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John E. Bruin. Of the men who have done most to develop Eastern Oklahoma there is none whose career has been more creditable and who occupies a more honored position in Creek County than John E. Bruin, present county treasurer. Mr. Bruin first became identified with old Indian Territory more than thirty years ago, and has lived here continuously for the past quarter of a century. While his business success has been based largely on his operations as a farmer he has spent many years in the public service, and everyone in Creek County appreciates him as a competent, faithful and energetic worker in whatever position of trust to which he is called.
In spite of the circumstances of his childhood and early youth Mr. Bruin has accomplished most of those things for which ambitious men strive. He grew up in the hills of Southern Missouri, and had only three or four months’ schooling altogether, and the instruction was not of the highest grade at that. When he was five months old his mother died, and his father was in poor circumstances as a result of the Civil war.
He was born in Camden County, Missouri, August 17, 1865, a son of Alfred and Sarah (Keys) Bruin. His father was born in London, England, in December, 1825, and died in July, 1901, in Camden County, Missouri. The mother was born in Camden County and died in 1865 at the age of twenty-seven. When Alfred Bruin came to America he first located in St. Louis and afterwards at Lynn Creek in Camden County. In early life he had supported himself by his work as a bookkeeper, but subsequently took up farming near Lynn Creek. While living there he enlisted in the First Missouri Volunteers in 1861 and went through the entire war until mustered out in July, 1865. For the last two years of his service he was captain of his company. He was always ready to take the lead when there was difficult and dangerous work to do, and these qualities also distinguished him in his civil career, and he was a man of leadership in Camden County. He married for his second wife Martha Anderson. The only children of the first marriage were John E. and Eliza. The latter is the wife of Rev. J. C. Thompson, still living in Missouri. The second wife had one son and two daughters by a former marriage, and by Mr. Bruin she was the mother of one son, James H., who still lives at Lynn Creek, Missouri.
John E. Bruin lived in Camden County, Missouri, until he was nineteen years of age. He had worked on a farm and had attended school as opportunity presented, though not regularly and with none of the incentive and encouragement to study which modern school systems present. In 1884 he came to Indian Territory alone. For four years he worked as a cowboy in the vicinity of Vinita. Then returning to Missouri, he was married May 14, 1889, to Lizzie Berry, who was also born in Camden County, a daughter of Alexander Berry, who was a Kentuckian by birth and had served in the Union army from Missouri.
After his marriage Mr. Bruin lived in Missouri for a year, then returned to Indian Territory. He spent about five years in the Cherokee Nation, and was present at the opening of the Sac and Fox Reservation, acquiring a homestead. However, he subsequently relinquished his claim and in 1893 came into the Creek Nation, which has been his home now for more than twenty years. Here he diligently pursued his vocation as farmer until about fourteen years ago, at which time he moved to Bristow at the beginning of that town. He first had a blacksmith shop there, but was appointed postmaster, the second in the town, under President McKinley, and held that position seven years. He resigned to go back to his farm, and looked after his interests in that line until his appointment as under-sheriff of Creek County caused his removal to Sapulpa in 1909. Since then he has been one of the best known officials at the county courthouse. He first became a candidate for the office of county treasurer in 1910, but was defeated in the primaries by fifty-six votes. Two years later he was elected treasurer by 121 votes, and in 1914 his re-election was by the safe majority of 600 votes. In politics he is a republican. Mr. Bruin served as special agent for the Frisco Railroad for a year and a half before his election to the office of county treasurer. Altogether, he has worked for and served the public fifteen years. He has prospered in a business way, owns his home in Sapulpa and has a good farm in Creek County.
Mr. Bruin is affiliated with the Independent Order of Odd Fellows and he and his wife are members of the Christian Church. Their seven children are named Anna, Ethel, Alma, Alfred, Margaret, Lucile and Elizabeth. The daughter Anna is the wife of R. Steinhorst, cashier of the First National Bank of Sapulpa and their child is named Richard Bruin. The daughter Alma is the wife of Ray Dingman, of Lynn Creek, Missouri; their child is named Fannie Elizabeth.