Travis F. Hensley

Class of
Travis F. Hensley

Travis F. Hensley

“His newspaper, The Peoples Press, was a name which symbolized his ideal of what a newspaper should be, truly a publication of and for the people of his community.”
Edna Arnold


Born in Indiana, Travis Franklin Hensley moved with his family to Missouri in 1867 and received his teaching certificate before graduating from Grandriver College in Missouri in 1878. He purchased The Peoples Press in Missouri in 1880 and was admitted to the bar in 1884. He became the Special Legal Examiner in the Pension Department in Washington, D.C. in 1885 and received his law degree from Georgetown University in 1889. He came to Guthrie and Oklahoma City in 1889 and traveled by stage coach to Old Frisco (near Yukon), Reno City, and Kingfisher. The townsite of El Reno had just been platted and he returned to the area in 1892 to make the land run in the Cheyenne and Arapaho opening. He became the owner of the El Reno Democrat and later published his own newspaper, West Side Democrat, in the Cherokee Strip in Enid in 1893. He published Hensley’s Magazine and The Peoples Press at El Reno. He was also the owner of the historic “Hensley’s Book Store” in El Reno and was twice-elected as the city’s mayor. He served in both houses of the Oklahoma legislature from 1912 to 1918.

Fun fact

Travis Hensley was one of the founders of the Oklahoma Press Association, which organized the Oklahoma Historical Society in 1893.

Oklahoma connections

Hensley came to Oklahoma and settled near El Reno in 1889.


El Reno


Public Servant





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