Ida May Barnard McFarlin was one half of a noted Oklahoma family whose generosity made possible many important public, educational and religious institutions and resources in Oklahoma and Texas. As is so often the case, the wives of notable men often become a mere shadow figure in historic records. Ida May Barnard McFarlin, so often eclipsed by the blazing notoriety and accomplishment of her husband Robert played a significant role in at least two churches thus indicating she from early in their marriage valued matters of faith.
She was born February 12,1868 in Texas and died November 18, 1938 in San Antonio, Texas. She was the daughter of Benjamin Barnard (born in Tennessee) and Mary K. Gilliland (born in Gainesville, Texas). She had brothers: Benjamin (1881), John, Charles, H.G, (Homer), C.L. She had sisters: Mrs. J.D. Boxley, Mrs. O.H. Houghton, Mrs. A.G. Blauner and Miss Cora Barnard.
She married Robert McFarlin in 1886 in Texas and by 1890 they were living in Norman, Oklahoma. She was mother to Leta (1889), Robert (1891-1892), and Pauline (1897).
The family soon relocated into Indian Territory and then to a farm outside of Holdenville, Oklahoma. According to the church history by Mrs. Turner, A History of Methodist Churches in Holdenville, Oklahoma (1957), Ida May Barnard McFarlin was a charter member of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South work in Holdenville. Her husband would later also join and do work for or with the Trustees of the church. Many of her brothers and a sister were listed in her obituary as still residing in Holdenville in 1938.
In 1903 in Holdenville the McFarlin-Chapman partnership forged a successful series of business ventures spurred on by the happy fact they owned property in the Glenpool oil field. They soon were branching out into real estate, and other successful activities. In 1922 their business, now called McMan, was sold to a subsidiary of Standard Oil for $20 million dollars.
As a result, many philanthropic donations occurred by the McFarlin family and these included: before 1920 the short-lived McFarlin College in Tulsa, Ok, an Methodist affiliated college (it then became Kendall and then the University of Tulsa); 1924, McFarlin Memorial Church
in Norman, Oklahoma (a congregation that had seen them through the tragic loss of their infant son); 1929, the McFarlin Memorial Library at the University of Tulsa; an auditorium at Southern Nazarene University in Dallas. That same year, he forgave a $30,000 construction debt note held by the M.E. Church, South in Holdenville, Oklahoma As a result, the church's board of trustees voted to give naming rights to the McFarlin family. As a result, the church was named "Barnard Memorial" in honor of her brother Benjamin Barnard who died in his 20's.
|Barnard Memorial UMC, Holdenville, OK|
This building was dedicated in 1929.
It was founded in 1897
however its roots can be traced to
1888 according to some sources.