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