PORTRAIT AND BIOGRAPHICAL RECORD OF OKLAHOMA 1901
Biographies on this page:
Porterfield, George M.
Rochelle, James S.
Russell, James S.
Taylor, Thomas W.
a grain dealer of Union City, Okla., has had a remarkable career in the business world. He has been identified with many business ventures in various states in this country, displaying unusual ability in each line, and success has always attended his efforts. He is one of Union City's most enterprising men, and has been closely identified with the development of the town since its very inception.
Mr. Liebler was born in the city of Krakau, Poland, and comes of a wealthy family of that country. He was given a very good education and during his early days engaged in clerical work and bookkeeping. At the age of eighteen years he crossed the ocean to America, in the sailing vessel "Constitution," landing in New York City August 22, 1863. He remained there for three years, engaged as a clerk in the mercantile business, and in 1867 went to New Orleans, La. After a period of one year spent in the Crescent City, he went to St. Louis, Mo., and for two years engaged in buying and selling wood and hides. This was his first venture in business on his own behalf and resulted quite successfully. In 1870 he became a partner in a dry goods store at Holden, Mo., and continued as such until 1872, when he went to Athens, Ga., and opened a cigar factory. His business prospered and he operated it until 1879, employing three salesmen on the road and a force of thirty workmen in the factory. In 1880 he went west to Caldwell, Kans., and after clerking for a short time became a grain and real-estate dealer. There was a "boom" at Caldwell and his operations assumed large proportions, he doing more than any other man in the building up of the town. He built and sold a large number of houses, and his property holdings were very large. He shipped grain all over that part of the west, and, as it was before the railroads appeared in that section, hauled it to Forts Reno and Sill, Okla., also doing a stage business. In 1885 he went down with the collapse of Caldwell's boom, losing about $75,000.
In 1889 he located at Kingfisher, Okla., going from there to Reno City, thence to Oklahoma City, and dealing in real estate and cigars. July 12, 1889, he came to Union City, when about fifteen people only were located here, and his prosperity has kept pace with the place. For several years he kept a small grocery and then conducted a general merchandise store for a few years. He is now a grain dealer and buys for the El Reno Mill and Elevator Company, his business being in a very prosperous condition. He was one of the original members of the town-site board, and served as one of the first councilmen and as city clerk for one year. At present he is serving in the capacity of notary public. He has always been very active in politics, and an ardent supporter of the Democratic party, serving as central committeeman at Caldwell, Kans., and also at Union City for some years. He is a member of the Masonic fraternity, and belongs to the chapter at Albany, Ga. He is a member of El Reno Lodge No. 7, I. O. O. F., of which he is past grand, and served as deputy grand master at Corbin, Kans., for two years.
GEORGE M. PORTERFIELD,
whose home is on the southwest quarter of section 21, township 14, range 7 west, is a worthy representative of the progressive agriculturist who has done so much toward the development of Canadian county. He was born in Belmont county, Ohio, January 28, 1866, and when fourteen years of age went with his parents. John R. and Sarah J. (Davis) Porterfield, to Pettis county, Mo., where they made their home for about four years, the father being engaged in the livery business in Houstonia. They went back to Ohio in 1884, but a few months later returned to Pettis county, and about Christmas settled in Harper county, Kans., where he rented land and engaged in farming.
During his boyhood and youth our subject attended the common schools, and soon after the removal of the family to Harper county, Kans., he began his business career by running a threshing machine. He has since followed that occupation in connection with farming. In Harper county he was married, August 19, 1888, to Miss May Frutchey, and they now have a family of three children, namely: Otis, born in Harper county, Kans.; Lola, born in Nuckolls county, Neb.; and Kirk, born on the home farm in Canadian county, Okla.
On the 22d of April, 1889, Mr. Porterfield made the run for a claim from a point on the eastern boundary line of the territory, but, failing to secure land, he returned to Kansas. When the Cheyenne country was opened up for settlement he Egain made the race, and this time located on school land, which he had to give up. In 1893 he tried to obtain a claim in the Cherokee strip, but was again disappointed, being able to get nothing he wanted. The winter following was spent in Nebraska, and in 1894 he came to Canadian county, Okla., and filed a claim where he now lives. He has a well-improved and valuable farm, and most of the improvements upon the place have been made by him. Having steadily prospered in his new home, he is today the owner of a comfortable residence. He leases two sections of land and is successfully engaged in general farming and cattle-raising. During his early residence here he experienced all the hardships of pioneer life. In 1895 and 1896 he worked for the general agent of J. I. Case, in South Dakota, as an expcrt in starting threshing machines.
Politically Mr. Porterfield has been an ardent Republican since casting his first presidential vote for Harrison in 1888, and fraternally is a charter member of the Improved Order of Red Men at Okarche, Okla., and also a member of the Knights of Pythias at Bluff City, Kans.
JAMES S. ROCHELLE.
Canadian county has no citizen more honored than he of whom the following facts have been gleaned by the biographer. He was born near Marlborough, Ohio, January 7, 1835, a son of James and Susan (Elliott) Rochelle, and when he was two years old the father was called to the silent land. The mother, left with their three children, subsequently became the wife of John Rossell, and a child was born to that union.
James S. Rochelle continued to reside with his beloved mother until his marriage, which important event in his life took place February 28, 1861. The partner of his joys and sorrows bore the maiden name of Rachel Grubb, and her birthplace was near Middleburg, Ohio. Her parents, Abraham and Jemima (Shirk) Grubb, were respected agriculturists of Logan county for many years. The first-born child of our subject and wife, Belle by name, married Joseph Scott and resides in Defiance, Ohio. The second daughter, Lucetta, married George Snyder and died, leaving one child. Susan Jane, wife of Arthur Mosher, is the mother of five children. Franklin Ray resides in Oklahoma City. Robert lives on a farm in this county, and Wilford is on the old homestead with his parents. Mary, wife of John Roberts, also lives in this county. Benjamin died in infancy.
The old, terrible struggle between love and duty, dear ones and home and country, was enacted in our subject's life in the early months of the great Civil war, and at last he bade his young wife farewell and went into the stern strife. His enlistment in Company H, Ninety-sixth Ohio Infantry, took place in August, 1862, and his first active duty was to engage in the endeavor to capture General Price, who was making his famous raid in the west. After a severe skirmish with the troops of that leader, who had been fiercely pursued from point to point, the Ninety- sixth returned to Louisville, and there embarked on transports which conveyed them to Memphis. Later they landed at Vicksburg on Christmas day, and for the ensuing week were almost constantly engaged in fighting at Chick-asaw Bluffs, under the leadership of General
Sherman. The regiment thence proceeded to the mouth of the Arkansas river, where Sherman was relieved and the forces were placed under command of McClernand. Then followed the battle of Arkansas Post, where eight thousand Confederates were captured by the Federals. Subsequently Mr. Rochelle was employed in tearing up railroads and digging canals near Milligan's Bend and Vicksburg, and during the memorable siege of the last-named place he was wounded, a piece of shell striking him on the top of his head. Though he certainly was disqualified for the severe duties then on hand, he remained with his regiment and materially assisted in the capture of the city. Next he participated in the campaigns and battles of Port Gibson, Raymond (Miss.), Champion Hills, Black River Bridge, Jackson, Carrion Crow Bayou, Brownsville (Tex.), Matagorda, Sabine Crossroads, Pleasant Hill, Frankfort (La.), and aided in the capture of the forts at Yellow Bayou, Gaines, Mobile, Spanish and Blakeley. After Mobile had surrendered, our subject proceeded with his regiment to the banks of the Tombigbee river, and there the terrible news that Lincoln had been assassinated reached them. They were honorably discharged from the service at Mobile, July 7, 1865. Mr. Rochelle's record in the army is of the best, and both he and his children may well be proud of those three long, dreadful years of his and our country's history, for he was faithful to every trust and never flinched from the duties which fell to his share.
Resuming his former labors, Mr. Rochelle remained in Logan county, Ohio, until 1886, his attention being devoted to agriculture. Fourteen years ago he came to the west, and for about three years made his home in No Man's Land, awaiting the opening of Oklahoma On that 22nd of April, 1889, he settled upon the tract of land where he lives today—the southwestern quarter of section 31, township 14, range 6 west. He brought his family to the humble dugout which sheltered them from July 5, 1889 to 1899, and together they gradually amassed the competence which they now enjoy.
Though he was reared in the faith of the Society of Friends, Mr. Rochelle became a member of the Christian Church, and now is looked up to and honored as one of the elders in the congregation. He has been requested to officiate in various political positions, but always has declined. He uses his ballot on behalf of Republican nominees.
JAMES S. RUSSELL,
one of the progressive agriculturists of Canadian county, is deserving of a place among its representative citizens. A son of Weldon and Frances (Shackelford) Russell, he was born in Casey county Ky., May 24, 1859. His father also is a native of Kentucky, and prior to and during the Civil war he was numbered among the stanch defenders of the Union. He served in the Federal army, and soon after the conflict had ceased he went to DeWitt county, Ill., where he carried on a farm for some years. About 1882 he removed to Elk county. Kans., where he is yet living and owns a valuable homestead.
The youth of James S. Russell was spent in the peaceful labors of agriculture, and as he lived in a region where good public schools abounded he acquired an excellent education. He was the first of his family to go to Kansas, and in partnership with his brother for some time he carried on a livery stable in Wichita, Sedgwick county, making a success of the undertaking. Then selling out, he went to Missouri, where he purchased cattle, which he first took to Sumner county, Kans., and later to Elk county, same state. From 1887 to 1895 he was engaged in the cattle business in Beaver county (then known as No Man's Land), Okla., and during the next two years he made his home in Barber county, Kans. Three years ago he located on his present homestead, which is situated on the northeastern quarter of section 26, township 14, range 6 west, his postoffice being Mathewson. He soon inaugurated many changes for the better in this property, and has many more substantial improvements in view. While he is thoroughly interested in all public affairs, he is in no sense a politician, and contents himself with casting his ballot for Democratic nominees and principles, as his views accord with that party's platform.
Mr. Russell formed the acquaintance of the family of Dr. E. H. Long, and July 15, 1885, in Winfield, Kans., he was united in marriage with the doctor's daughter, Marguerite. Her mother bore the maiden name of Katherine Smith. Five children bless the union of Mr. and Mrs. Russell, namely: Katie, who was born in Greenwood county, Kans.; Elisha Weldon, born in Beaver county, Okla.; Laura Ella and William Edwin, both of whom also are natives of that county; and Cora Lillian, whose birth occurred on the homestead now owned and managed by our subject.
THOMAS T. SETTLE
was a general merchant engaged in the Indian trade at the Darlington agency, and the substantial success that he attained was evidence of both his character and ability. He came to this country from St. Louis, Mo. He was born in Christian county, Ky., and was a southerner in every root and fibre of his being.
Joseph Settle, the father of the Darlington merchant, was born in New Hampshire, but moved to Kentucky about 1818, and spent fifty years on one farm in Christian county. He owned four hundred acres of land, and devoted it to a general system of farming, making wheat, tobacco and stock his main reliance. He died in 1869, at the age of seventy-four. His wife, Amy Martin, also was a native of New Hampshire. She was the mother of nine children, of whom now living are the following-named: B. B. Settle, of Memphis, Tenn.; Joseph; Mrs. Tiny Cockrell; Mrs. M. E. Harelson, of Ballard county, Ky.; Mrs. M. B. Richardson, and Mrs. Fannie Burgess, of New Providence, Tenn. The mother died on the old homestead, when over seventy-eight years of age.
Thomas Settle grew up on the Kentucky farm and received a good common-school education. When a young man he taught school for a year, and then engaged in the tobacco commission business at Paducah, Ky., with a brother, under the firm name of Settle Brothers. He continued there until 1874, when he disposed of his interest in the firm and went to St. Louis, where he manufactured smoking tobacco until, in 1882, his plant was destroyed by fire. The company which he formed to manufacture fertilizer material from tobacco stems was known as the Hill-Settle Tobacco Fertilizer Company. In 1887 he bought out certain parties in Darlington and became connected with Caldwell & McGregor, under
the firm name of Settle, Caldwell & Company. This arrangement continued for about two years, when Mr. Settle bought out all the other interests and associated himself with Mr. S. A. Rath-burn, the combination being known as Settle, Rathburn & Company. The firm had two establishments, one at Kingfisher, and one at Darlington. In 1890 the partners divided, Mr. Rathburn remaining at Kingfisher and Mr. Settle taking charge at Darlington. Here he opened a general line of merchandise, which he managed with great success. With the exception of one year, when he was away from his business, he gave it close and constant attention. He also held the postmastership, and had the office in his store. He carried about ten thousand dollars' worth of goods, and was very successful in his business from the time of his arrival in Darlington. He owned his own store building, which is 35xioo> feet, and two residences in the town. He was a member of the St. Louis Commercial Travellers' Association and of the Masonic order, and was a popular and genial gentleman. His death occurred September 28, 1900, at his home in Darlington.
Mr. Settle was married in Ballard county, Ky.. to Miss Louise Elvira Woodson, a daughter of Miller Woodson. She died in 1896, leaving three children; Fannie is the wife of J. O. Hickox, and they have three children, Miller Woodson, Joseph Oscar, Jr., and Mary Louise. Ernest T. married Sadie Reed, and has two children, Ernest T., Jr., and Fred Forest; Amy D. is at home.
THOMAS W. TAYLOR,
who was born and reared in Saline county, Mo., and whose residence in Canadian county dates from 1893, is numbered among the sterling citizens of Oklahoma. Though h'e has met with many reverses, which would have entirely disheartened most men, he has steadily pressed forward to the goal he has always had in view—a competence— and today he is reaping the fruits of his indefatigable toil.
Thomas T. and Margaret (Davis) Taylor, parents of our subject, were natives of Maryland and Kentucky, respectively. They made each other's acquaintance in Saline county, Mo., and after their marriage they dwelt in that locality as long as they lived. The father died in the prime of his early manhood and the mother nobly played the double part which thus devolved upon her in rearing their children.
The birth of Thomas W. Taylor occurred December 5, 1834, on the parental homestead, and during his youth he mastered the principles of farming and practical business methods. He early assumed a large share of the care and responsibility connected with the management of the farm, and thus had less opportunity to attend school than he desired. He was married when he was about twenty-four years of age, and by the assistance of his wife, who proved to be a devoted helpmate, he succeeded in accumulating a snug fortune by the time that the Civil war broke out. He then owned a quarter section of land, which was highly cultivated and bringing to him a golden tribute annually.
Then followed one of the most serious chapters in his history, for he offered his services to his country, and nobly stood by the stars and stripes for three years and fifteen clays of that terrible war-time. He enlisted in Company F, Seventh Missouri Cavalry. M. S. M., and saw hard service in Missouri, Kansas and Arkansas. He participated in numerous skirmishes, and was actively engaged in the fiercely-contested battles of Pea Ridge, Mine Creek and Big Blue. Though his clothing was frequently pierced with shot and shell, and on one occasion his horse was shot under him, he almost miraculously escaped wounds, and though he was ill several times he would not give up sufficiently to go to the hospital. He was thoroughly depended upon by his
superiors and never was found wanting in loyalty and efficiency.
After the war clouds had rolled away Mr. Taylor returned to his farm and later purchased more land. He was prospering finely and the future looked extremely bright to him when he made what proved to be the great mistake of his life. In brief, he became security for parties who failed to meet their obligations, and the result was that he saw his hard-earned capital swept away. In 1893 he came to Oklahoma, and at that time his wealth was mainly comprised in two spans of mules. He traded two of the animals for the farm he now owns and paid a balance in cash. The land is situated on section 21, township 14, range 6 west, and Mathewson is the postoffice. Many material changes for the better have been inaugurated by the owner, and the place is now considered one of the best in the township.
Mr. Taylor wedded Julia A. Coy, December I7, 1857. She likewise is a native of Saline county, Mo., and in her girlhood she not only gained a liberal education, but also formed a taste for literature, and is well posted on general subjects. The eldest child of this worthy couple was James, who died in Kansas City, leaving a wife and four children. The other son, Jesse, was summoned by the death angel when he was just on the threshold of manhood, twenty years of age. May, the youngest daughter, is the mainstay and comfort of her parents, for she lives with them and shares all of their cares. The elder daughters are Mrs. Emma Laughlin, of Johnson county, Mo.; Mrs. Ida Zinc, of Oklahoma; and Mrs. Ann Laughlin, of Tipton, Mo. There are eight grandchildren of our subject and wife.
Brought up as a Whig politically Mr. Taylor became identified with the Republican party at its birth and has ever loyally stood by its policy. Religiously he is connected with the Methodist Episcopal denomination. In Saline county he joined the Masonic order, and he still remains on the rolls of the lodge at Sweet Springs, Mo. In that place he also belonged to the Ancient Order of United Workmen, and, besides filling all of the local offices in the lodge, represented it in the Grand Lodge.