Biography of John Young

Coming to Indian Territory fifty-four years ago, there is no phase of the development of this section of the country with which John Young is not familiar and those events which are to others historical chronicles are to him matters of personal knowledge or experience. In the work of up building and improvement he has borne his full share, aiding in laying the broad foundation upon which has been constructed the present prosperity and greatness of the state, and now, at the age of seventy-six years, be is living retired in his beautiful home near Copan, after many years’ connection with agricultural interests.

Mr. Young was born at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, in 1845, and is a member of the Delaware tribe of Indians. In 1867, when a young man of twenty-two years, he removed from Kansas to Indian Territory, settling at the forks of the Caney river, but as his land was overflowed each year he disposed of his place and sought higher ground.

He now resides on a well improved and highly developed farm of one hundred acres, situated four and a half miles southwest of Copan, in the Young’s lake district, which was named in his honor, his home being surrounded by fine shade trees and located between two lakes. He raises the cereals best adapted to soil and climatic conditions here and also engages in stock raising, but the arduous work connected with the operation of the ranch is performed by his son, Nathan, whose labors he supervises, for his long connection with agricultural interests has given him an expert knowledge of this branch of activity.

Mr. Young married Miss Ella Thomas of Kansas, who passed AAA Five in 1905. Five children were born of that union : Frederick and Lucy are both deceased; Nathan, who is operating the home farm, is also connected with the Trinity Oil Drillers Company. He married Miss Irene Brookshire, a native of Indiana, by whom he has had three children, Thelma Marie, Howard Melford, and Forrest D., who died at the age of eleven months; the other members of John Young’s family are Leroy H. and Edward. Edward wedded Annie Robison, a native of England, and they have three children, Mary Ellen, Anna Lucille and John S.

Mr. Young has a keen, intelligent mind and has traveled extensively, going to the Gulf of California and from Mexico to Washington, D. C. He has had the honor of meeting Presidents Roosevelt and Taft and has made four trips to Washington, D. C., while he has also visited New York city.

In his youth he was a great hunter, killing buffaloes on the present site of Oklahoma City and also in the Smoky mountains of Kansas, and he has likewise, shot many prairie chickens and deer, while in the early days the streams were plentifully supplied with fish. He loves the traditions of his people and has preserved many of the songs of his tribe, which are written in the Delaware language. He has a rare volume of Delaware legends, with illustrations by Richard C. Adams, published in 1905, while he also numbers among his treasured possessions the photograph of an old church built by the Delawares over a century ago. It is a building forty by thirty feet in dimensions, constructed without nails, having one door in its east end, and holes were cut in the roof to permit the smoke to escape. When coming to attend service they would camp in front of the building and there cook their food. For over a half century Mr. Young has resided within the borders of Oklahoma and great, indeed, have been the changes which have occurred during that period. He remembers when the country was still wild and undeveloped, with only a few scattered dwellings to show that the seeds of civilization had been planted here.

He can look back over the past without regret and forward to the future without fear, for his life has been guided by high principles and crowned with successful achievement, and as one of the pioneer settlers of the state he merits and receives the unqualified respect and esteem of all who know him.



Benedict, John Downing. Muskogee and Northeastern Oklahoma: including the counties of Muskogee, McIntosh, Wagoner, Cherokee, Sequoyah, Adair, Delaware, Mayes, Rogers, Washington, Nowata, Craig, and Ottawa. Chicago: S.J. Clarke Pub. Co., 1922.

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