Muskogee County, Oklahoma

Mrs. Leda C. Steele, one of the most notable figures in the musical circles of Oklahoma and the southwest and enjoying as well international reputation in connection with her art makes her home in Muskogee, where she has resided since 1900. She was born in St. Paul, Kansas, a daughter of Edson H. and Artimissia (Sutherland) Crawford, the former a native of Elgin, Illinois, while the latter was born in the vicinity of Elgin. The father was a veteran of the Civil war. Having pursued her education in the public schools of St. Paul, Kansas, and in the high school at Erie, Kansas, Mrs. Steele afterward took up the study of music in the New England Conservatory of Music at Boston, Massachusetts, where she was under the instruction of such eminent teachers as Busoni, Bertha Fiering Tapper, Carl Stasny, a favorite pupil of Liszt, William L. Whitney, Louis C. Elson and Samuel W. Cole. In later years her teachers were Charles W. Clark and D.A. Clippinger of Chicago and William S. Brady of New York.

For years Mrs. Steele has appeared with great success on the concert stage and has sung with equal success before the National Federation of Music Clubs in its conventions at Memphis, Tennessee, and at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She has appeared in concert work with Charles Wakefield Cadman, the eminent composer, and at the same time she has done much to advance musical taste and talent in Muskogee and the southwest. She became one of the charter member of the Ladies’ Saturday Music Club, the Opera Study Club, the Music Study Club and the MacDowell Club. She was brought to the city many concerts of the highest order. Among the musical entertainments that Muskogee has enjoyed as the result of her efforts have been those given by the Victor Herbert Orchestra, by Mrs. Edward MacDowell, by the San Carlo Opera Company, by John McCormack, Anna Case, Zanelli, Wagner and La Forge and Royal Dadmun. The music lovers of this section of the country greatly benefited by her efforts in inducting some of the finest artists of the country to appear in this city.

Since 1900 Mrs. Steele has taught music, both voice and piano, in Muskogee and has been a member of the faculty of the Henry Kendall College, of the Bacone Indian University and of the Oklahoma State School for the Blind. She served as chairman of the Muskogee community service music committee and as a member of the board of the organization during the first year of its existence. She belongs to several national musical organizations, including the Music Teachers National Association, the National Music supervisors Conference, the Musical Alliance of the United States, Incorporated, the National Opera Club, Incorporated, of New York city. She served for seventeen years on the board of the National Federation of Musical Clubs and in various offices in the old Indian Territory Federation of Musical Clubs. She also served as one of the five members of the international committee of the National community Music for the national Alliance d’Education Sociale et Civique during the World war and she is now a member of the national advisory board for the Musical Alliance of the United States, Incorporated, with headquarters in New York city. She has been correspondent and representative of Musical America, the leading musical magazine of the United States and has written for many other musical papers. She has been a frequent contributor to the Western Musical Herald, the Musical Monitor, the Musical Observer, the Musicians, the Etude, the Music News, the Musical Courier, Musical America, the Boston Herald and Muskogee Times Democrat, and her articles have elicited most favorable comment for musicians and Musical critics throughout the country. Among her writings which have appeared recently in New York musical journals are “Public School Music” and “How it is done in my home town,” together with an article on Charles Wakefield Cadman, genius and artist, which recently appeared in the Musical Observer.

Mrs. Steele is not unknown to the world as a composer. She has published several sacred songs of her own composition of real merit and is also the composer of “Fair Oklahoma”, which was reudered by the famous Million Dollar Band conducted by Harodl Bachmann at the Oklahoma Free State Fair, winning the greatest applause on that occasion. Mrs. Steele is prominently known as a vocalist, accompanist and choir and choral director and for six years was teacher of music and director of the vested choir in St. John’s Episcopal church at Parsons, Kansas. Not only has her ability as a representative of musical art won her fame but her service has been continuously sought in official connection with the musical organizations of which she is a representative. Aside from her long service as a director of the Nation Federation of Musical Clubs she was state director of the organization, being the first in Oklahoma to hold this office. She was also the vice president of the southern section, which at that time comprised eighteen states. She has served as corresponding secretary, as auditor, librarian and chairman of one of the most important educational committees and during the war she served as one of five members of the community music committee on the international organization. She has also been active on a new committee for the encouragement of community music which she was instrumental in organizing and which committee has as its members several of the most prominent musical personages in the United States, together with some of the most influential people of her own state. The number includes Otto H. Kahn, the noted financier and music patron and head of the Metropolitan Grand Opera Company of New York city, also Charles D. Isaacson, one of the country’s leading critics and journalists, David Bispham, America’s great artist and teacher (now deceased), Charles W. Clark of Chicago, noted baritone and teacher, Governor J.B.A. Robertson of Oklahoma, Chief Justice Thomas H. Owen of the supreme court of Oklahome, H.D. Tovey and others.

On the 11th of November, 1919, Mrs. Steele personally interested the community in the celebration of armistice day with music and to that end planned and carried out with the aid of the Muskogee Times Democrat a wonderful series of free concerts by local talent and as the press afterward said, “she put it over in big league style.” It was a most successful and memorable occasion. As chairman of the community service music committee Mrs. Steele in 1921 inaugurated the first music memory contest ever held in Muskogee. Mrs. Steele has such a large circle of friends among the world’s greatest musicians and artists that she is said to possess today one of the world’s greatest artists to be found in any private collection in the United States.

Her activities along musical lines and what she has accomplished would seem to exclude active participation in other artistic and civic fields. Notwithstanding this, however, Mrs. Steele has held various offices in the Oklahoma State Federation of Women’s Clubs, was an active worker on the board that established the first city hospital of Muskogee and was one of the pioneers in establishing the public library and in securing the Carnegie Library. In June, 1921, she was honored by being made an honorary charter member of the International Rotary Club, the only one in the world. This courtesy was shown her in appreciation and acknowledgement of her great service both local and national to the cause of good music. In her work she has always endeavored to serve the cause of American artists, continuously attempting to bring the best class of American music to public attention and recognition.

More than all this Mrs. Steele is a home woman. On the 14th of August, 1895, she became the wife of Claude Luman Steele in Parsons, Kansas, and two sons were there born to them: John Russell and Myron Whitney, who are graduates of the Central high school of Muskogee. Both are veterans of the World war, Russell having served in the aviation department and Myron with the ordnance department. The cause of mother love as well as of marked patriotism was the reason of her deep interest in war work. One of her admiring friends has written concerning Mrs. Steele as follows: “Frank Croxton, well known Victor artist and highest salaried bass choir singer in America, when appearing here in recital last fall said: ‘I congratulate Muskogee on having such a capable woman and musician as Mrs. Claude L. Steele.’ Such an appreciation form one qualified to judge musicianly merit is not without its value; but in the opinion of those who best know this gifted woman, it is not Muskogee alone that is entitled to congratulations. “Mrs. Steele is more than a local factor, both in the quality of her attainments and the extent of her influence in musical and artistic circles. She is prominently identified with national as well as state activities in her chosen field of work, her prestige limited only by her acquaintance. And when it is known that she includes some of the greatest artists in the world, not merely among her acquaintances, but among her warm and appreciative friends, it will be readily seen that Mr. Croxton’s appraisal expresses only a modicum of Mrs. Steele’s real artistic and womanly worth.

“That she has been and is still a powerful factor in the development of musical activities throughout the southwest, is best evidenced by what she has sponsored and achieved along that line. She is a constant inspiration to all those who come within the radius of her influence, her enthusiasm and unflagging interest the unfailing guarantee of a successful outcome of whatever she attempts. In community work, in public school work, among the various club, civic, commercial and literary as well as musical, she has led her coworkers, stimulating, encouraging and guiding into those channels that elevate and purify, to which end music in so marked a degree is always contributory.

“Her lecture recitals on Shakespeare in Music, Indian Music, Music the Universal Tongue and Music of the Bible have been wonderfully illuminating from a literary as well as artistic point of view and have been most favorably received. Almost, one might say, have her literary attainments kept pace with her musicianship. As we have said, Mrs. Steele enjoys and composers. Among these may be mentioned Arthur Foote, Charles Wakefield Cadman, Mrs. Edward MacDowell, Charles W. Clark, Fay Foseter, Arthur Farwell and others. As a fitting testimonial of the very high esteem in which our talented townswoman is held, some of the most beautiful songs of these composers have been dedicated to her, notably: ‘The Hidden Song,’ by Cadman, as a birthday and Christmas present; ‘The Lost Playmate,’ by Fay Foster; ‘It Came Upon the Midnight Clear,’ by Helena Bingham, in compliment to her birthday anniversary which falls on Christmas; and the following choruses for womens’ three-part chorus: ‘The Hidden Song’; ‘Memories’; ‘At Dawning’; ‘The Heart of Her’; by Cadman; ‘It is not Raining Rain to Me,’ Helena Bingham; ‘Goodnight, Beloved,’ by Daniel Prothcroe (in preparation), and ‘Love me if I Live,’ by Arthur Foote.

“The personality of this versatile woman is nowheremore charmingly portrayed than in her own studio. She is friend, counselor and critic, yet absolutely just in her estimates of men and women, and a genius in the matter of discriminative perceptions, according to talent always, its legitimate meed of recognition. To her pupils, her friends and her associates, Mrs. Steele’s unflagging zeal is a constant stimulus to the highest attainments; and barren, indeed, is that mentality which after even a limited association with her, is not enriched, enlarged and fructified by glimpses of the Vision which to her has become at once a daily inspiration and an ultimate and unchanging goal.” (Source: Muskogee and Northeastern Oklahoma, Volume 3; S. J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1922; transcribed by Tammy Clark)


Elmer Stover Emmert, senior partner of the well known firm of Emmert Brothers and thus head of one of the strong insurance agencies not only of Muskogee but of the state, was born in Humboldt, Kansas, May 18, 1868, and is a son of David B. and Margaret D. (Moffett) Emmert, the former a newspaper publisher. During the early boyhood of Elmer S. Emmert the parents removed with their family to Wichita, Kansas, and there he pursued his education in the public schools until a further removal was made to Albuquerque, New Mexico. After the death of his father, at that place, he went to Lanark, Illinois, where he finished his high school education, and then went west to seek his fortune, stopping at Topeka, Kansas, where he entered the employ of the Santa Fe Railroad Company and was thus employed for a period of ten years. He afterward became connected with a building and loan association and while thus engaged extended his efforts into the insurance field, writing insurance at various points in Colorado and Texas. The business career of his brother, Robert G. Emmert, was similar and with the ambition to establish an agency of their own they came to Muskogee in 1904, representing the Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company of Milwaukee. Soon afterward the firm of Emmert Brothers was made general agent for eastern Oklahoma and Arkansas and has so continued. Its business is steadily increasing. The agency of Emmert Brothers, as general agents of the Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company, is the largest general agency in the state, and as this is the only business of this firm it goes without saying that they render a real service to their friends in the life insurance line. Starting as strangers, their first year’s business was about four hundred thousand dollars of written business, while in the year 1920 they placed five million dollars of new business on the books of their company, until today the receipts passing through their hands run close to a million dollars annually. The brothers are thoroughly familiar with all points of the insurance business, are alert, wide-awake and energetic and get what they go after. They attack everything with a contagious enthusiasm and they never fail to reach their objective.

On the 16th of October, 1889, Mr. Emmert was married to Miss Ida J. Quinche of Topeka, Kansas, and their children are: Harry, David and Donald Redburn. Business life constitutes but one phase of the intense activity of Mr. Emmert, who is interested in all those forces which make for intellectual, cultural and moral progress. He and his wife are members of the First Congregational church, contributing generously to the cause and taking helpful part in various branches of the church work. Mr. Emmert is serving as chairman of the board of trustees. He was also one of the organizers and is now the vice president of the Young Men’s Christian Association. He formerly served as a director of the Chamber of Commerce and during the World war period was vice president of the Council of Defense. He has likewise filled the presidency of the Lions Club and it is characteristic of the career of Mr. Emmert that in almost every organization with which he has been identified he has been called to fill official positions. He belongs to the Masonic fraternity, is a Consistory Mason and member of the Mystic Shrine. His social nature finds expression in his membership in the Town and Country Club and in the Wauhillau Outing Club. He holds friendship inviolable and regards citizenship as a sacred trust. He is constantly working toward higher ideals and supports all projects which tend to uplift the individual and benefit the community at large.

(Source: Muskogee and Northeastern Oklahoma, Volume 3; S. J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1922; transcribed by Susan Geist)

Clyde Thomas Thompson occupies an enviable position in business and financial circles in Muskogee, where he is president of the Central State Bank. He is also connected with banking institutions in other sections of Oklahoma and his enterprise and energy have carried him into important business relations, in the benefactions of which the state has also shared. Mr.Thompson was born m Missouri, August 1G, 1891, his parents being Thomas A and Sarah (Record) Thompson. The father devoted his life to-farming and merchandising, which he followed in Iberia, Miller County, Missouri.
Clyde T Thompson obtained a public school education which he completed with a high school course in Oktaha, Oklahoma He next became a student in the State University of Oklahoma, from which he was graduated with the class of 1911. In early manhood he taught school in Wagoner, proving a capable educator through his ability o impart clearly and readily to others the knowledge that he had acquired, His initiation into the banking business came when he secured a clerkship in the First National Bank of Oktaha, where he remained for a year. He afterward spent two years in the First National Bank of .Muskogee, and in August 1916, in connection with J. A. DeWitt he purchased the Central State Bank and became its president in January, 1921 This-bank had been established under the name of the First State Bank of Muskogee with a capital of twenty-five thousand dollars. Today it has a capital stock of one hundred thousand dollars with a big surplus, while its deposits amount to one million, two hundred thousand dollars. The growth of the bank has been largely promoted since it came into possession of Mr. DeWitt and Mr. Thompson. In January, 1911, the name was changed to the Night & Day Bank. In December, of the same year, the bank again changed hands and it was in August, 1916, that the majority of the stock was acquired by Mr. Thompson and J. A. DeWitt the two taking active charge, Mr.
DeWitt as president and Mr. Thompson as cashier. The bank was then removed to the corner of Third and Broadway, at which time the total
deposits were only two hundred thousand dollars. In the latter part of 1918 both the proprietors joined the army, selling their interests in the bank, but with their return to Muskogee in the latter part of 1919 they repurchasedtheir former interests and increased their holdings until they now own nearly all of the stock. The bank since that time has had a substantial and, in fact, arapid growth. Mr. Thompson and his partner in the undertaking have extended the bank's activities in connection with oil development. The deposits of the institution have increased more than five hundred per cent and all branches of the business have steadily developed. Mr. Thompson has also extended his efforts into other fields, for he is now the vice president of the First National Bank of Oktaha and the vice president of the Citizens Bank of Grove. Oklahoma. He has made a close study of every phase of the banking business, and his enterprise and activities have brought to him substantial success.
On the 29th of August, 1917, Mr. Thompson was married to Miss Alta Marie Williams, and they have one daughter, Barbara Jean. Mr. Thompson is much interested in golf, to which he turns when leisure hours permit. He belongs to the Lions Club, also to the Town and Country Club and is a Scottish Rite Mason, loyally following the teachings and purposes of the craft. He is yet a young man but one who has made substantial and notable progress in the business world, and his position in financial circles is todaya most creditable one.
(Source: Muskogee and Northeastern Oklahoma, Volume 3; S. J. ClarkePublishing Company, 1922; transcribed by Mary N Triplett)

Muskogee and president from the beginning to the present time, belongs to that class of substantial citizens who are the real promoters and upbuilders of a community. Steadfast in purpose, progressive in his views and at all times reliable in his methods, Mandly Board has ever been classed with those who have promoted the material and intellectual progress of the community and upheld its legal and moral status. A Virginian by birth, he claims Front Royal as the place of his nativity and the date as October 19, 1868. He was born on the plantation belonging to his parents. Charles B. and Hannah S. (Iden) Board, and his youthful days were largely devoted to the acquirement of his education. His public school course was supplemented by study in the academy at Front Royal and later he took up the profession of teaching, which lie successfully followed for six years, imparting readily and clearly to others the knowledge that he had acquired. For ten years in early manhood he also engaged in farming. He had early become familiar with the best methods of tilling the soil and caring for the crops, while on his father's plantation, and his efforts as an agriculturist were crowned with a substantial measure of success. Desirous, however, of entering the field of banking, he at length organized the Bank of Sturgeon at Sturgeon, Missouri, and was its cashier from 1904 until 1908 The latter year witnessed the arrival of Mandly Board in Muskogee and here again he entered the field of banking bv organizing the Oklahoma State Bank, which was the first banking institution in Oklahoma organized under the guaranty law. He became its assistant cashier and so continued until May, 1908, when he purchased the Eufaula National Bank, of which he became the president. It was in 1913 that he organized the Exchange National Bank of Muskogee and through the intervening period of eight years he has remained at the head of this institution, shaping and directing its policy and promoting its activities along lines of constant expansion. He is likewise a director of the Eufaula National Bank.

On the 18th of September, 1892, Mr. Board was married to Miss Lena Reid and they have two children: Martha Lillian; now the wife of J. Leon Brogan; and Mandly Jr., born March 7, 1907. Mr. Board is frequently seen on the links, finding considerable pleasure in a game of golf and he belongs to the Country Club of Muskogee. In Masonry, he has attained the thirty-second degree of the Scottish Rite and is also a member of the Mystic Shrine. He belongs to the Lions Club and is in hearty sympathy with the high purposes of that organization in regard to the material upbuilding of the city and its purposes in connection with Americanization and the maintenance of the high standards and principles upon which this democratic government is based.(Source: Muskogee and Northeastern Oklahoma, Volume 3; S. J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1922; transcribed by Mary N Triplett)

Dr. Robert Lee Mitchell, a member of one of the old and prominent families of Oklahoma, founded here in early territorial days, engaged in the general practice of medicine at Vinita from 1909 to the close of the year 1921, and during the period which has since elapsed has firmly established himself in the public regard as a man of high professional attainments. He was born at Oaks, which was at that time situated in the Delaware district of the Cherokee Nation, in Indian Territory, and is of Cherokee extraction, in the maternal line, his parents being George Washington and Susan (Hildebrand) Mitchell. The father was born in Benton county, Arkansas, and his early life was devoted to the occupation of farming. Subsequently he turned his attention to merchandising and for fourteen years was connected with business interests of Oaks. Oklahoma. In 1894 he established his home in Craig county and is a landowner, being recognized as one of the representative men of his community. His political support is given to the democratic party, and he has served as a member of the Cherokee Board of Education at Tahlequah, being the only white man intermarried with the tribe to hold that position. He has taken the thirty-second degree in Masonry and is an exemplary representative of the craft.

Robert Lee Mitchell is one of a family of four children. During his boyhood he resided on the home farm and also in the village of Oaks, where he attended the public schools. In 1895 he was graduated with the Bachelor of Science degree from the Tahlequah Male Seminary, after which he became an instructor in the Orphans' Home of the Cherokee Nation and he also taught at the Tahlequah Male Seminary, acting as principal during the last year of his connection with that institution. In 1900 he entered the medical school of the University of Arkansas from which he was graduated in 1901. His second and third years were spent as a student in the University of the South, at Sewance, Tennessee. He spent one year as house-physician at All Saints Hospital at McAlester, Oklahoma, and for five years was surgeon for the Milby-Dow Coal Company at Dow, Oklahoma. He has never regarded his education as completed with the termination of his college course and has attended the New York Polyclinic, thus greatly promoting his knowledge and skill. In 1909 he established his office in Vinita and with the passing years his practice steadily increased until it assumed large proportions. He has always made his professional duties his first consideration and is most conscientious and thorough in the discharge of the responsibilities that devolve upon him in this connection. He engages in the general practice of medicine and surgery and is thoroughly familiar with the scientific basis upon which his work rests.

At Muskogee, Oklahoma, in 1915, Dr. Mitchell was united in marriage to Miss Josephine Barker, a native of Craig county this state, and a daughter of Artemus A. and Mary (Rogers) Barker, the latter a Cherokee. As a young man the father came to Indian Territory, where his marriage occurred. He was a very successful farmer, acquiring land holdings in Craig county, and he took an active part in public affairs during the early days He was a democrat in his political views and served as a member of the county central committee, while fraternally he was identified with the Independent Order of Odd Fellows. Dr. and Mrs. Mitchell have become the parents of a son, Robert Thurston who
was born May 28, 1916.

Dr. Mitchell is a veteran of the World war. In May 1918 he was commissioned a first lieutenant of the Medical Corps, receiving his training at Camp Sheridan, Alabama. He was attached to the One Hundred and Twelfth Ammunition Train, which formed a part of the Thirty-seventh Division, and on the 28th of June 1918, sailed for England, being sent to France shortly afterward. He participated in the St. Mihiel-Meuse and Meuse-Argonne offensives and later was transferred to the Three Hundred and Fifteenth Ammunition Train, attached to the Ninetieth Division, being stationed at Marbach, Germany. In February 1919, he was promoted to the rank of captain and in May of that year was assigned to Hospital No. 27 of the Third Division, with headquarters at Andernach, Germany. With that command he returned to the United States, receiving his discharge in September 1919, and is now a major in the Medical Reserve Corps of the United States army. He was medical examiner for Craig county of the Fourteenth District of the United States Veterans Bureau and in 1920 served as county commander of the American Legion. In October 1921, he was commissioned a surgeon in the United States public health service. In December 1921, he was called to active duty in the United States public health service, and assigned duty at the United States Veterans Hospital No. 25, at Houston, Texas, at which place he is now stationed. For the past ten years he has been secretary of the Craig County Medical Society and he is also a member of the State Medical Society and the American Medical Association and for four years was counselor for this district for the last named organization. He is also well known in Masonic circles of the state, belonging to Vinita Lodge, No. 5, F.&A.M.; to McAlester Chapter, No. 1, R.A.M., McAlester Commandery, No. 6, K.T., and Indian Consistory, No. 6, A.&A.S.R., all of McAlester; and to Akdar Temple of the Mystic Shrine at Tulsa. In religious faith he is an Episcopalian and he gives his political support to the platform and candidates of the republican party. He is an active worker in its ranks and for four years was chairman of the county central committee. His fellow citizens, recognizing his worth and ability, called him to public office and he served as county physician of Craig county prior to his departure for Texas, discharging the duties which devolved upon him in this connection conscientiously and innate talent and acquired ability have brought him to the front in his profession, while his ambition keeps him abreast with the times in the field of modern medical and surgical practice. He has ever been deeply interested in all that pertains to the welfare and progress of his community, county and state and in every relation has measured up to the highest standards of manhood and citizenship.
(Source: Muskogee and Northeastern Oklahoma, Volume 3; S. J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1922; transcribed by Vicki Bryan)

Visit the National Genealogy Trails Site

Copyright © Genealogy Trails