William Renfrow

Artist's Biography

Oklahoma and the Cherokee Strip with map.

Stone engraving, 1893.
Pamphlet 6 7/8 x 4" (17.5 x 10 cm). Map 9 1/2 x 11 3/8" (24.3 x 29 cm).
Generally good condition. Map has a few small splits along fold lines. Pamphlet title missing lower right corner. No text missing.
LOCATION: New York City

Inventory Number: 95852
Price: $375.00
Publisher : Printed in Chicago by Poole Brothers.
16 page pamphlet plus folding map. Prepared for the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago; Prepared under the direction of Hon. W.C. Renfrow, governor of Oklahoma. "This book is prepared under the authority and by the direction of the Governor of the Territory for the purpose of giving specific and reliable information to those who are looking with interest towards the new territory and large tracts of land that are soon to be added to it... All eyes are again turned to Oklahoma in anticipation of the next opening. This time the famous Cherokee Outlet, or Strip." It then goes on to describe the various reservations that were about to be taken. A biography of W. C Renfrow from the Oklahoma Historical Society website:

William Cary Renfrow, Oklahoma Territory's fourth governor, was a native of North Carolina. On March 15, 1845, in Smithville, Renfrow was born into the farm family of Perry Renfrow and Lucinda Atkinson. While the younger Renfrow was attending school, the Civil War erupted, and the sixteen-year-old dropped his classes and enlisted. He served throughout the war as a sergeant in the Fiftieth North Carolina Infantry. At war's end he moved to Arkansas, settling in Russellville, entering the mercantile business, and in 1875 marrying Jennie B. York. The union produced a son and a daughter.
In 1889 Renfrow caught the scent of opportunity in a developing region, Oklahoma Territory. He moved to Norman, opened a livery stable, and became so successful that he was able to invest in a bank. Soon he was the majority owner of the Norman State Bank, and he also invested in real estate in Norman.
A Democrat, Renfrow became involved in territorial politics. He was a great admirer of Grover Cleveland, suggesting in 1890 that the county surrounding Norman be named for him. After serving as a delegate to the Democratic National Convention that nominated Grover Cleveland as its presidential candidate, Renfrow was named by President Cleveland to the Oklahoma territorial governorship, not because of his service to Cleveland, but because the president wanted an Oklahoma resident and businessman to run the territory. Renfrow took the oath of office on May 7, 1893.
Renfrow's term as governor lasted longer than any of his predecessors'. This was due primarily to his extensive business management experience and his refusal to fight openly with his political opponents and critics. He preferred to devote his energy to campaigning for Oklahoma statehood and expanding the settlement of Oklahoma Territory. The opening of the Cherokee Outlet on September 16, 1893, was the major event occurring during his administration. He also pressed for the opening of the Kickapoo lands, an event that finally came about in 1895.