William M. Allison


William M. Allison. The mere mention of this name is all that is necessary for an introduction of its owner to the majority of the original Oklahomans, those who came into the territory in 1889. William M. Allison is a real Oklahoma eighty-niner, and left his impress upon many of the early activities of a public nature in the old territory, particularly as one of the republican leaders of those days, and he has been up to 1914 hardly less well known in the republican circles of the state. Mr. Allison is a printer and newspaper man by profession, and is now editor and proprietor of the Signal-Star at Snyder. He is a veteran at the trade, having served his apprenticeship back in Indiana upwards of fifty years ago, when most of the modern facilities of this trade were undreamed of possibilities. He has done yeoman service at the case, and even in handling the old style of hand power press. During his active career he has seen all sorts and conditions of men and has mingled with their varied activities, and is altogether one of the most interesting personalities in his section of the state.
His birth occurred on a farm in Hancock County, Indiana, February 12, 1849, and he comes of old American stock, the Allisons having been transplanted from the north of Ireland to Pennsylvania during the Colonial days. One of his ancestors was Stephen Crane, who served with the rank of lieutenant in the Revolutionary army. His father, Robert Allison, was born at Ripley, Ohio, in 1821, and was killed at a railroad crossing in Snyder, Oklahoma, in April, 1905, at the venerable age of eighty-four. From his birthplace in Ohio he removed when a young man to Rush County, Indiana, later to Hancock County, and in 1853 established his home at Knightstown, Indiana; in 1876 came west to Winfield, Kansas, and in 1892 ventured into the newly organized Territory of Oklahoma as a settler at Chandler, and in 1903 came to Snyder. In his younger years he was a cabinet maker by trade, but spent mature life as a trader and speculator. He made a record as a soldier of the Union during the dark days of the Civil war, having enlisted in Company B of the Sixth Regiment of Indiana Infantry, of which company he served as first lieutenant. Afterward he entered the three years’ service with the rank of captain of Company A in the Fifty-seventh Indiana Regiment. He was an active republican, was a Knights Templar Mason, and a member of the Presbyterian Church. Captain Allison was married at Dartown, Ohio, to Miss Elizabeth Howard, who was born in Kentucky in 1825 and died at Kokomo, Indiana, in 1850.
The only one of their children who reached maturity, William M. Allison, finished his education with a high school training at Knightstown, Indiana. His apprenticeship in the printing trade began when he was nineteen years of age, also at Knightstown, and after getting, considerable knowledge of the business worked for one year on the Richmond Radical at Richmond, Indiana. The fall of 1871 found him in Kansas, and he was engaged in his profession at various locations until the opening of Oklahoma Territory to settlement in 1889. On the historic opening day in April of that year he arrived at Guthrie on the first train from the North, and was soon afterwards appointed United States commissioner and held that office until the organization of the territory was completed. In 1891 he was sent to Lincoln County as the first county judge of that newly organized subdivision of the territory and lived at Chandler until his removal to Snyder in May, 1903. On coming to Snyder Judge Allison bought the Signal and soon afterwards bought the Star, and the two were consolidated in September, 1903. The Star had been established in December, 1902, and the Signal in March, 1903. The consolidated paper is now one of the leading journals in Kiowa County, has a large circulation throughout that and surrounding counties, and has always steadily advocated the success of the republican policies and party. Mr. Allison owns the office and the building in which it is situated on Broadway just off Main Street, and he is now giving practically all his time to its successful management.
Of his public service it should be mentioned that he served four years as postmaster at Snyder having been appointed to that office by President Taft. Mr. Allison was one of the original republicans of the original Oklahoma Territory. He presided over the first republican meeting held in Oklahoma and was president of the first republican club ever organized in the territory, known as the Old Pioneer Republican Club of Guthrie. This club was organized in Mr. Allison’s office, and he was elected president pro tem and then president. Its influence was a prominent factor in welding the incoherent republican forces in early territorial time, and was often the deciding factor in local politics. Mr. Allison was steadily known as a prominent republican figure in both county and state conventions up to 1914. He presided over the first republican convention held in Lincoln County, and has known practically all the prominent republicans of Oklahoma during the past twenty-five years.
Outside of the newspaper business and politics he has probably given most attention to his work in the Masonic Order. He is a past master by service of Snyder Lodge No. 216, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons, and is a member of Consistory No. 1, Valley of Guthrie, of the thirty-second degree Scottish Rite, and also belongs to the K. C. C. H., which is half way on the progress to the supreme honor of being a thirty-third degree Mason. He is also a member of India Temple of the Nobles of the Mystic Shrine at Oklahoma City and was formerly affiliated with the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks and the Knights of Pythias. He is a member of the Episcopal Church and has long been an active figure in the Oklahoma State Press Association.
In 1875 at Winfield, Kansas, Judge Allison married for his first wife Miss Annie Braidwood, who died in 1892. The two living children of this marriage are: W. O. Allison, who is a graduate of Carver’s Chiropractic College at Oklahoma City and is now practicing his profession at Waggoner, Oklahoma; Annie is the wife of Alex G. Willingham, manager of the Massie-Williams Grocery Company at Snyder. In 1906 at Vandalia, Illinois, Mr. Allison married Mrs. Harriet (Kidd) Beach, widow of the late Dr. B. E. Beach of Vandalia and a daughter of a Presbyterian minister of Illinois.