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The Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture

Mattie Mallory, 1909
(2012.201.B0381.0171, Oklahoma Publishing Company Photography Collection, OHS).


Mattie Maranda Mallory founded the Oklahoma Orphanage, which was incorporated on January 18, 1899, in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma Territory. She was born on March 12, 1865, to Maranda Thayer and Joseph Smith Mallory in Ottawa, Kansas. Her mother died soon after her birth. Joseph Mallory then married Maranda Thayer’s sister Cassandra, and they had four children.

Mattie Mallory received her education in Kansas, graduating in 1889 from the Methodist-affiliated Baker University in Baldwin. She pursued an additional year at the Kansas Normal School in Emporia. For about two years she taught third grade in Ottawa, Kansas. While living in Kansas, she was active in and an officer of the Philatheans, the Clionians, and the Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA). Her education, her teaching experience, and her strong religious convictions directed Mattie Mallory in her life’s work in Oklahoma and Indian territories. The two territories formed the state of Oklahoma on November 16, 1907.

In 1892 Mattie Mallory arrived in Berwyn, near Ardmore in Indian Territory (I.T.), and served as principal of the Dawes Academy. Operated by the Baptist Home Missionary Society of New York, the school educated orphans of the Freedmen and Freedwomen of the Chickasaw. From September 1897 until August 1898 she served as managing editor of the weekly Guide, printed at Berwyn, I.T. Advertised as nonsectarian newspaper, the journal adopted the motto “No Law but Love, No Creed but Christ.’ While teaching at Berwyn, she had contact with Holiness workers in north Texas. In 1897 she accepted a superintendent’s position at a Baptist mission in Winnipeg, Canada. While enroute by train to Canada, she stopped in Oklahoma City, where she met Reuben E. Hershey, who convinced her to establish a school for missionaries’ children and orphans.

Mallory recruited two women from the Dawes Academy and established a mission school in association with Hershey on Reno Street in Oklahoma City. As she encountered an increased number of orphans, in 1899 she founded a home and school under the name of Oklahoma Orphanage. She relocated it several times before moving it from Beulah Heights in northwest Oklahoma City to its final location in Bethany, Oklahoma Territory, on May 12, 1909. Nonsectarian and self-supporting, the orphanage relied on donations from the public as well as religious organizations. To garner public notice, she continued to publish the Guide from 1898 to 1903 in Oklahoma City and also held religious meetings in Kansas and Oklahoma Territory. Her proselytizing usually included a mention of the orphanage and the need for funding. She remained as Oklahoma Orphanage director until circa 1920, when three Oklahoma City club women, known as the Children’s Welfare League, took charge of it. Mallory also donated land for the Beulah Heights College and Bible School. This institution was the predecessor to Oklahoma Holiness College (now Southern Nazarene University) founded in 1909 in Bethany, Oklahoma.

On March 20, 1912, Mattie Mallory married Robert William Morgan, a minister. He operated a grocery store and gave the profits to the Oklahoma Orphanage. After their association with the orphanage ended, he worked as a real estate agent in Oklahoma City. The Morgans were members of the Wesley Methodist Church in Oklahoma City, where Mattie Morgan taught the women’s Bible study class. In 1914 she graduated from Carver Chiropractic College, founded in 1906 in Oklahoma City by Dr. Willard Carver. She worked in that field until her death from cancer on March 5, 1938. She was buried in Fairlawn Cemetery in Oklahoma City. Her obituary stated that she had helped an estimated 425 orphans during her management of the Oklahoma Orphanage.

Linda D. Wilson

Learn More

Heather Clemmer, “‘My Heart Had Been Burdened for the Orphaned and Homeless Children’: Religious Imperative and Maternalism in the Work of Mattie Mallory,” in This Land is Herland: Gendered Activism in Oklahoma from the 1870s to 2010s, ed. Sarah Eppler Janda and Patricia Loughlin (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 2021).

Daily Oklahoman (Oklahoma City), 7 March 1938.

C. B. Jernigan, Pioneer Days of The Holiness Movement in the Southwest (Kansas City, Mo.: Pentecostal Nazarene Publishing House, 1919).

Charles Edwin Jones, “Miss Mallory’s Children: The Oklahoma Orphanage and the Founding of Bethany,” The Chronicles of Oklahoma 71 (Winter 1993–94).

Leona Bellew McConnell, “A History of the Town and College of Bethany, Oklahoma,” M.A. thesis, University of Oklahoma, 1935.

Abraham Ruelas “Mattie’s Children; Mattie’s School,” in Women and the Landscape of American Higher Education: Wesleyan Holiness and Pentecostal Founders (Eugene, Ore.: Pickwick Publications, 2010).


The following (as per The Chicago Manual of Style, 17th edition) is the preferred citation for articles:
Linda D. Wilson, “Mallory, Mattie Maranda,” The Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture, https://www.okhistory.org/publications/enc/entry?entry=MA051.

Published May 31, 2024

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