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Biography of Captain George B. Hester
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The name of Captain George B. Hester figures prominently on the pages of Oklahoma’s history. About the middle of the nineteenth century he became a resident of the Indian Territory and from that time forward left the impress of his individuality and ability upon the history of this great region which is now known as the state of Oklahoma. He was born in North Carolina on the 26th of March, 1832, and was a young man of but twenty-three years when in 1855 he came to the Indian Territory, settling at Tishomingo, in what is now Johnson County, then the capital of the Chickasaw Nation. There he established a store and his business as a merchant brought him into close relations with the Indians and with political and social affairs. His influence as a man of honor and fair dealing left a deep impress on the life of the community. The Indian people soon recognized his entire trust-worthiness and his advice and counsel were frequently sought. He possessed an unprejudiced mind of a judicial caste and his opinions were fair, impartial and ever given for the benefit of those who sought his aid. He worked untiringly for the peace and progress of the community in which he lived and thus aided in smoothing the way for the advent of the white settlers and for the new and better order of things existing in the state. On June 7, 1859, Captain Hester was united in marriage to Miss Elizabeth Fulton, who was then a missionary in the Indian country. She is a daughter of the Rev. D. T. Fulton, a Methodist clergyman, who was a native of Virginia and long engaged in missionary work among the Cherokee Indians in Georgia. He lived in the state of Georgia until he removed with his family to Texas, where he passed away six months later. His daughter, Mrs. Hester, is still active in missionary work and her influence has been a most potent force for cultural and moral development in the state. She completed her education in the Southern Masonic Female College at Covington, Georgia, from which she was graduated as a member of the class of 1856. Later she engaged in teaching in that institution for a time before accepting the call to the missionary field in the Indian Territory. She made a special agreement whereby she was to teach in the Chickasaw schools at Tishomingo. The journey westward to her destination was an arduous one, in which she encountered many difficulties and dangers. The trip was made with wagon and ox team that ploughed through the bogs, made their way through the timber and over tracts on which no road had been laid out. The steamboat on which she traveled part of the way became marooned on sand bars and the stage coaches were attacked by bandits or threatened by wild beasts. Notwithstanding the hardships and perils of the trip, the fortitude and courage which were just as much a part of the makeup of Mrs. Hester as was her liberal culture and innate refinement brought her safely through the perils of the journey until she finally arrived at the place of ringing bells, which is the interpretation of the Indian name Tishomingo. Since that time Mrs. Hester has continued her labors for the benefit and up-building of the people among whom her lot was cast and her beneficent influence has been strongly felt. She has as well most capably managed the interests of her home, to which came three children as the years passed, but only one is now living: Fannie Fern, the first born, and Robert Lee, the youngest, have both passed away. The surviving daughter, Daisy Dean, is now the wife of the Hon. Robert L. Owen, a senator from Oklahoma.
The family circle was temporarily broken when Mr. Hester responded to the call of the Confederacy during the Civil war and joined the southern army, in which he served with the rank of Captain, being commissioned in a regiment commanded by Colonel Fulsom. In that connection he saw much active military service until the close of the war and when his duties were ended he returned to Boggy Depot, Indian Territory, and there engaged in merchandising as well as in his Christian work. He continued an active factor in the commercial circles of the territory to the time of his death, which occurred on the 11th of March, 1897. He had made for himself a most enviable position in the community and state in which he lived, not only by reason of his business enterprise and progressiveness, but also by reason of his fairness, integrity and helpfulness which made him a most honored and valued citizen. His death, therefore, was the occasion of deep regret, not only among his immediate family but among all with whom he had been brought into contact.
Mrs. Hester, now one of the most highly esteemed ladies of Muskogee, is a member of the Eastern Star, also of the Rebekah lodge, the women’s auxiliary of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows. She is still active in the Old Folks Community Order and she is a member of the board of charities of Muskogee. In April, 1921, she was sent as a delegate to attend the missionary convention held in Richmond, Virginia, and on her trip called on President Harding in Washington. She is one of the best known women of the state of Oklahoma today, loved by all because of her kindly spirit and practical helpfulness which has its root in thorough understanding and broad humanitarian principles. She has done prison work for sixty-five years.
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