Tom Payne


Tom Payne. Through various mediums has this well known citizen and representative capitalist of the City of Okmulgee given evidence of his civic pride and liberality, and along varied avenues of enterprise has his potent influence been felt. He has been closely and prominently concerned with the development of the oil industry in Oklahoma and has been an effective exponent of that progressive spirit that has been a dominating force in the development and advancement of the vigorous young commonwealth in which he has found ample scope for his constructive and productive enterprise.
Mr. Payne takes pride in adverting to the fine old Bluegrass State as the place of his nativity, and he is a scion of one of its well known pioneer families. He was born in Hardin County, Kentucky, on the 2d of May, 1871, and is a son of Alexander and Sarah Agnes (Stewart) Payne, both of whom were born and reared in Kentucky, where they continued to maintain their home until 1881, when they removed to Missouri. From the latter state they came to the old Indian Territory in 1889, and they established their home at Tulsa, the present thriving and important city that is the judicial center of the county of the same name. They were pioneers of the place, which had but two mercantile establishments when they there established their home.
Mrs. Payne died while on a visit in Missouri, and her husband now resides on a fine ranch owned by his son Tom, of this review, in the northeastern part of Okmulgee County, his entire active career having been one of close identification with the fundamental industries of agriculture and stock-growing. He is one of the honored pioneer citizens of Oklahoma and has contributed his quota to the civic and industrial development of this commonwealth. Of his children the eldest is James M., who resides at Sapulpa; Tom, of this sketch, was the next in order of birth; Abner is a resident of the State of Montana; Minnie is the wife of John Seibert of Sterling, Colorado; Mrs. Ella Hague is a resident of Nebraska; Malvina met her death by drowning, in Polecat Creek, Oklahoma, when eighteen years of age; and Lulu is the wife of William Howell, a progressive rancher in the vicinity of Cody, Wyoming.
Tom Payne acquired his early education in the schools of Kentucky and Missouri and was eighteen years of age at the time of the family removal to Indian Territory, where he gained varied experience in connection with pioneer life among the Indians. He has been concerned with the oil business in Oklahoma from the time the first oil well was drilled at Red Fork, Tulsa County, by Hydrick and Wicks. He was on the ground when the first oil was brought forth from this pioneer well, and in the intervening years he has been most active and influential in connection with the exploitation and development of the great oil fields of Oklahoma, his effective association with this important line of industrial enterprise having enabled him to accumulate a substantial fortune. As an oil producer he has extensive holdings in Tulsa and Okmulgee counties, and he is one of the essentially representative oil men of the state which has represented his home from his youth. In the early years of his residence in Indian Territory he was actively concerned with the cattle industry and with the same he continued his association in a successful way until he found a more promising field of endeavor in the development work in the oil fields that have brought fame and fortune to many Oklahoma citizens. He is still the owner of one of the well improved ranches of Okmulgee County, the same comprising 1,500 acres and being well stocked with high grades of cattle. He has important real estate investments in the City of Okmulgee, including the fine office building that was erected by Frank Gillespie, and that is one of the largest and most modern in the state. Of metropolitan type and the best of facilities and equipment, this is a structure of five stories, situated at the corner of Sixth Street and Morton Avenue, and it is recognized as the best office building in the city, as well as a distinct contribution to the metropolitan attractions of Okmulgee. Mr. Payne is interested in lead and zinc mining enterprises in the celebrated Joplin district of Missouri, and he has a commodious and beautiful summer home at Neosho, Newton County, that state, in addition to his attractive residence properties in the cities of Tulsa and Okmulgee, Oklahoma. He was one of the organizers of the American National Bank of Sapulpa, and was a director of the same until he disposed of his stock in the institution. He has been one of the hustlers of a hustling commonwealth, has been fair and honorable in all of his activities and dealings and has won success that is worthy of the name, the while he has a host of friends in the state that has been the stage of his well ordered enterprise. In the early days he knew and was the friend of many of the leading Indians of the Creek Nation, as he was covering the range with cattle operations first in the employ of others and then in an independent way. He has had no ambition to enter the arena of practical politics but is loyal and progressive as a citizen and gives his allegiance to the republican party.
In April, 1901, Mr. Payne married Miss Grace Chasteen, who was born in Kansas, but whose parents, Albert and Etta Chasteen, were pioneers of Oklahoma, where they continued to reside until their death. Mr. and Mrs. Payne have four children: Loren, Harry, Okemah, and Thomas, Jr.