Grove visionary pioneer to be honored by the community

GROVE, Okla. – A former newspaper editor, judge, and businessman will be enshrined Tuesday night as the Grove Wall of Honor recipient for this year.

Samuel C. Platt (1856-1928) will be honored at a regular Grove City Council meeting for his many contributions made to the community, said Debbie Bottoroff, city manager.

The award honors citizens who have made contributions to the community prior to and including 1960, she said.

“He was quite a fascinating man,” Bottorroff said.

Bottoroff said his name was submitted by Aaron Kidd, a Grove historian.

Born in 1856, the Pennsylvania native moved to Grove in 1908 and lived before his passing at age 72 in 1928. 

He served in the following offices:

  • Delaware County News Editor, 1909-1912
  • Grove Immigration Company manager, 1909
  • Grove Oil, Gas and Mining Company secretary, 1909
  • Delaware County United States Commissioner, 1910-1917
  • Justice of the Peace, 1917-1920s
  • Grove Schools Council of Defense Society secretary, 1918

“When I read his (Kidd) research I was in awe of his many accomplishments and the footprints he laid for what we as a city are trying to accomplish today,” Bottorff said.

Kidd said none of Platt’s descendants live in Grove and during his research, his name was always surfacing to the top.  

One major disappointment Kidd said he encountered during his research was the lack of photographs of Platt.

“I found a photo of his house, but none of him,” Kidd said.

As Delaware County News editor, Platt’s editorials called for the building of sidewalks, the beautification and clean-up of the town and bringing businesses – a railroad extension and sawmill – into the community, Kidd said.

One 1910 editorial referred to the town’s growth as “the biggest building boom,” he said.

Judge Platt assisted law enforcement officers in confiscating liquor and presided over the preliminary hearings of federal criminal cases. During World War I Platt was the Grove School district’s Council of Defense Society president which taught patriotism and supported the war effort.

As a Justice of the Peace judge, Platt oversaw the preliminary hearings of a number of criminal cases, Kidd said.

One such case involved four young men who were accused of raping a Bernice woman while holding her children at gunpoint, he said.

The Grove Sun reported:

“Feelings ran high at the trial at Bernice and it looked like the defendants would be summarily dealt with, but wiser counsel prevailed, and the matter was left to the courts to handle.  The court room here Monday was filled with the best citizens from all parts of the county, some men riding as far as 30 miles to be present at this important hearing. Judge Platt was not moved by the throng present nor the eloquent appeal of attorneys, but assured the large crowd that he would consider the case on evidence alone, holding the defendants to the district court.”

(Four Held Under Serious Charge, The Grove Sun. August 28, 1919)

Excerpts for Platt’s Editorials

“Grove should keep her eyes on that line of railroad now building in a southeasterly direction from Caney, Kansas. Work is now in progress and the line is headed this way and those behind the enterprise claim that their destination is Fayetteville, by way of Siloam Springs. If the road crosses Delaware county it should pass through Grove.”  

The Delaware County News, April 8, 1910

“The president of the council has been asked to set aside a day for cleaning the alleys of tin cans, rubbish and all debris. The official has not named the day, but it is believed it should be done. Other towns have taken such action with wonderful results. Why should not Grove have a day of this kind?”

The Delaware County News, April 22, 1910

“Grove is just now in the midst of the biggest building boom in her history, but that is no reason why we cease to boost. Let us look ahead and plan for a larger growth and for better things for Grove.” (The Delaware County News. June 10, 1910) 

The Delaware County News, June 10, 1910

“An unfair election law would be a blot upon the good name of Oklahoma. It is up to the people to see to it that the attempted crime against the ballot be prevented.”

The Delaware County News, May 6, 1910 

“A saloon in Grove would depreciate property values, retard the growth of the town, lower the standard of morality and materially increase crime. Vote against the amendment.”

The Delaware County News, October 29, 1910 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *