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William F. Hatfield. Holding distinction for being former editor and publisher, as well as founder, of the first newspaper established in Woods County, Mr. Hatfield developed the same into one of the excellent daily papers of the state and with all consistency retained to the same the title of the Alva Pioneer. He has proved himself one of the most progressive citizens of Alva, the judicial center and metropolis of the county, and both through the agency of his paper and by personal influence he has contributed much to the civic and material advancement of the city and county, the while his course has been so ordered that he has inviolable place in popular confidence and good will.
A scion of a sterling pioneer family of Missouri, William Franklin Hatfield was born on a farm in Macon County, that state, and the date of his nativity was October 20, 1858. He is a son of Mahlon and Sarah E. (Cook) Hatfield, and his father was likewise a native of Macon County, where he was born September 6, 1834, the parents having immigrated from Kentucky to Missouri in 1831 and having been representatives of fine old Southern families. Mahlon Hatfield was one of a family of six sons and three daughters, namely: Thomas, John and William, who are deceased; Mahlon, who was the fourth son, and who was a resident of Alva, Oklahoma, at the time of his death, which occurred January 14, 1914; Abraham is a prosperous agriculturist in San Diego County, California; Charles and Arena are deceased; Elizabeth is the widow of Thomas Shane and still resides in Macon County, Missouri; and Jane is deceased.
Mahlon Hatfield was reared and educated in Missouri and there became a successful manufacturer of wagons and farm machinery, to which lino of industrial enterprise he gave his attention during virtually his entire active business career. In 1909 he retired and came to Alva, Oklahoma, where he passed the residue of his long, honorable and useful life. He was a lifelong member of the Baptist Church and was affiliated with the Independent Order of Odd Fellows. In 1853 was solemnized his marriage to Miss Sarah E. Cook, who was born in Macon County, Missouri, in 1834, her parents having been natives of Grayson County, Kentucky, and having become pioneer settlers in Macon County, Missouri. Mrs. Hatfield was summoned to the life eternal on the 24th of June, 1872, at Cambridge, Missouri, and was a woman of devout Christian faith and of gentle kindliness. Of this union were born four sons and four daughters, concerning whom the following brief record is entered: James G., who was born December 3, 1854, is now living retired in Warrensburg, Missouri; Luella is deceased; William F., of this review, was the third in order of birth; Robert E., who was born March 10, 1865, is a resident of Warrensburg, Missouri; Clara E. (Mrs. Parr) was born January 7, 1865, and maintains her home at Camden, Missouri; Lessie, died 1878, age seven years; and the other children died in infancy.
In 1872 Mahlon Hatfield contracted a second marriage, when Sarah L. Epperson became his wife. The three children of this union are Jesse M., Charles W., and Nannie L.
On the old homestead farm of his father in Macon County, Missouri, William F. Hatfield passed the period of his boyhood and early youth, and in addition to receiving the advantages of the local schools he attended also a well ordered academy at Cambridge, Saline County, that state. As a youth he served an apprenticeship to the trade of machinist, but in 1878 he abandoned this trade to learn that of printer, his apprenticeship in the “Art preservative of all arts” having been served in a newspaper office at Slater, Missouri. Later he was employed in the first newspaper office established at Attica, Kansas, and thereafter he held positions in newspaper and job offices at Harper and Wichita, Kansas. In 1890 Mr. Hatfield purchased the plant and business of the Express, a weekly paper published at Hazleton, Kansas, and of the same he continued the editor and publisher until 1893, when he became a participant in the “run” into the famous Cherokee strip or outlet of Oklahoma, which was thrown open to settlement in that year. He was one of the early settlers in the embryonic little City of Alva, the present county seat of Woods County, and here founded the Pioneer, the first newspaper in the county. Issuing the paper weekly he made it an effective exponent of community interests and progressive movements, its first issue having come from the press on the 22d of September, 1893, and the paper was continued as a weekly until June 24, 1901, when a daily edition was issued in addition to the weekly. He has thus shown his confidence and his enterprising spirit and made both editions well worthy of the excellent supporting patronage accorded to them by the representative citizens who appreciate his earnest efforts in behalf of the community. The Pioneer has ably exploited the principles and policies of the democratic party and both through its columns and his personal activities the editor and publisher has wielded large and benignant influence in political affairs in this section of the state. Mr. Hatfield has served as chairman of the Democratic Central Committee of Woods County since 1900 and during virtually this entire period has been a member also of the Democratic State Central Committee, as one of the leaders in the maneuvering of the party forces in the vigorous young commonwealth of his adoption. He was secretary of the first commercial club organized at Alva and retained this position three years.
After sixteen years of continuous and effective identification with the paper of which he was the founder, Mr. Hatfield retired from active newspaper work on the 1st of September, 1909, when he sold the plant and business of the Pioneer, and in the year 1906 he had purchased 160 acres of land adjoining Alva on the west, a portion of this tract being now an integral part of the city. With characteristic liberality he donated to the city fifty-seven acres of this tract for park and lake purposes, and the property has been well improved, the while to the same has consistently been given the title of Hatfield Park, the lake also bearing his name. In manifold directions have the civic loyalty and liberality of Mr. Hatfield found exemplification and he has been a leader in movements and enterprises tending to advance the social, educational and material interests of his home city and county, He was the founder of the college library of the Northwestern State Normal School, at Alva and made the first contribution of books for the same. Further than this he was primarily instrumental in securing this excellent institution to Alva, by assisting in obtaining the passage of the legislative act creating the school.
On the 27th of May, 1883, was solemnized the marriage of Mr. Hatfield to Miss Fannie L. Whilhite, who is a popular factor in the social and religious activities of the community. They have no children.