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Oklahoma’s George Bailey

Oklahoma pioneer Robert M. McFarlin

Oklahoma pioneer Robert M. McFarlin, whose grand legacy to the state includes deeds large and small, famous as well as little known.


A Texan by birth like so many who built early Oklahoma, Robert Martin McFarlin moved to Norman with his young family in 1892 in search of better economic prospects in the Territory. Enduring the financial calamity of the Panic of 1893, the loss of an infant son to typhoid, and a scorching drought, he moved his cattle operation east to Holdenville, then bought land within the reaches of the great Glenn Pool oil strike of 1905. Partnering with son-in-law James Chapman—another Ovilla, Texas native—he commenced drilling operations with a rare blend of boldness and circumspection, and earned a financial fortune.