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Oklahoma Family Tree Stories

This beautiful sculpture of three redbud trees with gold and silver leaves by artist Robin Starke is located just outside the Eleanor & John Kirkpatrick Research Center in the Oklahoma History Center. Each leaf of the "Oklahoma Family Tree" memorializes an Oklahoma family with the family surname, first name(s), and the town or county where they lived. In addition, a short family history will be preserved in the digital family history book at the base of the tree. This is a great way for your family to make history and benefit future generations at the same time. To find out how to honor your own family with a leaf visit the Oklahoma Family Tree Project page.

Bingaman Family

George Allen Bingaman was born in Princeton, Kansas, on September 15, 1904, to Harry E. and Rachel Huff Bingaman. In January 1921, the Bingamans moved by train to Santa Rita, New Mexico, to be near the Huff family that had lived there for several years.

In spite of its distance from New Mexico, George enrolled at Oklahoma City University. To save money, he opted to enroll in extra hours and pay by the semester rather than by the course, as was the norm for later generations of students. When the dean objected to his course load, George explained that his budget left him with no choice in the matter. The dean refused to accommodate him, and George promptly asked for a refund on his tuition. Upon receiving his refund, he sought an attorney in downtown Oklahoma City willing to hire him to "read the law." As a prospective lawyer, he knew that he could gain access to the profession by working and reading the law under the supervision of an attorney.

While George was working downtown, the famed "Wild Mary Sudik" came roaring into history. The gusher stimulated his interest in the oil and gas business. Two years later, he sat for the bar exam and earned the second highest score of 1932. Weighing two offers of employment, he rode the train to Purcell for an interview with L. T. Cook, an attorney from North Carolina. Cook offered him a job and invited George to live with his family.

George became a highly successful attorney. After World War II he began to invest in oil and gas wells. In 1950 Governor Johnston Murray appointed George as a justice to the Oklahoma Supreme Court. During his tenure, he produced more opinions than any other justice, in part because he objected to the massive backlog of cases. In 1965 George represented Justice Earl Welch during the Oklahoma Supreme Court bribery scandal. He died in February 1991 in Oklahoma City.

Frances Evelyn Gray Bingaman was born to Belle Delashmit in Purcell in 1906. In the fall of 1898, the Delashmit family had traveled in a covered wagon from the St. James area of Missouri to Purcell, where they spent their first year in a dugout. Frances's father was Anthony Foster Gray. In 1902 his family moved from Kaufman, Texas to Purcell. Anthony drove cattle en route to his family's new home in the Indian Territory.

Frances was a graduate of Purcell High School and the University of Oklahoma. She was a full-time student at OU for two years before she accepted a job as a teacher. She then taught school and attended classes at the university during the summer to complete her B.A. in History. She also studied French and Greek and belonged to the Alpha Xi Delta sorority. France's favorite professor at OU was Dr. Edward Everett Dale.

Frances taught grade school for nine years before she married George Bingaman. As a married woman, Frances was discouraged from continuing her career as a teacher. After George Bingaman left the Supreme Court, she spent the next ten years as his full-time legal secretary. She then scaled back to part-time secretarial work. Frances was active in the American Association of University Women, the Parent Teachers Association, the Band Booster Club, the Garden Club, the Mothers Club, and bridge clubs. She volunteered at the local hospital and loved to travel. She visited every state in the U.S. as well as Europe, South America, China, Japan, Australia, and Canada. On one memorable occasion during the height of the cold war, she became separated from her tour group in Moscow. Never fazed by adversity, she walked until she ran into a Japanese student. He spoke enough English to help her flag down a taxi. She then brandished a hotel card to direct her driver to her hotel.

Frances was a talented painter. She took several classes in oil painting and enjoyed sharing her work with her family. She died in September of 1997 in Norman.

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