WILLIAM P. HARPER
Vol. 5, p. 1861
Book has photo
A resident of Oklahoma City since 1889, Judge Harper has here been engaged in the practice of law since 1891 and he holds secure vantage place as one of the representative members of the Oklahoma bar. Under the territorial regime he served as judge of probate of Oklahoma County and of this office he was the incumbent also at the time when Oklahoma was admitted to statehood, in 1907. He controls a large and important law business, has been influential in public affairs in the territory and state, and is one of the progressive and liberal citizens of Oklahoma City, where he maintains his well appointed law offices at 207-9 Majestic Building.
Judge William Philip Harper was born at Wheeling, Delaware County, Indiana, on the 18th of February, 1859, and is a son of Charles A. and Mary J. (WENDALL) Harper. His father was a lawyer by profession and for a number of years was engaged in the practice of his profession at Muncie, the judicial center of Delaware County, Indiana, and there the subject of this review initiated the study of law under the effective preceptorship of his father, after he had duly profited by the advantages afforded in the public schools of his native state. From 1876 to 1885 Judge Harper was a resident of Clinton County, Indiana, and he then came to the West and passed three years in the State of Kansas. In December, 1899, the year in which Oklahoma Territory was organized and opened to settlement Judge Harper numbered himself among its pioneer settlers, and he has wielded not a little influence in the civic and material development and progress of both territory and state.
Upon coming to the territory he established his residence in Oklahoma City, where he resumed the study of law and where he was admitted to the bar in 1891. He here engaged in the practice of his profession and in 1894 he was elected, on the republican ticket, to the office of judge of the Probate Court of Oklahoma county of which position he continued the efficient and valued incumbent for a term of two years, within which he did much to systematize, solidify and make authoritative the important business of this territorial court of the county. After his retirement from office the judge again engaged in the general practice of his profession, and few lawyers have been more prominently associated with important litigations and legal interest in the state than has he. He retains at the present time a large and representative clientage, is well known to his professional confreres throughout the state, and commands unqualified popular confidence and esteem. In 1902 he was again elected judge of probate, and he continued in the effective administration of the affairs of this office until the admission of Oklahoma to the Union, in 1907, having retained the post during the pending agitation and legislation incident to the creation of the new state. Since that time he has given virtually his undivided attention to his large and important law business, and his name merits enduring place on the roster of the pioneer members of the Oklahoma bar. The judge has continued a stalwart and effective advocate of the principles of the republican party and is one of its influential representative in Oklahoma.
In the city that has long been his home was solemnized the marriage of Judge Harper to Miss Cora B. GREGORY, and she is a popular factor in the representative social activities of Oklahoma City. Judge and Mrs. Harper have three children, Annabel, Wendel and William P. Jr., the family home being an attractive residence owned by the judge at 2204 West Nineteenth Street.
Transcribed by Lee Ann Collins, April 13, 2000
SOURCE: Thoburn, Joseph B., A Standard History of Oklahoma, An Authentic Narrative of its Development, 5 v. (Chicago, New York: The American Historical Society, 1916).