Hon. Warren H. Brown. In the history of the judiciary of Oklahoma the name of Hon. Warren H. Brown is strongly entrenched. His experiences as a jurist have been varied and interesting and include participation in the exciting events that marked the opening of the Kiowa and Comanche country, in 1902, when only men of the most courageous character were chosen for the bench to settle the numerous disputes that arose between men of the most dangerous and reckless nature. Later he served as county judge of Creek County for four years, leaving that office in 1914 to resume his practice as a lawyer, and at this time he is junior member of the firm of Mars & Brown, one of the leading concerns of Sapulpa.
Judge Brown was born August 21, 1865, at Tinney’s Grove, Ray County, Missouri, and is a son of Caleb and Martha (Fortune) Brown, the former a native of Richland County, Ohio, and the latter of Georgia. The father was still a child when taken to Ray County, Missouri, in a wagon by his parents, and there his subsequent life was passed in agricultural pursuits, his death occurring February 16, 1915. The mother was two years old when her parents left their native state and made their way by flatboat to Jefferson City, Missouri, in 1840, from which point they moved into Ray County, and there Mrs. Brown’s subsequent life was passed, her death occurring October 9, 1890. There were three children in the family: Warren H.; Etta May, who is the wife of John F. Hanna, of Tinney’s Grove, Missouri; and John P., of Sapulpa, Oklahoma.
Warren H. Brown was reared on his father’s farm, receiving his early education in the common schools and the State Normal College, at Warrensburg and Avalon, Missouri. He then began his career as a teacher, his first charge being in Missouri, Ray County, and he taught the first school at Texas, Oklahoma County, Oklahoma, and his second at Okland, the present site of New Walla. Deciding upon a professional career, he began the study of law under H. H. Haward and Judge C. B. Ames, at Oklahoma City, where he was admitted to the bar, but to further prepare himself went to Highland Park College of Law, Des Moines, Iowa, from which he was graduated in 1900, with the degree of Bachelor of Laws. Returning to Oklahoma, in October of the same year he was nominated for county attorney of Oklahoma County on the republican ticket, but was defeated by Judge W. R. Taylor, and subsequently was made chairman of the republican city campaign committee, his capable direction in that campaign leading to the election of C. G. Jones as mayor of Oklahoma City. At the opening of the Kiowa and Comanche country, Mr. Brown was appointed probate judge by Governor Jenkins, and took the oath of office August 6, 1902, his first court held in a large tent in the absence of a courthouse. At that time that part of the country was overrun with outlaws, bad men and desperadoes, who defied the law and the officers, and Judge Brown’s first act in an official way was the swearing in of thirty-six deputy sheriffs to preserve the peace. Among these were such noted characters of the day as Hec Thomas, Bill Tillman, Ed House, S. W. Fenton and Warren Bennett. The law provided that an individual had to be a resident of the county six months before he was eligible for jury service, and, although there were 10,000 people in the city, and more than that in the county, it was extremely difficult to find twelve men to serve, and Judge Brown recollects one jury in particular that contained five ex-convicts. Many men who have since become prominent in state, and even in national, history appeared as practitioners in Judge Brown’s court, including Scott Farris, L. P. Ross, B. M. Parmenter and Wash Hudson, while U. S. Senator Gore tried his first case in Oklahoma with Judge Brown officiating on the bench. Numerous thrilling scenes were enacted in his court, but he was at all times master of the situation and his service in this difficult capacity was one that demonstrated his fine abilities and power over men. In passing, it may be noted that Judge Brown married the first couple to be joined in Comanche County.
In 1903 Judge Brown moved to Oklahoma City, where he engaged in the insurance business in partnership with Hon. W. L. Alexander, now state treasurer. He was subsequently appointed city auditor by Dr. J. F. Missenbaugh, mayor, and held that office until coming to Sapulpa, in 1907, to resume his law practice. Forming a partnership with L. J. Burt, under the style of Burt &Brown, he enjoyed a large and profitable legal business until 1910, when he was elected county judge of Creek County, and, receiving the re-election in 1912, served ably and conscientiously in that judicial position for four years. Since his retirement from the bench he has been engaged in practice as Mars & Brown, his partner being Frank L. Mars, and the firm enjoys a leading practice in estates, land titles and corporation law. Judge Brown is a member of the Creek County Bar Association and the American Bar Association and enjoys the esteem and friendship of his fellow practitioners. He is a fourteenth degree Mason.
On November 25, 1914, Judge Brown was married to Miss Edith M. Henderson, of Topeka, Kansas.