CURRENT MAGAZINE:

Charles Page was born in 1860 near Stevens Point, Wisconsin, a small pioneer town. He lived on a farm with his parents, James and Mary Page, and his younger brother, Edwin, until he was 11. This was a time and place where people struggled to provide the necessities of life, but Page’s father, a strong Scotsman and Presbyterian, was able to provide enough food from his farm to support five families of women and children whose husbands and fathers were in the Union Army during the Civil War. This profoundly influenced a young Charles Page. Page’s mother also had a heart for service – she helped neighbors in cases of illness, birth or death; and she even had an album filled with daguerreotypes of herself and the infants she had assisted into the world.
Sadly, Page’s father died in 1871 when Charles Page was only 11 years old. His older siblings were all living on their own by that time, leaving 11-year-old Page to support his mother and younger brother. Charles Page comforted his disheartened mother with declarations that foreshadowed his future: “Mother, don’t cry. Wait until I get to be a man! I will take care of you and you won’t have to work and I will take care of all other mothers and poor boys and girls, too!”

Page’s mother desired for her children to have the best education the area afforded, and for a time the Page family even boarded the area school’s one teacher, Miss Marcia Morrison. However, Charles Page was forced to leave school early to support his mother and younger brother. He resumed his studies in his early adult life under a private tutor.
Page worked a string of jobs as a teenager and young adult. He stayed in Wisconsin at first, working at the Wisconsin Railroad and clerking at a general store, followed by jobs as a police chief and a detective for the Pinkerton National Detective Agency. During this time, Page frequently interacted with people who were down on their luck and resolved to do everything he could to help others who were down on their luck in the future.
Page worked in logging, mining, real estate and oil drilling in Washington, British Columbia, Colorado and Michigan. When he was logging in the northern states, Page helped cut down huge timbers and helped the other men of the camp drive teams of oxen dragging the heavy logs to the Mississippi River’s edge, where the logs were floated down to St. Louis and sold to saw mills. Page’s mining endeavors allowed him to make his investments in real estate and oil drilling. He continued to send money to his mother until her death in 1891, and he made his way to Indian Territory in search of oil just after the turn of the century.
To learn more about Charles Page, check out this book excerpt from the Oklahoma State University library’s website and this entry on the Tulsa Historical Society & Museum’s website.