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C. Wilbur B. Hinds. If it be admitted that “eternal vigilance is the price of liberty,” then Colonel Hinds, as he is familiarly known to his troops of friends, had fully earned the broad liberty of thought and action that denotes and has definitely expressed the character and worthy achievement of the man as he stands forth as one of the world’s productive workers. His career has been marked by multifarious endeavors and wide experience; his is a strong and positive nature; his a well disciplined mind of high intellectual attainments; he has been a consistent leader of public sentiment and action; he has won large material success and has thereafter felt the buffeting of ill winds; he has been prominent in political and general civic affairs and his influence has been ever benignant; and he has been specially prominent in the editorial department of newspaper publication. The Colonel now holds a responsible clerical position in the office of the Secretary of State of Oklahoma, has been a resident of this state from the year of its admission to the Union, is well known throughout its borders and has been zealous and enthusiastic in exploiting its manifold advantages and attractions–a loyal and public-spirited citizen to whom it is a pleasure to accord recognition in this history of the vital and progressive young commonwealth.
The original progenitors of the Hinds family of America came from Wales as members of the colony of Lord Baltimore, and from the first settlement, in Maryland, there sprang three different branches–one being early established in Maine, another in Kentucky, and the third having become prominent and influential in the State of Mississippi, where Hinds County was named in honor of one of its distinguished representatives. Colonel Hinds is a descendant of the line that early found representatives in Kentucky. He whose name initiates this article is a son of Jacob and Susan (Markland) Hinds.
He early was identified with newspaper work, having gained practical experience through service, during his vacations, as a reporter on a paper called the State, at Columbia, South Carolina. In 1896 he founded at Mattoon, Illinois, the Morning Star, and of this paper he continued editor and publisher until 1902, when the plant was destroyed by fire, with a loss of fully $25,000. His success had been unequivocal up to the time of this financial disaster, which virtually compelled him to start anew. Thereafter he served for some time as correspondent for leading Chicago daily papers from Springfield the capital city of Illinois. The Colonel’s capacity for work is equaled by his versatility and resourcefulness, and he was soon found prominently concerned with the development of the oil industry, with which he was actively identified five years, within which period he traveled over prospective and producing oil fields in Ohio, Indiana, Texas, Wyoming and Alaska. In 1906 he had accumulated in this business a substantial competency, fully $50,000, but market manipulations in a brief time left him virtually bankrupt. Vital, optimistic and determined of purpose, the word discouragement has ever been on the index expurgatorius in the life of Colonel Hinds, and when misfortune has come to him he has but worked the harder and cast defiance in the face of adverse fate. Resuming his association with newspaper work, he was thereafter an attache in turn of the Post-Intelligencer of Seattle, Washington; the Sun of San Diego, California; and the Salt Lake Herald, in the metropolis of Utah. For eight months he served as representative of the Associated Press in Salt Lake City and Denver, and in 1907 he indicated his approval of the newly admitted State of Oklahoma by here accepting the position of political editor of the Oklahoma Leader, in the City of Guthrie. Through this association and his effective services in the connection he gained a state-wide reputation and acquaintanceship, and he made the Leader justify its name in its influence during the formulative period of the history of the new commonwealth. From 1911 to 1915 he was editor of Husonian, at Hugo, the county seat of Choctaw County, and in the spring of the latter year he resigned this position to accept that of which he is now the incumbent, in the office of the secretary of state of Oklahoma, this preferment being due him alike on account of his ability and the large influence he has wielded in political affairs in the state. The Colonel has but one hobby, and that is work. Of him it may be consistently said, as of a distinguished English statesman, that he can “toil terribly,” and in such application he finds definite satisfaction rather than in seeking periods of rest or so-called vacations. He has been indefatigable in his efforts to exploit the interests of the various towns and counties in which he has resided in Oklahoma, and this loyal civic attitude has been maintained by him since he established his residence in the capital city of the state, upon assuming the present official position.
Convictions resulting from close study of economic and governmental policies have made Colonel Hinds a stalwart, effective and uncompromising advocate of the principles of the democratic party, and he has been influential in its councils and campaign activities in various states of the Union. In 1902 he was candidate for Congress from the Eighteenth District of Illinois, but was defeated by Hon. Vespasian Warner, who later served as United States commissioner of pensions. Colonel Hinds was a member of the Democratic State Central Committee of Illinois and chairman of his party’s executive committee for the Eighteenth Congressional District, besides having been chairman of several delegations to the state conventions of the democratic party in Illinois. While in school and college he received a number of medals for oratorical skill, and his ability as a public speaker later came into effective play in his work in various political campaigns in which he took the stump. Thus he was found an active supporter of William Jennings Bryan as a campaign speaker in the national campaign of 1896, and in 1900 he was again prominent as a speaker of force and influence in advancing the interests of his party in the national campaign of that year. He has been a campaign worker in every county in Illinois and Kentucky, and in the latter state was a vigorous worker in the Goebel campaign for governor. Incidental to the campaign of 1914 in Oklahoma, Colonel Hinds was called to the capital city of the state by the democratic campaign committee at a juncture that was conceded to be one of critical order for the party contingent, and his skill and circumspection in the maneuvering of political forces and the formulating and direction of popular opinion came into effective play at this time, as he labored with characteristic ability and enthusiasm as assistant manager of the democratic press bureau of the state during a strenuous period of three weeks, and contributed greatly to the efficiency of the bureau’s service, in the supplying of campaign literature to fourteen daily and more than 400 weekly newspapers, the result of this work having been potent in the insuring of the splendid victory for the democratic party in Oklahoma in that spirited campaign. The genial temperament, sincerity and consideration of Colonel Hinds have gained to him a host of friends in political, business and social circles, and his name is still permitted to remain enrolled on the list of eligible bachelors. At Mattoon, Illinois, he still maintains affiliation with Lodge No. 495 of the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks and he has been identified with various other civic organizations of representative character.