 1937, a Principal Attorney under said Commission, and that important place he held until his death,
on Saturday, August 1, 1942. Interment was in Memorial Park Cemetery at Tulsa, Oklahoma.
He was survived by his wife, Mrs. Eva S. Humphrey, 1148 South Peoria Avenue, Tulsa, Oklahoma, a daughter of A. E.
Sudderth and his wife Emily Norton Sudderth, and two daughters, Mrs. Hermann (Mildred Ann) Kopp, and a grandson, Walter H.
Kopp, both at 1716 South Troost, Tulsa, Oklahoma, and Mrs. Geo. A. (Wilda Martha) Yetter, 1148 South Peoria Avenue, Tulsa,
During his service with the Federal Communications Commission Mr. Humphrey's duties were chiefly in the Common Carrier
Division. His work related particularly to the telephone companies under the jurisdiction of the Commission. One of his important
services during this time was in the case of the American Telephone and Telegraph Company, et al vs. The United States of
America, et al.2 This litigation involved a uniform system of accounts for telephone companies subject to the Communications Act of 1934.
The action was brought by the American Telephone and Telegraph Company in the District Court of the United States for the
Southern District of New York in an effort to set aside the Commission's accounting order. The order was sustained by the
courts, the decision of the lower court being affirmed by the Supreme Court of the United States on December 7, 1936. Mr.
Humphrey worked on this case for many months supplying exhaustive memoranda to the Solicitor General of the United States
for the latter's brief in the Supreme Court, and
was the principal author of the brief filed by him in this litigation for the Federal Communications Commission.
Mr. Humphrey was a member of Sunset Lodge No. 57, A.F. and A.M. of Nowata, the Scottish Rite Consistory at McAlester, a
Knight Templar of the Tulsa Commandery, and a member in the District of Columbia of the Society of the Sons of the American
Revolution, and the Cosmos Club, Washington, D. C.
A fine citizen and able lawyer, a devoted and faithful husband and father, a loyal friend, and of high character in every
respect, has passed from these earthly surroundings.
R. L. Williams.
JAMES CLARENCE DENTON
James Clarence Denton, born March 18, 1882, at Newport, Cocke County, Tennessee, and died at Tulsa, Oklahoma, June 4, 1942,
interment at Nowata, Oklahoma, was a son of James Jefferson1 and Elizabeth (Loyd) Denton, all natives of said county. The father, a farmer and merchant, who died in 1913 at the age of
62 years, survived his wife, who passed away in 1908 at the age of 55. Their family consisted also of two other sons and a
daughter: George L., now of Knoxville, Tennessee; Mrs. Dixie Doak, of Fort Lauderdale, Florida; and Loyd C., of Nowata, Oklahoma.
After attending the local schools he completed the sub-freshman course at Emory & Henry College, Emory, Virginia (1897-98),
and on September 30, 1899 matriculated at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville and received the degrees of Bachelor of
Science on June 16, 1903 and of LL. B. on June 23, 1904. He won the freshman scholarship the first year and the next year
was president of the Sophomore class. He became a member of the Phi Kappa Phi honor society, which was open only to students
who were seniors and who stood in the upper ten per cent of their class, and also of Theta Lambda Phi fraternity, and of the
Y. M. C. A., the
Tennessee Varsity Club, and of Alpha Tau Omega fraternity (Tenn. Pi.).
In the fall of 1904 he settled at Nowata, Cherokee Nation, Indian Territory, and engaged in the practice of the law in
conjunction with a former school mate, W. J. Campbell, Esq., who, after the erection of the State of Oklahoma, became a District
Judge. Subsequently he formed a law partnership with W. V. Traves, and later they were joined by William S. Cochran, which
association continued until 1909. Thereafter a law partnership under the name of Denton and Cochran continued until 1912.
In 1908, without his seeking, he was elected Mayor of Nowata, whereupon he took a local census without pay and as a result
Nowata became a city of the first class. During his administration a bond issue of $60,000 for a water and light plant and
$30,000 for sewers was approved and issued, and Nowata became one of Oklahoma's most progressive cities.
In 1909 he became assistant United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Oklahoma, and removed to Muskogee. However,
the law office of Denton and Cochran was continued at Nowata until 1910, when it was removed to Muskogee, continuing there
some time. After he retired from the United States Attorney's office, a partnership with the late Frank Lee was formed at
Muskogee, which continued until 1921, when Mr. Lee was appointed United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Oklahoma.
In his early beginning of the practice of the law at Nowata he became an outstanding member of the Bar, and increasingly so
after his removal to Muskogee, where he became a prominent and leading participant in the important and complex litigation
which followed Oklahoma's admission to the Union of states. He was a leading practitioner not only in the state and federal
trial courts but also in the state and federal appellate courts.
In 1921 he removed to Tulsa and became assistant to Judge Ralph E. Campbell, then head of the legal department of Cosden
and Company, and formerly Judge of the District Court of the United States for the Eastern District of Oklahoma. Upon Judge
Campbell's death, he was succeeded by Mr. Denton as general counsel of the Company. After the change of the corporate name
Cosden and Company to Mid-Continent Petroleum Corporation in 1925 he was continued in the same capacity and in 1926 became
vice-president as well as general counsel, and in 1930 became a member of the Board of Directors and vice-president which
positions he held at the time of his death.
On July 1, 1912, he was married to Miss Clara M. Murchison, Tahlequah, Oklahoma, a daughter of Kenneth S. Murchison.
The first child born of this marriage died in infancy and was buried in the family lot in the cemetery at Nowata. Another
son came to that marriage, to-wit, James Clarence, Jr., born August 8, 1915, who graduated from the Culver Military Academy
in the class of 1932, and from the University of Oklahoma in 1936 with an A. B. degree, and from Yale University in 1939 with
a LL. B. degree. After passing the required examination in December of that year, James Clarence, Jr. was admitted on January
9, 1940 to practice law in Oklahoma, and in April thereafter accepted a position with the law firm of Vinson, Elkins, Weems
& Francis, at Houston, Texas.
On July 1, 1940, James C., Jr., married Elaine Davis, of Holdenville, Oklahoma, a former classmate at the University of
Oklahoma. Before attaining his majority he was commissioned as a second lieutenant and later became first lieutenant in the
Reserve Officers Training Corps, and since the outbreak of the present World War he was called to Washington, D. C., where
he served in the Provost Marshal's Office, and later was elevated to the rank of captain and appointed instructor in Government
at West Point Academy, which position he now holds, thus following in the footsteps of both sides of the Denton family.2
Mrs. Denton, Sr., is an active and influential member of various local clubs and also the Presbyterian Church, and takes great
interest in the cultivation of flowers.
James Clarence Denton, Sr.'s other activities were of a wide scope and of much value to his adopted city and state. He was
active member of the Oklahoma State Bar Association, and of the American Bar Association, having served as Vice-president
Oklahoma, as a member of the General Council, as chairman of the Mineral Law Section and on various committees of the latter.
For many years he was an active factor in the politics of the Republican party. In 1916 he was a presidential elector, and
1928 a delegate at large to the Republican National Convention in Kansas City, and a member of the Notification Committee
which on August 11, 1928 at Stanford University Stadium formally notified Mr. Herbert Hoover of his nomination as the candidate
of the Republican party for President.
At the time of his death he was a member of the Oklahoma Advisory Board of the Reconstruction Finance Corporation, a member
odist Church, a thirty-second degree Mason, and a life member of the Oklahoma Historical Society.
He had served as a director of more than one bank, and at the time of his death was a director of the National Bank of Tulsa
and of the Atlas Life Insurance Company. Since June 1, 1931, he had been a member of the Board of Trustees of the University
of Tulsa, and had aided greatly in contributing to much of its growth and development. As a member and director thereof, he
did much to promote the purposes of the Chamber of Commerce of Tulsa, and was recognized as a civic minded citizen, doing
everything reasonably in his power for the upbuilding and advancement of the best interests of his city and state. He belonged
to the Tulsa Club and Southern Hills Country Club. He was also a past captain of the Third Regiment of the Oklahoma National
Guard, and evinced a keen interest in the development of the military organization of the state. In his leisure hours he turned
to fishing and hunting.
In business circles he was recognized as a most capable executive. He filled the presidency of the Mid-Continent Oil and Gas
Association in 1928 and 1929 and served on many committees and boards of like character.
During the two decades that he was general counsel of the Mid-Continent Petroleum Corporation and its affiliates, these
companies were necessarily involved in practically every conceivable type of litigation, including Indian land titles, Indian
heirship, oil and gas questions, patents, trademarks, copyrights, foreclosures, receiverships, accountings, personal injury
actions, state and federal taxation, and labor relations, extending in course from the inferior nisi prius courts to the Supreme
Court of the states and United States, and much of which involved vast sums of money. Since said companies have carried on
business activities in 15 or more states, their litigation has not been confined to Oklahoma. This litigation was all under
his supervision and direction and practically all of it was handled by his legal staff, and to an unusual extent successfully.
Mr. Denton was a man of strong convictions, unusually aggressive, fearless and of great ability, and the many matters handled
by him, including complex and bitter labor controversies, were handled accordingly. He left a deep impress upon all with whom
he came in contact.
R. L. WILLIAMS.
WILLIAM VANE McCLURE
William Vane McClure, born in Pettis County, Mo., on March 19, 1872, and died at Hillcrest Hospital, Tulsa, Okla., on March
26, 1942, interment in Green Hill Cemetery at Muskogee, Okla., was son of Flavius Joseph McClure,1 and his wife, Susan (Jackman)2 McClure, who were married
1Flavius Joseph McClure, born July 3, 1836 in Boone County, Mo., died in St. Louis February 6, 1905, son of Dr. William McClure,
who was born in 1805 in Anderson County, Ky., and who was son of James McClure, who was born in Maryland and died in St. Louis,
Mo., July 16, 1868, with interment at Columbia, July 20, 1868. He and his wife, Fanny Bond, lived on the Model Farm located
between Columbia and Rocheport, Mo., and had two sons, James, a physician who died in Sedalia, Mo., where he is buried, and
said Flavius Joseph McClure, interred as above stated.
2Susan Jackman, daughter of Porter Jackman (maternal grandfather of William Vane McClure), was born in Virginia June 17, 1792,
and died August 10, 1865, whose wife, Mary (Pony) Arnold (maternal grandmother of William Vane McClure), was born in January,
1801, and died October 9, 1865, interred in the old Arnold cemetery on the Polly Arnold farm.
October 8, 1867, and to them came four children (1) Barry, who died in infancy, (2) John Harris (Harry), who died in St. Louis
in 1928, (3) Garnett, who died at age of six years, all interred at Sedalia in cemetery beside their said father and mother,
except (4) William Vane, interred in Green Hill Cemetery at Muskogee, Okla., as above stated.
His maternal great-grandfather was John Arnold, born January 12, 1771 and died in Howard County, Mo. on September 3,
1830, and his wife (great-grandmother) Grace (Pipes) Arnold, born in Virginia in 1778 and died in Howard County, Mo. May 13,
1851 and both interred in the Arnold Cemetery on the Polly Arnold farm near Rocheport, Mo. The Arnold family had originally
settled in Connecticut with successive migrations to Virginia and to Mercer County, Ky., and then to Howard County, Mo., which
was organized in 1816, originally comprising what is now Howard, Cooper, and Boone counties. His early day ancestors in Missouri
lived adjacent to Heads Fort, established in 1812 on Moniteau Creek near Boone's Lick Trail about four miles from Rocheport,
Mo., in a settlement begun in 1814, the old Arnold home being established in 1821. The Arnolds, with other early day settlers,
as necessity occasioned, took refuge in the old stockade for protection against Indian attacks. Prince Arnold, the son of
John Arnold, and his wife Grace (Pipes) Arnold, enlisted as a private in Capt. Cooper's Company, Dodge's Command of the Missouri
Militia on August 27, 1814. Mary (Polly) Arnold had married Porter Jackman in October, 1817, and came with him from Kentucky
to Missouri when it was a territory, having been born June 17, 1792 in Virginia, and died in Missouri August 10, 1865, both
buried in the Arnold cemetery.
Porter Jackman's sons, John, William P., Mark, and Creed, served in the Confederate Army. Creed was Aidecamp to Gen.
Sterling Price, and died in 1862. Polly and Porter Jackman had eight children, to-wit: Mark, Elizabeth, Nancy, John, Hannah,
William, Mary, and Susan (Suky Tutt). The latter, the mother of William Vane McClure, was born on the Arnold farm January
30, 1847, and died at his (her son's) home in Muskogee March 30, 1928, and is buried in the family lot at Sedalia, Mo. She
married Flavius Joseph McClure October 8, 1867, and had saved the life of her father during the Civil War. When Union Soldiers
were about to hang him to a large tree in front of the Arnold home, she pleaded with the soldiers to spare her father. The
officer in charge had a daughter of her age and seeing the child's distress gave orders to the soldiers to take the rope from
around his neck. She was educated in the schools of that time and at the time of her death was the only living member of the
class who graduated with her from Christian College at Columbia.
John and Finis Arnold, nephews of Polly Arnold Jackman, together with her two sons, Mark and John Jackman, went to
California in the gold rush in 1849. Finis and Mark Jackman returned to Missouri, Mark by Cape Horn and Finis overland. John
Arnold and John Jackman remained in California. Finis Arnold was in Doniphan's Mexican War expedition in 1846, in Company
from Howard County.
Flavius Joseph McClure during the first administration of President Cleveland was an internal revenue officer. At one time
owned property that included East Sedalia, known as the McClure Addition.
William Vane McClure was educated in the public schools of Sedalia, and graduated from the Broadway High School, and then
took a course at the Central Business College. When he was 20 years of age he became private secretary to the president of
First National Bank of Sedalia, and then to its Receiver, and served in such capacity for three or four years until the family
moved to St. Louis, where he became secretary to A. A. Allen, vice-president of the M-K-T Railroad, and in 1901 he became
a claim agent for the railroad company, his duties covering Indian
Territory, and occupied that position when he was appointed Clerk of the United States District Court for the Eastern District
of Oklahoma on May 1, 1920, and continued in that office until March 1, 1941, ever efficient and faithful. At the time of
said appointment he was given a leave of absence by the railroad for one year with all usual privileges during such period.
The Eastern District of Oklahoma at that time embraced what is now the Northern and Eastern Districts with the exception of
Osage and Pawnee counties. During his term of office as Clerk he not only efficiently supervised and conducted said office
but also aided in the matter of the enforcement of the Frazier-Lemke Act for farm rehabilitation and was one of the most efficient
United States District Court clerks in the United States. During the period of over 20 years as clerk of said Court for the
Eastern District, he won the esteem and appreciation not only of the members of the bar but also of all parties having business
with the court. That clerk's office has existed for over 50 years, and many and various persons have filled it, but at no
time in its history has there been a more distinguished and efficient public servant in such office.
On June 10, 1903 he was married to Lillian McCombs (born at Fort Smith, Ark., August 23, 1885), who was a grand-daughter
of Col. Thomas Marcum and his wife, Kittle F. Riddle, and who was the daughter of Judge Jason G. McCombs, formerly from
Sentatobia, Miss., and his wife, then of Sallisaw, Indian Territory. Besides his wife, William Vane McClure is survived by
two children, Lillian Flavia, born June 26, 1904, and married to Andrew J. Durfey of Tulsa, Oklahoma, to whom has come one
daughter, Lillian Kittle, born December 15, 1927; and Kittle Marcum, born October 8, 1905, married to Edward H. Glascock,
of Seminole, Oklahoma, to whom has come one son, Edward H., Jr., born July 15, 1928.
Competent, considerate, courteous, efficient and faithful officially and otherwise, and devoted to his wife and children,
fine citizen, he will be so remembered.
R. L. Williams.
GEORGE HILARY DUNKLIN
George Hilary Dunklin, son of William Alexander Turner Dunklin, who was the son of James Dunklin by his wife, Martha
Law, and who was born December 25, 1813 in Laurens District, South Carolina, and who came to Greenville, Alabama with his
family and there later married Mary Herbert Cook, daughter of Philip Cook by his wife, Ellen Hampton1 Herbert, an aunt of Hilary Abner Herbert.2
Said James Dunklin3 by a former wife, deceased, Martha Irby, had a son, Dr. Irby Dunklin, who remained in South Carolina
with his mother's family.
William Alexander Turner Dunklin and his wife, Mary Herbert Cook, during their married life for a short while were domiciled
in Covington County, Alabama, but returning to Greenville there resided until they
3Greenville, S. C., News, Sunday, Aug. 11, 1940; Owen's Dictionary of Alabama Biography; History of Butler County, Alabama, by Little, p. 79; Greenville, Ala., Advocate, Feb. 1819.
moved to Texas after the Civil War and settled at Douglasville in Cass County, Texas. As to the names and ages of their children
see footnote 4.
George Hilary Dunklin married Laura Fredonia Bryan at Dallas, Texas, May 3, 1887, and resided at Atlanta, Texas, where he
engaged in business until in January, 1889, and then with his cousin, Andrew Carlow, at Spiro, Choctaw Nation, Indian Territory,
to which point in the following summer he removed his family, consisting of his wife and five young sons, all born at Atlanta,
Texas, and as to their names, ages, etc., see footnote 5.
The business prospered and in 1904 he acquired his partner's interest and it expanded until it became one of the largest
mercantile enterprises in eastern Oklahoma.
His forbears had followed the frontier from South Carolina into Georgia and Alabama and from Alabama to Texas and to the
last great Indian reservation he proceeded and aided not only in the development of business enterprises but also in the organization
of churches and schools and community advancement and in the erection of a new state with county and municipal governments,
and died on March 6, 1914.
The expanding business was then carried on by his sons under the organization of Dunklin Brothers, at first under the
leadership of the oldest brother, James Philip, who was married on July 5, 1922 to Miss Mildred Wigley of Mulberry, Arkansas.
He having served overseas in World War I, during such absence of 18 months the business was operated under leadership of the
next oldest brother, Irby Dunklin. When the brother returned from war service he resumed such leadership but was cut off from
life's endeavors by death on January 5, 1923.
Irby Dunklin, who had married Ruth Ann Hailey of Hickory, Mississippi, May 28, 1917, again grasped the leadership in said
business. To this marriage came four sons.6
The Dunklin brothers, after the death of their father had acquired cotton oil mills at Fort Smith, Pine Bluff, and Morrilton,
Arkansas, and control of the Spiro State Bank, and operated many cotton gins. Irby Dunklin removed with his family to Pine
Bluff, Arkansas in the course of the operation of the business.
William Bryan Dunklin married Lucy Gay Neely at Charleston, Mississippi, who have two daughters, Laura and Louise. He
closed out the mercantile business, but the bank and cotton gins remain in operation.
Andrew Carlow Dunklin married Louise Pitts of Russellville, Arkansas, June 19, 1918, and to this marriage came one
daughter, Dorothy, and resides at Fort Smith, and gives attention to the cotton oil mill.
The brothers cooperate and aid in carrying on as the conditions and necessity of business require.
R. L. WILLIAMS.
4Sons: James Philip, Nov. 21, 1842; Walter Edward, Feb. 5, 1845; Herbert Cook, Nov. 20, 1849; George Hilary, Jan. 23, 1855
(died Mar. 6, 1914); Irby, Sept. 11, 1857a
; Watt, Sept. 13., 1860. Daughters: Margery Ann, Oct. 10, 1847; Ella Caroline, Apr. 2, 1852; Abigail Wathen, Feb. 11, 1863.
5James Philip, Oct. 27, 1888 (died Jan. 25, 1923); Irby, Oct. 17, 1889; William Bryan, June 29, 1892; Andrew Carlow, Sept.
7, 1894; George Hilary, Aug. 28, 1897 (died July 9, 1902).
WILLIAM HENRY McDONALD
William Henry McDonald, born in Marion County, Alabama, on October 24, 1855, came with his father's family to a farm near
Tupelo, Mississippi, when a small boy and in 1878 with his father, A. S. McDonald, and wife, and other members of the family,
migrated to the Choctaw Nation in the Indian Territory and settled on a farm at Cameron, near the Arkansas line and now located
in LeFlore County, Oklahoma.
He and Mattie Eubanks, who was born in Atkins, Arkansas, January 25, 1865, were united in marriage at Fort Smith, Arkansas,
January 19, 1884. To this union came 7 children, 4 boys and 3 girls, two of whom died in infancy. At the time of his death
at Sallisaw, Oklahoma, on April 13, 1930, where he was buried, he was survived by his wife, Mattie Eubanks McDonald and 4
children. His children, a daughter, (1) Icie McDonald, single, born January 19, 1884, and died May 16, 1903; (2) Maymie Matthews,
born Oct. 13, 1886, and died Nov. 17, 1932, was the wife of W. A. Matthews and left the following children: Two sons, Mack
and James Matthews; (3) J. Edmund McDonald, born Oct. 26, 1888, now of Kansas City, Missouri, 414 Dierks Building, married
Fannie Watts and to them came the following children, 2 sons, W. H. and Jesse McDonald; (4) James L. McDonald, born March
12, 1890, united in marriage with Willie Crutchfield and both reside at Norman, Oklahoma, and have the following children:
Two sons, Logan and Arch McDonald and one daughter, Jean McDonald; (5) Grace Reager, born May 26, 1892, whose first husband
was W. L. Huggins and whose second husband was Max Reager and by the first husband had two children, a son and daughter, Hud
and Mary Huggins. (6 and 7) William Henry McDonald and his wife had twin sons born in 1896 and both died in infancy at Fort
Smith, Arkansas. His father was married twice, but we have been unable to get the Christian or maiden name of either of his
wives. He had three full brothers, J. A. McDonald and C. M. McDonald and A. G. McDonald of Sallisaw, Oklahoma, and one half-brother,
Burnie McDonald of Owasso, Oklahoma and two full sisters, Mrs. Lou Porter of Berkley, California and Mrs. B. C. Covey of Fort
Smith, Arkansas and three half-sisters, Mrs. Alex Ritter, Los Angeles, California, Mrs. J. D. O'Kelly of Pittsburg, Oklahoma,
and Mrs. Virginia Boyte.
After farming in what is now LeFlore County and clerking at a store in Fort Smith, Arkansas, he moved to Cameron, Oklahoma,
and entered into business for himself and after 5 years moved to Sallisaw on July 4, 1892, establishing there one of the first
business firms in Sallisaw, Cherokee Nation, now in Sequoyah County, Oklahoma, a short period after the construction of the
railroad from Coffeyville, Kansas, through Wagoner and Sallisaw to Fort Smith, Arkansas, and there opened a general merchandise
store and by careful, diligent and conscientious business methods, prospered, eventually massed to what, in that period, was
a small fortune. He started there his business career in a small building, sleeping in the back of his store, guarding the
surplus funds of his friends and patrons with courage bearing hardships of a frontier life. Material success crowned his efforts,
out of which grew the McDonald Mercantile Company and the bank, a hub around which centered the business of Sequoyah County.
The depression and disaster to farmer, merchant and banker, which started in that section of the State in 1920 on account
of successive crop failures, brought about reverses and disastrous years to all involved. Rugged honesty and determination
to save the institutions in which he was interested revealed a spirit of loyalty, integrity and sacrifice. He put up all he
had in an attempt to overcome the adverse tide. A devout church man, a Charter Member and Elder in the Pres-
byterian Church, which he generously supported. He was preceded in death by his father and mother, his sister, Clementine,
brothers, Dr. J. A. McDonald and A. G. McDonald and his half-sister, Virginia Boyte and was survived by his wife who died
April 17, 1942 and who was buried by his side in the cemetery at Sallisaw, and survived by his daughter, Mrs. Maymie Matthews
of Sallisaw, J. Edmund McDonald, Kansas City, Mo., 414 Dierks Building, James L. McDonald of Norman, Oklahoma, Mrs. Grace
Reager of Sallisaw, his brother, C. M. McDonald of Sallisaw, his sisters, Mrs. Lou Porter of Berkley, California, Mrs. B.
C. Covey of Fort Smith, Arkansas and 2 half-sisters, Mrs. Alex Ritter, Los Angeles, California, Mrs. J. D. O'Kelly, Pittsburg,
Oklahoma, and a half-brother, Burnie McDonald of Owasso, Oklahoma.1
In 1905 he organized The Merchants' Bank of Sallisaw, one of the oldest banks in that part of Oklahoma, which was later by
him converted into the First National Bank of Sallisaw. By reason of close association with all local affairs and the confidence
of the public in his integrity, it enjoyed the full confidence of the surrounding country. But on account of the boll-weevil
repeatedly destroying the cotton crops in the Arkansas Valley, its principal crop, the bank was ultimately placed in the hands
of a receiver. During the several years occasioned by repeated failure of the cotton crop, he placed his resources at the
disposal of the bank to protect the depositors and when he was overtaken by age he parted with life's accumulations to protect
those whose confidence he had enjoyed and whose faith in his honesty and integrity was fully preserved.
He lived nearly 40 years in that community, established an enviable reputation as an honest and efficient business man and
fine citizen and a good man, a member and elder of the First Presbyterian Church in Sallisaw and one of its principal supporters
and affiliated with the Democrat Party—he will long be remembered and the memory of his fine character will long be treasured
in that community.
R. L. WILLIAMS.
JAMES FRANCIS OWENS
James Francis Owens was born April 1, 1878, in Aurora, Illinois, the eldest of 10 children. His parents were Hugh and Sarah
Jane Crane Owens.
Both his parents were born in Northern Ireland, where the relatives of his father are yet prominent—some as
professors and deans in Dublin University, others as officers in the army, and others as business men. Hugh Owens came to
Aurora, Illinois, when he was seventeen, a lad fairly well educated, active minded, and seriously intent upon carving a place
for himself in his newly adopted country. Sarah Crane, who later became his wife and the mother of their boy Jack, immigrated
from Ireland with her parents when she was but seven. Other Crane children were born into the home after the family's arrival
in America, until in time Sarah was the eldest of fourteen children. Compelled to work hard from early childhood, she had
little opportunity to acquire more than a practical education, but she was emotional, idealistic, and extremely industrious.
When she and Hugh Owens were married, they settled in Illinois, but when their first child, Jack, was a year old they moved
to Wilson County, Kansas, where they located on an 80-acre farm, ten and half miles south of Chanute.
When young Owens was 17 he took his savings of eighty-five dollars and entered the Kansas State Normal, at Emporia. At the
end of one term, he was examined for a teacher, passed, and secured a third-grade certificate. Then he found a school and
began to teach. For the next eight years he
alternated between teaching and attending school. He presently became principal of a small town system, and divided time between
the Normal and the State University.
This was followed by a year as a newspaper reporter on the Iola Daily Register, after which, in 1905 he entered the utilities field by becoming manager of the Baldwin, Kansas Gas Company.
For several years following he was connected with various gas companies, during which time, in 1907, he married Miss Bessie
Cloyd Turner of Wagoner, Okla. Mrs. Owens died in 1938 and is buried in Rose Hill Cemetery, Oklahoma City.
In 1910 Owens joined the Muskogee Gas and Electric Company, which shortly thereafter was added as a holding of the
Oklahoma Gas & Electric Company. He served the company in various executive capacities in Enid, El Reno and Yukon, and in
1918, when the Byllesby Engineer & Management Corporation consolidated its properties, he came to Oklahoma City as Vice President
and General Manager of the Oklahoma Gas and Electric Company. It was with that organization that he made his outstanding record.
In 1931 he was named President, and in January, 1942, he was advanced to Chairman of the Board. Under his leadership the Company
expanded from the original 26 Oklahoma communities served to 245 cities and towns in Oklahoma and Arkansas.
During his 23 years in the presidency of his company, James Francis Owens generously served the civic interests of his city
and state, while also rendering distinguished service to the entire electric industry.
"Work hard and learn to find your enjoyment in your work," was a motto he recommended and practiced. Few business leaders
with the responsibilities of extensive operations were more active in civic and community affairs.
In Muskogee he managed the first Red Cross war campaign and served as state chairman of the Red Cross roll call in 1919.
His wide activities in leadership in Oklahoma City brought him the nomination as Oklahoma City's "Most Useful Citizen" in
1932. He served as president of the Rotary Club in Muskogee and later in Oklahoma City. He was president for three years of
the Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce, and also president of the State Chamber of Commerce, and in recent years was prominent
in the U. S. Chamber of Commerce, serving as a director and vice president at the time of his death.
He was the first president of the Oklahoma City Community Chest and for many years a member of its executive board. He
was president from 1919 to 1923 of the Oklahoma Public Health Association.
In 1933 he was named vice president of the Texas-Oklahoma division advisory board of the NRA and served on the national
emergency council for Oklahoma of the NRA.
His leadership was not confined to Oklahoma. His record soon sent him into national affairs and in 1932 he was elected
president of the National Electric Light Association, the first Oklahoma man to be so honored by his national association
of utilities. He was named a director of the United States Chamber of Commerce in 1933, and continued to be prominently identified
with that organization, serving as a director and a vice president at the time of his death.
Largely through his efforts, the Federal Livestock Bank was established in Oklahoma City. His work with farm youths won
him honorary membership in the 4-H clubs of America and the Future Farmers of America.
He was a member of the board of directors of the Public Utility Engineering and Service Corporation, Chicago, a director of
Prudential Fire Insurance Company of Oklahoma City, and a member of the board of the Reconstruction Finance Corporation for
He retired in 1942 from the active responsibilities of the presidency of Oklahoma Gas and Electric Company and was elected
chairman of the board of directors.
His club memberships included the Oklahoma Club, Bankers' Club of New York, Oklahoma City Golf and Country Club,
Gibbons Dinner Club, Men's Dinner Club, Tulsa Club, Lotus Club, Knights of Columbus and Knights of St. Gregory.
A Catholic, he was a member of the board of trustees of Our Lady of Perpetual Help cathedral. He was a Democrat, but never
held public office.
On May 19, 1941, Mr. Owens was married to Mrs. Forrest Maynard of Oakland, California, formerly of Shawnee, Okla.,
member of a pioneer state family.
James Francis Owens died on February 20, 1942, at the age of 63. In addition to his wife, who lives at the family home, 6512
Hillcrest Avenue, he is survived by the three children of his first marriage, Miss Betty June Owens, now a student at Marymount
College, Tarrytown-on-the-Hudson, N. Y.; Lieut. Hugh F. Owens, U.S.N., New Orleans, and Lieut. James Francis Owens, Jr., Camp
Beauregard, Alexandria, La.; by two step-daughters, Miss Donna and Miss Marna Maynard, and by six brothers, Dr. J. M. Owens,
Dr. P. H. Owens, Dr. H. H. Owens, and C. V. Owens, all of Kansas City, Mo.; T. L. Owens, Tulsa, and J. B. Owens, Neodesha,
Kans. and three sisters, Mrs. A. W. Baumgardner, Kansas City; Mrs. Homer P. Campbell, Cleveland, Ohio, and Mrs. J. P. McNally,
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
H. P. HOHEISEL.
HENRY VERNON FOSTER
H. V. (Henry Vernon) Foster was born in Westerly, Rhode Island, "which was also the birthplace of his father," September 6,
The Foster family traces its lineage back to early colonial pioneers. The emigrating ancestor was John Foster, who in company
with Roger Conant and others came from England to America prior to 1649, settling first in Weymouth and later in Salem,
Massachusetts. The parents of H. V. Foster were Henry Foster and Gertrude E. Daniels Foster.
The elder Foster was engaged in the banking business in New England until 1882 when, caught in the tide of enthusiasm for
migration to the middle west, he removed to Independence, Kansas, where he was President of the Citizens National Bank from
1891 until 1894. During the period from 1882 to 1894 he was also interested in cattle dealing and pastured some of his herds
on the Osage Indian Reservation. A few small oil wells having been brought in around Neodesha, Kansas, he became interested
in the industry, and his contact with the Osage Reservation turned his mind in that direction and caused him to conceive the
idea of acquiring an oil lease from the Osage Indians covering the entire Reservation—a total of about 1,300,000 acres, and
secured the lease from the Tribe, but at the time of his death negotiations for its approval were still pending before the
United States Department of Interior. By consent of the Department the lease was taken out in the name of his brother, Edwin
Henry Vernon Foster (known to his friends and business associates as "H. V."), received his early schooling at Independence,
Kansas, and prepared for college at the Westtown Boarding School operated by the Society of Friends at Westtown, Pennsylvania,
and from there he went to University College in London, England, where he received a Certificate of Engineering in 1894. During
the succeeding three years he continued his study of engineering at Columbia University. His work as an engineer began in
Wisconsin in 1897 where he had charge of several drainage projects. Henry Foster, his father, having died in New York City
in 1896, H. V. Foster, for himself and other members of the Foster family, became interested in the oil and gas business,
and particularly in the lease on the
Osage Nation granted by the Tribe to his father and subsequently completed in the name of his uncle, Edwin B. Foster.
In 1896 the Phoenix Oil Company, controlled by Edwin B. Foster and the Etate of Henry Foster, was formed and took an
assignment of the lease on the Osage Nation. Development of the lease followed, and in June, 1900, the Osage Oil Company was
formed and took by assignment a portion of the lease from the Phoenix Oil Company. Early in 1902 both companies assigned their
rights to the Indian Territory Illuminating Oil Company, recently formed, and practically the same stockholders and interests
which had been identified with the lease since its inception remained identified with the new company.
Henry V. Foster had become Treasurer of the Phoenix Oil Company and, in 1899, became Treasurer of the Osage Oil Company. When
these two companies were consolidated in 1902 to form the Indian Territory Illuminating Oil Company, the increase in his duties
brought about his removal to Bartlesville, Oklahoma. In 1903 he was elected to the presidency of the Indian Territory
Illuminating Oil Company and served as such for thirty-two years, or until May, 1935, when he resigned to devote his entire
time to his wholly owned interests. It was during his presidency of the Indian Territory Illuminating Oil Company that that
Company opened up the Seminole area and also brought in the Oklahoma City field. Under his guidance the Company was one of
the small group which initiated and contended for the principle of conservation.
For many years Henry V. Foster was President of the Union National Bank, Bartlesville, Oklahoma, and at the time of his
death was Chairman of the Board. He was also President of the Foster Petroleum Corporation and its subsidiary companies and
at the time of his death was Chairman of the Board of that Company.
He was never a "lease trader" but was fundamentally, because of his temperament, an explorer for and developer of natural
resources. His own individually owned interests became rather extensive and in 1924 the Foster Petroleum Corporation was formed
and took over his and other holdings in exchange for stock in that Company.
Many clubs from Bartlesville to the eastern coast claimed Henry V. Foster as a member: Among them, the Tulsa Club, the
Oklahoma Club, the Hillcrest Country Club of Bartlesville (of which he was a charter member), the Kansas City Club, the Illinois
Athletic Association, the Lotus Club of New York City, the National Republican Club, the Westchester-Biltmore Country Club
of Rye, New York, and various other golf and country clubs. Fraternally, he was affiliated with the Masonic Order, which conferred
upon him the thirty-second degree. He was a member of the Royal Arch Masons, Indian Consistory, Ancient Accepted Scottish
Rite, and Akdar Temple, Ancient Arabian Order of Nobles of the Mystic Shrine, and also a member of the Society of Friends.
Typically an "out-doors" man, his chief and greatest recreational pleasures consisted of hunting and fishing, either with
companion or a group of friends. He could sit by an Osage stream and "still-fish" for crappie and perch as contentedly and
with as much pleasure as when he was catching the "big-uns" of New England's coast.
His philanthropies were without a press agent. They predominantly took the form of assistance, on an individual basis, to
fellow human beings. Many young men owe their education and their present successful position in life to his direct financial
aid and his interest in their welfare. No worthy person ever went to him in distress and came away empty-handed. Innately
democratic in thought and action, he never lost the common touch and above all other pleasures, enjoyed the simple things
of life, and personal relationships and associations with the ordinary man.
On May 1, 1907, at Chicago, Illinois, H. V. Foster married Marie M. Dahlgren, daughter of Carl John Victor Dahlgren and
Mary Charlotte (Sierks) Dahlgren. They became the parents of two daughters, Ruth
Daniels Foster and Marie Dahlgren Foster. His wife and both daughters survive him.
On September 22, 1928, Ruth Daniels Foster was married to Charles W. Doornbos and they now have two living children. They
reside at Bartlesville, Oklahoma.
On June 14, 1933, Marie Dahlgren Foster was married to John Miller Kane. They now have two living children and reside at Bartlesville,
In addition, Mr. Foster has one living sister, Miss Annie G. Foster, of New York City.
On June 6, 1939, H. V. Foster died in Los Angeles, California, and interment was at Bartlesville, Oklahoma.
—D. P. KILLIAN.
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