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Rufus O. Renfrew. Liberal and progressive policies and clear vision have characterized the signally successful business career of Mr. Renfrew, and he has brought much initiative energy, much resourcefulness and mature judgment to bear in connection with the development of the substantial and important business controlled by the Renfrew Investment Company, of which he is president and the headquarters of which are maintained in the vigorous City of Woodward, judicial center of the county of the same name. As one of the public-spirited citizens and progressive business men of Oklahoma he is entitled to special recognition in this history of the state of his adoption.
Mr. Renfrew was born in Caldwell County, Missouri, on the 6th of July, 1872, the place of his nativity having been the homestead farm of his parents, James P. and Ella (Black) Renfrew, an individual record concerning his father being given on other pages of this publication, so that a repetition of the family data is not demanded in the article here presented. The early education of Mr. Renfrew was acquired in the public schools of his native county and those of Barber County, Kansas, in which latter the family home was established when he was about fourteen years of age, in 1886. In 1894 he was graduated in the commercial department of the Central Normal College at Great Bend, Kansas, and he devoted three years to teaching in the schools of Barber County, Kansas, and Woods County, Oklahoma, to which latter county his parents removed in the year 1893. In 1894-5 he served as deputy treasurer of Woods County, under the administration of his father, who held the office of treasurer of the county two years. For one year after retiring from the position noted, Mr. Renfrew was engaged in the wholesale produce business at Alva, judicial center of Woods county, and from 1897 to 1899 he was a salesman in a retail mercantile establishment at that place. During the following five years he was associated with his brother-in-law, Dyas Galbois, in the furniture and undertaking business at Alva, and soon after severing his connection with this enterprise he removed, in March, 1905, to Woodward, the county seat of Woodward County, where he established himself in the abstract, loan and investment business, the enterprise proving a success from the time of its initiation and rapidly expanding in scope and importance. To facilitate further the extensive operations of the business he effected in 1912 the organization of the Renfrew Investment Company, which is incorporated under the laws of the state, with a paid-up capital of $25,000, the home office of the company being maintained at Woodward and being under the direct supervision of Mr. Renfrew, who has been the president of the company from the time of its incorporation.
The Renfrew Investment Company controls an extensive farm-loan business through Northwestern Oklahoma, and in its field of enterprise is rated as one of the leading concerns of the kind in the entire western part of the state, with a reputation that constitutes its best asset and gives to it inviolable claim to popular confidence and support. In addition to buying and selling land on a large scale the company also owns and operates a number of productive and well improved farms in Western Oklahoma. Mr. Renfrew is a vigorous and aggressive executive and is the dominant force in directing the large affairs of the company which bears his name and which owes its high prestige and largo success mainly to his effective policies and able administration.
Mr. Renfrew has not hedged himself in with restrictions of mere personal or business success, but has shown himself to be most loyal and public spirited as a citizen, popular appreciation of this fact being shown when he was elected a member of the first city council after Woodward received its charter as a city of the first class. He continued his service as a member of this municipal body for seven consecutive years, during five of which he was president of the council. Within his period of service the city installed its municipal electric-light plant and its effective water and sewer systems, which are uniformly admitted to be among the best in the state. Mr. Renfrew has infused much of his progressiveness and optimism into civic activities in Woodward and has been well fortified for the leadership that has manifestly been his in the directing of public sentiment and action. On January 1, 1916, he was elected president of the Woodward Commercial Club, to serve one year. He and his wife hold membership in the Presbyterian Church in their home city and are active and liberal in the support of the various departments of its work. He is a prominent and appreciative member of the Masonic fraternity in Oklahoma, has completed the circle of the York Rite and has received also the thirty-third degree of the Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite, besides being affiliated also with the Ancient Arabic Order of the Nobles of the Mystic Shrine.
In a pioneer sod house near Alva, Woods County, Oklahoma, was solemnized, on the 13th of February, 1898, the marriage of Mr. Renfrew to Miss Stella Long, who was born at. Columbus, Kansas, on the 14th of November, 1885, and whose parents, Rev. Matthew T. and Etta (Noble) Long, were born in Indiana and became pioneers in both Kansas and Oklahoma, her father being a clergyman of the Methodist Episcopal Church. Mr. and Mrs. Renfrew have one child, Edith Lillian, who was born April 14, 1900.