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John F. Egan. If any one citizen of Sapulpa deserves special credit for the influences and activities which have brought about the development of this center of population and industry, it is John F. Egan. Mr. Egan came to this section of Indian Territory in the early ’90s and was an Indian trader at Sapulpa when there were few white people in this part of the Creek Nation. He has been a merchant, banker, rancher and stock raiser, public official, and in a great many ways that could not be distinctly named he has given vitality to the community where he has been so important a factor for more than twenty years.
It was largely under Mr. Egan’s leadership that Sapulpa was incorporated as a city. He was the agent who went before the United States judge at Muskogee and secured the original charter. he became the first city recorder, and has been first in a great many public movements.
John F. Egan was born in Eldorado, Fayette County, Iowa, June 9, 1860. His parents, Peter and Maria (Jackson) Egan, were both born in County Roscommon, Ireland, and about 1850 they came with relatives to Pittsfield, Massachusetts, and later moved out to Iowa, where they were married in 1854 at West Union. Peter Egan spent the rest of his life as a farmer and merchant in Iowa, and died in 1884 at the age of fifty-three. The mother survived him many years and passed away in Tulsa, Oklahoma, October 30, 1907, aged seventy-three.
The oldest in a family of nine children, five of whom are still living, John Egan grew up on the old farm in Fayette County. He attended public schools of Waucoma, and for fourteen terms was one of the popular and successful school teachers of his native county of Iowa. In the meantime he became interested in merchandising, and was associated with his brother in a store at Waucoma, and later for seven years was with the Webster Brothers Grain Company at Fredericksburg, Iowa. His record as a business man, educator and citizen back in Iowa was as creditable as his subsequent record in Indian Territory and Oklahoma.
In was in 1892 that Mr. Egan sold out his Iowa interests and came to Indian Territory, and in the fall of 1893 he established a store at Sapulpa as a licensed trader with the Indians. This business was conducted under the firm name of Egan Brothers, and he continued trading with the Indians for some five or six years. In 1896 he was appointed postmaster of Sapulpa during President Cleveland’s second administration, and held that office four years, six months, seven days, until July 7, 1900. It was a fourth class postoffice when he took charge, and during his administration its business increased many fold and it was made a money order office.
Since leaving the postmastership fifteen years ago Mr. Egan’s career has been one of constantly broadening and influential activities. On leaving the postoffice he went into the real estate and insurance business, but in a short time was appointed a United States constable by United States Judge Raymond, and gave most of his time for the next four years to the duties of that position. Since 1906 his chief business concern has been the handling of real estate and oil interests. While in the office of United States constable he took up the study of law and was admitted to practice before one of the Federal judges, but has used his professional knowledge chiefly to facilitate the handling of his private business interests, though he is a regularly admitted lawyer of the Oklahoma bar. For a number of years Mr. Egan has also used some extensive farm interests in the vicinity of Sapulpa, and conducts one of the model dairies near that city.
He has seen much of Oklahoma life during the past quarter of a century, and in the early days took part in the great land opening and was an applicant for a claim at El Reno, but did not succeed in drawing a prize. For the past two and a half years he has given considerable of his time to work as collector for the State Banking Board. Mr. Egan has written a number of articles for magazines, largely concerning his experiences in the Southwest. He knows personally practically all of the great political leaders who have been prominent in Oklahoma during the past quarter of a century, and he has also come into personal touch with many of the noted outlaws of the Southwest. He himself had experience in three holdups, but was not molested by the outlaws when they discovered his identity. .
In politics Mr. Egan was a loyal democrat up to 1896, but has since been a republican on national issues, and votes a split ticket for the most part. He organized the first school board in Sapulpa and was its first president, and helped to maintain the local schools for eighteen years. He was the first president of the Creek County Free Fair Association, which was organized in 1915 under the provisions of the Free Fair Bill, and the first fair was held in Sapulpa in November, 1915. Mr. Egan is a member of the County Bar Association, is a member of the Catholic Church, and of the Knights of Columbus.
In May, 1884, he married Miss Matilda J. DeCramer, who was born in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, April 18, 1865, a daughter of Joseph and Camilla (Enoch) DeCramer. Her parents were both born in Belgium. Mr. DeCramer died at Sauk Center, Minnesota. The DeCramer family moved out to Fayette County, Iowa, when Mrs. Egan was twelve years of age and she grew up there and they were married at Waucoma, Iowa. To their union have been born three children. Minnie C., who now lives at home, is a talented artist, and was a student at Loretto Academy in Kansas City, Missouri, in the Institute of Fine Arts at Chicago, and also at Bridgeport, Connecticut. The second daughter, Lucile, is the wife of J. A. McKeever, who is one of the editors of the Tulsa World, and they have one son named John Edwin, now seventeen months of age. Mrs. McKeever also was a student of art and graduated from the Loretto Academy and in a special course at Chicago and won two gold medals for her work at the Loretto School and one for her work at Chicago. The only son of Mr. and Mrs. Egan is John Sterling, who is a young boy still at home.