PORTRAIT AND BIOGRAPHICAL RECORD OF OKLAHOMA
Commemorating The Achievements Of Citizens Who Have Contributed To The Progress Of Oklahoma And The Development Of Its Resources Chapman Publishing Co. Chicago 1901 pg. 272
JAMES D. FALKENSTEIN
Not unlike the hero of Falkenstein, the subject of this article has crowded into the span of his years much of the adventurous and romantic, though in place of feudal castles and hair-breath escapes from pursuing enemies have been substituted for the modern Falkenstein the broad weep and freedom of the western plains and the wild and unhampered existence of the old-time frontiersman and cowboy.
Born in that part of Europe which is now Prussia, but which was at the time a valued possession of France, Mr. Falkenstein is a son of S. A. Falkenstein (or C. A. Falkenstein), who came to the United States in 1849 and settled in Texas, where he lived unto 1870, when he returned to Europe. James D. passed his childhood on the ranch in Texas, and when fifteen years of age entered upon an open-air existence on the plains, and for about ten years traveled from the Rio Grande to Nebraska, driving cattle on the trail. His work was not without danger, for the Indians still considered themselves masters of all they surveyed, and the pale face was to them an intrusion and menace.
Following his cattle experience, Mr. Falkenstein freighted for five years between Hays City and Camp Supply at Dodge City and Fort Elliott, as well as over the entire southwest country. When the business was dull he made extra money as a railroad constructor, and in this capacity built the grades on the Santa Fe, Missouri Pacific, and Mexican Central, on the latter of which he constructed several hundred miles of road. When the railroad work slacked up the freighting enterprise was resumed on a large scale, and the long train wound its way over the prairies, composed of about eighteen wagons hauled by mule teams.
In 1887 Mr. Falkenstein somewhat changed his habits of life, and went to Colorado and engaged in mining and building. He superintended the construction of twenty-five miles of a ditch for the Emmett Canal and Reservoir Company. In July of 1889 he came to Oklahoma and for $500 purchased the claim upon which he has since lived. The next year, having secured his claim at the United States land office, he started with his grading outfit for Simmesport, La., (Avoyelles Parish) and took a contract for building the levees along the river for six miles. Returning to Oklahoma he at once began the improvement of his claim, and among other things set out a fine orchard.
Not having sufficient land to adequately carry on farming and stock-raising, Mr. Falkenstein purchased the northwest quarter of section 14, Center township, Kingfisher County, and at the present time also leases another section, the whole being devoted to wheat, corn, oats and stock. Of this, five hundred acres are used for farming. In 1899 was erected a commodious house, and the other buildings and appurtenances are on an equally substantial and reliable scale. A specialty is made of fine horses, and much care and attention given to their best development.
For the first six years of his existence in the territory the erstwhile frontiersman kept exclusive bachelor quarters in a dugout, which lonely condition was relieved by his marriage, in August of 1896, to Carrie M. DAVID, a native of Hennessey, Okla. To Mr. And Mrs. Falkenstein have been born two children, Mary May and James D., Jr.
To Mr. Falkenstein is due large credit for his meritorious rise in Oklahoma, which had little foundation save his own enterprise and ability. He is variously interested in the different enterprise instituted for the well-being of the community and has borne a part in their organization and perpetuation. Fraternally he is associated with the Masonic lodge at Hennessey.