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The Northern District of Oklahoma was formed from its eastern counterpart by Act of Congress in February 1925. In March of that year, John M. Goldesberry was commissioned as the first United States Attorney of the Northern District. To this day, the story is told about an incident involving him which occurred in the courtroom of United States District Court Judge F.E. Kennemer. With his hands in his pocket, Goldesberry continuously jingled coins to the distraction of the court. The judge stopped the prosecutor and asked him what kind and how much money he had in his pocket. "Six silver dollars, Your Honor," he replied, "Whys do you ask?" The judge then ordered Goldesberry to pay an immediate fine of five silver dollars, leaving Goldesberry with only one coin he was unable to jingle.

The Territory of Oklahoma was created on May 2, 1890. On March 1, 1895, the Indian Territory was divided into three districts: Central, Northern and Southern. On May 27, 1902, the Western District of the Indian Territory was established. The Act of June 16, 1906, merged the Oklahoma and Indian Territories, thereby forming the State of Oklahoma. Congress organized Oklahoma as two judicial districts, the Eastern and the Western, with one judgeship each, and assigned the districts to the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals. The Act was effective upon admission of Oklahoma as a state on November 16, 1907.

On February 16, 1925, the Northern District of Oklahoma was established. The Act transferred the temporary judgeship in the Eastern District to the Northern District and made that position permanent. The State of Oklahoma would then have three districts: Eastern, Western, and Northern.

On February 28, 1929, Congress assigned Oklahoma to the newly-organized United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit.


Former United States Attorneys for the Northern District of Oklahoma

The following list is compiled from historical records maintained by the United States Attorney's Office and by the Department of Justice.

Danny C. Williams Sr.: 2012-2017

David E. O'Meilia: 2001-2009

Stephen C. Lewis: 1993-2000

Tony M. Graham: 1987-1993

Layn R. Phillips: 1983-1987

Francis A. Keating, III: 1981-1983

Hubert H. Bryant: 1977-1981

Hubert A. Marlow: 1977

Nathan G. Graham: 1969-1977

Lawrence A. McSoud: 1967-1969

John M. Imel: 1961-1967

Russell H. Smith: 1961

Robert S. Rizley: 1958-1961

B. Hayden Crawford: 1954-1958

John S. Athens: 1953-1954

Whitfield Y. Mauzy: 1937-1953

Clarence E. Bailey: 1933-1937

John M. Goldsberry: 1925-1933

Updated March 14, 2017