William Junius McKie, Sr. Judge
May 3, 1855 - Oct 17, 1927
CAP’T. W. J. M’KIE DIED EARLY MONDAY BE BURIED TUESDAY
PROMINENT ATTORNEY FOR FIFTY YEARS PASSED AWAY AT HOME HERE
William Junius McKie, aged 72 years, prominent Corsicanan attorney for 56 years
and native of Navarro county, died at his home, 102 South Fifteenth street,
Monday morning at 3 o’clock after an illness of over a year. The funeral will be
held from the home, with burial in the Oakwood cemetery. The Rev. J. Howard
Williams, pastor of the First Baptist church of this city will conduct the
He is survived by his widow and four children, Francis B. McKie, Ben W. McKie,
Miss Evelyn McKie and Miss Blanche McKie, all of Corsicana; one brother, Ben G.
McKie of Waco.
Following are the active pallbearers: Fred Fleming, Judge Rufus Hardy, Dr. I. N.
Settle, J. L. Halbert, J. M. Blanding, J. S. Callicutt, Richard Mays, all of
Corsicana, and B. W. Ferguson of Dallas. The honorary pall bearers will be
composed of the membership of the Navarro County Bar Association, of which Mr.
McKie has been a member for many years.
Expert in Oil Matters.
Capt. William J. McKie, whose rise to the top of the legal profession in Texas
presents an interesting bit of legal history, has dignified the profession of
law by more than four decades of practice at Corsicana, and has earned a
distinction above the average as a legal expert in oil and petroleum matters. A
man of outstanding menial attainments, McKie’s success in his chosen vocation
has been in just proportion in his recognized merits, and both professionally
and as a man he was an ornament to the Texas bar. His handling of great,
corporation problems, particularly the legal aspects of railroad and petroleum
interests, won the admiration of all who followed his career, and brought him
recognition as one of the foremost authorities in Texas in this branch of
jurisprudence Mr. McKie also attained prominence in the oil industry through his
extensive holdings in proven fields.
Born Near Corsicana.
William J. McKie was born near Corsicana, in Navarro county, in May 1856, the
son of Dr. B. D. McKie, one of the pioneer settlers of Navarro county. As a boy,
Mr. McKie attended the schools of Bell county at Salado, and later attended
school at Austin. After a number of years in the study of law he was admitted to
the bar, beginning his practice at Corsicana.
With the coming of oil industry, Mr. McKie began to give his time to special
study of the legal aspects of this industry, and was appointed general attorney
for the Texas Company, and had the distinction of writing the original charter
under which this company operated. When the Standard Oil Company began
operations in the oil fields of Texas Mr. McKie was also retained by them as
attorney and was their representative in legal matters during the years of their
operation in the State. Mr McKie was also attorney for the Lone Star Gas Company
for many years and was employed as counsel of the Magnolia Company until that
company transferred their headquarters to Dallas. Mr. McKie has also represented
many other large companies, both in the oil industry and other lines and until
the past few years, during which he has gradually relinquished his practices,
preparatory to his complete retirement from professional life. He had one of the
most enviable practices of any lawyer in this city.
Owned Big Production.
During the early years of his career Mr. McKie began to accumulate property in
and around Corsicana and when the giant Corsicana-Powell field was discovered he
owned 1,500 acres in the heart of the big production. One of the big wells
drilled on his holdings unfortunately caught fire just at completion, burning
for eleven days with a loss of thirteen lives. Many of the major companies
operated on the oil holdings of Mr. McKie and his holdings have produced nearly
ten million barrels of oil.
William J. McKie was married at Corsicana in 1880, to Miss Kate Stitler,
daughter of Prof. J. B. Stitler, professor in Latin and Greek languages at
Baylor University and one of the best known educators in the state.
During Mr. McKie’s four decades of life in Corsicana he has impressed his
influence to a marked degree on the life of this community and there have been
few movements planned to further the growth of Corsicana in which he has not
participated, and to which he has not contributed generously.
District Court To Adjourn Tuesday
Hawkins Scarborough, judge of the Thirteenth Judicial District Court here,
Monday afternoon paid a high tribute to Captain W. J. McKie, for half a century
a lawyer at the local bar, as being one of the outstanding attorneys of the
Out of respect to Capt. McKie, Judge Scarborough will adjourn court during the
funeral hour Tuesday morning. He announced Monday afternoon.
FUNERAL SERVICES TUESDAY MORNING FOR W. J. M’KIE
PIONEER ATTORNEY LAID AT REST IN OAKWOOD CEMETERY TODAY
Funeral services for William Junius McKie, aged 72 years, native of Navarro
county and Corsicana, well known lawyer here for 50 years and owner of the
famous McKie Ranch in the heart of the Corsicana-Powell oil field, who died at
his home, 102 South Fifteenth street, Monday morning at 3 o’clock, following an
illness of many months, were held from the family home Tuesday morning with
interment in Oakwood cemetery. The services were conducted by Rev. J. Howard
Williams pastor of the First Baptist Church.
Surviving are his wife, two sons, Francis B. McKie and Ben W. McKie, two
daughters, Misses Blanche and Evelyn McKie, two grandchildren, all of Corsicana,
and one brother, Ben G. McKie, Waco.
Following were the active pallbearers:
Fred Fleming, Judge Rufus Hardy, Dr. I. N. Suttle. J. L. Halbert, J. M.
Blanding, J. S. Callicutt, Richard Mays, all of Corsicana, and H. W. Ferguson of
The honorary pallbearers were the members of the Navarro County Bar Association
of which Capt. McKie was a member for many years.
Born Near Corsicana.
Capt. McKie was born near Corsicana , in May 1856, the son of Dr. B. D. McKie,
one of the pioneer settlers of Navarro county. As a boy, Mr. McKie attended the
public school at Salado, Bell county later attending school in Austin. After
several years’ study of law he was admitted to the bar and began the practice of
law in Corsicana. His rise to the top of the legal profession in Texas presents
an interesting bit of history and was an expert in oil and petroleum matters.
For his attainments as corporation, railroad and oil company counsel, he became
known as one of the foremost authorities in that field.
With the coming of oil to Corsicana, he began the special study of the legal
aspects of the industry and was appointed general attorney for the Texas
Company, and had the distinction of drawing up the original charter under which
this company operated. When the Standard Oil company began operations in the
Texas oil fields, Mr. McKie was retained as attorney and was their
representative in legal matters during the years of their operation in the
State. He also was attorney for the Lone Star Gas Company until the headquarters
of the company was transferred from Corsicana to Dallas.
During the last several years, he had been gradually retiring from active
practice of law and at the time of his death, was in complete retirement from
Land Produces Much Oil.
Many of the major oil companies operated on his holdings in the Corsicana-Powell
field. The famous McKie ranch in the heart of the field has produced
approximately 10,000,000 barrels of oil.
William J. McKie was married to Miss Kate Stitler at Corsicana in 1880. Prof. J.
B. Stitler, father of Mrs. McKie was professor of Latin and Greek at Baylor
University and was one of the best known educators in the State.
Out of respect to Capt. McKie, Hawkins Scarborough, judge pf the Thirteenth
Judicial District Court, adjourned court during the funeral hour Tuesday
Fred F. Florence, vice president of the Republic Nationl Bank, Dallas; Hugh W.
Ferguson, president of the Dallas Joint Stock Land Bank, Dallas, and C. C.
Renfro of the Dallas Joint Stock Land Bank of Dallas, were here for the funeral.
Captain McKie was a director in each of the above mentioned banks.
A large concourse of friends gathered at the McKie home Tuesday morning to pay
their last respects to the man they had known and esteemed for so many years.
Judge McKie had been a life-long resident of Corsicana and his life had been as
an open book that any might read. He had made and held many friends during these
years and a profusion of flowers of great beauty was proof of the fact that his
good deeds and kind acts had endeared him to many during his lifetime here.
The Corsicana Daily Sun - Tuesday, October 18, 1927 - Submitted by Diane
MEMORIAL SERVICE FOR W. J. M’KIE BE HELD NEXT SUNDAY
Memorial services for the late W. J. McKie will be held Sunday afternoon at 3
o’clock in the district court room by the Navarro County Bar Association, it was
J. F. Stout, Rufus Hardy, H. B. Daviss, Hawkins Scarborough and others will
appear on the program for short talks, and J. H. Woods, member of the resolution
committee will read the resolutions.
J. M. Blanding, president emeritus or Beauford H. Jester, president will
J. H. Woods announced that the meeting was open to the public and that any one
who wished would be heard at the meeting.
The Corsicana Daily Sun - Thursday, December 15, 1927 - Submitted by Diane
MEMORIAL SERVICE SUNDAY AFTERNOON FOR JUDGE M’KIE
MEMBERS OF BAR ASSOCIATION PAY RESPECTS TO DEPARTED MEMBER
Memorial services for the late W. J. McKie were held by the Navarro County Bar
Association in the district court room of the court Sunday afternoon. A good
crowd was present in spite of the bitter cold. Resolutions of respect were
adopted, and a number of speeches were made by members of the Association.
Beauford Jester, president of the Navarro County Bar Association, presided at
the meeting in the absence of Judge J. M. Blanding, president-emeritus of the
association. The invocation was pronounced by Rev. J. Howard Williams, pastor of
the First Baptist Church.
A quartet composed of Mesdames Harry Williams, and H. O Blanding, and Messrs.
Lloyd Kerr and Sydney Brietz, sang “Come Ye Disconsolate.”
The report of the resolution committee of the association was read by Senator J.
H. Woods, in keeping with the custom of the Navarro County Bar Association which
was started in 1876.
Judge J. F. Stout recalled the early days of Corsicana when the H. & T. C.
railroad had its terminus here, naming a number of the leading citizens of that
day among whom the late William Junius McKie played a very prominent role. He
paid a tribute to the deceases as a man of great character both as lawyer and a
citizen, saying that his deportment as such was unsurpassable.
Kindness was one of the deceased’s most admirable traits according to Judge
Stout, and it won him high regard in all the courts and among all the people
with whom he came in contact. He was a civil lawyer only, and his counsel was
considered sound in all the courts of the land.
It was also recalled that the late W. J. McKie was opposed to the primary system
of selecting state officials when it was instituted, and it was further pointed
out that the system which he opposed is now under fire in the state.
Judge Rufus Hardy, former United States Congressman and district judge, recalled
his long years of association with W. J. McKie. He asserted that before the
bench, bar, and in State and federal courts, the integrity and ability of the
deceased reflected honor at all times on his native city and the Navarro County
Bar Association. He was fearless and a gentleman of the old school he never
wished to win a case unless he was convinced that his cause was just.
He recalled that the late W.J. McKie’s knowledge of the law was recognized by
all courts, and he was ranked among the leaders. He was not interested in
politics. He was quiet, undemonstrative, kind, polite and made a good example
for those who followed him.
He also recalled that at least twice a year during the sixteen years that he was
in congress he received long letters from the deceased discussing the political
Judge H. B. Daviss, former district Judge of Navarro County was the third
speaker. He recalled that W. J. McKie organized a military company in Corsicana
that served with distinction on the border of Texas during the days of
The ability of the deceased was well attested by the prominent positions which
he occupied including the position of chief counsel for the Standard Oil Company
in Corsicana; he was also counsel and organizer of the Magnolia Petroleum
Judge Hawkins Scarborough paid tribute to the late W. J. McKie as a friend of
youth, recalling the many talks that he had had with the deceased about the law
profession that resulted in his entering that field. He paid his respects to the
law ability of the deceased both as a counsellor and as a trial lawyer, for his
fairness toward the bench, and his great understanding, as well as great
learning. He said that the deceased was never too busy to stop his work and talk
to a friend.
Following the addresses, the report of the resolution committee was unanimously
adopted. A committee composed of Senator J. H. Woods, Richard Mays, and J. S.
Callicutt was appointed to present the resolution to the courts, and Hon. W. A.
Tarver was appointed to present the resolutions to the family.
The Benediction was pronounced by Rev. J. Howard Williams.
The resolutions follow:
To the Honorable Chairman and members of the Navarro County Bar Association.
Your committee appointed to prepare and present to this assembly suitable
resolutions in memory of our late lamented friend and brother, William Junius
McKie, submit the following report:
William Junius McKie was born on the third day of May, A. D. 1855, in what was
then the small town of Corsicana, in Navarro County, Texas. His father was Dr.
B. D. McKie, a practicing physician of the old school, who had become a citizen
of Corsicana about the year 1850. His mother, Miss Eveline Eliot, a daughter of
Col. Jacob Eliot, who had settled in Corsicana in 1840 and had the distinction
of having built the first frame residence in Corsicana. Col. Eliot was a man of
energy and distinction and one of the prominent men of the young state of Texas.
Dr. McKie was an active participant in the war between the states, having
organized a company of cavalry and later being made Major of Rangers by special
appointment. Dr. McKie and Miss Evaline Eliot were married in the early fifties
and to them was born William Junius McKie, the subject of these resolutions. A
while after the close of the war. Dr. McKie and family removed to Limestone
county and later to Salado in Bell county, at that time quite a center of
education and culture. There William Junius McKie received much of his
education. In 1874 he returned to Corsicana and began the study of law in the
offices of Col William Croft, one of the noted lawyers of the time. Completing
the prescribed course of study and being under the age of twenty-one years, on
application in the District court, his disabilities of minor were removed and he
then made application for 11 course to practice law and to be enrolled as a
member of the bar. According to the usage then current a committee of practicing
attorneys was appointed to examine the applicant and to inquire in open court as
to his proficiency in knowledge of law and his character, personal integrity and
standing. This committee was composed of Col. C. M. Winkler, Col William Croft,
Hon. W. S. Simpkins and Judge Sam R. Frost. The committee’s report was presented
in open court on March 16, 1876, before Judge F. P. Wood, then district judge of
the district and he was licensed to practice law as a member of the bar in all
the district and inferior courts of the state.
On May 6, 1876, he was married to Miss Kate Stiteler, only daughter of Prof.
Beverly Stiteler and wife, Mrs. Fannie Stitler, thus uniting tow of the
prominent pioneer families of Texas. To this union were born six children, four
of whom are living. Those surviving him are Misses Blanche and Evaline McKie,
Francis Beverley McKie and Ben Whiteselle McKie, all of Corsicana. He is
survived by his wife, Mrs. Kate Stiteler McKie, an only sister, Mrs. S. W.
Walker, died in the city of Mexico in the year 1913. One brother, Ben G. McKie
also survives him, residing in Waco, Texas.
Death came to him after some months of illness, surrounded by his family in the
early morning hours of October 17th, 1927, followed by interment in Oakwood
cemetery, Corsicana, on October 18, 1927.
Shortly after becoming an enrolled member of the Corsicana Bar, he and the late
Judge John H. Rice formed a partnership in the practice and continued as such
until the election of Judge Rice as County Judge of Navarro county in 1884.
Following this, he practiced some years alone, but in the nineties he forms a
law partnership with Judge James L. Autry and this firm had a large business
until some time in the year 1904 when Judge Aurtry moved to Houston to practice
law. From that time following, Mr. McKie conducted his law practice alone until
a short time before his death, having in the later years, gradually relinquished
part of his practice.
Mr. McKie was pre-eminently a lawyer, resolutely confining himself to his
practice as a lawyer, thus devoting fifty years of his life to the active and
continued practice of his profession. Also limiting his practice to that branch
of the law dealing with civil rights and remedies, personal and real, not
attempting to take up the practice of the branch of the law dealing with
criminal actions. Nor would he during all this time allow though solicited by
friends, himself to enter the arena as candidate for office having declined to
become candidate for the post of Attorney General of the state or to become a
member of congress.
His knowledge of the principles and practices of his profession was wide and
extensive. While quiet and unassuming in his methods and manner, he was
studious, thorough and determined in his construction and application of the
principles of legal justice and the rules of pro-persistent and resolute in his
preparation and presentation of the fundamental principles of business,
commercial and civil law. Satisfied with the justice of his client’s cause
either of offense or defense, he was devoted to the cause and satiring in
maintaining it. In the course of fifty years of practice co-incident with the
rapid growth and development of the state and the increase of problems dealing
with legal rights and remedies, individual and corporate, he became counsel in
many cases wherein it became necessary to seek and apply the settled rules and
principles of legal rights and remedies, individual and corporate, he became
counsel in many cases wherein it became necessary to seek and apply the settled
rules and principles of legal rights and procedures to the important new
problems thus arising. He became widely known and respected as well versed and
skilled in the knowledge and practice of this important branch of jurisprudence.
And this more especially in connection with the notable development of the great
petroleum industry of the state. Also in his later years he became interested in
the development of his own large holdings. He was a man of wide knowledge and
experience in law, a careful student of law, history and civil government,
conservative and prudent in temperament and action. A safe counselor and a
lawyer of distinction. It may be well said of him, as was said by himself some
years ago of one of the attorneys who was a member of the committee of
examination at the time of his application for license to practice law:
“In a long life, no man who ever know him doubted his integrity of character, or
believed that he could do a dishonorable act.”
We therefore recommend the adoption of the following resolutions:
BE IT RESOLVED BY THE NAVARRO BAR ASSOCIATION:
1ST. That in the death of William Junius McKie, the bar of Corsicana has lost a
capable and distinguished member, whose life and conduct as a lawyer and member
of society, commended to them the higher walks of professional integrity,
usefulness and honor.
2nd. That in his death this city, county and state have lost a loyal and worthy
citizen, who by a long life of earnest endeavor has earned and resolved the
sincere respect and regard of all hoinorable men.
3rd. That his family has lost a kind, affectionate and indulgent husband and
father, always to them attentive, generous and kind.
4th. That a copy of these resolutions be forwarded to his family to whom we
tender our sincere sadness and bereavement.
5th. That the daily press be furnished a copy for publication.
6th. That the foregoing statement and resolution be presented by the committee
in the courts of the county and duly recorded in the minutes of the District and
JAMES H WOODS, Chairman
W. M. TAYLOR
H. E. TRAYLOR
B. K. WASSELL
L. J. WOODS
The Corsicana Daily Sun - Monday, December 19, 1927 - Submitted by Diane
Tribute To Late Judge W. J. McKie
I knew Mr. McKie the past five years of my residence in the City of Corsicana.
He was a loyal friend and counsellor to the humble of my race. He was a man that
never neglected the poor. When I first founded the general community work for
the colored people of Corsicana and Navarro County on January 1, 1925, I sought
his counsel for this organization and it met his approval for the uplift of the
negroes to the extent that he was the first to contribute to the support of same
and his good wife, Mrs. W. J. McKie is a member of our white advisory board at
I take this method to show my appreciation for the colored people toward the
good southern white men and women who will and to my knowledge always have
assisted the southern negroes in their development for right and righteousness.
I also thank the good white people in charge of the memorial service held at the
County Court room at 3 p.m. for allowing me to be present at same.
Sealy of Community Center