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From the year which brought statehood to Oklahoma, Frank Lee has been a member of the Muskogee bar and is regarded as one of the strong and eminent representatives of the profession in this part of the state. He has engaged in the practice of law altogether for thirty-five years and his professional career has been marked by continuous progress and constantly developing power.
Born in Stockwell, Indiana, December 9, 1864, he is a son of Captain Smith Lee, who served with the Boys in Blue in the Civil war, becoming a member of Company I, Eleventh Indiana Cavalry. After loyally aiding in the defense of the Union he filled various county offices in Tippecanoe County, Indiana, and later removed to Texas, where he conducted a fruit ranch.
Frank Lee pursued his more specifically literary education in Stockwell College, near La Fayette, Indiana, and took up the study of law in Cumberland University at Lebanon, Tennessee, where he was graduated with the class of 1886. The day was indeed a Commencement Day for him the commencement of a professional career which has been characterized by thoroughness, by faithfulness to his clients’ interests and by continuous study and research, making him a strong advocate before the court and a safe counselor in regard to legal matters.
He entered upon the general practice of law at Paris, Texas, and was afterward appointed assistant United States attorney at that place, the court there also having jurisdiction over parts of Oklahoma, then Indian Territory. He occupied the position for four years and in 1902, when the town of Hugo, Oklahoma, was founded, he removed to the little village and became one of its pioneer lawyers, entering there upon general practice. When the district was organized judicially he was appointed special assistant prosecutor for southern Indian Territory and made his headquarters at Durant and Antlers, there remaining until 1907, the year of statehood. He was afterward assistant United States district attorney for the eastern district of Oklahoma, following the admission of the state into the Union and acceptably filled that important position for a period of six years.
In 1907 he came to Muskogee and after seven years’ residence in this city entered into a law partnership in 1914, under the firm style of Denton & Lee, an association that has since been maintained. On the 1st of June, 1921, he was appointed United States district attorney for eastern Oklahoma. It will thus be seen that through much of his professional career he has occupied office in the strict line of his profession, being recognized as one of the able practicing attorneys of the southwest. In 1897 he was admitted to practice before the supreme court of the United States. He is a member of the Muskogee Bar Association, the Oklahoma State Bar Association and the American Bar Association and he enjoys in an unusual degree the respect and confidence of his colleagues and contemporaries in the practice of law.
Mr. Lee returned to Paris, Texas, for his bride, Miss Emma Webster, and was married on the 23d of January, 1900. They have one daughter, Mary Lavon. The parents are members of the First Baptist church of Muskogee, in which Mr. Lee is serving as deacon, and in the work of the church they take active and helpful part.
During the World war period Mr. Lee was appointed by Governor Robert L. Williams to the position of secretary of the district exemption board, which had charge of all claims turned over to them from the local boards, and in this position served without compensation. He was at one time president of the Muskogee school board and has ever been deeply interested in the cause of higher education, laboring earnestly to promote the school standards in Muskogee and accomplishing tangible results in this connection.
He finds his recreation in athletic sports and he recognizes that to play well is as necessary to the balanced man as to work well. A service of thirty-five years devoted to the high task of maintaining justice and securing individual rights cannot but leave its impress upon the character of the individual, and Frank Lee stands today a man honored by his fellows and respected for what he has accomplished on the side of right and progress.