Furman, Henry M.

District: 2
Hometown: Ada, Oklahoma; Pontotoc County
Birthplace: Society Hill, South Carolina
Spouse: Frances Virginia Hutcheson Furman
Children: Henry Marshall Furman, Jr.; Florence Furman

Henry Marshall Furman was born in South Carolina where his father, Dr. Richard Furman, was pastor of the Baptist Church. He attended school at Sumpter and Greenville. When Henry Furman was 21 years old he decided to move to Texas. On the way to Texas he drove an ox wagon and read law and made a stop in New Orleans for a year. He passed a creditable examination and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1874 at Brenham, Texas. He was County Attorney in Bell County, Texas in 1876. He practiced law in Fort Worth and Denver. In Fort Worth he met Frances Virginia Hutcheson, who, in May, 1879, became his wife. They had two children, Henry Marshall, Jr. and Florence. He then moved to Ardmore, Indian Territory in 1895, and in 1904, he moved to Ada. Furman practiced in the courts before statehood and had an understanding of both the old territories and the new state. He was one of the best known attorneys in the state.

As a candidate for the U.S. Senate in 1907, Furman finished second to R. L. Owen and ahead of Thomas P. Gore, in the preferential Democratic primary. However, the executive conunittee of the Democratic party had agreed that in this first senate election one senator would be from Indian Territory and the other from Oklahoma Territory. In keeping with this agreement, Furman gave up the nomination.

At the age of 58 Furman was appointed to the first Court of Criminal Appeals and was elected by his associates to be the Presiding Judge. He was twice elected to succeed himself and he remained on the court until his death in 1916. He made himself famous throughout the United States in the enunciation of the “Harmless Error Doctrine.”

Judge Furman was a 32nd Degree Mason, and in 1901 he was elected Grand Master of Masons for Indian Territory.