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Entry Category: Judges - Starting with O

Oldham, Williamson S.

Williamson S. Oldham was a lawyer and politician who was born and reared in Tennessee. He was elected twice to the Arkansas House of Representatives and once to the Arkansas Supreme Court, but subsequent failed efforts to get elected to the U.S. Congress from Arkansas convinced him that Texas was a more promising venue for a political career. The results in the Lone Star State were similar—small victories but ultimate frustrations in his ambition to go to the national Congress. He was a major figure, and frequent critic, however, in the congress of the Confederacy, and after the war he wrote a memoir that detailed the rise and fall of the Confederacy. Williamson Simpson Oldham was born on June 19, …

Overton, William Ray

William Ray Overton was a U.S. district judge from 1979 to 1987 and is best known for his ruling in the McLean v. Arkansas Board of Education court case, which held the teaching of creationism to be unconstitutional. William Ray Overton was born on September 19, 1939, in Hot Spring County to Elizabeth Ford and Odis Ray Overton, a mine foreman at Magnet Cove (Hot Spring County). His mother, who taught several subjects in Hot Spring County’s public school system, was known for her skill with the English language; Overton joked that he got some learning in language by osmosis. Overton was an only child. His father died in 1957 when Overton was sixteen years old. In 1963, his mother …