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One of the prominent citizens of Salina is Joseph Tolover Hairston, who was born on the 10th of March, 1862, at Saltillo, Mississippi. The Hairston family is of Scotch descent, its progenitor in this country having migrated from Scotland to Virginia at an early day. His sons, William, John and Peter, removed to South Carolina during the Revolutionary war, and William and John have many descendants in the southern states. The grandfather of Joseph Tolover was William Hairston, who died in his eightieth year. His son, Little Tolover Hairston, fought in the Civil war and was killed at Chickamauga at 4:30 o’clock in the afternoon of September 20, 1863, in the last charge on Snodgrass Hill. He was survived by his widow and two children. She was the daughter of Reuben Morgan, who removed from South Carolina to Mississippi in 1842 and was a large landowner and prominent agriculturist there. His demise occurred in 1860. Sometime after Mr. Hairston’s death, Mrs. Hairston was again married, becoming the wife of Edward G. Norris. Her demise occurred on the 17th of March, 1919.
In the acquirement of an education, Joseph Tolover Hairston attended the public schools of Mississippi and in early life became a house and bridge carpenter. In 1888 he came to Oklahoma, then Indian Territory, and engaged in farming and stock raising until 1895, also doing some general contracting. In that year he came to his present location. For some time he followed agricultural pursuits here and then for seven years worked as a mechanic at the Cherokee Orphans Home at Salina under Wallace Ross, Joseph F. Thompson, Henry Dannenburg and E. C. Elberty, superintendents. Subsequently he became manager of the Salina Telephone Company and was active in that position for eleven years. Mr. Hairston was the first school clerk after statehood and helped lay out school districts in Mayes County. He was the first county game warden of Mayes County and daring the years 1907, 1910 and 1920 was census enumerator. Mr. Hairston was the original and largest apiarist in the state for fifteen years. He won recognition all over the United States in that connection and many interviews with him on the subject of bees were printed in American and European newspapers.
It was on the 30th of October, 1882, at Tupelo, Mississippi, that Mr. Hairston was united in marriage to Miss Ardena Isaacs, a daughter of R. C. and R. Anna (Gibson) Isaacs. Her father is still living, being now ninety-three years of age, and he makes his home in Salina. For over thirty-five years he engaged in the mercantile business, owned and operated a sawmill and acted as postmaster, and he achieved more than gratifying success in each undertaking. To the union of Mr. and Mrs. Hairston the following children have been born : W. C.; L. T.; Eugene ; J. T., Jr., who married Miss Cora Williams ; J. L., who married Ruby Williams; Gladys, the wife of E. N. Wise; and Virginia, now the wife of H. W. Thornton.
W. C., L. T. and J. T., Jr., served their country in the World war, the father, who was clerk on the exemption board, placing all of the boys old enough in class one. L. T. Hairston saw active service in France as a member of the Three Hundred and Nineteenth Field Artillery and was in most of the important battles of the war. Eugene, upon the outbreak of the war, was not old enough to enlist but on reaching eighteen years of age enlisted and is in the service now. Mr. Hairston gave generously of his time and money to war work and held various local offices, being on the exemption board and a member of the explosive license committee, etc.
Since attaining his majority, Mr. Hairston has been a, stanch supporter of the democratic party and the principles for which it stands. He was a delegate to the first state convention from Mayes County and has attended several other state conventions as delegate. For two years, from 1918 through 1919, he was chairman of the county central committee.
He has no fraternal affiliations but is a member of the Anti-Horse Thief Association, of which body he has been state president since 1920, his present term expiring in 1923. He has likewise been a, delegate to the national conventions of that organization on several occasions. Mr. Hairston is readily conceded a “booster” of all public projects for he is one of the public-spirited, enterprising citizens of Salina, whose personal interests are at all times identical with those of the community at large, in the promotion of which he seems tireless.