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Thomas W. Champion. Since 1909 Judge Champion has been a representative and honored member of the bar of Carter County, for in that year he here associated himself in practice with his twin brother, Joseph B., who had preceded him to Oklahoma by about six months. The firm of Champion & Champion forthwith assumed a position of priority at the bar of the county and the active alliance of the twin brothers continued until the election of Thomas W. to the bench of the County Court, in the autumn of 1914, since which time Joseph B. Champion has continued in active charge of the substantial and important law business built up by the firm at Ardmore, the judicial center of the county. He is made the subject of individual mention on other pages of this publication.
Judge Thomas W. Champion was born on the homestead farm of his parents in Livingston County, Kentucky, and the date of his nativity was July 21, 1879. His father, Joseph B. Champion, Sr., was born in that same county, in 1849, and there passed his entire life, his active career having been marked by close and successful identification with the fundamental industries of agriculture and stockgrowing, of which he was a prominent representative in his section of the old Bluegrass State. He was a man of strong mentality, well fortified convictions and impregnable integrity of character. His political allegiance was given without reservation to the democratic party, he was affiliated with the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, and both he and his wife were zealous and consistent members of the Baptist Church, on the official board of which he served many years. He died at the old home in Livingston County, Kentucky, in May, 1912. and his widow passed the closing years of her life with her sons, at Ardmore, Oklahoma, where she was summoned to eternal rest in 1909. Her maiden name was Ella Nelson, and she likewise was born and reared in Kentucky, the year of her nativity having been 1859. Of the three children the first born were the twin brothers, Thomas W. and Joseph B., and the younger brother. Robert, is a successful and popular teacher, being established in the work of his profession at Wagon Mound, New Mexico, at the time of this writing, in 1915.
The excellent schools of his native county afforded to Judge Champion his preliminary educational advantages, and in 1896 he was graduated in Hampton Academy, at Hampton, Kentucky. He devoted the ensuing two years to teaching in the schools of Livingston County, and thereafter pursued a course of study in the Kentucky Southern Normal School, at Bowling Green, where he was a student in this institution two years. In preparation for the profession of his choice he entered the law department of Bowling Green University, in which he was graduated as a member of the class of 1902 and from which he received his degree of Bachelor of Laws. He was an active member of the Justian Society, maintained by students in the law department of the institution, and was active and popular in connection with athletic affairs at the university.
After his admission to the bar of his native state Judge Champion was signally favored in that he was able to serve his professional novitiate in the office of Hon. Ollie M. James, at Marion, Crittenden County, Kentucky, Mr. James having at that time been a representative of his district in the House of Representatives of the National Legislature, and is now a United States senator, and the twin brother of Judge Champion likewise was associated in this initial stage of their law practice. In 1904 the two brothers opened an independent law office at Marion, where they continued to be associated in practice until 1908. In September of that year Joseph B. came to the new State of Oklahoma and established his residence at Ardmore, Carter County, where he was joined by his twin coadjutor in the following February. The firm soon built up a successful law business, extending into both the civil and criminal departments of practice, and the effective alliance continued unimpaired until Thomas W. Champion was elected judge of the County Court, in November, 1914. On this bench Judge Champion is giving a most able and satisfactory administration, and he holds high vantage-ground as one of the representative lawyers and jurists of Southern Oklahoma. He is aligned as a staunch supporter of the cause of the democratic party and is essentially progressive and public spirited in his civic attitude. At the primary election in which he was nominated for the office of county judge he had four opponents, and the popular estimate placed upon him was distinctively manifested at this time, for he received more votes than did the four other aspirants combined, and carried every precinct in the county except one.
Judge Champion is vice president of the Carter County Bar Association, and is identified also with the Oklahoma State Bar Association and the American Bar Association. He is affiliated with the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks and the Woodmen of the World. Judge Champion is the owner of 500 acres of valuable farm land, in Carter and Jefferson counties, and also owns improved residence property in Ardmore, including his own attractive home, on G Street Southwest.
It may be noted that Joseph Benjamin Champion, the grandfather of Judge Champion, was born in Livingston County, Kentucky, in 1811, and there passed his entire life as a farmer and stockgrower, his death having occurred in 1903, after he had attained to the venerable age of ninety two years. His father was a Kentucky pioneer from North Carolina, and the original American progenitors of the Champion family came from France, in the colonial era of our national history.
In November, 1904, was solemnized the marriage of Judge Champion to Miss Daisy Towery, daughter of Judge Aaron Towery, who formerly served on the bench of the County Court of Crittenden County, Kentucky. Judge and Mrs. Champion have one child, Charles, who was born on the 4th of October, 1905, and who is attending the public schools of Ardmore.