David D. Brunson


David D. Brunson. There is much of interest in the career of David D. Brunson in Oklahoma relating to the intricate problems surrounding land titles in that part of the state formerly the Choctaw and Chickasaw nations, for since he has been practicing law in the state his firm has made a specialty of land matters. A delicate and important distinction existed between the terms “new acquisition” and “ancestral estate,” as applied to lands belonging to Indians, and the issue was drawn in a case which this firm carried to the United States Supreme Court which resulted in an opinion that land given to an Indian by his father or purchased by him with money given by the father should be classified as an ancestral estate. The issue was fundamental in the transfer of lands, and the case was the first carrying the question to the highest tribunal.
In the career of Mr. Brunson in Oklahoma there are other matters of interest relating to the early days of the Coal County region. For instance, while he was city attorney, he prosecuted before the Coalgate city council the case wherein Jim Thompson, city marshal, and a United States deputy marshal were charged with failing to make a report on occupation taxes collected, and under the Arkansas law, prevailing in Indian Territory at that time, he was subject to removal by the council. When the trial began, Mayor Theodore Von Keller. City Attorney Brunson and each of the eight members of the council were armed, as were also attaches of the court and friends of Thompson. Mr. Brunson. his right hand on the trigger of a revolver concealed in his coat pocket, faced Thompson on the witness stand and plied questions that brought out the undeniable guilt of the latter. The situation was tense and every man in the council chambers feared bloodshed. When the vital question was put, Thompson confessed and made a move as if to fire, but was instantly reminded that the concealed revolver of the city attorney was in near proximity. The council voted to discharge Thompson, who, a few hours later, under the influence of liquor, rode along the street armed and looking for some member of the municipal government on whom to get revenge. City Marshal England was the first approached. His revolver was in his hand and he was an expert shot. A twirl of the weapon on his finger and the ball passed through Thompson’s heart. As city attorney, Mr. Brunson also prepared the ordinance that provided for the establishment of the first public school system at Coalgate, in 1902. Four years later he was elected mayor, and during his administration the artesian water supply for the municipal water system was established and the system installed. Mr. Brunson is at present the incumbent of the city attorney’s office.
David D. Brunson was born at Rome, Georgia, November 29, 1873, and is a son of D. T. and Fannie F. (Cheves) Brunson. His mother, a native of Georgia and a descendant of the French Huguenots, now lives at Glenwood, Arkansas. The father, who is a veteran of the Confederate army, in 1862 attended Mercer University of Georgia, as a schoolmate of Doctor Murrow, of Atoka, Oklahoma, one of the editors of this work. The elder Brunson, at the age of twenty-one years, entered the Confederate army with one of the professors of Mercer University and a negro servant named Richards, and the three served together during the war, being at the close among the six of the company of 106 that survived. After the surrender of the Southern forces at Appomattox, Federal soldiers asked black Richard to whom ha belonged and he replied, pointing to his master: “I sho’ is Mas Dad’s niggah.” There were several children in the family of D. T. and Fannie F.
Brunson, of whom two survive: David D., of this notice and Thomas R., a graduate of the University of Arkansas, who is employed by the Interstate Commerce Commission as a civil engineer.
Early in the life of David D. Brunson, his father moved to Stephens County, Texas, which was then a section of the great livestock region of the Lone Star State. Little law prevailed there then and the free range belonged to every man, and each carried weapons of defense. Naturally, school facilities were poor and Mr. Brunson was nine years old before he had an opportunity to attend an institution of learning. After completing the high school grade, he went to Cumberland University, Lebanon, Tennessee, and attended part of a term, and during the next few years he alternated between teaching and attending school until 1901 when, with -$3.00 in his pocket, he opened a law office at Murfreesboro, Arkansas. He remained there six months, being successful in the handling of the few cases that came to him, and then changed his field of operation of Coalgate. The next year he entered a partnership with George A. Fooshee and the firm of Fooshee &Brunson has since continued. This firm has probably tried more cases involving Indian lands than any other in the eastern part of the state. It is the oldest firm in that section and in avoirdupois probably is the largest, Mr. Fooshee weighing 285 pounds and Mr. Brunson 2)0 pounds.
Mr. Brunson was married in October, 1904, at Arkadelphia, Arkansas, to Miss Mattie C. Herring, and they have three children: David D., Jr., aged five years; William T., aged three; and Mary, who is two years old. Mr. Brunson is a member of the Baptist Church, of the local lodge of the Masonic order, of the Coalgate Commercial Club and of the county, state and national organizations of his profession. He has been an active worker in the ranks of the democratic party, having participated on the stump in every campaign since the advent of statehood, and a member of every state convention. He has been chairman of the Senatorial District Committee and a member of the Democratic Central Committee of his congressional district. He is considerably interested in the development of oil and gas in his section of the state, and his firm owns some of the most valuable business property at Coalgate and 1,000 acres of fine agricultural land. He has had a hand in the establishment of the municipal, social, industrial and educational resources of the town, and is an active, progressive spirit in all avenues of public progress.