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William C. McAlister. When William C. McAlister was elected a member of the State Senate in 1912 from the Twenty-fourth Senatorial District, he brought to that body not legislative experience but a reputation as a thoroughly successful business man and certain definite aims and purposes formulated as a result of his residence in the old Choctaw Nation, and has proved an exceedingly valuable member of both the Fourth and Fifth Legislatures.
William C. McAlister was born in Marlboro County, South Carolina, in 1870, a son of Charles A. and Emily McAlister. The family is of Scotch origin, and the ancestry is traced back to a prominent clan in Scotland. Charles A. McAlister was a soldier in the Confederate army, serving with a regiment raised in South Carolina, his native state, and acted in the capacity of courier. Senator McAlister has a brother, A. G. McAlister, who has been on the Superior Court bench in Arizona since the admission of that state to the Union, and is a resident of Solomonville. Another brother, C. A. Jr., is secretary of the Mallary and Taylor Iron Works at Macon, Georgia. There are two sisters, one of them married, both living in South Carolina.
Senator McAlister received his fundamental education in the common schools of his native state. In 1895 he was graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, with the degree Bachelor of Arts. The following year he took a law course in the university and in 1896 was admitted to the bar. He soon saw, however, that the law would not satisfy his active temperament and instead of taking up practice he began teaching. His first school was in the town of Monroe, North Carolina, but a year later he came to Texas and for three years had a position in the city schools of Emus. During the succeeding three years he was superintendent of schools at Texarkana, Arkansas, but abandoned that profession at the end of his last term there. Since 1908 Mr. McAlister has been one of the stirring business men of Hugo, engaged in the contracting business. He has found this a field affording full scope to his energies and has been successful both in the development of engineering ideas and from a financial standpoint. His work has been confined largely to bridge and re-enforced concrete construction, and most of his contracts have been with municipalities and railroads.
Mr. McAlister was married in 1906 to Miss Jewel Hill of Ennis, Texas, daughter of a Texas pioneer. They are the parents of two children: William C. Jr., aged seven; and Carl Hill, aged five. Mr. McAlister is affiliated with the Masonic Order and with several minor orders.
His only political aspiration before he became a candidate for the State Senate in 1912 was satisfied when he was elected a member of the Board of Education at Hugo, a position he filled for several successive terms. Having been a teacher, he was ambitious that the public schools of Oklahoma be raised to the highest possible standard and it was with definite convictions and ideals along this line that he entered the Fourth Legislature. During that Legislature he was especially alert in educational matters, and advocated a number of bills that were designed to improve conditions and institutions in the state. He was a member of the Committee on Education. Within his district lies a part of the hunting and fishing region of the Kiamichi Mountains, and that has caused him to take interest in legislation pertaining to fish and game. In common with other legislators from the old Choctaw Nation region, Senator McAlister has been much concerned on the subject of construction of good roads. Owing to the fact that Indians own a large per cent of the land in that part of the state and that it is not subject to taxation, it has been one of the most serious problems confronting local authorities and the Legislature how to pay for the building of roads. During the Fourth Legislature Senator McAlister was a member of the sub-committee on education that codified the school laws of Oklahoma.