William Cary Renfrow, Territorial Governor of Oklahoma

William Cary Renfrow
Territorial Governor of Oklahoma

William C. Renfrow was born at Smithfield, North Carolina, March 15, 1845. He was educated in the local schools, which he quit, at age 16, to enter the Confederate Army at the outbreak of the Civil War. In 1865, he settled in Arkansas, where he lived until the opening of the Oklahoma country. He served as a deputy county official in Russellville, Arkansas. He soon after settled at Norman in Cleveland County, and engaged in the banking business. He served as governor of Oklahoma from May 7, 1893, to May 24, 1987. He was the only Democrat to serve as Territorial Governor. It was during his term that the Cherokee Strip was opened to settlement to whites. He also helped to form the Oklahoma Historical Society. He then made his home in Kansas City, Missouri and engaged in the lead and zinc mining business, in southwestern Missouri, and the oil and gas business in Oklahoma, Kansas and Texas. He died January 31, 1922 in Arkansas and is buried in Russellville, Arkansas.

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Ann Maloney, Bartlesville, OK.
Copyright © 1998 Ann Maloney all rights reserved.