Melvin George Meister


Melvin George Meister. As a strong and active member of the Oklahoma City bar during more than ten years, Melvin George Meister wields an influence that only men of unusual strength of character and ability can exercise in a community of nearly 100,000 people. Connected at various times as general or special counsel with large and important interests, his unfailing judgment has saved him from the pedantry of law, and having been a thorough and assiduous student under the impetus of his own determination, he has become practically and fully equipped to meet any emergency within the scope of his legal duties.
Mr. Meister was born at Freeport, the county seat of Stephenson County, Illinois, January 4, 1873, and is a son of George Franklin and Louise (Margileth) Meister. His maternal grandfather was a minister of the United Brethren Church, known during the early days as a circuit rider in both Illinois and Ohio, where he preached the gospel zealously for over sixty years. He died at the age of eighty-five years, in the fall of 1914. When Melvin G. Meister was four years of age his parents removed from Illinois and located on a farm situated in Benton County, Iowa. There he grew to sturdy young manhood, working when he was large enough and securing what education he could in the country schools during the winter months. Afterward he attended the Western College for one year, and after this, when only seventeen years of age, began teaching. He was the eldest of a family of six children. About the time that he entered upon his career as an educator, his father met an accidental death, and Melvin G. Meister was left as the sole support of the mother and five children younger than himself, four of whom were girls. The youth accepted the duties and responsibilities of bread-earner for the family cheerfully, taught schools in the winter terms and applied himself to farming during the summer months, and remained with his mother like the dutiful son that he had always been, and as his subsequent development of character has indicated he could only do. He has never separated from his mother, she still being a member of his family.
By the time he had reached the age of twenty-two years, in spite of his added responsibilities and calls upon his purse, he had worked so industriously and saved so thriftily that he had laid aside enough money to attend Tilford Academy, where he did double work, and graduated with the class of 1895. After his graduation Mr. Meister again taught school for a year and at the same time engaged in the reading of law in the office of M. J. Tobin, of Vinton, Iowa. Subsequently he took the law course at the University of Iowa, where he was duly graduated with the degree of Bachelor of Laws. In order to set aside a working capital, Mr. Meister deferred entering his beloved profession for another period, and instead accepted the position of assistant principal of the high school at Dysart, Iowa, but after one year in that capacity opened an office and began his activities in the law. During the six years that he remained in practice at Dysart, he served for four years as mayor of that city.
Mr. Meister moved to Oklahoma City in 1905 and engaged in the practice of law, and since that time has steadily advanced until today he is recognized as one of the very safest and most responsible members of the bar in the state. He enjoys a large practice and has among his clientèle some of the most prominent individuals and concerns in Oklahoma. All his practice is of the highest class and most desirable kind that can come to the lawyer, and those who secure his services know full well that their business will be thoroughly taken care of at all times and under all circumstances. His offices are located at No. 725-729 American National Bank Building.
At Laporte City, Iowa, November 1, 1899, Mr. Meister was united in marriage with Miss Helen Harriet Gay, daughter of John R. and Addie (Gay) Gay, the former a native of Vermont and the latter of Illinois. Some time prior to the Civil war, Mr. Gay removed from New England to Illinois, and when that struggle came on he enlisted in the Union Army as a member of the Fourth Illinois Cavalry. Four children have been born to Mr. and Mrs. Meister: Melvin Eugene, born March 23, 1902; Helen Harriet, born August 26, 1905; Ruth Adrienne, born October 21, 1909; and Mark Gaylord, born September 11, 1914.
Mr. Meister joined the republican party when he attained his majority, but his great admiration for Theodore Roosevelt led him to transfer his support to the progressive party when the colonel led the revolt from the famous convention at Chicago, in 1912. Mr. Meister is a Master Mason, being a member of Oklahoma Lodge No. 16, and is prominent in the Knights of Pythias, having filled every station in the subordinate lodge of that order and represented his lodge in the Grand Lodge of Oklahoma. Mrs. Meister is a popular member of the Order of the Easter Star. She and Mr. Meister are members of the First Presbyterian Church of Oklahoma City, in which he is chairman of the board of deacons, and assistant superintendent of the Bible School.