W. A. Monfort


W. A. Monfort. In such a new state as Oklahoma it is not unusual to find communities which have literally grown up in the lifetime of the single individual and in some cases have been made to grow and prosper largely by the force and energy and character of a single man. This is true of the Village of Copan in Washington County, a community which recently had occasion to mourn the loss of its foremost citizen. This was W. A. Monfort, whose death occurred August 18, 1915.
He built his home at Copan when the village started and during the period of his active career was identified with a number of enterprises, agricultural, commercial and financial, and also served in positions of public trust. Both as a business man and official he at all times merited the regard in which he was held by his fellow citizens, and it was not unnatural that they should pay him the highest tributes of respect and esteem, both during his lifetime and after his death.
W. A. Monfort was born on a farm in Shelby County, Indiana, December 26, 1863, a son of Peter S. and Sarah (Avery) Monfort, the former a native of Ohio and the latter of Indiana. The mother died in 1865 when W. A. Monfort was two years old. In September, 1878, the family went west, locating near Elk City, Kansas, where the father continued farming until about the time Oklahoma was opened to settlement, when he changed his residence to Brush Creek, and continued farming there until his retirement. He spent his last years in Claremore, Oklahoma, where he died in 1905 at the age of seventy-three.
During the fifteen years of his childhood and early boyhood spent in Indiana, W. A. Monfort had the advantages of the public schools and he also attended school in Kansas. In 1889 he came to Oklahoma, locating on Brush Creek, and from that time he lived within a radius of four miles of the Village of Copan. By his industry he acquired a fine farm, but in 1910 gave up its active management on account of poor health, and his last few years were spent largely in retirement. In earlier years, however, he carried on general farming and stock raising on an extensive scale, developed a handsome and productive farm and was known as one of the substantial agriculturalists of Washington County. While the greater part of his attention was devoted to the pursuits of the soil, Mr. Monfort also contributed his abilities to the development of other enterprises. In partnership with Dr. W. E. Curd he established and conducted a drug store at Copan for two years. When the Bank of Copan was established he was made its first vice president, later was elected president of the institution, but disposed of his stock and retired about two years before his death.
In his political views he was a democrat, and always an active party worker. He served as a member of the village council until statehood, when he was elected a member of the village board of trustees. He also served as village school treasurer for several years, but gave up that office at the time he retired from business. Mr. Monfort during the last five years of his life was in the habit of spending his summer months in the Rocky Mountains. As a fraternal worker he was a member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, the Masons, the Modern Woodmen of America, the Eastern Star and the Rebekahs, and Mrs. Monfort, his widow, is a member of the last two orders. It was the lot of Mr. Monfort during his long residence in the vicinity of Copan to witness the great changes that took place in Washington County, and he contributed in no small degree to the development of that locality.
In 1892 Mr. Monfort married Miss Ella Squires, who was born in Bradford County, Pennsylvania, in 1867, and when three years of age was taken to Kansas by her parents, S. B. and Sarah Squires, the former of whom died at San Francisco, California, while her mother died at Independence, Kansas. Mrs. Monfort is still living at Copan, and since the death of her beloved husband has been comforted and solaced by the presence of her two children: Grace, who is the wife of Dr. J. O. Hudson, a physician at Copan; and Howard, who is still attending school.