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Eva Shartel (Mrs. Thomas B.) Ferguson

Oklahoma Library Legends

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Elva Shartel, later known as Eva, was the wife of Thomas B. Ferguson, Oklahoma’s 6th Territorial Governor. They came to Watonga in 1892 at the opening of Cheyenne and Arapaho lands. It was at first difficult for her to accustom herself to the rough life in the crude shack which served as their home and the newspaper office. Tom was the Postmaster and founded the Watonga Republican newspaper. Elva assisted with the work of gathering news, setting type, and writing articles.

In 1901 President Theodore Roosevelt appointed Tom as Territorial Governor, and from then to 1930 she mostly ran the paper by herself. She raised their two children, served as First Lady of Oklahoma from 1902 to 1906, and still found time to start and run the library in Watonga from 1906 to World War I, then reopened it in 1921.

She was indeed an outstanding pioneer woman and library advocate. Eva was inducted into the Oklahoma Heritage Association’s Oklahoma Hall of Fame in 1933.

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