History of Wiley Elijah Johnson and Virginia Lee 'Smith' Johnson
Submitted by Thomas Coleman Johnson (grandson)
Oklahoma City, OK
WILEY ELIJAH JOHNSON and VIRGINIA LEE 'SMITH' JOHNSON
WILEY ELIJAH JOHNSON, son of John Philip and Eliza Jane 'Reddick' Johnson, was born in Arkansas on May 10, 1862. On December 25, 1887 in Red River County, Texas he married Virginia Lee Smith, daughter of Coleman and Julia M. "Bankston" Smith. Virginia was born on April 23, 1867 in Red River County, Texas.
Wiley, along with his brother, Charlie, his father-in-law Coleman Smith, and three of Coleman's sons, all owned land along the of the Red River, in Garretts Bluff, Lamar County, Texas.
Wiley and Virginia had five children; Homer Coleman, born December 20, 1888; Malona born October 30, 1891; twins, John P., and Viola Loretta, born sometime between 1891 and 1901 and died very young. Around 1900 Wiley moved his family to the town of Antlers in Indian Territory (OK) where their youngest daughter, Myrtle May, was born on March 16, 1901.
In 1901 Wiley and two of Virginia's brothers, W. C. and T. H. Smith, along with several other prominent men, founded the Antlers Bank and Trust Company (See article below). Following statehood in 1907, Wiley served two terms as the Pushmataha County Recorder of Deeds. In the November 1910 election, Wiley, a Democrat, beat his Republican opponent by 203 votes. He was a carpenter and built several houses in Antlers, and was an active worker in the Odd Fellows Lodge, and the WOW (Woodmen of the World). The 1920 census lists him as a "meat cutter" owning his own shop in Antlers.
Wiley and Virginia were both faithful church members. Virginia was a Baptist and Wiley a Methodist. Virginia Lee died in Antlers, on August 11, 1917. Wiley Elijah died on October 10, 1934 in Warren, Arkansas, while visiting his daughter Myrtle Mae and her husband Clifton Watson. Wiley and Virginia are buried in the Odd Fellows Cemetery in Antlers, Pushmataha County, Oklahoma.
SOURCES: Texas and Oklahoma census records. Land, probate, and marriage, records in the court houses of Red River and Lamar County, Texas, and Pushmataha County, Oklahoma. Death records in Little Rock, Arkansas, grave markers in the IOOF cemetery, Antlers, OK, and newspaper archives located at the Oklahoma State Historical Society.
The following article is from "The Daily Chieftain", Wednesday, August 28, 1901, Vinita, Indian Territory
NEW TERRITORY BANK
Antlers Bank and Trust Company
Incorporated by Prominent Men.
Antlers, I. T., August 27 ~ Incorporation papers were today forwarded to the clerk of the court of appeals at South McAlester, I. T., for the formation of the Antlers Bank and Trust Company, with $25,000 authorized capital. The incorporators are: Hon. A. A. Leseuer, former secretary of state of Missouri; Hon. B. F. Hackett, U. S. Marshal; Thos. B. Latham, U. S. Commissioner; Judge John Cocke, Messrs. C. E. Walker, J. F. Moyer, W. E. Johnson, Wm. Fletcher, W. P. Stewart, E. P. Nance, W. E. Ward, A. B. Crawford, W. C. Smith, W. P. Cochran, L. Silverman, S. K. Newcomb, R. L. Pierce, S. A. Stephens and T. H. Smith.
In the preceding article W. E. Johnson is Wiley Elijah Johnson; A.B. Crawford is the husband of Viola "Smith" Crawford, sister of Virginia Lee "Smith" Johnson; W. C. and T. H. Smith, are brothers of Virginia.
Article is from The Daily Chieftain, Wednesday, August 28, 1901,Vinita, Indian Territory.