Biography of David Hester Cotten

David Hester Cotten, a native son of Oklahoma who represents the third generation of the family in this state, is numbered among the rising young attorneys of Miami, where since 1918 he has engaged in practice, and he has already won a well established position in the ranks of the profession. He was born near Ardmore, in that part of Indian Territory occupied by the Chickasaw Nation, on the 28th of January, 1894, his parents being David Oscar and Cora J. (Nesmith) Cotten, the former born at Tishomingo, Indian Territory, while the latter was a native of Birmingham, Alabama. The paternal grandfather, David B. Cotten, was born in Scotland, whence he immigrated to the United States, and subsequently married Miss Susan Le Flore, for whose family Leflore County, Mississippi, and Le Fiore County, Oklahoma, were named. They came to Indian Territory during an early period in its settlement, first becoming residents of the Chickasaw Nation, while later the grandfather moved to his allotment near Ardmore and became one of the leading citizens of his community, to whose development and up-building he contributed in substantial measure. His political allegiance was given to the Democratic Party, and he passed away at Ardmore in 1895, in the faith of the Presbyterian Church.

David O. Cotten, the father of the subject of this review, attended the Indian schools at Tishomingo and after reaching years of maturity he devoted his attention to the occupation of farming, which he followed very successfully, acquiring extensive holdings in land, and he also raised high grade stock. Subsequently he moved to Ardmore in order that his children might have better educational advantages, and his demise occurred in January, 1907, while the mother passed away on the 4th of April, 1904. Mingled with his white blood was that of the Chickasaw race and he represented his district in the councils of that nation, his political allegiance being given to the Democratic Party, while his religious faith was indicated by his membership in the Methodist Episcopal Church.

The eldest in a family of seven children, David H. Cotten attended the grammar and high schools of Ardmore and early formed the resolution of becoming a member of the bar. During 1910 and 1911 he was a student at what is now known as Bloomfield Academy of Ardmore and in 1912 he entered the University of Oklahoma, devoting three years to the study of art and science and one to special work. He then attended the law department of the University of Michigan for a year, after which he returned to the University of Oklahoma, from which he was graduated in 1918 with the degree of LL. B. During his college days he became well known for his prowess in football, making all of the state teams and playing against the team from the University of Texas. After completing his law course Mr. Cotten entered the legal department of the Buffalo & Northwestern Railroad at Waynoka, Oklahoma, but after remaining there for a short time came to Miami, where he has since successfully followed his profession. His fellow citizens, recognizing his worth and ability, called him to public office and in 1919 and 1920 he served as County attorney of Ottawa County, capably discharging the duties of that position. Since the 1st of January, 1921, he has engaged in general practice and has already won a well established position for one of his years. His mind is analytical and logical in its trend, and in his presentation of a case he is always fortified by a comprehensive understanding of the legal principles applicable thereto. To his chosen life work he gives his undivided attention, and his business in the courts is constantly increasing in volume and importance.

At Oklahoma City, on the 16th of December, 1916, Mr. Cotten was united in marriage to Miss Emma Henning, a native of Ann Arbor, Michigan. She completed a course in music in the Michigan State University and previous to her marriage taught music in that institution. She is a talented artist and is active in musical and club circles of Miami. Her father, H. H. Henning, was at one time one of the leading building contractors of Ann Arbor but is now deceased. Mr. and Mrs. Cotten have one child, Ardis Maurine.

Mr. Cotten is a Democrat in his political views and staunchly supports the principles and candidates of that party. He is a member of the Phi Alpha Delta legal fraternity and the Ottawa County and Oklahoma State Bar Associations, and fraternally he is identified with the Benevolent Protective Order of Elks and the Independent Order of Odd Fellows and for one year filled the office of Secretary of the last named organization. During the World war he served as Secretary of the Ottawa County Council of Defense and is a progressive, public-spirited citizen whose loyalty has never been questioned. He is a worthy representative of one of the honored pioneer families of the state and through merit and ability is making steady progress in his profession, being accorded the respect and confidence of his fellow practitioners and also of the general public.



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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