James A. LeForce

Having by good management & judicious investment acquired a goodly share of this world’s goods, James A. LeForce settled in Vinita, where he is employing his time as a real estate dealer.  He has resided in the country tributary to this city for a quarter of a century, & has achieved his financial success largely as a farmer & a stockman.  A son of John B. LeForce, he was born, December 26, 1860, in Whitley county, Kentucky.  His great-grandfather, the founder of the LeForce family on American soil, was a Frenchman, & on coming to the United States located in Tennessee.  His son, Raney LeForce, the next in line of descent, reared his family in Kentucky, but spent his last years in Westplains, Missouri.

John B. LeForce, born in Whitley county, Kentucky, in 1840, left that state at the beginning of the Civil war, journeying with his family in an ox cart to Indiana.  Leaving his family at Mitchell, that state, secure from the existing political conditions, he enlisted in the Union army & served in Wilder’s Brigade until the cessation of hostilities, escaping wounds & capture.  While in the army he sent every dollar of his wages to his wife, & when he returned she had it all safely cared for, & it proved a nest egg for beginning life under the new conditions.  Leaving Indiana in 1873, he spent ten years with his family in Westplains, Missouri, & then migrated with his wife & children to the Cherokee country, where he successfully engaged in the cattle business.  He now owns several bodies of land in Craig county, & is a citizen of value, as a stanch Republican never shirking the responsibilities of political life.

John B. LeForce married Rachel A. Blankenship, who was born in Cumberland Gap, Kentucky, of Irish stock, being a daughter of Elijah Blankenship.  The children born of their union are as follows: James A., the special subject of this brief sketch; Mary E., wife of Charles A. Banzet, of Edna, Kansas; John S., a successful stockman of Craig county; Sarah V., wife of Beecher Chamberlain, of Craig county; Clarence W., a farmer & cattleman of the same county; Clara May, wife of Russell Hunt; & Erastus E., engaged in the cattle business in Craig county.

Because of his youthful environments James A. LeForce received but limited educational advantages, & can well be termed a “self-made man” in every essential.  During his active career he has practically demonstrated his ability to meet his fellows on equal terms & conditions & drive a deal in favor of his own interests.  On attaining man’s estate, Mr. LeForce engaged in farming & cattle dealing, becoming one of the most extensive growers & shippers of Craig county.  When he had acquired a sufficient sum to ensure his independence & the education of his children he resigned the active management of his landed properties & moved with his family to Vinita, where, for the sake of something to take up his leisure time, he has since been profitably engaged in the real estate business.  The farm land of Mr. LeForce lies largely six miles south of Centralia, a thousand acres in one body, & is within the oil territory of Oklahoma.  After coming to Vinita he built his commodious residence at the corner of Delaware & South Brewster streets, & he is now one of the stockholders of the Farmers’ Savings Bank of Vinita, & until 1909 was its vice president.

In September, 1893, Mr. LeForce married Fannie M. Keys, a Cherokee Indian, who was born, in 1863, near Tahlequah, a daughter of Monroe Keys, the first missionary to come into the Cherokee Nation & a kinsman of Sequoyah, the author of the Indian alphabet.  Mrs. LeForce was educated at Northfield, being one of twenty five Cherokee girls chosen by the Moody interests to be educated in his famous institution.  After finishing school, she taught for a while among her people, doing a part of her educational work in the Cherokee National Female Seminary.  The union of Mr. & Mrs. LeForce has been blessed by the birth of five children, namely: Flossie M., James Lowry, Sarah Lettie, Rachel A. & Charles William.  These children are one-sixteenth Cherokee.  In Indian politics Mr. LeForce allied himself with the National party, & when Federal party lines were drawn became a Republican.

Bio courtesy A History of the State of Oklahoma Volume 2, by Luther B. Hill.

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