William T. Hutchings. The law is known as a stern mistress, demanding of her followers constant and unremitting attention, and leading them through many mazes and intricacies before granting them success at her hands. This incessant devotion frequently precludes the idea of the successful lawyer indulging in activities outside of the straight path of his profession, especially if his vocational duties are of a large and important character. There are men, however, who find the time and the inclination to devote to outside interests, and who, by the very reason of their ability in the law, are peculiarly and particularly fitted to perform capable service therein. William T. Hutchings, of Muskogee, has been known in that city for a quarter of a century as a close devotee of the law. A master of its perplexities and complexities, his activities have been directed incessantly to the demands of his calling. Yet he has found the leisure to discharge in a highly efficient manner the duties dictated by a high ideal of citizenship, and he is therefore probably as well known as a public spirited factor in civic affairs as he is as a thorough, learned and profound legist.
William T. Hutchings was born on his father’s plantation in Pittsylvania County, Virginia, September 6, 1858, a son of Dr. John M. and Sallie Anne (White) Hutchings, natives of the Old Dominion and both members of “first families” of Virginia. The ancestors of both the Hutchings and White families came to America from England during Colonial days, and members of both assisted in the winning of American independence. Dr. John M. Hutchings was a physician and planter, and both in his profession and his pastoral pursuits gained more than an ordinary success.
William T. Hutchings was twelve years of age when his parents settled at Danville, Virginia, and there he grew to manhood. His early education was received under the instruction of a private tutor, and he was then sent to the Bingham School, in North Carolina, where he was prepared for college. He matriculated in Richmond College, Richmond, Virginia, and was graduated therefrom in 1878. Predilection led him to the law, and after studying in a lawyer’s office at Danville, and there gaining a practical knowledge of the law and its practice, and in fact laying the foundation of his subsequent success, he was admitted to the Virginia bar in 1880. In order to better equip himself for the profession, he next entered Yale College, where he was graduated with his degree in 1881. Mr. Hutchings began his professional career at Danville and made rapid progress. In 1886 he was made index clerk in the House of Representatives, at Washington, a position which he held for two years and then resigned because of the death of his father, an event which necessitated his return to Danville to settle up the estate. In the fall of 1888 he removed to Fort Smith, Arkansas, and in the following fall came to Muskogee, then in the Indian Territory, where the young attorney soon attracted the best kind of business that can come to a lawyer. He has continued to make this city his place of residence and field of professional endeavor, and during his more than twenty-five years here has come to be numbered among the most prominent and influential members of his profession. He has been active in promoting the growth and development of the interests of Muskogee and has served as a councilman and as city attorney. While he is a democrat and well known among the leaders of his party in the state, he is not a politician in the generally accepted meaning of the word, but rather a good citizen to whom public service means a duty. In the law, Mr. Hutchings has been the preceptor of several young men who have since made their mark in their calling, as well as in politics. Fraternally, Mr. Hutchings is a prominent Mason, being a Knight Templar, a member of the Mystic Shrine and past commander of his commandery; and is also a Pythian Knight and a member of the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks. In fraternal circles, as well as in professional and public life, he has numerous admiring friends. Reared in the faith of the Baptist Church, on coming to Muskogee Mr. Hutchings identified himself with that denomination here, and for many years has taken a prominent part in movements which have made for moral and spiritual advancement.
Mr. Hutchings was married, in 1885, to Miss Mary E. Key, of Texas, and they have one daughter: Ellen Blair, who is the wife of C. A. Looney, a well known newspaper man and managing editor of the Muskogee Times Democrat.