Biography of William Thomas Rye

The bar of Craig county finds a prominent representative in William Thomas Rye, who since 1908 has followed his profession at Vinita, his ability being demonstrated by the large clientele accorded him. He was born near South Boston, in Halifax county, Virginia, September 2, 1879, and his parents were George J. and Susan (Dewberry) Rye, both natives of Virginia and representatives of old and highly respected families of that state. Prior to the Civil war the father had gone to Mississippi and after the out-break of hostilities he joined a regiment in that state, but after receiving his discharge from the service returned to Virginia.

After completing his public school course Mr. Rye attended the Cluster Springs Academy and Hampden Sidney College and then engaged in educational work for a time, going to Amherst, Virginia, where he taught classes in Latin, French and mathematics. Later he was connected with a bank of that city and then resumed his studies, spending the years 1905 and 1906 in the law school of the University of Michigan. In 1907 he taught school at Bardwell, Kentucky, and following his admission to the bar in 1908 he came to Vinita, Oklahoma, where he has since made his home. For four years he was a law partner of Hon. J. S. Davenport, who represented this district in the sixtieth, sixty-first and sixty-second sessions of congress, and from 1912 until 1914 practiced independently. He then served for a year as assistant county attorney under W. H. Voyles, after which they formed a partnership for the general practice of law, and this relationship is still maintained. They rank with the leading attorneys of Vinita and have been entrusted with much important litigation, winning many verdicts favorable to the interests of their clients. Mr. Rye has a comprehensive knowledge of the principles of jurisprudence, is careful in analysis, clear in his reasoning and logical in his deductions and has displayed marked skill in the conduct of intricate cases.

In Vinita, in 1919, was solemnized the marriage of William T. Rye and Viola M. McMahon, who is a native of Edina, Knox county, Missouri, and a daughter of John G. McMahon. Her father was a farmer by occupation, and his demise occurred in 1916. Mr. Rye offered his services to his country at the time of the World war and in 1918 was sent to the Officers’ Training School at Camp Taylor, Louisville, Kentucky. He reached there only a short time prior to the signing of the armistice. Previous to his enlistment he had been an active worker in support of the various Liberty Loans and other war measures. He is a stanch Democrat in his political views and gives his substantial support to the platform and candidates of the party. He is keenly interested in political, social and economic problems, keeping abreast with the best thinking men of the age on many subjects relative to the public welfare, and is the owner of a fine library, with whose contents he is largely familiar. He is an untiring worker and has ever remained a close and discriminating student of his profession, in which he has made continuous progress, being recognized as an able minister in the temple of justice and a public-spirited and progressive citizen whose aid and influence are at all times on the side of progress, reform and improvement.



Benedict, John Downing. Muskogee and Northeastern Oklahoma: including the counties of Muskogee, McIntosh, Wagoner, Cherokee, Sequoyah, Adair, Delaware, Mayes, Rogers, Washington, Nowata, Craig, and Ottawa. Chicago: S.J. Clarke Pub. Co., 1922.

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