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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.

Fogarty Family

John Sidner Fogarty was born on January 5, 1859 near Roann in Wabash County, Indiana. He was the second of three children born to George Washington Fogarty, a Civil War veteran, and Sarah Ramey.

On April 22, 1889, John was thirty years old and working aboard the second of eight Santa Fe trains carrying eighty-niners from Arkansas City, Kansas to Guthrie, Indian Territory. He described that day as chaotic and exciting. Passengers were piled in every nook and cranny and even on the roof. Some jumped off while the train was still moving to stake their claims.

John started working for the railroad in 1880. His served in various capacities, including section hand, engine wiper, fireman, and brakeman. In 1905, he became the conductor of No. 410 and continued in that position for the rest of his life. For eighteen exciting years, the so-called Four Hundred and Fogarty carried cowhands, oilmen, wildcatters, state governors, and showmen on round trips from Guthrie to Coyle, Goodnight, Perkins, Ripley, Stillwater, Glencoe, Pawnee, Skedee, Maramec, Yale, and Cushing. On occasion, parents placed their children in John's custody to deliver to grandparents.

John married the lovely Harriet Lovina Ladd on New Year's Eve of 1891 in Arkansas City, Cowley County, Kansas. Harriet, born on June 7, 1871 in Lawrence, Douglas County, Kansas, was the youngest child of Erastus Dean "E. D." and Eliza Jane (née Blackford) Ladd.

E. D. came to the area as a "freestater" in 1854 and was a founding father of Lawrence, Kansas. Harriet, who had attended business college, was working in an insurance agency in Arkansas City when she and John met. Harriet became a loving wife, attentive mother, and capable business woman who tended to her family while her husband worked long and exhausting double shifts for the railroad.

Their first home was in Arkansas City, where four children were born: Gladys Blanche "Betty" (b. August 18, 1893); Jessie (b. August 29, 1896); John Samuel (b. November 21, 1902); and Richard Wilcox (b. February 4, 1906). After John was permanently assigned to the Guthrie route, the family relocated there in 1907. Their youngest son, Lorraine Scothorn, was born in Guthrie on November 23, 1909.

Once settled in Guthrie, the Fogarty family became actively involved in church and community affairs and made lasting contributions to the developing town. John, Harriet, and their children were active in the First Baptist Church. John served as vice president of the Guthrie Board of Education. Upon his death on July 24, 1923, Fogarty Junior High School was dedicated in his honor.

Following John's death, Harriet completed the task of raising their children, and she became the devoted grandmother of eight grandchildren: Glenn "Sonny" Griswold, Patricia Paris, Sally, Mary, Jerene, John Richard, Michael, and Margo Fogarty. She lived in the family home at 124 East Washington Street in Guthrie until she died at age 86 on November 25, 1957. She and her husband were buried at Summit View Cemetery in Guthrie and live on in their grandchildren's memories with love and admiration.

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