Biography of Carl F. Mayer

In the sudden demise of Carl F. Mayer, which occurred at Joplin, Missouri, on the 19th of September, 1921, when he was fifty years of age, Miami lost one of its most progressive, public-spirited and highly respected citizens and the government a trusted official whose entire active life had been spent in its service. The place which he left vacant will be a difficult one to fill, for broad experience had given him a comprehensive understanding of Indian affairs, and the service which he rendered was one of great value to the nation.

He was born at Leavenworth, Kansas, August 7, 1871, and was a son of Henry and Emma (Roehrig) Mayer, the former born at Kirkheim in the province of Teck, Germany, while the latter was a native of Minersville, Pennsylvania. When a youth of fifteen years the father came alone to the United States, making his way to Pottsville, Pennsylvania, where he followed the barber’s trade. He then joined the regular army and in 1859 went overland to California with his regiment, which built Fort Humboldt in that state during the pioneer epoch in its development. Following the outbreak of the Civil war Henry Mayer returned to the east by way of Cape Horn and participated in several important engagements during that conflict. At the close of the war he received his discharge from the service and returned to Pennsylvania, where he remained until 1869, when he went to Leavenworth, Kansas. He followed his trade in that city until the Santa Fe Railroad was extended to Newton, Kansas, and took up his residence in that place in 1872. At that time it was one of the pioneer cattle towns of the west and in common with other places in that section of the country was filled with a lawless element. He was made sheriff and city marshal of Newton, discharging his duties fearlessly and conscientiously, and then entered the employ of the Santa Fe Railroad Company, in whose service he remained for over forty years, becoming special claim adjuster. He was a Republican in politics, a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and his fraternal connections were with the Masons and the Independent Order of Odd Fellows. He passed away in 1914, and the mother is also deceased.

In the grammar and high schools of Newton, Kansas, Carl F. Mayer acquired his education and when a young man of eighteen years he went to Washington, D. C., becoming connected with the department of the interior. For one year he was employed in the census office, for a similar period was in the pension department, and for twenty years was connected with the land office. In 1910 he entered the Indian service, being made Superintendent of the Leach Lake Indian reservation, having charge of the Chippewa tribe. For two and a half years he filled that position and then returned to Washington, where for a short time he was connected with the department of Indian affairs. He was then placed at the head of the Shoshone agency near Lander, Wyoming, and his excellent work in that connection led to his appointment as general supervisor of Indian agencies. In this capacity he came to Miami early in 1918 and a month later was made Superintendent of the Quapaw Indian agency, which position he continued to fill until his demise. He was unusually well qualified for work of this character, and his dealings with the Indians were characterized by broad human sympathy and understanding and just and considerate treatment. While residing in Washington Mr. Mayer had taken up the study of law and was graduated from the National Law School with the LL. B. degree. For thirty-two years he was in the service of the government and was always loyal to every trust reposed in him.

Mr. Mayer married Miss Alice M. Robey, and they became the parents of two sons, Carl Orlando and John Henry. He was an earnest member of the Miami Chamber of Commerce and was active in every movement for the benefit of his city. He was deeply and helpfully interested in Church work on the Quapaw reservation and was a teacher in the Men’s Bible class of the Baptist Church. He was a prominent Mason, belonging to Miami Lodge, No. 140, F. & A. M., and to the consistory at McAlester, Oklahoma, and he was also a member of the Country Club. He was an enthusiastic devotee of golf and it was while playing on the Oak Hill links at Joplin, Missouri, that he suddenly expired, his death being caused by acute indigestion. He had gone to that city to accompany his son Carl that far on his way to Fayetteville, Arkansas, where he was to enter the State University. The funeral services were conducted by Rev. C. Stubblefield, pastor of the Miami Baptist Church, in Mr. Mayer’s home at No. 212 B street, northwest, after which the remains were taken to Newton, Kansas, for interment. He was a man of marked enterprise and ability, and the character of the work which he did during his life and the importance of the place which he attained are evidenced in the widespread regret which followed his death. Long acquaintance with him cemented stronger friendship, for his life in its various phases stood the test of intimate knowledge and of close association. Of the highest type of American manhood, unswerving in loyalty and unfaltering in the performance of duty, his name will ever remain an honored one in the annals of the nation, while he also left the impress of his individuality in large measure upon the history of his city and state.



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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