Franklin E. Kennemer


Franklin E. Kennamer. Probably no man in the former Chickasaw Nation clings more faithfully to the delightful pastime custom of the pioneers in the matter of hunting than does Mr. Kennamer. Many times each year he forgets for the time being the knotty problems of law that have so engrossed him in the successful practice of his profession–problems that have involved issues of striking import under a form of state government still in an experimental stage and men charged with the violation of statutes prohibiting all manner of offences–forgets the assembling of men in a modern cosmopolitan community and harks back to the period when the nation was young, and flees to the heart of nature that was the hunting ground of the carefree red men of half a century ago. This fact in the life of Mr. Kennamer is important for it illustrates a phase of his character that is refreshing, and displays therein a measure of romance of the sort that flourished and was mellow among a historic tribe that has been practically absorbed in the cosmos of Caucasian superiority. It was the hunting grounds last of all that the Indians were loath to surrender. Kennamer is an intermediary, standing figuratively for an eminence that inclines on the one hand toward the forest primeval, and on the other toward towering buildings and the marts of commerce.
Slow and droll of speech, Mr. Kennamer is a type of the old South. Trained in law and ready of wit, he is a type of the frank, progressive westerner. It; is worthy of mention that he is a republican in politics. Although a native of Alabama, his father, Seaborn F. Kennamer, declined to support the cause of the Confederacy and enlisted as a soldier in the Union army. The elder Kennamer was a native of Marshall County, Alabama, and he died at Guntersville in that county, Juno 16, 1915. The ancestors of the family were from England, and four brothers of them established themselves at a place in Alabama afterwards known as Kennamers’ Cove. Mr. Kennamer’s mother was Elizabeth Mitchell, and her parents were native Tennesseans who migrated into Alabama when she was quite young.
Franklin E. Kennamer was born in Alabama in 1879. He had his early education in the public schools of his native community and in a private college at Scottsboro, Alabama, which he attended two years. During that time in Scottsboro he also studied law in the office of Virgil Bouldin, one of the lending lawyers of his day in that section of the state. In 1898 Mr. Kennamer came to Indian Territory and remained one year, returning to Alabama where he taught school for two years. In 1901 he returned to Indian Territory and there took up teaching, continuing in the work for three years longer. In 1905 he was admitted to the bar and began the practice of law in Madill as a partner of G. E. Rider. This partnership was of short duration, and in 1908 he became the associate of Charles Coakley. This partnership has continued down to the present time, save for a period during which Mr. Coakley was county attorney of Marshall County. The firm of Kennamer & Coakley has conducted a large amount of Indian land litigation and has been interested in many important criminal cases. It represents locally the Rock Island and Frisco railroad lines, and all considered is one of the foremost legal firms in the county. Mr. Kennamer has been three times city attorney of Madill.
On April 8, 1903, Mr. Kennamer was married at Tishomingo to Miss Lillie Florence. They have four children, Opal, Juanita, Franklin E., Jr., and Phillip Kennamer.
In Mr. Kennamer’s immediate family there were six sons and three daughters. All are living today. T. J. Kennamer is a mail contractor at Birmingham, Alabama. C. B. Kennamer is a lawyer at Guntorsville, Alabama, the old family home, and he once served as assistant to United States District Attorney 0. D. Street of Alabama. J. S. Kennamer is a clerk in the postoffice department at Washington. D. W. Kennamer has a post in the Department of Commerce and Labor at Washington. S. R. Kennamer is postmaster of Guntersville. Miss Mary lives with her brother at Guntersville. The remaining sisters of Mr. Kennamer are Mrs. Barton Noel, of Boaz, Alabama, and Mrs. Mattie Smith.
Mr. Kennnmer is a member of the Commercial Club, the Civic League and the Good Roads Club, while his fraternal relations are confined to the Madill Lodge of the Woodmen of the World. He is very much interested in agricultural activities, and is the owner of some splendid farm land in the county as an incentive to the advancement of a general enthusiasm for agriculture. He has a nice home in Madill.
How Mr. Kennamer is regarded in his home locality is well indicated by a felicitous editorial which appeared in the Marshall County News-Democrat in July, 1915: “A profound respect and constant admiration in the hearts of the many good men of Marshall County for F. E. Kennamer have made him the great man in the legal profession that he is today. His knowledge of the law and ability to express himself in open court is greatly due to the love his fellow men have bestowed upon him. Thus great men are made or ruined. No man, however high in the affairs of the world, dislikes the kind words of a friend. On the other hand, uncomplimentary things have the reversed effect. Nothing is more applicable than this little verse:
‘ If with pleasure you are viewing
  A piece of work a man is doing,
  And you think praise is due him,
  Now’s the time to slip it to him,
  For he cannot read his tombstone when he’s dead.’
“Kennamer has made a great record in the courts of Southern Oklahoma as a trial lawyer. He has defended many cases where the charges were so grave in their nature that conviction seemed inevitable. But Kennamer was always there on trial day with the full facts and both sides of the story, thus preventing innocent men from serving sentences in the state prison or meeting disgraceful death on the scaffold. To give the devil his dues, it is quite true that he has made enemies, some because of the narrow vision of envy and some because of his power to reveal facts that were not flattering to their pride. The respect and good will of his friends, with the talents bestowed by the powers of heaven, have made him the great lawyer and man that he is today. He is a kind and loving father and husband, and a friend to his friends.”