Robert Chowning


Robert Chowning. From the time of his earliest residence at Oklahoma City, Robert Chowning has been recognized as one of the stable, capable men of character and activity, and a member of that class which has had much to do with the material development of this ideal city in the few years it has been in existence. Long a member of the firm of Blackwelder & Company, as such he has been accounted one of the prominent realty men of the Southwest, while in various public capacities he has rendered capable service to the city of his adoption, and at the present time is contributing of his best energies in the office of inspector of paving and sewerage.
Mr. Chowning was born at Lathrop, Missouri, February 10, 1857, and is a son of Levi and Sarah A. (Dunlap) Chowning, natives of Kentucky. Just before his birth, his parents removed from Owen County, Kentucky, to Clinton County, Missouri, where the family resided for many years. The public schools of Lathrop furnished him with his education, and when he completed his literary training and entered upon his career, he turned his attention to farming and stockraising in that rich section of Missouri, where he resided until July, 1897. At that time he sold out his holdings and came to Oklahoma City, at once investing in Oklahoma City real estate extensively and identifying himself with the real estate firm of Blackwelder & Company, of which concern he is still a member. For many years this company was one of the real active factors in the advancement of Oklahoma City, purchasing acreage, platting it into lots, and selling to the buying public. Mr. Chowning himself purchased a tract of land at that time adjoining the city on the south, platted it and sold it in lots to the public. Practically every pair of lots on the Orndale Addition to Oklahoma City, as this tract is known, has upon it today brick blocks and valuable homes. Through the company with which he is identified, Mr. Chowning has been interested in platting and selling such additions as Vernon Heights, Guernsey Park, West Main, Orchard Park, Parker & Colcord, Wheeler Park and several other more remote additions to the growing city he had chosen as a permanent home.
Mr. Chowning was a member of a special committee created by the Oklahoma City Council when the present city water works system was in course of construction, and the large sewerage system of the city built throughout the business section. The members of this committee were accorded a vote in the council on every question connected with this big improvement made at that time. He also served as a member of the board of the Carnegie library for four years, only leaving that position when the commission form of government was adopted by the city, in 1911. In 1910 he was elected a member of the Charter Writers Commission, chosen to prepare a charter, which was subsequently adopted, and under which the city administration has been operated since 1911. Being one of the best posted men on paving and sewerage in the city, after passing the civil service examination Mr. Chowning was appointed as superintendent of paving and sewerage, which important position he still holds, with over 125 miles of paving and a greater number of miles of sewerage under his personal care and direction.
At Lathrop, Missouri, March 6, 1879, Mr. Chowning was married to Miss Ella E. Ramp, daughter of John and Martha Ramp, natives of Pennsylvania, and to this union there were born one son and three daughters, namely: Anna Bell, born January 15, 1880, now Mrs. A. J. Hunt, of Davis, Oklahoma; Harry L., born July 12, 1883, now clerk of Oklahoma City; Eva, born February 26, 1896 (leap year), a graduate of Oklahoma City High School, class of 1915; and Ida May, born March 20, 1897, who died at the age of six years. The mother of these children died at Oklahoma City, in 1910. Mr. Chowning was married there a second time, December 24, 1912, when united with Mrs. Alice A. (Murdock) Thompson, daughter of Dr. William and Mrs. Murdock, natives of South Carolina, but now residents of Ralston, Oklahoma. Mrs. Chowning has one son by her former marriage: Nathan A. Thompson, who is a machinist connected with the Oklahoma Gas Engine and Auto Repair Company, 317 N. Western Avenue, Oklahoma City. Mr. and Mrs. Chowning are members of the First Baptist Church of Oklahoma City and earnest workers therein. The pleasant family home is at No. 712 West California Avenue.