Robert B. Lemon. When Bloomfleld Academy was established near Red River, in the southern part of the Indian Territory, which was not a great many years after the settlement of the Choctaw and Chickasaw tribes in this section of the country, the nearest trading points were in North Texas. To reach them it was necessary to cross Red River, and in that early day there were no bridges along the boundary of the Indian nations. The trade was not sufficient to warrant the Texas merchants in building bridges, so they chose the alternative of a ferry. Hence was established what has been known during a half century of history in that region as the ferry of Carpenter’s Bluff. On this rite rests the fanciful remnants of many a forgotten tale and romance without end. Thousands of persons, representing probably twenty tribes of Indians and practically all other nationalities of the globe have been passengers in the little ferryboat that rode over the slightly billowy waves of Red River. There was a Carpenter’s Bluff ferry before there were railroads connecting the Indian country with Texas, and travelers came there from a dozen states of the Union. The ferry was the junction point of a score of trails that history has lately begun to mark. One of the most interesting of the ferrymen of the early days was Allen Lattie, a full-blood Cherokee Indian, whose post claimed him for many years, day and night, but whose career is another story. He was succeeded by William P. Lemon, Robert B. Lemon’s father, then (1886) eighteen years of age, who had stopped there on his way to fortune in the Indian country. They had also operated this ferry together.
At that time a railroad had robbed the ferry of much of its business, but Bloomfleld Academy still stood close by and to and from it went many teachers, pupils, parents, officials of the school, missionaries and others, and for a few years this institution was the source of life for the ferry business. Mr. Lemon came into possession of a small tract of land near the ferry, a property which is now a part of his extensive real estate possessions in the southern part of Bryan County, and farmed when he was not engaged in operating the boat. This was his first venture in the world alone and he stayed with the ferry and the farm for five years, moving then to Island Bayou, a stream that forms a part of the boundary between the Choctaw and Chickasaw nations. There he remained for twenty-two years. There was a largo number of white men there. He was progressive and thrifty and much of the development of that part of the county is due to his industry. Later he began to purchase more land, as his property grew in value and he continued his agricultural operations and stock raising, and he assisted in the opening of new fields for the founding of new communities. Today his holdings entitle him to be placed among the wealthy men of the state. On one of his tracts the Town of Achille stands, the town being named after Adam Achille, a rich Frenchman Whose capital assisted in the building of the Missouri, Oklahoma and Gulf Railroad through Oklahoma. Mr. Lemon’s acquaintance was coextensive with the areas of the Choctaw and Chickasaw tribes in these nations.
Robert P. Lemon was born in 1868, in Virginia, but moved with his parents to Grayson County, Texas, when he was eight years of age. His father, William P. Lemon, was one of the earliest farmers of Grayson County, and his maternal grandfather, William Pullen, was for many years a prominent lawyer of Virginia. Mr. Lemon’s education was acquired in the public schools of Grayson County, but the fertile and beautiful Indian country was too near his father’s doorstep for him to stave off his ambition to acquire fortune over the river long enough for him to get a higher education. Mr. Lemon was married March 10, 1889, at the old Mead homestead, near the present Town of Calera, to Miss Marie Roark, a stepdaughter of S. M. Mead, ’an early settler of that region. She died June 10, 1910, after becoming the mother of nine children, seven of whom are living: Benjamin P., who is engaged in the cattle business in Arizona; Mrs. M. I. Holland, the wife of a cattle dealer at Achille; and William, Maggie, Robert, Mary and Harlin, who live at home. Mr. Lemon was again married in 1911, when united with Miss Carrie Ferguson.
Mr. Lemon is a member of the Masons and of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, and has numerous friends in fraternal circles of Southern Oklahoma. He is president and one of the leading stockholders of the Farmers and Merchants National Bank of Achille and has accepted his share of the responsibilities of citizenship, having served as a member of the board of education for his school district since before the attainment of statehood.