J. Stanley Webster

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J. Stanley Webster
Judge of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Washington
In office
January 16, 1924 – August 15, 1939
Appointed by Calvin Coolidge
Preceded by Frank H. Rudkin
Succeeded by Lewis B. Schwellenbach
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Washington's 5th district
In office
March 4, 1919 – May 8, 1923
Preceded by Clarence Dill
Succeeded by Samuel B. Hill
Personal details
Born John Stanley Webster
(1877-02-22)February 22, 1877
Cynthiana, Kentucky
Died December 24, 1962(1962-12-24) (aged 85)
Spokane, Washington
Resting place Oakesdale Cemetery
Oakesdale, Washington
Nationality American
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Mary Gertrude Lathrum[1]
(m. 1908–1956, her death)
Residence W524 Seventh, Spokane [3]
Alma mater University of Michigan
Law School, 1899
Profession Judge, lawyer

John Stanley Webster (February 22, 1877 – December 24, 1962) was a congressman from Eastern Washington, a professor of law at Gonzaga University School of Law, a Washington State Supreme Court justice, and a federal judge.[3]

Born in Cynthiana, Kentucky, Webster attended the public schools and Smith's Classical School for Boys. He studied law at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor 1897–1899. Webster was admitted to the bar in 1899 in Kentucky and commenced practice in Cynthiana, and was elected as prosecuting attorney of Harrison County in 1902 and served until 1906.

Webster moved west for his health to work a small ranch north of Spokane, Washington, near Colbert,[1] in May 1906.[4] He was elected the chief assistant prosecuting attorney for Spokane County in 1907 and then appointed as a judge of the superior court of Spokane County, serving from 1909 to 1916. He was also a lecturer on criminal and elementary law for the first law classes at Gonzaga University School of Law in Spokane. Webster was easily elected to a six-year term as an associate justice of the state supreme court in Olympia in 1916, and appointed early, November 20 by Governor Ernest Lister, to fill the vacancy. He resigned in May 1918 to run for Congress.[4][5]

In 1918, Webster ran as a Republican in the fifth district and unseated two-term Democratic incumbent Clarence Dill,[6] who had voted against declaring war on Germany in April 1917. Webster was re-elected in 1920 and 1922, then resigned his seat shortly after on May 8, 1923 to become a judge of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Washington in Spokane.[7][8] He served on the court for sixteen years until his retirement at age 62 on August 31, 1939, due to ill health.[9] Webster briefly served as the president of the Western International League (WIL) in minor league baseball,[10][11][12] a predecessor of the Northwest League, and resigned in February 1941.[13][14]

In retirement in Spokane, Webster remained a senior member of the court[15][16] until his death there at age 85 on December 24, 1962. His remains were cremated and the ashes were interred in the Oakesdale Cemetery in Oakdesdale, his wife's hometown in Whitman County, where her father John Lathrum (1853–1902)[17] had been sheriff.[18] Mary Gertrude (Lathrum) Webster (1887–1956),[2] his wife of 48 years,[1] had died six years earlier.[3] His older brother, Richard M. Webster (1869–1953), moved to eastern Washington in 1904 and also served as a judge in Spokane.[3][19][20]


 This article incorporates public domain material from the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress website http://bioguide.congress.gov.

  1. ^ a b c "Is the blushing bride of John Stanley Webster". Spokane Daily Chronicle. April 2, 1908. p. 3. 
  2. ^ a b "Oakesdale Cemetery, Whitman County, WA, surnames R-Z". Interment.net. Retrieved March 1, 2013. 
  3. ^ a b c d "Ex-judge Webster is dead". Spokane Daily Chronicle. December 24, 1962. p. 1. 
  4. ^ a b "J. Stanley Webster, statesman and jurist, has had remarkable career". Issaquah Press. June 1, 1923. p. 3. 
  5. ^ "W.W. Tolman to supreme bench". Spokesman-Review. May 12, 1918. p. 1. 
  6. ^ "Webster Wins". Spokane Daily Chronicle. November 6, 1918. p. 1. 
  7. ^ "Webster sworn in as judge". Spokesman-Review. May 10, 1923. p. 6. 
  8. ^ "Lawyers honor, praise Webster". Spokesman-Review. May 10, 1923. p. 6. 
  9. ^ "Judge Webster to retire soon". Ellensburg Daily Record. Associated Press. Aurust 21, 1939. p. 1.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  10. ^ "Judge Webster drafted for president of Western International body". Spokesman-Review. Associated Press. November 18, 1940. p. 9. 
  11. ^ "Webster made baseball chief". Spokesman-Review. Associated Press. November 19, 1940. p. 13. 
  12. ^ "Judge Webster starts on job". Spokesman-Review. December 16, 1940. p. 9. 
  13. ^ "Judge Webster resigns as president of league". Spokesman-Review. February 28, 1941. p. 1. 
  14. ^ "Wenatchee officials face life banishment from baseball". Spokane Daily Chronicle. February 28, 1941. p. 11. 
  15. ^ "Stanley Webster sits in U.S. Court". Spokesman-Review. July 22, 1944. p. 1. 
  16. ^ "Errors made in story about judge". Spokesman-Review. November 22, 1960. p. 7. 
  17. ^ "Oakesdale Cemetery, Whitman County, WA, surnames H-L". Interment.net. Retrieved March 1, 2013. 
  18. ^ "Death of John Lathrum". Spokesman-Review. October 20, 1902. p. 9. 
  19. ^ "Richard Webster announces self in run for bench". Spokane Daily Chronicle. June 16, 1916. p. 1. 
  20. ^ "Richard Montgomery Webster, papers 1847–1953". Washington State Libraries. Retrieved February 27, 2013. 

External links[edit]

United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Clarence Dill
U.S. Representative for Washington's
5th Congressional District

Succeeded by
Samuel B. Hill
Legal offices
Preceded by
Frank H. Rudkin
Judge of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Washington
Succeeded by
Lewis B. Schwellenbach