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Lee A. Walton. At Alva, judicial center of Woods County, is maintained the residence of this well known and representative Oklahoma pioneer, and he is a citizen of large and varied attainments, even as he is a man of wide experience and broad activities along lines that represent definite civic and material progress. Mr. Walton has been one of the influential figures in public affairs and industrial development in Oklahoma, where he established his residence in 1893, the year when the historic Cherokee Strip was thrown open to settlement. He is a skilled civil engineer, and as such has done a large amount of important work both in Kansas and Oklahoma, is being specially worthy of note that he was chief engineer of the surveying and construction of the first railroad line to enter the present thriving city of Beaver. As a youth Mr. Walton studied law; he has been a successful representative of the pedagogic profession as well as that of civil engineer; he has been, active as a newspaper editor and publisher; he has concerned himself with mercantile enterprises; and he has been specially resourceful in connection with the development and advancement of the basic industry of agriculture. All these things betoken his versatility, and his broad mental grasp and mature judgment have further made him specially well equipped for leadership in popular sentiment and action, so that it may readily be understood that he has exerted large and benignant influence in connection with the march of progress in Oklahoma, both under territorial and state government.
A native of the fine old Buckeye State, within whose borders both his paternal and maternal ancestors settled in the early pioneer era of its history, Mr. Walton was born at Rome, Lawrence County, Ohio, on the 14th of August, 1859. He is a son of Thomas A. and Sarah E. (Massey) Walton, both likewise natives of Ohio, the father having been born in Lawrence County, in 1830, and the mother in Lawrence County, in 1832–a daughter of John and Elizabeth (Darling) Massey.
Judge Thomas A. Walton was a son of Thomas and Elizabeth (Whitten) Walton, both natives of England, where a representative of the Walton family was the Duke of Leeds. The parents of Judge Walton were numbered among the representative pioneers of Ohio, in which state they continued their residence until their death. In his native state Judge Walton received advanced educational advantages as gauged by the standards of the locality and period, and he not only became an able civil engineer, but also a prominent lawyer and jurist in Lawrence County, Ohio, where he was engaged in the practice of law as a young man and where he served for some time on the bench of the District Court.
In 1885 Judge Walton removed to Harper County, Kansas, and after there devoting two years to farming he engaged in the same line of enterprise in Barber County, that state, where he continued his residence until 1893, when he participated in the opening of the Cherokee Strip in Oklahoma Territory and settled on a tract of land to which he entered claim in old Woods County. He here continued his residence until 1900, when he and his wife established their home at Victoria, the judicial center of the Texas county of that name. There they passed the remainder of their lives, Judge Walton having passed away in 1906 and his widow in 1913. Their marriage was solemnized in the year 1854 and they became the parents of five sons and four daughters, concerning whom the following data are available: John A., who was born in 1855, died at the age of seven years; Charles A., born September 2, 1857, is now a prosperous farmer in Victoria County, Texas; Lee A., immediate subject of this review, was the next in order of birth; Nora E., born October 3, 1861, was the wife of Horace Frisbie and she resides at Lamar, Colorado; Samantha H. E., who was born December 25, 1863, died in 1911; Cecilia Ella, born December 24, 1865, died in 1886; Minerva E., born in 1868, died at the age of two years; Don A. was born in 1873 and died in 1892; T. Whit was born in 1875 and is a resident of Addicks, Texas.
Lee A. Walton passed the period of his childhood and early youth on his father’s farm in Lawrence County, Ohio, and that he made good use of the advantages afforded by the public schools of his native county needs no further voucher than the statement that when but sixteen years of age he proved himself eligible for pedagogic honors and engaged in teaching in a district school. He continued his successful work as a teacher and also initiated the study of law, in which he eventually gained a really broad and accurate fund of technical knowledge. Under the direction of his father he studied and worked as a civil engineer, and served as deputy county surveyor of Lawrence County, under the administration of his honored sire, this position having been retained by him when he was seventeen years old.
In 1883, when about twenty-four years of age, Mr. Walton came to the West and entered claim to a tract of Government land in Harper County, Kansas. He devoted two and one-half years to reclamation and other improvement work on his claim, and in connection with these pioneer farming operations he also found requisition for his services as a teacher in the local schools. In 1885 he removed to Stevens County, that state, where he engaged in teaching school and where he served four years as county surveyor. For a time he was editor and publisher of a weekly paper in the Village of Moscow, that county, and the former vigorous Town of Fargo Springs, Kansas, claimed him for a period as one of its leading merchants. During the last five years of his residence in the Sunflower State Mr. Walton gave his attention principally to farming and teaching in Barber County.
When, in 1893, the Cherokee Strip of Oklahoma Territory was thrown open to settlement, Mr. Walton was one of those who “ made the run” into this new region, and he has since been closely and prominently identified with this section of the State–a valued exponent of civic and material development and advancement. Mr. Walton is now the owner of a valuable and well improved farm in the fertile Driftwood Valley, in Woods County, and to the same he gives a general supervision, as does he to his various other real-estate and business interests, the while he maintains his residence at Alva, the county seat, where the modern and attractive family home is a center of gracious hospitality and good cheer.
In politics Mr. Walton has always been actively arrayed as a supporter of the principles and policies for which the republican party stands sponsor, and he was prominently concerned with the organization of its contingent in Woods County. At the last session of the Oklahoma Territorial Legislature, in 1907, he served as doorkeeper of the council or upper house of that body, and in 1908 he was the republican candidate for county clerk of Woods County, his defeat for this office being compassed by only seventeen votes. In 1910-11 he was associated in the editorial management of the Alva Morning Times. In 1883, fully six years prior to the opening of Oklahoma Territory to settlement, Mr. Walton assisted in the surveying of the Cherokee Strip in Indian Territory, at the instance of and for the benefit of the cattlemen then operating in this region.
On the 23d of April, 1883, was solemnized the marriage of Mr. Walton to Miss Frederica C. Farson, daughter of Henry C. and Louise (Seikerman) Farson, who were at the time residents of Ashland, Kentucky. Mrs. Walton was born in the Province of Westphalia, Germany, on the 25th of November,. 1864, and thus was a child of six years at the time of the family immigration to the United States, in 1870. Mr. and Mrs. Walton have three children: Lois F., who was born May 4, 1884, in Harper County, Kansas, was graduated in the Oklahoma Northwestern Normal School, at Alva, as the youngest member of the class of 1900, and in 1904 she became the wife of Loran A. Purcell. They maintain their home at Sapulpa, Oklahoma, and have four children–Emma C., Lois Esther, Walter Lee and Lloyd Kenneth. Winifred Winona, who was born at Moscow, Stevens County, Kansas, on the 18th of April, 1889, was graduated in the Oklahoma Northwestern Normal School as a member of the class of 1906 and was the youngest member of the class. Later she took postgraduate courses in the University of Oregon and the University of California, in the latter of which she was graduated in the department of domestic science. She is now engaged in teaching in the public schools of Washington. Loren Lee Walton, the youngest child and only son, was born in Barber County, Kansas, on the 3d of September, 1891, and after completing a course in the Oklahoma Northwestern Normal School, in which he was graduated in 1910, he entered the law department of the great University of Michigan, at Ann Arbor, in which he was graduated in 1913, at the age of twenty-one years–one of the youngest members of a large class. Prior to this he had taken a year’s course of academic order in Leland Stanford University, at Palo Alto, California. Since 1913 he has been engaged in the practice of his profession at Alva, and he is one of the leading younger members of the bar of Woods County–a painstaking and ambitious young attorney whose success in his profession is fully justifying his choice of vocation.