Richland Co., Ohio
Richland County Bar, Past and Present
Source -- MANSFIELD NEWS: 01 July 1911, Section VI, pp. 5-7
Edited and submitted by Jean
RICHLAND COUNTY BAR, PAST AND PRESENT
Men of the Law are Versed in the Ways of the Courts. Richland Advocates
Who Attained Distinction in the Practice of Their Profession, Some Reaching
the Judicial Bench and Many Becoming Prominent in Political and Public Life.
The following is a brief summary of the bench and bar of Mansfield, Ohio:
Under the constitution of 1802, the judiciary of Ohio was very differently composed than it is now. There was then no separate probate court. The court of common pleas in each county was composed of a presiding judge, a lawyer, and three associate judges, lay men; and the associates as a rule give attention to the probate business. They sat with the presiding judge at the sessions of the court, and they were essentially a part of it, and sometimes they overruled him. .
The first associate judges were Thomas Coulter, William Gass and Peter Kenney. Their public services extended over a score or more of years.
The associate judges who sat upon the bench in the succeeding years were strong, vigorous, and intelligent. Judge Patterson, Judge Osborn, James McCluer, Robert Beatty, Hugh Gamble, Benjamin Jackson, William Granger, Judge Andrews; upright men, who well maintained the dignity of their position.
Ezekial Chew, Alexander Barr and David McCullough were the last to occupy the associate bench.
Ezekial Chew, a blacksmith and farmer, was a man of great strength of body and mind. With but meager education he became a man worthy of notice, and his prudent and just counsel benefited the people of the whole county.
Alexander Barr was a teacher of the Mansfield school and a colonel in the Ohio militia.
David McCullough was a strong supporter of the right at all times. He was a military man, being captain of the Mansfield Blues, an independent company.
Judge Geddes was a judge with a keen sense of justice who was an expert cross examiner. In a good-humored way, gaining the confidence of the witness, before the witness was aware of it he had found out everything he wished to know.
Thomas J. Keaney was a prosperous lawyer, an unprejudiced judge, and a general favorite.
William Osborn and Judson Beebe were judges noted for their integrity. Andrew K. Dunn was appointed to fill the unexpired term when Judson Beebe died in office.
Manuel May was elected a judge of the common pleas court for this sub-division in 1882: was re-elected and served until 1892. He was at one time prosecuting attorney of the county and also represented this district in the state senate.
John M. May or "Father May" as he was called, was the first resident lawyer of Mansfield. He settled in Mansfield in 1815 and practiced here until 1857.
Jacob Parker was one of the best of the old-time lawyers.
James Stewart, father-in-law of John Sherman, was a lawyer will versed in the classics and with a comprehensive knowledge of human nature. He at first conducted an academy in Mansfield, then read law, entered the bar and sat on the bench.
Pelatiah W. Burr left the profession because of failing health and became the first scientific farmer of Richland county.
Hiram Humphrey left the pursuit of law to answer the call of the ministry.
Isaac J. Allen held the degrees of A. B., B. S., M. D. and L. L. B. Richland county bar probably never had a more learned member. He left Mansfield bar to take up educational work in Cincinnati and later represent the United Sates abroad as consul.
While many have withdrawn from the bar to take up other lines of work, Dr. Joseph Hildreth forsook the practice of medicine to enter the bar. He was a Mason of high degree, mayor of the town, a useful citizen, a man who worked for the good of the community. He did much toward the purchase and laying out of the Mansfield cemetery, and helped secure the right of way for the Ohio & Pennsylvania railroad.
William Johnston was elected to congress in 1862.
William Stevens was associated in the trial of some important cases. He wrote a book entitled "Unjust Judge" in which he depicted Stewart as an unjust judge and Kirkwood as "Old Yellow Coat."
Samuel Jordan Kirkwood was admitted to the Ohio bar in 1843. He served two terms as prosecuting attorney of Richland county. In 1855 he moved to Iowa and four years later was elected governor of that state, serving two successive terms and another term later. He was twice elected United States senator and Garfield appointed him secretary of interior.
To William R. Cantwell belongs the peculiar distinction of being the only member of Richland county bar who drew his sword in duel to defend his honor. It was while he was clerical assistant in one of the house of Ohio's general assembly. The contest ended with not fatal results.
Merchant, farmer and lawyer, Mordecai Bartley had a long and useful public life. In 1817 elected to the state senate he served six years. He then was sent to congress serving four terms and declining the fifth. He proposed the conversion of land grants into a permanent found for the support of common school and secured an appropriation for the improvement of many of the harbors of our Ohio lake cities. He was elected governor of Ohio in 1844. When inaugurated, the retiring governor was his own son, probably an unprecedented occurrence.
Charles T. Sherman, United States district judge for the northern district of Ohio, was known for his brief and clear decisions.
John Sherman came to Mansfield from Lancaster. He was admitted to the bar in 1844. In 1855 he was elected to congress, and a forcible speaker became a recognized leader at once. He was elected United States senator several times, the first in 1861. In this position he assisted much in strengthening the public credit. Appointed secretary of treasury in 1877, he obtained the resumption of specie payment. In 1897, President McKinley appointed him secretary of state but failing health soon caused him to resign. Mr. Sherman was an important candidate for the presidency three different times. John Sherman was a statesman of high rank. He wrote many of the laws which have made our nation what it is today.
William McLaughlin served prosecuting attorney of the countyand speaker of the state senate for many terms.
James Purdy was a prosperous and honorable lawyer, trusted and respected by all.
Barnabas Burns', born of Irish parents, was a staunch supporter of the union, as citizen, legislator, soldier and patriot. The young practitioners of his day loved and honored him.
Thomas H. Ford made himself famous by the speech which he delivered at the national council of the American party in Philadelphia.
Isaac Gass, son of William Gass, served as prosecuting attorney of Richland county, state senator and lieutenant colonel in the army.
Jacob Brinkerhoff began the practice of law in Mansfield in 1837. He rose rapidly in his profession. In 1839, he was elected prosecuting attorney of the county. In 1843, he was sent to congress. He drafted the resolution well known as the Wilmot Proviso.
Thomas Bartley, a native of Jefferson county, was admitted to the bar in Mansfield. He was United States district attorney, state governor and judge of the supreme court of Ohio.
In Jerome Lee we find one of the scholarly men of Richland county bar. He executed the duties of city solicitor of Mansfield and later served in Washington as chief of a division in the treasury department.
Andrew N. Hedges, the poet lawyer, also served in the civil war.
George S. Carpenter preferred office practice to trial work.
Hubbard Colby came to Mansfield from New Hampshire about 1840. He was one of the organizers of the Mansfield Machine works, was interested in the Gas Light company, did much toward the erection of the Park Avenue Baptist church.
N. N. Leyman, as an advocate in appellate courts, was unequaled.
Thomas McBride, of Scotch-Irish ancestry was born in Richland county and he ranked high as trial lawyer and cross-examiner.
Lyman Beecher Matson studied and began his practice of law in Mansfield. He excelled as a jury lawyer.
Milton W. Worden soon after being admitted to the bar became captain of the 32nd Ohio. He lost his leg at Harper's Ferry. He is the only Republican who ever held the office of probate judge of Richland county.
Samuel S. Bloom, born in Pennsylvania, was admitted to the bar in 1864. He did much for his town, projected the first Shelby paper, "The Pioneer," established the first telephone exchange in Richland county at Shelby, helped organize the First Evangelical church.
William W. Drennan, a resident of Plymouth, never took part in trial work but confined himself to office practice.
John K. Cowan, a Princeton student, was prosecuting attorney of Richland county in 1870, which position he resigned to accept a position in the office of the general counsel of the Baltimore and Ohio railroad. He afterwards became general counsel, receiver and president of the B. & O. railroad.
A. M. Burns, a native of Richland county, was admitted to the bar but soon enlisted in the 15th Ohio, serving over three years. After the war he returned to Mansfield and took up the practice of law again. He served two terms in the state senate, being author of the "Burns law" that requires the council of the municipality to first certify that the funds for a certain contract can be made.
With a thorough education, Andrew J. Mack entered the practice of his chosen profession in 1870. He served as prosecuting attorney and for two terms judge of the probate court.
William H. Pritchard began his practice in Mansfield. In 1884 he removed to Washington state where he gained honor at both bar and bench. He was a diligent lawyer, making the most elaborate preparation for every case.
W. L. Sewell read law with Judge M. May and practiced in Mansfield. He was appointed United States consul to Toronto, Can., and afterwards to Pernambuco, Brazil. Clever and resourceful, he was professionally a dangerous adversary.
Thomas F. Black was admitted to the bar in 1839 and practiced in Mansfield. He served one term as mayor, giving good satisfaction.
T. Y. McCray was born in Washington county, Pennsylvania, 1837, came to Ohio in 1846, and in August, 1876, came to Mansfield, where he was actively engaged in the practice of law until his decease on the third day of January, 1909.
Samuel L. Lutz was born in Richland county in 1857. He attended the country schools and Greentown academy. He graduated from Lafayette college at Easton, Pa., in 1885, and was soon elected to the superintendency of the Hicksville schools, which position he held for four years. After reading law with Wolfe & Henry for one year, he entered the senior class of Cincinnati law school, where he graduated in 1891. He was admitted to the bar the same year.
Joseph P. Henry, son of Nicholas Henry, a farmer, was born in Monroe township in 1854. His education was received in the Greentown academy. Graduating from Lafayette college in 1880 he read law with Pritchard and Wolf, being admitted to the bar in 1882. Was mayor of Mansfield from 1897 to 1899.
General Roeliff Brinkerhoff was born in Cayuga county, New York, in 1828 and attended the public schools there, having charge of a school in Tennessee when but 18 years old. He came north in 1850, read law with Jacob Brinkerhoff and was admitted to the bar in 1852. He organized the Richland Historical society.
Judge J. W. Jenner was a son of Dr. A. Jenner, who came here from New England in 1834. After attending the public schools he taught for several years, then entered Ohio Wesleyan university. He taught in Missouri but returned here in 1860, studied law with T. W. Bartley and was admitted to the bar in 1863. He served as prosecuting attorney from 1864 to 1869. In 1884 he was elected circuit judge which position he held for eleven years. He served as president of the board of education for twelve years.
THE PRESENT BAR
Of the 44 active members of the Mansfield bar 29 are natives of Richland county, 22 are sons of farmers, 23 attended college before starting study of law, 15 attended law school, 26 studied law in an office.
Wilbert J. Bissman was born in Mansfield in 1880. His father came to this country from Germany in 1853. Mr. Bissman graduated from the Mansfield high school, read law in the office of Donnell & Mariott and was admitted to the bar in 1904.
Allen S. Beach was born in Mr. Vernon, Ohio, in 1864. His parents Loran and Rebecca Critchfield Beach, died while he was a small boy. His education was obtained in the country schools of this county, the Ohio Normal at Ada and Ann Arbor law school from which he graduated in 1894 and was admitted to the bar in this city in the same year.
Lewis Brucker was born in Bridgeport, Mich. His parents, Ferdinand and Margaret Zechmeister Brucker emigrated from Vienna, Austria, and settled in American in 1848. He obtained his early education in the public schools at Saginaw, Mich. In 1877 his family came to Shelby. He graduated from Ann Arbor law school in 1886 and practiced here since. He served as probate judge from 1891 to 1897 and was once chairman of the state Democratic committee.
L. H Beam, son of Daniel E. Beam, was born in Richland county in 1876. He graduated from the Crestline high school, read law, and was admitted to the bar in 1897.
Judge P.(?) W. Cummins, son of David Cummins, was born in Shelby in 1867 and was educated in the Shelby schools and at Wittenberg college. While deputy clerk of probate court he read law and afterward completed his work with Skiles & Siles & Skiles at Shelby. He was admitted to the bar in 1894, practicing at Shelby until 1897, when he removed to Mansfield. For two years he was a member of the city board of elections and is now serving his first term as probate judge.
Van C. Cook, son of Dr. S. M. Cook, was born in 1873 in Waterford, Knox county, and received his early education in the schools of that county. In 1897 he graduated from Hiram college. After reading law in the office of Douglass & Mengert he was admitted to the bar in 1901. He enlisted in the army during the Spanish war.
Charles W. Chew was born in Richland county in 1873 and educated in the Mansfield schools. He taught school for several years and then read law with Cummings & McBride, being admitted to the bar in 1900. He held the position of state deputy fire marshal from 1906 to 1908.
Glenn M. Cummings graduated from Wittenberg college. He read law with Cummings & McBride and was admitted to the bar in 1899 and was elected city solicitor in 1906.
Judge Darius Dirlam was born in Berkshire county, Massachusetts, in 1826. In 1831 he moved to Clyde, Ohio, where he attended the public schools. He graduated from State and Union law school at Poland, Ohio, in 1856. Admitted to the bar in the same year he came to Mansfield in 1857. He was elected common pleas judge in 1872, serving one term. In 1897 he retired from active practice. Re-elected common pleas judge in 1902 he served until 1907.
H. B. Dirlam was born in Michigan in 1856. Two years later his father, who was a lawyer, moved to Mansfield. He attended the Mansfield schools and Ann Arbor law school. He read law with Matson & Leyman.
Oliver L. Cunningham, son of Jacob and Jane Cunningham, was born in Mansfield in 1872. He graduated from Mansfield high school in 1903 and then read law with Jenner & Weldon, being admitted to the bar in 1907.
Seth G. Cummings was born in Crawford county in 1839. After a good common school education he began the study of law and was admitted to the bar in this county in 1864. The next three years were spent in the mining business in Montana. Returning to Galion, Mr. Cummings practiced law there until 1884 at which time he removed to Mansfield. He served two terms as prosecuting attorney of Crawford county.
John H. Coss, son of John Coss, an architect, was born in Cleveland in 1867. He attended the Cleveland public schools.
A. A. Douglass was born in Monroe township in 1850. His father, John J. Douglass, was a railroad man and served as auditor and treasurer of Richland county. He was educated in the county schools, Greentown academy and Bethany college. He read law with Thomas McBride and was admitted to the bar in 1885. Served as prosecuting attorney from 1890 to 1896. Mr. Douglass taught school eleven years before taking up law, four years as superintendent of the Shiloh schools and three years superintendent at Bellville. He served as county examiner for ten years.
Jabez Dickey, born near Mansfield in 1838, was educated in the Mansfield schools, Monroe seminary and Hayesville college. After reading law with Dickey & Burns he was admitted to the bar in 1861. He was prosecuting attorney in 1862. Soon afterwards he removed to Mr. Gilead, Morrow county, where he was prosecuting attorney and later judge of common pleas court. After five years in Toledo he returned to Mansfield in 1905. Four years ago he was made justice of the peace.
Judge S. M. Douglass was born in Richland county in 1853. He attended country school, later Greentown academy, Wittenberg college and in 1879 graduated from Heidelberg college. After reading law with Judge Manuel May for one year he entered the senior class of the Cincinnati law school. He was admitted to the bar in 1883 and was in partnership with his brother, A. a. Douglass for fourteen years. For fourteen years he was circuit judge of the Fifteenth judicial circuit of Ohio, two terms chief justice of all circuit courts of Ohio, one year mayor of Mansfield by appointment and two terms city solicitor.
Olin M. Farber was born in Bryan in 1869 and his early education was obtained in the Bellville schools. He attended Wooster university and graduated from Cornell university in 1891. he held the chair of English literature in Cathage college for one year and then became superintendent of the public schools at Litchfield, Mich. He read law with Douglass & Douglass and was admitted to the bar here in 1894. Served as city solicitor in 1901.
Wm. H. Gifford was born in Richland county in 1862. He graduated from Ohio Northern university at Ada in 1887. After reading law with Cunningham & McCarty at Emporia, Kas., he was admitted to the bar and has practiced here since.
James W. Galbraith was born in Mansfield in 1874. After attending the public schools he read law with Donnell & Mariott, at the same time holding office of recording clerk and deputy in the office of clerk of courts and probate judge. Admitted to the bar in 1895, he is the present prosecuting attorney, serving his second term.
R. W. Hartman was born in Mansfield in 1873 and attended the public schools here. He read law with A. J. Twitchell and was admitted to the bar in 1898.
Robert E. Hutchison was born in Pennsylvania in 1871, his father being a Presbyterian minister. In 1873 he moved with his family to Ottawa, Kas., where he was educated in the public schools. In 1889 he returned to Ohio, entered Savannah academy and graduated from that school in 1892. He graduated from the law department of the University of Michigan in 1896 and was admitted to the bar in 1897. He was representative from this county in 1906, has served on the city council and is now a member of the school board.
C. H. Huston is a native of Richland county, born in 1871. Attended Shiloh high school, graduated from Tri-State college at Angola, Ill., in 1894 and from Ohio State university in 1897. Admitted to bar the same year. Served as prosecuting attorney from 1904 to 1909.
Thomas B. Jarvis born in Hayesville in 1873. He graduated from Hayesville high school in 1893 and from Wooster university in 1899. After reading law with Brucker & Workman in 1902 he was admitted to the bar. Served as justice of the peace for four years.
John F. Kramer, son of Jonathan Kramer, was born in Richland county in 1869. He studied in the Bellville schools, in Ohio Northern college at Ada and graduated from Ohio State university in 1902, being admitted to the bar the same year. Served as clerk of court for three years and as deputy clerk of county for two years.
W. S. Kerr, son of Alexander and Ursula Gladden Kerr, was born in Richland county in 1853. His early education was received in the country schools. He was graduated from Ann Arbor law school in 1879, entered the bar the same year and has practiced here since. He was state senator from 1887 to 1891 and a member of congress from 1894 to 1901.
Jesse E. LaDow was born in Richland county in 1863 and was reared on a farm. He attended the country schools, graduated from Ohio Northern at Ada in 1885 and from Ohio State at Columbus in 1887. He read law with Jenner & Tracy. In 1888 he was admitted to the bar.
W. H. Lutz was born in Richland county in 1862. Mr. Lutz was educated at Greentown academy, Wilkesbarre academy and Lafayette college from which institution he graduated in 1889. Read law one year with Wolf & Henry, then entered the senior class of Cincinnati law school, graduating in 1891. Admitted to the bar in 1891.
C. E. McBride, born in Monroe township in 1858, is the son of Union and Nancy McBride. He received his education in the country schools and at Wooster university. He read law with Col. Burns and T. McBride and was admitted to the bar in 1882. He was a member of the school board for six years 1884 to 1890, the city council two years 1885 to 1887, state legislature four years 1894 to 1898.
Robert B. McCrory was born in Pennsylvania in 1844. Graduating from high school in 1862 he read law with Burns & Dickey and was admitted to the bar in 1869. Served as prosecuting attorney 1871 to 1875, member of legislature 1879 to 1883, mayor 1887 to 1891 and 1905 to 1907.
George Moorhouse was born in Yorkshire, England, in 1847. He came with his family to this country in 1854, settling in Mansfield. Attended Mansfield schools and Gailey academy at Lexington. He read law with Dirlam, Matson & Leyman and was admitted to the bar in 1874.
Frederick Marquis was born in Mansfield in 1873. He attended Mansfield schools an O. S. U. law school at Columbus. He read law with J. C. Laser and was admitted to the bar in 1900. He is secretary of the board of managers of the reformatory.
T. Y. McCray, Jr., was born in Mansfield in 1878. He graduated from Mansfield high school in 1897 and Ohio State law school in 1900, being admitted to the bar in the same year. He is the present city solicitor, having been elected in 1909.
C. L. McClellan, son of John A. McClellan, a carpenter, was born in Butler in 1864. He studied at Greentown academy and Wooster university. After reading law with Henry & Reed he graduated from Cincinnati law school in 1894 and was admitted to the bar in 1894. He served as deputy clerk of courts in 1900, clerk of courts 1902 and is now member of city board of review.
L. J. Myers was born in Medina county in 1886. He graduated from Ohio Northern university in 1906, read law in the office of Jenner & Weldon and was admitted to the bar in 1909.
Judge Edwin Mansfield was born in Ashland in 1861. He attended the public schools and the college in Ashland. In 1882 while night clerk at the old Junction hotel at Shelby he began to read law under the direction of Skiles & Skiles. In 1886 he was admitted to the bar, practicing at Shelby. In 1886 he was elected mayor of Shelby, serving one term. In 1890 he was elected city solicitor of Shelby, serving sixteen years and resigning upon his election as judge of common pleas court in 1905.
L. C. Mengert was born in Richland county in 1858. He attended country school, spent two years in Normal school and then pursued the study of law in the office of Donnell & Mariott. He was admitted to the bar and practiced at Butler until 1892 when he located in Mansfield.
Silas C. Parker, born in Homes county in 1831. He attended country school, Loudonville academy and Delaware college. After reading law with Judge Campbell of Ashland, he was admitted to the bar in 1876 and practiced at Ashland for eight years, serving some time as justice of the peace. He moved to Mansfield in 1885.
James M. Reed, born in Monroe township in 1861, is a son of Joseph Reed, a farmer. He attended country school and Greentown academy. Graduating from Ann Arbor in 1888 he was admitted to the bar in the same year.
Thomas R. Robison was born in Richland county in 1866 and was reared on a farm. he attended Baldwin university at Berea and read law with Jenner & Tracy. In 1891 he was admitted to the bar. He served as city solicitor from 1893 to 1897, city councilman 1900 to 1901, which he resigned when elected mayor in 1901.
James P. Seward, of Irish parentage, was born in Mount Vernon in 1850. He was educated in the country schools, Hayesville institute and Oberlin college. He read law with Judge May, was admitted to the bar at Elyria in 1876 and has practiced here since. He was prosecuting attorney for two terms, beginning in 1880.
G. W. Statler, son of Samuel Statler, was born in Richland county in 1847. After attending Greentown academy he read law with may & Cowen and was admitted to the bar in 1872. Served as city solicitor two terms 1876, was Mansfield postmaster from 1885 to 1890.
C. H. Workman was educated in the public schools at Millersburg, the academy at Smithville and the academy in Wayne county. He graduated from Ohio Northwestern at Ada in 1886 and held the chair of English literature and rhetoric in that college for a number of years. He studied law in the Chicago law institute and was admitted to the bar in 1894. Was a member of the Seventieth general assembly of Ohio in 1892 and now a member of the commission appointed by the supreme court for admission to the bar.
Wm. McE. Weldon, born in Mansfield in 1866. He graduated from Mansfield high school in 1886, from Amherst college in 1890 and then attended Columbia university. After reading law with Jenner & Tracy he was admitted to the bar in 1893. Served one term as city solicitor, beginning in 1899 and is at present chairman of the Republican county central committee.
Norman M. Wolfe, born in Monroe township in 1849, is the son of Joseph and Sarah Wolfe, who came to Richland county from Pennsylvania in 1815. After attending country school, he taught and then studied at Greentown academy. He graduated from Wooster university and then took work at Amherst. Read law with Dickey & Jenner and was admitted to the bar in 1877. He was elected city solicitor in 1878, serving two terms; member of board of education in 1886, two terms; common pleas judge.
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