William P. Freeman


Hon. William Perry Freeman. From 1898 until 1907, at the beginning of statehood, William P. Freeman served as clerk of the Indian Territory Court of Appeals. This service alone has naturally made him well known over the state at large. Mr. Freeman is a very substantial sort of citizen. He has the character and attainments which make people repose confidence in •him and respect his acts and opinions. While he has some very excellent idealisms, he keeps his dreams and visions in the right place, and makes his practice practical. While he has naturally been widely known for his political activities, Mr. Freeman confesses that the post of dignity and responsibility of which he is most proud was his election as grand master of Grand Lodge A. F. & A. M. of Oklahoma, and that honor has meant more to him than election as governor of the state.
Born in Miller County, Missouri, June 15, 1858, he is a son of Andrew .1. and Editha A. (Tinsley) Freeman. His parents were solid industrious people, self-respecting, but noteworthy neither for wealth nor for conspicuous position in society. His father served as a soldier in the Union army until the battle of Tupelo, Mississippi, where he was struck down and so severely wounded that he died not long afterward.
Having lost his father so early, William Perry Freeman’s early education was confined to ten months in a backwoods country school before he was ten years of age. He had no college education. At the age of ten he went to the county seat and entered a printing office as a devil to learn the printer’s trade. A printing office has always been considered one of the best universities in the world, and he not only learned to set type and perform the routine work of such an establishment, but he read books and newspapers, and to his reading he brought a judgment that enabled him to sift and discriminate. He read various text books used in the schools and a large amount of standard literature and history. He has had a thorough experience as a newspaper man, having graduated from the composing room to the news department, and was successively reporter, editor and manager. He naturally took up politics as a side interest. He was also a journeyman printer and newspaper man, and wandered pretty much over the country, seeing all sorts and conditions of men, and keeping himself in close touch with the world’s interests.
In 1886 Mr. Freeman was elected clerk of the Circuit Court of Miller County. Missouri. He filled that office eight years. During 1884-85 he was a member of the Missouri House of Representatives. In 1886 he was defeated for the office of secretary of state. Then in January, 1898, he was appointed clerk of the United States Court of Appeals for the Indian Territory, and continued to perform the duties of that office until statehood in November, 1907.
Mr. Freeman resides at McAlester. In recent years he has been most actively identified with banking. He is chairman of the board of directors of the First National Bank of McAlester, president of the Scipio State Bank of Scipio, and a director in the First -National Bank of Allen and the First National Bank of Calvin, all in Oklahoma. In a business way he has been prospering, though he has no ambition to rank among Oklahoma’s wealthiest citizens.
Asked to define his stand in politics, Mr. Freeman states that he is a republican, equally removed from progressivism and reactionaryism. In fact, he says, “I am just a plain old-time republican and offer no excuse or apology for being one. I voted for Taft and grow prouder of the act each day. I am praying and hoping and have implicit faith that we will return again to safe and sane policies the next time the opportunity is presented.”
His interest in Masonry are of long standing. It was in 1914 that he served as grand master of Masons of Oklahoma, and he is not only a Knight Templar and a member of the different branches of the York Rite but has attained the supreme and ultimate thirty third degree in the Scottish Rite. He belongs to the Royal Order of Scotland, the Red Cross of Constantino and the Order of Eastern Star, and is also affiliated with the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks and the Modern Woodmen of America. Be is a member of the Christian Church or Church of Christ at McAlester.
On September 19, 1881, in Camden County. Missouri, he married Miss Alice Harris, daughter of Robert B. Harris. They have one daughter, Elsie, who married Lewis A. Ellis, a son of Edward S. Ellis of McAlester.