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NEWBLOCK, HERMAN FREDERICK (1867-1957)

Law enforcement officer and Tulsa mayor Herman F. Newblock was born January 12, 1867, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, to Henry and Elizabeth Wagner Newblock. The family moved several times, first to Missouri, then to a farm near Fayetteville, Arkansas. At age twenty-one Herman Newblock was farming in Falls County, Texas. After one year there he moved to Cleveland County, Oklahoma Territory, where he farmed until 1894. In 1895 he started his career in law enforcement as sheriff of Cleveland County. There Newblock married Addie Gardner on March 4, 1897. Before moving to Tulsa in 1905 he briefly operated a hardware business in Sulphur, Chickasaw Nation, Indian Territory.

Newblock served in several capacities in Tulsa from 1907 statehood to the turbulent 1920s and the early 1930s. He became Tulsa's chief of police in 1907. In October 1908 Newblock was appointed to finish Lon Lewis's term as Tulsa County sheriff. Newblock continued in that position until 1911 when he returned to serve as the city's chief of police. From 1914 to 1917 he helped organize and then worked at the Producers National Bank. He next served as Tulsa's finance commissioner for the next four years. Newblock, a Democrat, has the distinction of being one of three Tulsa mayors who served four terms. He was mayor from 1922 to 1928 and from 1932 to 1934. During his tenure the Spavinaw water project was completed in 1924, bringing drinking water to Tulsa from Spavinaw Lake.

Affectionately known as "Uncle Herman" and Tulsa's "Grand Old Man of Politics," Newblock died on August 19, 1957, in a Tulsa hospital after suffering a stroke. Before his death he belonged to the Masonic order, the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, and the Methodist Church. Tulsa's H. F. Newblock Park, opened in 1927 at 1414 West Charles Page Boulevard, was named in his honor.

SEE ALSO: TULSA.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: Rex Harlow, comp., Makers of Government in Oklahoma (Oklahoma City, Okla.: Harlow Publishing Co., 1930). Richard Lloyd Jones, et al., eds., Oklahoma and the Mid-Continent Oil Field: The Story of a Great New State and Man's Quest for Oil ([Oklahoma City]: Oklahoma Biographical Association, 1930). "Mayors Tulsa Newblock," Vertical File, Tulsa City-County Public Library, Tulsa, Oklahoma. Tulsa (Oklahoma) World, 20 August 1957.

Linda D. Wilson

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