Strangers to Us All Lawyers and Poetry

Luther Morton Keys

Indiana, Kansas, Missouri, California

Joseph B. Thoburn, A Standard History of Oklahoma 1358
(Chicago: American Historical Society, 1916)(vol. 4)

Luther Keys "was born in Hamilton County, Indiana, November 6, 1858, of Henry L. and Susan Rich Keys. He received his legal education in the law offices of Isaac Lambert, United States Attorney in the State of Kansas. He came to Long Beach [California], from Oklahoma, in 1925. He is a member of the California State Bar and was admitted to the Supreme Court of the United States, in Washington, in 1913. In 1884, Mr. Keys married Elfleda Norton Clark, of Missouri. Five sons were born to them, but two only are now living: Leon, a Los Angeles attorney, and Norton, who lives with his father and mother at 237 Magnolia Avenue. Attorney Keys conducts his legal business at 320 First National Bank Building." [Source: 13 (2) Chronicles of Oklahoma (June, 1935) reprinted notes from a biographical sketch from the Long Beach Reporter]

The editor of the Chronicles of Oklahoma notes that Keys "practiced law in Oklahoma City for several years but at the opening of the Kiowa and Comanche reservation he located in Hobart, the County Seat of Kiowa County. He held many positions of honor and trust while a resident of Oklahoma." The Long Beach Reporter biographical note indicates that Keys wrote "hundreds of poems, many of which have been published in various newspapers of the country, and two of them, 'Magic Isles of Southern Seas,' and 'Reveries in Lincoln Park' were included in the 1934 American States Anthology of Poetry."

Keys "is a native of Indiana. He was first admitted to the bar in the Supreme Court of Kansas in 1881 at the age of twenty-three years. Three years later he was elected municipal judge of Emporia. After occupying the bench for two terms and being re-elected for a third, he followed the pioneer urge and trekked out to seek fame and fortune in the then wild West. In 1889 he settled in what is now Oklahoma City, but then was virgin land occupied mostly by Indian tribes. 'It was no strange sight at that time,' the attorney relates, 'to see twenty claimants for one piece of land.' 'There was no law other than the Federal, which was represented by United States Commissioners and the Land Offices.' 'As County Attorney and Assistant United States District Attorney of Oklahoma, Mr. Keys claims to have tried more than 100 murderers. His most sensational case, he says, was that of 'Public Enemy' Frank Nash, who in 1932 was accidentally shot down by his pals as they fired on guards escorting him to Leavenworth prison." [attributed source: Long Beach Reporter]

[See, "Luther Morton Keys," in Joseph B. Thoburn, A Standard History of Oklahoma 1358 (Chicago: American Historical Society, 1916)(vol. 4)]