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W. H. Henke. Of the young men who have shown ability in handling the larger responsibilities of financial institutions in Oklahoma, special mention should be made of W. H. Henke, cashier of the Erick State Bank, who has been identified with banking in Western Oklahoma for the past twelve years. His many friends say that he has some unusual talents as a financier, and his good judgment is as much considered as his thorough integrity is considered above question.
Born at Westphalia, Osage County, Missouri, October 23, 1881, William H. Henke is a son of Henry H. and Mary (Radnacher) Henke. His father was born near Osnabruck, Prussia, in 1848 and the mother at Van Buren, Missouri, in 1853. While living in Germany the father served the regular time in the Prussian army, also learned the trade of merchant tailor, and was well prepared to make a living for himself and family when he came to America in 1869. He located at Westphalia, Missouri, and is still living in that village, being now retired from active affairs. He and his wife are the parents of five children: Joseph J., a physician of Hydro; William H.; Charles, a mechanic still living at Westphalia, Missouri; Annie, wife of Henry Eicholz of St. Louis, Missouri; and Regina, wife of Andrew Fennewald, a dry goods merchant at Westphalia.
It was in Westphalia that W. H. Henke spent his youth and early boyhood. He attended the public schools, graduated from high school at the age of sixteen, and very soon afterwards qualified and began to teach school in Osage County. He remained at that work three years, and the patrons and pupils would have been glad enough to have retained his services in a position where he was giving so much satisfaction. However, his tendency was towards business, and in 1903 he moved to Hydro, Oklahoma, and organized the bank of Hydro. He remained as cashier in active charge for five years. On September 1, 1909, he transferred his services to Erick and became cashier of the Erick State Bank.
The Erick State Bank was established in 1901 by Mr. Jones as a state institution and at the present time the officers are: L. B. Meyers, president; D. R. Meyers, vice president; W. H. Henke, cashier; E. T. Cook, assistant cashier. The capital stock is $10,000 and surplus $1,000. A modern brick bank building both for bank quarters and offices was constructed in 1912 at the corner of Main Street and Broadway, and this is now the best known corner and business center of the town.
Mr. Henke is a republican in politics, and for four years gave Erick a very capable administration as mayor. He is a member of the Oklahoma State Bankers Association and well known among the men of his calling throughout the state. He is also a stockholder in the Farmers State Bank of Mead, and is interested in mercantile enterprises at Willow and Moravia, Oklahoma. His possessions also include a ranch of 1,450 acres north of Erick and a cotton gin in that village. For a man not yet thirty-five years of age his prosperity seems unusual, and is due entirely to his vigorous efforts and a thorough business ability.
At Hydro, Oklahoma, in 1908 he married Miss Golda Spiker. Her father, S. D. Spiker, is a hotel proprietor at Corpus Christi, Texas. Mr. and Mrs. Henke have two children, William Douglas, born January 19, 1909, and now at public school; and Beatrice May, born March 25, 1912.