Thursday, September 24, 2009

Azor Jefferson Henthorn

Azor Jefferson Henthorn


This sterling citizen of Oklahoma county has achieved more than a local reputation as a practical agriculturist and stock-raiser. Coming to this territory a few years ago, he has been closely associated with its upbuilding, and keenly watches its progress, with pride and with unswerving faith in the brilliant future before our people. As the proprietor and editor of the "Home, Field and Forum," which without question, is the leading journal devoted to the interests of farmers published in this territory, he is constantly adding to his laurels, and winning hosts of new friends. Though the paper was formerly published in Guthrie, the plant was removed to Oklahoma City by its present owner, and during the short period of three years that it has been in his possession, the circulation has been increased over eighteen thousand, a remarkable showing.

On the paternal side, Mr. Henthorn is of Scotch descent, his grandfather, Robert Henthorn, having been a native of the land of the thistle and heather. The parents of our subject were Amos and Elizabeth (Sharp) Henthorn, the former a native of Indiana and the latter of Pennsylvania. At a very early day Robert Henthorn went to the Hoosier state, where he was numbered among its founders. In 1844, when Iowa was an infant in civilization and development, Amos Henthorn cast in his lot with her few inhabitants and improved a homestead. When he had reared five sons and a daughter to maturity, he concluded to join the tide of immigration setting towards the great west, and in 1872 became a settler in Kansas. Though the great grasshopper plague was at it worst in that state during the early years of the family's residence there, they were not easily discouraged, and, so to speak, "weathered the gale," and ultimately reached a secure haven of success.

The birth of A.J. Henthorn occurred January 25, 1858, near Trenton, Iowa. His early years were spent at his birthplace in Iowa, whence, when in his sixteenth year, he removed to Kansas. About that time Wichita was one of the frontier towns, but was so unpromising a place that Mr. Henthorn declined an offer of a quarter-section of land (situated a mile and a half from the center of the village) in exchange for a team of mules, little dreaming that that very land would later sell for more than a million dollars. About twenty-two years ago he pre-empted a farm in Cowley county, Kans., and for the next five years devoted himself assiduously to its improvement. The prospects of the state were then extremely flattering, and, seeing a good opportunity for amassing a fortune more speedily, he went to the town of Burden, Kans., and embarked in the real-estate business. Continually making investments and buying and selling land extensively, he finally was worth between forty and fifty thousand dollars, but, like the breaking of a bubble, this wealth vanished by a sudden depreciation in property values and the subsequent panic in financial circles.

The brave spirit of his ancestors is not wanting in Mr. Henthorn, and, after carefully considering the situation, he resolved to locate in Oklahoma. Thoroughly investigating the country, he decided to settle in the vicinity of Oklahoma City, and this time fortune favored him, for though the claim which he chose, four miles west of the city, is very valuable valley land, no one contested his rights. He possessed small means with which to make needed improvements, but he diligently struggled along, doing as well as possible, and was ultimately rewarded with success.

He made a specialty of breeding thoroughbred Poland-China swine, and disposed of them to the enterprising farmers of this region. The $3,000 which he thus made, in the last year of his occupancy of that farm, he invested in four hundred acres of rich valley land, and, after making suitable improvements, has increased its value to its present rating of about $10,000. He also has loaned $10,000 at a fair interest, and recently sold part of his original homestead for $6,500.

Desiring to be nearer Oklahoma City, in order that his sons might have better educational advantages, and because of his business interests, he then bought a homestead near the city limits, and is making a model farm of the place. He is dealing largely in thoroughbred swine and Hereford cattle, and through his efforts the standard of the live stock being raised in the territory has been elevated.

The marriage of Mr. Henthorn and Miss D.C. Hennagir, daughter of Lorenzo Hennagir, a native of Canada, was celebrated in Iowa in 1878. Seven children were born to this sterling couple, namely: Miles J., James G., Samuel, Caton, Robert, Charles and Dewey. They are all at home, and are receiving excellent educations, thus being qualified for the duties of citizenship.
(Source: Portrait and Biographical Record of Oklahoma, Chapman Pub., 1910, p. 734-735)


About 1907, he began buying land for a ranch near Mustang, Oklahoma. DRL Okla Gen Soc Qtr; Vol 23 1978 #3; Oklahoma County Land Owners 1907; p. 147, Oklahoma Township, Sect 31, T12N R3W of Indian Meridian; Henthorn, A.J. and p. 149, Council Grove Township, Sect 4, T12N R4W; Henthorne, A.J.

By 1911, he owned 1400 acres. A prominent stockman, he exhibited his stock at various fairs throughout the country and he is well represented in the annals of the Oklahoma State Fair.


In 1910, he helped to organize the First State Bank (now the Fidelity National). He was the vice-president of this bank and was on the board of directors for many years.

Early in the 1920's he moved to his house on Pennsylvania Avenue and there his wife died, of cancer, in 1926.

For three years after the death of his wife he lived with his daughter Laura.

In 1929, at the age of 73, he was married to May Stone and he moved to 1701 N.W. 1st St.; Oklahoma City, OK and lived there until his death.

Newspaper articles from the Daily Oklahoman
  • 4 Mar 1934 - The City's First Big Dream
  • 17 Oct 1938 - Heart Disease Fatal to City Settler of '89
  • 1 Nov 1938 - Retired Farmer's Estate is $23,000
OKC Library Biographical Card Files

Henthorn, Azur Jefferson; born 25 Jan 1858, Trenton, Iowa; educated in public schools; came to Okla 1889; engaged in general farming and stock raising; resident of Oklahoma City; (Portrait and Biog Rec of Okla, 734); Married Miss D.C. Hennagir, daughter of Lorenzo Hennagir, native of Canada: 1878; had 7 children: Miles J,; James G.; Samuel; Caton; Robert; Charles; Dewey.

The City's First Big Dream

[Note: On 5 Sep 1889, a group in Oklahoma City, OK formed, the Oklahoma City Ditch and Water Power Co. and a subsidiary the Oklahoma City Light and Power Co to build an industrial canal similar to one in Arkansas City, KS. The following is an extract from an article about this project. REH]

A.J. Henthorn, on whose farm, west of Oklahoma City, the canal company's dam was located, lives at 1701 West First street, Oklahoma City. Henthorn was very familiar with the west half of the canal.

"During the winter of 1889, I supported my family on the farm selling several hundred dollars worth of dam timber to the company, says Henthorn. "In addition I received $75 for dam site privileges. Building of the canal provided work for hundreds of men and teams during the first winter in Oklahoma City. There was no other work, and there was no crop to speak of that year, owing to the fact that the settlers were not allowed to enter until too late in the season to plant much of a crop, even if they had the money."

Speaking of the gopher depredations, Henthorn says: "The dam site had an altitude 24 feet above the mouth of the canal, which was about six miles east of the dam. To transport the water from the dam across two miles of river bottom, without losing altitude, a grade was thrown up, just like a railroad grade, and the canal, 34 feet wide and eight feet deep, was dug in the top of the grade. The inside was timbered to prevent washing. Gophers dug holes in the base, and so much water leaked out, not enough reached the turbines, six miles east. The canal was flumed across the North Canadian river twice. The canal crossed the river the second time at the west end of West First street, almost exactly where the Mulligan's Gardens' bridge is built. Idea of getting to the high ground with the canal was to have the canal above flood waters and also to obviate building six miles of expensive grades."
(Source: Daily Oklahoman, March 4, 1934 (includes sketch of A.J. Henthorn - furnished by Bill Henthorn)

Retired Farmer's Estate Is $23,000

The estate of Azor J. Henthorne, retired farmer, who died October 16, [1938] was valued at approximately $23,000 in a petition for appointment of administrators filed in county court Monday. The petition asked that the widow, Mrs. May Henthorne, 1701 Northwest First street, and a son, Robert Henthorne, Mustang, be named joint administrators. Henthorne's estate included cash, stocks and real estate in Oklahoma City and Canadian, Roger Mills and Greer counties. Heirs were listed as Mrs. Henthorne, eight sons and a daughter.
(Source: The Daily Oklahoman, Tuesday, November 1, 1938 - furnished by Bill Henthorn)


Articles about the death of Azor Jefferson Henthorn appeared in The Daily Oklahoman, Oklahoma City, OK on the following dates: Monday 17 Oct 1938, p. 14; 18 Oct 1938, p. 12 (2 items); 21 Oct 1938, p. 17-18.

Email Dick Henthorn:
Posted: 24 Sep 2009
File: Azor.txt

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