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John Wesley Hoover, Deputy U. S. Marshal

 

Territorial Peace Officer Dies Here

 January 15, 1930--The Oklahoman--John Wesley Hoover, 77 years old, veteran state peace officer, died at the home of his son, W. J. Hoover, 2100 Classen Boulevard, Tuesday night.  The body is held at Watts and McAtee funeral home and will be sent to Ninnekah for burial Sunday.

            Hoover immigrated to Tennessee from Holland and came to the Indian Territory from Texas in 1883.  He held the first commission as deputy United States marshal in the territory, his son said.

            Hoover is also survived by another son, J. O. Hoover, Ninnekah, and a brother, W. L. Hoover, Palestine, Texas.

 

A. T. Hopkins

 

EARLY DAY PEACE OFFICER MURDERED

 

November 11, 1915—The Oklahoma Leader—A. T. Hopkins was murdered by robbers early Sunday in his office at Lawton.  He was a large horse dealer and always had money about his person and had drawn a large sum late Saturday for use early Monday morning.  Said Col. Hornaday of this city, an old time friend.

            “Al Hopkins was a pioneer in Oklahoma and a co-worker with Heck Thomas and Chris Madsen and well known in Guthrie.  He was a nervy officer, hard fighter, but an honorable enemy, respected alike by friend and foe.  His later career was varied with several accusations of violations of prohibitory and gambling laws, but he had a big heart in his big body.  With some faults he was an energetic town builder and public spirited citizen, free hearted to a fault never turning down an appeal for personal or financial aid to friend or foe when he heard an honest, candid appeal.  He was quite wealthy and leaves a son in Oklahoma City and a daughter at Medford.  His untimely death will be deeply regretted by all old time pioneers of Oklahoma.”

 

John Hubatka

 

The Army Didn't Get Him, State's Outlaws Couldn't" Death Claims John Hubatka

City' First Policeman Had a Turbulent Career For Years

 

August 17, 1932--The Oklahoman--In the quiet of his own bedroom Tuesday night, death brought a serene end to the violent, bullet-torn career of John Hubatka, oldest of Oklahoma City's policemen.

            Survivor of many lurid gun battles, Hubatka died at the age of 66, after serving as police chief, detective, and deputy U. S. Marshal through the 40 turbulent years of Oklahoma's childhood.  He has been ill at his home at Fiftieth Street and North Prospect Avenue for more than a year.

            One year after he "made the run" into Oklahoma in 1889, Hubatka buckled on his gun as one of the city's four original policemen.  He never laid it aside until 1930 when he was placed on the reserve officers list.

            "You'll never die by a bullet," a scared woman told the towering, mustached policeman in Oklahoma City's prairie days, after watching him fight off three "bad men" who put three slugs through his coat.

            And it seemed the bullet was never molded that could touch Hubatka.  He took guns away from swaggering gamblers who had sworn to "get him."  He arrested George Burton, notorious desperado of the nineties, just after Burton had shot down a visitor to the city's first cattlemen's convention. There is no record that he ever was wounded.

            Presiding at Oklahoma City's only official hanging, Hubatka helped string up a Negro who had murdered a couple in the east part of town.  He used a inch-thick, yellow rope imported from Fort Smith for the purpose.

            Baffling crimes, including the unsolved "car clipper" murders, were part of his regular assignments during his years as a detective.  Hubatka boasted of holding every position on the police force except that of sergeant--and he threw in a U. S. Deputy Marshal's commission to make up the difference.

            Curiously enough, the veteran policeman's family brought him to America to avoid the dangers of compulsory military service he would have been subject to in his native province, Bohemia.  They migrated to the United States in 1877, settling on a farm near Council Bluffs, Iowa.

            Drifting westward, young Hubatka got a job with the Burlington & Missouri River railroad at Omaha.  There he met Mike Swatck--now a local contractor--and the two decided to join the dash into the new territory of Oklahoma.  Hubatka staked a farm ten miles east of Oklahoma City, but soon gave it up "because I didn't like the wind."

            After two years of service with the infant police department, Hubatka became a deputy U. S. Marshal, serving under William Grimes and E. D. Nix, a spectacular figure in the state's early bandit-harried history. He served two terms as chief of police, in 1905-07 and 1909-1911.

            Hubatka is survived by his wife, the former Miss Nettie Swanda, whom he married in 1890; a son, John Edward Hubatka; two daughters, Mrs. James Sinopoulo and Mrs. Forrest Mouser, and two grandchildren, all of Oklahoma City.  Funeral arrangements will be made by the Hahn funeral home.