Chronicles of Oklahoma

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Chronicles of Oklahoma
Volume 12, No. 4
December, 1934

Page 492


W. H. UNDERWOOD, Southeastern Teachers College

Judge John Hickman Linebaugh, one of Atoka's most revered citizens, passed away, March 17, 1930, at 7:15 A. M., at his home in Atoka at the age of 68 years, three months, and thirteen days.

Judge Linebaugh was born December 4, 1861, in Nelson County at Bradstown, Kentucky. He was the son of Daniel Haden Linebaugh and Margaret Elizabeth Sweets Linebaugh. His father who was a native of Tennessee, passed the greater part of his mature life as an itinerant minister of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South. In 1871 Rev. Daniel H. Linebaugh removed with his family to Texas and established his home at Temple, Bell County.

At Temple, Texas, Judge Linebaugh began the study of law and laid the foundation of a successful professional career. He devoted, in his youth, careful attention to the study of medicine, but never engaged in active practice. Later he studied theology, and was ordained a minister of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South. His studies of medicine and theology had greatly broadened his mental ken, but his ambition further prompted him to prepare himself for the legal profession. In 1891, at Belton, Texas, he was admitted to the bar, by Judge William A. Blackburn, then presiding on the bench of the Twenty-seventh Judicial District of that state. He initiated the practice of law at Temple, Texas, where he continued his activities successfully until 1898, when he came to Indian Territory and established his permanent home at Atoka.

On the 7th of October, 1882, he was stricken with paralysis, as the result of an attack of cerebro-spinal meningitis, and from that time, about two months before he attained his legal majority, he was never able to walk. Enforced confinement only spurred his ambition for learning and his physical infirmity was but a slight handicap to one of such indomitable spirit and such abiding faith in the wise orderings of the Everlasting Will. His own infirmity sweetened and broadened the mental makeup of Judge Linebaugh, rather than tending to pessimistic embitterment, and he thought, lived, learned and gained appreciation of the real values of human life and he has striven earnestly and with much of inspiration to be helpful to others.

Judge Linebaugh was the first mayor of Atoka when Atoka first put on the garment of municipal government. For twelve years Mr. Linebaugh was District Judge of the Twenty-sixth Judicial District which comprised the counties of Atoka, Coal and Johnston and embraced a part of each of the former Choctaw and Chickasaw Indian Nations. Judge Linebaugh was the first County Judge of Atoka County. During his administration on the bench of the County Court of Atoka County, Judge Linebaugh, careful of the finances of the office, caused all of its expenses to be paid out of fees received, and over and above this expenditure the office under his administration earned for the county $10,000 in the first four years of his services. He witnessed the opening of the United States Land office at Atoka and later the establishing of the enrolling office of the Mississippi Choctaws who sold allotments in Indian Territory. Judge Linebaugh was a member of the Atoka County Bar Association and the Oklahoma State Bar Association. He assisted in the

Page 493

organization of the first banking institution of Atoka. He was the second president of the Atoka County Old Settlers Association, which was organized by the writer in 1927.

At Atoka, on Christmas Day of the year 1898, was solemnized the marriage of Judge Linebaugh to Miss Annie Young, of Magnolia, Arkansas, and she has been to him a devoted companion and helpmate. To him and his wife no children were born, but with charactreistic loyalty and affection they have reared in their home eight boys whom they took under their care for the purpose of educating them and training them to lives of usefulness. To Judge and Mrs. Linebaugh there comes compensation and enduring gratification in the knowledge that all of their boys have entered successful careers.

The office of Judge Linebaugh in Atoka was always open to young men of good character and the right caliber, and he assisted many such ambitious youths in preparing for the legal profession. In his office Robert M. Rainey began his legal career. Others were Dr. N. L. Linebaugh, now pastor of the First Methodist Church of Palestine, Texas; D. H. Linebaugh, U. S. District Attorney, of Muskogee; Judge C. M. Threadgill; Judge J. W. Clark of the supreme court; Paul Penson, attorney at Muskogee; C. McCasland of Atoka; Charles M. Anderson, Duncan; Elmer J. Sutherland, county attorney of Johnston County; A. R. Telle, of Atoka.

Judge Linebaugh was a man of high intellectual and professional attainments. During the long intervening years of his life at Atoka he has been a valued and honored factor in civic and material development and progress in this section of the state. He has proved himself in the fullest extent the friend of humanity. He has shown at all times the deepest human sympathy and tolerance, has accounted well in all phases of his stewardship and his life offers both lesson and incentive. He has endeared himself in the hearts of all those who knew him, and a sweet memory of this grand old man will linger forever.

Page 494


WHEREAS, Asa E. Walden, was born March 1, 1893, at Melisa, in Collin County, Texas, being a son of W. E. Walden and Mary Alice Walden, nee Roberts; that the parents of said Asa E. Walden came to Pike, Indian Territory, (now Love County) in 1900, where young Walden attended his first school, thereafter he attended school at Thackerville, and Marietta, Oklahoma, he then attended Southeastern State Teachers College, and taught school a year and attended Cumberland University at Lebanon, Tennessee, and obtained his law course, and was admitted to the bar in Oklahoma in the summer of 1914; at the election in 1914, Asa E. Walden was elected representative from Love County, was re-elected twice and served the people in the Legislature of this State for six years, and in 1920, resumed the practice of law; that in December 1914, Asa E. Walden married Exa Wiseman of Thackerville, and to this union was born five children; Helen Walden; Alice Joe Walden; Jimmie Walden; Rose Marie Walden and Sue Walden; thereafter and in April of 1923, the Governor of the State of Oklahoma, appointed Asa E. Walden District Judge of the Eighth Judicial District of the State of Oklahoma, he being then 29 years of age and the youngest District Judge in Oklahoma; that Judge Walden was re-elected twice to his position, and was District Judge when he died September 1, 1934; that Judge Walden served the people of this District and the State of Oklahoma fearlessly and honestly and was widely and favorably known. That Judge Walden was a member of the Methodist Church of Marietta, and teacher of the Bible Class of that Church, the class being named for him; he was also a member of the Masonic Order.

THEREFORE be it resolved that in the death of Judge Asa E. Walden the Judiciary of this State has lost one of its most valuable Judges; that the Bar of this State has lost one of its brightest members.

THAT THE FAMILY of Judge Walden has lost all, he being a devoted husband and a loving father;

That the Methodist Church has lost an active worker and valuable member.

Page 495

That the people have lost a real friend, for he was in fact a friend of the common man, believing at all times the rights of the oppressed should be protected.

Be it further resolved that a copy of this resolution be spread of record on the journal of the District Court of Love County, Oklahoma; a copy sent to the Historical Society of the State of Oklahoma, a copy to the Historical Society of the State of Texas, and a copy to the family of Judge Walden.

Respectfully submitted,

B. W. Jones
J. W. Dixon
Crawford W. Cameron
John Steele Batson
C. C. Wilkins
O. E. English
W. J. Williams
J. I. Goins,

Page 496



Born October 6, 1843, near Atlanta, Georgia, he was a son of Henry D. Keith and Mary Ann (Jones) Keith. His paternal grandfather was Daniel Keith and grandmother a Miss Slaughter. The grandfather prior to 1850 removed from Meriwether County, Georgia, settling in Louisiana near what is now Keithville, Louisiana. There were four Keith brothers, three of whom settled in Georgia, the other going further west. Henry D. Keith had five children, two dying in infancy, the other three being William Marshal Keith, Henry F. Keith and P. P. Keith, who resides at Keithville, Louisiana, now in his 87th year. Their father Henry D. Keith removed from Georgia to Louisiana prior to the Civil War, purchasing in 1885 the land on which Keithville is now located. William Marshal Keith returned to his grandfather in Georgia to go to school; being there when the Civil War broke out, he enlisted in the Confederate Army on June 24, 1862, at Hall City, Georgia, as a private in Company G. 24th Regiment Infantry, C. S. A., afterwards being wounded at the Battle of Murfreesboro, Tennessee. At the close of the war he returned to his home at Keithville, Louisiana.

In 1868 Rev. Mr. Keith removed to Clarksville, Texas, where he taught school for two years. In 1870 he removed to Indian Territory and on June 4, 1870, was licensed to preach as a local preacher in the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, at Clear Creek Church, about three miles east of what is now Swink, Oklahoma. At the twenty-seventh session Indian Mission Conference Methodist Episcopal Church, South, which convened in the Council House at Okmulgee, Creek Nation, Bishop Wightman presiding, in the appointments as announced on Sunday, October 6, 1872, Mr. Keith was assigned as a supply to Doaksville Circuit. At the twenty-eighth session of the conference at Tahlequah, Cherokee Nation, beginning on October 23, 1873, and held at the Council House, Bishop Geo. F. Pierce presiding, on October 24th, Rev. Mr. Keith being duly recommended from Doaksville Circuit, for deacon's order was so elected by the conference and ordained. At that conference he was appointed to the Doaksville Circuit.

At the twenty-ninth session held at North Fork (near Eufaula) Creek Nation, beginning October 22, 1874, Bishop H. H. Kavanaugh presiding, the second day of the conference Mr. Keith was recommended by the quarterly conference for the Doaksville Circuit, for admission on trial, and the committee reporting an approved examination, he was so admitted. He was appointed to the Doaksville Circuit, Kiamitia District. At the thirtieth session of the conference, held at Atoka, Choctaw Nation, beginning October 6, 1875, Bishop Geo. F. Pierce presiding, having passed an approved examination, he was continued on trial and appointed to the Doaksville Circuit. At the thirty-first session of the conference, beginning October 26, 1876, at Vinita, Cherokee Nation, Bishop H. N. McTyeire presiding, his character was passed. Not being able to attend conference he was admitted in full connection but was continued on trial and appointed to the Doaksville Circuit.

At the thirty-second session, beginning on September 20, 1877, at Stringtown, Choctaw Nation, the bishop not having arrived, the Rev. Young Ewing was elected president of the conference, but in the afternoon session Bishop E. M. Marvin arrived and took the chair. Rev. Keith was admitted into full connection and at that conference was ap-


Page 497

pointed to Doaksville Circuit. Thereafter at the conference in 1878 he was appointed as presiding elder and served for sixteen years as presiding elder of the territory embraced in what was known as the Doaksville District, within what are now Choctaw, McCurtain and Pushmataha Counties, residing during that period about seven miles east of Doaksville. In 1893, on account of his health he was located at his request, and moved to Paris, Texas, where he resided for two years, and then removed to Antlers in the Choctaw Nation; here he engaged in the hotel business until his death on January 26, 1915, when he was buried in the cemetery at Antlers. He was a member of old Doaksville Masonic Lodge as well as the Methodist Church at the time of his death.

He was married to Anna Copeland in 1871 at Garvin, Indian Territory, to which union came four children, Henry C. Keith, Emma F. Keith, Jesse W. Keith and Nannie Keith, all of whom are dead except Jesse W. Keith who now resides at Haileyville, Oklahoma.

After the death of his first wife he was married in 1880 to Miss Bettie Harris, who now resides at 1020 East Eleventh Street, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. To them were born four children, James H. Keith, Mattie Bell Keith, Maggie Keith and Ethel Keith, all of whom survive him. The Keiths are of Scotch extraction.

The records disclose that the Rev. William Marshal Keith was active as a presiding elder and a missionary among the Choctaws. A letter in existence written by J. F. McCurtain, Principal Chief of the Choctaw Nation, states that he sent a letter July 4, 1884, to the Rev. W. H. Keith in regard to proposition made by the missionary board. Having devoted the years of his vigorous manhood to the service of his Master among the Indians, when his health failed he located and lived among the people he had served so faithfully enjoying their confidence and esteem.


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