Dr. Oliver Bagby, a pioneer physician of Vinita, who for twenty-nine years was engaged in practice here, has become widely and favorably known throughout this section of the state, both in his professional capacity and also as a leader in financial affairs. He was born near New Haven, in Franklin County, Missouri, December 26, 1858, his parents being Julian and Mary E. (Bridges) Bagby, both of whom were born in the year 1834. The Bagby family came originally from. Glasgow, Scotland, and the maternal ancestors were also natives of the land of hills and heather, the grandfather, Andrew W. Bridges, having made his home in Scotland previous to his emigration to this country. Julian Bagby was born in Cumberland County, Virginia, in 1834, and his father, Madison Bagby, was born in Virginia in 1808, removing to Tennessee in 1847. At Memphis, that state, the latter followed the trade of a millwright and during the Mexican war was employed in the navy yard but after the close of that conflict returned to Virginia. When thirteen years of age Julian Bagby went to Missouri and his education was acquired in the Seminary for Males at Springfield, that state. He afterward engaged in teaching school and for six months served with the Confederate troops as an orderly sergeant under Captain Joseph Bell, while he was also with General Jackson’s Home Guard, attached to Price’s army. His marriage occurred in Missouri in 1857, and he followed the occupation of farming in that state until 1867, when he established a nursery business on Cedar creek, in Franklin County, developing one of the most extensive enterprises of that character in southern Missouri. In 1872 he moved his interests to New Haven, in the same County, where the business is still conducted by his sons. He was a Baptist in religious faith and was always deeply and helpfully interested in educational matters. He passed away at New Haven at the age of seventy-nine, and his wife’s death there occurred when she was eighty-six years of age.
Dr. Bagby is one of a family of seven children and remained upon the home farm until a boy of twelve, attending a log cabin school in the neighborhood and a private school at New Haven, Missouri, conducted by a Mrs. Clarke, while in 1877 he entered the medical department of the University of Missouri, from which he was graduated with the class of 1881. For one year he followed his profession at Boles, Missouri, and in 1882 came to Vinita, then a small village of the Cherokee Nation, containing a population of but three hundred. For a year and a half he was associated in practice with Dr. Morris Frazee and they also conducted a drug store, operating under the style of M. Frazee & Company. From 1884 until 1887 Dr. Bagby was alone in practice, and in the latter year he formed a partnership with Dr. B. F. Fortner-a relation-ship that was maintained for nineteen years. They built up a large practice and their professional activities also extended to Tahlequah, Muskogee, Tulsa, Sapulpa and Fairland, Oklahoma. Dr. Bagby did everything in his power to promote his knowledge and increase his skill, closely studying the cases which came under his care and taking post-graduate work at leading clinics in various parts of the country, and his professional activities were attended with a gratifying measure of success. He dissolved partnership with Dr. Fortner in 1906 and at that time discontinued the work of the profession, having since devoted his entire attention to his business interests.
He has become well known as a financier of more than ordinary ability and in 1892 was one of the organizers of the First National Bank of Vinita, of which he has since been President. He also, aided in establishing the First National Bank of Tulsa, becoming its first President, and he was likewise one of the founders of the First National Banks of Claremore, Chelsea and Miami, Oklahoma, and the Farmers State Bank of Vinita. Possessing keen insight into business affairs and situations and a thorough understanding of the complex problems of banking, it is doubtful if any one individual has done more to promote the financial prosperity of Oklahoma than has Dr. Bagby. He has made large investments in farm lands in Craig, Mayes, Ottawa, Delaware, Nowata, Washington, Tulsa and Cherokee counties and is one of the owners of the Jones-Bagby building of Vinita.
At Labadie, Missouri, in October, 1883, Dr. Bagby was united in marriage to Miss Mary Miller, of Franklin County, Missouri, a daughter of John W. and Martha Miller, members of a prominent pioneer family of that state, of which both were natives. The Miller family were among the very earliest to settle in Missouri, Phillip Miller taking up a government claim in Franklin County on the 14th of July, 1818. John W. Miller, the father, successfully followed the occupations of farming and stock raising in that state for many years and subsequently came to Oklahoma, establishing his home at Vinita, where he lived retired until his demise in 1914. Dr. and Mrs. Bagby have become the parents of two children. Harry Edward, the elder, was born in Vinita in 1884 and has been Secretary of the Oklahoma Bankers’ Association and also manager of the Tulsa Clearing House Association, while he is now special representative of the Exchange National Bank of Tulsa. He is married and has a daughter, Roberta. Mabel, the daughter, is now the wife of Hendricks Brewer, President of the California Candy Company and a resident of San Francisco.
Dr. Bagby is a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and his political support is given to the Republican Party. He recognizes the duties and obligations as well as the privileges of citizenship and has ever taken a deep and helpful interest in public affairs. In 1898, when the town was incorporated, he was one of the council and has borne an important part in the work of up building and development. He has been particularly active in promoting educational standards here, serving as a member of the school board and aiding in the erection of the first schoolhouse in the town, while he was one of the directors of the old Worcester Academy before the public school system was established. He was one of the organizers of the Indian Territory Medical Society, of which he became Vice President, and his professional ability placed him with the leading physicians of northeastern Oklahoma. He is a member of the Hillcrest Country Club and is a prominent Mason, belonging to the lodge, chapter and commandery at Muskogee and to the Shrine at Tulsa. He is a man of versatile talents who has made a success of everything that he has undertaken. When he came to Vinita in 1882 he had less than one hundred dollars and through untiring effort, keen business discernment and the ready recognition and utilization of opportunity has gained recognition as a most progressive and successful business man and one of the foremost financiers of his state, while his integrity and honor in all commercial transactions have won for him the unqualified respect and confidence of all with whom he has been associated.