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Chronicles of Oklahoma
Volume 11, No. 2
June, 1933
On The Death of
Judge of the United States Circuit Court
of Appeals, Tenth Circuit.

Page 871

Presented in open Court in the United States District Court, Eastern District of Oklahoma, at Muskogee, Oklahoma, Honorable Robert L. Williams, Judge Presiding, at 2:00 o'clock P. M., on Tuesday, April 25th, 1933.

The Oklahoma Bar, as well as the entire Bar of the Tenth Federal Judicial Circuit, was shocked on learning the sad news of the death of Honorable John Hazelton Cotteral, of the Circuit Court of Appeals Bench, who died at Wichita, Kansas, on Saturday, the 22nd day of April, 1933, after a brief illness.

Judge Cotteral was well known throughout the Circuit but especially so in the state of Oklahoma, and that part of the State formerly comprising the old Oklahoma Territory.

He was born in Middleton, Indiana, September 26, 1864; was educated in the University of Michigan; began the practice of law at Garden City, Kansas, in 1885, and was first married there to Lula Evans in 1890, who died in 1920. He removed to Guthrie, Oklahoma Territory, in 1889; was Chairman of the Oklahoma delegation to the Republican National Convention in 1904; was appointed United States District Judge for the Western District of Oklahoma by President Theodore Roosevelt in 1907, in which position he served with honor and distinction until 1928, when he was appointed by President Calvin Coolidge as Judge of the United States Circuit Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit. He was again married in 1928 to Ruth Morrow, who survives him. He was a member of the Christian Church. He continued until his death to make his home among his old friends and neighbors at Guthrie.

Judge Cotteral was regarded by all, not only as an honorable man, an able lawyer, and a fair and just Judge and one who was very painstaking in his efforts to do justice and adhere to the law, but also as one who was exceedingly careful to avoid any appearance of being influenced in his judicial actions and decisions by any but the highest motives, and to avoid any suggestions of favoritism towards his friends or bias against his enemies.

He was not naturally a strong partisan, but his high character and pure life earned for him prominent positions at the hands of this party.


That in the passing of Judge Cotteral, his wife has lost a devoted husband, his neighbors a true friend, and the Bar has lost a noble member, the Bench and learned and worthy jurist, and the Circuit and the country at large a good citizen and a man who always held close to his heart the highest sense of the duty of the lawyer and the Judge to one another, to the profession and to the public.

The poet penned the sombre lines: "The Paths of glory lead but to the grave." Yet the Christian world takes comfort in the words of the Good Book:

"O Death, where is thy sting?
O Grave, where is thy victory?"

For although this just man has passed from among us to the Eternal Bar of Justice which awaits us all, yet the example of his life will live so long as human memory lasts.

Page 872


That the Court be requested, by proper order, to have these resolutions properly preserved of record in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Oklahoma, and a copy furnished to the family.

Muskogee County Bar Association.

APRIL 25, 1933,
W. V. McClure, Clerk,
U. S. District Court.


I, W. V. McClure, Clerk of the District Court of the United States of America for the Eastern District of Oklahoma, do hereby certify the within and foregoing to be a true, full, and correct copy of RESOLUTIONS on the Death of Honorable John Hazelton Cotteral, Judge of the United States Circuit Court of Appeals, Tenth Circuit, as the same appears of record on the files of this office.

IN TESTIMONY WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand and affixed the seal of said Court, at my office in Muskogee, in said District, this 5th day of May, 1933.

W. V. MCCLURE, Clerk.
By Maggie Jo Dagley, Deputy Clerk.


By the Ardmore Bar

Your Committee appointed to draft resolutions on the death of our Brother, James C. Thompson, which occurred March 26, 1933, beg leave to submit the following:

James C. Thompson was born in McMinn County, Tennessee, June 26, 1861, and moved with his parents to Grayson County, Texas, at the age of 12 years. And upon arriving at manhood, studied law in Gainesville, Texas, in the law offices of Potter and Potter, with which firm he was associated after being admitted to the Bar, until he moved to Ardmore in 1890. He continued the practice of law in Ardmore with distinction and honor from that date until the date of his fatal sickness. He was one of the outstanding Members of the Bar; known for his integrity and fidelity as well as his ability.

On December 22, 1892, he was married to Miss Ruth Miller at Sherman, Texas. They lived together as husband and wife until her death in 1932. Of said marriage there were five children born: Ruth, who died when three years old, Annie Thompson, now Mrs. McDowel, a resident of California; James, John and Joe Thompson who are living.

The deceased, James C. Thompson, was elected Mayor of Ardmore, in 1901, and served in 1901 and 1902, and resigned. With the incoming of Statehood, he was a candidate for District Judge of the 8th Judicial District, and came within seven votes of receiving the nomination. The deceased was also National Democratic Committeeman; Presidential Elector; and also served as a member of the school board of Ardmore In 1917 he was appointed Referee in Bankruptcy and served in said position with credit for a short while and resigned. After resigning as Referee

Page 873

in Bankruptcy he continued the practice of law until his fatal illness in 1931, at which time he and his son John M. Thompson were partners. His sons John and Joe Thompson succeeded him and occupy the offices that he had occupied for more than thirty years.

He was a man of pleasing personality, unblemished character, of strong convictions, and a lawyer of exceptional ability. He and his family affiliated with the Methodist Church. His memory is cherished, not only by the Members of the Bar, but by the entire Citizenship of Ardmore.

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED: That in the passing of James C. Thompson, the Bar of Oklahoma has lost an able lawyer and a Member that always reflected credit upon his profession.

And the Bar of Ardmore has lost one of its most honored, upright, and worthy Members, whose example we commend to the younger Members of the Bar.

His children have lost a devoted father, and the Community one of its most valued Citizens.

We shall miss his kindly presence, and his helpful influence and will not forget him.

RESOLVED: That we tender his bereaved children and relatives our heartfelt sympathy in their sorrow, and assure them that we fully appreciate their great loss, and ask the privilege of being of service to them in any way that is possible.

RESOLVED: That a copy of these resolutions be presented to the District Court of Carter County, Oklahoma, to be entered of record in said Court; and that the Secretary of the Ardmore Bar Association furnish a copy to the family of the deceased, and to the Press, and the Oklahoma Historical Society.

This the 27th day of March, 1933.


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