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The Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture


U.S. Rep. Joseph Colburn Pringey, son of George and Effie Colburn Pringey, was born in Somerset, Pennsylvania, on May 22, 1858. Reared on a farm, Pringey was educated in rural schools. In 1870 he moved to Missouri and attended a business college in Sedalia. He later reported in his biographical sketch for the Congressional Directory that he graduated with distinction in the university of "hard knocks."

Pringey homesteaded a farm near Chandler when the Sac and Fox lands were opened for settlement in 1891. He was also involved in a loan and insurance business. A Republican, he became a member of the Oklahoma Territorial Senate in 1893. He also served on the board of regents for the University of Oklahoma in the mid-1890s. Active politically at both the state and national levels, he attended the Republican national convention in 1900.

From 1912 to 1920 he served as Lincoln County clerk. During World War I he served on the Oklahoma Council of Defense and was a four-minute-man speaker. In 1920 he launched a successful campaign for the U.S. House seat from the Fourth District, defeating Democratic incumbent Thomas D. McKeown. While in Congress from 1921 to 1923, Pringey served on three committees, Expenditures in the Department of Labor, Pensions, and Public Buildings and Grounds. Sometimes called "Uncle Joe," he advocated compensation for soldiers who had served in World War I and called for a tariff to protect the farmer and laborer. Unsuccessful in his reelection bid in 1922, he returned to Lincoln County and resumed farming.

Pringey and his wife, the former Josephine Young, continued to be involved in local affairs. He enjoyed membership in the Masonic order, the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, and the Knights of Pythias. In 1923 Pringey became acting postmaster of Chandler, a position he held until 1924. He died on February 11, 1935, and was interred in Oak Park Cemetery in Chandler.

Carolyn G. Hanneman


Biographical Directory of the American Congress, 1774–1996 (Alexandria, Va.: CQ Staff Directories, 1997).

Chandler (Oklahoma) News-Publicist, 14 February 1935.

Daily Oklahoman (Oklahoma City), 9 November 1920.

Rex F. Harlow, comp., Makers of Government in Oklahoma (Oklahoma City: Harlow Publishing Co., 1930).

Who Was Who in America, Vol. 3, 1951–1960 (Chicago: Marquis Who's Who, Inc., 1960).


The following (as per The Chicago Manual of Style, 17th edition) is the preferred citation for articles:
Carolyn G. Hanneman, “Pringey, Joseph Colburn,” The Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture, https://www.okhistory.org/publications/enc/entry?entry=PR014.

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