Irving W. Hart. In touching upon the history of Woodward County, special attention may well be directed to Mr. Hart, who is one of the pioneer citizens and representative business men of the vigorous little City of Woodward, tho county seat, where he has built up and controls a substantial and prosperous enterprise as a dealer in agricultural implements.
In the family home at No. 60 Twelfth Street, New York City, Irving W. Hart was born on the 23d of September, 1851, and while he is appreciative of metropolitan facilities and attractions, he is gratified that his life has been cast in with the free and untrammeled West and that he can claim as his home the vital young Commonwealth of Oklahoma, where he has found that “ every prospect pleases” and that excellent opportunities are afforded for the achieving of definite and worthy success along normal lines of enterprise. Mr. Hart is a son of Capt. Robert Hope Hart and Margaret A. (Irving) Hart. The father passed the closing years of his life in New York City, where he died on the 20th of June, 1865. Captain Hart was born in Scotland, in 1789, and was the son of a clergyman of the Presbyterian Church. He received an academic and military education at Stirling Castle and became a captain in the gallant command known as the Forty-second Highlanders, with which he served a number of years in India. In 1840 he resigned his commission and came to the United States. Here he became associated with others in importing goods from India, the firm or company operating their own vessels. At the time of the Civil war these vessels were confiscated by the United States Government, and this, with other adverse conditions, brought such financial reverses to Captain Hart that he became virtually bankrupt. He had in the meantime maintained his residence in New York City for a time, and during the major part of his career after coming to America he resided in that city. In 1863, .after his financial reverses, he engaged in the coal business in the national metropolis, where he continued to be identified with this line of enterprise until his death, which occurred June 20, 1865, as previously noted.
In 1840 was solemnized, in the City of Philadelphia, the marriage of Captain Hart to Miss Margaret A. Irving, who was born at Savannah, Georgia, on the 10th of December, 1822, a daughter of Rev. David Irving, who was a clergyman of the Episcopal Church. Mrs. Hart survived her husband by nearly a quarter of a century and passed the closing period of her life at Eureka, Kansas, where she died on the 9th of February, 1889. She was a communicant of the Episcopal Church from youth to the time of her death. Captain and Mrs. Hart became the parents of six sons and two daughters, concerning whom brief data are consistently entered at this juncture: Susan, the first born, died in infancy, as did also James, second of the children; Marian, who was born in the year 1845, became the wife of Thomas Miller and her death occurred in 1905, her four surviving children being Stewart, George, Marian and Helen; George Durey, who was born in 1847, was a resident of Arizona at the time of his death, in 1906, he having been for six years a member of the Third United States Infantry, in which he rose to the office of captain, and his service having included the entire period of the Civil war; Robert Hope, who was born in 1849, is a prominent breeder of blooded live stock in Greenwood County, Kansas; Irving W., subject of this review, was the next in order of birth; Charles L., who was born in 1853, is now a resident of the City of Chicago, Illinois; and David Wallace, who was born in 1856, resides at Bynes Lake, British Columbia. All of the children were born in the family home at No. 60 Twelfth Street, New York City.
After having duly availed himself of the advantages of the public schools of New York City, Irving W. Hart, who was a lad of fourteen years at the time of his father’s death, pursued a higher course of study in a college at Lanesborough, Berkshire County, Massachusetts. Shortly after his father’s death he found employment as a messenger boy, and as a youth he came to the West and became a resident of Wisconsin, where he worked on a farm for a few years, besides having served for a time as messenger at the Milwaukee Board of Trade. In 1870, in company with his brothers Robert and Charles, he removed to Kansas, and they brought with them to the Sunflower State twelve head of thoroughbred cattle, being the first to introduce this grade of live stock in Greenwood County. In 1875 Mr. Hart removed to Pekin, Illinois, and for the ensuing three years he was employed as a commercial traveler. In 1878 he went to Denver, Colorado, where he was employed two years as a salesman, and in 1884 he became one of the first settlers in Clark County, Kansas, where he entered claim to a tract of Government land and instituted the reclamation and improvement of a farm. Later he was engaged in business for a number of years at Lexington, that county. He was an active worker in behalf of the cause of the democratic party in that section of the Sunflower State, and he served ten years in the office of justice of the peace, in Liberty Township.
In 1893 Mr. Hart “made the run” at the historic opening of the Cherokee Strip of Oklahoma to settlement, and he located a homestead claim nineteen miles southeast of the present City of Woodward. He at once became active in public affairs in the new community. He was first elected justice of the peace of Webster and was at the same time a member of the board of township trustees, an office of which he continued the incumbent two years. In 1897 Mr. Hart was elected the first county assessor of Woodward County, a position in which he served two years, and later he served three terms as city assessor of Woodward. In 1907, the year that marked the admission of Oklahoma to the Union, he had the distinction of being elected the first representative of Woodward County in the State Legislature. In the House of Representatives he was assigned to a number of important committees. He introduced in the house a number of important bills, ably championed them on the floor and through personal influence brought them to enactment as laws of the state. He served one term in the Legislature and his record therein has become an integral part of Oklahoma history.
Mr. Hart improved his original farm in Woodward County and is still the owner of valuable real estate, including farm land and city property. Since 1911 he has been successfully engaged in the implement business at Woodward, where he has a large and well equipped establishment and controls a substantial and representative business. He is affiliated with the Knights of Pythias, the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, and the Modern Woodmen of America, and holds membership in the Presbyterian Church in his home city, his wife, now deceased, having likewise been a zealous and devoted member.
At Lexington, Kansas, on the 14th of December, 1889, was solemnized the marriage of Mr. Hart to Miss Mary Schell, daughter of Frederick H. and Amanda (Martin) Schell. Mrs. Hart was born at Fairfield, Illinois, on the 14th of December, 1869, and was summoned to the life eternal on the 12th of October, 1906, being survived by two children: Helen Irving, who was born December 6, 1899, died on the 25th of January, 1915; Hazel M., who was born November 19, 1894, is the wife of Professor Henry E. Garringer, superintendent of schools at Kremlin, Garfield County, Oklahoma.