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BEAL, MARTHA HELEN (1879-1931)

Martha Helen "Mattie" Beal was born on September 16, 1879, in Ash Grove, Missouri, to Benjamin Taylor and Louisa Jane Beal. The family later staked a claim near Ingalls, Oklahoma Territory, during the 1891 land run. Beal graduated from high school in Stillwater. While working as a telephone operator in Wichita, Kansas, she traveled to El Reno, Oklahoma Territory, to register for the land lottery to be held on July 29, 1901. Her name was drawn second in the Lawton Land District, giving her claim to160 acres. On July 16, 1902, she married Charles Warren Payne, and the couple set about making a permanent home by commuting the 160 acres to individual town lots. By 1907 the couple was able to begin constructing a fourteen-room, Italian- and Greek Revival-style mansion in Lawton. In this home, now listed on the National Register of Historic Places (NR 750001564), the Paynes hosted many dinner parties, socials, and dances.

The Paynes had three daughters: Lahoma, Martha Helen, and Louisa. Mattie Beal Payne died following surgery for a ruptured appendix on July 24, 1931. Her death, coupled with the economic misfortunes of the 1930s, finally forced Charles Payne to sell the home in 1939. He died of pneumonia on November 29, 1947.

SEE ALSO: LAND OPENINGS, LAND RUNS--WOMEN IN, SETTLEMENT PATTERNS, TERRITORIAL ERA, WOMEN.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: Audrey Routh, The Mattie Beal Story, With a Pictorial History (Lawton: Lawton Heritage Association, Inc., 1979). A. Emma Estill, "The Great Lottery, August 6, 1901," The Chronicles of Oklahoma 9 (December 1931).

Kelly Brown

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