Robert Lee Williams

Robert Lee Williams

Birth
Brundidge, Pike County, Alabama, USA
Death 10 Apr 1948 (aged 79)
Durant, Bryan County, Oklahoma, USA
Burial Durant, Bryan County, Oklahoma, USA
Memorial ID 26819661 · View Source
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Oklahoma Governor. Growing up in Alabama, Williams became an attorney and Methodist minister before moving to Indian Territory where he increasingly became involved in local politics. He became a leading organizer of the Democratic party in Oklahoma. When Oklahoma became a state in 1907, its first Governor, Charles Haskell, appointed Williams to the Supreme Court. From 1907 until 1914, Williams served as Chief Justice of the Oklahoma Supreme Court. In 1914, he resigned the position of Chief Justice to run for Governor. He won a narrow victory over John Fields, and was inaugurated Governor on January 11, 1915. The state was facing economic problems. which Williams addressed by consolidating state agencies, reducing appropriations, and increasing state revenues. He also pushed for a highway construction bill, a state insurance bond, and an office of pardons and paroles. In 1915, the U. S. Supreme Court in the case of Guinn vs. United States declared the state's "grandfather clause" unconstitutional because its purpose was to deny African-Americans the right to vote. Williams called for a special legislative session to devise a method to continue the discrimination against African-American voters. The legislature proposed a literacy test, but it was rejected by the voters. At the beginning of World War I, some Oklahomans opposed the draft in what was known as the "Green Corn Rebellion." The uprising was crushed under Williams' direction. At the conclusion of his administration in 1919, Williams was appointed by President Wilson to be a United States Judge for the Eastern District of Oklahoma. He held the position from 1919 to 1937, when President Roosevelt elevated him to the Tenth Circuit Court. He retired from that court in 1939, but continued to provide judical advice and services until his death in 1948.

Bio by: Thomas Fisher



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  • Maintained by: Find a Grave
  • Originally Created by: Thomas Fisher
  • Added: 14 May 2008
  • Find a Grave Memorial 26819661
  • Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Robert Lee Williams (20 Dec 1868–10 Apr 1948), Find a Grave Memorial no. 26819661, citing Highland Cemetery, Durant, Bryan County, Oklahoma, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .