James H. Ledbetter

James H. Ledbetter, was born in Elizabethtown, Illinois, July 26, 1877, and died in Perry Thursday evening, December 9, 1920.

Elizabethtown is a small village on the Ohio River and here young Jim grew to manhood, offered every advantage by well to do parents.  Jim's scholastic ambition did not soar any higher than the average boy's, and his light-hearted, care-free enthusiasm enveloped an energy that made him finally at manhood's estate an accomplished musician with a high school education.  Playing the Cornet and Violin on the excursion boat orchestras on the Ohio and Mississippi and enjoying the Bohemian life to the limit and unmindful of the future, had marked the years that slipped by until 1898 when James Senior took the young man in hand and gave him the alternative of getting out and hustling substantially for himself or going to Denver to study law in the office of an uncle.  Jim chose the chance of making terms with the uncle and reluctantly left the parental nest on a westbound Denver limit.

Awaking next morning in a border Illinois town he was attracted by a brass band playing at the depot and upon inquiry learned of the desire for recruits for the Spanish-American War, just started.  The balance of the ticket to Denver was not used.  Jim volunteered with the 9th Illinois Infantry.  He was assigned to the band after mobilization at Jacksonville, Florida and shipped to Cuba.  He was discharged as a Sargeant when the war closed and returned to Elizabethtown.  The parents had in the meantime moved to Newkirk, Oklahoma, where the father had headed a company in the building and operation of a large flour mill.

Sargeant Jim stayed about the old hometown in Illinois until his resources totaled one soldier's uniform and his thoughts turned to father and mother in Oklahoma.  A generous friend financed his transportation.

Father Ledbetter was not over affected with hero worship and as a cold business proposition put Jim to work in the mill at ten dollars a week.  In a short time the mill burned and the parents returned to Illinois.

Thrown upon his own resources Jim went to work for the Donahoe Bros., extensive grain dealers at Winfield, Ponca City, and Newkirk.  Natural energy and ability directed in serious channels developed the latent talent of business judgment and commercial merit.  Jim had at last found himself.  Making good as an understudy, he was given charge of the elevator at Bliss in north Noble county.  Later came the organization of the State Bank of Bliss and Jim became the cashier and general fact totum of the institution.

In the fall of 1914 he was elected county commissioner and served two terms, ending his administration in 1918.  With associates Ed Martin of Perry and J. F. Keeler of the southern district our present magnificent courthouse was built.  A monument that stands today to the credit of these men as a municipal structure "built without a graft."

three years ago Jim became interested in  the local Farmers and Merchants Bank as part owner and cashier, which latter position he held until the time of his death.  With his connection with the bank, the family moved from Bliss to Perry.

In 1900 he married Miss Belle Dickman of Newkirk.  To the union there was born James, Jr., 17 and Isabell, 13, who with the widow survive the father.  His parent moved from Illinois to Perry about a year ago.  A brother Millard, the only other child of the family has been here visiting the past few weeks.

The health of the deceased was impaired by Army service and has since received a small pension for the disability.  The past summer he had an attack of ptomaine poisoning, which resulted in his death, though being treated by the most skillful physicians.  Gradually the complaint had increased and of late he had not done but little work at the bank.  While sitting with his wife and daughter at home after supper Thursday evening, he suffered an acute attack of hear trouble, superinduced by stomach affection, and expired within a short time, peacefully passing to his Maker.

The funeral services were held at the Christian church Sunday afternoon, Rev. Horn delivering the sermon, the services being in charge of the Masons of which order he was a 32 degree member.  He was also an Odd Fellow and both lodges attended in a body.

The funeral was the largest ever held in Perry and the great concourse of friends attending the last sad rites demonstrating the esteem and love which Jim Ledbetter had merited as a genuinely good fellow, square, honorable as a citizen and a businessman, worthy of unlimited trust and confidence.  May he rest in peace.

Source: Date: 1920-12-16; Paper: Perry Republican


From the headline: Toll Taken By Death Grim Reaper Makes Record For Victims During Past Week


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