Thomas Henry Whaley
Submitted by: Glenda Whaley Ryans
Thomas Henry Whaley was a pioneer police officer and resident of Hughes County since 1886. He first came to Indian Territory with his parents in 1871, then in 1886, he came to stay. He settled at what is now Atwood, Okla, a mile from it's present location, with two other families, related to his wife, Nancy Ellen ( Lucas) Whaley. Thomas was selected as a Special Deputy Marshal, serving south of the Canadian River at Atwood and Calvin. He arrested the first man to be executed in the new Indian Territory, one Charlie Barrett, who was executed along with a woman before 1900.
In 1912, he was named a Deputy U.S. Marshal and served until 1920, when he became Chief of Police of Holdenville., Ok. until 1929.
He then served at Shawnee for two years, then came back to Holdenville and served as Night Desk Sergeant. In 1937 he became President of the City Council and served until his death in April,1939. He died of Pneumonia at the age of 76 yrs.
The Holdenville Democrat
September 21, 1917
DEPUTY TOM WHALEY REACHES HIGH WATERS
As the smoke of the recent draft riots is clearing away, the U.S. Marshal's office is beginning to see just who was the real heroes of the government in putting down the resisters in such quick fashion and bringing to justice hundreds of men who, if they had their way a few days longer, would have overthrown government of all kinds in Eastern Oklahoma and introduces a reign of terror such has never before been heard of in this country.
"And the man who appears in the light of a hero of the highest quality is T.H. Whaley, U.S. Deputy Marshall at Holdenville, in the very heart of the disturbance".
"Deputy Whaley had been out on a long hunt for moonshiners the day before the riot broke and had smashed one of the largest stills that had ever been discovered by Federal Officers for several years. Worn and weary, he was returning to Holdenville looking forward to rest----But it wasn't to be that way. The word came that the I.W.W., W.C.U., and socialists organizations of Hughes County, Seminole and Pontotoc counties had started open rebellion and resistance to the government of The United States and had armed themselves to the teeth to resist the workings of the draft laws of the government.
"Whaley received a wire from the local marshall to investigate at once and to do all in his power to prevent the situation from reaching serious proportions, while the officers in other places were being there to assist him. He didn't get his rest.
He went to his office, got more guns and with a few deputies sworn in on short notice and the county officers, he plunged in to the work of bringing the resisiters to justice. Arrests began at once after several hand to hand conflicts, several men were shot, and one killed. And Whaley went on with his work, sending in reports immediately to Marshall Enloe, that he was doing his best to handle the situation and would give his life if necessary to enforce the laws of the United States".
For five days and nights Whaley never undressed, never lay down for sleeping, ate very little---in fact, did nothing but drive on after those who were opposing those who were opposing the government in it's hour of need. He was ably assisted by county officers and deputies, some of whom were equally alert and on the job.
"The result was that the riots were put down, and over 300 men arrested by the personal energy of Whaley alone. Homer Spence, recognized by Federal officers as the leader of the leaders of the trouble, was arrested by Whaley and placed in secure confinement.
Other leaders were caught, the arrest of whom in many instances required the shrewdness of the cleverest of Detectives and the energy of the strongest officer of the law. Whaley combined both and is now getting credit for being one of the most active officers of the Government in the last quarter.
"These facts were brought this week at the U.S.Marshall's office when the papers on the riots were being examined to figure the fees that the deputies engaged in the work of crushing the rebellion earned.
"Whaley will earn for the last quarter nearly $2,000 in fees, it was said. He may possibly draw more, but that much at least is coming to him, which is believed to be a record for the last year in the U.S. Marshall's service to the United States. Many other deputies in different parts of the country, especially in the district of southern New York City, have been earning large amounts of fees, but so far Whaley has them all beaten and will go down in the records of the draft resistance as one of the most active of Federal Officers.
"W.R. Highnight, U.S.Deputy at Ardmore, is also among the leading deputies in putting down the resisters. There are others who have been fighting for Uncle Sam in eastern Oklahoma, and all of them united are keeping the U.S. Marshall's office leading in the
fight for the title of the best U.S. Marshall's office in the U.S.
This article is from the book...MAKERS OF LAW IN OKLAHOMA..pg.264
WHALEY, TOM. Holdenville. Dem. Occ., Chief of Police.
B. Cooke Co, Texas March 31, 1863
Edu: Subscription School; Indian Territory
Wife, Nannie ( Nancy Ellen Lucas), Ella Wilbanks, deceased
Children: Six sons: Orbe Webster, Ft. Smith, Ark.* Harve, Spaulding, Tom, Jr,
Paul, William, Frank of Holdenville, Okla.
Two daughters: Mrs Aude Dailey of Holdenville, Mrs. Corinne Shiflett, Dallas, Tx.
Business Conn. Owner of farms and real estate property.
Banking Conn: Farmers National.
Associates: Judge Crump, Sam Turner, B.R. Templeton, (police) Judge Owen H. Rice,
Tom Anglin, W.W. Pryor, Tom D. McKeown, Orel Busby.
Church: Nazarene; Steward
The first church in Hughes County ( Methodist) was organized in his home,
and he hewed logs to build the first building for church in 1888.
Offices: U.S. Marshal under Woodrow Wilson 8 yrs.
Chief of Police at Holdenville since 1920. Deputy sheriff since statehood.
He was a police officer for 25 yrs.
Remarks: He came to Oklahoma in 1871, lived in Chickasaw Nation,
Indian Territory and at Holdenville since 1913.
During World War was member of National Guard.
WHALEY RECALLS INTERESTING HISTORY OF HUGHES COUNTY'S
ERECTED AT ATWOOD.
The first church built in what is now Eastern Oklahoma ministered to both the living and the dead, according to Tom H. Whaley, builder of it and pioneer settler in the community in which it was erected.
The church building, built in 1886, in what is now Atwood, Hughes County, soon became known as the community meeting place for nearly every kind of service, but, it was to fulfill perhaps the most unusual service that any church building has performed. Whaley, pioneer peace officer of Holdenville, declares that on several occasions he had to remove the loft from the little structure to secure lumber for building coffins for the deceased persons of the community then known as Oak Grove, later Newburg.
"We had to get the lumber to build coffins, so we would remove the loft and then the next time a wagon would be going to the nearest railroad we would send for enough 1 X 12 lumber to build back the loft."
"I can't remember the number of times we tore that loft down, and built it back, but it was several times", the pioneer declared. "It was the only lumber for many miles around." Describing the little building, Whaley said it was 20 x 20 feet, and constructed of logs. "I hewed the logs for it, and never used a wagon to do any hauling, so closely together were the trees." Whaley said.
Whaley came to that part of Indian Territory from Thackerville, Chickasaw Nation, 40 miles south of Ardmore in 1884. He was the first person to settle there, bringing his family with him. His oldest son, Orb Whaley, was born on the banks of the Canadian
River near what is now Atwood.
The starting of the church, of the Methodist faith, in 1886, resulted from a preacher traveling through one day. He approached Whaley about organizing a congregation. "What's the chance to start a church here?" inquired the preacher. "Finest in the world" Whaley emphatically replied. "What about preaching tonight, can you get a congregation together?" the minister asked. "Yes, in about five minutes." Whaley answered. "There were three families living near each other, and I knew all of us could be present." he said. "A congregation was organized on the porch of Whaley's brother-in-laws house."
From there the church grew, the minister preaching once a month, but leaving literature for members to study between visits. The little log church has long since gone to decay, not a trace of it remaining. Whaley's family was followed to the new community the next year by 11 families from Thackerville.
Whaley raised corn the year he was there to furnish the newcomers with this commodity. His was the first farm for many miles around.
McAlester, a small settlement consisting of two stores, owned by J.J. McAlester and J.J. Brooks was the nearest trading place.
Muscogee was also only a small town at that time. The community founded by Whaley was one of the few between McAlester and Muscogee, and the only one with a church was the one Whaley built.
Tom Whaley had served as a peace officer almost constantly since he became a deputy United States Marshall. He was long
known as a wild horseman, or Anti-Horse Thief Association member, and has tracked many horse thieves as far as MIssouri. He was former Police Chief of Holdenville, now serving as night desk sergeant. Speaking of the wild country in which he and his family settled, Whaley said, " You did not need a gun to kill turkeys, you could knock them in the head with a stick, they were so thick."
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