Hon. E. O. McCance. Oklahoma
lost one of its capable legislators and editors in the death of E. O.
McCance May 12, 1915. During the Fifth Legislature he was democratic
representative from Woodward County. Though he attended the session
of the Legislature at Oklahoma City he was a sufferer all the time,
and at the close of the session in the spring of 1915 he went home,
and at the end of two weeks on the advice of his physician went to
Silver City, New Mexico, but lived only three weeks. He was buried at
Mutual, where for a number of years he had been in the newspaper
business as editor of the Mutual Enterprise.
The late Mr. McCance
knew his section of the state as perhaps no other citizen. He was a
pioneer in the then partially developed Northwestern section of
Oklahoma and he brought to the Legislature a knowledge of the needs
of the people of home and a general stock of ideas calculated to make
the state more prosperous. It was as a member of the Oklahoma
Constitutional Convention that he laid the foundation for his later
usefulness in the making of laws in conformity with the principles of
the organic constitution.
E. O. McCance was born near Athens, Tennessee, September 16, 1874, a son
of J. E. and Martha (Prophet) McCance. His father, a native of
Alabama, was a soldier in the Confederate army under General
Pemberton, was wounded in the battle of Champion Hill and surrendered
with the rest of his command at Vicksburg. After the war he was a
prominent merchant and died in January, 1913. Mr. McCance’s mother
was a native of Tennessee, some of her male relatives were in the
Confederate army, and her father was a pioneer settler near
Springfield, Missouri. The Woodward County representative had four
brothers and four sisters: Rev. J. B. McCance, pastor of the
Methodist Episcopal Church, South, at Lone Wolf, Oklahoma; Mrs. H.
Burleson, who is the wife of a lawyer
and farmer at Hobart, Oklahoma, her husband being a nephew to the
noted Texan, now postmaster general of the United States; M. L.
McCance is a teacher at Lockport, Illinois; H. B. is in charge of the
York-Kee Lumber Company’s plant at Mutual; J. C. is in his brother’s
printing office at Mutual; Mrs. Lou Bouquot is the wife of a banker
and grain dealer at Moreland, Oklahoma; Mrs. Amos Johnson is the wife
of a barber at Vici, Oklahoma; and Miss Ella McCance is a druggist at
Mr. McCance acquired
his primary education in the public schools of Missouri up to the age
of fifteen. In 1890 his father removed from the Texas Panhandle and
settled near Amarillo. In 1894 they moved across the line into the
newly opened country of Woodward County, Oklahoma. For three years
Mr. McCance worked with his father on the farm and in the blacksmith
shop. After passing his twenty-first birthday he realized his
deficiency in educational equipment and spurred on by ambition
resolved to make himself a useful factor in the world’s activities.
Being past the scholastic age, he had to obtain special permission
from the Board of Education in his district in order to attend the
common schools. He was a pupil for four months with boys and girls
years his junior. Later he attended high school at Woodward, taking a
ten weeks’ course in the summer Normal, and at the conclusion was
granted a third grade teacher’s certificate. Then followed three
years of teaching, and after that a course in the Agricultural and
Mechanical College in Stillwater.
Although six months behind his class when he entered the Agricultural
College he made rapid progress, though unfortunately ill
health prevented him completing his sophomore year. In 1901 Mr.
McCance began his career as a newspaper man, buying half of the
interest of Frank Smith in the Enterprise at Mutual, and a few months
later becoming sole proprietor. He continued to edit and publish this
paper for nearly fifteen years, and has the largest and best equipped
newspaper plant of any inland town in the state not county seats.
In 1906 the citizens
of the Fifth District sent Mr. McCance down to Guthrie as a delegate
to the Constitutional Convention. He had been, elected by a safe
margin on the democratic ticket, overcoming a normally substantial
republican majority. In the Constitutional Convention he was chairman
of the Committee on Public Printing, and a member of committees on
Education, Prohibition and Legislative Apportionment. A distinction
of special note is that he was the youngest member of that historic
body. He was author of the provision in the Constitution that
prohibits a member of the Legislature voting on a bill in which he
has some pecuniary or other interest. He was author also of the
provision for the teaching of agriculture and horticulture in the
public schools. While opposed to the general plan for the division of
the counties, Mr. McCance succeeded in getting as good a county for
his own constituents as could have possibly been created for them.
In 1914 Mr. McCance
was elected a member of the Fifth Legislature by a plurality of
thirty-six in a county with a normal republican majority of five
hundred. He came to the Legislature as the first democrat elected
from his district since statehood. He was made chairman of the
Committee on Enrolled and Engrossed Bills, and a member of the
Committees on Appropriations, Judiciary and Senatorial
Re-districting, Prohibition Enforcement, Constitutional Amendments,
Public Printing and Labor and Arbitration. He introduced a bill
creating a special property tax for the building of public roads.
This was held unconstitutional by a committee, and he then introduced
a resolution providing for a constitutional amendment covering such.
Another bill introduced by him provided that by a municipal or
township vote the public records of cities, towns, school districts
and townships might be audited by the state.
which he advocated, and which has many obvious advantages, was one
prohibiting railways from changing proposed routes after grades had
been established, depot and switching sites fixed, and official
statement of plans filed with the secretary of state, except upon
vote of two-thirds of the people of the community affected. Thus in
spite of ill health, with the menace of death constantly over him,
Mr. McCance made a record in the Legislature which may well be a
permanent memorial to his name.
Mr. McCance was
married June 7, 1903, at Runningwater, Texas, to Miss Zoe Duvall,
whose parents were among the pioneer settlers of the Texas Panhandle.
To their marriage was born one child, Venia May, now three years of
age. Mr. McCance was a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church,
South, served as Sunday School superintendent eight years, and for a
long time was a steward and lay leader.
He was a member of
the Oklahoma Press Association, and was major general of the Squirrel
Rifles, a military organization formed during the Constitutional
Convention by W. H. Murray, president of that body. This title was
one of the rewards for the influence of Mr. McCance in helping elect
Murray to the presidency of the convention.