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Oscar Lane Shewmake

OSCAR LANE SHEWMAKE. William and Mary College is not only one of the old and honored institutions of learning of the South, but it is also the college which has drawn to it some of the noted educators of the country, whose learning and experience are placed at the disposition of the students. One of these scholarly men whose attainments are worthy of much more than passing mention is Oscar Lane Shewmake, professor of government and citizenship and clean of the Marshall Wythe School of government and citizenship of William and Mary College. he was born in Prince George County, Virginia, February 5, 1882, a son of Edwin F. and Nannie Corbin (Salter) Shewmake, while his mother was on a visit to her parental home.

Edwin F. Shewmake was born in Burke County, Georgia, in 1845, and died in 1913. The Shewmake family had been established in Burke County for the past 150 years, and is one of the prominent ones of that region of the state. His wife was born at Yorktown, Virginia, the Salter family being a pioneer one in the vicinity of Salter’s Creek, near Newport News, which was named in honor of Mrs. Shewmake’s ancestors. Sire survives her husband and makes her home with her son, Dean Shewmake. Mr. and Mrs. Shewmake were married in Georgia, where his life was spent, although he was a graduate of Emory and Henry College, Emory, Virginia. While he had large cotton interests, his chief business was banking, carried on at Waynesboro, Georgia, where he was a prominent citizen. His father, Oscar L. Shewmake, served as captain of a company of the Second Georgia Infantry of the Confederate army, and one of his soils, Joseph 1. Shewmake, uncle of Dean Shewmake, was also in the Confederate service. Edwin F. Shewmake was a very earnest member of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, and a man of the highest standing in his home community.

Dean Shewmake attended the public schools of Forsythe County, Georgia, until he was seventeen years old, and then became a student of William and Mary College, from which he obtained the degree of Licentiate Instructor in 1902, and of Bachelor of Arts in 1903. Front 1902 to 1905 he was an instructor in the Mathew Whaley Model and Practice School, and then for two years was superintendent of schools of Georgetown, South Carolina. Entering the University of Virginia, he took the regular law course, and was graduated therefrom in 1909 with the degree of Bachelor of Laws, and was secretary of his class. While at William and Mary College he was for three years on the football team, and for two years of that time was captain. He made Pi Kappa Alpha, and at the university was consul minor Phi Delta Phi, the legal Greek letter fraternity, and was editor-in-chief of the University of Virginia Annual.

Following his graduation Dean Shewmake entered upon the practice of law at Surry, Virginia, with J. Gordon Bohannon. He was one of the organizers of the Bank of Denton, Virginia, and served it as vice president, as a director and general consul, and also served in the same capacities with the Bank of Surry County. For tell years he was chairman of the Surry County Democratic Executive Committee. He was a member of the State Board of School Examiners of. Virginia from 1907 to 1917. Among other important activities while in Surry County was his organization of the Surry County Fair Association, of which he was president, and during 1915 and 1916 he served Sorry County as commonwealth attorney, and in the latter year served on the electoral college for the Fourth Virginia District. From 1914 to 1919 he was a member of the Virginia Normal School Board, resigning that office to become a member of the Board of Visitors of William and Mary College, to serve two years, which office he resigned to accept the offer of a position on the faculty of his alma mater. From 197 6 to 191 8 Dean Shewmake belonged to the State Tax Board, which he served as counsel. He is author of the Virginia Income Tax Law; Virginia Inheritance Law, stud the Law Regulating the Collection of Omitted Taxes. The Tax Board published his opinions on questions of taxation, which arc used all over Virginia. As counsel he represented the commonwealth in the trial of many important pieces of litigation, among them being those quoted as “leading” eases and “ruling” cases by law journals, including: Wise Trustees vs. Commonwealth, Tuohys Executor vs. Commonwealth, Grixeys Heirs vs. Commonwealth, and Bowen Heirs vs. Commonwealth. During 1918 and 1979 he was general counsel of the Virginia State Corporation Commission representing Virginia before, the United States Interstate Commerce Commission, and the Federal Railroad Administration in important legislation. In September, 1919, he resigned to resume his private practice in Sorry and Richmond, specializing on tax matters and corporation law until called by the Board of Visitors of William and Mary College to assist in upbuilding the Marshall Wythe School of Government and Citizenship, as professor of constitutional history and law, and as dean of economics and law. Accepting the call he retired to the school, at a great personal sacrifice, with the ambition to create a citizenship that will be well informed and law–abiding. He is a member of the Virginia Historical Society, the Virginia Bar Association, the American Bar Association, Jefferson Lodge No. 65, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons, of Surry, of which he is a, past twister, and while at Sorry he served as a vestryman of Saint .Paul’s Episcopal Church. Since coming to Williamsburg he has become a prominent factor of Braton Parish, and is the teacher of the Students’ Bible Class. Dean Shewmake is very progressive, and leaving been an athlete himself, is a great believer in wholesome sport, and is chairman of the Joint Committee on Athletics, William and Mary College. In so far as possible he is actively participating in the public affairs of Williamsburg.

On June 26, 1912, Mr. Shewmake married at Surry Court House, Virginia, Miss Leta Coles Bouldin, of Charlotte County, Virginia, a daughter of Henry Wood and Lela (Coles) Bouldin, the former a native of Charlotte County, and the latter of Northumberland County, Virginia. Mr. Bouldin was for forty years actively engaged its a wholesale lumber dealer, and also operated extensively in real estate, but is now retired. He is a prominent roan and a member of the Masonic fraternity. His wife is deceased. Mrs. Shewmake is a graduate of C Chatham Episcopal School, Chatham, Virginia. Dealt and Mrs. Shewmake have three children, Lela Bouldin, Oscar Lassiter and Nancy Salter.