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In a record that gives a history of those who have contributed to the agricultural development of Washington County mention should be made of James M. Hamilton, a pioneer of Oklahoma, who passed away in 1911, at the comparatively early age of forty-two years, his demise being deeply regretted by a large circle of friends. A native of Missouri, he was born April 1, 1869, and in 1883 came to Indian Territory with his parents, Hugh Evans and Olivia (Snodgrass) Hamilton, who settled on a farm near the Wauhillau post office. Both are now deceased, the former passing away in 1901 and the latter in 1905.
Upon starting out in life for himself James M. Hamilton took up the occupation of farming, also devoting his attention to stock rasing, and through his practical and progressive methods, close application and persistency of purpose he won a substantial measure of success, being numbered among the representative agriculturists of his section of the state.
On October 27, 1890, Mr. Hamilton was united in marriage to Miss Lugenia Randolph, a native of this state, who was born in the Flint district, near Clear Springs, her parents being James and Martha Jane (Holland) Randolph, both now deceased. Their family numbered two children: Lugenia; and Malderine, now the wife of George W. Vincent, who acts as district agent of the agricultural department of Oklahoma and resides at Stillwater. Mrs. Hamilton attended the public schools and also the female seminary public at Tahlequah, Oklahoma, graduating from the latter institution in 1887. To Mr. and Mrs. Hamilton were born four children: Hugh Marvin; and Clarence W., James Randolph and George Toliver, who are attending school at Dewey and reside with their mother. The eldest son was born at Grove, Oklahoma, January 1, 1897, and after completing a public school course at Dewey secured a business education at Chillicothe, Missouri, finishing his studies in 1918. He then embarked in the oil business, with which he has since been connected as a producer, and he now owns and operates an eighty-acre tract, on which there are fifteen producing wells with a flow of about thirty-five barrels per day. He also engages in general farming, raising the cereals best adapted to soil and climatic conditions here. On his place, which is situated just across the highway from his mother’s property, he has erected a fine home at a cost of over seventy-five hundred dollars. He owns twenty acres in the timber and mineral belt in Cherokee County and is a most successful business man. In 1918 he married Miss Golden Gorman of Texas.
Fraternal affiliations of Mr. James M. Hamilton were with the Masons and the Independent Order of Odd Fellows. His life was an upright and honorable one and in his passing the community lost one of its valued citizens, his associates a faithful friend and his family a devoted husband and father.
His widow now resides on a tract of two hundred and forty acres near Dewey, on which there is a production of one hundred barrels of oil daily. She acts as the guardian of her sons and is a very capable business woman. When the leases expired she purchased the equipment from the lessees and now has full charge of the property, realizing substantial returns from her efforts in connection with oil production. On February 18, 1916, she married H. C. Kemble, a native of Pennsylvania, who possesses an expert knowledge of the oil business and is now looking. after the interests of his wife. He drilled the first oil well on the old Cherokee lease near Chelsea, in 1886, in the days when all men were provided with six-shooters, and long experience has made him thoroughly familiar with every phase of oil development here. Mrs. Kemble is a representative of one of the oldest families of the state, her ancestors in the paternal line coming here from North Carolina with the Cherokees in 1835, her paternal grandfather being one of the soldiers whose duty it was to guard the party during the journey to their new home in Indian Territory. Both her father and grandfather bore the name of James Randolph and the latter was a native of Maryland and of mixed Cherokee descent, while her maternal grandparents were Andrew and Elsie Adair. She is a faithful and consistent member of the Methodist Church, guiding her life by its teachings, and the poor and needy never seek her aid in vain. She is well known and popular in local social and fraternal organizations, belonging to the Lathes’ Aid, the Woman’s Christian Temperance .Union and the Woodmen’s Circle and she is likewise identified with the Red Cross. She remembers seeing the first railroad train at Muskogee when she was but five years old and her reminiscences of the early days are most interesting and instructive, for those things which are to others historical events are to her matters of personal knowledge and experience. Her life has been one of great usefulness and activity, of unselfish devotion to the interests of others, and she is one whom to know is to esteem and admire. Her father, James Randolph, went to the gold fields of California in ’49, with a party. He drove a herd of cattle through and had some thrilling experiences. He lived there fifteen years and then returned to Oklahoma, where he died.