Biography of Hon. Samuel Morton Rutherford
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Samuel Morton Rutherford has always been keenly alive to his duties and responsibilities as a man and citizen and through the avenue of his profession has done much to uphold the legal and moral status of his community. Residing in Muskogee, he is recognized as one of the eminent members of the bar of this section of the state, attaining high position in a calling where advancement depends entirely upon individual merit and ability.
Samuel M. Rutherford is indebted to the public school system of Fort Smith, Arkansas, for his early educational privileges and later he enjoyed the benefit of instruction in the Emory and Henry College, being numbered among its Bachelor of Arts alumni of 1883. His law studies were pursued also in Fort Smith and after thorough preliminary training he was admitted to the bar.
He entered at once upon the active work of his profession but within a short time was appointed under sheriff of his county in 1884, filling the position until 1892, when he removed to Atoka, then in Indian Territory, and for two years occupied the position of United States commissioner. His life for several years thereafter was devoted to public service and his labors were of a most beneficial character. He was United States marshal for the Northern District of Indian Territory from 1895 until the early part of 1898. On the 28th of March, 1895, he established his home in Muskogee, where he has resisted through the intervening period, closely associated.
With his retirement from the office of United States marshal he concentrated his attention upon the private practice of law and has since had a large clientele that has connected him with much of the most important litigation heard in the courts of the state. He ranks with the ablest criminal lawyers of Oklahoma, is a strong advocate with the jury and concise in his appeals before the court. He throws himself easily and naturally into an argument, with a self-possession and deliberation that indicate no straining after effect. On the contrary there is a precision and clearness in his statement, an acuteness and strength in his argument which speak a mind trained in the severest school of investigation and to which the closest reasoning is habitual. The greatest characteristic of his mind is strength, his predominant faculty is reason and the aim of his eloquence is to convince.
The professional interests of Mr. Rutherford are never permitted to encroach greatly upon the time which should be given to his home. It is there that his interest centers. He was married in 1890 to Miss Sallie Dillard and they have become parents of four children: Helen K., Samuel Morton, John Dillard and Jane Wallace. The family attend the Episcopal church and Mr. Rutherford also has membership with the Odd Fellows and is well known in Masonic circles, having attained the Knights Templar degree in the York Rite, while he has also become a member of the Mystic Shrine. Outside of his profession his public activity has perhaps been most largely directed into the field of politics and he is a recognized leader in Democratic circles in the state. He was chairman of the Indian Territory delegation to the National Democratic
Convention held in St. Louis in 1904 and in 1908 was made presidential elector.
In 1920 he was elected State Senator, so that he is now a member of the upper house of the Oklahoma Legislature, and through its sittings he has given the most thoughtful and earnest consideration to the vital questions which have come up for settlement, his support furthering many interests which have their root in the welfare and up building of the commonwealth.