Biography of David Lee Stokes
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For forty-one years David Lee Stokes has been a resident of Oklahoma and after many years of activity as an agriculturist he is now living retired in Bartlesville in the enjoyment of a good income, gained through untiring industry, perseverance and intelligently directed effort during his earlier years. He was born in Marshfield, Missouri, January 12, 1866, his parents being Granville and Pheobia (Haymes) Stokes, who established their home in the Indian Territory, in what is now Washington county, Oklahoma, in 1880, becoming early settlers of this region. The father leased a tract of land four miles northwest of Bartlesville, which he brought to a high state of development, also devoting his energies to stock raising, and he continued in that business until his death, which occurred in 1895, while the mother passed away in 1908. The property is still known as the Stokes farm and remained the home of some member of the family continuously from 1880 until 1921, when the last occupant of the place took up her residence in Dewey.
On starting out in life for himself David L. Stokes also turned his attention to agricultural pursuits and in 1892 leased a tract of land on what is now the town site of Ramona, in Washington county. He gradually added to his holdings until he had under cultivation eleven hundred acres of rich and arable land, upon which he placed many improvements, converting his place into one of the most valuable in the county. He brought to the operation of this farm a scientific knowledge of modern agriculture and a progressive and open mind and kept abreast of the times in every way. He is now living retired in Bartlesville and is the owner of an attractive home at No. 316 Delaware avenue.
In 1908, at Fort Smith, Arkansas, Mr. Stokes was united in marriage to Mrs. Nettie Garrett, the widow of Denman Leroy Garrett, also a resident of Indian Territory Her parents, Edward Livingstion and Elms a Sherman) Bennett, came to the Indian Territory from Independence, Kansas, in 1879, and settled on what is now known as the Stokes farm, so that Mr. and Mrs. Stokes were neighbors and childhood friends. On this farm her father built one of the first log cabins in Washington County. This cabin has been presented to the Pioneer Association by Mrs. Stokes and stands as a memorial to the old settlers. Mrs. Stokes mother died in this cabin in 1883, and her father died in 1917, at the age of eighty-five years.
Following the death of her first husband Mrs. Stokes took up the profession of nursing, completing her training at San Francisco, California, and in 1894 she became matron of the Fresno County Hospital under the late Dr. J. D. Davidson. For six years she acceptably filled that position and during the Spanish-American war she organized the Fresno Red Cross, while following the earthquake and fire at San Francisco, in 1906, she became a nurse in the National Guard, and has likewise served as a nurse in the National Red Cross. She is familiar with all of the experiences of pioneer life and is an excellent horsewoman.
She swam the Caney River many times on horseback, and won many blue ribbons at local fairs for sidesaddle riding. In those early days horseback riding was an accomplishment possessed by every woman and her social status was established by the quality of her horse and saddle. In 1915 Mrs. Stokes organized the Old Settlers Club, which now has a large membership, and she has written several poems of note, relating to the pioneer epoch in the history of the state. She is the mother of two children, Lura Garrett, now Mrs. G. T. Lyons of Los Angeles, California; and Leslie Barnardo Stokes.
Although Mr. Stokes is not actively connected with agricultural pursuits, he has for several years been in the employ of the county and has made a most creditable record as a public official, discharging his duties faithfully and efficiently. His fraternal connections are with the Knights of Pythias.
At the time he settled in this section no bridges spanned the streams, there were no railroads and the town of Bartlesville had not been established. At that time the mail was brought in from Coffeyville once a week on the stage. No one stopped for high water. If a man wanted to cross with his family and the river was high he just tied the wagon-box down to the wheels and swam his team across, and any one on horseback swam across with his horse. Nothing daunted the pioneers of the Indian Territory and all travelers carried an axe to blaze the way and make trails for those who came later.
Mr. Stokes has, therefore, been a witness of the growth and development of this section of the state and an active factor in its progress along agricultural lines. Wherever known be is held in high esteem, but most of all where he is best known, and Oklahoma numbers him among her honored pioneers.