MARTIN MIMS FULKERSON. Standing prominent among the foremost citizens of Alva is Martin M. Fulkerson, president of the Alva National Bank, who is distinguished as a man of more than ordinary ability, and one eminently to be trusted. He is interested in the agricultural, industrial and commercial growth of his adopted state, and is a recognized authority on all matters of finance, in which he has had a practical experience, rendering his opinions of much value. A son of the late Albert C. Fulkerson, he was born in Catlettsburg, Boyd county, Kentucky, June 27, 1872, coming on both sides of the house from honored ancestry, his family record containing the names of many families of prominence in both Virginia and Kentucky, among them being found those of Johns, Loars, Martins, Mims, and Fulkersons. The history of the Fulkerson is known as far back as three hundred years, it having originated, probably, in England, the founder of the American family of that name having emigrated from that country to Virginia in 1673. He and his descendants were subsequently active in the upbuilding of Virginia, living there for several generations. From there, in 1800, one of his descendants, Martin Fulkerson, the great grandfather of Martin M., migrated to Kentucky, becoming a pioneer of prominence, and a leading citizen of that state. His son, Martin, Mr. Fulkerson's grandfather, although a southern man, and a large plantation and slave owner, espoused the Northern cause, and served as an officer in the Union Army, while his maternal grandfather was a captain in the Confederate Army. General Mims of Virginia, and Col. David Mims, of Kentucky, were both relatives of Mr. Fulkerson, being brothers of his grandmother. The Fulkersons have been for many years active in professional and financial circles, being either lawyers or bankers, Col. William Fulkerson, a brother of Albert C., having been one of the most noted lawyers of eastem Kentucky, while Col. Ahearn Fulkerson, another uncle, was a lawyer in Tennessee,
and for many years represented that state in Congress.
Albert C. Fulkerson was educated for the bar, and in 1875 removed with his family from Kentucky to Wayne county, West Virginia, where he engaged in the practice of his profession, and was also interested in the raising of fine stock. Entering the political arena, he became an active member of the Democratic party, served three terms in the State Legislature, being Speaker of the House two terms, and while there served on the Governor's staff, during which time he had charge of the state troops during the Pittsburg and Wheeling riots, securing in that position the title of colonel. He was subsequently nominated for Congress, but on account of a serious throat trouble was forced to withdraw his name. For the benefit of his health, he then removed with his family to Kansas, and in that genial clime recovered much of his original vigor. He resumed his legal work, and also embarked in the newspaper business, becoming an allround Kansas boomer, and serving as judge of his district. Removing, in 1890, to Paola, Kansas, in order to take advantage of its school privileges, he became attorney for the Missouri Pacific Railroad Company, and served in that capacity from 1886 until his death, in 1902. He was a member of the Masonic fraternity, an Odd Fellow, and belonged to the Congregational church. The maiden name of his wife was Nannie Smith.
Laying the foundation for his future education in the common schools of West Virginia and Kansas, Martin M. Fulkerson subsequently attended the high school in Paola, Kansas, one of the oldest and best educational institutions of that state, and was there graduated with the class of 1892. He afterwards took up a systematic course in literature and law with his father, from whom he doubtless inherited his love for study and research, and has since continued his literary work, in the pursuit collecting many books of value, his library being to-day one of the best and most complete of any in Oklahoma. As his father in his search .for health had found it necessary to live much in the open, Martin M. spent a large part of his earlier life in the country, where he learned to love the labor incidental to farming and stock-raising. When, therefore, in the eighties, his parents removed to the newer country of western Kansas, he ran wild with the cow boys, in the free life of the prairies gaining health, and strength to successfully cope with future struggles. During his school vacations, Mr. Fulkerson worked in dry goods and grocery stores, and on finishing school accepted the first opening, a clerkship in the large double queensware and grocery store, at Paola, where he, had charge of the grocery department until the fall of 1892. Accepting then the offered position of bookkeeper in the People's National Bank at Paola, Kansas, Mr. Fulkerson retained it until promoted, three years later, to teller. Subsequently, in 1897, he received another promotion, being made assistant cashier, and made one of the two active managers of one of the strongest banking institutions in eastern Kansas, serving with ability and fidelity in this capacity until the spring of 1902. Being then seized with the Oklahoma fever, Mr. Fulkerson traveled through the newly opened territory, but not being entirely satisfied with anything that he found returned to Kansas, and located at Caldwell, just two miles across the line, where he organized the Caldwell National Bank, of which he became managing officer, and later in the year he organized the Latham National Bank, at Latham, Kansas. In January, 1904, the looked for opportunity for Mr. Fulkerson to become in reality an Oklahoma citizen became evident, and he purchased the Alva National Bank, of which he has since been the managing officer, and its principal stockholder. He at once reorganized the bank, increased its capital, and has since been instrumental in enlarging its business. Its deposits have increased from $47,000 to $325,000, and today it has the largest capital, and is one of the best banks, of any in northwestern Oklahoma. Later in 1904, Mr. Fulkerson bought, and reorganized, the Capron State Bank, of Capron, Woods county, and the following year was made a stockholder in the Security State Bank of Mooreland, and a director of the First National Bank of Cherokee. Mr. Fulkerson's record as a banker is especially noteworthy, as when but thirty-one years of age he had the distinction of being president of two banks, vice-president of one, cashier of one, and a director of six. He is also identified with other enterprises, and after inducing the farmers of this vicinity to plant cotton organized the Alva Gin Company, and he is now serving as treasurer of the Oklahoma School Furniture Company, which owns the only furniture manufactory in the state.
In Kansas City, Missouri, December 30, 1903, Mr. Fulkerson married Sarah, daughter of Joseph E. Hirst, a prominent banker and capitalist of that city. A graduate of Mount Holyoke College, South Hadley, Massachusetts, she is a woman of culture and refinement, active in church work, and a leader in literary circles. Believing that a banker should not meddle with politics excepting as a faithful citizen to see that good, clean men are elected to office, Mr. Fulkerson has never accepted official public positions. In national affairs, he is a Republican, but in local matters is independent, supporting without fear or favor the best man and measures. For a number of years he has been identified with fraternal organizations, joining the Masons in 1893, and having since taken many degrees, being now a Master Mason, a Royal Arch Mason, a Knight Templar, and a Mystic Shriner. He also belongs to the Modern Woodmen of America. Religiously he is a member of the Presbyterian church, of which he is a trustee and the treasurer. For the past three or four years Mr. Fulkerson has been extensively interested in cattle ranching, with his partners handling a ranch containing about ten thousand acres. He likewise owns five quarter sections of land in this state, showing that he has faith in Oklahoma soil and climate, and has written and talked diversified farming ever since settling here.