Charles John Helm


Cincinnati Enquirer, 20 Sep 1903, page 14

DEATH CLAIMS JUDGE C J HELM-The sad intelligence reached Newport yesterday morning of the death at Cynthiana Ky. of Judge Charles J Helm, of the Highlands Ky. after a lingering illness.  He was the guest of his sister-in-law Mrs. Kate Victor, at that place for several days and although his health had been very poor for some time as a result of lung trouble, his death was sudden and unexpected and was due to hemorrhage following a violent spell of coughing about 5 am yesterday.

His wife and son, Webster Helm, were at his bedside when he died having accompanied him to Cynthiana.  Judge Helm was one of the most famous of Kentucky's brilliant array of legal talent.  He was born in St James, West Indian in 1855, his father being at that time United States Consul at that point.  His ancestry was distinguished, his father having been a politician, lawyer and diplomat of note, his last public service, being as Confederate agent at Havana during the Civil War.

His mother was of the distinguished family of Whistlers, some members of which took an active part in every war in which the United States has been concerned.  After the birth of the deceased, his father was appointed Consul at Havana, and here the family remained and Judge Helm received his earlier training until 1865, when then moved to St Catherine, Canada.

In 1870, two years after the death of his father, his mother came to Newport and this has been the home of the deceased ever since.  Judge Helm was educated in the Episcopal College, studied law under William Stone Albert and was admitted to practice at the Campbell County bar in 1875. The next year he was married to Miss Anna Webster, and as a result of that union two sons, Webster and Charles Jr. survive him.

An uncompromising Democrat, he early took an interest in politics and was successfully honored by his party with the offices of City Attorney, County Attorney and Circuit Court Judge. Judge Helm gained national prominence by reason of the cases of Scott Jackson and Alonzo Walling, who in 1896, were charged with the murder of Pearl Bryan.  At their hearing Judge Helm presided as the trial Judge and his knowledge of the law here stood him in good stead, for the attorneys for the defense seized hold of every technicality of the law in a vain attempt to save the necks of their clients.

In passing upon the motion for a new trial the Court of Appeals paid Judge Helm a high tribute for his rulings in that famous case, saying that hey could find no error. In the practice of civil law Judge Helm was equally famous and many of his decisions have been incorporated by the Court of Appeals in their own in affirming the decisions of Judge Helm.

Several years ago he was attacked with lung trouble and since that time his constitution has been becoming weaker day by day.  Some time ago Judge Helm built a palatial residence in the Highlands back of Newport, and here last night the remains were taken by Funeral Director Charles A Smith.

The funeral will take place Tuesday afternoon at 2 o'clock. The deceased was a Mason, and the Masonic fraternity of Campbell County will have charge of the services.

Circuit Judge Hodge, who succeeded Judge Helm, yesterday issued a call for a meeting of the members of the Kenton and Campbell County bars to be held at 10 am tomorrow in the Circuit Court room to take suitable action on Judge Helm's death.


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