Dr. Ira B. Oldham, who for eighteen years has engaged in the practice of medicine and surgery in Muskogee and whose ability and wide knowledge lie behind the substantial success that he has achieved, was born on a farm in Madison county, Kentucky, March 2, 1871, his parents being William Kavanaugh and J. Catherine (Brown) Oldham, both of whom were representatives of old southern families early established in Virginia. Dr. Oldham’s father was born in Madison county, Kentucky, but his grandfather, Hezekiah Oldham, was born in Caswell county, North Carolina, and was a son of Captain John Oldham, an American soldier of the Revolutionary war and a son of William Oldham, founder of the family in America; having come from England to the new world in early colonial days. The birth of J. Catherine (Brown) Oldham occurred in Albemarle county, Virginia, and by her marriage she became the mother of nine children, three of whom are still living. The parents continued their residence in Kentucky until called to their final rest.
Dr. Oldham was reared upon the homestead farm and supplemented his public school training by a course of study in Central University at Richmond, Kentucky. Later he decided upon the practice of medicine as a life work and entered the University of Louisville, from which institution he was graduated on the completion of a medical course as a member of the class of 1892. Having won his M. D. degree he took up the active work of the profession in Madison county, Kentucky, where he remained for a decade, but since 1903 he has been located in Muskogee. Here he has built up a practice of large and gratifying proportions, and his devotion to his duties in this connection has become proverbial. He has further promoted his efficiency by postgraduate work in Chicago, Philadelphia and New Orleans, attending the various polyclinics of these cities. He is particularly skilled in surgery and, possessing a clear eye, a steady nerve and comprehensive knowledge of anatomy and the component parts of the human body, his work as a surgeon has been attended with splendid results. Moreover, he keeps in touch with the trend of modern professional thought and progress through his membership in the Muskogee County Medical Society, the Oklahoma State Medical Society and the American Medical Association. He was one of the organizers of the Oklahoma Baptist Hospital Association and has served continuously on its board of directors.
In 1895 Dr. Oldham was married to Miss Mary Newland, who was born in Lincoln county, Kentucky, a daughter of the Rev. Christopher Newland, a clergyman of the Predestinarian Baptist Church. Dr. and Mrs. Oldham became parents of six children : Elizabeth, Catherine, Ira B., Philip, Newland and Caroline.
Both Dr. Oldham and his wife are consistent representatives of the Baptist Church of Muskogee, and in politics he has always been a loyal supporter of the Democratic Party. His ideals of life are high, and he has devoted his time and energy largely to the service of his fellowmen, rendering valuable professional aid, so that his ability is widely acknowledged by the general public and also by his colleagues and contemporaries in the practice of medicine.