Thomas Chism


Thomas Chism. By reliance upon a strong and individual character and ability, Thomas Chism has made more out of his opportunities than most men can claim, and has worked out a very successful career since coming to Oklahoma. He is one of the leading ranchers and stock men in the vicinity of Beggs in Okmulgee County, and furthermore is one of the county commissioners of that county.
His service as county commissioner has been continuous for seven years since statehood. He was first appointed to that office, and has been elected for three consecutive terms.
Born in Morgan County, Missouri, June 25, 1866, he was the only child of the marriage of H. L. and Mary S. (Bradbury) Chism, his mother dying five weeks after his birth. Both parents were born in Johnson County, Missouri, and the father died on his farm in that state in 1897 at the ago of sixty-five. He was twice married. During the Civil war he served in the Confederate army under General Price, and at one time was county judge of Morgan County. He was an active democrat, a Baptist and a member of the Masonic fraternity.
Thomas Chism was reared by his aunt, Kate Salmon, in Morgan County. He had only limited advantages in the way of schooling and had to shift for himself as soon as possible. When he was eighteen years old he went to Henry County and began working out at hard labor and meager pay. For a great many years in his earlier career Mr. Chism was paid only fifty cents for many hours of toil. He proved himself faithful and competent, and continued to support himself by hard work in Cooper and Jackson counties, Missouri, and lived at Lee Summit in that state until he came to Oklahoma in 1898.
He arrived in Oklahoma, or as it was then Indian Territory, with practically no capital except his energy and ambition. He first located in Wagoner County, and since 1901 lived at Beggs, having been identified with that village practically from its beginning. Here his prosperity has rapidly grown as a. farmer and cattle man, and he now owns 800 acres in Okmulgee County, and has under lease a large amount of additional lands. He keeps ten tenant farmers at work on his land, and employs three other men for service in the operation of his cattle ranch. His home place is a thirty-acre homestead close to Beggs, and it is a fine home and he enjoys it all the more for the fact that he has labored diligently to produce.it. At the present time Mr. Chism has about seven hundred head of cattle on his farms and ranches.
As a democrat he has always taken much interest in his party, and it is said that as a political manager he has never had a serious defeat. The office of county commissioner was the only place to which he ever aspired for himself. He is affiliated with the Masonic Order, the Woodmen of the World, the Modern Woodmen of America, the Independent Order of Odd Fellows and the Knights of Pythias. In March, 1903, he married Emma Martin of Springfield, Missouri. They have one son, Charles M., who is now attending the high school at Muskogee.