William J. Holloway

William J. Holloway bigraphy, stories - 8th Governor of Oklahoma

William J. Holloway : biography

December 15, 1888 – January 28, 1970

William Judson Holloway (December 15, 1888 – January 27, 1970) was an American principal, lawyer, and politician who served as the fourth Lieutenant Governor of Oklahoma. Following Henry S. Johnston’s impeachment and removal from office, Holloway became the eighth Governor of Oklahoma.


Late life and legacy

After leaving office, Holloway would move to Oklahoma City where he would practice law until his death on January 28, 1970 at the age of 81. He would be buried in Rose Hill Cemetery in Oklahoma City. Holloway is, as of 2006, one of the only two Lt Governors, the other being Martin E. Trapp, in state history to ever succeed to the Governorship following a vacancy in the office.

Holloway’s son, William Judson Holloway Jr., is currently a senior United States federal judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit.

State of the State speeches

Early life and political career

William Judson Holloway was born on December 15, 1888, in Arkadelphia, Arkansas. Holloway’s father, a Baptist pastor, secured for his son a good education by sending him to Ouachita Baptist College (now Ouachita Baptist University) where Holloway would earn a teaching degree. After receiving his degree in 1910, Holloway traveled to Illinois to study at the University of Chicago. After completing his education, Holloway moved his family to Hugo, Oklahoma where he became the principal of a local high school.

While in Hugo, Holloway became to study law. Admitted to Cumberland School of Law in 1914, Holloway would earn a law degree and return to practice in Hugo. In 1916, running on the Democratic ticket, Holloway became the county attorney for Choctaw County, Oklahoma. Serving in this post until 1920, Holloway would be elected to represent Choctaw County and the surrounding area in the Oklahoma Senate. While in the Oklahoma Senate, Holloway served as the President Pro Tempore.

Holloway had only served two years of his second term when he ran on the Democratic ticket for election of the Lieutenant Governor. At the time, the office was vacant following the succession of former Lt Governor Martin E. Trapp to the Governorship after Governor John C. Walton’s removal from office. His six years of Senatorial experience, and his reputation as a friend to teachers and education reform, earned Holloway the election and he become the third Lieutenant Governor of Oklahoma.

Governor of Oklahoma

During the first session of the Legislature during 1929, the House brought official impeachment charges against Governor Johnston. Effective January 21, Holloway officially became Acting Governor. Once Johnston was removed on March 20, Holloway was elevated from Acting Governor to the office of eight Governor of Oklahoma. Like Governor Trapp before him, Holloway would become the second Lt Governor in the state’s history to become the Governor following impeachment.

With an administration beginning in the middle of great government distrust, Governor Holloway worked to silence political unrest and to restore faith in the state government. In the progressive footsteps of his early predecessors, Holloway passed laws redefining child labor limits and instituted a new mining code which improved health and safety regulations. Also in progressive manner, Holloway instituted a state wide Temperance Day in all public schools on the Friday nearest January 16.

Due to the increased number of automobiles on Oklahoma’s highways, public safety issues were being raised. In response, Holloway mandated a state wide speed limit of 45 miles-per-hour. Holloway also reduced the Oklahoma Highway Commission, created by Governor Trapp, from five members to three.

An issue that Holloway dealt with head on was the western bounty of Oklahoma. Holloway called a special session of the Legislature of the Twelfth Legislative Session on May 16, 1929. The Legislature adjourned on July 5, with the resolution of acquiring toll bridges along the border. Holloway’s most important reform came in his administration’s changing of Oklahoma’s election laws. The Governor instituted the runoff primary for the first time. This required a candidate to hold a clear majority in a party in order to run on the party’s ticket.

On October 29, 1929, Holloway’s administration, as well as the rest of the world, would face a new problem. When Wall Street crashed, Oklahoma, and the United States, was thrown into the Great Depression. Until this point, Holloway had vowed to keep the state’s expenditures under $30,000,000 in his two years of Governorship. With Oklahoma already $2,000,000 in debt, the Depression only made matters worse. Holloway was forced to spend more money than the state’s revenues allowed in order to prevent a total collapse of the state government and private businesses. This would continue until the end of his term.

In 1930, the colorful and popular Democrat William H. Murray was elected to replace Holloway. Holloway officially left office on January 12, 1931 as Murray was inaugurated as the ninth Governor of Oklahoma.