Vol. 3, p. 1199-1120
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ROMAINE W. 'DARB' HOSLEY
On May 10, 1908, death removed from the circle of his family, friends and associates in Washington County, one of the most forceful figures known in the early days of the cattle industry of old Indian Territory and in the business enterprise which in later years has transformed the wilderness into stock ranches, agricultural farms and centers of city and industrial life. Romaine W. Hosley left a permanent impress upon that community known as Ramona in Washington County. By reason of his success in business he was in a position to exert a large influence in local affairs, and his memory deserves to be kept green in the community which represented his home for a number of years. He spent most of his life either in Kansas or in Oklahoma. He was born at Antioch in Lake County, Illinois, September 13, 1847, a son of Columbus and Ruth (BRIGGS) Hosley. His parents were born and married in New York State, and were early settlers in that district of Illinois north of Chicago, where the father became a farmer. A few years after the war he moved to Kansas, and was likewise an early settler in Chautauqua County of that state, locating near Niotaze, where he died. The mother passed away at the home of her son, Austin, at Nowata, Oklahoma. The four children were: Austin, who died at Nowata, Oklahoma; George, who died in Lake County, Illinois; Elias, who went to the war with an Illinois regiment and was killed in the battle of Shiloh; Eleanor, now the only surviving child and the wife of T. P. WASKEY of Pittsburg, Kansas; and Romaine W.
During the first twenty-one years of his life Romaine W. Hosley gained an education from the country schools of Lake County, Illinois, and also went from that locality to serve as a soldier in the War of the Rebellion. He enlisted at the age of seventeen in Company H of the One Hundred and Fifty-third Illinois Volunteer Infantry, became a sergeant of his company, and was in the army during the last year of the war. About 1868 he accompanied his parents on their removal to Southern Kansas, and continued to live with them on the farm until he was twenty-five years old.
At Elk City, Kansas, in 1872, Mr. Hosley married Miss Cynthia BRASHEAR. Mrs. Hosley, who since the death of her husband has continued to reside at Ramona, was born at Kirksville, Missouri, September 11, 1848. After his marriage Mr. Hosley took up farming on a farm of his own in Kansas, and was also interested in stock dealing. In 1874, having sold his interests in the Sunflower State he removed to the Cherokee Nation of Indian Territory, and his interests and his home were in that section of Indian Territory from the time until his death, nearly thirty-five years later.
The late Mr. Hosley was not only successful in his business operations but enjoyed the high esteem and respect of his community. How much he was appreciated will be better understood from the following quotation from the Ramona Herald, in an editorial published at the time of his death; "More than thirty years ago R. W. Hosley or 'Darb' as his many friends knew him, came to the Indian Territory. He engaged in the stock business for many years and his cattle ranged from Texas to the Kansas line. He accumulated wealth in the stock business before the days of railroads in the Territory. In years following and before the railroads were constructed through the new country, he confined his business operations to this section, and both Indians and white people all over the northern part of the old Indian Territory came to know 'Darb' Hosley and remember him as a man who dealt fairly by everybody and one whose word was as good as his written promise. Eight years ago (1900) he came to Ramona, which was then being built upon a wheatfield. In this place he engaged in the general merchandise business, and in 1904 established a hardware and furniture store, which was afterwards continued by John C. ASAHL. Mr. Hosley was enterprising and progressive and never let an opportunity pass to do a part in building his home town. The big Hotel Hosley was erected by him a few years ago at a time when the future of the town was by no means assured. He engaged in real estate business and was connected with several business enterprises during his residence in Ramona." Much might be said about his enterprise and progressiveness as a business man at Ramona from the beginning of that village. He did much to establish the town permanently during the oil boom, and not only constructed the hotel which bears his name but also lent his influence and means to various other enterprises which served to place the town securely on the map. From 1905 until his death he was a member of the Ramona Real Estate and Insurance Agency.
His friends remember in addition to his business activities his kindly nature. He was especially kind hearted and gentle to those in sickness and distress, and it is said that in the early days of his pioneer life he would ride for miles to help the sick. In politics he was a republican and always interested in public affairs, especially of a local nature, and was a member of the Grand Army of the Republic. The year before he married he spent hunting buffalo on the western plains before those animals were finally exterminated and another of his early experiences was his connection with a cattle outfit operating in the old Cherokee Strip during the early '80s.
Transcribed by: Earline Sparks Barger, October 9, 1998