Hon. James R. Keaton.
The position occupied by Hon. James R.
Keaton as a member of the general council of the American Bar
Association, and of the committee to oppose the judicial recall of
the association, is evidence of the possession of qualities and
talents far beyond the ordinary, for only a mind of unusual breadth
and depth, persistent grasp and wide range of abilities can cope with
the problems that confront this body, the members of which are chosen
one from each state. For a quarter of a century Judge Keaton has been
engaged in the practice of law in Oklahoma, and since 1896 has been a
resident of Oklahoma City. It is probable that no man in the state
stands higher in his profession.
Judge Keaton was
born December 10, 1861, in Carter County, Kentucky, and is a son of
Nelson T. and Mary A. (Huff) Keaton. His- father, who passed his
active years in agricultural pursuits in Kentucky, served in the
Union army during the Civil war, and as a member of General Sherman’s
command was captured at the siege of Vicksburg and for six months
held prisoner. With the organization of the Grand Army of the
Republic, he became active in its movements, and for some years was
commander of his post.
Judge James R.
Keaton was given his preparatory education at the National Normal
University, Lebanon, Ohio, where he was graduated in 1884 with the
degree of Bachelor of Science, following which he went to Texas and
from 1884 until 1887 was principal of the Hico (Texas) High School.
During this period he became proprietor and editor of the Hico
Courier, which he published from 1886 until 1888, and also, in
connection with his editorial duties took up the study of law. In
188S he entered Georgetown University, Washington, D. C,
and in 1890 was graduated from the law
department thereof with the degree of Bachelor of Laws, shortly
thereafter being admitted to the bar and coming to Oklahoma. He at
once entered upon the practice of his profession at Guthrie, where he
continued until 1896, then coming to Oklahoma City and being
appointed associate justice of the Supreme Court and ex-officio judge
of the Third Judicial District of Oklahoma Territory, but in 1898
resigned to become the fusion candidate of the democratic and
populist parties for delegate to Congress. Being unsuccessful in his
campaign, he again took up his practice, continuing alone until
April, 1902, when he became a member of the law firm of Shartel,
Keaton & Wells, at Oklahoma City. This firm continued until
November, 1913, when Mr. Shartel retired and the style of Keaton,
was adopted and thus continues, the firm having offices at No. 600
Judge Keaton is a
member of the American Bar Association and was, for several years, a
member of the general council thereof, which is the directing body,
and has also been a member, since it was created, in 1911, of the
committee to oppose the judicial recall of the association, this body
consisting of one member from each state, Judge Keaton being selected
to represent the State of Oklahoma. He also holds membership in the
Oklahoma State Bar Association. Although his professional and
official duties have been arduous and exacting, they have not
absorbed his energies to the exclusion of the general interests of
the community. He has interested himself in the development of
Oklahoma commercially, industrially and educationally, and has varied
and extensive interests in the oil fields and other industries.
Judge Keaton was
married July 17, 1890, to Mrs. Lucille Johnston, daughter of William
R. Davenport, who was a native of North Carolina and consul to Mexico
for the Confederate government during the Civil war. One sou has been
born to Judge and Mrs. Keaton: Clarence, who is a resident of Long
Beach, California. The Keaton home is situated at No. 118 West Sixth
Street, Oklahoma City.