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William J. Risen, M. D. Established in the successful practice of his profession as one of the leading physicians and surgeons of Texas County, with residence at Hooker, Doctor Risen also has had much influence in public affairs in the state of his adoption, is a stalwart and effective advocate of the principles of the democratic party, and has given specially loyal and valuable service as member of the State Senate from the first senatorial district in the Fifth General Assembly of the Oklahoma Legislature.
Dr. William James Risen was born at Summersville, Green County, Kentucky, on the 24th of January, 1864, and is a son of Alfred L. and Cynthia A. Risen. Alfred L. Risen was born in Rockbridge County, Virginia, on the 25th of July, 1832, and was a lad of nine years at the time of his parents’ removal to Kentucky, where he was reared and educated and where he passed the residue of his long and useful life, his father having been a valiant soldier in the Mexican war and his mother having been a native of the City of Dublin, Ireland. Alfred L. Risen became a prominent and influential citizen of Green County, Kentucky, where he was called upon to serve in various public offices, including those of justice of the peace, county assessor and county sheriff. His hold upon popular esteem was shown in the fact that he was never defeated for any office for which he was a candidate, and he was unswerving in his allegiance to the democratic party, his last vote having been cast when he was eighty years of age and his death having occurred when he was eighty-one years old; his devoted wife followed him to eternal rest about two years later. Mr. Risen was a prosperous agriculturist during the major part of his signally active and worthy career as one of the world’s productive workers.
Doctor Risen found the period of his boyhood and early youth compassed by the conditions and influences of the home farm and his preliminary education was acquired in the public schools of his native county. In 1886 he entered East Lynn College, at Buffalo, Kentucky, where he pursued n higher course of study for one year, and in 1S87-88 he was a student in Athens Seminary, at Greensburg, Kentucky. Thereafter he devoted four years to successful service as a teacher in the schools of his native state, and he was then matriculated in the Hospital College of Medicine in the City of Louisville, in which institution he was graduated with honors, on the 17th of June, 1890, and from which he received the degree of Doctor of Medicine. In his junior year in this college he was awarded the first scholarship of his class.
After his graduation in the medical college Doctor Risen engaged in the practice of his profession at Summersville, Kentucky, where he continued his zealous services as a physician and surgeon and where also he conducted a drug store until 1906, when he came to Oklahoma and established his residence at Hooker, where he has built up a large and representative practice and gained high place in popular esteem, both as a loyal and public-spirited citizen and as a man of marked professional ability. At Hooker he is proprietor of a well appointed drug store, which is now under the personal supervision of his elder son, who is a graduate in pharmacy. For eight years Doctor Risen served as county health officer in Green County, Kentucky, and since 1907 he has been the incumbent of the same official position in Texas County, Oklahoma.
Unfaltering in his appreciation of the consistency and economic value of the basic principles of the democratic party and long a zealous and efficient worker in its ranks Doctor Risen never appeared as a candidate for political office until he was made the nominee of his party for representative of the first senatorial district of Oklahoma in the State Legislature, in 1914. In the first election after the admission of Oklahoma to statehood, in 1907, Doctor Risen showed marked finesse in the maneuvering of political forces, as he had the management of tho campaign of Hon. Joseph Morris who was elected the first senator from the First District and who is now secretary of the state election board, at Oklahoma City.
Doctor Risen was elected to the State Senate by a plurality of 488 votes, notwithstanding his district is normally republican by fully 350 votes. In the Fifth Legislature the doctor was chairman of the committee on school lands and also a valued member of each of the following named committees: Education, hospitals and charities, public health, drugs and pure food, public service corporations, insurance, and advisory to the governor. With no desire for the spectacular exploitation of his opinions or policies, Doctor Risen proved a careful, sagacious and valuable working member of the Senate, and among the bills introduced by him was one whose provisions were to prevent a tenant from selling or otherwise disposing of any part of rental products belonging to the landlord or lessor; a bill designed to regulate the practice of pharmacy; a bill providing for the employment of convicts on public highways; and others relative to public roads and highways, and to the sale of public-school lands.
Senator Risen and his wife are members of the Baptist Church, and in the Masonic fraternity his affiliations are with Hooker Lodge No. 366, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons, in his home city; with the chapter of Royal Arch Masons at Guymon. judicial center of Texas County; with the Commandery No. 55, Knights Templar, at Liberal, Kansas; and with the Order of the Eastern Star. At Hooker he holds membership also in Lodge No. 347, Independent Order of Odd Fellows.
Doctor Risen is local surgeon for the Chicago & Rock Island Railroad, and holds membership in the Texas County Medical Society, the Oklahoma State Medical Society, the Surgical Clinical Congress, the Oklahoma State Association of Orificial Surgeons, and the American Medical Association. The doctor has one brother and one sister, his brother, Louis F., being now a retired merchant of Campbellville, Kentucky, he was engaged in the drug and general merchandise business for several years at Summersville, Kentucky, after which he was traveling representative for a wholesale drug house. The sister, Mrs. Chris L. Close, is the wife of a prosperous farmer of Green County, Kentucky.
On the 9th of October, 1890, was solemnized the marriage of Doctor Risen to Miss Henrietta J. Poteet, who had been a successful teacher in the public schools at Bloyd, Kentucky, her father having been for thirty-five years a representative merchant at that place and at Buffalo, Kentucky, and being now a substantial capitalist at Hodgensville, where he is living retired. Doctor and Mrs. Risen have two sons: George L., who was born in 1892, was graduated in the School of Pharmacy of Oklahoma University, as a member of the class of 1913, is a member of the Oklahoma Pharmaceutical Association, and now has charge of his father’s drug store at Hooker, as previously noted. He is an athlete, six feet and three inches in height and weighing 195 pounds, and has special predilection for all athletic sports. He was a member of the track team of the University of Oklahoma in 1913 and in that year made the state record for discus throwing. The younger son, Homer J., who was born in 1898, was graduated in the high school at Hooker and is a member of the class of 1914 in the University of Oklahoma, where he is taking the course in arts and sciences.