Dr. Robert Drakeley Rood enjoys the distinction of bringing in the first large oil well in what was then Indian Territory and since the fall of 1903 has made his home in Bartlesville, while through the intervening period he has operated extensively in connection with the development of the oil industry in the south-west. His labors have constituted a most effective and important factor in the up-building and progress of this section of the country, nor has he ever been remiss in duties of citizenship or in recognition and utilization of the chances for contributing to the development and welfare of the commonwealth, while the influence of himself and his family over the social life of the community has been most potent.
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Robert Drakeley Rood was born on the 20th of October, 1863, at Stevens Point, Wisconsin, and was the second son in a family of four children, whose parents were Dr. Galen Gear and Nancy Jane (Sylvester) Rood. In the paternal line his ancestry is traced back to the early Puritans who settled in New England and upon the family record appears such distinguished names as that of Charles Sumner, statesman; Caroline Hazard, at one time President of Wellesley College; Senator Gear of Iowa; and Ogden N. Rood, one of the founders of Columbia University. Robert Drakeley Rood’s father, Dr. Galen Gear Rood, was graduated from the Ohio Medical College at Cincinnati, Ohio, in the spring of 1856 and entered upon active practice in Stevens Point, Wisconsin, where he remained for many years. His wife, who was of French extraction through the Gerard family of Paris, died in 1906 at the age of seventy-two years. Her consistent and effective Christianity was manifest in her untiring work for the Presbyterian Church, in which she long held membership. She reared a family of four children: Dr. Myron Galen Rood, a practicing physician; Dr. Price Walton Rood, a member of the dental profession; Katharine Abigail Rood, who after completing a course in the University of Wisconsin, turned her attention to the art of music and Dr. Robert Drakeley Rood of this review.
The last named, spending his youthful days under the parental roof at Stevens Point, Wisconsin, attended the city schools until he had completed the high school course and at a later period continued his education in the Lake Forest University and in the Northwestern University of Illinois, where his training constituted a determining factor in his later activity. After pursuing an elective course of study covering two years he matriculated in the Ohio College of Dental Surgery, from which he was graduated with the class of 1887. The following year he became a student in Rush Medical College of Chicago and when he had completed his course opened an office in Stevens Point, Wisconsin, where he practiced successfully for a number of years. His strong intellectuality, his comprehensive knowledge of the scientific principles underlying his work and his broad humanitarianism combined to make him one of the successful physicians and surgeons of his native state. While there residing Governor LaFollette appointed him Secretary of the World’s Fair commission of the state of Wisconsin.
Dr. Rood has always been a student of men and events and has closely watched the signs of the times. He believed that there was opportunity for notable oil development in the southwest and turned to the mid-continent fields as a seat of labor. In the fall of 1903 he brought his family to Oklahoma, settling in Bartlesville and through the intervening period his activity has been a dominant and a dynamic force in making this state the national center of the oil industry. Having brought in the first large well in the Indian Territory he has since operated in the further development of the oil fields and has been associated with the Indian Territory Illuminating Oil Company, the Stevens Point Oil Company, the Waukesha Oil Company and the Plover Drilling Company and others. Dr. Rood is today recognized as an eminent authority upon the oil situation in the country and his forcefulness and resourcefulness have spelled success in everything that he has undertaken.
Before leaving Wisconsin Dr. Rood was married on the 11th of December, 1895, to Miss Ethel Kirwan, who was also born at Stevens Point, and they have become parents of three children: Esther, who is a graduate of the Emma Willard School at Troy, New York, Katharine Abigail; and Robert Drakeley, Jr. Mrs. Rood is the eldest daughter of Frank Grahame and Elizabeth Wadleigh Kirwan, who were representatives of old Maryland and New England families. Coming to Bartlesville in pioneer times Mrs. Rood has taken an active part in promoting the welfare and progress of the city especially along social, intellectual and cultural lines. She is a vocalist of ability, having long cultivated her musical talent and has done much to stimulate and promote music and art through the organization of the Musical Research Society. She has been Secretary of the library board since its inception and has been an officer in musical clubs and the State Federation of Women’s Clubs in Oklahoma, she has also effectively cooperated with the state dental board in promoting moral hygiene in the public schools. Her home has long been the center of most delightful social functions and is the abode of warm-hearted hospitality. Dr. Rood belongs to the Masonic fraternity and has attained the thirty-second degree of the Scottish Rite. He stands as a stalwart champion of all those interests which make for public progress and which are a matter of civic virtue and of civic pride. Both Dr. and Mrs. Rood have made valuable contribution to the welfare and advancement of their adopted state, upholding the highest standards of intellectual, cultural and moral progress.