Governor “Black Jack” Walton - Podcast
Think politics is rough now? Check out ace OKC artist and USAO artist-in-residence Jerry Bennett’s depiction of one of the MACHINE GUNS that early Governor John “Black Jack” Walton mounted on the steps of the State Capitol to prevent an Oklahoma County grand jury from investigating him! Walton also mustered armed National Guardsmen to keep the legislature from meeting to impeach him. Stalwart Duncan Speaker of the House W. D. McBee and others took him on in what one prominent historian deemed “The most stirring episode in the political history not only of Oklahoma, but of any other state in the United States since the Civil War.”
Join John and KTOK/iHeartRadio star Gwin Faulconer-Lippert for the rough and tumble tale of when Oklahomans stood up to defy and throw out our most corrupt governor. It’s the 54th episode of our original OKLAHOMA GOLD! radio program and podcast. Go HERE to listen to them all! Future episodes explore more great heroes, events, and movements of Oklahoma History.
The Wild West lived on in 1920s Oklahoma through one of the world’s greatest oil booms, the largest tidal wave of new residents (and U.S. Congressmen) in state history, some of America’s most courageous 20th-Century lawmen and most cold blooded criminals, and the two-fisted, pistol-packing politics. In the case of the Oklahoma National Guardsmen ordered by renegade Governor Jack Walton to man sandbagged stations on the steps of the State Capitol building, it was machine guns, aimed at the County Courthouse! Illustration Jerry Bennett. (www.instagram.com/artistjerrybennett)
John Calloway Walton, a direct descendant of George Walton, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, remains the most controversial of all Oklahoma governors. He also had the shortest tenure, during which he exhibited a darkness of character unknown to the public record among any of the state’s other chief executives. Born in Indiana in 1881, he came to Oklahoma City via Nebraska, Arkansas, and the U. S. Army.
Speaker of the early-1920s Oklahoma House of Representatives William Dalton McBee of Duncan. More than 30 years after the momentous events he so shaped, McBee wrote: “Ever since the rise of the socialist movement…there had been growing apprehension that the state would fall under the political control of the extremists…But the (Gov. John) Walton experience proved that the proletariat could not use power after it had acquired it. It could neither select competent leaders nor administer government. Never since…have (Oklahomans) been disposed to go off the deep end for the extreme radical theories of socialism or communism.”
Many thanks to Atwoods Ranch and Home, a farm and ranch supply company based in Enid, Oklahoma, for their support of the Red River Institute of History and OKLAHOMA GOLD! Please support them as you are able! Wherever you are, you can order online from thousands of quality products on their terrific website HERE. Atwoods also has 66 stores in 5 states: Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, and Texas. In addition to farm and ranch supplies, Atwoods stores sell clothing, lawn and garden items, tools, hardware, automotive supplies, sporting goods, pet supplies, firearms, and seasonal items.