Lawmen & Outlaws
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||Photo & Bio
Walter B. Brunson
Submitted by: Linda Hunt Hamlett
Photo & bio courtesy Linda Hunt Hamlett - granddaughter of W. B. Brunson
W. B. Brunson, Chief of Police
Walter Blaine Brunson was born June 20, 1884 in Jay County, Indiana to David J. Brunson and Lydia Rigby Brunson. Walter also called Walt or W. B. was married in Portland or Bryant Indiana on November 9, 1907 to Dorothy Susanna(h) Baker who was born May 12, 1887 in Franklin Co. Ohio. At the time of their marriage he listed his occupation as an oil pumper and Dorothy also called Dot was a farmer-girl housekeeper. The marriage record is recorded in Portland, Jay County, Indiana.
At the time he married when he was 23 Waltís father had been dead for 4 years having died on June 9, 1903. His mother Lydia age 43 resided in Jay County, Indiana with his 2 brothers, 1 older and 1 younger, and 2 younger sisters, a 3rd sister having died in 1901 at age 18.
W. B. and Dot were living in Robinson, Illinois where their first child Wilma Pauline Brunson was born on May 22, 1908.
By Nov. 8, 1908 Walt was in Glenn Pool, Tulsa County, OK where the famous Glenn Pool Oil Strike was made on Nov. 22, 1905. This oil discovery ushered in a giant new reserve of oil and natural gas . Within 2 years of Ida Glenn well No1 being drilled there were 500 oil wells in the immediate area. Eventually 5,000 wells were drilled in the Glenn Pool oil field alone.
Walter Brunson and some other family members came to the Tulsa, Glenpool, Kiefer OK areas to work in the booming Oil Fields. I do not know what influenced W. B. Brunson to come to OK at this time, but each of the oil wells drilled required the building of a wooden oil derrick which is the line of work he did. Also history records that the city of Tulsa had sent a oil special Booster Train back east to Chicago, Cincinnati, Baltimore and Washington in 1908 to proclaim Tulsaís attributes, many jobs and livable conditions. Oklahoma had just become a State on Nov. 16, 1907 and the population of the city of Tulsa was now 7,300 people.
My mother has told me that her father W. B. Brunson worked as a RIG BUILDER in the oilfields in the areas surrounding Tulsa. I believe they lived in this area until about 1919. He had pictures of oil boarding houses, the first oil well at Fairfax, OK and with a group of men who were Rig Builders shown building the wooden oil derricks of that early oil boom era. W. B. was a rig builder foremen who would go into the Tulsa Hotel lobbies to hire crew members to go out on the job.
By April 5, 1909 Dorothy and Pauline now just ten and 1/2 months old were living in Tulsa at 434 North Boston with Walter Brunson. The young Brunson family had left the home area of their youth in Ohio, Indiana and Illinois to join the growth of the early Oklahoma oil boom in Glenn Pool and settled in the growing town of Tulsa, Oklahoma.
During the years that Walt and Dot lived in Tulsa, OK their family grew with the addition of 2 more daughters. Thelma Pearl Brunson was born on April 6, 1910 in Robinson Illinois, Crawford County. Apparently Dot traveled to her parents home for the birth of her 2nd child so she would have help with the two year old Pauline and perhaps they had more confidence in the Dr. in their old home town. In Nov. 1912 the Brunson family lived at 1105 East 2nd St., Tulsa, OK and Walt and Dotís 3rd daughter Marjorie June Brunson was born on June 17, 1912 in Tulsa, OK. In 1914 and 1915 the family lived at 402 South Madison in Tulsa.
In 1919 school records show Pauline in 4th grade, Pearl in 3rd and Marjorie in 1st grade in Athens, Calhoun County, Michigan. The family moved back to Athens, Michigan where Dotís father and mother Howard Baker and Sarah Edgington Baker had a farm. For a period of time between 1919 to 1923 Walt went to Tampico Mexico to work in an oil field there, leaving his wife and children living with her parents on their farm.
By 1923 Walt and Dot with their 3 girls, Pauline, Pearl and Marjorie were living at 504 G. Street, in Perry, Oklahoma. Walt did carpenter work in Perry and the surrounding area.
In 1931 Walter Blaine Brunson was the Chief of Police at Perry, Noble County, Oklahoma . There were three officers with the Perry Police Department with Walter Brunson at this time. I do not know if he was an officer prior to being Chief or how long he worked with law enforcement. A niece of his who is still living recalls him being Chief of Police and her friends thinking she could sneak into a place to buy bootleg liquor and not get into trouble because her Uncle Walt was the Chief of Police. When she told me this story, I said knowing my grandfather Brunson, I think she would have gotten into a lot more trouble if he had caught her doing this.
The W. B. Brunson family lived at 504 G. St. in 1923, 1210 E. St. in 1924, 1019 G. Street in 1925 , 1210 Elm St. in 1931 and 110l Ivanhoe St. in 1947 while in Perry, OK. Walt lived at 1101 Ivanhoe until his death on October 12, 1960. After his working with the Perry Police Department Walter made his living as a carpenter. He worked in Perry and many surrounding areas. In the 1950ís Walt worked on the construction of the Lutheran Church in Perry.
Waltís wife, Dorothy continued to live at 1101 Ivanhoe St., Perry until her death on June 18, 1974. They were both members of the First Baptist Church in Perry for most of the time they lived in Perry. They are buried in the Rose Hill Cemetery at Perry.
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