|Birth||March 1, 1881|
Fred P. Branson (March 1, 1881 – October 5, 1960) was a Justice of the Oklahoma Supreme Court from 1926 to 1929, serving as Chief Justice from 1927 to 1929.
Fred P. Branson was born in Rockmart, Georgia on March 1, 1881 to Levi Branson and Rhoda Page Mull. Rhoda had an older son, Joseph Mull, from her marriage to the late Harrison Mull. The Mulls had moved to Arkansas, but after her first husband died, she and Joseph moved back to the small town of Cass Station, Georgia. She met and married Levi Branson, a widower. Levi and Rhoda Mull Branson had three sons and one daughter: Thomas Branson, Frederick Page Branson, Jessie Branson Adams, Homer Branson and Rhoda Page Branson.
Fred's education was first in the Rockmart School. He then went on to Emory University in Atlanta. After leaving Emory, he moved to McAlester in Indian Territory, where he worked as Deputy Clerk of the United States Court of Appeals for Indian Territory. He did not stay long before moving on to Muskogee, where he worked for the Commissioner of the Flve Civilized Tribes. He soon left this office and opened his own law office in Muskogee.
Fred discovered a love for politics. and ran for a seat in the House of Representatives of the Flrst Legislature of the State of Oklahoma in 1907. Later, he was elected County Attorney of Muskogee County two terms. Then he was appointed District Judge for the Judicial District comprising Muskogee and Wagoner Counties, Oklahoma. Then he ran for the Supreme Court of Oklahoma, and was elected for a 6-year term. He served two of the six years as Chief Justice of the Oklahoma Supreme Court.
While serving as Chief Justice, the Oklahoma House of Representatives voted to impeach Governor Henry Johnston on December 12, 1927. By the next morning, the House had also voted to impeach the Chief Justice, who had already ruled that the impeachment session had no legal standing, because the Governor had not called for the special session and the Oklahoma constitution did not give the legislative body the power to call itself into session.
After leaving the Oklahoma Supreme Court, Branson moved to Texas, where he became very successful investing in oil leases that made him very wealthy. Then, Oklahoma Governor Roy J. Turner appointed Fred as President of the Grand River Dam Authority (GRDA), where he remained until 1959. After GRDA, he went back into elective politics. He made two tries to become the Democratic candidate for U. S. House of Representatives, but neither succeeded. He then announced his intention to run for Governor, but withdrew after former Governor Turner announced his own candidacy.
He married Eula Jeans in 1903, who preceded him in death. No children were born to this union. Mrs. Branson died January 27, 1950, and was buried in the Branson mausoleum in Myrtle Hill Cemetery, Rome, Georgia.
He was a member of:
- Saint Paul Methodist Church of Muskogee;
- Masonic Lodge No. 28 of Muskogee;
- Chapter Three of Royal Arch Masons,
- Muskogee Commandery No. 2 of the Knights Templar ;
- Bedouin Temple of the Nobles of the Mystic Shrine;
- Life member of Lodge 517 of BPOE. He was a member of the Muskogee County and Oklahoma Bar Associations and a member of the Democratic party of Oklahoma. He was the first State Chairman of the Democratic party of Oklahoma.
Judge Branson died on October 5, 1960 in a Tulsa Hospital, after an illness that had lasted for a year. His funeral service was conducted by Dr. Wilford Jones, minister of Saint Paul Methodist Church of Muskogee, Oklahoma, and interment was in the Branson mausoleum at Myrtle Hill Cemetery, Rome, Georgia.