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Oklahoma

The History of Oklahoma Biographies Vol. II
by Luther B. Hill
Page 26

WILLIAM E. GENTRY

A career of more than forty years of usefulness and honorable deeds which furthered the highest interests of the Creek nation and, under state auspices, the prosperous county of Muskogee -this is the general record of the late William E. Gentry, of Council Hill, who died at his fine old homestead near Council Hill on the 21st of October, 1908. He had become not only one of the most prominent stockmen in that section, but his abilities had been applied to the business and finances of the nation and the county. He had also served eight years in the house of warriors of the Creek nation, and had personally provided educational facilities for the rising generation of his neighborhood. He was both an able and a benevolent citizen, and the many who mourn his death remember with gratitude that his kindness did not consist of lip-service but of practical helpfulness. In his religious faith the deceased was an active member of the Methodist church. He was also an ardent believer in the practical benefits and the good influences of fraternalism, as specially exemplified in the orders of Masonry, Odd Fellowship and the Knights of Pythias. In the first named he had attained the Knight Templar degree in the Muskogee commandery, and was highly honored in all its circles.

William E. Gentry was a native of Calhoun County, Mississippi, born March 11, 1842, to James and Caroline (Bush) Gentry, both of whom died many years ago. At an early age he accompanied his parents to the Indian Territory, and his education re acquired at the Asbury mission, under Methodist auspices. At the outbreak of the Civil war he joined the Confederate forces as n member of the Second Creek regiment commanded by Colonel Chilly McIntosh, but during the last of his service was transferred to Colonel Jumper's regiment of the Seminole battalion. He was both a faithful and a brave soldier, and when hostilities were at an end returned to his father's farm near Council Hill. There he remained until 1867, when he was first married and became an independent cattleman, both raising and shipping large quantities of livestock. His family allotments of land finally reached fourteen hundred acres, much of it highly cultivated, but the bulk, of course, used for pasturage of his high-grade cattle. He also acquired a third interest in the Gentry hotel at Checotah, and an equal partnership in the Knisely Drug Company, for whom he built a fine two-story brick building. Further, he became vice-president of the First National Bank of that place, and both his abilities and stanch character for absolute trustworthiness made him the conservator of several large estates and the guardian of the minor heirs.

Mr. Gentry was of a family of eight children, his brothers and sisters being as follows: Mary, now the widow of Jackson Bowens, of Bentlcy, Mississippi; Lee. deceased; Albert J., known as "Scott," a resident of Choska, Wagoner County; Sallie, who died as the wife of A. J. McDuff; Carrie, who is also deceased; Rachel, widow of Charles McDuff, of Canadian, Oklahoma; and R. J. Gentry, deceased, who resided in Checotah. In 1867 William E. Gentry married Miss Sarah Crestmond, who died in the following year, and in 1872 he wedded Miss Martha Lynch, who passed away September 3, 1873. The child of this second union, Albert James, who was born August 27th of that year, died on the 2nd of February, 1891. On the 11th of August, 1878, Mr. Gentry wedded as his third wife, Miss Sallie D. Carr, eldest daughter of Chipley and Lavinia (Steele) Carr. Her father was white; her mother two-thirds Creek, both the Carr and Steele families coming to Indian Territory with the Creeks in 1830. The parents, who died in 1862, reared three children, viz: Sallie D., Mrs. Gentry; Louis B., now deceased; and Delilah, who married W. W. Bray, of Muskogee County, and passed away in 1876.

Eight children were born to the marriage of William E. and Sallie D. (Carr) Gentry, as follows: William, who was born August 13, 1879, and died November 23, 1892; Caroline, born April 21, 1881, who married Albert McKinney, of Checotah. Oklahoma; Mary E., who was born April 24, 1883, and is the wife of C. F. Stone, of Council Hill: Sallie P. (Pace), born May 29, 1885, and a resident of Coweta. Oklahoma; Robert Lee, born September 15, 1887; Bluford, born October 1, 1889; Rachel Jane, born February 2, 1891; and Boyd F., born August 24. 1894.

Since the death of her husband Mrs. Gentry has continued the improvements begun on the homestead of several hundred acres, and has a large part of her valuable farm under cultivation. Her residence and the farm buildings are commodious, convenient and substantial, and everything about the place indicates the care and supervision of an excellent manager.


John P. CALHOUN

Who represents Wagoner County in the legislature in the lower branch, is one of the more recent settlers in the state, having resided within its borders and been identified with its affairs only since 1904. His sincere interest in civic affairs and his active participation in the business of settling up his county, in the improvement of its agriculture and the advancement of its quality of stock commended him as a suitable man to assist in making law* for the new state; his constituents had faith in his desire for wise and useful regulations for the conduct of the baby commonwealth.

Mr. Calhoun was born in Bedford, Pennsylvania, March 26, 1842, and emigrated with parents when a mere child to Alleghany County, Maryland, and when seventeen years of age his parents moved to Freeport; Illinois. His father, James Calhoun, was a farmer while living in Maryland, and became a farmer in Illinois and later in Iowa. He died in Marshalltown, Iowa, in 1891, aged eighty-five years. He was born in Bedford County, Pennsylvania, and was a son of Patrick Calhoun, an Irish-American, who married a Welsh wife. They lived on a farm and both died in Bedford County. James Calhoun was one of eight children, and received a modest education in the state of his birth. He married Elizabeth, daughter of George Clouse, of Allegany County, Maryland, and of French birth. James Calhoun died in 1891, and his wife passed away in 1865. Their children were: George W. and William H., of Marshalltown, Iowa; N. W., of Los Angeles, California; Sarah A., wife of Samuel R. High. of Carlton, Kansas; John P., of Wagoner. Oklahoma; Julia, who became Mrs. Lamb, of Pearl City, Illinois; Mary A., who married J. R. Rule, of Los Angeles, California: Ellen, who became Mrs. William Hager, of Norton, Kansas; and James B., of Pearl City, Illinois.

The old subscription schools and the public schools of Freeport, Illinois, furnished John P. Calhoun with a fair education, the chief text book in the former, as he now remembers the situation, being a Testament. At the breaking out of war he enlisted at the first call for seventy-five thousand men in Company G, of the Fifteenth Illinois Infantry; he belonged to Hunter's command, and served through Missouri, Arkansas, Virginia and Maryland and was discharged for disability in 1862. He re-enlisted in the Eighth Illinois Cavalry, and was discharged at the capital, and took part in the Grand Review at the close of the war. He was with a special detail of cavalry to scout between Washington and Richmond toward the close of the service. When the president was assassinated his regiment was detailed to aid in the capture of the man responsible for the crime, and he helped bring in a number of Booth's accomplices.

The years following the war Mr. Calhoun passed until 1808 at Freeport, and about the time of his marriage moved to Iowa. He engaged in farming and stock raising in Boone and Clarke counties for some years, and then removed to Windsor, Missouri, where he introduced and dealt in fine horses, Englishshire, Percheron and French Draft, also in breeding Poland China hogs. Since settling in Oklahoma Mr. Calhoun has been farmer, stock man and dealer in real estate; he introduced blooded hogs and endeavored to remove the nine-inch foreheads and razor backs from the native hogs which have ever abounded among the Cherokees and Arkansas of the Grand River country.

When Mr. Calhoun became a voter more than forty years ago it was as a Republican, and he has maintained a friendly relation to the party since. He was named as the candidate of the party for representative in the lower house of Oklahoma in 1908, and defeated his Democratic opponent by a majority that led the ticket in the county. He was a member of the house minority, but was placed upon the committee on canals and navigation and on manufactures and commerce, neither of which burdened him with work. He assisted in formulating a bill to eradicate the Texas cattle tick and the bill to destroy the San Jose scale, both of which became laws and were introduced by Democratic members in order to maintain the blockade against meritorious measures emanating from Republican sources. Mr. Calhoun has been a member of the Wagoner Council and a member of the executive committee of the Business Men's League. He was chairman of the Seventy-first Delegate District Campaign in 1907, for delegate to the constitutional convention, which district sent a Republican to represent it in the convention.

Mr. Calhoun has farming interests near Wagoner representing a section of land, and is there modestly carrying on the work of improved agriculture while also engaged in encouraging migration from the east and north to make homes in Oklahoma's midst. On December 12, 1800, he married, in Freeport, Illinois, Mary A. Wolfe, born in Pennsylvania. The issue of this union is: Mildred, wife of C. H. Perry; Cassius C., who is engaged in the lumber business in Custer, Montana; Morris W., of Oskaloosa, Iowa; Homer Il., of St. Louis, Missouri, manager of a publishing house; Alva J., a merchant of Longmont, Colorado; William W., a lawyer of Wagoner; and Herbert C., a teacher of Vinita.


JOHN B. ELLINGTON

Holding high rank among the leading general merchants of Wagoner is John B. Ellington, who has for many years been actively identified with the material advancement of this part of Oklahoma, and is a large property owner in the city in which he resides. He was born, September 17, 1863, in Logan County, Arkansas, of substantial pioneer stock, a son of William J. Ellington, a man of note. His grandfather, Nathan Ellington, was born and reared in Virginia. Of an adventurous spirit, he migrated with his family to Arkansas about 1830, becoming one of the first settlers of Logan County. He became influential in local affairs, served as County Judge of Logan County, and resided there until his death, in May, 1890, at a ripe old age. He married a Miss Moore, who bore him seven children, namely: Thomas; Lewis; Mitchell: William J.; Hezekiah; Martha, who married C. P. Anderson; and Louisa, wife of Joe James.
Born in 1833, in Tennessee, William J. Ellington was brought up in Logan County, Arkansas, from childhood. Although he possessed little learning, he was a man of nerve and iron, with a daring and courage almost beyond the conception of the human mind. During the Civil war he had an unusual military experience, serving first in the Confederate army under Captain Gibson, of Bussy's command, and taking part in the engagement at Wilson's Creek.

Subsequently abandoning allegiance to the Southern cause, we next find him wearing the "blue," and as a scout making himself famous, operating chiefly in Arkansas between Dardanelle and Ft. Smith, his home town. He was a favorite with his commanding officer, and in the neighborhood in which he was located had an adversary of similar note, a man named Sewell. with whose men he was in frequent conflict. Without fear of any kind, he had many personal encounters with the lawless element of the country, and in hunting thieves, prosecuting criminals, and helping execute robbers he engendered the ill will of the evildoers to an extent which cost him his life. In 1890, in the month of July, a feud which had been growing thicker and more intense for a long time culminated in a battle between the parties in enmity, and resulted in the death of Captain William J. Ellington and of his oldest son. Both had expected trouble, and both had gone armed to the town mentioned. But before entering the store of his enemy, Captain Ellington had discarded his pistol, for what reason no one knows. He may have expected his adversary to flee, but in this he was mistaken, for the latter opened fire, and the Captain fell in his tracks. The son rushed to the rear of the store, and as he was crouching to get a bead on his father's slayer the latter seized a shotgun and gave him a death wound.

Prior to this time, however, Captain Ellington had for many years been actively engaged in farming in Arkansas, and was widely known as a peace-loving and law abiding citizen, for a number of terms serving as one of the commissioners of Logan County, being appointed to the position by Judge T. C. Humphrey. In the same Board of Commissioners was his old military enemy, Jim Sewell, who after the close of the war was a close personal friend.

Captain Ellington married Amanda Robinson, a daughter of Mark Robinson, from Tennessee, and she is now living in Logan County, Arkansas. Eleven children were born of their union, as follows: M. T., who was killed at the time his father was shot, was then a resident of Muskogee; Mary, wife of J. D. Munn, deceased; Charles A., deceased; John B., the subject of this sketch; C. B., of Magazine, Arkansas; Levina, who married David More, and died in Oklahoma; William L., of Magazine; J. T., of Boonville, Arkansas; and Omer, of Wagoner, Oklahoma, in partnership with his brother John B. Two died in infancy.

Remaining on the home farm until attaining his majority. John B. Ellington then came to Creek Nation in search of more congenial employment. Entering the store of R. E. Blackstone, at Webbers Falls, he remained there eight years, the last three years being junior member of the firm of Blackstone it Ellington, the capital which secured him the partnership having been ac cumulated from his salary. Selling his interest in the business in 1899, Mr. Ellington established himself as a merchant, at first renting a store. Succeeding well in his venture, he subsequently erected a building on Cherokee street, but before moving into it he purchased the Pioneer and Hadley buildings on Main street, and is now occupying them as a double store.

Mr. Ellington married, in 1891, Amanda Tittle. She died in 1898, leaving one daughter, Ilsa Ellington. Mr. Ellington married second, in 1898, in Belleview, Kentucky. Catherine Stetler, a daughter of George Stetler, and they have one son, Vernon Ellington. Mr. Ellington was one of the promoters of the First State Bank of Wagoner, and is its vice-president. He is a Republican in politics, and in 1908 was city treasurer. Religiously he and his family arc members of the Presbyterian church.


CHARLES A. DAVIDSON, JR.

Substantially identified with the business interests of Vinita, has been a resident of the city since 1900, when he here assumed the position of clerk of the United States Court. His services as such, and his connection with financial and commercial enterprises of this place mark him among the energetic men who are doing things here. A native of Ohio, he was born January 5, 1865, in Cleveland, where he was brought up and educated.

His father, Charles A. Davidson, Sr., was born, in 1836, in Buffalo, New York, and when a child migrated with his parents to Ohio, the family settling not far from Cleveland. Early thrown upon his own resources, he turned his attention toward mechanics, for which he had a natural inclination, and served an apprenticeship at wood carving, in which he became an expert, especially in ornamental carving. Subsequently abandoning his trade, he secured work in the operating department of the Big Four Railroad, in which he passed through the various positions from brakeman to conductor, before resigning being one of the old men on the passenger conductor list. About 1870 he embarked in the lumber and planing mill business in Cleveland, becoming senior partner of the firm of The Davidson and House Lumber Company, with which he was associated until the plant was totally destroyed by fire in 1891. He suffered repeated losses from fire, losing his plant several times, yet he recuperated each time, and was recognized as a singularly successful business man and as a creator of wealth. He was active in public matters, for four years serving as president of the city council, and was one of the prime movers in the equipping of the Cleveland street cars with vestibules, and in introducing the ordinance which forced the traction companies to protect their motormen from the biting cold and angry winds of the winter seasons. He was a radical Republican in politics.

Charles A. Davidson, Sr., married, in East Cleveland, Mary, daughter of Ezekiel Adams, and of the nine children born to them seven are living, as follows: Edward B., secretary of the Vinita Commercial Club; Charles A., Jr.; Mrs. John H. Jenks, and Mrs. Ben L. Jenks, both of Cleveland, Ohio; Asa A., of Chicago, Illinois; Mrs. Florence Gilbert, also of that city; and Ezekiel, of Pretoria, South Africa, superintendent of the first Portland Cement Company of that city.

On leaving the public schools of Cleveland, Ohio, Charles A. Davidson, Jr., entered the planing mill and lumber business of the Davidson and House Company, and eventually became secretary and treasurer of that company, with which he was connected for about sixteen years. On giving up his position with that concern on account of being burned out in 1891, Mr. Davidson became bookkeeper for Frank Rockefeller, of that city. Through the influence of Senator M. A. Hanna, Mr. Davidson was appointed clerk of the United States court for the Northern District of the Indian Territory, with headquarters at Muskogee, and resided at his place until the division of the district, whereupon he moved his headquarters to Vinita, where he now lives. In this capacity he served wisely and well until statehood, being, of course, among the last of the Federal regime in the history of the Indian Territory. As an officer of the court, he was impartial, painstaking and industrious. The work of his office was ever systematically arranged and promptly completed, his administration being recognized as efficient in every detail.

About five years ago Mr. Davidson embarked in the poultry business o in Vinita. and when relieved from his official duties took the active management of it, erecting a large plant on Vann street, and his success has done much towards encouraging the raising of poultry in this section of Craig County. Mr. Davidson is also financially interested in one of the important fiduciary institutions of Vinita, and he is secretary and treasurer of the International Bank and Trust Company. He built and owns his attractive home on North Foreman street, it being one of the finest residences in that part of the city.

On June 9, 1891, Mr. Davidson married, in Delaware, Ohio, Catherine Moore, daughter of Frank E. Moore, the pioneer passenger and freight agent of the Big Four Railroad Company. She is a woman of culture, having just completed her education at the Wesleyan University, in Delaware, Obi", when she was married. Mr. and Mrs. Davidson have two children, Charles Moore and Edward Moore. Fraternally Mr. Davidson is a Scottish Rite Mason and a Pythian Knight.


WILLIAM M. SIMMS

HE is prominent among the foremost citizens of Vinita, a well-known attorney-at-law, distinguished not only for his professional zeal and ability but for his efficient service as a soldier in the Spanish American War. He was born in New York City, and when a small child was left an orphan. Taken to Illinois in early boyhood, he there received a limited education in the common schools, and subsequently drifted to Cincinnati, Ohio, where he began learning the tinner's trade.

Going from there to Kansas City, Missouri, he completed his trade, and in 1890 came to the Indian Territory, locating in Vinita. Finding employment with W. W. Miller a hardware merchant Mr. Simms was for four years foreman of the establishment, and then bought out the tin department of the store, and was here successfully engaged in business on his own account until the breaking out of the Spanish-American war.

Enlisting then in Troop L, Capron's Cavalry, which formed a part of the Rough Rider Regiment raised by Colonel Theodore Roosevelt, he joined the command at San Antonio, Texas, and when transferred to the field of hostilities took an active part in the battle of Los Guasamas, where the first American of the war was killed. In the campaign against Santiago, Mr. Simms was twice wounded in the left leg, a piece of shell striking him about the time a Remington brass bullet plowed itself through his thigh. His wounds made amputation, or vivisection, of the bone necessary, and resulted in his permanent disability and his retirement from the service.

Leaving Cuba on July 12, 1898, Mr. Simms was landed at Old Point Comfort, Virginia, August 11, and was taken directly to the hospital at Washington, D. C., from which he was discharged the following November. He at once returned to Vinita, and as* soon as able to work entered the government employ and served a" deputy United States marshal and United States constable for seven years. During this time Mr. Simms read law in earnest, and in 1907, soon after his release from the government service, was admitted to the bar in Vinita, before Judge Gill, and here tried his first case before a justice. In November, 1907, he formed a partnership with H. F. Smith, and under the firm name of Simms & Smith was engaged in the practice of his profession until late in the year 1908, when Mr. Smith left Vinita. Since that time Mr. Simms has practiced alone, and has had his full share of local patronage.

Politically a Republican, Mr. Simms has been active in the party since coming to Oklahoma. While the movement toward statehood was in progress he was selected as a delegate to go to Washington, D. C, to aid in furthering the interests of the two territories and bring about an early passage of the enabling act. It was a general movement over the two territories that caused delegates to be sent from all points, and the selection of Mr. Simms for this important work was a signal honor to him and a credit to his ability and power. He favored single statehood from the beginning, and when the first Republican State Convention assembled at Tulsa, Mr. Simms sat in it as a delegate and helped formulate the first ticket of his party in the present Oklahoma. He is now secretary of the Craig County Republican Committee. Fraternally Mr. Simms is a thirty-second degree Mason, and belongs to the McAlester Consistory. He is an active and valued member of the Tilden W. Dawson Post, Spanish-American' Veterans, and is now serving as its commander.

Mr. Simms married, in Kansas City, Missouri, January 15, 1889, Ida Bradshaw, daughter of Charles Bradshaw, of Johnson County, Kansas, and to them two children have been born, namely: Chester A. and Helen Gertrude.


CALVIN G. JAMES

Among the native born citizens conspicuous for their ability and trustworthiness is Calvin G. James, now serving as registrar of deeds for Ottawa County. A son of Solon James and one among eight children all living in the vicinity of Fairland, he was born, August 11, 1867, near Chepota, Kansas, in the Cherokee Nation. His grandfather, Calvin James, migrated from Tennessee to Missouri, becoming a pioneer settler of Jasper County, He was a man of prominence, in 1855 serving as justice of the peace. He died in that county, and was buried near Carthage. He reared five children, namely: Solon, William, Frank, Garrett, and a daughter who died in California, leaving a family.
Solon James, born in 1842, in Jasper County, Missouri, was educated in the pioneer district school. He subsequently located in Kansas, and during the Civil war served in the Union army, belonging to the Fourteenth Kansas Volunteer Infantry. In 1866 he came into the Cherokee country, and has since been engaged in agricultural pursuits, being now a resident of Ottawa County, his home being near Fairland. He married Tennessee Lane, a daughter of Indian parents of the Cherokee tribe. The Harlans came to the Cherokee country from Georgia, and here the founder of the family died in 1849.

Acquiring his elementary knowledge in the common schools of the Cherokee nation. Calvin G. James completed his early studies at the National Male Seminary in Tahlequah. At the age of nineteen years he began life for himself, engaging in mercantile pursuits in Fairland, near where his parents located when he was a child. Beginning as clerk in a store, he steadily worked his way upward until becoming proprietor of a substantial business, as a general merchant selling goods for many years. In Indian politics Mr. James participated as a National, but when Federal politics became a factor among his people he became a Democrat, and won the nomination from that party for registrar of deeds against five competitors at the primary. He was Fairland's candidate, and. having been elected by a close vote, assumed the duties of his office the day of statehood, taking charge of the records for the Federal Recording District No. 1. He was one of the provisional commissioners of Ottawa County named by the Constitutional Convention, and served in that capacity until the admission of the state.

At Fairland, Oklahoma, September 27, 1906, Mr. James married Maggie Snowdall, daughter of Edward Snowdall. She was born in Delaware County, Oklahoma, and is without Indian blood, her birth occurring in 1881. Fraternally Mr. James is a member of the Blue Lodge of Masons. He takes an active interest in the promotion of enterprises conducive to the public welfare, and carries the honors of public office without demonstration, and is a strong factor in maintaining the dignity and wisdom of his party in its selection of official candidates.

FRANK J. WEILEP

Well trained in literary and legal lore and possessing the native ability to enter upon any of the paths open to enterprise and effort, Frank J. Weilep is eminently qualified for his present position as treasurer of Ottawa County. He was born September 22, 1877, in Galena, Kansas, and since assuming his official duties has resided in Miami. Oklahoma.

Ed C. Weilep, father of Frank J., was, born in Bibra, Germany, in May 1837, and was liberally educated in German institutions. Soon after attaining his majority he immigrated to the United State-, and served throughout the Civil war in a Wisconsin regiment. Subsequently locating in Newton County. Missouri, he was engaged in the hotel and transfer business at Neosho until 1877. when he sold out and moved with his family to Galena, Kansas, where he embarked in mining pursuits. Thoroughly saturated with Democratic ideas, and very partisan in his makeup, Mr. Ed C. Weilep became an important factor in the politics of Cherokee County, and was three times elected to the lower house of the state legislature, having the distinction of being the only Democrat ever sent to that body from Cherokee County. Generally recognized as a man of ability, he took rank among the leaders of the house, and in 1897 was selected as its speaker pro-tem. Prior to that time, however, he was appointed, in 1887, by President Cleveland as United States consul to Sonneberg, Germany, and filled the office until superseded by the appointee of President Harrison. He took his family with him to Europe, and gave to his children the advantage of German schools and of the associations which the family of representative to a foreign country invariably commands. Coming from Kansas to the Indian Territory in 1904, he located in Ottawa County, where he is now passing the evening years of his life on a farm, surrounded with all the comforts of modern times, his companions being his wife, his papers and his books.
Mr. Ed C. Weilep married, in Newton County, Missouri, Lizzie McBride, and they have three children, namely: Cora, wife of J. Henry Jones, of Ottawa County, Oklahoma; Sallie, wife of A. H. Freeman, of Joplin, Missouri; and Frank J.

Growing to manhood in Galena, Kansas, Frank J. Weilep passed through the public schools of that city, subsequently attended the Marmaduke Military Institute, and in 1899 was graduated from the law department of the University of Kansas. Being admitted to the bar at Lawrence, Kansas, before Judge Triggs, in the year of his graduation he returned to his home and there tried his first law suit. He was soon appointed assistant prosecuting attorney of Cherokee County by County Attorney Charles Stevens, and filled the office a term. He was afterwards engaged in the practice of his profession in Galena until 1903, when he located in Alamogordo, New Mexico, where he continued two years. Coming then to Ottawa County, Oklahoma, Mr. Weilep gave up law for a time, and was actively engaged with the routine of agriculture until the call came to him to take up his duties in the office of the county treasurer.

Inheriting the political zeal and faith of his father, Mr. Weilep became identified with the Democratic party, and added his influence for single statehood, he and his father aiding in the election of the Democratic constitutional delegates, and, save in a few instances, of the Democratic county ticket. He was made deputy treasurer under defaulting treasurer T. M. Reynolds, and on September 10, 1908, was appointed as treasurer of Ottawa County.

Mr. Weilep married, in Joplin, Missouri, January 3. 1897. Bertha Metcalf, who was bred and educated in Galena. Kansas, and they are the parents of two children, Corinne and Walter.


LEE BARRETT

Among the far-seeing and enterprising men who have been active and useful in developing the material and industrial resources of Oklahoma is Lee Barrett, of Vinita, who has been a resident of this place for twenty years, during which time he has taken a lively interest in city and county affairs. A son of Captain Flavius J. Barrett, he was born, July 4, 1836, in Decatur, Texas.

Captain Flavius J. Barrett was born in Tennessee, but was brought up in Hopkins County, Texas, where his parents settled in 1848. Prior to the breaking out of the Civil War he moved to Wise County, Texas, where he enlisted in the Confederate service, and was assigned to the Trans-Mississippi department of the army. Captured at Arkansas Post as captain of Company B, Fifteenth Texas Cavalry, he was imprisoned for awhile at Camp Chase, Ohio, and at Ft. Delavan, and after his exchange returned to his home and was made a recruiting officer in Texas, and served during the remainder of the war in Trans-Mississippi Department. After the war he entered politics as a Democrat, of course, and served one term in the Texas legislature in 1866, and made a fine record as marshal, serving first in Corsicana, where he located in 1871. In that city he served for eighteen years as head of the police department, in that capacity having such a force as to seldom be required to resort to arms to maintain order. His commands were universally respected, and throughout the disorder and social chaos existing during the period of reconstruction he had no trouble in preserving peace within the limits of the capital of Navarro County.

Removing to Clay County from Corsicana Captain Barrett, whose reputation had preceded him, was induced to become mayor of Henrietta, where he resided and practiced law for fifteen years;, from 1889 until 1903. He was very active in local affairs, and was elected judge of Clay County, which he afterwards represented in the twenty-fifth and twenty-sixth state legislatures of Texas. Since 1903 the Captain has lived in Vinita. making his home with his son Lee. Captain Barrett married, in 1865, in Wise County, Texas, Sophronia Crutchfield, who is one-fourth Cherokee, being a daughter of John Crutchfield, and of their union three children were born, as follows: Lee, the subject of this brief biography; John, of Claremore, Oklahoma; and Bessie, wife of Wallace Seaton, of Kansas City, Missouri.

Brought up in Texas, Lee Barrett attended the common schools of Decatur and Corsicana, in the latter place beginning the struggle of life for himself. While looking about for a favorable opening he was attracted to the Cherokee country, of which he was by blood a rightful citizen, and in 1889 established himself in Vinita as a harness maker and dealer, his place of business having been on South Wilson street, where his present two-story brick building now stands. Meeting with a good degree of prosperity, Mr. Barrett continued his operations there until 1907, when he retired from that line of industry to take the active management of his extensive oil interests.

While the oil fever was spreading over Oklahoma, in the vicinity of Nowata, the Pan Handle Mining Company and the Flora Mining Company, in both of which Mr. Barrett owned much stock, began developing a lease of one hundred and seventy acres in the Childers oil field. From 1906 until May, 1908, those companies opened a splendid producing field, got their connections with the Standard, and established themselves permanently in the oil business. In the latter years a syndicate of Texans purchased their field as an addition to its holdings in that vicinity, and since then Mr. Barrett has occupied himself with the development of individual properties, in which he has been eminently successful. He has a farm in Rogers County, and its twenty-one wells give rich promise of yielding him excellent returns for many years to come, and is of sufficient magnitude to identify him with the oil producers of the state.

Mr. Barrett married in Vinita, in 1895, Lizzie Clark, a daughter of Judge George W. Clark, one of the landmarks of the Cherokee nation and a citizen of high standing and splendid repute throughout this section of the state. Mr. and Mrs. Barrett have two children, namely: Mary, a girl of twelve years, and Alice Belle, ten years of age. Fraternally Mr. Barrett is a Master Mason; a past chancellor of the Knights of Pythias; and a member of the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks.


EUGENE N. WILLIAMSON

Noteworthy among the valued and esteemed citizens of Vinita is Eugene N. Williamson, now serving as register of deeds for Craig County. A resident of the state for the past eighteen years, he has been before the public in an official capacity much of the time, in each and every position serving with ability and fidelity. A son of Jacob Williamson, he was born, January 26, 1867, in Stonewall, DeSoto parish. Louisiana.

Born in North Carolina in 1826, Jacob Williamson remained in his native state until 1856, when he moved to Louisiana. Taking up land in DeSoto parish, he was there engaged in agricultural pursuits as a planter and stock raiser until his death in 1899. During the Civil war he served as a soldier in the Confederate army. He married Eliza Ray in North Carolina, and she died about five years before his demise, in 1899. Eleven children were born of their union, of whom the following named are either living or at their deaths left families: William F., of Stonewall, Louisiana; Mrs. Eudora Powell, also of Stonewall; Mrs. A. F. Williamson, Stonewall, DeSoto parish. Louisiana; Joseph J., of Stonewall; and Eugene N.

The youngest child of the parental household, Eugene N. Williamson, grew to manhood near Shreveport, Louisiana, where he attended the public schools and a military school, afterward taking a course at Grayson College, in Whitewright, Texas. Coming to Atoka, Indian Territory, in 1891, he accepted a position as bookkeeper for a lumber concern, and was afterwards similarly employed at Coalgate and at Lehigh, working for V. S. Cook & Company.
While at Atoka, Mr. Williamson began his political career under the Federal regime, being appointed United States constable. Coming to Vinita in 1895, he was appointed chief deputy in the office of United States Marshal Rutherford, and began his duties here with the opening term of the new Federal Court, filling the position satisfactorily until the McKinley administration supplanted all Democratic office-holders. Then, after serving a term as marshal of Vinita, Mr. Williamson became cashier of the Bank of Welch, and was connected with that institution until March. 1907, when he resigned his position to run for register of deeds of Craig County. The race for the Democratic nomination was a swift one among the three candidates, with Mr. Williamson in the lead at the close of the primary, and he was elected over his Republican opponent by two hundred and forty-seven votes.

Mr. Williamson married, in Bluejacket, near Vinita, Oklahoma, November, 1902, Nellie Duncan, who was born in the Cherokee nation, near Chetopa, Kansas, in 1881, a daughter of Logan L. and Narcissus (Monroe) Duncan, both of whom are Cherokees. Mr. and Mrs. Williamson have two children, namely: Mary Nettie and William F. Fraternally Mr. Williamson is a Master Mason; a member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows; and of the Knights of Pythias. He has a pleasant residence on South Smith street, and is thoroughly identified with the best interests of the city, being a promoter of its spirit of growth and prosperity.


SYLVESTER J. SOLDANI

Of Ponca City, represents the Ninth senatorial district in the upper house of the State Legislature, and is one of the most prominent of the able men whose worth and merit have graced the history of Oklahoma. He is a contribution to the professional, business and official life of the state from the Osage Nation, and was born at Kansas City, Missouri, September 3, 1860, his father being John Soldani, a Frenchman who died at the mouth of the Kaw river during the infancy of his son Sylvester. He had married a woman of the Osage tribe. John Soldani is believed to have been a Canadian Frenchman, and of his two sons Anthony Godance, the younger, is a man of means and high standing in Kay County and the Osage Nation.

In 1871 the Osages took possession of their new home in the Indian Territory, and it was at this time that Sylvester J. Soldani was brought hither by his guardian and began his life in Oklahoma. His patrimony as a member of the tribe educated him, his school days having been passed in the Osage Mission in Kansas and in the government schools of the nation at Pawhuska. Familiarizing himself with the Osage code of laws and their court practices he began life as a lawyer and public official, and his connection with the profession brought him into prominence and he was elected prosecuting attorney of the nation and was afterward made a member of the National Council. He continued in his law business until the United States government abolished the Indian courts, and he afterward gave his time to his ranch and stock. He had engaged in the stock business at an early date, and has since continued it, adding practical farming thereto, and has now a valuable ranch in Osage County.

While in Osage politics Mr. Soldani belonged to the Progressives, and demands were made upon him to serve his people before the departments at Washington. His efforts there were directed toward securing more liberal treatment of the Indians in the matter of leases and in securing greater benefits for the service they rendered those outsiders who utilized their lands. In state politics he became a Democrat, and was named as one of the candidates for the Upper House at the statehood election, and defeated his Republican opponent in the district comprising Osage, Kay and Grant counties and took part in the deliberations of the senate in the first and second sessions of the legislature. In both sessions he was chairman of the committee on military affairs, has also served on the committee on public buildings, taxation, revenue and agriculture, and state and county affairs, and took care of the interests of the "Ross Quarantine Bill" when it was reported from the House and followed it up to its passage and its becoming a law.

In February of 1884 Senator Soldani married in Winfield, Kansas, Miss Josephine Fronkier, an Osage, and their children are Agnes, Ida, Pearl, Louis, Myrtle and Emmert. Senator Soldani is a Knight of Pythias, and is recognized throughout the state as a man of ability and force.


ROBERT F. NIX

An esteemed and highly respected resident of Vinita, is closely identified with public affairs, being now county clerk of Craig County, a position which he is filling with ability and success. A native of Oklahoma, he was born February 15, 1874, in Delaware County, then Delaware district of the Cherokee Nation, a son of Robert K. Nix.

Robert K. Nix was born, in 1844, in Tennessee, but when young moved to Hunt County, Texas, where he lived a number of years. During the last two years of the Civil war he served in the Southern army as a member of a Texas regiment. Soon after the close of the conflict he came to the Cherokee country, and in the Delaware District married Sabrina Nidiffer, a Cherokee woman, a daughter of Isaac and Lucy (Arthur) Nidiffer, and he is now prosperously employed in agricultural pursuits in Centralia. Nine children have been born to him and his wife, as follows: Mrs. Martha McGee, of Miami, Oklahoma; Robert F., the subject of this sketch; John S., living in Florida; Sarah E., of Vinita; James 0.; Frank E.; Maud, wife of Otto Nail; William I.; and George F. The five last mentioned all reside in or near Centralia.

Brought up on a farm Robert F. Nix received especially good educational advantages as a boy and youth, attending the Cherokee National Male Seminary, and subsequently taking a business course in the Northern Indiana Normal School at Valparaiso. He afterwards taught school a few years in the Saline District, Cherokee Nation, and in his native district continuing his professional work until his marriage, when he turned his attention to agricultural pursuits, taking his allotment near Centralia. His land, lying in township twenty-six, range eighteen, is located in one of the most attractive and desirable communities in the county, being the center of substantial farm improvements.

When nominations for the office of county clerk of Craig County were in order Mr. Nix entered the race, in which there were five entries, won the nomination of the Democratic party, and was elected by a majority of two hundred and one votes, this race marking his entrance into political circles. He was a Downing supporter as a Cherokee, but manifested no desire for political office during the Indian regime. Taking his office with statehood, Mr. Nix has since devoted his attention most faithfully to the performance of the duties devolving upon his in his official capacity, his time being taken up with the business on hand during the daytime, while his evenings are reserved for his family. He belongs to neither lodge or a church, preferring to spend his time of leisure with his wife and children.

Mr. Nix married in December, 1902, Sophronia Fields, a daughter of Timothy Fields, a Cherokee, who married Laura Hampton, a white lady. Three children have blessed the union of Mr. and Mrs. Nix, namely: Roger F., Grace Lee and Robert Percy.


GEORGE H. BRETT

One of the first merchants of Ponca, a successful business man. president of the Farmers' State Bank, and ex-member of the Oklahoma Territorial Council-this is George H. Brett. He came into the state with the famous run that opened the Cherokee Strip in September. 1893, entering at a point near Orlando. Oklahoma, and hoping to locate a tract of good land near Perry. Failing, however, to find a desirable place for settlement there, he came up to Ponca City on the following day, and from that time to the present he has figured prominently in the affairs of the town.

George H. Brett was born at Portsmouth. Ohio, July 30, 1860. The family moved to Newport, Kentucky, in 1802. and he was educated in the University of Kentucky, where he made a specialty of engineering. After completing his course in the university, he entered the employ of the Chicago. Rock Island & Pacific Railway, with which he remained for a period of seven years. Ho started west with the company's extensions from St. Joseph, Missouri. That was in 1880. He followed the work until the southern line was in operation to Ft. Worth and the western line to Colorado Springs and Denver. Then he came to Oklahoma.

During the first year of his residence here he was employed as civil engineer on the line of the Oklahoma Central Railroad. The next year he took advantage of the opportunity which offered to engage in mercantile business. With a capital stock of $2,500, he became a member of the firm of Sullivan & Brett, which opened up a stock of implements and buggies on the lot where Mr. Brett has since erected his new store room. Since 1895 he has been the sole proprietor of the business, and its growth has kept pace with the growth and development of the town and surrounding country. In the meantime, with the passage of years and the new demands of the country, other business matters have come along to enlist the attention of Mr. Brett. He was one of the organizers of the Farmers' National Bank, which has since become the Farmers' State Bank, of which he is president. Also he is president of the Ponca Gas and Mineral Company, a corporation which is developing the Ponca gas field and serving the city with fuel. At this writing he is chairman of the Ponca Board of Education, of which he has been a member nearly all of his residence here. From time to time he has made investments in land and stock. He has extensive farming interests in Kay County, and he is largely interested in the sheep industry, in both of which he has met with signal success. His stock range lies in the Osage country and forms no small part of his complex business.

In the early territorial days Mr. Brett, as a Republican, became identified with the politics of Oklahoma, and he is still one of the leaders of his party in both county and state affairs. He is Kay County's member of the Republican State Central Committee, and at this writing is being urged for the office of chairman of the committee. He was elected to and served as a member of the Territorial Council. While a member of that body he was influential in securing the old law on duties and compensation for county surveyors, which is still in force, and he served as chairman of the Quarantine Committee.

Mr. Brett's grandfather, James Brett, was an Englishman by birth. He was the father of two sons, George W. and Moses, and a daughter, who became the wife of the Rev. John Warwick, a Baptist minister. James
Brett throughout his life followed the occupation of an iron worker, as also did his son, George W., the latter's active life having been spent in the steel mills of Knoxville, Tennessee; Pittsburg, Pennsylvania; Cincinnati, Ohio; and Newport, Kentucky. George W. Brett was born in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, in 1825, and is now living retired near Fort Thomas, Kentucky. He married Miss Cornelia Poston, who was born in Virginia in 1825, and who moved with her parents, in 1833, to Kentucky. Their children are Mary, wife of Henry Harrison, of Fitzgerald, Georgia; Dr. F. E. Brett, of Cincinnati, Ohio; Lizzie, wife of Freeman Egee, of Hill City, Kansas; Villah, of Newport. Kentucky; and George H., the subject of this review. George H. Brett married, June 15, 1890, at Manhattan, Kansas, Miss Eleanor Thayer, daughter of Albert and Ellen, nee Perry, Thayer. Mr. Thayer went to Kansas from Boston, Massachusetts. Mr. and Mrs. Brett have four children: George Harold, Ellen, Ruth and Albert, and their home on South Fifth street, Ponca, is one of the most attractive in the city, showing by both its exterior surroundings and its interior appointments the refinement and good taste of the owners.

Mr. Brett belongs to the Canton in Oddfellowship, and is a Modern Woodman and a Master Mason.


J. HARVEY DODSON

Deputy County Clerk of Sequoyah County, was born in Cooke County, Texas, March 11, 1878, but was reared mainly in Arkansas, which has been the home of the family for the greater part of a century. His education was obtained at first in country schools and then in the high school at Porter, Arkansas, and before he had reached his majority had begun teaching school. For six years he was a teacher in Crawford County, Arkansas, and taught one term in the Uniontown high school. It was as an educator that he first became identified with Oklahoma, coming to the Cherokee nation in 1906, and teaching in what is now Sequoyah County. Two years later he became deputy county clerk under H. B. Clark. He is also a member of the County Board of Education, and was the first justice of the peace for Hanson township.

Mr. Dodson is a Master Mason, an Odd Fellow (also belonging to the auxiliary and is vice grand of his lodge), and is past consul of the Woodmen of the World. He and his family are members of the Missionary Baptist church and he is a deacon. He married, October 12, 1902, at Winslow, Arkansas, Miss Elnora Kennedy. She was born April 2, 1885, she and Walter, Lavada and Ethel being the four children of C. C. and Rowena (Marbut) Kennedy. There are three children in the Dodson family: Aubrey K., born March 3, 1905, John H., April 16, 1907 and Lawton Powers, December 23, 1909. Mrs. Dodson is a member of the Rebekah Degree and the Degree of Honor, being a past Noble Grand in the former.

The Dodson family history, so far as it can be traced by the Oklahoma representative of the name, begins with great-grandfather George W. Dodson, who was a Primitive Baptist preacher, living in South Carolina and Georgia, and who married Elizabeth Fagan, a half-blood Cherokee.

The grandfather, John M. Dodson, was born in Habersham County, Georgia, March 10, 1814, was educated for the profession of medicine, and locating in Arkansas about 1849 practiced medicine for a number of years, and died near Mountain View, in November, 1889. He was a Democrat, and a slave owner before the war. His wife, whose maiden name was Elizabeth Warden, was born on the ocean en route to the United States from Ireland, and she died in Franklin County, Alabama, in 1846. Their children were: William, who died during the war in the military prison at Alton, Illinois; Robert, of Stone County, Arkansas; John (see below); and Elizabeth, who died unmarried.

John Dodson, the father, was born in Franklin County, Alabama, December 22. 1842, but grew up in Stone County, Arkansas, and was educated in the common schools. In May, 1861, he enlisted at Yellville in Captain Campbell's company of the Fourteenth Arkansas Infantry, commanded by Colonel Mitchell and afterwards by Colonel Eli Dodson, who was for several terms a member of the Legislature from Marion County, Arkansas. After the battle of Pea Ridge he was transferred to the service east of the Mississippi, was in the operations at Corinth under Van Dorn and with General Joe Shelby at the time of surrender. In 1870 he settled in Cooke County, Texas, but returned to Arkansas in 1885 and reside* near Mountainburg. While in Texas he took some interest in politics and served as a county official. He is a member of the Methodist church, South. He first married Miss Martha Measles, whose children were John E., of Frisco, Arkansas, and Robert Sidney, of Hanson, Oklahoma. His second marriage was with Martha M. Oliver, whose father, Captain Alfred Oliver, commanded a Texas company in the Mexican war and was also a veteran of the Seminole war. The children of the second marriage are: J. Harvey; Cora, wife of Rev. Noah Johnson, of Crawford County, Arkansas; Arthur W., of Alma, Arkansas; Ernest F., a teacher near Muldrow, Oklahoma; Alice, wife of Harmon Johnson, of Crawford County, Arkansas; and Grover, Rosa and Roland, with their parents in Arkansas.


FRANK L. WORMINGTON. M. D.

Widely and favorably known as a skillful and popular physician and surgeon of Miami, Frank L. Wormington, M. D., has met with noteworthy success in his active career, becoming one of the leading members of the medical fraternity of Ottawa County. A son of John W. Wormington, Jr., he was born, July 16, 1875, in Newton County, Missouri.
John W. Wormington, Sr., the Doctor's grandfather, was a pioneer settler of Newton County, Missouri, migrating to that place from Tennessee. He married, and reared several children, as follows: John W., Jr.; James, deceased; William, who died in Muskogee, Oklahoma; Van, of Seattle, Washington; Mrs. Sue Plummer; Mrs. Angie Powers, of Neosho, Missouri.; and Mary, who married, and she died in Weatherford, Texas.
A life-long resident of Newton County, Missouri, John W. Worthington Jr., a well known mechanic, is still engaged in the carriage business which was there established many years ago by his father. As a young man he served in the Union army during the Civil war, enlisting in a regiment of Missouri volunteer infantry. He subsequently married Maggie Green, who was born in Sebastian County, Arkansas, where her father, Thomas Green, settled on leaving Tennessee, his native state. The children born of their union were Nora, wife of Charles Bailey, of Neosho, Missouri; Laura, wife of S. D. Brown, of Pierce City, Missouri; Glennie, wife of William Le Grand, of Oklahoma; Dr. Frank L., of this sketch; Donnia, wife of Roy Adams, of Wichita, Kansas; and Thomas M.
Obtaining his rudimentary education in the common schools of Newton County, Frank L. Wormington subsequently continued his studies at different educational institutions, spending a year at the academy in Rogers; one year at Scarrett College, in Neosho, Missouri; and a similar length of time in the Baptist College at Pierce City, Missouri. Entering then the University Medical College at Kansas City, Missouri, he was graduated from that institution in 1900, and in 1907, after a successful practice of his profession in Miami for seven years, Dr. Wormington took a post graduate course in the Post Graduate Medical School of New York City, further fitting himself for his professional work. The Doctor is a member of the County and the Oklahoma State Medical Societies, and in the American Medical Association, under territorial regime, he was vice-president of the Indian Territory Medical Society. He had the distinction of having witnessed operations by the noted surgeons, the Mayos of Rochester, Minnesota.
Dr. Wormington married, in Knoxville, Tennessee, January 1, 1902, Lucille Niceley, a sister of George W. Niceley, one of the leading business men of Miami, and their home, a modern cottage at the corner of Fourth and Nebraska streets, is a center of social activity. The Doctor also owns other city property in addition to his beautiful residence. He is a Democrat in politics, without official aspirations, and holds a place of prominence in Masonic circles, being a deacon of the Miami Blue Lodge and a thirty-second degree Scottish Rite Mason, belonging to McAlester Consistory.


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