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Charles W. Richards. Like other of the progressive counties of Oklahoma, Carter County has signalized its civic loyalty and popular appreciation of true valuations by enlisting in the service of its public schools the interposition of an able and vigorous chief executive and a corps of efficient assistants–the teachers in the various schools of the county. He whose name introduces this paragraph is giving a most effective administration in the office of superintendent of the public schools of Ardmore, the metropolis and county seat, and has proved himself one of the able representatives of the pedagogic profession in this favored young commonwealth.
Charles Walter Richards was born at Sumach, Murray County, Georgia, on the 10th of October, 1S77, and is a scion of stanch old southern stock on both the paternal and maternal sides. He is a son of William M. and Mary (Hawkins) Richards, the former a native of Georgia and the latter of Tennessee. The father, who was born in 1852, has been a resident of Georgia during virtually his entire life and has there been actively and successfully identified with the great basic industry of agriculture. He and his wife still maintain their home at Sumach, that state, and he is one of the substantial landholders and representative agriculturists of Murray County–a citizen of very high standing in the community. He has always been zealous in his advocacy of the cause of the democratic party and takes lively interest in the questions and issues of the day. He has long been affiliated with the Masonic fraternity, and served many terms as master of his lodge. For the past thirty years he has been a deacon of the Baptist Church, of which his wife likewise is a devoted and zealous member. Of their children the eldest is Charles W., subject of this sketch; Freling was born in 1879 and died at Sumach, Georgia, in 1899; Warren B. is actively identified with agricultural pursuits in his native county, near the Village of Sumach; Grover C. is a successful teacher in the schools of Whitfield County, Georgia; James L. H. resides at Eton, Georgia, and is devoting his attention to farming and to teaching in the public schools; Leach H. is a member of the class of 1917 in the college at Rome, Georgia; and May is a teacher in the schools of Deep Springs, that state.
After making good use of the advantages afforded in the public schools of his native village Charles W. Richards there entered Sumach Academy, in which he was graduated in 1898. In pursuance of his higher academic studies ho thereafter continued a student in turn in the normal school maintained in the City of Nashville, Tennessee, under endowment from* the Peabody fund, and in the University of Nashville, in which he was graduated as a member of the class of 1903 and from which he received his degree of Bachelor of Arts. In 1905 he completed an effective post-graduate course in historic old Harvard University, in which he specialized in pedagogy, under the preceptorship of Doctor Hanus.
Prior to his graduation in the University at Nashville Mr. Richards had devoted himself to teaching in the rural schools of his native state, and his experience in this field covered a period of four years. In 1903 he assumed the position of principal of the high school at Springfield, Tennessee, and of this office he continued the incumbent until 1907. Thereafter he served as superintendent of schools at Princeton, Kentucky, until 1911, in the autumn of which year he came to Oklahoma and assumed his present position, that of superintendent of the city schools of Ardmore. Here his work has been marked by progressiveness, high executive and didactic efficiency, and his administration has been accorded unequivocal popular approval and support. Under his supervision are six schools, fifty-two teachers and 2,500 students’, and his work has been fruitful in bringing the Ardmore school up to a specially high standard of efficiency.
Mr. Richards is essentially an enthusiast in his chosen profession, and has the happy faculty of infusing enthusiasm in both teachers and pupils working under his direction. He is an appreciative and valued member of the Oklahoma State Teachers’ Association and is actively identified also with the National Education Association, besides which he is vice president from Oklahoma of the National Federation of State Teachers’ Associations, and is in active fellowship with the National Geographical Society.
Mr. Richards swerves not in his allegiance to the democratic party, though he is too thoroughly en rapport with the work of his chosen profession to have any predilection for the activities of so-called practical politics. Both he and his wife are zealous members of the Baptist Church at Ardmore, and in the same he is serving as superintendent of the Sunday school. He is affiliated with Ardmore Lodge No. 31, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons, and other bodies of the York Rite, and in the Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite of Masonry he has received the thirty-second degree and is affiliated with Indian Consistory No. 2 in the City of McAlester. He holds membership in Ardmore Lodge No. 648, Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, and Ardmore Camp of the Woodmen of the World, besides which he formerly maintained active affiliation with the Knights of Pythias and the Independent Order of Odd Fellows.
Reverting to the family history of Mr. Richards, it may be noted that he is a direct descendant from William Richards, who immigrated from Wales to America and settled at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where he married Miss Mary Ball. He became a wine importer in Pennsylvania and owned a fleet of ships, and was a resident of Philadelphia at the time of his death. In 1800 he leased in that city a large portion of the land now represented by Chestnut and Walnut streets, this lease having been made tor a period of ninety-nine years. From the old Keystone State certain of his descendants eventually removed to the South, and the subject of this review is descended from one who established the Georgia branch of the family.
On Christmas day of the year 1905, at Springfield, Tennessee, was solemnized the marriage of Charles W. Richards to Miss Anna Corinue White, daughter of Dr. Alpheus G. White, who is now living retired at that place, he being a dentist by profession. Mr. and Mrs. Richards have one child, Charles Walter, Jr., who was born on the 10th of October, 1912.