Hon. Peter Parnell Duffy. Head of the commission government of El Reno, an editor, and a writer of forceful and incisive prose and verse, Peter Parnell Duffy has been a well known citizen in Oklahoma for nearly fifteen years, and a high estimate must be placed upon his influence and work both as a journalist and as a public leader.
Peter Parnell Duffy was born August 31, 1873, at Louisville, Kentucky, during a brief residence of his parents in that city. His father, Bernard P. Duffy, born in Ireland, came to the United States when about fifteen years of age. The grandparents first settled in Louisiana. Bernard P. Duffy subsequently entered the law and was admitted to practice before the Illinois Supreme Court at Springfield. He began his practice in St. Louis, Missouri, later practiced for a short time in Louisville, Kentucky, and then removed to Maryville, Missouri, where he was a prominent lawyer for eighteen years. While in Maryville he also became identified with newspaper work as editor of a weekly paper. Leaving Missouri he established a home in Columbus, Nebraska, and in that city was associated with his son, Peter Parnell, in publishing the Platte County Democrat. Bernard P. Duffy married Mary Frazier, a native of Scotland. They were married in St. Louis.
Peter Parnell Duffy acquired his early education in the schools of Maryville, Missouri, and. in Nebraska, and in that unrivaled training school, a newspaper and printing office. In 1901 he was graduated from Nebraska University, and soon afterwards came to Oklahoma, with the intention of starting up an office for the practice of law. However, his plans were diverted and for the first four years he was a traveling insurance agent with home in El Reno. Mr. Duffy has never for any great length of time been able to get away from the influences of journalism, with which he was surrounded as a youth. His strongest inclination has been toward newspaper work. Some years ago in company with J. W. and T. W. Maher, he bought the El Reno Daily Democrat, and for eight years the firm conducted this as one of the influential daily papers of Oklahoma. During that time Mr. Duffy had also served for four years, during legislative sessions, as private secretary to Lieutenant Governor George W. Bellamy.
Throughout his residence in El Reno Mr. Duffy’s qualities as a civic leader have been recognized and appreciated, and in 1911, when the commission charter first went into effect he was the choice of the people for the first commissioner of public affairs. This position made him executive head of one of the departments into which the government of El Reno was divided by the new charter, and by virtue of that position he is also ex-officio mayor of the city. Mr. Duffy was elected for one year under the terms of the charter, and in 1912 was re-elected for three years, and again re-elected in April, 1915, making seven years in all when his term expires in 1918. Politically Mr. Duffy is a democrat of the progressive type. He is affiliated with the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks.
In 1913 he married Miss Olivette, daughter of Dr. J. A. Hatchett of El Reno. Aside from his work on his own paper Mr. Duffy has contributed much special correspondence to Oklahoma papers and to journals in other states. He is a keen student and observer of political and social affairs, and has written many illuminating articles for the public press. To a widening circle of readers he is becoming more and more appreciated as a facile writer of charming verse, and many of his poems have attracted as much attention as his articles on politics and general affairs.