JOHN Callaway (JACK) WALTON was born near Indianapolis, Indiana and as a small child moved with his family to Nebraska and then Arkansas. After serving in the Field Artillery during the Spanish-American War, he studied engineering in Mexico and moved to Oklahoma City in 1903. During World War I he was a Colonel in the Engineering Corps. He won election as an Oklahoma City Commissioner, serving from 1917 to 1919, and then as Mayor of Oklahoma City, serving from 1919 until he became governor in 1923. Ku Klux Klan activity was rising in the post-World War I depression, and to suppress it Walton placed Tulsa County under martial law and suspended habeas corpus in violation of Oklahoma’s Constitution. Then in an effort to prevent a grand jury from pursuing an investigation of his actions, he placed the entire State of Oklahoma under martial law and used the National Guard to stop the state legislature—with whose members he was unpopular—from meeting. Forced by a petition of the legislature to convene a special session, Walton became the target of impeachment charges and was suspended from office. Less than one year after having been inaugurated, he was convicted and removed from the governorship. He went on to win the Democratic nomination for a seat in the U.S. Senate in 1924 but lost the general election. He was also defeated in both his 1931 effort to once again become Mayor of Oklahoma City and his 1934 and 1938 efforts to win the Democratic nomination for governor, but he did win election to the Oklahoma Corporation Commission, on which he served from 1932 until 1939.
Sobel, Robert, and John Raimo, eds. Biographical Directory of the Governors of the United States, 1789-1978, Vol. 3. Westport, CT: Meckler Books, 1978. 4 vols.