William F. Mecum

    William F. Mecum, attorney-at-law of Douglas, who for more than a third of a century has been actively engaged in practice, was born on the 10th of January, 1856, in Henry county, Illinois, a son of Charles B. and Frances Helen (Richards) Mecum. The father was descended from French and Irish ancestry, while the mother came of Welsh and English lineage. The great-grandfathers on both sides, however, were reared in the new world. Charles B. Mecum was numbered among the California Argonauts who in 1849 made their way to the Pacific coast in search of the golden fleece. He afterward returned to Illinois, where he made his home for a considerable period, but eventually removed to Iowa. He was a well to do farmer and stock man. In the family were three sons and two daughters.
    William F. Mecum, who was the eldest of the family, after completing his education by a high school course in Illinois, took up the profession of teaching. He was nineteen years of age when the family removed to Iowa and later he turned his attention to the study of law, devoting three years to the mastery of the principles of jurisprudence in the office and under the direction of the firm of McDuffy & Howard at Jefferson, Iowa; and with Norris Brown, of Omaha, Nebraska, who had also been a law student at the same time, was admitted to the bar on the 1st of September, 1883. The two young men then formed a partnership under the firm name of Mecum & Brown and opened a law office at Perry, Iowa, where Mr. Mecum remained until April, 1886, when he left the middle west and came to Wyoming, settling at Fort Fetterman. Mr. Mecum was the first attorney to take up his abode in Douglas, going there on June 9, 1886. He afterward removed to Grand Island, Nebraska, where he practiced law one and a half years and then was in the hotel business, coming back to Douglas, Wyoming, in the spring of 1895. He then taught school three years, after which period he filled the office of county attorney for three two-year terms. He was the first justice of the peace elected and the first police judge of the city. He also served as under sheriff with J. T. Williams, who was then occupying the position of sheriff. Mr. Mecum filled that position for a year and a half and he also acted as principal of the schools of Douglas in an early day, for at that period there was not much business for an attorney, as there were about fifteen attorneys here waiting for business, the county seat being at Laramie City, a distance of about one hundred and forty miles away. With the settlement of the county, however, his clientage increased and has long since enjoyed a good practice which has connected him with much of the important litigation heard in the courts of his district. Few lawyers win a larger percentage of their cases before either judge or jury than does Mr. Mecum. He convinces by his concise statement of law and facts rather than by word painting, and so high is the respect for his legal ability and integrity that his assertions in court are seldom questioned.
    Mr. Mecum was united in marriage on the 25th of December, 1888, at Grand Island, Nebraska, to Miss Kate G. Koush, a daughter of David S. and Sarah M. Roush, and their children are: Grace E., now the wife of Elmer Clark, residing at Douglas; Frances H., the wife of R. F. Bower, of Worland; Jessie L.; Clara A.; and Verna H. The family occupy an enviable position in social circles and their home, one of the most beautiful in the town, is noted for its warm-hearted hospitality. Mr. and Mrs. Mecum hold membership in the Methodist church.
    Judge Mecum is fond of athletics and his interest therein has been a factor in maintaining his excellent health. He belongs to the Commercial Club and fraternally is connected with the Independent Order of Odd Fellows. His political allegiance is given to the republican party and he keeps well informed on the questions and issues of the day but has never been an office seeker. He prefers to concentrate his undivided thought and attention upon his professional interests and duties. He gives to his clients a service of great talent, unwearied industry and broad learning, but he never forgets that there are certain things due to the court, to his own self-respect and, above all, to justice and the righteous administration of the law which neither the zeal of an advocate nor the pleasure of success permits him to disregard.

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