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Colonel L. Clay. As a lawyer and as president of the Kiowa County Abstract Company, Col. L. Clay has been an active factor in the life of this section of Oklahoma since the opening of the country to settlement fifteen years ago. His family were among the Oklahoma eighty-niners, and as a boy he attended some of the first public schools opened in the original Oklahoma Territory.
For the origin of his family in America it is necessary to go back four generations to his great-grandfather who ran away from his home in England and came to America with Burgoyne’s army during the American Revolution. He was taken prisoner by the Americans when Burgoyne was forced to surrender in Northern New York, and as he had been fighting more for a spirit of adventure than as a matter of principle, he soon afterwards deserted the English and during the rest of the war fought on the American side. After the war he settled in New York State, and his descendants have since been identified with a number of western states and territories.
Col. L. Clay was born in Charlotte, Michigan, December 31, 1875, a son of Charles E. and Louisa Clay. His father was born in Auburn, New York, in 1824, and died at Kingfisher, Oklahoma, in 1890. The mother was born in 1838 and died at Kingfisher in 1902. From Auburn, New York, Charles E. Clay removed to Charlotte, Michigan, was married there and in 1889 participated in the opening of the original Oklahoma Territory, first locating at Guthrie, and in the spring of 1890 removing to Kingfisher, where he secured and began as a farmer and stockman, his career being soon cut short by death. He was a member of the United Brethren Church and in politics a democrat. Colonel L. was the second in a family of three children. The oldest is Evaline I., wife of Charles A. Perry, a machinist living at Charlotte, Michigan, while the youngest is Lacy H., a jeweler at Drumright, Oklahoma.
Col. L. Clay attended the public schools one winter in Guthrie, Oklahoma, and after that was a student in the public schools of Kingfisher, until graduating from the high school there. He grew up on his father’s farm near Kingfisher until 1899, and in the meantime had pursued a course of law studies in Col. John T. Bradley’s office at Kingfisher and was admitted to the Oklahoma bar April 26, 1899, and admitted to practice in the Supreme Court of the territory February 5, 1903.
Beginning in 1899 he was in practice at Weatherford, Oklahoma, for a year and a half, then returned to Kingfisher and was a partner with D. K. Cunningham until August 6, 1901, and on that date located as one of the pioneer attorneys at Hobart. Mr. Clay continued to practice law at Hobart until 1904, and has since given his chief attention to the abstract business, being president of the Kiowa County Abstract Company. The vice president and treasurer of this company is W. B. Cuppy, and the secretary is John R. Williams. The offices are in the Abstract Building, which is owned by the company, and they maintain the only complete set of abstracts for Kiowa County.
Outside of his business Mr. Clay has been active in political affairs and is especially prominent in Masonry. He is a democrat, and in the fall of 1899 was elected city attorney of Weatherford, serving one year until he resigned. He is now secretary of the County Election Board of Kiowa County, and has held that office since statehood. In Masonry he is past master of Hobart Lodge No. 198, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons; is thrice illustrious master of Hobart Council No. 322, Royal and Select Masters; a member of Hobart Chapter No. 37, Royal Arch Masons; is past eminent commander of Hobart Commandery No. 15, Knights Templar. He also belongs to India Temple of the Nobles of the Mystic Shrine at Oklahoma City, and other affiliations are with Hobart Lodge No. 881, Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks in which he is exalted ruler, and with the Knights and Ladies of Security.
On December 31, 1902, at Hobart Mr. Clay married Miss Edna Finley. Her father was the late Judge Harris Finley, who was the first county judge of Kiowa County after that jurisdiction was organized. Mr. and Mrs. Clay have three children: Lillian Irene, Donis Louise and Leslie Bruce, all of whom are students in the public schools at Hobart.