Early Jewish Pioneers of Ponca City, Tonkawa, Pawhuska, Perry, and Blackwell in North Central Oklahoma

Jewish Pioneers of Ponca City, Tonkawa, Pawhuska, Perry, and Blackwell

Ponca City


In the 1920’s, Morris Keiser, a geophycist, worked for Marland Refining and for L. H. Wentz.


Ponca City had a Reform congregation, Temple Emanuel

Ponca City, Oklahoma, vintage photograph



Morris and Sophie Schonwald were early settlers of Tonkawa.



Harris Brenner was in the Pawhuska area from the 1880’s as post trader. He was President of the First National Bank of Pawhuska, which he organized in 1902. Brenner also started Pawhuska Oil and Gas Co. in 1903.

Pawhuska, Oklahoma, vintage postcard, early 1900’s



In 1892, a Mr. Kretsch arrived from Bohemia. He served as Mayor of Perry for three or four terms.

Post Office, Perry Oklahoma, vintage postcard



David Schonwald, a Hungarian immigrant, came to Oklahoma Territory before the turn of the last century. He worked as a section hand on the Santa Fe Railroad in Guthrie. He later became president of a gas and oil company and a bank in Blackwell. Schonwald later moved to Oklahoma City, where he became a prominent businessman and a Jewish leader.

Blackwell, Oklahoma, vintage postcard


  • Henry J.Tobias, The Jews of Oklahoma (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1980).

Regina Merwin is curator of this Ponca City, Tonkawa, Pawhuska, Perry, and Blackwell exhibit.