Friday, February 6, 2009

Lee Cruce - Crittenden County Native and Oklahoma Governor

Every county has at least one famous son or daughter. One of the most illustrious natives of Crittenden County, Kentucky was Lee Cruce, who was a son of James W. and Jane (Hill) Cruce, and who served as governor of Oklahoma from 1911-1915.

According to an article which appeared in the 8 July 1911 issue of The Grand Forks Daily Herald (as seen at, Lee Cruce was born in Marion 8 July 1863. “The death of his father threw him upon his own resources at an early age and it was by hard work that he was able to obtain an education. He studied law during one year at Vanderbilt University and in 1888 began the practice of his chosen profession. Three years later he removed to Oklahoma, locating at Ardmore. In 1901, he abandoned the legal profession to engage in the banking business. About the same time he began to take an active interest in political affairs, and in 1910 he was nominated and elected governor of Oklahoma on the democratic ticket. In 1893 Governor Cruce was married to Miss Chickie Le Flore, a young Indian woman.”

The Crittenden County newspapers recorded Lee Cruce’s move to what was then Indian Territory. In the 11 September 1890 news of the Crayneville (Crayne) neighborhood, it was reported that “Our friend Lee Cruce is arranging his affairs preparatory to going west.” The 15 January 1891 issue, under a headline of Off for the West, it was stated that “Lee Cruce and R.M. Moore left for the West to grow up with the country and make their fortunes. Mr. Cruce will enter the law office of his brother, A.C. Cruce at Ardmore, Indian Territory, and Mr. Moore will continue in the practice of law in the same country.”

During the law illness of his mother, Lee Cruce was telegraphed to return to Crittenden County, but she had died by the time he arrived in Kentucky. This was reported in the 22 October 1891 issue of the newspaper. In June of the following year, Cruce returned to Kentucky for a long visit. The visits to Kentucky became less frequent as time went by and as other members of his family moved to Oklahoma.

More information on Lee Cruce can be found Here

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