Orr W. Annis – Oklahoma Lawman

Orr William Annis, Oklahoma Lawman

Orr William Annis, Oklahoma Lawman

Orr William Annis was a cattleman, businessman, and U.S. Deputy Marshal in Indian Territory and Sheriff of Payne County, Oklahoma, from 1897-1901.

Of Scottish descent, Annis was born in Knox County, Illinois, on June 12, 1859, to Andrew and Leah Brown Annis. Reared on the family farm and educated in public schools, Annis headed west in 1878, first to the Black Hills of South Dakota, then to Nebraska, Colorado, and Wyoming, where he worked as a cowboy on several ranches. After three years, he returned to Illinois, where he worked in the meat market business in Lafayette and married Sarah J. Porter in about 1880. The couple would have seven children.

In 1884, he moved to Sumner County, Kansas, where he farmed and ranched until Oklahoma Territory opened in April 1889. At that time, he joined with the many others in the Oklahoma Land Rush and claimed a parcel near Perkins, where he again made his living as a farmer and rancher. He also engaged in the merchandise business in Perkins and later in the meat market trade and built a frame store.

In 1897, he became the sheriff of Payne County, Oklahoma, a position he held until 1901. When he was elected, the family moved to Stillwater, where he built a residence. In 1900 he was one of the organizers of the Ripley State Bank and was vice president and director of the same. After serving as sheriff, he moved the family back to the farm in Perkins and a few years later to Yale, Oklahoma, where he served as Chief of Police and ran a rooming house. His wife, Sarah, died in December 1927.

In 1930, he was offered a job as jailer and bookkeeper for the Payne County sheriff and moved back to Stillwater. He died on May 30, 1931.

© Kathy Alexander/Legends of America, updated November 2022.

Oklahoma Land Run

Oklahoma Land Run

Also, See:

Adventures in the Old West

Lawmen of the Old West

Oklahoma – Indian Territory

Time Line of the American West


Oklahoma Gen Web