George C. Rorie. In no one direction has Oklahoma shown more clearly and consistently its vital spirit of civic progressiveness than in the furtherance of its educational interests through the enlistment of the co-operation of educators and executives of superior ability. Few are the communities that do not give evidence of scrupulous care to the bringing of its public schools to the highest possible standard under existing conditions of revenue and support, and each year marks definite advancement along normal lines. In the neighborhood of Caddo, Bryan County, which is in one of the most historic sections of the old Choctaw Nation of Indian Territory, many of the leading men of that nation received their education of rudimentary order at the hands of missionaries who were also teachers by profession and who came with all of zeal and self-abnegation to labor among the Five Civilized Tribes of Indians. The early activities of Dr. J. S. Murrow, dean of the living missionaries in Oklahoma, were in the vicinity of Caddo, into this section extended also the educational influence of Dr. J. J. Read, of the Wapanucka country. Here lived the Harrisons, who were among the Indian pioneers in educational advancement. In this community Dr. Allen Wright, another of the pioneer missionaries who was among the really great men of the Choctaw Nation, taught to his people the value of education. In this community settled a colony of Choctaws immediately after the migration of the tribe from the State of Mississippi, in 1832, and here were established some of the first schools. It is a matter of special interest, therefore, that Prof. George C. Rorie, who is superintendent of the public schools of Caddo, a graduate of the University of Arkansas and a man of fourteen years’ experience in educational work that involves all of the modern ideas and methods of pedagogy, should on this historic spot develop the community’s educational system to the status of affiliation with the University of Oklahoma and to equip the schools with departments, apparatus and general facilities that give to the Caddo schools standing among the best in the state. This period of educational development is of further interest by reason of the fact that this section of country was for many years a rendezvous and a stage of activities on the part of border outlaws and desperadoes–misguided men whose character and malefactions could not but tend to give to the young man of the locality an erroneous idea of life and its responsibilities.
Caddo is situated on the historic military highway that extended from Fort Smith, Arkansas, to Fort Sill, Indian Territory, and over this road United States marshals and United States soldiers traveled to and fro in the effort to maintain peace and order and to hunt for illusive frontier desperadoes. At one time Caddo figured as a very outpost of civilization: Between it and the Rock Mountains white men were few, and the wild Indian tribes were marauding every section in which a white man dared or presumed to settle. The present status of the town, as well of its school system in particular, presents a model of the character of development that has been going on for the past quarter of a century.
The able and popular superintendent of the Caddo public schools was born in Stone County, Arkansas, in 1879. and is a son of James and Rebecca Caroline (Cypert) Rorie, his father likewise having been a native of Arkansas, where he became a progressive and substantial agriculturist and stockgrower. The discipline which Mr. Rorie obtained in the public schools of his native state made him eligible for service as a teacher in the common schools, and through his early pedagogic labors he laid the firm foundation of the higher education that now denotes the man. For one year he received a salary of $22.50 a month, and before his temporary withdrawal from the pedagogic profession his salary had been advanced to $40 a month–a tangible recognition of his ability and successful work. This income, however, was too meager to enable him to save an amount sufficient to pay the expenses incidental to the completion of his higher academic or literary education, and thus he supplemented his income by the money earned by other work of various kinds–a reinforcement that enabled him to attend the preparatory department of the University of Arkansas for a period of two years and that four years later brought fruition in his reception of the degree of Bachelor of Arts, as well as the pedagogic degree of Licentiate of Instruction. He was graduated in the University of Arkansas as a member of the class of 1911, and relative to his earlier achievement in the field of personal education it may be noted that in the neighborhood in which he was reared the educational facilities were so meager and the incentive for a young man to acquire higher education was so lacking by very reason of existing conditions, that he was twenty-one years of age before he began the study of grammar, physiology and higher arithmetic. Thus it will be seen that Mr. Rorie had the ambition of action and was able to triumph over adverse forces.
After the completion of his university course Mr. Rorie came to Oklahoma and was elected principal of the high school at Checotah, judicial center of the county of the same name, where he succeeded Prof. George W. Gable, who in that year was chosen president of the Northeastern State Normal School, at Talequah. Mr. Rorie continued his effective services at Checotah until 1914, in the autumn of which year he was elected to his present position, that of superintendent of the public schools of Caddo. The Caddo schools have an enrollment of 500 pupils and a corps of thirteen teachers is retained. During two summers since he established his home in Oklahoma, Mr. Rorie has been an instructor in the summer normal institute of McIntosh County, and one year, by appointment on the part of the county superintendent of schools, he was an instructor in connection with the teachers’ reading-circle work of that county. He has taken credit work in the great University of Chicago and expects in due time to receive from that institution the degree of Master of Arts. Mr. Rorie has proved strong and circumspect as an executive as well as a teacher, and is constantly studying plans and measures through the medium of which he may bring advancement in educational standards and efficiency in the work of the schools over which he is placed in charge. He is a member of the board of teachers’ examiners for Bryan County, and is actively identified with the Bryan County Teachers’ Association and the Oklahoma Educational Association. In addition to his literary discipline in the University of Arkansas, Mr. Rorie received also at that institution excellent military training, in which connection he won advancement through the grades of corporal and sergeant to that of lieutenant of the cadet body of the university. He holds membership in the Baptist Church, and is affiliated with the Independent Order of Odd Fellows and the Woodmen of the World.