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Oklahoma


The History of Oklahoma Biographies Vol. II
by Luther B. Hill
Page 3

I. M. PUTNAM

In a city where development and growth have been so rapid as in Oklahoma City during the last decade, it is natural that some individuals should keep pace with the general progress, and make some remarkable success in business. Hardly a citizen could be found who had not in some way been benefited by the prosperity of Oklahoma City, but it is here desired to cite the example of a young man whose rapid rise in the business world is considered remarkable even among a multitude of successes.

When Israel Mercer Putnam came to Oklahoma City in 1901, having just graduated from the law department of the University of Georgia, he had as little capital as the new lawyer is usually said to possess, and he looked forward to only the average success of a lawyer in a western town. But while he was getting his first cases during the summer of 1901, he was also learning to appreciate the potential greatness of this city. Some farsighted visions must have convinced him that Oklahoma City was on the eve of great growth. His conviction was sufficiently strong to cause him to invest his first fees in town lots. He followed the familiar method of "turning over" his investments and re-investing as quickly as possible, and being successful from the start, it was a matter of only a few years until I. M. Putnam became the leading individual real estate operator in Oklahoma City, and succeeded in acquiring a fortune while really in the beginning of his career. The plan on which he has conducted his operations consisted in buying acreage property, subdividing it into lots, and promoting the sale of this subdivision by making it one of the most attractive residence tracts in the city. He has done this repeatedly, and the lands platted and sold by him are now considered among the choicest parts of Oklahoma City. The widest, longest, most popular and most beautiful boulevard in the city or state has been laid out by him through his properties. Putnam Heights, Military Park, Epworth View, part of the University Place additions. Lakeside addition, and other valuable residence property, all lying in the northwest section of the city, have been put on sale and built up by the agency of Mr. Putnam's company, known as Putnam Company, through which the real estate business is conducted.

Mr. Putnam has accomplished his rapid rise to affluence through his own initiative and business enterprise, unaided by outside help or influence. He seems to be a natural leader in business, and had he followed his original intention of practicing law, the business world would have lost a very valuable factor. His individual success has not been accomplished without corresponding benefit to his home city, to the up-building of which he is public-spiritedly devoted. He has been especially interested in education and has made several large donations for the establishment and location of schools and colleges. He is prominent in the activities of the Chamber of Commerce, the Real Estate Exchange and is one of the directors of the 150,000 Club. For two years he was a director of the Chamber of Commerce. In addition to his other interests he has acquired a large amount of Oklahoma agricultural lands. He has utilized his early training on the farm and developed this land with a modern farmer's enthusiasm, and is ranked among the most extensive farmers of his section of the state. His farm interests have naturally evolved his active support in another important movement connected with rural development, and that is, the good roads movement. The statistical proofs published from time to time are hardly necessary to show the intimate connection between good roads and farmers' prosperity, and it is now a question of devising practical means to build roads by which the country can be brought into convenient communication with the city markets. Mr. Putnam has taken up the solution of this problem in the State Legislature and in its local application, with enthusiasm, and is one of the strongest advocates of improved roads.

I. M. Putnam is much younger than the extent of his achievements would indicate. He was born on a farm in Early County, Georgia, December 29, 1873, son of Jesse Mercer and Zenia (Lofton) Putnam, and descended on his father's side from the Putnams of Revolutionary War fame. His great-grandfather, Israel Henry Putman, moved from Massachusetts to Georgia about 1800, where he established a plantation. His grandfather, James Madison Putnam, was born on this plantation in Putnam County, Georgia, in 1810. Until he was fifteen, I. M. Putnam lived on a farm in his native county, and in Pike and Coweta counties of the same state, and while a boy enjoyed only meager educational advantages, confined to a one-room country school. His parents both died in his eleventh year and he was left without the means to pay for an education. At the age of fifteen he went to work in Chattanooga, Tennessee, in the insurance office of his cousin, Mr. L. D. Drewry. After one year he quit this position to become a news agent on the trains. He worked at this and other vocations for near two years and then again took a position with his cousin at Chattanooga. To this relative he owes much encouragement and assistance and feels greatly indebted. Determined to have an education he worked with this in view and finally succeeded, but it was by many sacrifices, hard work in summer vacations and the years when in as well out of school. In 1899 he graduated from Vanderbilt University at Nashville. The next year was spent at newspaper work out of school and then he took up the study of law at the University of Georgia, where he was graduated prepared to practice law, with the class of 1901. He came immediately to Oklahoma City.

In 1906 Mr. Putnam married, at Shawnee, Miss Harriet Cockrell, a native of Nevada, Missouri, and later of Springfield, that state. In September, 1907, Mr. Putnam was elected, on the Democratic ticket, a representative to the first state legislature of Oklahoma and was one of the most energetic and hard working members.


JOSEPH HUCKINS

Enterprise and progression are strong elements in prosperity, and they were found strongly blended in the life so recently ended. During fifty years of his life time Joseph Huckins was identified with hotel life, and in that time was connected with the old Parker House of Boston, the Green's of Philadelphia and the Ballard of Richmond. About 1860 he went to the old Lindell Hotel, St. Louis, later was associated with the Southern of that city, and for some years was Potter Palmer's right hand man in the Palmer House, Chicago.

It was about twenty-five years ago that Mr. Huckins opened the old Marquand Hotel, at Texarkana, Arkansas, which was destroyed by fire in the summer of 1886, and in March, 1887, the present Huckins House was opened, and through his identification with this well known house he became one of the most widely known hotel men in the southwest. In April of 1906 he purchased from Oscar G. Lee the Lee Hotel in Oklahoma City and thus began a career of usefulness in this city which ended with his death before the completion of the Annex. The Lee was the first large and modern hotel in Oklahoma, and for many years has remained the most noted hostelry in the state, continuing on its way to fame and prominence as the Lee Huckins Hotel. Late in the year of 1907, Mr. Huckins began the erection of a handsome seven-story fire proof annex to the hotel, which was completed under his son's management in 1908, making the Lee-Huckins the largest hotel in the new state. This house is intimately identified with the growth and progress of Oklahoma City particularly as the favorite headquarters of numerous conventions and public gatherings of note.

The old five-story portion of the hotel was burned the night of August 15, 1908, and while no lives were lost the building was a total loss. It was the most spectacular and most disastrous fire, in property lost, during the history of Oklahoma City.

The late Joseph Huckins was born at Effingham Falls, New Hampshire, August 17, 1836, and as above stated during fifty years of his life time was identified with the hotel business, but on Saturday of March the 14th, 1908, his beneficent and useful life was ended in death, dying at the North Louisiana Sanitarium at Shreveport, Louisiana, following an operation for peritonitis, and the funeral services were held at Texarkana, Arkansas, on the following Sunday. He is survived by his wife, who before her marriage was Miss Augusta Stock of St. Louis, and several children. His sons have followed his worthy example and are rapidly winning for themselves names and places in the front rank of the business men of the southwest as hotel men and proprietors. The Hotel Caddo of Shreveport, Louisiana, is managed by Leon W. Huckins, and Paul G. Huckins is the manager of the Huckins House, Texarkana, both hostelries of fame and prominence.

His son and namesake, Joseph Huckins, Jr., is the manager of the Lee-Huckins Hotel at Oklahoma City. He was born in St. Louis, Missouri, in 1870, and has been continuously in the hotel business, principally associated with his father, for twenty-two years. He established his residence in Oklahoma City in 1906 as the manager of the Lee-Huckins, in association with his father, and since the latter's death he has had entire charge of the family's interest in this city. He was married at Texarkana, Arkansas, to Miss Olive Mills, of that city, and their two children are Joseph 3d and Glory.


JOHN THREADGILL

The class of men who rule the business and civic activities of Oklahoma is well typified in the person of John Threadgill of Oklahoma City. He has been identified with the territory and state since 1895, and in half a dozen departments of affairs his connection has been of sufficient importance to cause his name to receive prominent mention. Mr. Threadgill was formerly a practicing physician, followed his profession for many years in the state of Texas, and. on coming to the Oklahoma country came into prominence as the organizer of the incorporated company that obtained the contract from the territorial government for the care of the insane. June 15, 1895, he formally opened the asylum at Norman, in Cleveland County, and continued as its proprietor until June 1, 1901, when he sold his interests and transferred his activities to Oklahoma City. Here he gave his attention to the promotion and control of some enterprises that are considered among the substantial interests of the commercial metropolis of the state. Real estate investment has been a field of particular interest to him, and along with his professional activities he has promoted the upbuilding of the city in some notable ways. As owner of the splendid hotel property that bears his name, and which is probably the best known hotel in the state, and as organizer and incorporator of the Commercial National Bank, his name deserves special consideration in the history of the city's business affairs.

In public life, Dr. Threadgill has taken an active part wherever he has long been a resident. A veteran of the Civil War on the Confederate side, he is now commander of the Oklahoma Division of the Confederate Veterans Association. In politics a Republican, he served during the territorial regime as a member of the board of regents of the normal schools, and his interest in education is extended to the city schools, having been a member of the Oklahoma City board of education four years, and for two years its president. In 1903 he was sent to the lower house as representative of his district, and in 1905 became a member of the territorial council. He was author of the bill, which became a law, providing measures for the prevention of bribery of public officials. Under the new state government he is a member of the nonpartisan board of seven members, one of which is the governor, created by the legislature, having for its object the promotion of the election of United States senators by the popular vote of the people. A public-spirited citizen, a man of substantial means, and of recognized influence in his city and state, Dr. Threadgill is one of the men with whom resides the responsibility for the direction and development of the affairs of the state of Oklahoma.

Dr. Threadgill is a southerner, having been born at Wadesboro, North Carolina, September 28, 1847. The Threadgill family is of English stock, founded in America during colonial times by three brothers of the name, who made settlement in what is now known as Anson County, North Carolina. The doctor's parents were James and Eliza (Paul) Threadgill, his father being a planter at Wadesboro. John Threadgill was educated for a professional career, receiving his schooling at the common schools of his native state. Dr. Threadgill married, in 1892, Miss Frances F. Falwell, daughter of Samuel Falwell, of Memphis, Tennessee. There are three children: Jennie E. is the wife of Dr. W. P. Salmon, of Oklahoma City: Frances is a student of Hardin College, Missouri; and John Falwell is the son. Mrs. Threadgill besides being of social prominence in the city, has twice been elected president of the Oklahoma Federation of Women's Clubs. She is a member of the Presbyterian Church.


THOMAS PEABODY MELLON

Truly a merchant prince of Oklahoma, and within less than ten years had established and built up a business in Oklahoma City that was a monument of commercial enterprise. The Mellon Company which succeeds to the business direction of the concern can do no more than continue the successful career of the business that was founded by Mr. Mellon. With a small fund of capital accumulated while in business at Temple, Texas, Mr. Mellon came to Oklahoma City in 1808, and opened a store with an assorted stock of novelties. He had the capacity for developing and expanding business, and in keeping with the rapid progress of the city he gradually extended his trade and his store accommodations until the Mellon dry goods house has attained a reputation with shoppers in all the country tributary to this city. Mr. Mellon's death occurred December 27, 1907, and was lamented as the passing of a strong and influential figure in the commercial affairs of Oklahoma City.

At the time of his death, Mr. Mellon had little more than begun to enjoy his success, being one of the younger business men of the city. He was born September 16, 1869, a son of Samuel and Angeline (Maund) Mellon. He comes of a family of merchants, his father having been a prominent business man at Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, New Orleans, and at Beaumont, Texas.

Mr. Mellon married, June 28, 1902, Miss Mary E. Phelps. They had one daughter, Mary E. Mrs. Mellon was born at St. Louis, Missouri, April 15, 1878, daughter of Thomas H. and Alice (Lilly) Phelps. Her father for thirty years was connected with the Frisco Railroad. Mrs. Mellon was educated at the Brantford Young Ladies Seminary, at Brantford, Ontario, graduating with the class of 1898. Since her husband's death she has continued an active interest in his business, and is one of the incorporators and an officer and a director in the new company formed to carry on the store. Mrs. Mellon formerly resided at Springfield, Missouri, and since coming to Oklahoma City has identified herself actively with its social affairs. She is a member of the Five O'Clock Tea Club, and San Souci Literary Club, and the Chafing Dish Club.


WILLIAM C. BRISSEY

In Oklahoma City may be found numerous instances of what can be accomplished by enterprising real estate men in connection with a city that is rapidly expanding under the influences of natural growth. By the judicious exploitation of adjoining lands, the encouragement of transportation lines, the extension of business and residence districts, and by lively advertising at home and in distant states, the real estate men of Oklahoma City have taken a foremost part in the upbuilding which is so marked a feature of the city's history during the last decade and which is a subject for constant pride to the citizens.

Reference has been made to the choice residence sub-division known as Central Park, lying north of and adjoining the Guernsey addition. One of the syndicate of twelve men who have developed and sold this addition to home-builders was William C. Brissey, who during the past five years has established and built up one of the most profitable individual real estate businesses in the city. Besides the Central Park addition, he has promoted a number of the important real estate transactions of the city. Central Park was originally a tract of eighty acres of unimproved land, but is now divided into sixteen blocks and 720 lots, and is quickly being brought to the plane of improvement that characterizes the older portions of the city.

Mr. Brissey was born near Owenton, in Owen County, Kentucky, in 1863, and was reared and educated there. While a youth he located in Kansas, in business pursuits, but some time later he moved to Chicago and for four years was in the office of the Carey Lombard Lumber Company of that city. In 1893 this firm sent him to Edmond, in Oklahoma County, to represent the house at that place, where they had a branch lumber yard. For six years he had a successful business experience in Edmond in the lumber and hardware trade. He was twice elected town treasurer of Edmond. He came to Oklahoma City in 1902, and has taken an energetic part in the development of his city and state. At Edmond, Mr. Brissey married Miss Ora Trotter, who was a student of the normal school there. Her native state is Missouri. They have one son, Leland C.


JOHN S. KERFOOT
MARION M. KERFOOT

The marvelous development of the southwest is due to such men as the Kerfoot Brothers, whose indomitable energy and progressive spirit have overcome all obstacles and reached the goal of success. They allied their interests with those of the city of Oklahoma in 1901, they having in that year decided to enter the wholesale dry goods field, and for that purpose chose this city as their permanent location. John S. and M. M. Kerfoot, with Eugene Miller, organized the firm of Kerfoot, Miller & Company, dealers in wholesale dry goods, notions and furnishing goods, and the new home of this enterprise, a large four-story brick business block on Main street between Broadway and the Santa Fe Railroad, owned by the firm, is a splendid monument to their enterprise and public spirit, while their business has been one of the potent factors in making Oklahoma City the commercial and jobbing center of the new state of Oklahoma. They employ several traveling salesmen who thoroughly cover the field of the state and also northwestern Texas and New Mexico.

About the time this business was established at Oklahoma City in 1901, George H. Kerfoot, while still retaining a financial interest in the business here, went to Shawnee and individually established the Mammoth Department Store, which has grown into one of the largest and most notable mercantile establishments in the southwest. It is one of the show places of Shawnee, and is one of the principal factors in furthering the interests of the city. The Kerfoot Brothers are also large owners besides their immediate mercantile interests of valuable improved real estate in Oklahoma City and Shawnee. They are enterprising and generous in supporting all public-spirited movements.

Born in Elizabethtown, Kentucky, they were reared to mercantile pursuits and have always been engaged in this line of trade. After spending about four years in the northwest, beginning in 1885, they came into the new territory of Oklahoma on its opening day, April 22, 1889, and opened the first stores at Kingfisher and El Reno. The first of these to begin selling goods was the Kingfisher store, which was opened in a tent. They had bought "knock-down" material for store buildings, and these were erected at the two towns as soon as the brothers had time to do the work. They were practically the founders of the now flourishing city of El Reno, and in addition to building the first store there they also built the well remembered Kerfoot Hotel, which remained for some years the leading hostelry in the entire state of Oklahoma. The three brothers also built up a large and successful retail business at Kingfisher, but finally consolidated their mercantile interests at El Reno, where they remained until removing to Oklahoma City in 1901, and entering the wholesale field. The lives of the Kerfoot Brothers have been characterized by energy, perseverance and hard work, and to these principles they owe their success in life, while as citizens of the great state of Oklahoma they command the respect of all and enjoy the high honor of being conceded the acknowledged peers of wholesale mercantile dealers in the southwest.


PIONEER TELEPHONE COMPANY

Naturally, Oklahoma City has been a center for telephone development, especially since this city gradually gained pre-eminence as the commercial center of the territory and later of the new state.

It is said that within the corporate limits over 8,000 miles of telephone wires are now operated, and that fifty toll circuits connect the city with every part of the state. The city alone has nearly four thousand telephones in service. Both in its capacity as a great public utility and as a business institution, the Pioneer Telephone and Telegraph Company is one of the most important in the state. The new office building of the company in Oklahoma City is one of the largest and most modern in the new business district, and is in harmony with the importance of the institution for whose use it was built.

The Pioneer Telephone and Telegraph Company is associated with the Bell interests, but originated as an independent company. The first exchange in Oklahoma City was operated in 1.895, and the growth and extension of this means of communication in Oklahoma makes a record that is not less remarkable than the economic and business development of Oklahoma itself. By the close of the century only about three hundred telephones, so it is said, were in use in Oklahoma City, and only three toll lines reached the city. The man who has been most active as an organizer and developer of the telephone interests of Oklahoma is John M. Noble, at present vice-president and general manager of the Pioneer Company. A specialist in telephone construction and promotion, equipped by technical training and business experience in telephone and electrical engineering, he came to Oklahoma in 1898 and began the organization of independent telephone lines. He was the organizer of the Pioneer Telephone Company, which was the immediate predecessor of the present company, and which was later affiliated with the Bell interests.

The rapid development of the country and the remarkable Increased use of telephones, together, have made necessary several complete reorganizations of telephonic service and facilities, and even the present splendid equipment would soon become antiquated without constant improvement in keeping apace with the general growth of the country. As the present time the company maintains over 27,000 miles of telephone toll lines, and operates about a hundred exchanges in the principal towns and cities of Oklahoma. Many of the exchanges located in the different parts of the state have recently been rebuilt and re-equipped. Southwestern Oklahoma, in particular, has benefited from these changes, new exchanges and increased service having been furnished a number of towns in Caddo, Custer, Kiowa, Comanche and other counties of this section.

The principal officials of the Pioneer Telephone and Telegraph Company, all well known business men, are: E. D. Nims, president; John M. Noble, vice-president and general manager; E. E. Westervelt, secretary and treasurer; Arthur Wharton, auditor; and Henry E. Asp, general solicitor.

John M. Noble, whose executive abilities have become so well known in Oklahoma through his work as a telephone organizer, was born in Pana, Illinois, and is younger in years than his achievements in business would seem to indicate. He was reared in Kansas, to which state the family removed while he was a boy, and he was educated at the University at Lawrence, where he studied from 1887 to 1891, making a specialty of the technical courses which fitted him for his career in telephone engineering. He began telephone construction work as soon as he left college, and his interests have increased, been increasing each year until he now ranks as one of the leading telephone promoters and capitalists of the west.


DENNIS T. FLYNN

During eight of the seventeen years while Oklahoma existed as a territory, its chosen representative at the federal capital was Dennis T. Flynn. In the important relations of Congress and the territory in the period when Oklahoma's chief interests were under the guardianship of the national administration, Delegate Flynn was so persistently active and was so long the official spokesman for the territory that the record of his career contains in epitome the larger events and movements of Oklahoma's political history.

To the pioneers of Oklahoma probably 'the most vital problem pressing for solution during the nineties was that of "free homes." With the solution of this in a manner satisfactory to the settlers of Oklahoma, Mr. Flynn accomplished what may be regarded as his greatest public service for his territory. All citizens of the present generation also remember his efforts for the cause of statehood.

Actively identified with the Republican Party from the organization of Oklahoma Territory, Mr. Flynn was first signally honored when he was chosen in 1892 as delegate to Congress. Almost with the beginning of his term, the "free homes" issue led in importance, and it is a part of the history of Oklahoma to recite the circumstances and principal steps in the solution of the problem.

Under the old homestead law in effect at the time Oklahoma was opened in 1889, the domain was subject to settlement by homesteaders with the privilege of receiving free titles to quarter sections after a residence thereon for five years. Soon after the opening of old Oklahoma, treaties between the government and the Indian tribes who owned the land provided that twelve million acres, which were in reservations, should be subject to homestead entry with the proviso that the homesteader should live five years on his quarter section and in addition should pay one dollar to two and a half an acre for his land - one-half of this amount being payable two years after the entry was made, and the other half at the expiration of five years.

The first payments from the homesteaders of 1890, according to the treaty above referred to, were due in 1892, while Dennis Flynn was campaigning for election as delegate. Droughts and crop failures had borne heavily on the Oklahoma farmers. Obligations that now, in the era of industrial prosperity for the southwest, would hardly be noticed, at that time made a burden on the people, individually and collectively, so heavy that relief from it assumed first importance as a political issue. During his campaign Mr. Flynn promised to do his best to get the time of payment extended. He also stated his conviction that the settlers had been discriminated against and that they ought to have their lands without money payment. His attitude on this question had much to do with his election, and true to his promises, during the special session of Congress, called by President Cleveland in August, 1893, he introduced a bill for the extension of the time of payment on the Oklahoma lands. The secretary of interior, Mr. Hoke Smith, when the bills were referred to him, reported adversely on the extension of payments, nevertheless Congress passed it and the first efforts of Mr. Flynn for the relief of his fellow citizens succeeded. About the same time he introduced the "Free Homes" bill with which his name was so long associated - the first measure of the kind introduced in the American Congress since the passage of the original homestead measure of Galusha A. Grow. The bill received unmerited neglect, and was never reported out from the committee on public lands.

In the meantime, September 16, 1893, the six million acres comprising the Cherokee Strip were opened to settlement. The lands were disposed of under three classifications, geographically termed the eastern, middle and western. The settlers in the eastern division were to live five years on the land and in addition pay for the same two dollars and a half per acre; those in the middle division were to pay one dollar and a half an acre in addition to five years' residence, and those in the western section one dollar an acre. Being re-elected to the Fifty-Fourth Congress, which was Republican and presided over by Thomas B. Reed, Mr. Flynn again introduced his free homes bill and for the first time was appointed a member of the committee on public lands. This committee reported favorably on the bill, and having been allowed to come up for consideration before the house on March 17, 1896, the bill was passed under a suspension of rules. During the debate in the house on this bill, within the very hour of its passage, a decision was rendered by the Supreme Court which gave Greer County to Oklahoma, and the free homes bill was amended so as to include Greer County in its provisions. Congress adjourned its session for the summer without further action on the bill except that the senate committee on Indian affairs had given a favorable report, it being impossible to get a report from the senate public lands committee. In the meantime overzealous action on the part of the citizens of Greer County almost spoiled the chances of the free homes bill. Representatives from this former Texas County proposed to the administration at Washington and the committee on public lands that if their settlers were permitted to enter the 160 acres on which they had resided they would gladly pay the government one dollar per acre. During his absence this was accepted by a bill reported favorable by the committee on public lands. Mr. Flynn threw all his energy into opposition of such a measure, and finally succeeded in amending the bill in the house so that the settlers in Greer county who were already occupants of homesteads could have their original quarter sections free at the expiration of five years and also an adjoining 160 acres at one dollar per acre, without interest, payments to be made in five annual installments.

In 1896, being renominated by the Republicans for the third time delegate to the Fifty Fifth Congress, Mr. Flynn failed of election through the fusion of the Democratic and Populist forces in the territory. His opponent, J. Y. Callahan, not only promised to carry out the free homes program, but to legislate for free silver as well, and on this basis was chosen in the election of November, 1896. At the short session of 1896-97 Mr. Flynn was unable to secure decisive action on his bill, and his successor, Mr. Callahan, was equally unsuccessful in his efforts to get favorable action on the bill.

In 1898, six years after he had begun his campaign on the issue of free homes for the settlers, Mr. Flynn was returned to the Fifty Sixth Congress, and in the face of opposition from three-fourths of his colleagues in the public lands committee, re-introduced the free homes bill. In the meantime public opinion in various western states had been directed to the matter of free homes, with the result that instead of being a lone advocate for a measure of local importance in one territory, Mr. Flynn found himself reinforced by active aid from such states as Washington, Idaho, Oregon, Montana, Minnesota, and particularly North and South Dakota. The bill that had been drawn in the particular interests of Oklahoma was extended and made to embrace the public domain in general. At this point, after having led the fight alone for so long, Mr. Flynn placed the good of his constituents above personal pride, and at a caucus of the senators and representatives from the states whose settlers were being compelled to pay for Indian lands, he generously dropped the advocacy of his own bill and on his motion Frank Eddy of Minnesota was instructed to introduce a general free homes bill which would apply to all the Indian lands in the United States. The bill, under this authorship, passed the house, and finally the senate, and on May 17, 1900, was signed by President McKinley in the presence of all the senators and congressmen from the states interested. The bill involved a saving to settlers, in the states affected, a total of about sixty-five millions, in Oklahoma alone between sixteen and twenty million dollars being released for homesteaders. The president presented to Mr. Flynn the pen with which the bill was signed and Mr. Flynn in turn gave it to the Oklahoma Historical Society, in whose archives it is now a treasured relic. He introduced the first Statehood bill favorably reported in 1902, passed the lower house favorably, reported in Senate, but was filibustered against during the entire short session of 1903.

Dennis T. Flynn has been identified with Oklahoma from the date of its opening until the present, and has always held a position of leadership, in public life, in business and in his profession. He was born at Phoenixville, Pennsylvania, in 1862, was reared in Buffalo, New York, where he began the study of law, and in 1882 moved to Iowa and a little later to Kiowa, in southwestern Kansas, where he continued his law studies and was admitted to the bar in 1885. At the time of the Oklahoma opening, he was well equipped with a knowledge of the law, was familiar with real estate values, was interested in public affairs, and was eager to identify himself actively with the new territory. Accordingly he well merited the distinction that came to him in his appointment as the first postmaster of Guthrie, the appointment being made April 4, 1889, before Guthrie or any other town in Oklahoma had a real substantial existence. He arrived in Guthrie on the first train from the north, April 22, and on April 26, received telegraphic order (his commission not having arrived) to take possession of the office at once. Securing a tent, ten by fourteen, he began his work under this shelter, and was the executive upon whom devolved the difficult task of organizing a postal system in the capital city. A few months later a post office building was erected, and the regular routine has continued uninterrupted from that time to this. The Commercial block was completed in the fall of 1889, and' the post office was given quarters in that building. He was the first member of the first National Committee from Oklahoma, and served until the fall of 1892.

Mr. Flynn lived at Guthrie from 1880 until the fall of 1903, when he moved to Oklahoma City, forming a partnership with Mr. C. B. Ames in the practice of law, under the firm name of Flynn and Ames. Their practice has grown to large proportions and is one of the most profitable in the new state. As corporation lawyers, they represent the St. Louis and San Francisco Railway Company, for which company they are general solicitors for Oklahoma and Indian Territory. Mr. Flynn, assisted by Mr. Ames, has also become largely interested in extensive industrial enterprises in Oklahoma, particularly in the development of oil and gas properties. They reorganized the Oklahoma Gas and Electric Company from a capitalization of $300,000 to two million dollars, and more recently again reorganized it on a three million dollar basis. Mr. Flynn and associates were until recently the owners of the Shawnee Electric Light Company, which owned the lighting plant in that city. They are also part owners of the Fort Smith Traction, Light and Power Company, and of the Arkansas and Territorial Oil and Gas Company, which latter company supplies gas to Fort Smith. Early in 1907 they incorporated the Oklahoma Natural Gas Company, of which Mr. Flynn is president. This company is engaged in the task of laying four hundred miles of pipe mains from the natural gas fields of old Indian Territory to twenty-one towns in Oklahoma, including Oklahoma City. Mr. Flynn is also president of the Muskogee Gas and Electric Light Company. Mr. Flynn was married at Kiowa, Kansas, to Miss Addie Blanton, daughter of Captain N. B. Blanton, a prominent pioneer and free-soil advocate of early Kansas. They have three children: Mrs. Dorothy Richardson of Washington, D. C., Streeter and Olney Flynn.


L. ERNEST PHILLIPS

Who after the San Francisco earthquake transferred his residence to Oklahoma City, is a lawyer of broad experience, of special learning and practice, and besides a varied and successful career in his profession, is a man of prominence as a newspaper writer, a political reformer, a world traveler, and a student and active worker for the solution of sociological problems affecting the poor and laboring classes. His legal practice in Oklahoma City has been largely confined to estates, a legal specialty in which he gained distinction a number of years ago. He has extensive business interests in Oklahoma City and in the east. His fellow citizens esteem him highly for his talents and ability as a valuable addition and working force in their city.

Mr. Phillips was born at Speedsville, Tompkins County, New York, January II, 1862, a son of Robert and Annie Elizabeth (Boyer) Phillips. His mother died many years ago, but his father is still living, his home being in Washington. D. C. Mr. Phillips honors a sterling Scotch-Trish ancestry on his father's side, Sir John Shaw of Ireland being one of forebears, as also Sir William Tennant, while the American branch of the family includes Wendell Phillips. Mr. Phillips' father was born in New York, and his mother, who was of French Huguenot ancestry, being descended from the De Boyers of France, was born in Maryland.

The parents moved to North Arlington, in Alexandria County, Virginia, while Ernest Phillips was a child, and he was reared there without important incident until the age of seventeen. At that time he enjoyed a trip around the world, including the notable places of Europe, Egypt, India, Australia, China and Japan, and on returning home began his professional preparation in the National University at Washington, where he was graduated as a member of the law class of 1886. During a brief period of practice in Washington he was appointed a United States commissioner, and in 1887 took an important step in his legal specialty when he went to England to settle up an estate. He had already become identified with the newspaper profession, as a member of the staff of several newspapers at the national capital, and while in England acted as foreign correspondent of the Washington News.

Mr. Phillips located in San Francisco in 1889, and as a reporter on the San Francisco Call became a favorite of its able editor, Loring Pickering. He was active in producing special articles,-many of them illustrated, and these he contributed "to' several well known California papers. As a prominent member of the San Francisco Press Club he served as a delegate from that club to the International League of Press Clubs which met at New Orleans. Almost from the beginning of his residence in California he concerned himself actively in political reform, though without participation in practical politics to any considerable extent. Clean politics, the elimination of graft from municipal affairs, and a settled hostility against bossism and machine politics have been working principles with Mr. Phillips for many years before these subjects came to be so vitally familiar to the general public. With the stirring reform movements begun in San Francisco during the early nineties he was closely identified, especially as president of the thirty-second assembly district of San Francisco and later as president of the hoard of assembly district presidents. In 1892 he was attorney for the independents before the board of election commissioners, and rendered splendid service in the effort to overthrow bossism in that city, condemning that feature of city politics in his own party equally as much as in the opposite party. In 1894 he received the endorsement of the anti-graft element in the Republican Party for the nomination to Congress. His interest in political and sociological reform has been the most constant and active influence of his entire career, and while his profession has allowed more or less active participation in this cause, he has likewise given much individual time and money in promoting reform. That a few unprincipled men should get together and fix up a ticket and then ask the people to vote for it, instead of giving the latter an opportunity to say who their nominee should be, is a feature of American politics that excites his most persistent and strenuous hostility. As an active citizen of the new state of Oklahoma, being president of the already famous Good Government Club of Oklahoma, his influence can be definitely counted upon in securing the free and untrammeled vote for everyone. The social condition arouses his interest even more than the political. Although now a resident of a state where the problems of society are not acute, he is at the same time definitely committed to all movements for the amelioration of the living conditions surrounding the poor, .is a believer in equal and exact justice for all, upholds the basic principles of labor unionism, and favors the opening of all doors of opportunity to those who would get ahead in the world and provide for their families and for old age.

In 1891 Mr. Phillips entered the government service at San Francisco as captain of inspectors of internal revenue, but resigned in 1893 and entered upon the practice of law. He soon gained prominence in his specialty as attorney for estates and in damage cases, and this practice took him abroad several times in the interest of English estates. His extensive travels have given him unusual opportunities for observation and sociological study, the results of which he has contributed in many articles to the American press.

Mr. Phillips has been twice married, his first wife dying in California. Before her marriage she was Miss Florence Teanette Bradley, of Clinton, Rock County. Wisconsin. There are two children of this marriage, Anita Boyer Phillips and Wendell Phillips. For his present wife he married Miss Anne M. Lubnow, of Norfolk, Nebraska. Their two children are Roberta Virginia and Robert Montgomery. Mr. Phillips is a Mason, affiliated with the Knights Templar and is a member of the Mystic Shrine.


GEORGE JAMES EACOCK

He has as been identified with the legal and business affairs of Oklahoma City since 1902. A splendid climate and unusual business opportunities attracted him to this city, causing him to relinquish a profitable business in Indiana and establish a home in the most rapidly growing city in the southwest. Mr. Eacock was born at Hopton, Suffolk, England, April 15, 1853, son of Robert and Mary (Brooks) Eacock. He was educated in the public schools of England, and when twenty years of age came to America and found a home at Lafayette, Indiana. He studied law in that city, also engaged in the insurance business, representing the Continental Fire Insurance Company, and after his admission to the bar before the supreme court of Indiana in 1879 he developed a practice of very gratifying extent.

His practice has been largely in the special line of commercial law. At Lafayette he was attorney for the largest American commercial agencies, representing the R. G. Dun and Co., the Bradstreets and the Wilber mercantile agencies. In Oklahoma City Mr. Eacock has acquired a substantial position in business and civic affairs. An active Republican, he has been chairman of the county central committee since 1904. Mr. Eacock was married at Lafayette, Indiana, in 1887, to Miss Ella M. Chamberlain. They have a son, Robert Middleton, now in Spokane, Washington.



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