One of the events which has had much to do with turning the tide of progress and shaping the course of development in Washington county was the discovery of oil, and prominently known among the oil producers of the state is J. C. Sheets, now living at Copan. Opportunity has ever been to him a call to action-a call to which he has made ready and immediate response. The chances that have come to him he has eagerly utilized, for his sound judgment enables him readily to understand the real value of such chances. His labors have been an element in the progress and growth of Washington county, as well as in the up building of his own fortunes and today he is most widely known and highly esteemed in this part of the state.
J. C. Sheets is a native of West Virginia, his birth having occurred at Salmon, on the 19th of November, 1876, his parents being Leander and Alice Starr (Curtis) Sheets. The father was born in New Matamoras, Washington county, Ohio,. March 18, 1838, and in young manhood removed to West Virginia, where he devoted his life to farming interests until he retired from active business. His last years were spent in Oklahoma, his death occurring at Copan in September, 1908. His wife was born in Hockingport, Athens county, Ohio, November 24, 1849, and was a little maiden of ten summers when in 1860 she accompanied her parents on their removal to West Virginia, there remaining until she went with her husband to Oklahoma, where she still resides. They were the parents of four, children: Vaughn L., who is a graduate of the American Medical College and now a physician and surgeon of Chicago, Illinois; Earl H., a partner in the firm of Sheets Brothers, oil producers of Muskogee, Oklahoma; J. C., of this review; and F. C., also a graduate of the American Medical College and now practicing in Oklahoma City.
The youthful days of J. C. Sheets were largely devoted to the acquirement of a public school education at Cameron, West Virginia. From his sixteenth year he has been more or less closely associated. with the oil industry and in 1898 became a producer., In 1902 he came to Copan with his brother, Earl H., And organized the firm of Sheets Brothers, since which time they have operated in the oil fields near Copan, becoming recognized as among the most prominent representatives of the VII industry in Washington county. The firm today operates twelve properties and has drilled more than three hundred wells. The brothers, also own farm lands and timber tracts and are thus identified with the lumber industry and with agricultural interests, as well as with oil development. J. C. Sheets is the secretary and treasurer of the Georgia Oil & Gas Company, is the manager of the firm of Sheets & Company, president of the Alamo Oil Company, secretary and treasurer of the Swastika Oil & Gas Company, secretary and treasurer of Sheets Brothers & Jackson, and manager of the Collis Oil & Gas Company. Mr. Sheets is recognized as one whose judgment is notably sound concerning oil and gas properties and his operations have been most wisely directed, bringing to him a notable measure of success.
In 1904 Mr. Sheets was united in marriage to Miss Millicent E. Holdren, a native of Independence, Ohio, born January 16, 1876, her parents being H. H. and Harriet E. (Webber) Holdren, who are natives of Ohio and residents of Newport. Mr. and Mrs. Sheets have one child, Alice Millicent. The family owns a beautiful residence, which was erected in 1905. It is of reinforced concrete, modern in every particular and has a private sewerage and waterworks system.
Politically Mr. Sheets is a democrat when national questions and issues are involved but at local elections largely casts an independent ballot. Fraternally he is a Consistory Mason and Knight Templar and he also belongs to the Mystic Shrine at Tulsa.
His Knight Templar connection is with the Commandery at Sistersville, West Virginia, and he is a life member of the Consistory at Guthrie and of the Blue lodge at Copan. He has likewise become a life member of the Benevolent Protective Order of Elks at Independence, Kansas, and he has membership in the local Odd Fellows and Knights of Pythias lodges. His life is directed in accordance with the teachings and high purposes of these various fraternities. He ever recognizes his duties and obligations to his fellowmen and is quick to extend a helping hand where assistance is needed.
From the age of sixteen years he has been dependent upon his own resources and throughout the period-he has been connected with oil development interests. Steadily he has worked his way upward, learning many lessons in the school of experience and constantly broadening his knowledge and efficiency through his efforts and determination. The steps in his orderly progression are easily discernible and place him today in the front rank among the well known oil men of Washington county.