Charles E. McPherren received a law degree from the University of Mississippi and set up a law practice in Oklahoma. He was elected Mayor of Caddo, Oklahoma, in 1899 and would later serve two terms in the Oklahoma State Senate, representing Atoka, Bryan, and Coal Counties.
He served with the First United States Volunteer Cavalry, better known as Roosevelt’s Rough Riders, during the Spanish-American War.
When the United States entered World War I, McPherren joined the Second Regiment of the Oklahoma National Guard, attaining the rank of major in 1918, lieutenant-colonel in 1919, and colonel in 1920.
In 1921, he was promoted to Brigadier General, commanding the 90th Brigade of the Oklahoma National Guard.
McPherren was promoted to Major General and served as the Commander of the 45th Infantry Division from 25 November 1935 to 29 July 1936. MG McPherren’s time with the Oklahoma National Guard and the 45th Infantry Division marks an exciting time in the state’s National Guard history. He was a key figure in the Guard during critical historical moments, including changes resulting from the National Defense Act of 1920 through the formation of the 45th Infantry Division.