29 July 2007

In Memory of... John Robert Warwick

This is an old photo of our Great-Grandpa, John R. Warwick and his brother(s) Pete and another brother or friend. John R. Warwick is seated on the right with brother, Pete, on the left. Another brother or friend is standing behind. (photo ca. January, 1903.).

Lots of things have happened since those 100+ years that our Warwick & McGill pioneers settled here in the northwest corner of the Cherokee Strip, near Alva, Freedom and Waynoka.

It all began with our Great-Grandpa, John Robert Warwick, a pioneer citizen of Woods County (M), Oklahoma Territory.

John R. Warwick was born April 9, 1857 at Frost, Pocahontas County, West Virginia. John married Signora Belle Gwin at Harper’s Ferry, West Virginia, in January 16, 1882. Three children (Constance Estelle, Robert Lee & Wilbur) were born to this union.

As his obituary states, “John Warwick, as known to the entire county, came from a long line of fighting stock, and was never known to be afraid. Panics, hard times, sickness, death itself could come, but he remained calm. He lived on the theory that the sun set … but that it later arose!”

John Warwick’s sense of humor never failed, nor his hospitality, as no one, either Friend or outcast, ever went away hungry. Much of his determined character may have come down to him through a family trait, as revealed in an old history of West Virginia. It tells of his ancestor, Major Peter Hull who, coming from England in 1772, settled in this same valley where John Warwick later was born. Of this Major Hull, the historian wrote, “He was of great influence, but very domineering.”

This spirit which had run through the family for generations led him to independence of action later when he came to Kansas -- taught school at Coldwater, waiting for the opening of Oklahoma’s Cherokee Strip for settlement. John made the Run, September 16, 1893.

As he was accustomed to the water & wood in abundance on the wooded hills & plains of West Virginia, he looked first for wood & water when looking for a homestead. He staked a claim 7 miles south of Alva, on Eagle Chief, but learning by experience that more abundance lay in the level wheat lands – he sold his wood & water farm -- bought level wheat land 5 miles south of Alva. This is where John and his wife (known to many in the Freedom area as “Sigga”) lived until 1929 when they moved to Alva. John’s wife preceded him in death three years, almost to the exact time of his death, dying in November, 1934.

John Warwick’s land passed down to his daughter (Constance Estelle Warwick McGill) – to his great-granddaughters – eventually, forming McGill Sisters family farm Corporation which has continued in operation in the Fairvalley & Freedom area since 1982 with Linda McGill Wagner, Pres., & Dorthy McGill, V-Pres., at the helm.

Maybe there are a few elder Freedom & Northwestern Oklahoma citizens reading this story that may remember stories of the Warwick’s, McGill’s and legacies of Old Fairvalley & Freedom. If so… Contact: LK McGill Wagner at the address below:

The Okie Legacy Ezine - Learning & Preserving Our Heritage
L. K. McGill Wagner - Mcwagner.lk@gmail.com

No comments:

Post a Comment