Reuben M. Roddie. The career of Reuben M. Roddie, of Ada, as a public man in Oklahoma is one of unusual interest for the reason that, as a member of the Senate in the First Legislature, he was a joint author with J. Roy Williams, of Comanche County, of the notable Bank Guaranty Act, which was the first of its kind passed in the United States, and for the additional reason that he is the author of an insurance code enacted by the Second Legislature that is said to have been one of the best in the country. In the Fourth Legislature, he was chairman of the Senate Committee on Constitutional Amendments, and was the joint author of several that were submitted to the people by that session. In that Legislature, also, he was democratic caucus chairman and chairman of the steering committee, in both of which capacities the wisdom with which he acted brought him high praise from the Senate, and there never was a criticism from his party over his activity in arranging the calendar during critical periods when it was necessary to depart from the regular order of arrangement made by the rides of the body. In the Second Legislature, rather than sacrifice his honor by casting a vote fixed for him to cast in a trade with republicans that would have resulted in the seating of a republican over a democrat in a contest that arose in Hughes County, Mr. Roddie was in a measure responsible for the passage of a bill locating a State Normal School at Ada, his home. This sacrifice cost him much criticism at home, but he redeemed himself in the graces of his people later in the session when he secured the passage of another bill that located the East Central State Normal at Ada, and it was the sacrifice made earlier in the session that won him the confidence, esteem and support of republican members who stood by him in the second fight.
Reuben M. Roddie was born in January, 1874, in Giles County, Tennessee, and is a son of William L. and Martha F. (Poston) Roddie. His father, now seventy-five years of age, is a teacher in the East Central State Normal, completing his fiftieth consecutive year as a pedagogue in 1916. Mr. Roddie’s mother’s father was a well known and well to do cotton planter for many years in Paint Rock Valley of Jackson County, Tennessee, and one of her uncles was a brevet captain in the battle of Franklin during the Civil war and met a soldier’s death on that famous and bloody battleground. She is a cousin of Dave Poston, for many years a well known lawyer of Tennessee, who was killed by Col. H. Clay King, of Memphis, whose sentence was commuted by Governor James P. Buchanan. This act was one of the last performed by Buchanan before his retirement from office and because of it he was hanged and burned in effigy in a public street of Memphis. The Postons were Scotch-Irish people and early settlers of East Tennessee. The Roddie family has an excellent military record, one of Mr. Roddie’s direct ancestors having been Bill Tipton, who was a colonel in the patriot army during the Revolutionary war and fought as such at the battle of Stark’s Mountain, while his grandfather, Col. Reuben M. Roddie, was a colonel in the United States army during the Mexican war, and fought in that struggle as a member of the staff of General Jackson. Mr. Roddie has two sisters and three brothers: Hume P., who is engaged in the wholesale wool and produce business at Brownsville, Texas; William S., who is a farmer and resides near Allen, Oklahoma; Miss Jennie, who resides with her parents at Ada; Mrs. Ruth Lindstrom, who is the wife of a train dispatcher for the M. O. & G. Railroad Company, at Muskogee, Oklahoma; and James A. Bostick, who is a member of the senior class of the East Central State Normal.
Reuben M. Roddie was educated in the public schools of Tennessee and at Vanderbilt University, from which he holds the degree of Bachelor of Arts. He studied law in the office of Martin & Littleton, at Nashville, Tennessee, and was admitted to the bar in 1896, although he did not enter practice until 1907, after he had become a resident of Oklahoma. During the interim he was engaged in the writing of life insurance in Tennessee, Alabama, Texas, Oklahoma and Indian Territory, in which he made a notable record. He was elected a member of the First State Senate, in 1907, and served during the First, Second, Third and Fourth State Legislatures; in 1914 he ran for the democratic nomination for Congress in the Fourth District and with others was defeated by William H. Murray, of Tishomingo.
Mr. Roddie was married in July, 1898, in Giles County, Tennessee, to Miss Cora Young, a descendant of the Bass family that was noted among the early settlers of North Carolina and one of whose ancestors was the author of an arithmetic that was taught in the public schools of the South many years ago. They have two children: Lenox Y., aged eleven years; and Nadine, who is nine years old. Lenox, at the age of five years, was a page in the Oklahoma Legislature, being appointed by Lieutenant-Governor George Bellamy, and was said to be the youngest page in a legislative body in the United States. Being the son of a senator, he served without pay. Two years later he was again appointed page by President Pro Tem. J. Elmer Thomas of the Senate.
Mr. Roddie is a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, of the Ada Commercial Club, and of the Pontotoc County and Oklahoma State Bar associations. He has been in the forefront of the town’s progress since statehood, and has taken a particular interest in educational matters. It is an abiding, almost paternal interest he has in the East Central Normal, and much of his time during several years has been devoted to the advancement of that institution. Three times movements have been sot on foot to abolish certain of the higher educational institutions of the state, and each time Mr. Roddie has helped to guard the interests of the school he helped to create.