Jay H. Reigner. In the election of November, 1914, Mr. Reigner was elected representative of Pushmataha County in the fifth general assembly of the Oklahoma Legislature, and this preferment came as a consistent recognition of his loyal and earnest labors as an advocate of the principles of the democratic party and in behalf of measures and enterprises tending to advance the best interests of the state of his adoption. He is one of the representative newspaper publishers and editors of Oklahoma, and he came to Oklahoma in 1905, well fortified in experience in the domain of journalism, so that his ability, independence and vigorous policies have enabled him to make of the Antlers News-Record one of the model weekly papers of the state. As a progressive, liberal and public-spirited citizen he is entitled to definite recognition in this history of Oklahoma.
Jay Harlin Reigner was born in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, in the year 1870, and is a son of William and Elizabeth Reigner, both likewise natives of the old Keystone State, where the original American progenitor of the Reigner family settled upon his immigration from Alsace, France, in 1730, representatives of this sterling old family having been found aligned as patriot soldiers from that commonwealth or colony in the war of the Revolution. William Reigner was the eldest in a family of nine children and was the first of the number to be summoned to the life eternal, all having attained to advanced age and thus far their death having occurred in respective order of their births. William Reigner died in 1889. His wife had died a number of years before.
Jay H. Reigner was reared to adult age in Pennsylvania and afforded t he advantages of the public schools. In 1890 he became a student in the Westchester Normal School, at Westchester, Pennsylvania, but he withdrew from this institution within a short time and removed to the Middle West. He finally entered the law department of the great University of Michigan, at Ann Arbor, in which he was graduated in 1893, and from which he received the degree of Bachelor of Laws. Prior to this Mr. Reigner had become effectively identified with newspaper work and had virtually decided to make the same his permanent vocation. In 1887, when but seventeen years of age, he became a reporter on the staff of the Intelligencer at Wheeling, West Virginia, and later he assumed the position of editor of the News-Democrat at Canton, Stark County, Ohio, the home of the late and lamented President McKinley. While the incumbent of this position Mr. Reigner was able to wield no little influence in supporting the cause of the democratic party in the national campaign of 1896, when William Jennings Bryan first appeared as the party’s candidate for the presidency. He was a loyal supporter of Bryan in that memorable campaign, and later he became editor of an independent democratic weekly paper, the Sunday Herald, at Canton. In 1897 he went to the city of Alliance, in the same county, where for several years he was editor of the Daily Critic.
With an assured reputation for successful work as a representative of the profession of his choice, in 190j Mr. Reigner came to Oklahoma Territory and established his residence at Antlers, the judicial center of Pushmataha County, where he purchased the plant and business of the Antlers News, a weekly paper. Later he purchased the plants of the Antlers Record and the Kiamichi Roporter, the latter at Albion, in the same county, and in 1908 the three papers were by him consolidated under the present title of the Antlers News-Record.
Aside from his influence in political affairs as a newspaper editor Mr. Reigner had individually taken an active part in several campaigns in Ohio, where in 1898 he was chairman of the Democratic Congressional Committee of the Sixteenth Congressional District of the state and where he served several times as chairman of the Democratic Central Committee of Stark County. Upon coming to Oklahoma Mr. Reigner forthwith manifested a lively interest in political and governmental affairs and soon became a recognized leader in the local councils of his party. He is a firm believer in the basic principles of the democratic party and in an independent and courageous way always advocates for it policies that should make it justify in a generic way its title of democratic, his standard of the theory of government being that power should be given to the whole people rather than to the few. Thus it is that in his direct, earnest and well taken editorial utterances he is duly conservative and falls short of undue or ultra radicalism.
In 1914, as previously noted, Mr. Reigner was elected representative of Pushmataha County in the lower house of the Oklahoma Legislature, in which he has made an admirable record of conscientious, effective and loyal effort to conserve good government, wise legislation and the promotion of the best interests of the state and its people. he was made chairman of the committee on judicial and senatorial apportionment, and was assigned also to the committees on elections, on fees and salaries, on retrenchment and reform, on initiative and referendum, and on congressional apportionment. Mr. Reigner introduced and ably championed a bill relative to senatorial apportionment and another providing for the reduction of district-court districts from thirty-one to twenty-one. As a unfaltering advocate of the fundamental principles of the democratic party he has consistently opposed any movement or legislation tending to abrogate
in the least the power and authority of the people, and thus it was but natural that he should be found earnestly supporting measures providing for the preferential primary ballot and also presidential primaries.
Mr. Reigner is a popular and appreciative member of the Oklahoma Press Association; is an active and enthusiastic member of the Antlers Commercial Club; is affiliated with the Masonic Lodge, Chapter and Council in his home city, with Hugo Commandery, No. 30, Knights Templar, at Hugo, Choctaw County, and with Bedouin Temple, Ancient Arabic Order of tho Nobles of the Mystic Shrine, at Muskogee. At Antler he served as thrice illustrious master of Zabud Council, No. 20, Royal and Select Masters, and he has held other official chairs in the time-honored Masonic fraternity.
At Canton, Ohio, in 1902, Mr. Reigner wedded Miss Emma E. Shroyer, and she was summoned to eternal rest on the 3d of November, 1911, leaving no children.