Judge William B. Morton. There are many points of more than ordinary interest in connection with the career of Hon. William B. Morton, especially as touching the pioneer history of the great western division of our national domain, and relative to his personal prestige as a lawyer, legislator and progressive and influential citizen. He is now known and honored as one of the representative older members of the bar of Creek County and is engaged in the practice of his profession in the Town of Kiefer, of which he is a pioneer and with the civic and material development and upbuilding of which he has been closely identified.
Mr. Morton is a native of the Hawkeye State and a scion of one of its earliest pioneer families. He was born at Muscatine, Iowa, the judicial center of the county of the same name, on the 2d of May, 1848, when that now important and metropolitan city was a mere hamlet, his parents having been numbered among the first settlers in the wilds of Muscatine County. He is a son of William B. and Permelia (Bell) Morton, the former a native of Pennsylvania and the latter of Ohio, in which state their marriage was solemnized, the names of both families having been worthily linked with American history for many generations. William B. Morton, Sr., and his wife removed from the old Buckeye State to Iowa in 1839 and established their home in Muscatine County, where Mr. Morton entered claim to Government land and essayed the onerous task of reclaiming a farm from the frontier wilderness. He and his devoted wife lived up to the full tension of the early pioneer era and contributed their quota to the civic and industrial development and progress of Muscatine County, upon the enduring roster of whose sterling pioneers their names merit high place. Mr. Morton died in 1854, when about fifty-five years of age, and his wife survived him by nearly forty years, she having been summoned to the life eternal in 1892, at the venerable age of eighty years. They became the parents of five sons and three daughters.
He whose name initiates this review was reared under the conditions and influences in the pioneer era of the history of Iowa, and he continued to reside on the old homestead farm until the death of his father, when his widowed mother and her children removed into the City of Muscatine, which was then an ambitious little city that was giving excellent auguries for its future importance as one of the populous and opulent municipalities of the Hawkeye State. From an early period in its history to the present time Iowa has maintained an advanced position in the domain of educational advantages, and even gained prestige as having the smallest percentage of illiteracy of all states in the Union. This it was the privilege of Mr. Morton in his youth to avail himself of the excellent opportunities afforded in the schools of his native county, and after the removal of the family to Muscatine he there attended the public schools until he had completed the curriculum of the high school, in which he was graduated as a member of the class of 1868. Thereafter he gave close attention to the study of law in the office and under the preceptorship of one of the leading members of the bar of Muscatine, and such was his ready absorption and assimilation of the involved science of jurisprudence that in 1871 he proved himself eligible for and was admitted to the bar of his native state. Thereafter he continued in the active general practice of his profession at Muscatine until 1879, when he removed to Boone County, Arkansas, and turned his attention to agricultural pursuits and the conducting of a general store in the rural community. He continued to reside on his farm for a number of years, and in the meanwhile found frequent requisition for his professional services, besides which he became a prominent and influential factor in political affairs in his county. In 1894 he was elected representative of his district in the upper house of the Arkansas Legislature, in which he had the distinction of being the only republican member of the Senate. Senator Morton proved a loyal, zealous and efficient legislator, and though he was emphatically in the minority side of the Senate in a political sense, he proved an influential and popular member of that body during his regular term, which comprised four years. He did not appear as a candidate for re-election. After his retirement from the Legislature Mr. Morton established his residence at Harrison, the judicial center of Boone County, and in the first administration of President McKinley he was appointed postmaster of that place, an office of which he continued the incumbent until 1906, when he came to Indian Territory and soon established his residence in the embryonic Town of Kiefer, now one of the thriving and important villages of Creek County, Oklahoma. He was numbered among the first settlers of the village and from the beginning has lent his energies and effective influence in the furthering of measures and enterprises that have tended to advance the social and material wellbeing of the town and the county. He has served as city attorney since the time of the incorporation of the village and is recognized as one of the able and representative members of the bar of Creek County, virtually his entire time and attention being now given to the practice of his profession and his law business being of substantial order, as based upon unqualified popular confidence and esteem. He is an appreciative and valued member of the Creek County Bar Association and in a fraternal way is affiliated with the Independent Order of Odd Fellows. He has never wavered in his allegiance to the republican party and is one of its prominent and influential representatives in Creek County.
In the year 1883 was solemnized the marriage of Mr. Morton to Miss Sarah R. Franklin, who was born in the State of Tennessee, on the 10th of June, 1854, and who was eleven years of age at the time of her parents’ removal to Arkansas. She is a daughter of David D. Franklin, who continued his residence in Boone County, Arkansas, until the time of his death and whose wife preceded him to eternal rest. Mr. and Mrs. Morton have two sons,–Oscar, who remains at the parental home, and Edgar, who resides in Kiefer. Edgar Morton married Miss Edith Chapman and they have one son, Byron E.