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The Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture

Judge Charles B. Stuart
(14989, Muriel Wright Collection, OHS).


An attorney and a federal judge of the United States Court for the Indian Territory, Charles Bingley Stuart was born on April 4, 1857, in Mecklenburg County, Virginia, to Virginia and John William Stuart, an educator. In Stuart's early years, the family moved to Louisiana. When he was sixteen years of age, Stuart returned to Virginia to attend Randolph-Macon College. Completing graduation requirements, Stuart went to Texas, read law, was admitted to the bar, and practiced in Marshall, Waco, and Gainesville until his elevation to the bench. In Gainesville he was in practice with Joseph W. Bailey and also with William Yancey Lewis. In 1884 he married Blandina Cutliffe of Shreveport, Louisiana.

In 1893 Pres. Grover Cleveland named C. B. Stuart to the United States Court for the Indian Territory. He succeeded Judge James Shackelford, the first judge of the court. In 1895, during Stuart's term on the bench, Congress divided the court into three districts, the Northern, the Central, and the Southern. Stuart served as resident judge for the Central District. The 1895 legislation also created an appellate bench for Indian Territory. The bench consisted of three Indian Territory court judges who had not tried the case, the judge senior in commission serving as chief justice. Stuart was the first chief justice of the Indian Territory appellate court. The Court of Appeals was comprised of the three district judges, and Stewart was its first Chief Justice.

Stuart resigned the judgeship in 1895, before the end of his term, and his former law partner, Yancey Lewis, was appointed to succeed him. Stuart then practiced in McAlester, Oklahoma City, and Tulsa. Professionally very active, he served as president of the Indian Territory Bar Association and the Oklahoma Bar Association. One of the most famous cases in which Stuart was counsel was State of Oklahoma v. Phillip Kennamer (1935–36). Stuart represented Kennamer, son of a former Oklahoma Supreme Court justice and U.S. District Judge for the Northern District of Oklahoma, on a murder charge. Kennamer was convicted of manslaughter. Stuart also managed the large estate of philanthropist Charles E. Page of Sand Springs.

C. B. Stuart died on October 30, 1936. Following Anglican rites, he was interred in Fairlawn Cemetery in Oklahoma City. In 1896 the Hughes County town of Hoyuby, a new community on the newly built Chicago, Pittsburg and Gulf railroad line (later the Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railway), was renamed in honor of Judge Stuart, who was at that time an attorney for the railway company.

Von Russell Creel


Von Russell Creel, "Fifteen Men in Ermine: Judges of the United States Court for the Indian Territory, 1889–1907," The Chronicles of Oklahoma 86 (Summer 2008).

Clarence O. Douglas, "Charles B. Stuart Has Played Brilliant Role in Oklahoma's Legal History," Daily Oklahoman (Oklahoma City), 12 July 1936.

"Resolution of Respect for and in Appreciation of Honorable Charles B. Stuart," The Chronicles of Oklahoma 15 (June 1937).

"Charles Bingley Stuart," Vertical File, Research Division, Oklahoma Historical Society, Oklahoma City.


The following (as per The Chicago Manual of Style, 17th edition) is the preferred citation for articles:
Von Russell Creel, “Stuart, Charles Bingley,” The Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture, https://www.okhistory.org/publications/enc/entry?entry=ST061.

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