In the land lottery of 1901, in which the federal government
opened southwest Oklahoma for settlement, the second name drawn was that of Mattie Beal.
This determined young woman from Wichita, Kansas chose her 160-acre allotment south
of the Lawton town site. Instant fame was hers and she received hundreds of marriage
proposals, but it was local lumberyard owner Charles Payne who stole her heart. They
were married in 1902.
soul-searching, Mattie Beal agreed to commute her property, so that frustrated settlers
who had failed to acquire a townsite lot could purchase affordable homesites and remain in
the area. She donated land for two parks, a school, and a church and was benevolent
in promoting culture in the city. Mattie Beal's generous spirit and gregarious
personality made her the belle of early Lawton society.
Three daughters were reared in the stately Payne home located on the
summit of her property. This was the scene of many bridge parties and social events in
early Lawton. The ballroom was often alive with music, dancing, friends and
Charles Warren Payne held an interest in several business ventures,
among them the Payne Lumber Company, a coal delivery service, Payne-McGee Grocery Store,
and a wholesale grocery supply. In keeping with his compassionate spirit, Charles
Payne continued to sell to his customers "on credit" during the years of the
Great Depression which struck in 1929. Many of these debts were never repaid.
Financial difficulties and Mattie's death in 1931 took its toll on him. The home was
sold in 1939; Charles Payne died eight years later.