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William T. Bingham. The present city attorney of Erick, William T. Bingham, has illustrated in a diversified career the possibility of control over early limitations. For nine years or more during his early life he wandered over many states, engaged in a variety of occupations, and while during this time he was not firmly established in any vocation he gained a breadth of view and an insight into human nature that have been of great and practical value to him in later years. When he was ready to settle down and take a serious part in the world’s affairs he prepared himself by self-study for the law, a profession in which he has made such rapid advancement that he is now recognized as one of the leaders of the Beckham County bar.
Mr. Bingham was born in Howell County, Missouri, August 13, 1878, and is a son of J. S. and Louise (Caldwell) Bingham. The family is of English-Irish origin and the American founder came to this country and located in North Carolina about the beginning of the War of 1812. J. S. Bingham was born in Adair County, Kentucky, in 1842, and during the Civil war served in the Thirteenth United States Cavalry, receiving several wounds. At the close of the conflict he returned to Kentucky, where he was married to Louise Caldwell, who was born at Greensburg, that state, in 1844, and not long thereafter they removed to Howell County, Missouri, where the father was engaged in farming and stock raising operations until the time of his retirement. For the past forty years he has been a leader and officer in the Methodist Episcopal Church. Eight children were born to J. S. and Louise Bingham, as follows: Capitola, who is the wife of L. M. Barley, a farmer and stockman of Colorado; Dr. J. W., a practicing physician and surgeon of Pottersville, Missouri; Ollie, who is the wife of J. A. Raney, a merchant of West Plains, Missouri; William T.; Annie, who is the wife of George Farrell, a farmer and stockman of Fulton County, Arkansas; Luther, a fruit grower at El Centro, in the Imperial Valley of California; Marvin, who is manager of the Aiken Lumber Company, at Willows, Saskatchewan, Canada; and Fred, a merchant at Moody, Missouri.
William T. Bingham was reared on his father’s farm in Howell County, Missouri, where in a limited way he attended the district schools. At that time, however, school attendance did not appeal to the lad, who had a desire to see the world and whose youthful mind did not appreciate the value of an education. When he was fourteen years old he left home and began to travel, his journeyings subsequently taking him through the states of Illinois, Indiana, Virginia, West Virginia, Arkansas, Mississippi, Tennessee, Louisiana, Texas, New Mexico, Wyoming, Colorado, Arizona, North Dakota and South Dakota and into Canada. He independently made his own way, relying entirely upon his own abilities, and accepted whatever honorable employment would bring remuneration, from acting to foreman of a ranch to bricklaying and horse wrangling. He came in 1901 to Beckham County, Oklahoma, with little more than a wealth of experience gained through association with all kinds and conditions of men, and secured a position as foreman of a ranch near Erick, a position which he held for 3½ years. He also took up a claim of 160 acres, which he proved up and sold. In the meantime he had begun to realize his need of further education, and, securing a position as a teacher in a country school, began to devote himself whole-heartedly to preparing himself for the higher things of life. For four years, while teaching, he studied assiduously, and then took up the study of law, finally taking a correspondence school course in that profession. Admitted to the barn June 29, 1913, in something more than two years he has come into prominence in his profession, and is now carrying on a large practice in civil and criminal law, having had more than the average amount of business in the latter branch. In the fall of 1914 he was elected city attorney of Erick, a position which he retains. That his abilities are appreciated by his fellow-members in the Oklahoma Bar Association is evidenced by the fact that he is a member of the important committee on Legal Ethics. Mr. Bingham has offices in Rooms 3 and 4, Erick State Bank Building. Mr. Bingham is a democrat in his political affiliation, and aside from his duties as city attorney has discharged those of member of the school board. His fraternal connections include membership in Erick Lodge No. 237, Ancient Free & Accepted Masons, of which he is past master, and Erick Lodge of Oddfellowship. With Mrs. Bingham, he belongs to the Methodist Episcopal Church. He has been successful in a material way, and has shown his faith in the future of this part of the state by his investments, being the owner of his own residence on West Broadway and two business buildings on Main Street.
Mr. Bingham was married December 22, 1913, at Erick, to Miss Bessie Swisher, daughter of P. E. Swisher, a stock farmer of Shelbyville, Missouri.