Walter M. French

Walter Melville French (born Jan 1874-died September 13, 1930) was an American attorney who served as a Washington State Supreme Court Justice from 1927 to 1930.

Walter M. French
Justice of the Washington Supreme Court
In office
1927 (1927)–1930 (1930)
Preceded byOscar Raymond Holcomb
Succeeded byAdam Beeler
Personal details
Born(1874-01-30)January 30, 1874
Branch, Michigan
DiedSeptember 13, 1930(1930-09-13) (aged 56)
Olympia, Washington
Residence(s)Seattle, Washington
Alma materHillsdale College, BA, University of Washington School of Law, LLB
  • judge


Walter French was born in Branch, Michigan, to Ezekial Inman French, a produce dealer, and Martha Mattie Mitchell. In 1896, French was graduated from Hillsdale College[1] and, in 1901, the inaugural class of the University of Washington School of Law (along with classmates Walter B. Beals and Vivian Carkeek).

After graduation, French lived in Seattle and practiced law in the firm of Allen & French.[2] By 1910, he resided on Bainbridge Island, Kitsap County. In 1912, French was elected to the Kitsap County Superior Court.[3]

In 1918, he ran for the Supreme Court against an incumbent, but lost. In November 1926, French, now residing in Tacoma, won election to the Supreme Court. He served three years, until his death on September 13, 1930.[4][5]

On April 12, 1904, he married Bessie Westlake Carkeek (born January 16, 1879-died February 15, 1967), a cousin of his classmate Vivian Carkeek.


  1. ^ Hillsdale College class of 1896, including "Walter M. French." Report of the State Board of Education, Joint Documents of the State of Michigan for the Year, Volume 1. Geo. W. Peck, printer to the States. 1897. p. 7. Retrieved March 11, 2017.
  2. ^ Weinberg, Arthur; Weinberg, Lila Shaffer (1961). The Muckrakers. University of Illinois Press. p. 155. ISBN 0252069862. Retrieved March 11, 2017.
  3. ^ Entry for Walter M. French, Kitsap Superior Court judge, "State officers, supreme and superior court judges, 1913 Session Laws, Code Reviser, State of Washington" (PDF). Code Reviser. State of Washington. Retrieved March 11, 2017.
  4. ^ State ex rel. Rummens v. Superior Court, 160 Wn. 520, 295 P. 730 (1931)("The facts essential to be stated are these: November 8, 1926, the Honorable Walter M. French was duly elected to the office of judge of the supreme court of this state, for a term of six years. He continued in that capacity until September 13, 1930, on which day he died. To fill the vacancy caused by the death of Judge French, the Honorable Adam Beeler was appointed.")
  5. ^ Sheldon, Charles H. (1988). Century of Judging: A Political History of the Washington Supreme Court. Seattle, WA: University of Washington. pp. 74, 87. ISBN 0295803290. Retrieved March 11, 2017.
Legal offices
Preceded by Associate Justice of the Washington Supreme Court
Succeeded by