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Joseph A. Innis. The present efficient incumbent of the office of county surveyor of Woodward County has served consecutively in this position since 1900, and is one of the sterling pioneers and honored and influential citizens of the county, where he established his residence at the time when this section was thrown open to white settlement, as a part of the historic Cherokee Strip, or Outlet. Mr. Innis is the owner of valuable farm property in the county and has been one of the valiant and resourceful men who hate been foremost in the development of Woodward County along both civic and industrial lines.
On the homestead farm of his parents, in Ripley County, Indiana, Joseph A. Innis was born on the 8th of May, 1861, and he thus came into the world about the time when his native land was plunged into the vortex of fratricidal war. He is a son of James and Sarah (Runner) Innis, both natives of the Hoosier state, and representatives of sterling pioneer families of that commonwealth. James Innis was born in Ripley County, Indiana, in 1832, and at the time of his death, in 1901, he was a resident of the Village of May, Woodward County, Oklahoma, his entire active career having been one of close and successful identification with the basic industries of agriculture and stock growing, though in his youth he served for a time as a teacher and a civil engineer. He first came to what is now the State of Oklahoma in 1887, but after remaining for a time in the section long designated as No Man’s Land, which included the present County of Beaver. He thus became a resident of Oklahoma even before the territory of this name had been created from the original Indian Territory. His son, Joseph A., subject of this review, had preceded him to this frontier region by about a year. The marriage of James Innis to Miss Sarah Runner was solemnized in 1853, and Mrs. Innis died in what is now Beaver County, Oklahoma, in 1889, the year that the new territory was thrown open to settlement. She was born in 1833 and was a daughter of David Runner, who immigrated from Germany and became a pioneer settler in Indiana. Of the children of James and Sarah (Runner) Innis the eldest is Milford Taylor, who was born in 1859; Joseph A., of this sketch, was the second in order of birth; John Newton was born in 1863; Eward was born in 1867 and died in 1869; James D. was born in 1870; William Isaac in 1873; Robert E. in 1878; and Archibald D. in 1882. All save one of the children are living.
Joseph A. Innis was reared and educated in his native state, where he was reared to the sturdy discipline of the home farm and made good use of the advantages afforded in the public schools of the locality and period. In 1884, as a young man of twenty-three years, he came to the West and established his residence in Barber County, Kansas, as a pioneer of that section of the Sunflower state. In 1886 he came to the No Man’s Land of the present State of Oklahoma, and in that section of the Indian Territory he became a pioneer agriculturist and Stock grower. He there continued operations until the Cherokee Strip was thrown open to settlement in 1893, when he participated in the rush into the new country, and entered claim to a homestead in what is now Woodward County. He vigorously instituted the reclamation and improvement of this property and on his land was eventually established the now thriving Village of May, of which he was virtually the founder, and which was named in honor of the only daughter of his first marriage.
Mr. Innis developed his land into one of the well improved and valuable farms of Woodward County and there he continued to maintain his home until 1900, when he was elected county surveyor and removed to the City of Woodward, judicial center and metropolis of the county. He had gained broad and practical experience as a civil engineer in the days of his youth, and his technical facility has been reinforced by careful study, so that he is eminently qualified for the important office which he has held consecutively since the year noted, the popular estimate placed upon his official services being indicated by his re-election at successive intervals of two years. He has done a large volume of important surveying work in the county and has had supervision also of much other civil engineering, of even more technical order. He still retains ownership of his farm, is significantly vital and progressive in his civic attitude, is always ready to give his co-operation in the furtherance of measures and enterprises advanced for the general good of the community, and is a citizen who is not only one of the well known pioneers of this section of the state, but also one whose circle of friends is limited only by that of his acquaintances. He is a stalwart advocate of the cause of the republican party, is affiliated with the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, and both he and his wife hold membership in the Methodist Episcopal Church, South.
At Butler, Missouri, on the 2nd of August, 1881, Mr. Innis wedded Miss Mary Maple, who was born in Bates County, that state, in 1864, a daughter of Jehu and Harriet (Fuller) Maple, and she died on the 23rd of April, 1888, soon after the family home had been established in what is now Beaver County, Oklahoma, and about one month after the birth of her only daughter, the three children who survive her being: Harry B., born in 1883; Asa J., born in 1885; and Mary Prudence, born March 11, 1888.
On the 23rd of June, 1904, was solemnized the marriage of Mr. Innis to Miss Etta C. Strong, who was born in Parke County, Indiana, on the 21st day of August, 1877, and who is a daughter of John and Mary (Jones) Strong, likewise natives of that county. Mr. and Mrs. Innis have five children, whose names and respective dates of birth are here noted: Joseph T., March 9, 1905; Eva May, December 13, 1907; Charles T. Bruce, November 29, 1909; Lester Gail, February 6, 1913; and Crystal Elnora, February 14, 1915.