Wilson: Protect aging courthouse

Robert Smith
W. Robert Wilson

Longtime Pawhuska lawyer W. Robert Wilson last Thursday implored his audience at the Osage County Historical Society’s annual Heroes and Legends banquet, held at the Ag Building at the county fairgrounds, to protect the aging county courthouse.

During the past decade the courthouse in Pawhuska has been a source of frequent discussion and debate, with county leaders trying to develop a plan that voters will accept to make repairs and upgrades or to build something new.

Wilson, who was born in 1935 in Wheeling, West Virginia, but attended the University of Oklahoma law school, moved to Pawhuska as a young lawyer and said Thursday he considers the move “the best thing I ever did.” Wilson was one of five new additions last week to the OCHS’s list of Heroes and Legends.

This is the fourth year for the recognition program. The banquet, which features both a silent auction and a live auction, is also a fundraiser for the historical society.

“It was good to me. I was very fortunate,” Wilson said of Osage County. “I just can’t tell you what tonight means to me.”

Wilson described the county as “a country unto its own” and made an impassioned plea for the future of the historic courthouse. District Judge M. John Kane IV was in the audience along with numerous other residents from Pawhuska and other parts of the county.

“Don’t let them take that courthouse down,” Wilson said. “That courthouse is a monument unto itself. That courthouse means a lot.”

Other honorees included Mabelle Kennedy, a business and political leader who was named Assistant Treasurer of the United States by President Harry Truman. Kennedy, who passed away in the 1980s, was the great-grandmother of Judge Kane and his sister, Tracy Kane Smith, who were on-hand Thursday and offered remarks.

“We knew her as Meme,” Judge Kane said. “She was truly the matriarch of our family and we loved her dearly.”

Other honorees included banker and civic leader Milton Labadie, Skiatook businessman Chester Reyckert and Hominy artist Cha’ Tullis.