WASHINGTON E. HUDSON
Vol. 3, p. 960
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The State of Oklahoma has been signally favored in calling to her standard men of high professional attainments, sterling character and great civic loyalty in making up the personnel of the bench and bar of this vigorous new commonwealth, and he whose name initiates this paragraph had achieved splendid success and prestige in his profession prior to coming to Oklahoma, where he has found ample opportunities for broadening the scope and importance of his achievement and where he has impregnable vantage-ground as one of the really representative members of the Oklahoma bar. He has been in a significant sense the artificer of his own fortunes, has overcome many seemingly insuperable obstacles in pressing forward to the goal of his ambition, and aside from the work of his chosen vocation he has proved himself a most loyal and progressive citizen, his place in popular confidence and esteem being indicated in his election as representative of Tulsa County, one of the most important in the state, to the Fifth Oklahoma Legislature, in which he has made a record of service that fully justified the preferment thus accorded him. He is engaged in the general practice of law in the City of Tulsa and is an influential figure in the ranks of the local contingent of the democratic party.
At an historical spot known as Neeley's Bend, in Davidson County, Tennessee, Washington E. HUDSON was born on the 8th of October, 1868, and he thus came into the world only a short time after the close of the Civil war, which had brought disaster and untold depression to his native state and other commonwealths of the South. He is a scion of a family that was founded in America in the colonial era of our national history, the original progenitor of the Hudson line having immigrated from England and representatives of the name having been patriot soldiers in the Continental line in the War of the Revolution. Mr. Hudson is a son of Horatio and Nannie Hudson, who were natives of Kentucky and who were numbered among the first settlers at Neeley's Bend, Tennessee, where the father died in 1882, leaving his widow and three children, of whom Washington E., of this review, was the eldest, his age at the time having been fourteen years. The mother eventually contracted a second marriage and of the children of the first union Washington E. is now the only survivor, his brother, Isaac, having died at the age of twenty-seven years and his sister, Mary, at the age of twenty-five years. The mother's death occurred in 1911, and the only surviving child of her second marriage is Mrs. Herbert TALBOT, a resident of Guthrie, Kentucky.
A lad of fourteen years at the time of his fathers death, Washington E. Hudson early gained fellowship with measurable adversity and was called upon to assume heavy responsibilities, especially in connection with the work and management of the homestead farm, which was somewhat encumbered with debt. He was ambitious to acquire an education, but laudable as this desire was he made the same secondary to the duty which devolved upon him in aiding his widowed mother and the two younger children, and his first strenuous work was to pay the financial obligations which his father had left. After this end had been achieved he entered the Woolwine Training School at Nashville, Tennessee, and after there continuing his studies one year he was matriculated in the South Kentucky College, at Hopkinsville, Kentucky, in which he completed the regular four years' course in two years and in which he graduated on the 8th of June, 1890, with the degree of Bachelor of Arts. At the Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee, he became actively affiliated with the Sigma Epsilon Alpha fraternity. Soon after graduation Mr. Hudson entered the office of George K. WHITWORTH, clerk of the chancery court at Nashville, Tennessee, where later he began the study of law in the office of the firm of DEMOSS & MALONE. In the following autumn he entered the law department of Vanderbilt University, in the same city and his assiduity and remarkable mental powers enabled him to complete in one year a prescribed curriculum that ordinarily demanded three years of application. He was graduated in June, 1892, with the degree of Bachelor of Laws, and, which is virtually attendant, admission to the bar of his native state.
Mr. Hudson served his professional novitiate in Nashville and the same was of brief duration, as he soon proved his powers as a trial lawyer and able counselor and made substantial headway in his practice, besides gaining reputation as an effective public speaker. Two of his public addresses and his acknowledged professional talent brought him to the attention of Robert VAUGHN the district attorney, in whose office he was appointed an assistant - a position which he retained seven years and in which he gained most valuable experience in all phases of legal work. Incidentally he received from the Supreme Court of Tennessee the compliment of being declared the ablest indictment draftsman in the state, this tribute finding ample justification when it is stated that during his seven years of service as an assistant to the district attorney not a single error was found in an indictment drawn by him. He resigned his position in the public service in 1902, the year when he came to Oklahoma Territory.
In May, 1902, Mr. Hudson established his residence at Lawton, the present judicial center of Comanche County, this state, where he was engaged in the practice of law until 1907 and where he was most influential in effecting the organization of the forces of the democratic party in the section that had been formerly the Kiowa and Comanche Indian Reservation which had been opened to settlement in 1901.
In 1907, the year that marked the admission of the State of Oklahoma to the Union, Mr. Hudson removed to Frederick, the county seat of Tillman County, and there he found the stage of his successful professional activities until his removal to the City of Tulsa, in 1912. He has gained in this important oil and gas district of the state a foremost position at the bar and also as a zealous worker in the furtherance of industrial and civic progress. In 1914, without having made a personal canvass of campaign, Mr. Hudson was elected representative of Tulsa County in the lower house of the State Legislature, opposing factions of the democratic party in the election. In the Fifth Legislature he became one of the leading candidates for the position of speaker of the House, but before the end of the contest he withdrew in favor of Hon. Alexander MCCROY, who was elected. He was appointed chairman of the committee on oil and gas, and was the author of several bills that were designed to remedy many untoward and unjust conditions existing in the oil and gas belt. As an earnest supporter of the administration of Governor WILLIAMS, he did his part in fostering legislation insuring retrenchment and reform.
Mr. Hudson was selected by the Legislature as one of three, to draw articles of impeachment against A. P. WATSON, one of the corporation commissioners of the State of Oklahoma. After the impeachment articles were presented to the House of Representatives, then Mr. Hudson was selected as one of the prosecutors of Mr. Watson.
This Watson case made history in the new State of Oklahoma, and he was ably defended by a firm of able lawyers and they resorted to every possible and honorable means to acquit him, but under the splendid management of Mr. Hudson, together with his colleagues, C. L. PINKHAM and Judge DICKINSON, Mr. Watson was impeached under several of the impeachment charges. It was practically left to Mr. Hudson to sum up the evidence in the case and it is the consensus of opinion of all who heard his speech that it was one of the most powerful and brilliant speeches ever made in the State of Oklahoma.
Mr. Hudson is identified actively with the Tulsa County Bar Association and the Oklahoma State Bar Association. He is a valued member of the Tulsa Chamber of Commerce and is president of the Workman Oil & Gas Company, which has important mineral holdings in the eastern part of the state and which is instituting the development of these properties. Mr. Hudson is a charter member of the lodge of Benevolent & Protective Order of Elks in the City of Nashville, Tennessee, and in Tulsa he is affiliated with the Knights of Pythias.
At Hopkinsville, Kentucky, on the 8th of May, 1894, was recorded the marriage of Mr. Hudson to Miss Annie DADE, whose father was a scion of an old and distinguished family of Virginia, that gracious cradle of much of our national history. Mr. and Mrs. Hudson have two children, Bessie and Robert, aged respectively eighteen and fifteen years, in 1915.
Transcribed by: Vickie Neill Taylor, January 11, 1999