Judge Edgar Sullins Vaught

Judge Edgar Sullins Vaught

Speedwell, Wythe County, Virginia, USA
Death 5 Dec 1959 (aged 86)
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma County, Oklahoma, USA
Burial Oklahoma City, Oklahoma County, Oklahoma, USA
Plot Abbey Mausoleum
Memorial ID 51870400 · View Source
Suggest Edits

Judge Vaught gained his fame as a judge while presiding over the trial of George "Machine Gun" Kelly in the Charles Urschel Kidnaping case in 1933 in Oklahoma City.

Inducted into Oklahoma Hall of Fame in 1941

obituary: Vaught, Famed Federal Judge-Churchman, Dies; Heart Attack Is Fatal at 86 in City Home; Long Career Colorful.

Death Saturday claimed Oklahoma's best known federal judge, Edgar S Vaught, 86, in his home at 1422 NW 36.

Vaught, who was appointed federal judge May 31, 1928, served continuously on the bench until Jan 7, 1956, when he "retired" but continued to hold court throughout the United States. He received his appointment from President Calvin Coolidge.

Vaught was stricken at his home shortly after 9am Saturday and died almost instantly, apparently from a blood clot.

The judge, a former Oklahoma City high school principal and superintendent of schools was ...at Dandridge TN, Nov 1, 1899.

The Vaughts moved to Oklahoma City in 1901. Vaught first served as principal of the Oklahoma City high school and then became superintendent of schools. He studied law at night and was admitted to the bar in 1905, starting private practice the following year.

He left private practice to accept the federal judgeship from President Coolidge in 1928 after having served as international president of the Lions Club in 1922.

He won wide attention when he held unconstitutional five New Deal codes--those governing petroleum, automobile, hotel, dairy and dry cleaning industries. The decisions later were sustained by higher courts.

Although he "retired" from the bench in 1956, he remained on active call and held court throughout the United States.

A few months after his retirement, he was called to Washington DC to help clear a crowded court docket. In about a month he disposed of 20 cases, 19 of them before juries, with production-line speed.

His bench colleagues in the District of Columbia wondered if his "retirement" was a "myth or a technicality."

The judge would not know until minutes before he went on the bench what cases he would hear. Sometimes the jackets would be placed before him as he entered the courtroom.

Court hours in Washington are from 10am until 4:30pm. The judge liked to point out that in Oklahoma City, he was used to working from 9:30am until 5pm.

He followed the football fortunes of the University of Oklahoma wherever he went and was an avid fisherman.

The judge maintained his offices on the ninth floor of the courthouse here. There he had a complete series of portraits of the US supreme court justices from John Jay to Earl Warren.

The last five are personally signed by chief justices under whom he has served--William Howard Taft, Charles Evans Hughes, Harlan Stone, Fred Vinson and Warren.

Judge Vaught is survived by his two daughters, Mrs. Wayman J (Ruth) Thompson, 3120 NW 19 and Mrs Marquis S (Eleanor) Morris, El Reno, and one son, Edgar S Vaught Jr of the home and one sister, Mrs Kathryn Ayers, 2612 N Military. There also are two granddaughters and a great grandson.

Services will be announced by Hahn-Cook Funeral Home. Burial will be in the Rose Hill mausoleum. The judge's family prefers that friends wishing to make memorial contributions do so with donations to the Medical Research Foundation.

(Published in Oklahoma City Times, 5 Dec 1959)

Biography on-line at Oklahoma State University

Parents: Noah Trigg Vaught 1840-1916 and Minerva Jane Atkins 1840-1901 of Wythe County Virginia

Sons of the American Revolution

Family Members


Sponsored by Ancestry


Plan a visit to Rose Hill Burial Park?



  • Created by: Janet LaMotte, MHR
  • Added: 1 May 2010
  • Find A Grave Memorial 51870400
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Judge Edgar Sullins Vaught (7 Jan 1873–5 Dec 1959), Find A Grave Memorial no. 51870400, citing Rose Hill Burial Park, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma County, Oklahoma, USA ; Maintained by Janet LaMotte, MHR (contributor 46988542) .