Old Opera House Mystery Cast of Character...
These are just a few characters and town fathers that you will hear mentioned in the Old Opera House Mystery of 1910.
N. L. "Nelson" Miller -- Miller was born July, 1859, Michigan, and he came to Alva in 1897; built first Steam Roller mill which he conducted for year or more. On September 5, 1888, Miller (born 1859), married Rachel (born 1863). In 1903 he was with the firm of Bell (James W. Bell) & Miller. The Miller family consisted of: Lois, born 1888, Kansas; Eva, born 1891, Kansas; Minta, born 1892, Kansas; Bert L., born 1898, O.T.; and George, born 1902, O.T. In 1910, Miller was head of household residing in Alva, Oklahoma. Miller was arrested in 1910 for the murder of Mabel Oakes. Miller was Justice of the Peace and what is known by the Bill Posters as Official Bill Poster for Alva, Oklahoma; also ran a collection agency with his office in the Old Opera House, 400 block of Barnes Avenue. Justice N. L. Miller employed Mabel Oakes for over a year starting in winter of 1909.
Sandor James Vigg -- Sandor James Vigg was County Attorney of Woods County, State of Oklahoma, 1908-1916. Sandor J. Vigg was candidate for re-election as county attorney in 1912. He was was born in Austria-Hungary July, 1879. He came to Barber County, Kansas, with his parents, April, 1891. From there he came to Woods County about 16 years ago, where he has since resided, the first 12 years in Fritzlen township and the last 4 years in Alva. He was a graduate of the Northwestern State Normal at Alva and of the Law Department of University of Kansas. He was admitted to practice law before the Supreme and the all other Courts of Oklahoma in June, 1908, and since that time he had been a member of the Woods County Bar, engaged in the active practice of law. As a lawyer, had actual experience in conducting, and prosecuting about 400 civil and criminal cases in our Courts. From murder cases down to violations of the prohibitory laws, and from the famous assessor controversy down to the Pioneer printing 'grab.' He was known as a prosecutor of ability, strength and vigor. Vigg prosecuted Nelson L. Miller vs. State of Oklahoma, in the Old Opera House Murder trial, September 7-12, 1911, Woodward County, Oklahoma, Case #714.
Claud McCrory -- Claud McCrory was a native of Indiana and lived in Kansas several years, then came to this county at the opening and secured a farm near Waynoka. Afterwards he sold it and bought property in Alva where he still resided in 1904. He had taught school, was instructor in the county teachers institute, and was nominee for county attorney in 1900. He was reading clerk in the territorial council in 1901. He was elected city attorney 1901. He was re-elected 1903. He was a good lawyer and public speaker. McCrory conducted the Coroner Inquest in the Miller case, in Woods County, Oklahoma.
L. T. Wilson -- L. T. Wilson was a native of Missouri and came to Alva at he opening from Butler County, Kansas. He settled on a farm five miles southeast of Alva, and taught school. He also practiced law. He was also instructor in the first county teachers' institute. His law practice in 1904 demanded all his attention. Wilson was on N. L. Miller's Defense with Charles J. Swindall, C. H. Mauntel, etc...
Erskine W. Snoddy -- Snoddy was a Missourian, but came to Barber County, Kansas, in the eighties; was the first deputy US Marshal in this part of Oklahoma, having been appointed long before the country was opened for settlement. He selected a farm two miles southeast of Alva, but afterwards sold it, leased school land in the western part of the county and engaged in the cattle business; sold that around 1902 and located in Alva as a partner with his father, Col. Snoddy, in the practice of law which he had studied several years.
Capt. R. A. Cameron -- Native of Illinois; Apr. 19, 1861, enlisted in Co. C, 11th Illinois Infantry; some months afterwards, on account of changes and consolidations, he joined the 110th regiment and was elected First Lieutenant of Co D, but in a few weeks the captain of Co. K resigned and Mr. Cameron was elected to the position, which he held until 1864 when he resigned and entered the Ohio University at Athens, and remained two years; then spent a year in the law department
of Michigan University. Practiced law in Ohio and Missouri a few years; was a member of the
Missouri legislature 1876; 1880 moved to Eldorado, Kansas, and 1885 to Medicine Lodge, Kansas, and 1888 held office of county attorney; came to Alva, Sept. 16, 1893, established a law office, and entered a farm two miles norhtwest. July 24, 1897, was appointed register US Land office at Alva, and filled the position efficiently for four years. The Flynn and Barnes fight in Oklahoma, and treachery of Cong. Grosvenor of Ohio, defeated his re-appointment. Cameron was also the Judge in the Old Opera House Murder of 1910.
C. H. Mauntel -- Mauntel was a native of Indian; came to Alva and opened a law office; was elected county attorney in 1900 and served two years, after which he resumed the general law practice. He gave his official duties careful attention, and is one of the best educated and most sociable gentlemen in
the county. One of the attorneys & witnesses in the Old Opera House Murder of 910.
Geo. W. Crowell -- George Crowell was a native of North Carolina, came west in his youth with his parents and lived several years near Pittsburg, Ks. Came to Attica, Ks., in 1884 and engaged in the lumber business; came to Alva, Sept. 16, 1893, and opened the first lumber yard. Was appointed a county commissioner of the First District by Gov. Renfrow, chosen chairman of the board by the other two members. Mr. Crowell's service on this board during the formative period of the county's affairs was especially attentive, and has proved more and more valuable as the history of the county is recalled. He served in the office faithfully and creditably until Jan. 10, 1895. Geo W. Crowell is a liberal, public spirited, pushing citizen whose assistance in every public enterprise has been of great and lasting benefit to Alva, and he has served the city well as councilman and treasurer. He was vice-president of the First National Bank, and president of Crowell Bros, Lumber Co., with yards and elevators at several different towns; dealers in lumber, coal and
Dr. G. N. Bilby -- Dr. Geo. N. Bilby was sworn in as the State's sixth witnesses in the Old Opera House Murder. Bilby was a native of Iowa. He lived in Alva, Woods County, Oklahoma. He graduated from the Louisville Medical college, Louisville, KY. Settled in Stroud, OK and practiced medicine since 1894. He came to Alva in 1899. He had his Doctor's office upstairs in the building on the NE corner of College Ave. & Flynn St. (where the Johnson Ins. Co. is today). Dr. Bilby married Alberta Mae Stockbarger. Their children were Afton, Paul and Lee. Dr. Bilby was an influential Democrat and represented the Woods County District at the 1906 Constitutional Convention when Oklahoma became a state in 1907. He was one of three doctors that had done the post mortem on Miss Oakes body 9 November 1910.
Dr. Elizabeth Grantham -- Dr. Elizabeth Grantham was a native of Illinois, but lived some years in Nebraska. She graduated from John A. Creighton Medical College, Omaha, Neb. She came to Alva in June, 1903, and opened an office on south side of the square. Dr. Elizabeth Grantham was also the Oakes family physician and was one of the Doctors that testified in the Old Opera House Murder in 1910. Dr. Grantham had been practicing medicine for ten years. Grantham was one of three Doctors called in to do post mortem autopsy.
Sheriff Hugh Martin, Jr. -- Woods County Sheriff. On 27 June 1910, filed a 'Petition for Injunction' against Justice Miller & Constable Lewellen in a civil case concerning a confiscated barrel of Beer. Sheriff Hugh Martin, Jr. made the land rush into Woods County. His horse threw him and he got no claim. His father-in-law, Joseph Barnett and brother Lemuel Barnett made the run as well. Only Lemuel got a claim, although all of them stayed in Woods County. Martin was the first Sheriff after statehood. Martin served as government assessor in this sector prior to statehood and was elected sheriff after statehood was granted by congress. He was defeated for re-election by a single vote on 9 Nov. 1910. He later ran again and was elected in 1923. He served two terms before retiring from public office. Martin lived in the Dacoma community. He was born in Mexico, Missouri, August 23, 1871. Martin died 9/15/1941, 70 years of age, in Pratt, Kansas hospital Sunday afternoon and was buried north of Dacoma, in the Union Center Cemetery the following Tuesday. He came to this sector of the state from Turon, Kansas. He lived in this county for 48 years. His wife (Ida Barnett) died 12/4/1940. Martin was a charter member of the Alva Masonic Lodge. Mrs. Martin was a native of Iowa and came to Oklahoma at the opening of the Cherokee strip, settling on a farm seven miles southeast of Alva. She lived there with her husband until about 1936 when they moved to Dacoma.
D. C. Oates, Sheriff -- was a native of Alabama. He came to Alva, September 18, 1893. Oates secured a farm in southeast part of the county. He was deputy sheriff 1895 to July 16, 1898. When he enlisted in the first Oklahoma regiment he tried for 9 months to get to the front in the war with Spain. He was elected as sheriff in 1900 by 106 majority, and re-elected in 1902 by 1175 majority, which is ample evidence of his excellent official ability and general popularity.
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