Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Oak Oral McKenzie (1888-1952)

Portrait from the Texas Bar Journal, Volume 16, 1953.

  Continuing on our theme of oddly named Texas County attorneys and judges, the following write-up takes us to Brazos County and Oak Oral McKenzie, a transplant to Texas from Illinois. After removing to the Lonestar State in 1912 he embarked on a career in law that would extend until his death and earns a place here on the site due to his time as Brazos County Attorney in the early 1920s.
  Born on April 14, 1888, and raised in Beardstown, Illinois, Oak Oral McKenzie was the son of Eugene and Mary Agnes McKenzie. He would attend school in Beardstown and following his graduation from the local high school enrolled at Illinois Wesleyan University. Deciding upon a career in law, McKenzie earned his bachelor of laws degree from that institution in 1911.
  Shortly after being admitted to the Illinois bar, Oak McKenzie removed to Texas, settling in the city of Yoakum. Here he would engage in railroad work and auditing and in 1912 he married to Ruth Leora Baldwin (1891-1978). The couple were wed for four decades and had a total of five children, Oak Oral Jr. (1916-2003),, Mary Worth (1910-2006),  Warren Baldwin (1926-2013) and two other daughters. In 1917 McKenzie was admitted to practice law in Texas and would resettle in Bryan, Brazos County in the following year.
   After establishing himself in the Bryan community McKenzie ran for Brazos County Attorney, successfully winning election to that office. He would serve from 1922-1926 and afterward he and his wife would operate the McKenzie-Baldwin Business College at Bryan, where McKenzie himself "taught classes in business law and business procedure."
  An active Mason of many years standing, Oak Oral McKenzie would also serve as president of the Bryan Chamber of Commerce and the local Rotary Club. He died in Bryan on October 30, 1952, at age 64 and was survived by his wife and children. McKenzie was later interred at the Bryan City Cemetery.

Oak McKenzie's senior portrait from the Illinois Wesleyan Yearbook, 1912.

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