Chronicles of Oklahoma

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Chronicles of Oklahoma
Volume 14, No. 4
December, 1936
IN MEMORIAM

Page 520

PROCEEDINGS ON THE DEATH OF MR. JUSTICE CHARLES M. THACKER

———

Be it remembered that on this April 8, 1918, Supreme Court convened pursuant to adjournment of April 2, 1918.

Present: J. F. Sharp, Chief Justice; Matthew J. Kane, Summers Hardy, T. H. Owen, R. Brett, J. H. Miley, R. M. Rainey, and B. L. Tisinger, Associate Justices; NV. M. Franklin, Clerk; W. T. Field, Marshal.

Publis proclamation of the opening of court having been made for the transaction of such business as might properly come before it, the following proceedings were had, towit:

And now on this day memorial services were held out of respect for and in memory of Mr. Justice Charles M. Thacker, whose death occurred February 17, 1918.

On motion of Judge T. P. Clay, it is ordered by the court that resolutions submitted and addresses be spread of record upon the records of the Supreme Court.

———

ADDRESS OF HON. THOS. H. DOYLE, PRESIDING JUDGE OF THE CRIMINAL COURT OF APPEALS.

Mr. Chief Justice and Brethren of the Bench and Bar:

In the untimely death of Hon. Charles M. Thacker, this honorable court, and the state and people of Oklahoma, have sustained a great bereavement.

In the prime of manhood, in the zenith of his usefulness and in the midst of his labors, he was cut down by the Grim Reaper, and it is fitting that in this hall of justice we are assembled to honor his memory by paying tribute to his exalted

Page 521

character, and by recalling those qualities that made him conspicuous as an able, just, and upright judge.

For twenty years I knew him intimately, and I should do less than justice to the emotions of the hour if I did not add a simple tribute of esteem, and of respect to the memory of one whose friendship is an honor of my life.

Born in Virginia, a son of the "Old Dominion," in his early manhood he moved to Texas, and was there admitted to the bar.

On April 22, 1889, Oklahoma was first opened to white settlement. About that time Judge Thacker located at Mangum, Greer County, then under the jurisdiction of Texas, and engaged in the practice of his profession, and there resided until the time of his death. Thus it was that the practical life work of Judge Thacker was almost wholly within what is now the state of Oklahoma, and his career as a citizen, lawyer, legislator, and judge has deeply impressed itself upon the history of Oklahoma, territory and state. It has been truly said that Judge Thacker was one of the fathers and founders of the state.

During his residence at Mangum, for nearly twenty-nine years, Judge Thacker occupied many positions, professional and lay; executive, legislative, and judicial. When on March 16, 1896, the Supreme Court of the United States decided that Greer county was not a part of the State of Texas, he had served as county attorney and as county judge of said county.

In 1898 he was elected to the upper house of the Territorial Assembly from the Thirteenth district, composed of the old original counties of Beaver, Woodward, Day, Dewey, Custer, Washita, Roger Mills, and Greer. I was re-elected as a member of the lower house that year. Thus, it was my good fortune to be associated with him as a legislator, and for several years last past we served together as members of the board of directors of the State Historical Society.

Page 522

In 1900 Judge Thacker was elected county attorney of Greer county, and by successive elections was continued in that office until Oklahoma was admitted as a state. For nearly seven years preceding statehood, he served as a member of the board of regents of the territorial normal schools. In 1903 he was elected mayor of Mangum, his home city, and served the term. On March 19, 1913, he was by this honorable court appointed as a member from the state at large to the Supreme Court Commission, and occupied this position until he took his seat on the Supreme Bench, having been appointed by Governor Williams, November 1, 1915, for the unexpired term of the lamented Justice Brown. At the general election in 1916, he was elected to succeed himself for the full term of six years. So far as I know, or have been able to learn, these offices rather sought him than he them. He filled all these offices with singular fidelity and zeal, and to say that he filled them with ability would be but faint praise.

Judge Thacker had a deep sense of the duties of life in all its relations, and he was always true to his own sense of duty. In his character were mixed and blended all those traits and elements which go to make up God's noblest work, an honest man. He was not a man of genius, but he had a force of character, a firmness of will, and a strength of conviction which made his high ability of more value than genius.

As a judge he was able, faithful, fearless, and upright, and he has left his character stamped upon our jurisprudence in no faint or feeble lines. It is not fulsome praise to say that he was as conscientious a judge as ever occupied the bench in any country at any time.

He possessed, as he deserved, in the highest degree, the confidence and esteem of the people of the state, and now looking over his life work the people of Oklahoma must feel a just pride in remembering that he was one of them when they were but a few thousands in a territory, and now are more than two millions in population, dwelling in a commonwealth

Page 523

whose laws are a monument of honor to the state, and that he aided and assisted in nearly all that has been done. He was proud of his adopted state and wished to honor it, as it had honored him.

That which makes a state great is the character of its citizens. One of the strongest influences in the moulding of character is the example of the great and good who have passed on to their eternal reward. It has been well and truly said that, "To set a lofty example is the richest bequest a man can leave behind him."

He has gone from us forever, but he has left to us and to those who shall come after us the priceless legacy of his example.

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