Friday, November 21, 2014

Enloe Vassallo Vernor (1879-1944)

Judge Vernor, from "Oklahomans and Their State", published 1919.

   A leading figure in Oklahoma judicial circles in the early part of the 20th century, Enloe Vassallo Vernor parlayed a successful career as an attorney into a near three decade tenure on the bench, serving several years as Muskogee County judge and in 1922 entered into the office of District court judge for Oklahoma's third judicial district. An Illinoisan by birth, Enloe V. Vernor's birth occurred in the town of Elkhorn on November 24, 1879, being the eldest of three sons born to Richard Enloe and Mary Cully Vernor. His unusual first and middle names extend from "Enloe" being his father's middle name and "Vassallo" being a name given to him courtesy of his grandmother, in remembrance of an "Italian orphan girl she had reared and loved."
   Enloe Vernor's early education occurred in Nashville, Illinois, and would experience his first taste of public service in that city, serving as city clerk for a time. Vernor also dabbled in journalism during his time in Nashville, being the editor of a local newspaper, the Nashville Democrat
   A graduate of St. Louis' Washington University in the class of 1904, Vernor married in St. Louis in September 1905 to Margaret Woodside, with whom he would have two daughters, Frances Marian (birth-date unknown) and Margaret Claire (1911-2004). Shortly after his marriage Vernor relocated to Muskogee County, Oklahoma, where he would reside for the remainder of his life. He would establish a law practice in Muskogee and continued in that profession until 1916, when he was elected as Muskogee County judge. Vernor's candidacy for that office received press in the Muskogee Daily Times, which exclaimed "A Full Grown Man For A Man's Job" in touting Vernor's experience as an attorney. As the Daily Times relates:
"We offer the Democratic voters a candidate for County judge who has been honest, honorable and upright in all his professional and business transactions; for twelve years he has been a capable lawyer; he is fitted temperamentally and with the best of qualifications for the office; one who has the highest reputation and standing in this community and in whom the people can safely trust in the duties of this important office."
                                      Judge Vernor, from the July 31,1916 edition of the Muskogee Daily Times.

    Vernor would serve six years as county judge, being returned to that office in the elections of 1918 and 1920. His tenure as county judge was highlighted in the 1922 history of "Muskogee and Northeastern Oklahoma", which notes that he had:
"A wider jurisdiction in both civil and criminal cases than the judge of the city court. He has all the jurisdiction of a committing magistrate in felony cases, original jurisdiction in misdemeanor cases and jurisdiction in civil cases in which not more that $1,000 is involved."
  In 1922 Enloe Vernor was elected to  the State District court from Oklahoma's third judicial district of Muskogee, and two years later ran an unsuccessful candidacy for the Oklahoma State Supreme Court, garnering 4, 157 votes to his opponent's 8, 016. Vernor served on the district court until his retirement at age 63 in 1942. Vernor's retirement from public life lasted less than two years, as he died on March 25, 1944 in Muskogee. His mother, wife and two daughters survived him and he was interred at the Memorial Park Cemetery, also located in Muskogee.

Enloe Vernor, from the Sallisaw Democrat American, June 14, 1934.

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