Site hosted by Build your free website today!


Robert A. Neff

Part 2



The Neff Theatre Company at Lawton, OK

Railroad Depot


Robert and Susan found their way back to Wichita by 1884, where yet another little girl, Claudia Aline, was born on July 30th. Joy was preceded by tragedy when the small family lost their oldest child, Roberta Aurora, to spinal meningitis that year. Robert worked as a dramatic manager and actor for the next three years. His wife, Susan, acted as his drama coach and manager. In 1889, he took employment, once again, as a reporter, for the Wichita News-Beacon. This year another daughter, Velma Ethel Neff, was born to Robert and Susan. In spite of his profession as a writer, his true passion was the theatre. It was at this point in time, that Robert decided to best utilize his skills by going to law school. Susan lived alone, in Wichita, with their two children and worked as a dramatic manager for a local theatre/Opera House.

Velma Ethel Neff 1890 Claudia Aline Neff 1890


After taking up the study of law, in 1893 Robert moved his wife and two daughters to Blackwell, Kay County, Oklahoma Territory at the opening of the Cherokee Strip. Here he started a law office and was elected as Probate Judge of Kay County on November 3, 1896 and re-elected in 1898. His political associations were fusionist. Between 1900 and 1915, Robert owned and edited several newspapers. The two newspapers he owned were the Blackwell Sun (1900 - 1908) and the Ponca City News. Robert was also a published author. In 1906, the Leader Printing Company of Guthrie Oklahoma printed his book, Civil procedure before justices of the peace (Oklahoma practice).


Robert first purchased property, "lot seven in block ten of the original Lawton townsite", on May 19, 1902, from David Mortar. In 1904, when he finally made his home in Lawton, he was s associated with T.M. Bixby as editor of the Lawton Democrat, now the Lawton Constitution. Here he "wielded the pen of a ready writer" for a number of years. He ran against "Fain in a close race of Comanche county attorney", according to the Rev. T.J. Irwin who wrote an intimate obituary for his friend, for the front page of the December 16, 1915 edition of the Lawton Constitution.

In 1907, while Robert was working as a Circuit Court Judge and staying at the Elks hotel in Guthrie, Oklahoma, he received a letter from the Lawton Chamber of Commerce. The Chamber was making a request for the Lawton judicial district be included in the court district of the counties of Comanche, Caddo, Jefferson and Stephens.



Original Letter and Envelope

from the Lawton Chamber of Commerce 1907

 The "call of the boards" was too strong for him. In the final years of his life, Robert went back to his true love ... the theatre. Irwin wrote:

"The ruling passion of his life was his love of the drama, so he organized the Neff Theatre Company in Lawton and was on the road again and made acting his chosen profession. He played in all the principal cities and country, especially to very large appreciative houses in Lawton, Oklahoma, generally. His long love devoted to the drama, coupled with decided natural ability, made Neff a prime favorite with his audiences in each of his roles."


Previous Page Next Page  



Joel Neff

 Neff Links

 George N. Neff

 Lela Oleva Neff Miller

 Claud Hamilton Neff

 Sidney G. Neff

Questions or Comments? E-Mail

This page was created by Jennifer A. Seitl



View My Guestbook
Sign My Guestbook