Phillip Wharton Samuel

History of Northeast Oklahoma Volume III



Among the sound moneyed institutions of northeastern Oklahoma is the First State Bank of Vinita, of which Phillip Wharton Samuel is the president, and his initiative spirit, powers of orgaization and keen insight into business affairs and situations have made him one of the most prominent and successful financiers in this part of the state. He was born in Cedar City, Callaway county, Missouri, on the 19th of September, 1867, his parents being Charles W. and Anna (Ferguson) Samuel, the former a native of Kentucky and the latter of Missouri. She was a representative of one of the early pioneer families of Missouri, her father being a large landowner and slaveholder. Charles W. Samuel removed from Kentucky to Missouri and during the Civil war served as a captain in the Home Guard. He engaged in merchandising at Cedar City, Missouri, also becoming actively identified With civic affairs there, and in 1882 established his home at Fulton, that state, in order to educate his children. In I885 he became a resident of Kansas City, Missouri, where be entered commercial circles in connection with the real estate business, with which he was identified until his demise, which occurred in 1904. While residing in (Callaway county he followed the occupation of farming and was also a leader in the ranks of the democratic party, passing away in the faith of the Christian Church.

His son, Phillip Wharton Samuel, acquired his education in the grammar schools of his native city and the high school at Fulton, Missouri, after which he attended Westminster College for two years and then completed a course in a business college at Kansas City, Missouri. His initial business experience was obtained in his father’s mercantile establishments at Cedar City and Fulton, Missouri, and in 1888 he came to Indian Territory, acting as clerk, bookkeeper and cashier for Captain Seavers, a leading merchant of Muskogee. He then went to Tahlequah, accepting a position with the firm of J. H. Stoper & Sons, conducting the largest mercantile business in the territory. He remained with that house until 1892,. when he made his way to Kansas City, Missouri, and was connected with the Simonds Grain Company until 1894, returning in that year to Indian Territory. In association with J. C. ‘Hogan, he engaged in merchandising, opening the second mercantile establishment in Pryor and continuing active in its management until 1900, when he sold his interest in the firm and with the assistance of W. A. Graham organized the First National Bank of Pryor, the first financial institution established there. He served as cashier of the bank and, also aided in incorporating the town, becoming a member of its council. He was likewise instrumental in securing ‘the present public school system and in organizing the Methodist Episcopal church, South, and was the first secretary of Masonic Lodge, No. 28, being a most important factor in the upbuilding of the town. In 1908 he removed to Muskogee, where he founded the Oklahoma State Bank, now the Exchange National Bank, acting as its cashier until 1910, when he was made president, and continued to fill that office until 1914. In that year he became a member of the firm of Samuel & Reed, handling real estate- and loans, and they built up an enterprise of large proportions, doing business all over north-eastern Oklahoma. In 1916 Mr. Samuel came to Vinita and purchased the First State Bank, which he has since controlled. He is an able financier of more than ordinary ability and the policy which he has ever followed in the management of the institution is such as carefully safeguards the interests of depositors and at the same time promotes the success of the bank, which now ranks with the leading financial institutions of this part of the state. He is also the vice president and a director of the GuarantyTrust Company of Muskogee and a director of the Exchange National Bank of that place and the First National Bank of Oklahoma city, and he has made extensive investments in farm lands in the vicinity of Vinita.

At Tahlequah, this state, on the 23d of January, 1895, Mr. Samuel was united in marriage to Miss Florence McSpadden, a daughter of James W. and Anna (Thompson) McSpadden, the latter a member of a prominent Cherokee family of Oklahoma. The father was one of the leading business men of Tahlequah, where he engaged in merchandising and milling, and he was also prominent in church and civic affairs. He passed away at that city in 1915, having long survived the mother, whose demise had occurred in 1891. Mr. and Mrs. Samuel have become the parents of a daughter, Maurine, a graduate of Lenox Hall at St. Louis, Missouri.

The family are members of the Methodist Episcopal church, South, and Mr. Samuel supports the platform and candidates of the democratic party. He is not neglectful of the duties of citizenship and as a member of the council of Vinita did everything in his power to promote the welfare and prosperity of his town. During the World war he rendered effective service to his country, serving as chairman of the committee which had charge of the promotion of all Liberty Loans and other drives in Craig county.

Vinita was the first town in the tenth federal reserve district to go over the top for the Fourth Loan and Mr. Samuel’s capable work won recognition from the government, a ship being named in his honor. He is prominent in Masonry, belonging to Vinita Lodge, No. 5, F. & A. M.; to Indian Consistory, No. 2, A. & A. S.R. of McAlester; and to Bedouin Temple of the Mystic Shrine at Muskogee. He is an active member and was the first president of the Hillcrest Country Club of Vinita and for recreation he turns to golf, bring regarded as one of the best players in northeastern Oklahoma. In business affairs he manifests the forcefulness, keen discrimination and executive ability which make him one of the chief factors in the promotion of the financial interests of the state. Diligence and determination have constituted the foundation upon which he has erected the superstructure of success and as the architect of his own fortunes he has builded wisely and well, while at the same time his labors ‘have been effective force in the promotion of public progress and prosperity.

History of Muskogee and Northeastern Oklahoma Book Vol III. 1922

Biography provided by by Pat Short