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The History of Oklahoma Biographies Vol. II
by Luther B. Hill
Page 2

George W. Stephenson

HE is one of the city's first workers who speak with vivid recollection of the incidents and historical facts of the early days, and he has many interesting anecdotes to relate of the early years. While he has been identified with business here since the inception of the town, he has also made what may be regarded as a unique record in local politics. In April, 1892, he was elected justice of the peace, and continued in that office by re-election until November 15, 1904. Oklahoma political life has heretofore not been characterized by long tenure of office, and Mr. Stephenson's term is unusually long. During two years of this time he served as police judge. He is one of the prominent Democrats of the city.

Mr. Stephenson was born at Marshall, Searcy County, Arkansas, in 1858, a son of James W. and Margaret (Leslie) Stephenson. Grandfather Andrew Stephenson was a cousin of George Stephenson, the perfecter of the locomotive. The grandfather made his first settlement in South Carolina, thence removed to Tennessee, and thence to Arkansas, where he established his family in pioneer times. Tennessee was the home of the mother's family. Reared on a farm in Searcy County, and educated in the common schools there, George W. Stephenson left home at the age of twenty-two, and for a short while sojourned in some of the old Indian Territory towns, such as Tahlequah, Muskogee and Okmulgee, but finally engaged in the grocery business at Montague, Montague County, in northern Texas. During the eighties he was often employed on the various railroads then being constructed through Indian Territory, and was living at Ardmore when Oklahoma was opened. The date of his arrival in Oklahoma City is April 25, 1889, and he permanently located his family here on the first of May following. For seventeen years his residence was in what was formerly called South Town, at 426 West Chickasaw street. He sold this place in 1907. He is owner of some valuable property in the city, and carries on an extensive business in loans and insurance. He is a member of the Masonic, Odd Fellow and Eagles fraternal organizations. While living in Texas Mr. Stephenson married Miss Martha Anderson. They have three children: Ellis, Kem, and Jack, and their niece, Pearl Treadwell, also is a member of the home circle.


Wheeler Park has become one of the most valuable and attractive metropolitan features of Oklahoma City. The development of a park system has come to be considered a municipal necessity in every city that has attained or expects to attain to greatness as a commercial center. In many older cities parks have been made only at a late period in civic growth, but more modern and advanced ideas of municipal improvement contemplate the setting aside of park areas almost at the beginning. Beautiful Wheeler Park, in the southern part of the city on the north bank of the Canadian river, contains about forty acres, and since the donation of the land it has been gradually improved until it is now the city's chief pleasure and recreation place.

The donor of the park was the late James B. Wheeler, one of the city's distinguished pioneers, a prominent banker and public spirited citizen. He gave the land to the city in 1903, and though it was provided in the deed of gift that the city should expend five thousand dollars a year on improvement and maintenance, Mr. Wheeler himself made many of the improvements that brought the park up to its present standard. For some years he was a member of the board of park commissioners, and thus had an official as well as private interest in beautifying his city.

Wheeler Park is a part of the original Wheeler homestead, containing about 98 acres, which Mr. Wheeler obtained from the original claimants of the tract, buying their right to the location and receiving a deed from the government, which has never been transferred except to the city. The Wheeler homestead which the late banker built on this place at 903 South Walker Street is now occupied by his daughter, Mrs. Nettie Chapell. The Wheeler estate has become very valuable with the growth of Oklahoma City, and is one of the handsomest large properties in the city.

The death of Mr. Wheeler on December 12, 1906, removed one of the strongest and most influential personalities from the life of this city. Eighty years of life had given him time in which to accomplish much more than usually comes within the scope of an individual's efforts, and to those who knew him and who understood the influence of his career there are many other monuments to his life and character than the one with which the general public associate his name. Besides being a pioneer of Oklahoma he belonged to a family of pioneers who had advanced to the front of settlement at an earlier period of national history. He was born in West Winfield, Herkimer County, New York, in 1826, and at the age of eight years accompanied his parents to the then territory of Michigan, locating first at Detroit, then at Clarkston, and later taking up land and becoming actual pioneer settlers of Shiawasee County. In the latter county James B. Wheeler was reared and began his business career in banking. At the time of his death he was probably the oldest banker in length of service in the territory of Oklahoma, having experienced all the various phases of finance during half a century. For a long number of years he was a banker at Corunna, the county seat of Shiawasee County, besides being interested in other enterprises of that vicinity. At Corunna he married Miss Celia Hawkins, also a native of New York, whose father had laid out the townsite and was one of the founders of Corunna. Mrs. Wheeler's death occurred in 1901.

When Oklahoma was thrown open to settlement Mr. Wheeler came in on the opening day, not with the intention of becoming a permanent resident, but merely for purposes of inspection. He, like many others, was so favorably impressed that he decided to make his home here, and was almost at once identified with the banking affairs of the new country. He helped to organize one of the first banks, the Bank of Oklahoma City, which was later merged with the Bank of Commerce and that in turn with the present American National Bank, of which he became president, and on his retirement was succeeded by his son, James H. Wheeler. Since its establishment the American National Bank has been one of the strongest financial institutions of Oklahoma. Mr. and Mrs. Wheeler were the parents of three ch1ldren who are still living. They were all born at Corunna. James H. Wheeler, formerly president of the American National Bank, is now a resident of Kansas City; W. E. Wheeler's home is in Telluride, Colorado; and Mrs. Chapell is the only representative of the family in Oklahoma City.


Of that little group of financiers who, immediately on arriving at the Oklahoma City site, April 22, 1889, organized the Bank of Oklahoma City, the best known and remembered is Thomas M. Richardson, whose career as a banker and lumberman has identified him very closely and prominently with the city since it was founded on that eventful day. Mr. Richardson was elected vice-president of the new bank, and a complete set of officers were chosen and organization completed before a building had been started for the accommodation of this important institution. It is recalled that while his partners were struggling to get the lumber unloaded for the building, Mr. Richardson accepted at least one check for deposit in the bank. As soon as the charter could be secured under the national banking act, the Bank of Oklahoma City became the First National Bank, of which Mr. Richardson later became president. Among others who were associated in the founding of this concern was Mr. George T. Reynolds, one of the noted cattle men of Texas and now a prominent banker and business man of Fort Worth.

The first National Bank building, which still stands as one of the most substantial business edifices in Oklahoma City, was the pioneer of its kind, being erected in 1890-91. The lot originally purchased by Mr. Richardson for the bank building was the one now occupied by the Bump jewelry store, on Broadway, near Main. It cost him $300. A few days later, on May 1, 1889, when he bought the adjoining lot (now occupied by the Baker pharmacy), the same number of front feet cost $1,800. A few more days passed, and when he bought the next lot, at the corner of Main Street, which was decided upon as the site for the new building, he paid the then fancy price of $2500. That fall and winter the bank building was erected, and when Mr. Richardson sold this property in I900 he obtained $34,000 for it. In erecting this building at that early day Mr. Richardson displayed unusual judgment and good faith in the future of the city. It is three stories in height, fronting 85 feet on Broadway and 135 feet on Main Street, built of brick and stone, having a handsome and substantial appearance, and for many years has been a credit to the city and a monument to Mr. Richardson's early enterprise and public spirit.

The same remarks apply to the beautiful residence erected by Mr. Richardson in those early days, at the corner of Sixth and Robinson streets, which has ever since remained his home; it was erected in 1890. For a number of years, or until the city reached metropolitan proportions, it was the finest residence property in Oklahoma, and is yet numbered among the best. It was built by Mr. Richardson with the best possible material and without stint of expense, and for a long time was one of the show places of the city. Its architecture combines the French renaissance and the Queen Anne styles; it is three stories high, surmounted by a Roman tower, from which in the earlier years, before the city was built up and spread out, the town of Edmond to the north could be seen, as well as a majestic view of all the surrounding country. In this residence are twenty-three rooms finished variously in cherry, cypress and oak, and its entire construction and artistic appearance, both exterior and interior, are a fine tribute to Mr. Richardson's generosity and thoughtful care of the comfort and pleasure of his family.

As in its earliest period of development, Mr. Richardson has also in the city's more recent growth and marvelous development taken an active part, and among other notable enterprises he was one of the promoters of and is now the owner of the splendid Baltimore office building on the corner of Grand avenue and Harvey Street.

Before Mr. Richardson came to Oklahoma he had been a resident of Texas for many years, a large part of the time engaged in the lumber business on an extensive scale. He was born at Okolona, Chickasaw County, Mississippi, in 1848, and was reared and educated there and in the schools of Aberdeen. In 1874 he removed to Texas, locating at Ennis, where he became engaged successfully in business enterprises. Later he removed to Albany, in the same state, where he went into the lumber business and became one of the founders and incorporators of the M. T. Jones Lumber Company, one of the largest in the southwest and a concern of national reputation.

On coming to Oklahoma, and after getting his banking enterprise started here, he began establishing lumber yards throughout the territory, and with this industry he is still actively identified. He is the president and the principle owner of the Western Lumber Company, with a line of lumber yards throughout Oklahoma and Texas. A business man of large affairs, Mr. Richardson is also a citizen of influence in the public and political life of the new state. During the Cleveland administration he was the national Democratic committeeman from Oklahoma, and at that time was prominently mentioned for appointment as governor of the territory. His career as a banker during the hard times following the panic of 1893 was 0f strictest rectitude; his bank easily withstood the drain of the panic days, offering money freely and in plenty to its depositors, while other financial institutions were compelled to restrict payment or close up entirely.

With the present great prosperity of Oklahoma, its remarkable growth and widespread activities in every field of useful endeavor, Oklahoma takes a much higher position upon becoming a state than any other territory heretofore admitted; and for these things the present generation owes more than it can realize to the indomitable spirit and courage of such city builders as Mr. Richardson, who, sticking to it through the darker years of its early struggling for a foothold, should now be given the chief credit for one of the most splendid achievements of modern history.

Mr. Richardson's wife was before her marriage Miss Helen M. Brown, who, like himself, was born and reared in Okolona, Mississippi. They have eight children, as follows: D. C. Richardson, a prominent lumberman of Shreveport, Louisiana, being at the head of a two-million dollar corporation; Thomas M. Richardson, Jr., of Stamford, Texas; D. B. Richardson, a miller of Sayre, in western Oklahoma and mayor of that town; Will C. Richardson, vice-president and general manager of the Western Lumber Company at Elk City, Oklahoma; Paul Richardson. The daughters are: Mrs. R. B. Young of Fort Worth, Texas; Mrs. Geo. E. Woodward of McLean, Texas; Mrs. John E. DuMars of Oklahoma City.


A good many examples may be found in Oklahoma today of men, now prosperous and influential in business and affairs, who came to the territory practically penniless. For the most part these successful men had sufficient foresight to secure a firm situation in the country before it had begun to develop and when it required little capital to become landowners, and then, with the rapid development of the country and the phenomenal increase in values, they have benefited and prospered out of all proportion to the original investment. The rewards of the pioneer in America have justly been great, and few can be found to begrudge the affluence that succeeds a period of selfdenial and toil and hardship, such as the first settlers in every land have had to experience.

It is an interesting story that describes the career of George W. Carrico, now one of Oklahoma City's prominent property owners, and is an historical illustration of the statements just made. When he came to Oklahoma City a few days after the opening in 1889 he had only enough money for current expenses, and yet such was his confidence in the country and his desire to become identified with its future progress, that he borrowed four hundred dollars and bought from the original owner the claim to the northwest quarter of section 14, town 11, range 3. This piece of land now adjoins Oklahoma City on the southeast, and it is sufficient proof of the sure and conservative business ability of Mr. Carrico to mention that in the spring of 1907 he sold a part of this tract for $20,000, and still retains a part that is worth at least that much more. The tract lies about one mile east of Capitol Hill, and is being developed as a subdivision.

Between the day when he borrowed a few hundred dollars to buy this land and the day when he could sell part of it for a small fortune, lies a period of remarkable productivity and improvement. On the land still stands a one-room house, 12 by 16. Mr. Carrico built this as his first home, and in this house his only child was born, so that much sentiment attaches to the place for him and is a reminder of humble yet honest beginnings. During the first year of his residence here he plowed up the sod on his land. Even to accomplish this he had to resort to an unusual expedient. He borrowed yoke cattle to do the plowing, and to pay for the rental of the animals he worked them in the fields of their owner one day and then plowed his own land the next. Five years of farming, with such energy and enterprise as this incident indicates, gave him a sufficient start to engage modestly in other enterprises. He had already formed some business relations with C. G. Jones, having helped the latter in the construction of the first flour mill in Oklahoma City, and also helped prepare the flour that took the first prize at the Chicago World's Fair. Another step upward in his early career in Oklahoma was his appointment, in 1890, as enrolling clerk for the first territorial legislature, an honor that came to him unsolicited and as a tribute to his ability to do the work satisfactorily. Through Mr. Jones he becomes connected with some of the companies that were organized to build the various new railroads in Oklahoma and which after their completion were absorbed by the Frisco System. He served as auditor of the Oklahoma City and Western Railroad Company, which built the line from Oklahoma City to Quanah, Texas, and was secretary of the Arkansas Valley and Western Railroad, built from Red Fork, Indian Territory to Avard, Oklahoma, which was completed in 1903. He was also secretary of the Arkansas Valley Townsite Company, which owned the townsites along the latter line. In recent years Mr. Carrico has devoted his time mainly to the management of his properties and to the general real estate business. His career may be taken as one point in proof that strict honesty and the conscientious performance of duties are not without generous reward. In December, 1906, he was appointed a county commissioner.

Before coming to Oklahoma, Mr. Carrico had spent his active life mainly in Illinois and Kansas. He was born in Vermillion County, Illinois, near Danville, in 1851, his father having located in that county in 1835. The paternal ancestry is French, members of the family having come from France to Maryland to help Lafayette during the Revolution. From their first abode near Harper's Ferry, one branch of the name went south and the other to the west. Mr. Carrico was reared in Vermilion County and lived there until he was thirty years old, being a school teacher for several years of that time. About 1881 he moved to Marysville, Kansas, and likewise taught school there, living in that state until the Oklahoma opening. Mr. Carrico's wife is Mrs. Hattie (Trosper) Carrico. Their daughter, Miss Mabel, is an accomplished violinist, and well known in the musical circles of the city.


The Citizens Bank of Edmond, which has a state charter, was incorporated in 1900, by some influential citizens of Edmond and vicinity. It is a flourishing and successful institution, and is thoroughly identified with the growth and development of the town and surrounding country. Its capital stock is $25,000 and it does a general banking business.

The vice-president of the Citizens Bank and one of the original incorporators is J. Q. Adamson, a pioneer of Oklahoma and one of the successful stockmen and business men of Oklahoma County. On coming to the county and territory in 1889, he first located in Seward Township, Logan County, and was president of the first school board in that township but later took up a homestead that he still owns, at Waterloo, in Edmond Township, Oklahoma County. Farming and' stock-raising, to which was later added fruit-growing, were the productive lines of industry on this farm. Mr. Adamson has known Oklahoma both during the thin and the fat years, and as a farmer he bore the hardships common to other Oklahomans during the droughts and the hard times of the early nineties. He persisted when many gave up, and as a result had a substantial basis of success by the time prosperity reached this part of the country. From farming and stock-raising he extended his business interests to the town of Edmond, and several years ago established his home here, mainly for the purpose of giving his children the advantage of the splendid educational facilities of the town. Besides raising stock he does an extensive business in buying and shipping, and twenty-two years' active connection with the live-stock industry makes him one of the leaders in the business. He is a member of the Live Stock Breeders Association. He has taken premiums both in 1907 and 1908 at the Fort Worth, Texas, Fat Stock Exhibit in the swine department. He was the first to ship high-grade cattle in to Oklahoma. Eight head were shipped October 1889, and this proved to be a success. In 1886, registered cattle were purchased in Iowa and with later additions from Kansas the breeding of registered cattle continued till April 2, 1906, when the entire herd was disposed of.

Mr. Adamson was born in Henry County, Indiana, in 1848. Both he and his wife belong to pioneer families of Indiana. His father, of Scotch descent, came to eastern Indiana from North Carolina in 1828, being part of the large migration from that and neighboring states into Indiana during the early decades of the nineteenth century. The father's integrity and honesty of character are well proved in a monument of his early indust1y which still stands at his old home in Richmond. Indiana.-a bridge across the Whitewater which he helped construct in 1835 and which at last accounts was still in service.
For the first sixteen years of his life, Mr. Adamson lived on the home farm in Henry County, and then became one of the boy soldiers of the Union. In 1864 he enlisted in Wayne County, Indiana, in the One Hundred and Forty-Seventh Indiana Infantry, and served throughout the campaign in the Shenandoah Valley in the Army of the Middle West. In 1870 he married Miss Sarah J. Mills, a native of Randolph County, Indiana, where her parents settled from North Carolina. Two years after their marriage they moved west, to Cass County, Iowa, where they bought land for fifteen dollars an acre, and began farming and stock-raising. In his town and township of Edmond, Mr. Adamson has been an active citizen as well as business man, having served as township trustee six years and a member of the town council. During this time much of the new roads were opened up and bridged. He is an Odd Fellow, and he and wife are members of the Presbyterian Church. He was a member of the building committee to build the Presbyterian Church at Waterloo in 1894 and also a member of the building committee to erect the new Presbyterian church of Edmond during 1897. They are parents of the following children: Larrean A., Mrs. Nora Whistler, Loring D., Mrs. Lizzie Denton, Jesse, Goldie B., Harry.


The development of institutions and interests in a comparatively new country constitutes a more conclusive test of individual strength of character and personal initiative than participation in the progress of settled communities. In the latter numerous opportunities are already created and it only requires intelligence and clear perception to seize them and turn them into the channels of personal profit. In the newer country the opportunities are not only few, but often have to be created: so that there is a constant demand upon originality, enterprise, self-sacrifice and acumen in all its forms. Thus it is that such characters as John F. Warren, of Oklahoma City, should be given generous and high credit for their successful participation in the furtherance of the development of the western country with which they have cast their lot.

Mr. Warren stands now as one of the leading factors in the business, financial and agricultural development of Oklahoma, the center of his broad operations and large interests being the city. He is in the most useful period of a strong man's life, having been born near Rensselaer, Jasper County, Indiana, in the year 1859. He was reared and educated in that county and attended school for a brief period at the State University, Bloomington. Engaged in farming until he was twenty-five years of age, he taught six years in his native county, making such a record that he was elected county superintendent and served for ten years in that capacity. He was also deputy county auditor for three years, also served as treasurer of the school board, and has been connected in some capacity with public life ever since he has been of age.

In 1901, Mr. Warren located in Oklahoma City as one of the founders of the Atkinson, Warren & Henley Company, farm loans. The firm is composed of Indiana people throughout, and its marked success in business is therefore somewhat a matter of state pride. The business proved to be the basis of the Farmers' State Bank, of Oklahoma City, established in 1903, with Mr. Warren as one of its organizers and its vice president. He has since become president of the institution. With a capital stock of $50,000, its business has been conducted along conservative lines and, without undue exploitation, its scope has been expanded and its prestige raised to a high plane. Through its farm loan department, especially, has the Atkinson, Warren & Henley Company been one of the most potent forces in this section in the opening of large bodies of rich new lands in Oklahoma, and in the consequent growth and development of the country. Mr. Warren has had especial charge of farm loans, and his experience and efficiency in this capacity have been large influences in the growth of a business which has bestowed such important public benefits.

Upon locating in Oklahoma City, Mr. Warren became actively interested in its public affairs, giving earnest and effective assistance to all movements and enterprises which have redounded to the marvelous growth of the city for the past six years. He is alderman from the fifth ward and president of the city council, and as such has given largely of his time and influence in the interest of wise municipal improvements. He is a typical man of modern affairs, giving his best strength of mind and body to the progress and uplifting of one of the most promising sections of the southwest.
Mr. Warren married Miss Amanda W. Osborne in 1885, and they have two children: Bernice, who married L. M. Farnam; and Carrie, who married C. H. Phelps.
Berea, Cuyahoga County, Ohio


He has lived in Oklahoma City from that memorable day in 1889. Between the time when it was a city of tents and the present when it is a city of brick and stone, he has experienced both the prosperous and the hard times, but his loyalty to his adopted town has never wavered and he has come out successfully. He has participated in other openings of reservations since coming to the territory, notably the one at Lawton, where he drew Claim No. 97, which he proved up and still owns. In the real estate business and as a citizen he has continually been one of the most prominent and public-spirited in promoting the growth and development of Oklahoma City. To honor him properly in a history of Oklahoma City, it is necessary to include him among that group of men who have been most active in the movement which within a few years has made this one of the most prosperous cities in the country and a remarkable example of city building.

Mr. Holzapfel was born at Berea, Cuyahoga County, Ohio, in 1856, his parents, Nicholas and Sabina (Noll) Holzapfel, both being natives of Germany and locating in Cuyahoga county soon after coming to America. In 1858 the family moved to Kansas, and belong among the pioneers of that state, which was still in the throes of contention and factious strife over the slavery question. From Baldwin, their first location, they moved to Anderson County in 1875; where the father, who had followed farming most of his life, died in 1891, and where the mother is still living. At Baldwin, Kansas, John Holzapfel was reared and received most of his education. For fifteen years before coming to Oklahoma he lived in Anderson County. Since reaching young manhood he has followed no other business than real estate and enterprises connected with that business.

He was married at Neodesha, Wilson County, Kansas, to Miss Luella Curnutt. They have one daughter, Ruth A.


The party from Anderson County, Kansas, who entered the territory on April 22, 1889, from the south line, consisted of about fifty prominent citizens, some of them from counties adjoining Anderson. This party was well organized for carrying out the definite plan they had decided upon. Among those mainly concern ed in perfecting and achieving the success of their plans were James H. McCartney, now a prominent real estate man of Oklahoma City, C. P. Walker and brother, Dr. Delos Walker, John Holzapfel, and others. Preliminary to the opening day rush two of these drove through the territory from north to south, starting from Arkansas City, and following the line of the Santa Fe Railroad as far as Purcell, Indian Territory, which was just south of the border of the proposed territory. On this trip they picked out the spot that is now Oklahoma City as the probable location of the best town in the new land, basing their judgment on its central location and its position in a rich valley, surrounded by the best agricultural land in the territory. Their plans were accordingly laid with the excellence of this site in mind.

On the morning of the day of the opening, which was to take place at high noon on Monday, Mr. McCartney and his associates (some of the original members had joined other parties to make the rush from different locations) chose as their starting place Jenning's Ford, twelve miles southwest of the proposed Oklahoma City. As a result of their previous reconnoitering this place had been selected as the nearest available point for starting, which it proved to be, being much nearer than Barrow's Ford and other places from which hundreds made the start. Without any undue haste, therefore, this party rode to the site of Oklahoma City, arriving at exactly one o'clock and nineteen minutes. With this as a fixed date in history, it may be accurately said that Mr. McCartney and his half dozen associates were the first settlers of Oklahoma City, which, at the time of their arrival, consisted of a little wooden station set in the midst of a vast expanse of tall grass in a virgin and unoccupied country. But before nightfall at least seven thousand persons had congregated in that locality, forming the "pioneer" population of the metropolis, heavily loaded trains on the Santa Fe having brought in the greater number.

Referring now to some particular facts in Mr. McCartney's experience here, it may be said that he was one of the original founders of the city, for it was his intention to take up a lot in the proposed new town rather than a quarter section of farm land. Accordingly he staked out the lot on Grand avenue, on which Canadian Block is built. This spot is now exceedingly valuable ground in the heart of the business district. When he looks about the flourishing city which has grown up in half a generation, it is very natural that he often falls into a reminiscent mood and tells of many of the stirring events which made the founding of the city an occasion notable and unique in the world's history. He has been identified with the real estate business, as owner, buyer and seller, and his success has fluctuated with the ups and downs that mark the city's history, and at the present time can justly take great pride in being one of the pioneer citizens in one of the best cities in the country. For four years he served in the city council as alderman from the first ward, and he was also honored with the position of chairman of the townsite board under the Cleveland administration. Mr. McCartney is a native of Jacksonville, Illinois, where he was reared and educated. Moving to Kansas in 1870, he soon afterwards made a more extensive western trip, to Colorado and California, in which latter state he remained a year. In 1876, after his return to Anderson County, Kansas, he engaged in the sheep business near the town of Colony, and for thirteen years was a successful sheep rancher and one of the representative citizens of Anderson County until the Oklahoma opening. Mr. McCartney, in 1893, married Mrs. M. J. Sherman, formerly of Wichita, Kansas.
Geauga County, Ohio


Now the junior partner of the prominent real estate firm of Owen and Welsh, was assistant cashier of the old Citizens Bank when it was organized shortly after the founding of Oklahoma City. He arrived in the new town in May, only a few days after the opening of the territory to settlement, and with the late James Geary, who was president, and Lawson Gilbert, who became cashier, and others, he helped to organize the bank, which opened for business about May 15 in a hastily constructed frame building on the corner of Main and Broadway, where the American National Bank, in the Lee Hotel block, is now located. The country being new and everybody practically a stranger, banking required unusual care and discrimination, and for many months not much business could be transacted with safety except to receive deposits and issue exchange.

Before coming to Oklahoma City, Mr. Welsh was assistant postmaster and money order clerk at Newton, Kansas, having lived in that state for six years. He was born in Geauga County, Ohio, in 1866, his parents, who were of English and Irish ancestry, having been old settlers of that county, the paternal grandfather settling there after spending part of his life as sea captain. Mr. Welsh was reared on a farm, and had come west to Newton, Kansas, in 1883, being first employed in the bridge and building department of the Santa Fe Railroad, then in the post office until he moved to Oklahoma. After remaining with the Citizens Bank nearly two years, which was followed by a brief sojourn in Texas, he engaged in the real estate business in Oklahoma City. In December, 1893, the firm of Owen and Welsh was organized, and on the subsequent incorporation of this firm as the Owen and Welsh Company, Mr. Welsh became and has continued as vice-president. This is the oldest abstracting firm in the city (as told in a sketch of Mr. Owen), and as a general loan and financial agency it has become a very important factor in the financial affairs of Oklahoma City. Some of the largest deals in city property in recent years have been affected through the medium of this firm's efforts. Mr. Welsh is an ex-alderman of the second ward, and also served one term on the city school board. - He was married in Oklahoma City to Miss Annie L. Robertson, a native of Kentucky. They have a son, Francis R. Welsh.
Bourbon County, Kentucky


Some of the largest business enterprises that the city now boasts had their origin in a humble beginning during the first days of the town's existence. The story of several banks and other institutions have already shown this. But a more picturesque history could hardly be imagined than that of the beginning of the O. K. Transfer Company, now a prosperous business and one of the largest of the kind in Oklahoma.

On April 22, 1889, there arrived on the site of Oklahoma City, about the middle of the afternoon, a party of settlers who had made the run from the east line, from a point about two miles northeast of where Choctaw City now stands. At the beginning there were about 125 men in this party, and they had chosen as their captain, George W. R. Chinn. Mr., Chinn brought a wagon and team, and within an hour after his arrival in the seething chaos of the new town had recognized and seized a business opportunity that promised quick reward and was a means of valuable service to other settlers. On the side of his wagon he painted the letters "O. K." and at once soliciting patronage as a drayman, in the course of the same afternoon he drove his wagon to the Santa Fe depot and hauled a load of goods out into town. This was the first transfer business formally established in Oklahoma City, and out of this modest start has grown the business of today, still known under the original title of O. K. Transfer Company. The company was incorporated by Mr. J. H. Chinn, a son of the Mr. Chinn of this review, in 1898, since which time Mr. Chinn devoted his attention to property interests.

Besides being an 89'er and one of the first business men and the first auctioneer in Oklahoma City, which calling he followed for a brief period only, Mr. Chinn has been identified with public affairs and other interests of the city. The lots which he staked off in the course of his first day's residence here, he still owns, having received his title from the government, and on one of them is located his home, 420 West Frisco Avenue. Before the consolidation of the town of South Oklahoma City with the city proper, he was twice elected an alderman of the former, and has since served as alderman from the third ward. Twice, by appointment, he has been chief of police of Oklahoma City.

This well known pioneer citizen was born in Bourbon County, Kentucky, March 19, 1843. He was reared on a farm and attended school in Adams County, Illinois, where his parents located when he was a child. The family were living in Knox county, Missouri, at the time the war broke out, and Mr. Chinn, then eighteen years of age, enlisted (at Sulphur Springs) on Governor Jackson's first call for state troops for the Confederate service, and later was mustered into Company F, Second Missouri, of the Confederate troops. His service during the war was mostly in Missouri, and largely under General Price, being with that noted Confederate leader at the battle of Lexington, TN scouting duty, which was the larger part of his service, he made a record for efficiency that received high praise from his commanding officers. From the close of the war until the opening of Oklahoma in 1889, Mr. Chinn lived in Platte County, Missouri.

His service during the war has brought him prominence among the United Confederate Veterans in Oklahoma. He holds the commission as brigadier general of the First Brigade, Oklahoma Division, and is second in command of the Department of Oklahoma. Mr. Chinn's wife is Hattie M. (Davis) Chinn. Their oldest son, John Lewis, born in Platte County, is now deceased. Their five living children are: Mrs. Hattie Lee Barkis, George, Mrs. Lillie M. Pelcher, James H. (of the firm of Snodgrass and Chinn, Oklahoma City), and Miss Ollie H.

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