Pioneer William F. Hatfield - Alva, OK
Alva's Hatfield Park & Lake benefactor was William Franklin Hatfield, who held the distinction for being former editor, publisher as well as founder, of the first newspaper established in Woods County, Oklahoma. Hatfield developed the Alva Pioneer into one of the excellent daily papers of the state.
Mahlon Hatfield was reared, educated in Missouri and became a successful manufacturer of wagons and farm machinery. This line of industrial enterprise is what Mr. Hatfield gave his attention during virtually his entire active business career. In 1909 he retired and came to Alva, Oklahoma, where he passed the residue of his long, honorable, useful life. In 1853 he was solemnized in marriage to Miss Sarah E. Cook, who was born in Macon county, Missouri, in 1834. Sarah's parents having been natives of Grayson County, Kentucky, and having become pioneer settlers in Macon County, Missouri. Mrs. Sarah Hatfield died June 24, 1872, at Cambridge, Missouri, and was a woman of devout christian faith and of gentle kindliness.
Of this marriage of Mahlon and Sarah Hatfield were born the following children:
In 1872 Mahlon Hatfield contracted a second marriage, when Sarah L. Epperson became his wife. The three children of this union were Jesse M., Charles W., and Nannie L.
It was on the old homestead farm of his father in Macon County, Missouri, that William Franklin Hatfield passed the period of his boyhood and early youth. In addition to receiving the advantages of the local schools he attended also a well ordered academy at Cambridge, Saline county, Missouri. As a youth William F. Hatfield served an apprenticeship to the trade of machinist, but in 1878 he abandoned this trade to learn that of printer, his apprenticeship in the "Art preservative of all arts" having been served in a newspaper office at Slater, Missouri. Later William was employed in the first newspaper office established at Attica, Kansas, and thereafter he held positions in newspaper and job offices at Harper and Wichita, Kansas.
In 1890 William Hatfield purchased the plant and business of the Express, a weekly paper published at Hazelton, Kansas, and of the same he continued as editor, publisher until 1893, when he became a participant in the "run" into the famous Cherokee Strip Outlet of Oklahoma, which was thrown open to settlement in that year. He was one of the early settlers in the embryonic little City of Alva, Woods county, Oklahoma, and founded the Alva Pioneer, the first newspaper in the county. Issuing the paper weekly he made it an effective exponent of community interests and progressive movements, its first issue having come from the press on September 22, 1893, and the paper was continued as a weekly until June 24, 1901, when a daily edition was issued in addition to the weekly.
The Pioneer had ably exploited the priniciples, policies of the democratic party -- both through its columns and his personal activities the editor, publisher had wielded large and benignant influence in political affairs in this section of the state. Mr. Hatfield had served as chairman of the Democratic Central Committee of Woods county since 1900 and during this entire period had been a member also of the Democratic State Central Committee, as one of the leaders in the maneuvering of the party forces in the vigorous young commonwealth of his adoption. He was secretary of the first Commercial Club organized at Alva and retained this position three years.
After 16 years of continuous, effective identification with the paper of which he was founder, Hatfield retired from active newspaper work on September 1, 1909, when he sold the plant and business of the Pioneer, and in the year 1906 he had purchased 160 acres of land adjoining Alva on the West, a portion of this tract being now an integral part of the city, known as Hatfield Park. With characteristic liberality he donated to the city 57 acres of this tract for park and lake purposes -- Hatfield Park & Lake.
Mr. Hatfield was also founder of the college library of the Northwestern State Normal School, at Alva and made the first contribution of books for the same. Further than this he was primarily instrumental in securing this excellent institution to Alva, by assisting in obtaining the passage of the legislative act creating the school.
On May 27, 1883, William F. Hatfield married Miss Fannie L. Whilhite, who was a popular factor in the social and religious activities of the community. The had no children.
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