James Franklin Ledbetter, of Muskogee, has been a resident of this city for about seventeen years and through the period has largely been an incumbent in public office. Much of his life has thus been given to public service and his record has been most commendable, being characterized by marked devotion to duty and efficiency in the discharge of the tasks which have devolved upon him.
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Arkansas numbers him among her native sons, his birth having occurred in Madison county, December 15, 1852. He obtained a public school education and in early life gave his attention to the occupation of farming, spending some time in active connection with agricultural interests. He was first called to public office when appointed deputy sheriff of Johnson county, Arkansas, a position which he filled for ten years, discharging his duties with marked promptness and fidelity and without fear or favor. For nine years he was a resident of Vinita, Indian Territory, serving as its deputy United States marshal, and for a period of two years he also filled the office of city marshal. It was on the 29th of July, 1894, that he took up his abode in Vinita and was employed by the American Express Company as a guard over money packages sent by express.
On the 6th of January, 1905, Mr. Ledbetter became a resident of Muskogee. Here he has again filled public offices with credit to himself and satisfaction to his constituents and the general public. He was deputy United States marshal until 1907, the year of statehood. For two terms he has filled the position of chief of police of Muskogee, standing staunchly for law and order and doing much to promote progress in this field. He was also elected sheriff of Muskogee county and occupied the position for two years. He has done important work as secret service agent and thus through much of his life he has given his attention to the task of maintaining law and order as a public official.
His record is highly commendable, by reason of the capability and faithfulness that he has displayed in the prosecution of his duties. As the years have passed he has made investment in lands and is now the owner of a one hundred and sixty acre farm. He is also a promoter of oil well drilling and thus his activities are contributing to the material development of the state through the utilization of its natural resources.
On the 24th of June, 1874, Mr. Ledbetter was married to Miss Mary J. Terry, a native of Missouri, and they have become the parents of two children: George W., who is an automobile salesman in Muskogee; and America J., the wife of F. M. Young, who is a mechanic living in Kansas City, Missouri.
Mr. Ledbetter is identified with the Masonic fraternity, having for a number of years been a faithful follower of the teachings and purposes of the craft. His life has been spent in this section of the country and he has been closely associated with the development and progress of the southwest.