Biography of William Lenox McWilliams
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Many interests claim the time and attention of William Lenox McWilliams, a foremost citizen of Miami, who is president of the First National Bank, being also extensively interested in stock raising and mining, and he is likewise one of the leaders of the republican party in Oklahoma. He was born upon a farm near La Belle, Missouri, April 29, 1865, his parents being George Washington and Lucy M. (Clapp) McWilliams, and is a representative of an old American family, his ancestors having been passengers on the Mayflower. The father fought in the Civil war and gave up his life for his country. He was a native of Hardin county, Kentucky, while the mother was born in Lewis county, Missouri.
William L. McWilliams, the only son in the family, spent his boyhood upon the home farm and attended the common schools near La Belle, while later he entered Western Academy, through which he worked his way. For a year he taught school at Ravenna, Nebraska, after which he was employed by an implement house there, and then became a student at the Louisville (Ky.) Medical College, from which he was graduated with the class of 1891. For three months he followed his profession at Melrose, Kansas, and in June, 1891, he located at Miami, becoming the pioneer physician here. He secured from the Miami Townsite Company the first deed ever issued to a white man in Indian Territory. Miami was at that time situated in the Quapaw agency, and he continued in practice here until 1917, his professional labors being attended with a gratifying measure of success as he demonstrated his ability and skill as a physician. He then turned his attention to the field of finance, becoming one of the organizers of the Ottawa County National Bank. Prior to the building of railroads through the state he erected the building in which is housed the First National Bank and for the past ten years has been its president. Thoroughly understanding modern finance, he has labored effectively to broaden the scope of the institution and is now at the head of one of the most substantial banks in northeastern Oklahoma. He also has made profitable investments in mines and is particularly interested in stock raising, which may be said to be his hobby. He has a ranch of thirteen hundred acres adjoining Narcissa, Oklahoma, on which he raises high grade hogs and Hereford cattle on an extensive scale, his place being known as Hillcrest, and he is one of the most successful cattlemen in the state. He has also operated in real estate, laying out the McWilliams addition to Miami and thus greatly assisting in the improvement of the town. He is a man of resourceful business ability, and many lines of activity have been stimulated through his intelligently directed efforts, his sound judgment and his well formulated plans. When he first came to Miami he was encumbered with debts but through untiring industry and capable management was soon able to meet all outstanding obligations, and he has demonstrated his faith in the future of the town by his extensive real estate investments.
On the 11th of March, 1891, Mr. McWilliams was married at La Belle, Missouri, to Miss Laura E. Scott, a native of Lewis county, Missouri, and a daughter of Granville and Helen E. Scott. Her father was born in Hardin county, Kentucky, and in pioneer times he settled in Missouri, where for many years he successfully followed agricultural pursuits, after which he lived retired in La Belle until his demise. Mr. and Mrs. McWilliams have become the parents of two children: Harold Austin, who is associated with his father in his farming and stock-raising operations; and Leo Bruce, who married Miss Edith Mabon and has two sons, Robert Bruce and James William. During the World war Mrs. McWilliams was an active supporter of the various government drives, and she is a prominent figure in the social life of Miami, belonging to the Twentieth Century Club, the White Shrine and the Eastern Star.
Since 1891 Mr. McWilliams has taken an active part in political affairs in Oklahoma and is one of the leaders of the republican party in the state. He was one of the organizers of the party in Indian Territory and was sent as a delegate to the national convention which nominated Theodore Roosevelt for president of the United States, being a member of the notification committee. He was also a member of the executive committee of the republican party and served as postmaster of Miami under President McKinley. He assisted in incorporating the town and was chosen as its mayor in 1921, bringing to his official life the same shrewdness, intelligent grasp of conditions and conscientious obligation which have gained him. success in business. He is a member of the Ottawa County, Oklahoma State and American Medical Associations and during the World war served as local chairman of the Red Cross committee. He is also identified with the Chamber of Commerce, being one of its original members, and is leaving his indelible impress upon the history of Miami. He has always been loyal to any public trust reposed in him and puts forth earnest and effective effort for the benefit and up-building of his community, county and state. The years have brought him success and honor, and he stands today among the foremost citizens and self-made men of northeastern Oklahoma.