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WILLIAM CHRISTOPHER HUGHES
1869-1938

 

 

William Christopher Hughes was born October 24, 1869 in Georgetown, Missouri, the son of Dr. Benjamin Franklin Hughes and Catherine Kidd Hughes. He was married June 14, 1893 to Luella Nelson Gaines, daughter of Jeannette Cameron Gaines and Briscoe Gaines, Clinton, Missouri, was educated in Sedalia, Missouri, and graduated from Kansas City law school at the head of his class.

In 1901 he came to Oklahoma City to practice law. He formed a partnership with Judge W. A. Ledbetter, S. T. Bledsoe and John Mosier-Ledbetter, Bledsoe, Mosier and Hughesówith offices in Oklahoma City and Ardmore. Later he was a member of the firm Hughes, Morse and Standeven in Oklahoma City and Hobart. Following in the footsteps of his father, Dr. B. F. Hughes, a member of the Missouri Constitutional Convention, he was elected a delegate to the Oklahoma Constitutional Convention in 1907 from Oklahoma County. He entered the race as a Democrat and won by an overwhelming majority.

Judge Hughes was defeated for President of the Convention by Honorable William H. Murray, due, his friends felt, to his illness from a throat infection which kept him in bed at the critical time of the election. He and Governor Murray became close friends.

Judge Hughes wrote important laws of the State and by the vote of the Constitutional Convention Hughes County was named for him. After statehood he was Clerk of the Oklahoma County Superior Court although Governor Haskell offered him the Judgeship. In 1914 he went to St. Joseph, Missouri, to give all his time to the legal affairs of the Tootle-Campbell Dry Goods Company. In 1918 he became interested in oil in Pontotoc and Hughes Counties in Oklahoma and spent his time from then until his death in oil development and law. He felt a great pool of oil was to be found there and spent time and money trying to find it, keeping an interest in that territory which resulted in a large oil field being brought in.

In 1928 he moved his family to a country place, Pontotoc Lodge, east of Ada, where he lived at the time of his death. When Governor Murray was elected Governor in 1931 the first name he sent for confirmation was Judge Hughes for Chairman of the State Board of Public Affairs. In this office he rendered a great service and the strain of the long hours and his intense devotion to the State's welfare probably caused his break in health. Always deeply interested in governmental problems and sociology, he was a man of fine sensibilities and intellectual attainments and was beloved for his kindness of heart and great interest in humanity. Judge Hughes died March 22, 1938 and is buried in Fairlawn Cemetery, Oklahoma City. He is survived by his wife, four daughters, Mrs. William M. Morton, St. Joseph, Missouri, Elizabeth, Donna, and Mrs. J. Kyle McIntyre, Oklahoma City, one son, Lt. W. C. Hughes Jr., U. S. N., and four grandchildren, William M. Morton Jr., David Hughes Morton, Hughes Gregory Morton, St. Joseph, Missouri, and Betty Biles, Oklahoma City.

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