CHARLES G. JONES
The financial panic of 1893 affected every section of the United States, though
some localities were in much better condition to endure such a stress than others. At that time Oklahoma City was
four years old. It had an energetic and enthusiastic population, and was progressing rapidly. But the people had
expended all their resources as fast as accumulated, for, like a growing boy, Oklahoma City required as much to
sustain it as it could produce. Without reserve capital, and the necessities of the case demanding' constant progress
along , all lines, Oklahoma City met what was probably the greatest crisis of its career in the hard times of the
nineties. Stagnation meant destruction. Older localities, after a period of retrenchment and sacrifice, might begin
again where they had left off; but this aspiring little city of a new territory had to keep up the advance, or
else quickly revert to its original condition, "under the guardianship of the coyote and jack rabbit."
It was a railroad that came to the rescue. That is, people generally speak of a railroad as preserving the present
metropolis from oblivion, though the railroad represented and was the exact effect of the foresight, planning and
persistent energy of one man. Nowadays it is common to attribute to railroads a major share of the industrial progress
of the nation; it is also quite generally understood at what a cost of money and concentrated energy the railroads
of the country have been built. But people fail, as a rule, to look behind the material institution of a railroad
for the personality that created it and bestowed its benefits on the world.
At that time, when it looked as though every business in Oklahoma City would go bankrupt, a successful mill-owner,
who had lived in the town since the second year of its existence and had become well known through his flour-mill
interests, was studying the map of Oklahoma and devising plans not only to save his city from the effects of the
panic but to make its prosperity permanent and unassailable. The railroads that had been built through this section
of the territory up to that time, while of unmistakable benefit, did not concentrate in such a manner that Oklahoma
City's position was conspicuous, and hardly the faintest promise of the present railroad center could then be conceived.
To the enterprising miller it seemed that a direct line of railroad to the northeast would result most advantageously
for the city. The Frisco, running southwest from St. Louis, was at that time completed to Sapulpa, Indian Territory,
but with no prospects of building further toward Oklahoma City. It can be imagined how seemingly impossible it
was to raise money for building western railroads in that period of unprecedented financial stress. But the difficulties
of the undertaking seemed to fascinate rather than daunt the chief promoter of the enterprise and his associates,
for, having organized the St. Louis and Oklahoma City Railroad Company, they raised money and promises of money,
procured franchises and right of way, and, working for progress while others were striving to prevent failure,
actually brought about the completion of a first class line of railroad from Oklahoma City to Sapulpa. connecting
with the Frisco. Later, it was purchased by the Frisco System and now forms one of the leading trunk lines out
of Oklahoma City.
It is generally conceded by well informed men of Oklahoma that the era of modern prosperity and growth to metropolitan
greatness dawned with the completion of this railroad. The city, which in 1895 had about five thousand people,
began to grow rapidly, overcoming the handicap of hard times more quickly than its neighbors, and soon distancing
them in the race to become the principal center of this commonwealth.
The credit for bringing about these results through the building of the railroad above described is universally
given to Hon. C. G. Jones, who at this writing has a reputation as business man, manufacturer, capitalist, railroad
builder, landowner and farmer, one of the chief promoters of Oklahoma City's greatness, its honored ex-mayor, and
one of Oklahoma's most distinguished citizens.
Mr. Jones' part in railroad building in Oklahoma did not stop with the completion of the St. Louis and Oklahoma
City line. In fact, the story of his career includes a large portion of the history of railroads in this part of
the country. Southwest of the city there still remained a large area of country undeveloped by railroad lines.
Accordingly he organized a company known as the Oklahoma City and Southwestern Railroad Company, which built a
railroad from Oklahoma City southwesterly to Quanah, Texas, passing through Chickasha, Lawton and Snyder and giving
railroad facilities to some of the finest agricultural and stock-raising land in the territory. The completion
of this road (in 1900) furthermore served to accelerate the already booming prosperity of his city. This line also
became a part of the Frisco System by purchase, and when Mr. Jones built a belt line around Oklahoma City this
too was soon absorbed in that great system. Before he had completed the Belt line he had commenced and later completed
the building of another railroad, running from Red Fork, I. T., westward through Pawnee. Perry. Enid, to Avard;
this is now a part of the Frisco lines. Mr. Jones has built altogether four railroads, and organized the company
which built a fifth - a line of seventy miles running from Chandler to Okmulgee.
Hon. Charles Gresham Jones, who, unlike many railroad builders, has been closely and personally identified with
the country which he has benefited by his undertakings, was born at Greenup, Cumberland County, Illinois, November
3, 1856. His parents, H. and Rebecca (Wall) Jones, were early settlers of Cumberland County, where his mother died
in 1860, and his father afterwards moving to Vernon County, Missouri, where he died in 1890. Mr. Jones was brought
up on a farm, trained in farming pursuits, is in the first instance a farmer, and at the present time, notwithstanding
the miles of railroad he has constructed and the large business and public affairs with which he has been connected,
takes great pride and gives much of his attention to his fine farm and stock. With such an education as the common
schools about Greenup afforded, he early began farming on his own account near that town, and also had a flour
mill in Greenup. Until he became a railroad builder, Mr. Jones was best known in Oklahoma City as a successful
Arriving in this city on January 31, 1890, only a few months after the great "rush," he established the
first flouring mill in the territory, building it at a well known location in the southern part of the city. At
that time there was no other flour mill within 120 miles. The business was conducted as the Jones Milling Company,
and Oklahomans remember with pride that the flour of this mill took first prize over all competitors at the World's
Fair in Chicago in 1893.
It was in appreciation of Mr. Jones' usefulness and activity as a citizen that he was twice chosen for mayor of
Oklahoma City, holding that office in 1896-7 and 1901-3. The progress of the city can be measured by a comparison
between these two terms, and, also, many of the municipal improvements which are the pride of the citizens originated
during one or other of these terms. At his first election, in April, 1896, the city had between five and six thousand
inhabitants, and the influence of the depressing times through which the country had been was still felt. His term
of mayor was for one year, the legislature passing an act reducing the terms of all mayors in the territory to
that period. During that time the council became organized on a basis which placed citizenship above partisanship,
and much was done for 'the permanent welfare of the city. On Mr. Jones' second election to mayoralty, in 190T,
the city had 10,000 population, but still lacked many important municipal conveniences; had very few brick or cement
walks, no paved streets and no street railway system. During his term, from 1901 to 1903, the city hall was built;
the water works were improved to a capacity adequate to furnish wholesome water for the population of that time;
also a number of storm and sanitary sewers were constructed.
In April, 1907, Mr. Jones was strongly urged by leading elements of the Republican Party to become a candidate
for governor of the new state, it being recognized that he was as strong a man as could possibly be found to make
the race and would be an able governor if elected. It was recalled that he had done more perhaps than any man in
private life to secure an enabling act, giving weeks of time and hundreds of dollars to bring about united action
of the two territories in asking for statehood. Mr. Jones, however, after considering the matter carefully, decided
that his business interests were such that he could not spare the time for a season of campaigning, hence was compelled
to decline the honor.
A member of the first Oklahoma legislature, he was a leader in its work, and in the session of 1891 became speaker
of the house. The civil records of the territory credit him with four years in the legislature, and most important
of all the things he did was his activity in behalf of statehood during the early stages of that movement. He was
elected a member of the first Oklahoma state legislature in 1907.
Mr. Jones' principal active business now is farming. He owns several fine farms in the rich valleys adjacent to
Oklahoma City and devotes much of his time to these. He is a man of indomitable will and energy, of ceaseless activity;
he is essentially a builder and developer, pioneering the way for new enterprises, and making business where none
existed before. The results of his enterprise are shown in the new railroads, the new towns, and new agricultural
lands opened for settlement by farmers and new avenues of prosperity opened to all.
Mr. Jones was married in Cumberland County, Illinois, to Miss Tina Stafford, who was born and reared in that county.
She died in Oklahoma City, May 3, 1901. Mr. Jones has one son, Luther Jones, 11 years old.
Became formally identified with Oklahoma City as a resident and practicing lawyer on July 4, 1890, is an authority
on the judicial history of Oklahoma, and he himself has made a record in the profession that includes him among
the distinguished lawyers of Oklahoma bar. He is a graduate of the law department of the University of Michigan,
class of 1868. Soon after he came to Kansas, locating in Linn County, on the eastern border of the state, and as
a lawyer he quickly gained recognition and a large practice, being located for a long number of years at Mound
City and Paola, and serving as County Attorney for eight years. Since locating in Oklahoma, in the year following
the opening, he has come to be regarded as one of the cleanest, ablest and most successful lawyers of the territorial
bar; "a man of the finest character and standing and scrupulously observant of the high ethical standards
of his profession," to quote a current opinion. In politics he has always been ranged in the Republican ranks.
While a friend of the statehood movement and a contender for its principal objects, he was outspoken of his convictions
during the constitutional convention of 1907 and was willing to go on record as vigorously opposing certain measures
that were included in the instrument of government framed by that convention.
Judge Douglas was born at Ann Arbor, Michigan, in 1841, son of George and Alma (McGregor) Douglas. The family is
historically prominent in many branches and in various parts of the world. The ancestry has the history of the
Douglas clan of Scotland, which has always distinguished itself, especially in military life, a recent proof of
their valor being that one hundred and eighty soldiers of the name of Douglas, members of the famous "Black
Watch," fell in one battle in the Boer war in South Africa. George Douglas, the father, who was a native of
Edinburgh, Scotland, came to America in the early twenties, and after spending a few years in New York in the newspaper
work in association with such men as George P. Morris and Horace Greeley, became one of the Michigan pioneers,
locating at Ann Arbor in 1826 or 1827.
Judge Douglas was a soldier before he was a lawyer, his military service being the first important experience of
his life. He enlisted at Ann Arbor on the breaking out of the war, in the First Michigan Cavalry, Custer's brigade,
and three of his brothers were also soldiers. His service in the army was divided almost equally between the cavalry
and infantry arms. Up till about the close of the war he was mostly with the Army of the Potomac in Maryland and
Virginia, but after the close of the war he continued in the army as a member of the First Michigan Cavalry, in
the western Indian service, which took him to Fort Benton on the upper Missouri river and to other northwestern
posts and for a short time he was encamped at Fort Douglas, Utah. He remained with the army until March 10, 1866,
and returning home he walked most of' the way across the plains.
Having received his early education in the public schools of Ann Arbor and the University of Michigan, he resumed
his college work and was graduated from the law department in 1868, so that he has been an active member of the
legal profession about forty years. In Masonry he is one of the most prominent members of the craft in the two
territories, being a past grand master of Oklahoma Territory and ex-past grand high priest of Oklahoma and Indian
Judge Douglas is president of the board of the Carnegie Library in Oklahoma City. His wife, now deceased, was the
originator and one of the founders of this institution, the memorial fountain in front of the library bearing her
name. An account of Mrs. Douglas' connection with the library will be found in another portion of this history.
She was also the founder of the Federation of Woman's Clubs of Oklahoma, and in many other ways was distinguished
for her acts of public beneficence, in educational, religious and social life. Mrs. Douglas died in Oklahoma City,
August 8, 1902. Born Sophia J. Coleman, at Ellicottville, Cattaraugus County, New York, she was reared partly at
Boone, Iowa, where the family moved, and where she and Judge Douglas were married in 1869. She received most of
her education at Ypsilanti, Michigan, and at Vassar College. She had one son, McGregor Douglas, of Oklahoma City.
With the first rush to Oklahoma in April, 1889, there came to Oklahoma City a man whose subsequent business activities
form an important chapter in the city's history. During the first months, while a city was taking shape on what
had been an uninhabited waste. Henry Overholser directed his capital and efforts into channels that can now, as
then, be estimated of direct benefit to the growing town. From April to July he erected the first two-story buildings
of Oklahoma City - six frame buildings on Grand avenue between Robinson and Harvey that stood until 1907, when
they were torn down to make room for costly improvements in that block in keeping with the metropolis of the new
state. He also constructed the Grand Avenue Hotel and other buildings on that avenue. Throughout the hard-times
period of 1893-96, when so many citizens became discouraged and left the city, he vigorously pushed his building
enterprises, and that part of Grand avenue where he centered his building operations has been a monument to his
pioneer work. One of his most notable achievements during this period was the promotion, in association with C.
G. Jones and others, of the railroad from Oklahoma City to Sapulpa (mentioned elsewhere), connecting and now a
part of the Frisco System. In face of the gloom of financial depression the money was raised and the road built,
and its coming to Oklahoma City proved its turning point into the high road of prosperity.
Mr. Overholser's connection with the public amusements of Oklahoma City is deserving of special and warm commendation.
In 1890 he built the pioneer play house of the city, and for years it remained the most pretentious theater in
the territory. The drop curtain was covered with advertisements, the seats were wooden chairs, and other arrangements
were in keeping. John Dillon opened the house. A few landscapes were afterwards painted on the curtain, and the
plays subsequently produced were really standard. In 1903 he erected the magnificent Overholser Opera House on
Grand avenue, at a cost of $108,000, which is pre-eminently the finest theater in the new state, and is one of
the most imposing structures of any kind in the southwest.
If a man never knows when he is beaten, then he is never conquered. The faculty of rebounding from adverse circumstances,
revising the campaign of life and passing hopefully on to new accomplishments is the saving grace among humanity;
is the element which is at the bottom of all progress. This is perhaps the leading trait in the strong character
of Henry Overholser-the persistent bravery which, while it takes account of retarding conditions, refuses to be
crushed, or even dragged down by them. Had it not been for the display of this heroic spirit in the gloomy period
of depression commencing with 1893, when so manv were deserting Oklahoma in panic and disgust, the city itself
might have been injured beyond recovery. Today he has his reward not only in the general gratitude and admiration
of its citizens, but in the increased prosperity which has come to him as a capitalist, a property owner and a
public benefactor. Mr. Overholser is a native of Montgomery County, Ohio, where he was reared and schooled. Removing
to Sullivan, Indiana, he there engaged in the mercantile business for thirteen years, going afterward to Colorado
and to Ashland, Wisconsin, where he conducted various real estate and building enterprises. He has made his home
continuously at Oklahoma City since the date of the town's founding. His large business and property interests
have absorbed the bulk of his time, although for six years he served with ability as county commissioner of Oklahoma
County. Although he is still active and indispensable in the furtherance of both private and public enterprises
of meritorious prominence, his enterprising son, Ed Overholser, has largely succeeded him in the management of
the opera house and his other extensive city interests.
JAMES MCKEE OWEN
Who is one of the only two men who have been continuously engaged in the real
estate business at Oklahoma City from the date of the founding of the town until the present, was one of a party
of six that drove to this site on April 22, 1889, from a point on the east line of Oklahoma in the Kickapoo Indian
reservation, having come to this point previous to the opening from Arkansas City; all six rode in a spring wagon,
theirs being more comfortable if possible than most of the other vehicles that were driven at hot pace into the
territory on that day. Immediately on his arrival Mr. Owen staked off some lots in the new town and began real
estate dealing, having outlasted all others who began that business with him except one.
In one branch of business, Mr. Owen has the distinction of being the very oldest. It will be recalled that, owing
to the fact that Oklahoma had no laws or regular government until the territorial organic act went into effect
May 14, 1890, it had not been possible previous to that time to record legal transfers of land. The very day the
act went into effect, however, Mr. Owen was ready to go into the abstract business, and actually took off the first
instrument recorded in Oklahoma County before the county itself had made a record of it. So Mr. Owen is the oldest
abstracter in the territory, and having been a branch of his business ever since, abstracting has become a very
large business with him. During the first year, however, owing to the fact that the instruments were so brief,
usually recording the first transfer, his abstract fees amounted to only $24.50.
This pioneer business man of Oklahoma City, whose interests and activities have broadened and increased in importance
with the growth of the city itself, was born in Red Bud, Randolph County, Illinois, in 1865. Randolph County had
Owens among its pioneers, Grandfather Owen having come there from Kentucky, in 1818, and Mr. Owen's father having
been born there. Reared on a farm and educated in the schools of Randolph County, Mr. Owen spent the first nineteen
years of his life in his native county and then came west to identify himself with the new country in 1884. During
the memorable boom days of southwestern Kansas, he located there and was engaged in the real estate business at
Ness City, being at Clifton most of the time. From there he transferred his business to Oklahoma, and has come
to rank among the most successful men of the city and state. His real estate operations have become more extended
with each year, and his interests include some of the best known business and capitalistic enterprises in the state.
He organized and is president of the Owen and Welsh Company, Incorporated, the business of which is devoted exclusively
to abstracting and city real estate. He has been a member of the Chamber of Commerce since its organization and
with the exception of a short period, has been a director therein continuously, since. He is also secretary and
treasurer of the Security Office Building. He is president of and principal stockholder in the Rectigraph Company.
Then he has owned and promoted the sale and upbuilding of some of Oklahoma City's most valuable and attractive
properties, having assisted in carrying out some of the largest deals that have been made. He is a director of
the American National Bank, is vice-president of the Oklahoma City Building and Loan Association, is a director
in the Oklahoma City Street Railway Company, and is interested financially in other enterprises. Being one of the
city's public spirited citizens he has given his time to public affairs, having served as a member of the city
school board two terms, and was also elected and served one term as register of deeds of Oklahoma County, an office
in which he was obviously fitted to give most efficient service. Mr. Owen's wife is Mrs. Maud (Calhoun) Owen, a
native of Iowa. They have four children, Myrtle E., Earl R., Fay E. and Gertrude E.
FREDERICK A. GROSS
The Auditorium, at the corner of California and Walker streets, which was completed early in 1907, is probably
the most useful of the recent additions to the public and business architecture of Oklahoma City, and has already
brought the city fame as a gathering place for large conventions and public meetings. This building is doing more
even than the hotels toward making Oklahoma City the "Convention city" of the new state. Besides being
an institution of great public value to the city, the Auditorium has a personal interest in that it is a monument
to the public spirit and skill of its builder, Frederick A. Gross, whose ability as an architect is known through
numerous other large structures.
As in other cities, the subject of building a convention hall had for a long time been agitated in Oklahoma City,
and several attempts had been made to raise the money by public subscription. The movement was unsuccessful until
Mr. Gross undertook the building entirely on his own responsibility, and expended $43,000 in erecting the building,
of which he is the sole owner. The origin of the building is a matter of interest. A few years ago, while the Rev.
Sam Jones was holding one of his meetings in a down-town building, Mr. Gross was present and was especially impressed
by the incapacity of the hall to contain the vast numbers that desired admittance, and he then and there resolved
that when Mr. Jones returned to Oklahoma City he should find a hall large enough so that the work of the great
evangelist might not be limited to those fortunate enough to gain entrance to the insufficient quarters then provided.
Mr. Jones died soon afterward, but the work of building was already under way, and the completed structure has
been put to splendid use in numerous other ways. Besides having great utility for the purposes intended, the hall
is also built along good architectural lines, and is an ornament and source of pride to the growing city. With
its numerous exits, the hall can be emptied of a large audience within a few minutes.
The builder and owner of the Auditorium has been identified with this city since 1903. Coming here at a time when
the modern city was at the beginning of its growth, he entered at once into the spirit and activities of the period,
and has contributed largely to the modern metropolitan features of the city. Visitors to Oklahoma City are especially
impressed with the size, permanence and architectural excellence of the buildings in the business district. This
is the exterior of the city, and that which first catches the attention of strangers, and often forms the principal
basis of their judgment. Certainly, no small part of Oklahoma City's standing in the outside world is due to the
architectural qualities displayed in its principal buildings. It is often stated that the magnificent new Oklahoma
county courthouse, which was completed in 1906, marked the era of artistic improvement in the architecture and
appearance of public buildings in the city.
In addition to the reputation achieved through building the courthouse and the Auditorium, Mr. Gross has also been
the contractor and builder of nearly all the large modern structures erected in Oklahoma City in the past five
years. Among them may be mentioned, the Gross, Gloyd and Hale building on West Main street near the Santa Fe Railroad,
the new Bass and Harbour building, the Zieglar building, the new seven-story fireproof building of the Pioneer
Telephone Company at the corner of Third and Broadway, the first fireproof structure in the state.
Mr. Gross is a native of Berlin, Germany, born in 1864. His education in German schools was followed by an apprenticeship
in the trade of carpenter, which he learned in the thorough manner of German artisans. In 1882, when eighteen,
he came alone to America, and for the following three years was a journeyman carpenter in La Crosse, Wisconsin.
He afterward began the contracting business in that city on his own account, and conducted a successful business
there until his removal to Oklahoma City in 1903. His business is conducted under the name, F. A. Gross Construction
Company, of which he is president. This firm does the largest business of its kind in the new state. Mr. Gross
is a director in the Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce, and actively interested in promoting the welfare of his
city. Mr. Gross married, at La Crosse, Miss Mary Gruber, who was a native of Milwaukee. They have three children.
Alma, William and Orlando.
Concerning the character and intentions of the Oklahoma "boomers" or "sooners," emphatic testimony
in their behalf is offered by Mr. Asa Jones, now a wealthy property owner and business man of Oklahoma City, but
who at the time of the opening was a deputy United States marshal, in service preceding and during the opening
and organization of the territory. Although all of Indian Territory was then infested by villainous cut-throats
and desperadoes of all classes whose presence was a constant menace to all property, and law-abiding citizens,
Mr. Jones is positive in his statement that the lawlessness was confined to this class, and that it is absolutely
false to impute such a character to the boomers as a class - meaning by them the homeseekers who, under the leadership
of Captains Payne, Couch and others, had repeatedly tried to establish themselves on lands in the territory, in
the honest belief that these lands were public lands and under the laws were properly subject to homesteading and
Mr. Jones was appointed deputy marshal in January, 1889, under W. C. Jones, of Iola, Kansas. On coming into country
which was soon to be opened to settlement, he found these boomers, under Captain Couch and other leaders, scattered
all up and down the two forks of the Canadian rivers and along the Cimarron, hundreds of them camped out. From
reports that had been sent broadcast Mr. Jones says he expected to find these boomers a lawless set, but only a
short acquaintance revealed them to be, in the great majority, sober, honest, industrious and law-abiding, who
earnestly and hopefully looked forward to receiving homes in the new territory and sincerely believed in their
right to get homesteads here under the federal laws governing' the taking up of homesteads on all public lands.
Convinced of their honesty, Mr. Jones was one of the few federal officials who did not molest the boomers but instead
extended them his aid and sympathy. A cruel injustice and irreparable wrong was committed, in his opinion, by the
federal court decision that subsequently deprived these people of their expected rights as homesteaders and blasted
their cherished hopes for homes for themselves and children. The spirit of the law at least, they had not violated,
and it is a severe example of the irony of fate, working overtime in this the most democratic of commonwealths,
that these pioneers to whom is due the credit for the final openings of Oklahoma to settlement, have themselves
been left homeless. With great sincerity and earnestness Mr. Jones portrays the conditions existing before the
opening-the machinations of congressional cliques in collusion with the cattle barons to prevent the opening of
Oklahoma, and the cruelties and hardships inflicted upon the boomers by the soldiers at the instigation of those
interests. It is a cause dear to his heart that some substantial reward should be given the few remaining pioneer
boomers, most of whom are poor, or if that is impracticable, to see that they receive from this and future generations
the proper credit for their honesty of purpose and their deserving efforts to open the country whose resources
have been exploited and enjoyed by those who followed in the wake of the "sooners."
Mr. Jones, whose personal testimony on a very interesting and complex question of Oklahoma history is given above,
was born in Grundy County, Illinois, December 10, 1852, son of Thomas and Elizabeth (Fuller) Jones. His paternal
ancestors were Virginians, his father being one of the early settlers of Illinois. Thomas Jones' mother was a Farnam,
descended from Captain Farnam of the Revolutionary war. The mother of Asa Jones was from Ontario County, New York,
being the daughter of Captain R. J. Fuller of the war of 1812. His parents moving to Ford County, Illinois, Asa
Jones was reared on a farm there from the age of six, and received excellent educational advantages, at the Grand
Prairie Seminary in Onarga, Illinois, and at the University of Michigan, where he was graduated in law with the
class of 1877. Beginning practice at Piper City, Illinois, in 1878, he remained there about a year, then lived
about the same time in Graham county, Kansas, and moved to Bonanza, Colorado, where in addition to practicing law
he acquired mining interests and did mining surveying and engineering. For a time he was government surveyor at
Fort Pierre, Dakota, and from there returned to Piper City and was married in 1884 to Miss Flora J. Asay of that
city. After this happy event he returned to Kansas and began the practice of law at Iola, where he was living at
the time of his appointment as deputy marshal. In June, 1880, when the excitement of the opening had died down
and settled conditions were beginning to prevail, he resigned his position and entered the practice of law at Oklahoma
City, where he is now one of the oldest members of the local bar. At the opening he had made homestead entry No.
8 in the city, where the Emerson School now stands, which claim he subsequently lost by reason of being in the
county at the time of the opening. In later years he bought a home place on West Fifth street, his present home,
which, with the Emerson school and other valuable residence property, forms a part of his original claim, now almost
in the heart of the city. In 1896 Mr. Jones was elected judge of the probate court of Oklahoma County, and continued
in the office, a successful administrator, by re-election until 1901. He is now retired from the active practice
of law devoting his attention to his extensive property interests in Oklahoma City. He is to be mentioned among
the men who have been foremost in the upbuilding of this city. Besides the ownership of much residence property,
he owns business property valued at a hundred thousand dollars. Mr. and Mrs. Jones have three children, Nellie,
Joseph and Stella. Nellie married Luther Jenkins of Oklahoma City.
It is not surprising, when the varied and cosmopolitan character of the Oklahoma
pioneers is considered, that among those who made the run on April 22, 1889, and by night had pitched camp on the
site of the present metropolis, should be numbered some professional men, lawyers, doctors, dentists, and even
ministers. If the history of the medical profession is to begin with that opening day, one of the first names to
be mentioned must be that of Dr. Delos Walker, of Oklahoma City. He took part in the rush because of the novelty
and excitement of the thing rather than with an intention to settle, but something in the enthusiasm and excitement
and the promise of future opportunities that marked those first days was a lure that he could not resist, and his
decision to remain made him one of the first citizens of Oklahoma City and one of its first physicians. He has
lived here ever since, and if an exact classification of his activities were made his name and services would be
recorded not alone in the history of medicine but also in the record of all the movements - ethical, educational
and reformatory - inaugurated for the improvement of public and private morals and the advancement of civilization
and enlightenment within the sphere of his influence. His practical efforts for public education in Oklahoma City
must not be forgotten. He helped organize the first public school and became the first president of the school
board of Oklahoma City. For five years he was health superintendent of Oklahoma County, and was the first president
of the Board of Health of Oklahoma City, holding that office five years. He was also one of the organizers and
the first president of the Oklahoma Medical Society. At the present writing Dr. Walker is president of the association
of Oklahoma pioneers known as the "89'ers."
Dr. Walker was born in Crawford County, Pennsylvania, October 19, 1837, and was reared and educated in that locality,
his literary training being received mainly at Conneautville Academy. His parents were William and Sally (Fisher)
Walker, the former a native of Washington county, who brought his family to Anderson county, Kansas, in 1866. The
grandfather, also a native of Washington County, Pennsylvania, served in the early Indian wars in Ohio and Indiana
under General St. Clair.
Dr. Walker's early years were spent on a farm, but in 1858 he took up the study of medicine at Conneautville with
Dr. James L. Dunn. Three years later his studies conflicted with his patriotism, and on April 22, 1861, he enlisted
at Conneautville as orderly sergeant in Company B, McLean's regiment. In 1862, after his first muster out, he matriculated
in the medical department of the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor. But again, soon after, he left his studies
to join the army, this time as captain of Company B, 137th Pennsylvania Volunteers, and led his company at the
battles of South Mountain, Antietam, Chancellorsville, and others in Maryland and Virginia. In 1863 he was commissioned
major of his regiment. Returning to the University of Michigan, he was graduated from the medical department with
the degree of M. D. in the class of 1864. For a short time he practiced at Medina, Michigan, and then, the war
not having ended, he returned to Pennsylvania to become surgeon for the 20th provost district. At Harrisburg he
co-operated with Adjutant General Russell and organized eight companies which he took to Roanoke Island and there
formed the 103d Pennsylvania Infantry. He served as lieutenant colonel of this regiment during the spring and early
summer of 1865, until after the close of the war. During the years immediately following the war he practiced at
Conneautville and also at Union City in his native state, being surgeon for the Philadelphia and Erie Railroad
at the latter place. In 1867 he joined his parents in Anderson County, Kansas, and was engaged in a successful
practice at Greeley, that county, until the opening of Oklahoma, when, almost by chance, he became a permanent
and highly regarded citizen of the territory. While in (sic) Dr. Walker married Miss Emma sic) Renfield, and they
had two children. Baud Walker died at the age of nine (sic) and the son, Dr. Harry Walker, graduated from Bellevue
Hospital Medical College and after practicing several years with his father, is now located at Pawhuska, (sic)