John Graves Leeper

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John Graves Leeper

John Graves Leeper

“The speed with which new towns were built as land was opened for settlement in the Territories was due, in considerable measure…to Graves Leeper, who left his mark on Oklahoma’s history.”
Van R. Wiggins, 1974


John Graves Leeper was born and raised in Missouri and attended college at Fayette before the boomtowns of North Texas attracted him and his brother, J.D. Leeper, to the area in the late 1800s. The pair opened lumber yards at Denison, Gainesville, and Bowie and opened other yards along the Santa Fe Railroad in Oklahoma and the Chickasaw Nation before establishing lumber yards along the Mangum branch of the Rock Island railroad near Anadarko. When yards along the Rock Island were sold, the brothers opened a new yard in south Oklahoma City in the Capitol Hill area. Ill health forced Graves to move to Sulphur, where he remained until he was elected Secretary of State in 1927. He died only a few weeks after his full term in office ended.

Fun fact

Graves Leeper became Oklahoma’s Secretary of State in 1926.

Oklahoma connections

Leeper established lumber yards west of Anadarko around 1901.




Public Servant




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