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Scharf, J. Thomas. History of Saint Louis City and County, From the Earliest Periods to the Present Day: Including Biographical Sketches of Representative Men. In Two Volumes, Illustrated. Volume II . Philadelphia: Louis H. Everts & Co., 1883. [format: book], [genre: biography; history; proceedings]. Permission: Northern Illinois University
In a large sense it may be said that the history of a community is written in the records and traditions of its courts of justice. If it has grown rapidly, and from small beginnings; if difficulties have beset its path, and a stirring, energetic people wrought great things with courage and foresight; if, above all, diverse elements of language and society have mingled and struggled there, the bench and bar will inevitably reflect these characteristics and meet these needs, it will be strong, brilliant, and original, offering high prizes to genius, but little place for mediocre talent. A glance at the political history of Upper Louisiana, from which Missouri was carved, shows that to this battle-ground young giants of the law found their way. Its ownership first by France, then by Spain, and afterwards again by France, introduced into its colonial practice peculiarities of both the Spanish and the French codes, and formed customs which in later times had to be interpreted and regulated by the principles of English law. When, in March, 1804, at St. Louis, Commandant Delassus transferred the territory to Capt. Stoddard, representative of the United States, the throbbing current of American life flowed unimpeded into the quiet and almost Arcadian communities of Upper Louisiana. A wise policy prevented difficulties and harmonized conflicting interests, but for years Missouri courts had tasks before them which required the utmost tact, judgment, firmness, and acumen. It is easy to see why this should have been so. Three distinct classes of emigration had, previous to 1804, flowed into the Territory, attracted by its fertile soil, its abundant game, its mild laws, and the picturesque simplicity of its customs. From Canada by way of the great lakes and the network of streams that cross Illinois, or floating down the upper Mississippi, many French voyageurs had found their way, so that in some districts a French patois was almost the only language spoken. French and Spanish families from New Orleans ventured the voyage northward, and in some districts the Spanish element predominated. Sturdy Western hunters, trappers, traders, and farmers were beginning to occupy points of vantage and invest in lands, timber, and town property. The rude border life developed a race of plainspoken frontiersmen, who afterwards carried into their innumerable legal battles that necessarily grew from conflicting land grants and titles the same courage and tenacity that they showed in their Indian wars. The able and courageous lawyers who won their way to fame and fortune in the earlier days of Missouri were not only trained athletes of the judicial forum, but their lives were crowded with romantic incident and adventure. It was absolutely essential to professional success that a lawyer should be thoroughly acquainted with the Spanish language and civil law. As Hon. W. V. N. Bay, late judge of the Supreme Court of Missouri, says in his interesting reminiscences of the bench and bar of that State, "A want of knowledge of either unfitted the claimant to legal honors to cope with those who had devoted years of laborious study to their acquirement."
The St. Louis bar was from the first a centre of legal activity in the Territory, and many of its members won national reputation. Among its characteristic leaders were such men as Benton, the Lucases, Geyer, Easton, Gamble, McGirk, Hempstead, Pettibone, Tompkins, Darby, Spalding, the Bartons, Lawless, Bates, Allen, Mullanphy, Leslie, Wright, Blennerhassett, Polk, Gantt, Williams, Bowlin, Leonard, Field, and others who belonged in the same brilliant coterie. The student of the bench and bar of St. Louis in its early days will search long for a parallel in points of force and originality. The lawyers of
Kentucky, of Southern Ohio, and of Indiana had the same extensive practice in profitable land litigation, and developed the same rough and ready wit, terse, epigrammatic speech, and Western eloquence; the lawyers of Texas, and at a later date those of the southern portion of California and of New Mexico had to struggle in like measure with the difficulties of the Spanish code and Spanish language; but only in Missouri were all these complex and varied elements mingled in stormy confusion, in a conflict of diverse creeds, systems, and languages, whose struggle and final harmonious union are written in the pages of court records and legislative enactments of Territory and State.
There were a few capable and efficient lawyers, mostly French, in St. Louis previous to 1804, and they soon found that the American purchase meant for them only increased business activity and infinitely broader opportunities, which they were not slow to embrace. In many cases the wise policy of the United States retained the former alcaldes as justices of the peace under the new government. The Chouteaus, the Chauvins, the Prattes, and the Leducs were leaders among the French citizens. In 1764, Col. Auguste Chouteau landed at what is now the foot of Market Street, St. Louis, and camped there. In 1799, when a census was taken, both St. Charles and Ste. Genevieve exceeded St. Louis in population, and drew much legal talent to their courts. Of the four legal and military districts of St. Charles, St. Louis, Ste. Genevieve, and Cape Girardeau, no one could in 1804 foresee which would contain the metropolis. In that year Col. Rufus Easton and Edward Hempstead came to the Territory.
At this time the district of Louisiana, in which St. Louis was situated, was attached to the Territory of Indiana, whose courts exercised jurisdiction over the newly-acquired country. The Governor and judges were instructed by the act of Congress of March 26, 1804, to hold two courts a year at St. Louis and enact such laws for the immediate government of the district as they might find necessary. Accordingly, William Henry Harrison, Governor, and Thomas Terry Davis, Henry Vanderburgh, and John Griffin, judges of the Territory of Indiana, adopted a code of laws for the government of the district. The first law in the code established the office of sheriff, the second was one for regulating boatmen, the third established recorders' offices, the fourth was entitled "a law respecting slaves," the fifth was "a law of defalcation," and the sixth "regulating the oath of office."
A copy of the Republican Register, a newspaper published at that period in Rushville, Ky; dated June 20th, contains a letter, dated Vincennes, May 29,1805, which thus describes the holding of the first general court in St. Louis:
"The first general court in and for the district of Louisiana was opened in the town of St. Louis on Tuesday, the 6th of May inst., at about eleven o'clock A. M. The judges, Vanderburgh and Griffin, being attended by the sheriff and his deputy, the bar, and a respectable number of citizens, proceeded to the house of Monsieur Chouteau. After the grand jury (which was composed of twenty odd of the most respectable citizens) were sworn, his Honor Judge Vanderburgh delivered a charge of some length, in which he congratulated them upon the happiness and prosperity they would experience from the change of government. The grand jury continued their session from Tuesday until Friday morning. They found an indictment against one Davis for murder, without malice, of his father-in-law, and one against one Hunter and Dennis for the willful murder of one Clark, a presentment against the inferior court, and one against John Mullanphy, Esq., as presiding justice of the inferior court of the district of Louis. Hunter, upon traversing the indictment, was acquitted; Dennis was found guilty of manslaughter and punished; Davis was acquitted, and so was Mullanphy. The Indian prisoner, who was some time in confinement in the garrison at St. Louis, in endeavoring to make his escape (a few days previous to the arrival of the President's pardon), was shot by the sentinel, and from the wound he received was enabled to get about six miles, where be was found dead some time after. During the sitting of the court the Sioux nation of Indians brought down a prisoner for having killed two Canadians. There was no confession by which he was justified in the commission of the act. The court, after a session of fifteen days, during which a variety of business was done, adjourned till court in course."
The letter mentions an "inferior court," which appears to have been formed of a quorum of justices of the peace, over which John Mullanphy presided.
Courts of Quarter Sessions, to hold four terms each year, were established for the five sub-districts into which the district was divided, with a sheriff and recorder for each sub-district, the court at St. Louis to meet on the third Tuesday of June, September, December, and March. The first session of this court in St. Louis, as stated elsewhere, was an Oyer and Terminer held Dec. 18, 1804, at the tavern of Emilien Yosti. The justices present were Auguste Chouteau, Jacques Clamorgan, David Delaunay, and James Mackay, and the sheriff was James Rankin. Charles Gratiot was presiding justice, and Edward Hempstead was deputy attorney-general pro tem.
By the act of March 3, 1805, Congress provided for the appointment of three judges, who with the Governor should constitute the Legislature of the newly-created Territory of Louisiana. These judges were J. B. C. Lucas, John Coburn, and Rufus Easton, who constituted what was known as the Superior Court. Before the new government was organized, however, the Court of Quarter Sessions had held another term, March, 1805, Charles Gratiot presiding.
In addition to those already named, Alexander McNair, of St. Louis, and Richard Caulk, James Richardson, and John Allen, from the other sub-districts, occupied seats on the bench. In 1806 the judges of the Superior Court were J. B. C. Lucas, R. J. Meigs, and Otho Strader. In June of this year the Territorial Legislature provided for a general court to be held in St. Louis twice a year, which exercised the functions of a Court of Appeals or Supreme Bench, and in October of the same year for a clerk of the General Court, Joseph V. Gamier being appointed to the position. In 1807 the Legislature passed an act reconstructing the courts, which provided that judges of the Common Pleas should be appointed by the Governor for each district for four years, two being a quorum to hold court. There were to be three terms a year in St. Louis, on the first Mondays of March, July, and November. The act also provided for a Court of Oyer and Terminer (criminal), to consist of the judges of the General Court and the Common Pleas judges of the respective districts when the punishment involved life or death. Other criminal cases were to be tried in the Quarter Sessions, with a clerk for each district. It was further provided that a Supreme Court, called the General Court, should sit in St. Louis on the first Mondays of May and October. 228
In the mean time the Common Pleas Court had been in active operation. At the March term, 1806, Joseph Browne was presiding justice, with Messrs. Chouteau, Delaunay, and Mackay associates; Andrew Steel, prothonotary. At the special term of Quarter Sessions, in October of the same year, Jacques Clamorgan, Bernard Pratte, and William Christy were the justices in attendance. The sheriff at this time was Jeremiah Connor. In June, 1807, Silas Bent assumed the duties of presiding justice of the Common Pleas, having been appointed to that position by acting Governor Bates. On the 19th of September, 1808, a Court of Oyer and Terminer was held, J. B. C. Lucas presiding, with Judge Chouteau as associate. At the February term in 1809, Judge Lucas' associates were Judges Pratte and Labeaume.
The act of Congress of June 4, 1812, provided that there should be three judges of the Superior Court, to serve four years, and by the act of the Legislature Aug. 20, 1813, the old courts were abolished, and it was provided that three judges of Common Pleas for each county should be appointed by the Governor for four years. These courts were to hold three terms a year, those for St. Louis on the third Monday of February, first Monday of June, and third Monday of September. The clerks of these courts were also to be recorders of deeds. On the 4th of January, 1815, county courts were established for each county except Arkansas; the term in St. Louis commencing on the second Monday in March, June, September, and January, the clerk for each to be recorder. The Territory was divided into two circuits, St. Louis, St. Charles, and Washington constituting the northern circuit, and Ste. Genevieve, Cape Girardeau, and New Madrid the southern, with three terms a year, commencing in St. Louis on the second Mondays in February, June, and October. The old courts were abolished, and a clerk for each county was to be appointed by the judges. The Superior Court was to hold one term annually in St. Louis, commencing on the first Monday of July. On the 15th of the same month the office of attorney-general of the Territory was abolished, and a circuit attorney for each circuit provided for. An act of Jan. 21, 1816, directed that the Superior Court should hold two terms annually in each circuit (commencing in St. Louis on the third Monday of March and September), and that a clerk for each circuit should be appointed. The same act abolished the county courts and transferred their duties to the Circuit Courts. The latter met in St. Louis on the first Monday in May, August, and November, and the Superior Court on the third Monday in March and September. On the 1st of February, 1817, the Legislature passed an act changing the time of holding the courts, Superior Court in St. Louis, northern circuit, fourth Monday in March and August; Circuit Court in St. Louis, second Monday in February, June, and October. In 1818 the Circuit Court of St. Louis met on the first Monday in April, August, and December, and the Superior Court on the fourth Monday in April and the third Monday in September. The following is a list of the presiding justices, clerks, sheriffs, etc., of the Courts of Common Pleas under the old organization:
Charles Gratiot, appointed December, 1804, by Governor Harrison.
Joseph Browne, appointed March, 1806, by Governor Wilkinson.
Silas Bent, appointed June, 1807, by Secretary Browne.
William Christy, appointed March, 1813, by Governor Howard.
Rufus Easton, appointed December, 1804, by Governor Harrison.
Thos. F. Riddick, appointed March, 1805, by Governor Harrison.
Andrew Steele, appointed March, 1806, by Governor Wilkinson.
William Christy, appointed March, 1807, by Secretary Browne. Thomas F. Riddick, appointed July, 1807, by Secretary F. Bates.
James Rankin, appointed December, 1804, by Governor Harrison.
Josiah McLanahan, appointed June, 1805, by Governor Harrison.
Jeremiah Connor, appointed September, 1806, by Governor Wilkinson.
Alexander McNair, appointed November, 1810, by Secretary F. Bates.
John W. Thompson, appointed July, 1813, by Governor Clark.
Joshua C. Browne, appointed April, 1819, by Governor Clark.
Edward Hempstead, appointed December, 1804, by Governor Harrison.
Rufus Easton, appointed March, 1805, by Governor Harrison.
Edward Hempstead, appointed June, 1805, by Governor Harrison.
James L. Donaldson, appointed December, 1805, by Governor Wilkinson.
Edward Hempstead, appointed May, 1809, by Governor Lewis.
Thomas T. Crittenden, appointed November, 1810, by Governor Howard.
Robert Wash, appointed November, 1811, by Secretary Bates.
David Barton, appointed March, 1813, by Secretary Bates.
William Sullivan, appointed December, 1804, by Governor Harrison.
In 1825 the Legislature passed a law establishing judicial districts and circuits, which prescribed the following as the times of holding the several courts in St. Louis County: The Supreme Court in the city of St. Louis on the fourth Mondays of May and November; the Circuit Court on the fourth Mondays in March, July, and November; the Probate Court on the first Mondays of March, June, September, and December.
The St. Louis Criminal Court was established in 1839 (the first term to be held in March of that year), with a view of giving the Circuit Court full time to transact the civil business of the county, criminal business having before that time attached to that court alone. In progress of time the Common Pleas Court, and even the land commissioners' court, was created with the design to relieve the Circuit Court of a portion of its labors.
Soon after the admission of Missouri into the Union the entire State was made one United States district, with a District Court which sat twice a year, usually for a very few days, at Jefferson City; and a Circuit Court for that district sat twice a year at St. Louis, the district judge holding it either alone or in conjunction with the United States Supreme Court justice assigned to the circuit of which Missouri composed a part. Prior to 1852 the admiralty jurisdiction of the United States District Courts had been so strictly construed that very few "steamboat suits" were brought in that of Missouri, and litigation of that description was almost entirely confined to the State tribunals.
But at its December term of 1851 the United States Supreme Court made a decision, in the "Genesee Chief" case (12 Howard, p. 443), by which the admiralty jurisdiction of the United States courts, previously regarded as confined to tide-waters, the "navigable waters" at common law, was held to extend to the great lakes and rivers, navigable in fact. As such jurisdiction was superior, in most cases, to that of any State court, the Missouri District Court began to be crowded with cases affecting steamboats and other river-craft and river men. As the trial of these cases at Jefferson City occasioned great inconvenience and expense to litigants residing at St. Louis, there soon arose a very general demand for the establishment of a United States District Court in St. Louis.
But various difficulties in the way of it were soon discovered. The first suggestion, as of the most economical plan, and therefore that most easily and promptly to be got through Congress, was that sessions of the District Court should be held in St. Louis as well as at Jefferson City, or that the court should be entirely transferred to the latter place. To either of these plans there were serious objections. As the entire Indian country between the western boundaries of Missouri, Iowa, and Minnesota was then annexed for certain purposes to the Missouri district, and offenders against the laws in that country were tried in that district, the administration at Washington objected to the additional expense and trouble which would arise from the transfer of trials to St. Louis, and the steamboat interests of the upper Missouri River and its tributaries joined in the objection. Against the holding of terms at St. Louis by the district judge, who resided at Jefferson City, it was objected that, as an admiralty court is always in session, and the great bulk of admiralty business in Missouri arose at St. Louis, either the judge would have to remove to St. Louis, or the lawyers would still have to go to him at Jefferson City, not then connected by railroad with St. Louis, to attend to the business constantly arising between the regular terms of court. The opinion of the bar and of the commercial public therefore soon settled upon the plan of dividing Missouri into two districts and establishing a separate District Court at St. Louis.
Senator Stephen A. Douglas had about that time suggested a reorganization of the Federal judiciary, and a part of his plan was to compose the Circuit
Court of all the district judges within the circuit, sitting together, as an appellate court. This suggested the plan which was finally adopted for the organization of the United States Circuit Court at St. Louis. A bill was drafted by which the old district was divided into the Eastern and Western. Judge Wells was assigned to the Western, in which he had so long resided, a new district judge was to be appointed for the Eastern, and both judges were to sit in the Circuit Court at St. Louis, the senior in commission to preside in the absence of the Supreme Court justice.
The bill above described was introduced into the United States Senate by the senior Missouri senator, Henry S. Greyer, and with the support of his colleague, Senator James S. Green, and of Senators Seward, Fessenden, and Douglas, promptly passed that body. It ran some risk of delay under the rules in the House of Representatives, but through the parliamentary skill and great personal influence of Hon. John S. Phelps it was taken up and promptly passed by that body on the last day of the session, March 3, 1857. It was at once approved by President Pierce. The Missouri delegation in Congress presented to him its unanimous recommendation of Hon. Samuel Treat for the new judgeship. The President at once made the nomination, with the complimentary remark that Judge Treat was also his own choice. Indeed, so general had been the recognition of his especial fitness for the distinguished position, that the name of no other person had been mentioned in connection with it. The Senate unanimously confirmed the appointment, and his commission was signed by President Pierce.
After devoting the necessary time to finishing up the pressing business of the St. Louis Court of Common Pleas, Judge Treat took the oath of office on March 23, 1857, and on the next day organized his District Court. At the next term of the new United States Circuit Court, on April 6, 1857, he took his seat with Judge Wells on the bench.
Up to 1877 the courts of St. Louis exercised jurisdiction over both city and county, but in that year a separate county court was organized, and a new court-house for the county was erected at Clayton in the following year.
From 1804 to 1812 the courts provided an abundance of work for members of the St. Louis bar. The treaty of cession stipulated that the "inhabitants of Louisiana should be protected in the free enjoyment of liberty, property, and religion." Congress passed various acts to enforce these rights, but, as John F. Darby, one of the leading lawyers of early St. Louis, says, there were not, up to 1811, three perfect land titles in all Upper Louisiana. Spanish grants and conflicting claims of every sort, growing out of surveys of a primitive kind, and judicial decisions under French, Spanish, and American law gave the lawyers enough business. A similar state of affairs in California has produced corresponding results, some of the famous land cases there being still in court after twenty years of conflict among opposing claimants. Lawyers who won renown in these entangled civil cases were fit to cross weapons with the best legal talent of the country, and their fees were correspondingly large. It was a time when "homespun ways" ruled everywhere, and judges who presided at the Circuit Courts and young lawyers who pleaded before them were trained in a hard, healthy school that developed manhood and originality.
Old files of the St. Louis papers throw considerable light upon the state of society in these earlier years. Sept. 23, 1808, the trial of George Duillard for the alleged murder of Antoine Bissonette came off in the District Court. Hon. J. B. C. Lucas presided, and Hon. Auguste Chouteau was associate justice. Attorney-General John Scott prosecuted the case, and Edward Hempstead, W. C. Carr, and Rufus Eastern were the prisoner's counsel. The facts were briefly these: Manuel Lisa, a wealthy St. Louis trader, and the prisoner had, in 1807, joined forces and embarked merchandise which, with their outfits and equipments, were worth $16,000, as a venture on a trading voyage to the sources of the Missouri. They had engaged the deceased to serve for three years, and to do duty not only as a hunter, but also to mount guard, and to obey his employers in every particular. Bissonette also agreed that he would not leave their service on any pretext whatever. But while near the mouth of the Osage River he deserted, and Mr. Lisa, commander of this party of traders in a hostile Indian country, sent Duillard and others in pursuit, saying, "Bring him, dead or alive." Duillard found him, and, after calling on him to surrender, shot him in the shoulder, from which wound he died the next day, after saying that "no one had treated him ill, and he did not know why he deserted." Every possible care was taken of him. The jury in fifteen minutes returned with a verdict of acquittal.
All the lawyers who took part in this case became noted afterwards. John Scott, prosecuting attorney, was born in Virginia in 1782, graduated at Princeton in 1802, first located in Indiana, but went to Missouri in 1804.
Judge William C. Carr, son of Walter Carr, was born in Albemarle County, Va., April 15, 1783;
studied law, and came to St. Louis March 31, 1804, at the age of twenty-one years, being only twenty-five days on the trip by water from Louisville. 229
After remaining a month here he went to Ste. Genevieve, then a larger place, to settle. Here he married his first wife, Ann, daughter of Aaron Elliot, and remained one year, when he returned to St. Louis to settle permanently.
He was appointed circuit judge by Governor John Miller, and held the first term of his court July 24, 1826. Judge Carr retained this office about eight years, and then resigned it, retiring to private life, and died March 31, 1851, aged sixty-eight years.
Judge Carr left a numerous progeny, by his first wife three daughters, who all married; and by the second, Dorcas, a daughter of Silas Bent, Sr., whom he married in 1829, several sons and daughters. His fifth daughter, Eliza B., was married to William H. Ashley, Lieutenant-Governor and member of Congress; the sixth, Harriet, to Capt. James Deane, United States army; and the seventh, Virginia, to the late Dr. E. Bathurst Smith.
The St. Louis Circuit Court, of which Mr. Carr was judge, embraced five large counties, and extended nearly to the Arkansas line. So large was it that it was commonly called from its largest county the "State of Gasconade," and Dr. David Waldo, clerk of the courts, was usually called "Governor" of this State. 230 There were many saw-mills in the then extensive pineries, and the lumber was rafted to St. Louis. Circuit Court was held at Mount Sterling in a log court-house. Although Judge Carr stood high at the bar, he had personal enemies, and they succeeded in having articles of impeachment presented by the Legislature. In the winter of 1832 the trial occurred, he being charged with neglect of duty, incapacity, and favoritism, but he was acquitted after a protracted investigation. Among the lawyers who practiced in this Circuit Court were Gamble, Bates, Geyer, Darby, Cole, and others.
Upon the death of Judge Carr the members of the bar, with some of whom he had been associated for over thirty years, passed the usual resolutions of respect. He had been fortunate in his investments at a time when it required little money to purchase property in what is now the heart of the city. 231
Edward Hempstead was another of the distinguished arrivals of 1804, and the high place he at once took is sufficient proof of his ability. His biography will be found in full elsewhere.
But the man whose advent in the struggling St. Louis of 1804 was, perhaps, of the greatest importance to the community was Rufus Easton, one of the most profound lawyers of that brilliant era, when such
luminaries as Geyer, the Bartons, Gamble, Spalding, Allen, Lawless, Mullanphy, Bates, and Leonard were leaving their impress upon the laws, statutes, and institutions of Missouri. The fame of these men filled the State, and any one of them would have held a place in the front rank of any professional brotherhood in this country. Rufus Easton was born in Litchfield, Conn., May 4, 1774. His parents were of English descent, and some of the family rendered important services in the Revolutionary war. He received a good education before entering upon the study of the law. In February, 1791, he became a student in the law-office of Ephraim Kirby, a prominent lawyer of Litchfield, and remained with him two years, completing his studies elsewhere, and obtaining a license to practice law. To what extent, if any, he practiced in Connecticut does not appear; but at the opening of the present century he is heard of at Rome, N. Y., where he soon became known as a promising young lawyer. Here he attracted the attention of the leading men of the Republican party, and was so deep in their confidence as to be consulted regarding Federal appointments in Western New York, as appears from letters addressed to him by Gideon Granger, Mr. Jefferson's Postmaster-General.
Mr. Easton spent the winter of 1803-4 at Washington. The subject of the approaching Presidential election was beginning to attract attention, and De Witt Clinton was prominently mentioned as a candidate, and was in communication with the leading Republicans. Just before Mr. Easton's departure for the seat of government, Mr. Clinton addressed him a note, requesting him to watch the progress of measures and act accordingly.
While in Washington Mr. Easton determined to remove to New Orleans, and left for that purpose early in March, armed with a letter from Aaron Burr to a gentleman in Louisiana. The young lawyer evidently had strongly impressed Burr, for the latter showed him many attentions, and did much to make his stay in Washington a pleasant one.
Mr. Easton did not, however, visit New Orleans, but decided to locate at Vincennes, Ind. His stay there was short, for in the same year he settled at St. Louis, which became his permanent residence.
He again visited Washington in 1804-5, and received attention from men of prominence. It was during this winter that Burr completed arrangements to carry out his favorite project of establishing a Western empire on the banks of the Mississippi, with New Orleans for its capital. It is probable that he then resolved upon securing the co-operation of Easton; and in order to increase Easton's influence with the people of the Territory, as well as to place him under obligation to himself personally, he procured for him, in March, 1805, the appointment of judge of the Territory of Louisiana; and a few days later addressed him a letter, courteously phrased, and recommending him to make the acquaintance of Gen. Wilkinson, the newly-appointed Governor of the Territory, and others who, Burr said, were about to remove to the Territory. In the light of subsequent events this letter was of importance as foreshadowing Burr's conspiracy against the government, but there was nothing in it that then excited the suspicions of Easton, who interpreted it as merely one of the many civilities which he had received from Mr. Burr. That Burr and Wilkinson had formed an unpatriotic alliance fully appeared upon Burr's trial for treason; but Easton was not and could not then have been aware of the fact.
Burr spent that summer in a trip down the Ohio, visiting Blennerhasset's Island, etc., and in June, 1805, was at Massac, where, in anticipation of visiting St. Louis, he wrote Judge Easton a letter designed to establish the most intimate relations between him and Governor Wilkinson, which indicates that he hoped to find him, when he arrived in St. Louis, not only in harmony but on terms of confidence and friendship with that official.
Burr came to St. Louis in September, and the object of his visit was undoubtedly to secure the co-operation of Easton and other prominent men of the Territory in his scheme. He soon had a conference with Easton, and broached the subject of the empire, but received a decided and spirited refusal, and at once broke off all communication with him. After Burr left St. Louis, Wilkinson expressed a strong dislike for Easton, and circulated charges of official corruption against him, which came to the ears of President Jefferson, who, when Easton's commission expired, nominated another person to the office. Easton at once repaired to Washington, and sought an opportunity to meet the charges against him. He was granted a personal interview with Mr. Jefferson for that purpose, and the latter, being satisfied that Wilkinson's allegations were unfounded, appointed Judge Easton United States attorney. When Burr's conspiracy was officially disclosed to the President (in October, 1806), Judge Easton was appealed to for information on the subject, and frankly revealed all he knew. His own skirts were certainly clear of complicity in the matter, for as early as January, 1805, he wrote to Gideon Granger, stating his belief in the existence of a traitorous project to divide the Union, and in the following October informed the
President that "Gen. Wilkinson has put himself at the head of a party of a few individuals who are hostile to the best interests of America." Judge Easton was violently attacked by witnesses in Burr's trial for withholding certain important information regarding the plot from the government, but he filed a deposition disclaiming any knowledge beyond what has been related, and was completely acquitted in the judgment of the leaders of the administration. He enjoyed a friendly and interesting correspondence with Mr. Granger and many of the leading men of his time, and was honored with letters from Jefferson, Clinton, Calhoun, Granger, and many others.
In 1805 a post-office was established in St. Louis, and Judge Easton was appointed the first postmaster, a proof that the government reposed the utmost confidence in his patriotism and integrity. His popularity and influence in the Territory gradually increased, and in 1814 he was elected delegate to Congress and served four years. Upon the organization of the State government in 1821 he was appointed attorney-general, and continued in that office until 1826. He died at St. Charles, Mo., July 5, 1834.
During this long and varied career Mr. Easton was actively engaged in the practice of his profession, and was indisputably the leading lawyer of the Territory. He was noted more for the soundness and vigor of his intellect than for eloquence, although he was not without many of the graces of oratory. He expressed himself with extraordinary clearness and force, and would have been esteemed a strong debater at any bar in the country. But his chief excellence consisted in his fine executive and administrative talents. He discharged the duties of every one of the many and important offices he held with distinguished ability and unimpeached fidelity.
Judge Easton was a man of very kind heart, and was charitable to the full extent of his means. He and his accomplished wife (who was a native of New York) dispensed a most generous hospitality, and few strangers of note visited St. Louis without receiving an invitation to his house.
He left a large family. The oldest son, Col. A. R. Easton, is still living. There were seven daughters; one married the Hon. T. L. Anderson, of Palmyra, Mo.; another became the wife of the Hon. H. S. Geyer; the third married Archibald Gamble, a brother of Governor Gamble; another was the wife of Major Sibley, of St. Charles. Mrs. Sibley was a lady of fine literary taste, and with her husband founded and endowed the Lindenwood Female Seminary at St. Charles, which became and is yet noted as an institution of learning.
Judge Easton engaged largely in real estate speculation, his partner being William Russell, father-in-law of the late Hon. Thomas Allen. They owned the ground on which the present city of Alton, Ill., is situated. The city was named after Judge Easton's oldest son, and several of its streets after members of his family.
Col. Easton was a man of fine appearance. The portrait which accompanies this sketch is an excellent likeness, and is from a miniature taken when he was about forty years old.
Col. Alton R. Easton, the oldest son of Rufus Easton, was born in St. Louis, June 23, 1807. His early education was received at a private school conducted by Rev. Salmon Giddings, after leaving which he spent two years with the Rev. Dr. Townsend, a cultivated gentleman, who kept a select school on his farm on Shoal Creek, a tributary of the Kaskaskia River, Illinois. Here young Easton was instructed in the ordinary English branches and the classics. In 1823, in company with a son of Dr. Townsend, he was sent East to complete his education. The journey was made by carriage, but the usual rate of travel was so slow that the boys walked most of the way, and actually traversed the greater part of the distance through Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio on foot. At Cleveland, desiring to enjoy a new phase of travel, they took a sloop for Buffalo, and there rejoined their escort. The trip ended at Bloomfield, N. J., where for a year young Easton attended an academical school taught by the Rev. Dr. Perrine, and then in 1824 entered the Military Academy at West Point. At the end of two and a half years, however, owing to a misunderstanding with the authorities of the institution, he resigned, and in the winter of 1827 returned to St. Louis and engaged in the study of medicine with Dr. Samuel Merry. This well-remembered gentleman was also receiver of public money, and as he was in poor health, Easton was often left in charge of the office, and ultimately became practically the receiver himself.
Several years of this confining service affected his health unfavorably, and he left the office and for four years was engaged almost exclusively in hunting and fishing. He is wont to say that this was the most pleasant and interesting period of his life. This regimen and his campaigning in the Mexican war fully restored his health, and since the latter period he has scarcely known what sickness is.
In 1832 he started with his rifle, a solitary volunteer, to engage in the Black Hawk war, but peace was concluded before he reached the field of action. About the year 1833 the "St. Louis Grays" were
organized and became the crack company of the city, and Mr. Easton was for many years their captain. The organization of other companies in due season necessitated the formation of a regiment, and Capt. Easton was chosen colonel of the famous "St. Louis Legion." In May, 1846, when Gen. Taylor, after the brilliant battles of Palo Alto and Resaca de la Palma, appealed to Gen. Gaines for reinforcements, the Legion promptly responded to the requisition of Gen. Gaines. Within three days the regiment was recruited to about nine hundred men and was on its way down the river for Mexico, with Col. Easton in command. The Legion spent the summer at Bureto, on the Rio Grande, far from the theatre of war, and in the fall returned to St. Louis, without having participated in any engagements.
Early in the following year a requisition for volunteers was made, and St. Louis raised a battalion, with Col. Easton in command, and dispatched it southward. The force crossed the plains from Fort Leavenworth to Santa Fé. While on the march Col. Easton indulged his passion for hunting, and won much renown among the men of his command by shooting buffalo and other game. One of his adventures resembled, but greatly eclipsed, Putnam's exploit with the wolf. A wolf which he was pursuing suddenly disappeared in a cavern in one of the "salt licks" common to the West. He fired and killed him, and sent a companion down who dragged him out. A growl indicated the presence of another animal, and he shot, killed, and dragged out another. To his great surprise another savage demonstration was heard in the cavern, and a third shot resulted in the death and dragging forth of a third wolf.
On arriving at Santa Fé affairs were found in an extremely unsettled condition, and Col. Easton took the reins as military Governor and restored order. On being relieved by Gen. Sterling Price, he led his command to Chihuahua, arriving there in March, 1848. The rumors of an armistice then prevailing prevented the battalion from engaging in any military movements, although there was brisk fighting at Santa Cruz, only sixty miles away. Peace having been declared the regiment was ordered home, and was mustered out of the service in October, 1848.
Though in the service for a considerable period before war was declared, and long after the war was over, it so happened that Col. Easton saw no fighting whatever, notwithstanding the fact that in his two periods of service he probably traveled farther for a chance to fight than any officer in the army.
Upon returning from Mexico, Col. Easton resumed his field sports, and was a familiar figure in all the unsettled portions of St. Louis and the adjacent counties. He was particularly expert with the rifle, and there were few men in the Southwest who were better marksmen. It is still his delight to talk of his exploits with rod and gun, and even yet he often indulges in his favorite pastimes. It is his custom annually to go into a "fall encampment" with certain of his sporting friends, who have built club-houses near Grand Tower, Mo., and on the Black River, Ark.
When the Territory of New Mexico was organized, President Fillmore offered him the secretaryship, but he declined the honor. In 1853, Mr. Fillmore appointed him assistant treasurer of the United States, at the request of Maj. H. S. Turner, who had resigned, and he retained this office until removed by President Pierce. After the war Col. Easton was strenuously urged to run for Congress, but declined. From 1860 to 1864 he was a member of the county court. During his term the court-house was finished, and the insane asylum was in process of building.
When the street railway system was established in St. Louis, Col. Easton subscribed to the stock of several companies, and succeeded B. Gratz Brown in the presidency of the Citizens' Railway. From 1861 to 1864 he was inspector-general of the State of Missouri, under the celebrated "Order No. 96," which authorized the equipment and maintenance of a body of troops raised in Missouri under the authority of the Federal government, and bearing allegiance thereto, but to be employed exclusively for the defense of the State. In this capacity Col. Easton showed great ability as an organizer, and rendered the Union cause the most indefatigable and efficient service, his duties at times leading him into situations of extreme personal peril. His commission was signed by Governor Gamble, and he subsequently learned with pride that it was the first one issued by that official under the order in question.
For several years Col. Easton was the agent of Mrs. Tyler, of Kentucky, and efficiently managed that lady's vast estate. In 1873 he was appointed assessor of internal revenue by President Grant, of his own motion, and without the customary consultation with the Missouri delegation. When Grant lived in St. Louis and was but a retired army captain, Col. Easton had rendered him many services. Notably when a member of the county court he had advocated (though unsuccessfully) Grant's appointment as county engineer. Col. Easton held this office until it was legislated out of existence, and soon after that event was appointed pension agent by President Grant, who was
still anxious to show his regard for an old and trusty friend. He was often consulted by the President concerning appointments in St. Louis, and his recommendations were usually concurred in. To show the estimation in which he was held by the administration the following graceful note is appended:
"WASHINGTON, May 7, 1875.
"DEAR SIR, The President directs me to tender you the office of collector of internal revenue at St. Louis, vice Maguire, resigned, and I beg to add an expression of my official and personal desire that you may see proper to accept the same.
"Please regard this communication as confidential, and answer by telegraph. The word ‘yes’ will be regarded as acceptance.
"Very truly yours,
"B. H. BRISTOW, Secretary.
"ALTON BASTON, ESQ., St. Louis, Mo."
Col. Easton did not accept the position, but at the expiration of his term as pension agent, in 1877, retired to private life, and has spent the succeeding interval in the enjoyment of well-earned ease. His years considerably exceed the Psalmist's limit, but he is yet vigorous in body and mind. When in the prime of life he wandered and hunted over the very spot where his large but modest residence now stands in West St. Louis, on a busy avenue called by his name, and so designated because of the respect which his townspeople entertain for him personally and their appreciation of his many and distinguished public services. Col. Easton is one of the few remaining links that connect the present with the Territorial period of the State, and in a long and singularly interesting career he has won and retained the high regard of two generations of his fellow-men.
Incidental reference has been made to Judge Silas Bent as a lawyer of eminence. His father, also named Silas, was born in Sudbury, Mass., in 1744, and was commander of the "Boston Tea Party." The subject of this sketch, one of seven children, was born in 1768, educated at Kutland, moved to Ohio in 1788, and afterwards to Virginia, where he married Martha Kerr. In 1804, after holding various surveyorships and associate judgeships, he was appointed chief deputy surveyor for Upper Louisiana by Albert Gallatin. In 1807 he was made first judge of the Court of Common Pleas for the district of St. Louis. The next year he became auditor of public accounts. In 1809, with Bernard Pratte and Louis Labeaume as associates, he was appointed presiding judge of the St. Louis court, and signed the first town charter. In 1811 he was again public auditor and first judge of the courts, and in 1813 became supreme judge of the Territory, was recommissioned, and held the office until it was abolished by the admission of Missouri. Then he was appointed clerk of the St. Louis County Court, which place he retained until his death in November, 1827. His public duties were most onerous, and were ably and honestly performed. Of his seven children, the third, John, born in 1803, and admitted to the Missouri bar in 1824, gave great promise, and was very popular in St. Louis, where he held the office of circuit attorney, and at one time represented the district in the Legislature. He died in 1845. Charles Bent became Governor of New Mexico, and was murdered in a Mexican outbreak at Taos in 1847. 232 Julia married Governor Lilburn W. Boggs, during whose term the "Mormon excitement" occurred, and who in 1849 moved to California, settling in the Sacramento valley, where he died a few years later. The other children were Lucy, Dorcas, William W., Mary, George, Robert, Edward, and Silas.
Thomas Hart Benton came to St. Louis in 1813, and began the practice of the law. How large a part he played at the bar of St. Louis and in the councils of the nation his biography, on another page, relates in full. The mention of Benton recalls the Lucases, his lifelong enemies, whose lives are also given in full in another place. Charles Lucas, the son, who fell beneath Benton's pistol, was of great promise as a young lawyer, and seems to have been his father's favorite child up to the time of his unhappy fate. He, like his brother James, began his education at Jefferson College, Pennsylvania, passed the bar in 1814, was at once elected to the Legislature, and soon after appointed United States attorney for the Territory. It was his rapid advancement in political honors which probably earned him the hatred of Benton, who saw in him a formidable rival for that senatorship which was the goal of his own ambitions. Judge Lucas at least seemed to think so, and never relented
in his bitter hostility to and his relentless scorn of Benton. An instance of this occurred at a ball at the Planters' House, when Col. Benton was one of the invited guests. Judge Lucas was standing with his daughter at the head of the room when he saw Benton. Anxious friends endeavored to prevent a "scene," with no avail. Making his way to where Col. Benton stood, he coolly and deliberately surveyed him with the most contemptuous expression of countenance, and turning to his son James, in a distinct tone, and in his slightly broken accent, said, "It is a con-so-la-shion, my son, that whoever knows Measter Col. Thomas H. Benton knows him to be a rascail, eh, my boy?" Col. Benton thought it wiser to brook the insult than to resent it, and shortly after left the room. There are many stories told of Judge Lucas. He was a man of faultless integrity, of immovable opinions, and of a haughty imperiousness. Old citizens speak of him as a little, bent old man, with snow-white hair and sparkling jet-black eyes.
James H. Lucas assumed care of the extensive estate left by his father, and filled many positions of trust and honor.
Of J. H. Lucas' family, the eldest daughter married Dr. J. B. Johnson; another married Silas Hicks, of New York, and some years after his death Judge Hagar, of San Francisco; J. B. C. Lucas possesses much of his father's business capacity; Robert married Miss Clara Kennedy, daughter of Dr. Kennedy, of the United States army; William, the eldest son, married a daughter of ex-Governor Homer, of Wisconsin, and is of a decided literary turn; James, Joseph, and Henry are the other children. His domestic life was in all respects a fortunate and happy one. In 1870, Wilson McDonald, the sculptor, executed a bust of Mr. Lucas, which was formally presented to him with a speech by Hon. John H. O'Neil.
In the Territorial days of Missouri three brothers, Joshua, David, and Isaac Barton, sons of a Baptist minister, were distinguished for their knowledge of the law, though David possessed the most talent, and was unquestionably one of the greatest men of his time. They were from the mountains of East Tennessee, where they had studied English law. Alexander Gray, James Peck, afterwards United States district judge for Missouri, and the three McGirk brothers, Matthias, Andrew, and Isaac, were also from this rugged region. The father of the Bartons, Rev. Isaac Barton, was born in Maryland in 1746, removed to North Carolina, and settled near Greenville, where David was born in 1783. Isaac Barton, the elder, afterwards moved to Jefferson County, Tenn., where he died in 1831; his wife Keziah survived until 1845, dying at the age of ninety-one. This worthy couple had twelve children born to them. One son was killed in the war of 1812. David began his education at Greenville College, now in Tennessee, but then in North Carolina, Tennessee being a part of that State up to 1796. The inscription on the monument to his memory erected by the State says he "came to Missouri in 1800," but this is a mistake, as he was admitted to practice in 1810 in Tennessee, and reached St. Louis the following year. In the war of 1812 he was an Indian ranger, as were many of the most noted lawyers of the day in the West. The memory of Jo Daviess, of Kentucky, yet lingers in the State made famous by his eloquence and consecrated by his life-blood. The leaders of the St. Louis bar in 1804-15 were no less brave, though more fortunate. Some of them were as familiar with the rifle, the sword, and the dueling pistol as with their Blackstone and Kent, and were notable figures at hunts in canebrake and forest, and at turkey shoots in the villages. Shortly after David Barton's arrival, Col. Easton remarked that he would become a famous orator, and in a few years he was one of the best stump-speakers of his party. When the first Territorial Legislature met, of which several Tennessee lawyers were members, an act was passed making the common law of England and British statutes, so far as not inconsistent with the Constitution of the United States, the law of the Territory. David Barton was immediately appointed circuit judge for St. Louis. In December, 1817, he found he could make more money in his private practice, and resigned his office. The Superior Court and the Circuit Courts of St. Charles, Washington, and St. Louis often thereafter rang with his eloquent pleadings. At this time, and for some years after, he was the most popular man in the State. When the Constitutional Convention met in June, 1820, David Barton was elected presiding officer by a unanimous vote, and so many of the provisions of the State Constitution were framed by him that the instrument is still known as the "Barton Constitution." That autumn, while his courtesy and administrative ability were still fresh in the public mind, the General Assembly met, and the election of David Barton as United States senator was by acclamation. Then followed that remarkable contest between Benton and Lucas, elsewhere more fully described. As is well known, Barton and Benton did not take their seats in the Senate until the passage of the Missouri Compromise, but in 1821 their first speeches gave them high rank as debaters, which they afterwards maintained throughout their public life.
In 1823 a correspondent of the New York Advertiser gave the following graphic description of these famous men: "It is striking to see the shyness which these two distinguished senators exhibit with regard to each other. On every political subject they are antipodes, and they seem to have for each other no great personal friendship. They never converse or associate either in public or in private. In debate they are uniformly opposed on every subject, but still they never, even in direct and sharp replication, allude to each other in the ordinary way, as ‘my honorable colleague,’ or ‘my friend, the senator from Missouri.’ In no way are they ever known to recognize each other, either in friendship and courtesy or in avowed hostility. In person and mind they also differ. Benton is tall, large, and erect. Barton is thin and of rather low stature. Benton's education and genius fit him for activity and stirring life; Barton's for quiet and sedentary pursuits. The former is the more laborious, the latter is the more highly gifted. Both are literary, but the learning of the former is the result of the hard study of his later years, while that of the latter grew with the growth of his own mind, and is affiliated with it. Benton's speeches, and particularly his writings, remind one of extracts, abridgments, and labored compilations, while Barton's words and ideas flow easily from a native and inexhaustible fountain. Benton is ambitious and aspiring; his colleague, on the other hand, is careless of political fame and advancement. Benton is lofty and imposing in his manner, and in temper high-toned, fierce, and contentious, while Barton is modest and unpretending, but dignified, cool, and resolute. Both of these gentlemen were born and educated in the old States, but have passed their lives chiefly in the new regions of the West, where they have filled with reputation the highest offices. Of the State of Missouri, which they now represent, they are eminently the founders, having been among the first to settle it, having framed its Constitution and established its laws, and having, as it is to be presumed, imparted much of their own strong and original character to its institutions and its population." It is evident from this that the personal friendship which in 1820 made Barton throw the whole weight of his influence for Benton's election had greatly waned, and that the way was opening for the estrangement of 1825, and his subsequent philippic against his colleague. In reference to the quotation just made the St. Louis Republican commented as follows: "Col. Benton was not a member of the convention which formed the present Constitution of Missouri, nor has he ever acted in a legislative capacity since his removal to the State. He never was what is termed a popular man with the people. They have always viewed him with distrust, and time in developing his character has not served to do away their apprehensions. The same feeling which has heretofore existed would now prevent his elevation to any office which depends upon a manifestation of the popular will."
In describing Barton's eloquence, Judge Bay, author of the "Bench and Bar of Missouri," says that his wit, sarcasm, and invectives were terrible, and even overpowering. Benton was the best logician, but was far inferior in pathos, vehemence, and imagination. For ten years Barton served in the United States Senate with zeal and efficiency, but the support he gave to Adams in 1825, as against Jackson, urging John Scott, Missouri's representative, to vote for the former, was fatal to his political future, and he retired from public life for some years. Before this, however, he delivered his great speech, which was ranked at the time with Webster's famous reply to Hayne. Wrought up to the passionate heights of fearless and torrent-like oratory, he spared none of his opponents, not even Benton, whom he arraigned for official misconduct. The speech remains to this day a model of masterly invective and denunciation, and at this time he received the title of "Little Red," which clung to him the rest of his life. It was a rough-clad backwoodsman from Western Missouri who, after hearing this great speech, shouted through the Senate galleries and the streets in wild excitement, "Hurrah for the Little Red!" and when asked for an explanation, said he once owned a little red rooster which whipped all its opponents, and that "was like Dave Barton!". When public feeling turned so strongly against Barton that he was defeated, the opposition press called it a national calamity. The earnest leaders who afterwards organized the Whig party spoke with universal regret of his retirement.
St. Louis journals of July 13, 1830, contain accounts of a dinner given in his honor by his personal friends and those who approved of his public course. A preliminary meeting had been held July 7th, and the following gentlemen were appointed the managing committee: George Collier, Josiah Spalding, D. Hough, Jesse G. Lindell, Henry S. Geyer, W. R. Grimsley, F. L. Billon, W. H. Hopkins, D. B. Hill, C. Wahrendorf, M. Tesson, J. Baum, William K. Rule.
On Saturday, July 10th, two hundred persons sat down to the banquet at the old Missouri Hotel. Mayor Daniel D. Page acted as president, and William Russell, Thomas Forsythe, James Clemens, and Thomas Cohen were vice-presidents. David Barton delivered
an address that occupied more than an hour. His friends in 1831 persuaded him to run for the Lower House as candidate against Spencer Pettis, of the Jackson party, but the latter was so overwhelmingly in the majority at that time that all Barton's eloquence could not turn the scale. In 1834-35 he was sent to the State Senate, and assisted greatly in compiling the "Revised Statutes." This ended his public life.
Many stories are told about David Barton's witty remarks. Once, when pleading a case before the Supreme Court, the judge (George Tompkins) stopped his argument with "Do you call that law?" "No, your Honor," he replied, with suavity, "but I did not know but that the court would accept it as law." He was short in build, broad-shouldered, and had a high forehead, and was very careless in his dress. His conversational powers were great. After his death, on the 26th of September, 1837, the State named a county after him, and also placed a marble shaft over his grave, whose inscription characterized him as a profound jurist, an honest statesman, and a just and benevolent man. The saddest fact in regard to his life is its close, which was clouded by an impaired judgment and by an intellect reduced almost to imbecility. The St. Louis Republican of Oct. 9, 1837, says, "Such has been the melancholy condition of his mind, from which for some time past there has been no hope of his recovering, that we cannot but look upon his death as a relief from a worse condition. The deceased was one of the most distinguished lawyers and politicians of the West. His name is particularly identified with the history of Missouri from the organization of the State government to the present time. He was alike distinguished for his eloquence and profound legal acquirements, and unaided by fortune or alliance, rose by dint of an indomitable spirit and his own capacious mind from rustic obscurity to fame and affluence. During the session of the Legislature of 1834-35, Judge Barton was observed to be unusually abstracted and moody; a slow but desponding melancholy seemed to be preying upon his faculties, which continued to assail him until he sunk at last into hopeless and desperate insanity, the inevitable symptoms of which were first recognized by his friends in a series of numbers which appeared in this paper during the past winter over the signature of ‘Cornplanter.’ His malady increased with the most frightful effects, leaving naught of the once highly-gifted statesman and critical jurist save an emaciated frame and a ruined and distracted mind."
Joshua Barton, brother of the preceding, was much less of a public speaker but far more of a jurist. He was born in East Tennessee about 1788, though the exact date is unknown. His earlier law studies were pursued in the office of Rufus Easton, St. Louis, and Edward Bates, afterwards his partner, and Attorney-General of the United States during Lincoln's administration, studied under the same profound jurist. After the State government was formed he became Secretary of State, but resigned to accept the United States district attorneyship. He was then in the prime of his powers, and Judge Edward Bates used afterwards to say that "he had the best legal mind at the St. Louis bar, and was the most accomplished lawyer he had ever met."
At this time also the third Barton brother, Isaac, was holding the position of clerk of the United States Court of Missouri, which he obtained in 1821, and kept till his death in 1842. The star of the Bartons seemed in the ascendant. David was winning laurels in Washington, and few could contend with Joshua in the St. Louis courts; but in 1823 a communication appeared in the Missouri Republican charging Gen. William Rector, surveyor-general of Missouri, Illinois, and Arkansas, with corruption in office. He was absent, and his brother Thomas called on the editor, learned that Joshua Barton wrote the letter, and challenged him. In their correspondence Barton refused to fight unless Rector would first admit the truth of the charges, and this being done they met on Bloody Island, where so many duels had occurred. It was June 30, 1823, weapons pistols, distance ten paces. At the first fire Barton fell dead, shot through the heart. His body reposes in St. Charles, near where the old round stone fort stood. On the 2d of July the St. Louis bar met, Alexander Stuart being chairman, and it was unanimously resolved that, in testimony of their respect for his memory, each member should wear crape on the left arm for thirty days.
On March 6, 1859, the chords of public sorrow were deeply touched by the announcement of the death, on the previous night, of Henry S. Geyer, for more than forty years one of the very foremost at the St. Louis bar. All the records of that time give evidence of the respect and admiration he had inspired, and his fame as an acute jurisconsult was national. The principal arguments and authorities presented in the Dred Scott case were submitted by him. He was born of German parents in Frederick County, Md., Dec. 9, 1790. His early promise attracted the attention of Gen. Nelson, with whom he studied law. Another early friend was his uncle, Daniel Sheffie, of Virginia, a prominent lawyer and politician. He began practice in 1811, but entered the army in 1812 as first lieutenant, and rose to the rank of captain in active
duty on the frontier. In 1815 he re-entered the legal field in St. Louis, and almost immediately won recognition. At that time the laws of the Territory were in a rudimentary condition, and the inchoate titles granted by Spain were being examined and readjusted, and the most intricate problems were involved in their settlement. Capt. Geyer applied himself so assiduously to this department of law that for over forty years hardly an important land case was settled in Missouri without his aid. But he also possessed a variety of legal accomplishments, and was perfectly at home in the subtile distinctions of commercial law, in complex details of chancery cases, and in the skillful management of jury trials, when his examination of witnesses and of the evidence was unequaled. A writer says of him, "His vigilance, dexterity, and perfect presence of mind were indescribable." But we will let his old associates describe his valuable services to jurisprudence. When, March 8, 1859, the St. Louis bar met to pass resolutions regarding their loss, their sorrow was manifested in the most marked degree. Edward Bates was president, and Albert Todd and P. A. Dick vice-presidents. C. D. Drake, J. M. Krum, J. K. Shepley, C. Gibson, and T. C. Reynolds drew up the resolutions, which contained the following:
"Through a period of more than forty-three years his clear, acute, and logical mind, unimpaired to the last, dealt with all the great questions which have arisen in connection with the peculiar jurisprudence of this State, and none has been more distinctly felt by our State and Federal judiciary in their elucidation and final determination.
"His influence upon the statute law of Missouri has been no less marked. When he had been but two years in the then frontier town of St. Louis he compiled, with rare accuracy and system, and published a digest of the laws then in force in the Territory of Missouri, which still bears his name, and has always held a position of unquestioned authority. In 1818 he was a member of the Territorial Legislature of Missouri. In 1821 he was elected a representative in the First Legislature of this State, and on taking his seat was chosen Speaker of the House. He held the same position with distinguished ability in the Second and Third General Assemblies. Upon that which convened in 1824-25 devolved the difficult duty of making the first revision of the statute law of Missouri. He had been by the preceding Legislature appointed one of the revisers, and he thus had an opportunity to do much in moulding the legislation of a young State, where few men could be found having the peculiar qualities which he possessed in a very eminent degree for such a work. Again in 1834-35 he participated laboriously and with great ability in the enactment of the second revision of the statutes. His last legislative service was in the session of 1838-39. In 1843 he was again appointed one of the revisers of the statutes, but declined the appointment. Throughout his legislative career he was distinguished for comprehensive views, for independent and accurate judgment, for clear perception of what was required in general legislation, and for a remarkable adaptation to the laborious and ill-understood work of framing laws.
"In his service as senator of the United States in 1851 he exhibited the same mental qualities which had distinguished him at home. His mind was logical, acute, fertile, elastic, analytical, and vigorous. His legal learning was varied and profound, and he wielded it with a skill and power equaled by few. His forensic efforts, whether before a court or a jury, were always impressive, and often exhibited the highest order of ability."
The members of the bar voted to wear mourning for the usual period, and the resolutions were presented to the Supreme Court and to the inferior courts.
It is impossible within the limits of this brief sketch to fully describe the unique legal position of Henry S. Geyer. In the Supreme Court of the United States he came into contact with such men as Webster, Ewing, and Reverdy Johnson, who entertained the highest respect for his ability. Politically, he was a firm Whig, and an ardent admirer of Henry Clay. When that party disappeared he returned to the Democratic ranks. When elected to the Senate (1851) it was as the successor of Thomas H. Benton. His greatest reputation as a criminal lawyer was gained in the trial of Darnes for the murder of Davis, publisher of a St. Louis paper, in 1840. After Darnes' acquittal, Mr. Geyer's profound argument, which occupied two days in its delivery, and turned upon the closest analysis of surgical evidence, was published in book form in Boston. Rufus Choate expressed the highest admiration for its ability. In one of his noted land cases, that of Strother vs. Lucas, William Wirt was his associate, and Chief Justice Marshall, who presided, afterwards expressed his astonishment
at Geyer's legal acumen. Indeed, the entire history of the times makes evident the fact that he was a formidable opponent whom few could safely encounter, and throws into strong relief the admirable singleness of purpose and devotion to any cause in which he is enlisted that marks the great lawyer. Many stories might be told of his sparkling, graphic sarcasm and pungency of retort, and he wielded a good controversial pen, writing many articles for the St. Louis journals of the day. His religious beliefs were decided, and he was a consistent member of the Episcopal Church. Personally he mingled but little with the people, being reserved and not intimate with any one, but he showed a great fondness for practical joking, and there are some capital stories of his success in that line. Some time in 1816 he exchanged shots with Capt. Kennerly, and the latter was wounded in the leg. The exact cause of the duel has never been understood, but the difficulty was amicably settled, and they continued friends.
Benjamin B. Dayton was for years a partner of Henry S. Geyer. He was born in New York State in 1817, graduated at Union College in 1838, reached St. Louis, and at first was with Ferdinand W. Risk. About 1844 he married Miss Mary Jennings, of Philadelphia. In 1855 the dreadful Gasconade bridge disaster occasioned his death. He was a hard student, and a man of most exemplary habits. The firm of Geyer & Dayton did a large business in land cases.
One of the first judges of Missouri was Mathias McGirk, a contemporary of the Bartons. His colleagues were J. D. Cook and John R. Jones. They were appointed in 1820. Judge McGirk was born in 1790, in Tennessee, and reached St. Louis about 1814. In 1827 he removed to Montgomery County, and there married a Miss Talbot. In 1816 he was author of the bill to introduce the common law into Missouri, and he framed other important bills while a member of the Legislature. In 1841 he retired from the bench, devoting himself to agriculture. He was not a brilliant jurist, but had practical sense, a retentive memory, and an admirable style, both as conversationalist and writer. In politics he was a Whig. Little information is obtainable about Andrew and Isaac McGirk, relatives of the preceding, who practiced law in St. Louis. Isaac died in 1830. John D. Cook, Judge McGirk's associate on the bench, was a member of the State Constitutional Convention, and a jurist of excellence. When Judge E. S. Thomas 233 was removed from the Circuit Court, Judge Cook was appointed, preferring that place. He presided there many years, and was a noted nisi prius judge. He had great ability, but was too indolent to take a commanding place. Judge Cook was always a pleasant companion, and widely known for his benevolence and friendliness to younger members of the profession.
Another of the noted lawyers of the formative era in Missouri was Judge Rufus Pettibone, who was born in Litchfield, Conn., in May, 1784, and graduated at Williams College in 1805, taking high honors. Adopting the legal profession, he studied in Central New York, and afterwards in Albany, where he was admitted in 1808. In 1812, Oneida County elected him to represent it in the Legislature, and the next year he married Louise Esther De Russey. Five years later he removed to St. Louis, and on his arrival was offered and accepted a partnership with Col. Rufus Easton, then one of the leaders of the bar. Even at this early date numbers of persons in the Territory were opposed to slavery, and a ticket was by them presented when the admission question became prominent. J. B. C. Lucas, Rufus Easton, Rufus Pettibone, Robert Simpson, and Caleb Bowles were on that ticket, though well aware they were in a hopeless minority. When the State government was organized Rufus Pettibone was appointed judge of the Second Circuit, embracing the counties of Gasconade, Cailaway, Montgomery, St. Charles, Lincoln, Pike, and Rails. In 1823 he was appointed to the Supreme Bench. In the winter of 1824-25, in conjunction with Henry S. Geyer, he also revised the State laws, and prepared the same for legislative enactment. On the last day of July, 1825, in the fullness of his powers, he died, and the State lost one of its most valued citizens. Mr. Geyer announced his death in the St. Louis Circuit Court, and it, as well as the Supreme Court, adjourned with the usual marks of respect.
Now and then, in every profession, there are lives that tradition sets apart and crowns with peculiar sacredness, seemingly without definite reason, except that they were brief, brilliant, and tragical. Such a life was that of Horatio Cozens, whom the common opinion of his time ranked as a phenomenon of rapid and fervent eloquence. But little is known of his boyhood, birthplace, and education. After the admission of Missouri he came to that State from Virginia, and in a few years built up a large and lucrative
practice. In July, 1826, being then but about twenty-six years of age, he was stabbed and instantly killed by French Strother, a dissipated young lawyer, with whose uncle Cozens had had some political controversy. It was a brutal, unprovoked murder, and caused the wildest excitement. The murderer broke jail a few days later, fled to Mexico, and died of delirium tremens. Mr. Cozens left a young wife and two children. The members of the bar met a few days later, Thomas H. Benton being in the chair, and Henry S. Geyer secretary. Resolutions expressing the deepest regret were adopted, and crape was worn for thirty days. At a much later day the famous Edward Bates was wont to express unbounded admiration for Cozens, and call him the worthy rival of Geyer himself. The memory of the gifted, attractive orator is forever linked with the story of his early, deplorable death.
Incidentally, heretofore, we have mentioned the name of Edward Bates. His career covered the most eventful period of Missouri's history, and no member of the legal fraternity stood higher or was more esteemed. He was widely known and loved, perhaps more so than any of his contemporaries, for all unite in admiration of the gentleness, kindness, and perpetual, overflowing cheerfulness that made him a universal favorite. Edward Bates was born on a farm in Goochland County, Va., Sept. 4, 1793, and received an academic education, but, being the youngest of twelve children, and his father dying, his scholastic training was defective through lack of means. His brother Fleming, clerk of Northumberland County, aided him as far as possible. He was offered a position as midshipman in the United States navy, which he declined, but while still a lad he served as a private in the war of 1812. It is also on record that his family had been Quakers, but his father disobeyed their doctrines and joined the Revolutionary patriots. 234
In 1814 young Bates came to St. Louis, without a profession, and with very small means. His elder brother, Frederick Bates, was then living in St. Louis, being secretary of the Territory of Missouri, to which position he had been appointed by President Jefferson, after holding a United States judgeship in Michigan, in order to thwart and counteract the supposed schemes of Gen. Wilkinson, then Governor, in aid of Aaron Burr's designs. He was also first recorder of land titles when the office was created in 1806, and secretary of the first board of land commissioners in 1807. After the formation of the State government Frederick Bates was elected the second Governor of the State, and died in office in 1825.
The first thing Edward Bates did was to enter Col. Rufus Easton's law-office, where he remained until admitted to practice in 1816. In 1818 he was appointed district attorney of the Territorial government, and commissioned by Governor Clark. He was chosen a delegate to the Constitutional Convention in 1820, attorney-general the same year, member of the Legislature in 1822, United States attorney for Missouri district in 1824, and was sent to Congress in 1827 over John Scott, but was defeated for re-election by Spencer Pettis. After returning from Congress ho was elected a member of the Legislature from St. Charles. Immediately after this Mr. Bates removed to St. Charles, and located on a farm in the county of St. Louis, on Dardenne Prairie. He still had an extensive and profitable practice, but used to say that it took all the money that Lawyer Bates could make to support Farmer Bates. He resumed practice in St. Louis in 1842, until he was elected judge of the Land Court by popular vote, a position which he filled with great ability.
In 1850 he was offered the secretaryship of war in Fillmore's cabinet, but declined it; was elected presiding officer of the great National Whig Convention at Baltimore in 1856; was honored by Harvard with a degree in 1858; and was chosen Attorney-General in Lincoln's first cabinet. In these various capacities his useful life broadened into many channels. Ill
health caused him to leave the cabinet, and he died in March, 1869. It would be difficult to find a more rounded, complete, satisfactory record of public service. During all these years he was indefatigable in his study of law and literature, and had the conduct of many important cases. 235
In politics he was in early life a Jeffersonian Republican; in 1825 he supported Adams; afterwards he was a strong Whig, but when that party perished did not join any other, though in the Republican Convention of 1860 he was strongly supported for the Presidency. When the civil war broke out he was intensely loyal, and advocated the most decisive measures for its suppression. Brought up as a member of the Society of Friends, he adhered to many of their doctrines, but joined the Presbyterian Church in 1842, and was for years a presiding elder.
In 1823 he had married Miss Julia D. Coalter, of South Carolina, one of five sisters, all of whom were united in marriage to men of note. One became the wife of William C. Preston, of South Carolina; another of Chancellor Harper, a distinguished judge of the same State; and a third married Dr. Means, a wealthy South Carolinian, whose brother was Governor. One of them, in 1827, became the wife of Hamilton R. Gamble, afterwards provisional Governor of Missouri in war times. It is of this lady that several biographers relate a romantic story, stating that Edward Bates fell deeply in love with her and proposed, but was refused. He continued his suit, and her high regard for him then led her to disclose to him the fact that she loved Hamilton R. Gamble, but would never marry him because of his dissipated habits. With characteristic magnanimity Bates then sought Gamble, pleaded with him, stood by him, got him to sign the pledge and keep it, and in brief reformed him, so that he afterwards, in 1827, married Miss Coalter. If the story is not true it ought to be, for such devotion to duty and friendship was a marked trait of Edward Bates. At his death he left six sons and two daughters. He never sought wealth, and in fact owned hardly any property. Though he held so many public offices, he was always poorer when he left than when he entered them; though he earned such large sums in his practice, the demands of charity and friendship kept equal pace with his income.
As a lawyer, Judge Bates was an earnest, practical reasoner, and a hard student upon his cases. The finer graces of oratory were his, and though Geyer, Easton, Gamble, and Joshua Barton probably possessed a more strictly legal analysis, no lawyer of his time was more persuasively eloquent. Some of his forensic efforts may well be classed among the fairest blossoms of eloquence. In public life Mr. Bates was not a violent factionist, but he was a strong adherent of whatever cause he espoused. For many years he was a liberal contributor to the columns of the Missouri Republican, and his discussion of public questions always attracted and commanded attention from the
force and vigor of his writings, which were characterized by a fresh, original, and captivating style. He despised the arts of the mere politician; a demagogue found no toleration in his sight. Indeed, Mr. Bates, by his great abilities, his profound reflection, his comprehensive views of political economy, had entitled himself to be regarded as a just and eminent statesman. In his youth he published a violent denunciatory pamphlet against Col. Benton, but in after-life expressed his regret. His old friend, John F. Darby, says, "Mr. Bates won great distinction by presiding at a meeting held at Chicago for commercial and internal improvement purposes. Men of genius and cultivated talents were there, and they were astonished to find a man of such splendid eloquence and elegant elocution and force of delivery among Western delegates. It is said, so thrilling was his address, that the reporters themselves, pausing for a moment, were so charmed that they forgot to take down his words." He presided over the national Whig Convention in the year that President Buchanan was nominated by the Democracy. He then returned home and followed his professional pursuits, and in a measure retired from politics, but he was never withdrawn so far as to cease to write occasional essays and make public speeches. Though always in a popular minority, he did more during the Jackson days to shape affairs than any other man in Missouri. He was small in figure, wore the customary broadcloth coat with gold buttons, and ruffled shirt, and seemed a notable person in any assemblage. With all his modesty, tact, and suavity, there were times, in the heat of party conflict, when he was threatened with violence, but his courage never faltered, and in every instance he quelled the rioters.
Mr. Bates never fought a duel, but when in Congress, when Missouri was still a Territory, he promptly resented a supposed slight to the constituency represented by him by challenging George McDuffie, the eminent Democratic orator and leader, of South Carolina, who was at that time chairman of the Committee of Ways and Means. "I see," said Bates, rising in his seat, "that the chair has not the will to protect Missouri from insult in my person; let the gentleman avow himself, and I will protect myself, sir." McDuffie rose and the challenge forthwith passed. The South Carolinian made handsome explanations, showing that he had no purpose of insulting Missouri or aggrieving Mr. Bates, but was simply giving effect to a parliamentary stratagem, and so the hostile meeting was avoided.
The action taken by the St. Louis bar on Mr. Bates' death evinced the greatest regard for his memory. Two meetings were held, and speeches were made by Col. James O. Broadhead, Samuel T. Glover, Judge S. M. Breckinridge, John F. Darby, and others. All were glowing eulogies, called forth by his long and splendid career; all dwelt with especial affection on his personal virtues. One speaker closed by saying, "He was a bold, brave, good man. In all relations of life it may be said of Mr. Bates that he performed his duty to his family, as a citizen, and to his God. It is well to record the fact that here was a man without advantages, without, as I am told, a classical education, without any adventitious aid, a mere youth seeking his fortune in the West, without pretensions, without assumption or arrogance, but by the native force of his intellect, and by an honest, conscientious, upright life, mounting up from the lowest to the highest round of the ladder of fame."
With all this evidence regarding the character and achievements of this great man, it is a pity that a record of his most famous speeches has not been kept. There was, for instance, the celebrated Montesquieu trial in 1850, one of the most dramatic and widely-known cases of modern times. Judge J. B. Colt presided, James R. Lackland and Uriel Wright represented the State, and Edward Bates, H. S. Geyer, Wilson Primm, and Charles Gibson the defense. The latter, in 1878, being then the only surviving counsel, contributed an account of the trial to the Missouri Historical Society. 236
A bronze statue has been erected to Edward Bates' memory in Forest Park, and the St. Louis Law Library has a fine portrait of this distinguished advocate. In his long life many persons afterwards noted were his students, as will be seen hereafter. One of these was Col. Jo Davis, of Fayette, born in 1804, who died in 1871.
The Gamble brothers, Hamilton R. and Archibald, were distinguished for character and ability, and upon the first fell the burden of state in those "times that
tried men's souls" in the early period of the civil war. Their ancestry was of sturdy Virginian stock. The grandfather emigrated from Ireland in 1752, settling in Pennsylvania, but ten years later returned to Europe. His eldest son came back to America, fought in the Revolutionary war, and afterwards was Professor of Latin and Greek in the University of Pennsylvania. A younger son, Joseph, was the father of the subjects of our sketch. He, while in Ireland, married Anne Hamilton, and in 1784 reached America, settling in Winchester, Va., where seven children, of whom Hamilton Rowan was the youngest, were born and reared under the strictest religious influences, Joseph Gamble being ruling elder in the Presbyterian Church. Hamilton's birth occurred Nov. 29, 1798. His education was chiefly obtained at Hampden-Sidney College, and he was admitted to practice when he was but eighteen years of age; before he was twenty-one he had been licensed as a lawyer in three States, Virginia, Tennessee, and Missouri, arriving in Missouri in 1818. Some time previously his elder brother Archibald, a well-trained and successful young lawyer, had located in St. Louis, was then clerk of the Circuit Court, and appointed Hamilton as his deputy. At that time the entire territory north of the Missouri River was divided into two counties, Howard and St. Charles, and young Gamble soon removed to Old Franklin, the chief town of the former, where he was appointed prosecuting attorney for the circuit. His official duties required thousands of miles of travel on horseback each year, his only law-books being such as he could carry in his saddle-bags. Social temptations in this frontier life were natural, and for a time the brilliant attorney yielded to them, but, as related elsewhere, the influences of love and friendship caused a complete reform. In 1824 he was appointed by Governor Frederick Bates Secretary of State, and removed to St. Charles, the temporary seat of government. After the death of Governor Bates, which soon occurred, he settled in St. Louis, and his great success as a lawyer dates from that period. He at once became engaged in active competition for professional honors and rewards with such men as Benton, Geyer, the Bartons, Robert Wash, and others, and was fully their peer. Devoting his attention chiefly to land cases, he seldom addressed a jury, but was retained in all the important land suits, followed them to the Supreme Court, argued them in person, and became widely known as a jurist. He was slow of speech and not eloquent, but no man had greater capacity for clear, brief, and logical statement of facts and law. Herein lay his strength and his reputation.
In 1832-33 he aided to defend Judge Carr, then under impeachment; in 1846 he was sent to the Legislature to assist in revising the laws, and his services were extremely useful. Five years later (in 1851) a place was vacant on the Supreme Bench of the State, and Mr. Gamble, though belonging to the Whig party, then hopelessly in the minority, was elected, receiving over forty thousand Democratic votes, and, to still further emphasize this tribute to his worth, his associates on the bench chose him as presiding judge. Ill health led to his resignation in 1855, after which he only appeared in a few important cases in the United States Supreme Court. His opinions, delivered while presiding judge, were noteworthy both in style and matter. About 1858, Governor Gamble removed to Philadelphia to educate his children, and was still there when the war-clouds began to gather. When the Legislature of Missouri passed an act to call together a "State Convention," Judge Gamble hastened home, found anarchy impending and dissension everywhere, addressed a meeting of the citizens at the court-house the very next evening after his arrival, and proclaimed his unswerving fidelity to the Union. It is impossible to estimate the value of this one man's words at such a crisis; they rallied the Union men and strengthened their cause immeasurably. When the convention met the Unionists had a majority. Judge Gamble took a prominent part in the deliberations, and was unanimously chosen provisional Governor after the flight of Governor Claiborne Jackson. This was in July, 1861. The eyes of all Union men turned to Hamilton Rowan Gamble as their surest and wisest counselor. He shrank from the difficult task, and accepted it only when convinced that it was his duty. This period properly belongs to the political history of the State. It is sufficient to say that Governor Gamble won fitting place in the list of "war Governors."
In 1827, Mr. Gamble was married at Columbia, S. C., to Miss Caroline J. Coalter, sister of Mrs. Edward Bates. He died on Jan. 31, 1861, worn out by arduous duties and anxiety. The city buildings, stores, and many residences of St. Louis were draped in mourning, and business was suspended. The funeral cortege was over a mile long. Rev. Dr. Brooks delivered the sermon, and pulpit and the press united in expressing the general sorrow. The St. Louis bar assembled en masse, paid every possible tribute (Thomas T. Gantt pronounced the eulogy), and went in a body to his funeral. His full-length portrait hangs in the Mercantile Library. Lieutenant-Governor Willard P. Hall assumed the duties of chief magistrate, and proved faithful and efficient the Missouri Republican said editorially, after
Governor Gamble's death, "A purer patriot, one more devoted to his country, a more sincere man, a better Christian has rarely taken his departure from among us. If he had not possessed these attributes it is unlikely that he would have endured the fiery ordeal with which embittered political malice pursued him to the last hour of his life, for he was not a politician. But he took upon himself the cares of State and the drudgery of office at a time when he might well be excused from it, and devoted all his energies, his life, to the redemption of the State from the troubles which encompassed it."
Governor Gamble's brother Archibald was born in Winchester, Frederick Co., Va., in 1791 or 1792, and came to St. Louis in 1816. He was a lawyer; served for a year as clerk of the St. Louis Bank, then as deputy clerk under Clerk Marie P. Leduc in Judge David Barton's court. Governor William Clark appointed him clerk of Circuit Court and ex officio recorder of deeds of St. Louis County, an office he held for eighteen years, when J. F. Ruland succeeded him. In 1822 he married Louisa, third daughter of Col. Rufus Easton. He was long the efficient and active legal agent of the public schools. When Lafayette visited St. Louis in 1825, he was one of the aldermen, and aided in the reception. In 1836 he was a leading spirit in the railroad building movement. At one time he had charge of the St. Louis post-office, and was secretary of the Barton Convention in June, 1831. During the last twenty years of his life, which closed in September, 1866, he lived in comparative retirement, possessing abundant means. Like his brother, he was a strict and worthy member of the Presbyterian Church. When in the full vigor of his manhood no person was more closely identified with business enterprises and the growth of the community.
Hon. John F. Darby, who flourished so long and so genially, might be treated as the contemporary of almost any group of lawyers in St. Louis. His period of greatest activity, however, was from 1830 to 1842. Mr. Darby's name occurs in numerous places in this chapter, and a full biography of him will be found in the record of municipal history, during his administration as mayor of St. Louis.
Numbers of distinguished lawyers have been school-teachers in their early career. The comparative leisure afforded in small country schools makes this occupation a favorite stepping-stone from college to the bar. Even now the schools of the West contain many bright, ambitious young teachers who are spending their evenings and Saturdays in reading law, and who maybe heard from hereafter as noted jurists. The Missouri bar has had several shining lights whose earlier manhood was passed in pedagogic work. One of these was George Tompkins, for many years the presiding justice of the Supreme Court. Born in Caroline County, Va., in March, 1780, of sturdy Saxon stock, and in a family which was one of the earliest to settle in that region, he seems to have lacked a college training, but was a great reader and a hard student. About 1801 or 1802 he left Virginia with but one hundred dollars, and removed to Kentucky, teaching school, and reading such books as he could obtain. He remained six or seven years in this State, most of the time in Jefferson County. Then he came to St. Louis, and was the second teacher in the public school, having succeeded a man named Ratchford. The school was in a room on Market Street, between Second and Third Streets. The population of the town was not over fourteen hundred, chiefly Creole French, there being only two American families there. He still read law in his leisure hours, and made diligent use of the few books obtainable. To train himself and others in the art and practice of public speaking he organized a debating society, the first on record west of the Mississippi. Joshua and David Barton, Edward Bates, Maj. O'Fallon, and other young men who afterwards did good public service participated in the discussions. It is a pity that a full report of these meetings has not been preserved. In school and in debating club young Mr. Tompkins exercised influence over many who afterwards became leading citizens of the metropolis. About 1812 or thereabouts his father's death left him heir to a share of the ancestral estate, but there were thirteen children, George being the youngest but one, and he refused to receive any portion of it. In the expressive phrase of the West, he could easily "paddle his own canoe."
The law career of Mr. Tompkins began in 1816, when he was admitted and settled in Old Franklin, Howard Co. In those days young attorneys found that their surest road to fame lay through politics. They could in no other way form so wide a circle of friends nor better display their latent capacities. We find that Lawyer Tompkins was twice sent to the Territorial Legislature, then meeting at St. Charles. In 1824 he was chosen judge of the Supreme Court, and remained in that important office until he passed the constitutional limit of age (sixty-five years), and was therefore forced to resign. Two years later, in April, 1846, aged sixty-seven, he died on his fine farm near Jefferson City. No incompetent or weak person could so long have held such a position. Judge Tompkins was eminent for ability, integrity, and close legal research, as all his decisions evince. Judge W. V. N.
Bay, late of the Supreme Court of Missouri, in his able book upon the bench and bar, says that Judge Tompkins was too great a stickler for precedent, and in the case of Lecompte vs. Seargent held that "an executor or administrator is for every purpose owner of the moneys of his testator or intestate which have come into his hands;" in other words, such funds are liable for the administrator's personal debts. The judge was misled by a reference in an old English digest he carried in his saddle-bags. This will serve to show some of the difficulties for lack of books under which the lawyers and judges of an early day labored. At a later date Judge Bay himself reversed this decision. There are many amusing stories afloat about Judge Tompkins; he was a whimsical, original genius, eccentric, kindly, and prone to indulge in a dry humor all his own. Sometimes it took the form of sarcasm, as when a backwoods lawyer named Mendell, attired in the most slovenly manner, was arguing a case before him. Just before the usual adjournment hour the judge said, "Mr. Mendell, it is impossible for this court to see any law through as dirty a shirt as you have on. We will adjourn to give you an opportunity to change your linen." Sometimes, however, the judge received back as good as he gave, as in a tilt with Peyton R. Hayden, one of the finest lawyers in Central Missouri. He was arguing a case in the Supreme Court, and Judge Tompkins, becoming tired, said, "Mr. Hayden, why do you spend so much time on the weak points of your case, to the exclusion of the more important ones?" Hayden was equal to the emergency, and replied on the instant that it was because he had found during his long practice before that court that the weak points won fully as often as the strong ones.
Like many professional men, the judge was an ardent lover of horticulture. His orchards were noted for the fine fruit they bore, and he became quite an authority on the subject. It is often the case that men's thoughts turn as old age approaches to quiet scenes and rural pursuits. They cannot quite take off the armor, but they hunger for the garden, the orchard, the wide landscape, the rolling pastures, the glades and forests and well-tilled fields. Almost everywhere the leaders of the bar have owned and improved rural estates, introduced thoroughbred stock, and aided largely in the advancement of agriculture. Bates, McGirk, and Scott all owned fine farms. A number of other instances might be given, but two must suffice. In 1868, May 10th, the St. Louis Republican noticed the death of Adolphe Eenard, aged sixty-five, for many years United States recorder of land titles, and afterwards in the surveyor-general's office, but during the later years of his life engaged in horticulture and grape culture near St. Louis. In 1846 the same journal speaks of the death of Col. Justus Post, at one time judge of the St. Louis County Court, afterwards in the Missouri Senate, and still later holder of a staff appointment in the Mexican war. A native of Vermont, he came to Missouri in 1816, practiced law, and owned a large farm in St. Louis County. In 1831 he removed to Pulaski County, Ill., where he died on the fine farm which he owned there.
Another of the representative lawyers of Southern Missouri, who is nevertheless entitled to notice here, was Gen. Nathaniel W. Watkins, born in Kentucky in 1796, and a half-brother of Henry Clay. Reaching St. Louis in 1820, he soon established himself at Jackson, Cape Girardeau Co., served several terms in the State Legislature, and was speaker of the Sixteenth General Assembly. He also served as a member of the St. Louis Convention of 1861. During these years he was a noted horticulturist, and divided his time between his office and farm. His greatest successes were before juries, as he was a forcible speaker and a most adroit manager. He died March 20, 1875.
Returning to the characteristic men of the early St. Louis bar, we find Nathaniel Beverly Tucker, who was born at Mattox, Chesterfield Co., Va., on Sept. 6, 1784. He was the third son of J. St. George Tucker, from the island of Bermuda, who settled in Virginia previous to the Revolutionary war, and married in the year 1778 the widow of John Randolph. Mr. and Mrs. Randolph were the parents of the celebrated John Randolph of Roanoke, who was thus the half-brother of N. B. Tucker.
Mr. Tucker came to St. Louis in 1815, at the age of thirty-one years, to practice his profession of the law, and was appointed by Frederick Bates, the secretary, and then acting Governor, of the Territory, judge of the Northern Circuit, and he held the first term of his court at St. Louis on Monday, Feb. 9, 1818. This position he held for about five years, except during a brief absence, and was succeeded on the bench by Judge Alexander Stuart in June, 1823. He lived for a time in Saline County, about 1831-32. After a residence in Missouri for some eighteen years or so he returned to Virginia, about 1833 or 1834, to accept the chair of law professor in William and Mary College at Williamsburg, James City Co., which position he filled about eighteen years until his death at Winchester, Va., Aug. 26, 1851, at the age of sixty-seven years.
Alexander Steuart, from Virginia, practiced law for a short time at Kaskaskia about 1806 or 1807, and then came over to St. Louis.
He was appointed by Governor McNair judge of the Circuit Court to succeed Judge Tucker, and held the first term of his court in St. Louis, June 2, 1823, which place he filled for three years, being succeeded on the bench by Judge W. C. Carr. He died on his farm in the upper part of the county near Bellefontaine.
Here, too, belongs the name of Robert Wash. He was born in Virginia, Nov. 29, 1790, was well educated, graduating from college at the age of eighteen, pursued a wide range of legal studies, and after the war of 1812 removed to St. Louis, where he began the practice of law. He was United States district attorney during Monroe's administration, afterwards a member of the City Council, and became a judge of the Supreme Court shortly after the State government was organized. His death occurred on the last day of November, 1856. In May, 1837, he had resigned his seat on the Supreme Court. Judicious real estate investments secured him a large fortune. He was very fond of the chase, and always kept a pack of hounds. At the usual bar meeting after his death the Hon. Edward Bates presided, and in the course of his remarks said,
"Judge Wash was one of the oldest members of the St. Louis bar, much older, as a member of the bar, than any man that any one of you have seen in practice here. When I came to this place, in the spring of the year 1814, Judge Wash was then one of the junior members of the bar. He was a native of Virginia, from the county of Louisa. He was an educated man, having all the benefits of scholastic instruction, being of the ancient college of William and Mary, and having perfected in that honorable institution by teaching in the capacity of a college tutor for some time. He then studied law, and looked westward. When I came here I found him in a respectable and honorable position, a rising member of the St. Louis bar, having but some four his seniors at that day. I presume that if he had devoted himself exclusively to the profession that he would have risen to much higher rank and have attained even a greater and better fame than he did. He served under Gen. Howard as an aide-de-camp in his expedition from St. Louis to Peoria, in the Indian war, and he served for years after peace was practically restored as secretary to the commissioners. He rose also in his profession, for he has had the honor of holding a seat for some time on the Supreme Bench of the State. His decisions are good, though he did not, perhaps, rank higher than his colleagues."
Hon. J. F. Darby spoke of the late judge as one of those who signed his certificate in 1827. The chair appointed Hon. J. P. Darby, Willis L. Williams, Charles E. Whittelsey, Philip C. Morehead, and Albert Todd to draft appropriate resolutions, which were then adopted. H. R. Gamble, John M. Krum, Judge Ryland, and Willis L. Williams were appointed to act as pall-bearers.
Judge Wash was twice married. His first wife, Mrs. Berry, daughter of Maj. William Christy, bore him a daughter, afterwards wife of G. W. Goode, of the St. Louis bar. His second wife, Eliza, was Col. Taylor's daughter, and she bore him four sons and several daughters.
George W. Goode, born in Virginia in 1815, finely educated and associated in law with Hon. James A. Seddon at Richmond, settled in St. Louis, in partnership with Tully R. Cormick. His fees in the land case of Bissell vs. Penrose were over sixty thousand dollars. He died from softening of the brain in 1863, and had some years previously been compelled to give up his profession and retire to a farm. The litigant here referred to seems to have been James Howard Penrose, born in Philadelphia, a son of Clement B. Penrose, one of the board of commissioners appointed by President Jefferson in 1806 to adjudicate the titles to the lands granted by the Spanish government, and who removed to St. Louis with his family the same year, or else an older brother of James H., Charles Biddle Penrose, who returned to Philadelphia and became a prominent politician. James Howard Penrose also left St. Louis for parts unknown, and died unmarried.
About 1817, Josiah Spalding graduated from Yale with the highest honors of his class, and in the winter of 1819-20 settled at St. Louis. The two years intervening had been spent in studying law, during which he supported himself as a tutor in Columbia College, New York. The bar of St. Louis was not an easy one for a young man to enter, for its standards were high and its requirements extensive. Mr. Spalding began a series of articles in the city papers, whose literary merit attracted attention to him. The Republican of May 15, 1852, a few days after his death, thus drew attention to his editorial career: "In 1822, when the Constitution of the State was disregarded, and the real interests of the people jeoparded by the enactment of the ‘Loan Office’ and ‘Stay Laws,’ Mr. Spalding became the editor of the Missouri Republican, which then passed into the hands of Mr. Edward Charless, and he continued to occupy that position until the good sense of the people and the wisdom and integrity of the judges combined to put down the whole series of mischievous measures. When this was accomplished Mr. Spalding ceased to have any control of the paper as editor, and after that time wrote little for political or other journals."
On the occasion of his death the members of the bar met and passed resolutions of regret. The speakers all referred to the high moral character of the deceased. He was a consistent Christian and very benevolent, devoted to his family, and almost idolized by them. As a lawyer, he was profuse in authorities, and his briefs always attracted attention. He was
not an orator, but few men were equally regarded as an adviser when important interests were involved. One of his characteristics was an unquenchable optimism. Most of his cases were of a commercial nature, though he did not make a specialty of that department. Judge Bay calls attention to the case of Hamilton and Treat, judges, vs. St. Louis County Court, which was tried in 1851; the point involved being a constitutional question as to the legality of a legislative act requiring the payment of additional compensation to judges of certain courts out of the county treasury. The case went to the Supreme Court, and Messrs. Spalding and Field were for the relators, and Messrs. Bates and Gantt for the county court. The brief filed by Mr. Spalding is considered a choice example of his fine powers of research.
One of the eminent jurists and pleaders of Central Missouri was Abiel Leonard, born at Windsor, Vt., in May, 1797. 237 He spent three years at Dartmouth College, injured his sight by hard study, and left before graduation. His law studies began at Whiteboro', N. Y., in 1816; in 1818 he was admitted, and the next year floated down the Ohio in a skiff, and paddled up the river to St. Louis. Old Franklin then had about eighteen hundred inhabitants, and was thought the best place for a young lawyer, and so Leonard turned his footsteps thither, but his funds gave out, and he taught a country school for six months. He afterwards practiced law at Boonville, Old Franklin, and New Franklin, but his eyes again failed, and for some time he employed a person to read to him. He soon moved to Fayette, the county-seat of Howard, began to take high rank in his profession, and measured steel with the best lawyers of the State.
In 1823 he became State attorney for his judicial district, filling out H. R. Gamble's unexpired term. Judge Bay, from whose valuable work these particulars are obtained, says that the only law partner Mr. Leonard ever had was Gen. S. M. Bay, and this continued until the latter removed to St. Louis. Some time about 1820, Mr. Leonard had a personal difficulty with Maj. Berry, who, under some pretense, cowhided him and was challenged. In the duel which followed Berry was killed. Mr. Leonard was debarred and disfranchised, but public opinion justified him, and the next Legislature restored him to citizenship. In 1830 he married Miss Jeannette Reeves, of Kentucky. In 1834 he assisted to revise the Constitution. When Governor Gamble resigned from the supreme bench, Judge Leonard took his place, and rendered decisions which compare well with the best of his time. His death occurred March 28, 1863. One of his warmest personal friends and associates was Peyton R. Hayden, of Boonville, Cooper Co., whom he met for the first time in 1819 at a small wayside tavern. The acquaintanceship thus begun grew year by year till Mr. Hayden's death in 1855. This gentleman was born in Kentucky, at Paris, Bourbon Co., in 1796, came to Missouri in 1817, taught school a year, and was admitted to the bar in 1819. Cooper County then had a frontier population of about seven thousand. David Todd was judge of the Circuit Court, and no less than six of the lawyers who practiced there afterwards sat in the Supreme Court.
Judge John F. Ryland, afterwards of the Lexington bar, belonged to this circuit, and was a familiar figure in early days in St. Louis, making frequent visits to that city. He used to say that once in 1825 he was offered forty arpens of land now in the heart of the city, and worth millions of dollars, in trade for the horse he was riding. The judge was of Virginian birth. In 1809, when he was twelve years of age, his father moved to Kentucky. He attended Forest Hill Academy, afterwards opened a successful private school, read law with Judge Hardin, obtained a license, and removed to Missouri in 1819. From 1848 to 1857 he was a judge of the Supreme Court. His death occurred in 1873, and was deeply lamented throughout the State. Three of his sons became lawyers. He was an old school Presbyterian. For two years he held the Grand Mastership of the Missouri Masonic fraternity.
Still another of this noted Franklin Circuit was Charles French, born in New Hampshire in 1797, where he studied law. Coming to Missouri in 1817 or thereabouts, he obtained his license. He was well read, and a first-rate special pleader. About 1839 he settled in Lexington, and about 1862, attacked by melancholia and mental derangement, he took his own life.
One of the marked characters of early St. Louis was Judge Frederick Hyatt, of the county court, afterwards for many years a legislator, and as such taking active part in the most exciting political events.
Born in Madison County, Ky., in 1790, and enjoying only common school facilities, he came to Missouri in 1815 or thereabouts, and became engaged in flat-boating on the river. He settled in St. Ferdinand township, St. Louis Co., about 1819, and was one of the first to cultivate the soil in that garden-spot, the beautiful Florissant valley, now so blooming with flowers, overflowing with abundant crops, crowded with homes of wealth and refinement. He had not wasted his time. Reading and study gave him power among men, and his associates in those earlier years of the century were among the best of the region roundabout. He was the friend and companion of the Chouteaus, the Leducs, the Chauvins, the Prattes, the Bissells, the Grahams, the Stuarts, and the Mullanphys. Barton, Bates, Gamble, Geyer, Cozens, and Col. O'Fallon were also among his intimates, not only at this time, but later in the State Legislature. As a farmer, he realized his duties to the community, taking active part in neighborhood improvements, roads, bridges, school-houses, churches. Governor Alexander McNair appointed him justice of the peace in St. Ferdinand township. This was in 1822 or 1823. He afterwards became collector of revenues and taxes for St. Louis County, and still later judge of the county court, performing all these duties efficiently. While judge, the courts all being held in a dilapidated old building on the southwest corner of Second and Walnut, he took steps to build a courthouse on the present Court-House Square, which at that time was vacant, uninclosed, and unoccupied save by a public whipping-post, on which malefactors, both male and female, were publicly whipped, receiving generally thirty-nine lashes on their bare backs, the sheriff in every instance being sworn to lay on the lashes to the best of his ability, without "fear, favor, or affection." Judge Hyatt, with the assistance of the other two judges, removed that obnoxious emblem of the administration of justice, and had the contractors, Laveille & Morton, erect what was then considered not only the finest court-house, but also the finest building in the State, the predecessor of the present edifice. Judge Hyatt afterwards, as a legislator, helped to change the law from stripes, as a relic of barbarism unworthy of a highly-cultivated Christian people, to the present penitentiary system. In 1828 he ran for county sheriff, but was defeated by Dr. Robert Simpson. Judge Hyatt's character was never better shown than in the turmoil which followed the Constitutional Convention, whose work was adopted by the people June 12, 1820. For fourteen months the State was kept out of the Union. It was one of the great premonitory struggles on the slavery issue, and the battle-ground was at the capital of the nation. Turbulent spirits among the frontiersmen threatened "to fight their way into the Union," but Hyatt and many like him opposed and crushed these rebellious schemes. When the "First General Assembly" met in the famous old Missouri Hotel, Hyatt saw Barton elected, saw the struggle against Benton, and took part in these eventful occurrences.
When the first Legislature met at St. Charles and passed the "solemn public act," on the 26th of June, 1821, as a pre-requisite for the admission of Missouri, on the proclamation by the President of the United States, as required by the act of Congress, and under which Missouri was admitted as a State on the 10th of August, 1821, Judge Hyatt supported the measure. The Legislature was afterwards convened to pass relief laws, there being no money in the country and the people in great distress, unable to pay their taxes. This was done by establishing a "loan office," to issue paper money in the name of the State of Missouri, based on the credit of the State, and to lend the same to enable the people to pay their taxes. Frederick Hyatt was a member of the Legislature, and helped to pass this law, but it was afterward declared void by the Supreme Court of the United States as being a violation of the Constitution of the United States. After the Legislature removed to Jefferson City, Frederick Hyatt was a member from St. Louis County, when the attempt was made to remove Judge William C. Carr from the Legislature. Frederick Hyatt denounced the proceeding as "unjust political persecution." When the State-House was burned down in Jefferson City and the archives of the State destroyed, Frederick Hyatt, again as a member from St. Louis County, took his seat in the Senate. In all Judge Hyatt was a member of the Legislature for about twenty years, sometimes as senator, sometimes as representative. He was no speaker, but helped to shape important legislation of the State during these busy years under six Governors. He was always a Whig, and in the great campaign of 1840, when "conventions, log cabins, coon-skins, and hard cider emblems were the order of the day, when paintings, banners, mottoes, processions, barbecues, songs, and speech-making ruled and swept over the land with unobstructed sway, Frederick Hyatt was always on hand in the procession, marching in the ranks of his party." It is also said that during the forty years in which he served the State in various capacities he performed jury service under Judges Tucker, Stuart, Carr, Lawless, Mullanphy, Krum, Hamilton, and other judges of the State courts, and under Judges Peck, Wells, Catron, and
Treat of the Federal courts. He was married four times, his first wife being Miss Hume, of Florissant valley, his second wife a widow lady from Kentucky, his third wife the widow of Maj. Whistler, and his fourth wife the widow of Thomas J. Ferguson. His own death occurred Sept. 10, 1870.
A lawyer of widespread fame was Judge Luke E. Lawless, born in Dublin in 1781. His life was checkered and romantic. At an early age he entered the British navy, serving there till after the treaty of Amiens. Afterwards he graduated at the Dublin University, was admitted to the bar in 1805, and seemed likely to win high standing. But he was a Catholic, and the restriction laws, then in force, presented what seemed insuperable obstacles in the way of his gaining the prizes of the profession. He therefore, in 1810, entered the French service under his uncle, Gen. William Lawless, acted as military secretary for the Duc de Feltre, and was promoted to a colonelcy. Napoleon's final defeat caused him to seek America, scarred with honorable wounds, and in 1824 he settled in St. Louis, where he soon built up a large practice, which he enjoyed till his death in 1846. For three years he was judge of the St. Louis Circuit Court, following Judge W. C. Carr. Judge Lawless was slender, dignified, and always interesting, thoroughly versed in his profession, supreme in his judicial analysis, never eloquent, but terrible in his pungent sarcasm. Taking part in a duel in France, he was rendered lame; he also acted as Benton's second in the Lucas duel. His wife was a French lady.
The most remarkable judicial incident in Judge Lawless' life was his leadership in the famous impeachment of Judge James H. Peck, of Missouri, before the United States Senate. This Judge Peck was a noted man, an accomplished scholar, and a thorough lawyer. Little is known of his early life, but he began the practice of law in Tennessee. He came to Missouri about 1820, and was presently appointed judge of the Federal court, it is said, at the instance of Richard M. Johnson, of Kentucky. In 1826 the difficulty with Judge Lawless began, the latter being counsel for certain Spanish land claims. In April of that year he printed over the signature "A Citizen" a respectful criticism upon one of Judge Peck's decisions on a case similar to those he represented. The judge ordered the proprietor of the paper to show cause why an attachment should not issue against him for contempt of court. A reply was made denying jurisdiction, as an appeal had been taken in the case criticised, affirming that it was a fair and correct statement of the decision, and saying that Luke E. Lawless was the author. An order was then made on Lawless, who replied respectfully, though denying jurisdiction, but was sentenced to twenty-four hours' imprisonment in jail, and to eighteen months suspension from practice. December 8th of that year John Scott presented in Congress a memorial from Lawless, charging Judge Peck with tyranny, oppression, and usurpation of power. The House committee reported charges of impeachment, which came before the Senate at the following session. It was one of the most important and became one of the most celebrated cases ever brought before that body, the question of the liberty of the press being so closely involved. The House of Representatives chose five of its prominent members, including Buchanan, of Pennsylvania, to manage the prosecution, and William Wirt and Jonathan Meredith, of Baltimore, appeared for the defense.
Among the eminent jurists who were members of the high court of impeachment were Webster, Clayton, Livingston, King, Poindexter, Grundy, White, Forsyth, Chase, and Tazewell. Half the St. Louis bar were summoned as witnesses, the trial occupied six weeks, and the pleadings, which were prepared by Judge Peck and Mr. Lawless respectively, showed the highest ability and the most exhaustive research. Judge Peck was acquitted, and the decision authoritatively settled many questions relating to the powers of courts to punish for contempt. 238
An idea of the feeling that prevailed in some quarters may be obtained from a statement in the Missouri Republican of Feb. 3, 1837, to the effect that in the previous December some members of the St. Louis bar met and passed a resolution to the effect that their objection to the "reappointment of Luke E. Lawless to the office of judge of the Third Judicial District be expressed to the Governor." The following lawyers were present: Henry S. Geyer, Hamilton R. Gamble, Beverly Allen, Gustavus A. Bird, John F. Darby, James L. English, Harris L. Sproat, Charles F. Lowry, Wilson Primm, Charles D. Drake, Ferdinand W. Risque, Alexander Hamilton, William F. Chase, Thomas B. Hudson, John Bent, Singleton W. Wilson. Henry S. Geyer was chairman.
Judge Lawless died in September, 1846, aged sixty-five years, leaving no children. The bar met and expressed their sense of his fine talents, and of the loss to the profession. Bryan Mullanphy was chairman, and Hon. A. Hamilton secretary. Lewis V. Bogy, Edward Bates, Alexander Hamilton, Thos. T. Gantt, and W. M. Campbell drew up the resolutions. The Dublin Nation, the exponent of "young Ireland," published a history of the professional and military life of this distinguished man, and reprinted the proceedings of the St. Louis bar in memory of his services. Tradition reports that he ranked among the half a dozen best lawyers of his time, but few persons knew him intimately, as his manner was reserved and almost cold. He was called the most absent-minded man in St. Louis, and if half the stories to that effect be true richly deserved the title. One of his peculiarities was a habit of carrying into the court-room a large green bag in imitation of the English and Irish barristers.
John Delafield, a graduate of Columbia College (1830), studied law with Judge Arius Nye, Marietta, Ohio; was admitted in 1833; married Miss Edith Wallace, of Cincinnati, and in 1849 settled in St. Louis. Here he gained considerable reputation in land cases, but turned his attention to literary pursuits, and wrote several essays and published books on archaeological topics. His death occurred in Liverpool in 1865, at the age of fifty-three. He left a wife and four children. The three daughters married, and the son became a prominent business man in St. Louis.
One of Mr. Delafield's contemporaries was L. M. Kennett, whose biography will be found in the municipal chapter, as he was mayor of St. Louis in 1852. Another was Judge J. M. Krum, a biography of whom finds place in the same chapter for the same reason.
Joseph B. Wells was a brother of Judge Carty Wells, of the Lincoln Circuit, who was born in 1805 in Virginia, and died in 1860. Joseph, born in 1806, studied law with his brother, practiced in Warren County, went to the Legislature, and in 1845 moved to St. Louis, where he became William M. Campbell's partner. In 1849, after Mr. Campbell's death, he was in partnership with Judge Buckner. His health failing, he went to San Francisco, and practiced there with Judge J. B. Crockett, since and for many years judge of the State Supreme Court, and afterwards with Hon. Henry H. Haight. His health became worse, and he died while visiting relatives in Missouri in 1858. He was a good lawyer and a genial gentleman. His best work, professionally speaking, was done on the Pacific coast, where he is still remembered with affection and respect. Some extremely important land cases were in his hands.
Judge Robert W. Wells (not a relative of the preceding) ranked with the best jurists of the State, and was born in 1795 in Winchester, Va. His early education was defective, but he was ever an indefatigable student, and became a good classical scholar. About 1818 he began practice in St. Charles; in 1821 was made prosecuting attorney for that circuit under Judge Rufus Pettibone, and in 1826 was made attorney-general of the State, an office which Bates and Easton had held with credit, and which Judge Wells occupied with equal success for ten years. Then he became judge of the United States District Court, remaining in this office until his death, April, 1865, while visiting his married daughter at Bowling Green, Ky. Twice married, his first wife was Miss Bancroft, daughter of Maj. Barcroft (State auditor, 1823-33); after her death he married Miss Covington, of Kentucky. Five children were left to mourn his loss. Hon. Thomas T. Gantt presided over the meeting of the St. Louis bar which was held in honor of Judge Wells. His tribute was a memorable one. Judge Wells, said he, "illustrated and adorned the judgment
seat." "He has done more than any other judge, living or dead, for the elucidation and correct exposition of the United States statutes on which land titles in Missouri depend." "The State is impoverished by his death." Such and of similar import were the utterances of his long-tried associates in honor of Judge Wells. Politically he was a Democrat, supported the Union, and advocated a gradual system of emancipation years before the war. He was presiding officer of the State Constitutional Convention of 1845.
A genial and popular gentleman, for many years clerk of the United States Circuit and District Courts, was Col. B. F. Hickman, born in Frankfort, Ky., in 1810, afterwards a deputy in Francis P. Blair, Sr.'s office, then law student with Judge Saunders; admitted to the bar in 1832, and representative from Anderson County for two terms. Miss Cunningham, his first wife, was killed by being thrown from a buggy, and Mr. Hickman was severely injured. Years after he married Miss Moore, of Kentucky. In 1841 he located in St. Louis, and afterwards in Jefferson City, but in 1848 assumed the court clerkships, which he retained until February, 1871, the time of his death. He could not, of course, in his brief practice win much reputation as a lawyer, but his faithful efficiency as clerk received and retained the friendship of every practitioner in the Federal courts, and the usual tributes to his memory were more than ordinarily earnest. Judge Samuel Treat was one of the speakers on this occasion.
In 1826 irregular living hastened the death of a brilliant young lawyer, Capt. Alexander Gray, who fought in the war of 1812, and reached Missouri in 1816. Soon after coming to St. Louis he became judge of the Circuit Court, and was afterwards judge of the Northern Circuit (St. Charles, Montgomery, and Howard Counties). As an advocate, particularly in criminal cases, he won a great reputation. Judge James Evans reached Missouri in 1816, and secured a large practice in Southeastern Missouri. In 1842 he was appointed judge of the Ninth Circuit Court, but his career was short.
The list of the leaders of the bar who were born previous to the present century is nearly complete, and some glimpses of the lesser currents of activity have been afforded. One of the really strong men of that early bar, of which Gamble, Spalding, Geyer, Bates, and Darby were exponents, was Beverly Allen, native of Virginia, as were so many of the best Missouri lawyers. He was born in the year 1800, in Richmond, and having graduated at Princeton, he began his law studies with Judge Upshur, who gave him letters of the highest value when he removed to St. Louis in 1827. For a while he had been located at Ste. Genevieve, and was John Scott's partner there. In St. Louis he was for a time a partner of Hamilton R. Gamble. President Adams appointed him United States district attorney, but the next administration removed him for political reasons. He was afterwards in the State Legislature, was member of the City Council, and was for a time city attorney. In 1838 he canvassed the State as a Whig congressional nominee. His death occurred Sept. 12, 1845, on which occasion the Republican said,
"Mr. Allen was a distinguished member of the bar of Missouri, eminent for his talents and professional abilities, and universally admired and esteemed for his sound social, moral, and Christian principles and virtues. In a life not prolonged beyond the medium age he had won for himself, by uniform uprightness of conduct, a reputation which will long make his memory cherished by all who knew him. A few months ago Mr. Allen, accompanied by his wife, made a visit to the south of France and Italy, in the hope of effecting the restoration of his health. He had reached New York on his way home, when his course was arrested and his usefulness cut off by death."
Judge Thomas T. Gantt, whose memory is an unfailing fund of interesting reminiscences, has said of Mr. Allen that in 1839 he was one of the five leading lawyers of St. Louis. His acquaintanceship with land titles was vast and exact. One of his ablest reports was that in justification of the title of Carondelet to the common south of the Revi&eagrave;re des Peres, which had been unsettled by claims of the War Department.
Capt. Edward E. Allen, for many years a justice of the peace in St. Louis, afterwards clerk of the law commissioners' court, and then a successful lawyer, fought through the civil war, receiving wounds which ultimately caused his death at the age of sixty-one (in 1878). He was born in Norfolk, Va., and educated in Richmond.
Judge James H. Birch, another of the "Virginians of the ancient régime," was born in March, 1804. His early life was spent in Kentucky, where he studied with Judge John Trimble, of the Supreme Court. He married a daughter of Daniel Halstead, of Lexington; removed to St. Louis in 1826, and assisted in editing the Enquirer, Col. Benton's paper. The next year he established the Western Monitor at Fayette. In 1828 he was clerk of the Lower House, and soon after was sent to the State Senate. From 1849 to 1852 he was a judge of the State Supreme Court. Twice
he served as register of the Plattsburgh land office. His great ambition was to go to Congress, but he failed in accomplishing this object. Stately, commanding, dignified, conservative, possessed of a clear, ringing voice and a graceful delivery, he might have been a marked and useful public servant; but the times were ripe for partisans, and the days of compromises had long gone by. In one of his speeches in 1861 he appealed eloquently to "the people of the North against the politicians of the South," though the civil war had already begun.
The Bay family furnish examples of inherited tastes and faculties that would have delighted Francis Galton. Judge Elisha Bay was for forty-nine years judge of the highest court in South Carolina, and declined a seat in the Supreme Court of the United States in Jefferson's administration. His brother was law partner of Ambrose Spencer, chief judge of the New York Supreme Court. A son of this brother was very successful at the Columbia County, N. Y., bar, ranking with Van Buren, Morrell, and Edmonds, and his grandsons, Samuel M. Bay and W. V. N. Bay, became noted in Missouri as talented advocates and learned jurists. Judge Samuel M. Bay, born in Hudson, N. Y., in 1810, studied some time under Salmon P. Chase, in Washington, engaged in mercantile business, took up law, and in 1833 settled in Franklin County, Mo. He was soon sent to the Legislature, and was afterwards appointed attorney-general of the State, proving a vigorous and successful prosecutor. Removing to Jefferson City, he formed a partnership with Abiel Leonard, of Howard County, and this lasted until 1846, when he changed his residence to St. Louis, and became attorney for the State Bank. In July, 1849, he fell a victim to the cholera. A career of rare promise was thus cut short. He left a widow and four children. His brother, Judge W. V. N. Bay, late of the Supreme Court of Missouri, is the author of the able work on the "Missouri Bench and Bar," from which we have before quoted.
Sept. 12, 1839, a young lawyer of note, Albert G. Harrison, died in Pulton. He was born in June, 1800, in Kentucky, educated there, and removed to Missouri in 1827. For a time he was register of the St. Louis land office, and in 1836 was elected to Congress, and re-elected in 1838.
A man of multifarious eccentricities was William M. Campbell, who died in December, 1849, aged forty-five, a native of Virginia, and a graduate of Washington and Lee University. In 1829 he reached Missouri, settled in St. Charles, became very popular, and was sent to the Legislature and State Senate, but in 1844 moved to St. Louis to edit a Whig newspaper. In a few years he went to the State Senate again from St. Louis County, and remained in that body until his death. His talents were of the highest order, and his reputation for honesty was unquestioned. Never seeking for office, it was forced upon him in every case. He was absolutely indifferent to dress and money, and nothing ever ruffled his temper. Physically he was as lazy as possible, mentally a giant of industry. He could listen to a speech an hour long, and then write it out from memory, a feat almost beyond belief. As an editor he was invaluable, he could do the work of a dozen ordinary men. His political editorials were always of a high order. Though seldom appearing in court, his power over a jury was notable.
Another diamond in the rough, full of eccentricities and talents, was James Winston, born in 1813. His mother was the youngest daughter of Patrick Henry, and James was the youngest of twelve children. He had little education, but became a successful practitioner, though he seemed to have no definite purpose in life. He represented the Benton district in the State Senate in 1850. Two years later he was the Whig nominee for Governor, and, though defeated, the wit and fluency which he exhibited in the canvass greatly increased his popularity.
In 1857 the bar lost one of its efficient members by the death of Richard S. Blennerhassett, a noted criminal lawyer, who was born in County Kerry, Ireland, in 1811, and who was related on his mother's side to Daniel O'Connell and to the Spottswoods of Virginia. His father was first cousin of Herman Blennerhassett, concerned in the Burr conspiracy. In 1831 he married Miss Byran, great-granddaughter of Rousseau, came to America, taught school, studied law, was admitted in 1835, and in 1841 reached St. Louis. In 1848, '49, and '50 he was city counselor. It is asserted that he never had a superior in criminal cases at the St. Louis bar. He was not as eloquent as Uriel Wright, but was a better reasoner, and his self-possession was perfect. His social qualities and unbounded generosity made him a universal favorite among his associates and in private life. In one of his most important cases the defense of McLean for murdering Col. Floyd he obtained four successive trials between 1842 and 1845, at the last saving his client from the gallows. No record has been kept of his most eloquent speeches, but they seldom failed to win the jury. His management of witnesses and analysis of testimony still live in tradition as unsurpassed among the lawyers of his time.
Robert P. Farris was born in Natick, near Boston,
Mass., in the year 1794. He came to St. Louis about 1815-16, and entered upon the profession of the law. About the time of the admission of Missouri as a State, in 1820-21, he was lieutenant-colonel of the First Regiment Missouri Militia, and upon the office of colonel becoming vacant, he was elected to the same May 25, 1822, by a vote of four hundred and three over his competitor, Col. Réné Paul, who received one hundred and thirty-one votes. Col. Farris was appointed circuit attorney for the St. Louis Circuit by Governor Alexander McNair, and entered upon the discharge of his duties at the term of the court held on the first Monday of June, 1822, N. B. Tucker then judge. He held the office nearly seven years, being succeeded by Hamilton R. Gamble, March 23, 1829, William C. Carr being then judge of the circuit. Col. Farris was married to the daughter of Capt. Joseph Cross, formerly of the United States artillery. A contemporary journal says, "Married at Potosi, Washington Co., on the 31st March, 1824, by the Rev. Mr. Donnelly, Col. Robert P. Farris, of this city, to Miss Catharine Anne Cross, step-daughter of Samuel Perry, Esq., of the above place."
The notice of his death reads as follows:
His wife died some years previously.
His only son, the Rev. Robert P. Farris, was born in 1826.
One of the most eccentric, liberal, and widely-known lawyers of St. Louis was Bryan Mullanphy, of whom the genial John F. Darby, in his chatty reminiscences, has an abundance to tell. He was born in Baltimore in 1809, and his father, John Mullanphy, who settled in St. Louis in 1804, accumulated an immense fortune, and did much to develop the material resources of the West. Determined to give his son every advantage, he sent him to France, then to England, whence he returned at the age of eighteen, began the study of law, was admitted to practice, and soon took a creditable position. At his father's death it was found that most of the property was willed to his sisters, but they at once admitted him to an equal share. One of these sisters married Gen. Harney, another became the wife of Judge Boyce, of Louisiana, and a third of Maj. Thomas Biddle, while the other two married Charles Chambers and James Clemens, Jr., influential business men of St. Louis. Bryan Mullanphy became a fluent and impressive though not eloquent speaker. Though wealthy, he enjoyed the practice of law, and his wide range of reading on literary topics rendered him an agreeable companion. He was in several noted trials the antagonist of the best men of the time, and showed fine legal capacity. In 1840 chosen judge of the St. Louis Circuit Court, he served until 1844 with great fidelity, and few of his decisions were reversed. His successor was John M. Krum. In 1847 came an interesting and difficult period of his life, resulting from his election as mayor of the city. The cholera prevailed shortly after, and the dreadful sufferings of poor emigrants suggested to him the disposition he afterwards made of his wealth. His death occurred June 15, 1851, when he was forty-two years of age. For twelve years or more he had filled important offices, and for some time he had been director of the Bank of Missouri. The bar met two days after his death, and Messrs. L. V. Bogy, J. M. Krum, M. Blair, S. Treat, C. D. Drake, H. R. Gamble, and J. F. Darby drafted the resolutions, which closed as follows:
"As a member of the profession, the deceased was distinguished for every quality which makes the gentleman in his intercourse with his brethren, and never for a moment forgot, in the excitements which are inseparable from the practice of the law, his habitual decorum, either to the highest or to the lowest among us, whilst his great legal attainments and varied knowledge made him an ornament to the profession." Nevertheless, this life, so useful and full of deeds of kindness and of charity, was curiously marred by eccentricities of many sorts, instances of which abound. He seems to have been a quaint, humorous oddity, and dressed with extreme carelessness. His countless gifts to the poor were marked in nearly every instance by some strange provision. His own likes and dislikes were strongly shown. On one occasion he invited a noted actor to take a drive, but drove off and left him twelve miles or so from St. Louis, being, it is supposed, angry at something the latter had said. But all his oddities, and they were many, are but as dust in the balance when weighed against the uprightness of his life and the succession of his charities, crowned at last by his munificent gift to the great city where that wealth had been accumulated by his father. His property was valued at six hundred thousand dollars.
The St. Louis Republican of June 17, 1851, gives an interesting account of the character and provisions of his will, which was contested, but fully sustained after a protracted litigation. It seems that after Judge Mullanphy's death many rumors prevailed regarding the disposition of his property, and at first no
will was found. But it was known, however, that a sealed package had been deposited by him with one of the city officers. This instrument, it was suggested, might be his will, and as it was supposed, if so, that it might contain instructions as to his funeral, the mayor notified the relatives of the deceased that at twelve o'clock the package would be opened in the presence of a portion of them, thus summoned, and of other citizens. The package was produced by the city register and opened. The outside envelope contained a memorandum of the circumstances under which the package was received, signed by the then mayor, James G. Barry, and D. H. Armstrong, then comptroller. The will was then opened, on the outside of which was a memorandum in Judge Mullanphy's handwriting, directing that it should not be opened until after his death. This memorandum bore date Aug. 31, 1849. The will itself was as follows:
"I, Bryan Mullanphy, do make and declare the following to be my last will and testament:
"One equal undivided third part of all my property, real, personal, and mixed, I leave to the city of St. Louis, in the State of Missouri, in trust and to be and constitute a fund to furnish relief to all poor emigrants and travelers coming to St. Louis on their way bona fide to settle in the West.
"I do appoint Felix Coste and Peter G. Camden to be executors of this my last will and testament, and of any other will or executory devise that I may leave. All and any such document will be found to be olograph, all in my own handwriting.
"BRYAN MULLANPHY. [Seal]
"Witnesses who have all signed in presence of the testator and each other, and saw the testator sign in presence of them and each of them.
"M. W. Warne.
This instrument was written on the first page of a sheet of letter-paper, which was folded in letter form and sealed with three separate wafers, over each of which was written the word "wafer." On the outside it is indorsed as follows:
"St. Louis, 31st August, 1849. I leave this document in the hands of the city of St. Louis by delivering the same to the mayor. It is not to be opened until after my death. It was left with the comptroller, the mayor being absent.
June 19th, Judge Ferguson admitted this will to probate, and P. G. Camden was appointed executor.
The remaining two-thirds of his estate he left by another will to be disposed of according to law. In 1855 the Republican remarked that no legal division of the estate had then been made, though commissioners had been appointed, had completed their labors, and had valued the estate at one million five hundred and sixty-one thousand one hundred and fourteen dollars, or two and a half times the estimate placed upon it at the time of his death. In 1860 the litigation which grew out of this case was decided; the heirs had appealed to the Circuit Court, hoping to obtain all, but were defeated, and took the case to the Supreme Court, where the judgment below was affirmed, thus securing to the city of St. Louis this trust fund. Hopes were then entertained that matters would not be longer delayed, but in 1867 the committee still complained of the slowness with which the Mullanphy trust fund was being made available. At that time it amounted to over six hundred thousand dollars. The City Council created a board to take charge of the property, and so managed it as to produce a satisfactory annual income, to be spent in accordance with the donor's plan. Thus used the fund has become one of great usefulness, and hundreds of persons on their way to the vast Rocky Mountain region have experienced its benefits. It may here be noted that some of the most valuable gifts, in the way of real estate, libraries, and works of art, which American colleges and schools have received came from members of the legal profession, but no more generous gift than this of Judge Mullanphy is on record anywhere.
Charles B. Lord, who died in St. Louis Nov. 15, 1868, was the successor of Edward Bates as judge of the land court. At the time of his death he was one of the Circuit Court judges. He had held the important land court judgeship for two terms, beginning in 1855. Judge Lord was a native of Thomaston, Me., born in 1810, was educated in Onondaga County, N. T., studied law at Buffalo, was admitted in 1833, and removed to St. Louis in 1843. Meanwhile he had married Miss Wiley, of Philadelphia. His first law partner in St. Louis was Myron Leslie, and when the latter died, in 1848, he was associated with Isaac Kiem. From 1855, as noted, he held judicial offices, and always with credit to himself. In the laws pertaining to real estate he was particularly strong. A leading journal, in announcing his death, said,
"Judge Lord was a man of no ordinary qualities of mind. Even had he never occupied a public position, his eminence in his profession would have given him a reputation extending beyond local limits. But be was peculiarly fitted for the bench. He possessed a clear, analytical, unwarped judgment and a remarkable perception. We would not assert that his decisions as a jurist were invariably correct, but undoubtedly they were always based upon his best and most conscientious interpretation of the law."
In court he was often severe towards young lawyers,
but his uprightness and anxiety to deal out justice impartially were proverbial.
Abram Beck came to St. Louis from Albany, N. Y., in 1819, as a lawyer and land agent, and was associated for a brief period with Josiah Spalding. He died Sept. 4, 1821, a young man, unmarried.
A son of the Old Dominion, who honored the best traditions of the courtly and cordial past, was Judge Henry Shurlds, born in Gloucester County, Nov. 21, 1796. He was educated at college, and had the advantage of studying law at Richmond under the celebrated William Wirt, then standing at the head of the Virginia bar. In 1819 this thoroughly-equipped young lawyer came to St. Louis, this year being, as the reader will notice, a time when the attention of many who afterwards won high reputation was attracted to the brisk, growing, and impetuous community being organized on the banks of the mighty Mississippi. Much has been said of the land litigation in which many lawyers won fame, but it must not be forgotten that there were great lead, iron, and coal interests beginning to develop, and law cases in that connection were abundant. Potosi, Washington Co., was in the midst of the mines, and here Judge Shurlds settled, and in 1822 married Miss Jane Jamison Bush, of that place; in 1821 he had been appointed circuit judge of that district, which office he resigned to become Secretary of State. In 1832 the General Assembly elected him secretary of the Senate, and the following year the Governor and Senate made him public auditor, which office he held till March, 1837. Meanwhile the State Bank had been organized, and as the times were financially gloomy great caution and skill were needed to conduct it. Judge Shurlds became its cashier, and for fifteen years contributed greatly to its financial success. His death occurred in 1852 near St. Louis, and his only son Edward died in 1865. Of his five daughters one married G. W. Dent, of San Francisco, and the others were all united to gentlemen of position in St. Louis.
The early files of Missouri papers contain many incidental references in advertisements and brief notices which throw light upon the bench and bar of that time. One of the first to be found is an advertisement in the Gazette of May 3, 1810, which says, "William O. Allen, Esq., will continue to practice law in all the districts of this Territory except Arkansas, and he will also attend the Illinois General Courts." Four years later, October 24th, was announced the death of Gen. Howard, Governor of the Territory, and a man thoroughly well versed in law, a summary of whose life is given elsewhere. Another of the well-known men of this era was Gen. Ruland, a sociable and kindly man, who had hosts of friends. His death, which occurred March 1, 1849, was noted at the time as follows: "Gen. John F. Ruland was born in the year 1789, on the banks of the river Raisin, in what is now the State of Michigan. At the age of nineteen he entered the Northwestern army under the command of Gen. Harrison, and served with reputation for several years, as was proved by his having passed rapidly through several grades of military station. At the termination of his military career, and when twenty-eight years of age, Gen. Ruland removed from Detroit to St. Louis, and engaged in the business of surveying afterwards. He was the chief clerk in the office of the superintendent of Indian affairs in this city by appointment of Gen. William Clark. On retiring from this position in 1835 he was then elected clerk of the Circuit Court and recorder of deeds of St. Louis County for a term of six years, and being re-elected, was in office for more than twelve years, and was the incumbent at the time of his death."
David Thomas was brought to St. Louis from Maryland about the time the post was turned over to the United States, being then but three years old. His father died on the journey, and was buried by the wayside. His education was such as the city schools afforded. He practiced law some years, and about 1848 became county judge, filling the office with satisfaction to the public. He had much probate business in later years. His death occurred in December, 1874. Another judge of the county court in early days was Peter D. Barada, born in 1798, and a pioneer of Carondelet. He served at various times as justice of the peace and member of the City Council. His death occurred in August, 1877.
The saddest chapter of a complete history of the bench and bar of any city would be that which tells how men fail in their early struggles and fall by the wayside. Every old lawyer crowned with deserved honors will remember many and painful instances. Usually, but not always, "the fittest survive." Promising young attorneys came to the West full of ardent hopes that perished without fulfillment. The Gazette of Sept. 19, 1811, says, "Died at Cape Girardeau, after an illness of six days, George C. Harbison, attorney, aged thirty-one." July 16, 1833, the same paper says, "Died in this place, in the twenty-fifth year of his age, Charles T. Parker, a native of Boston, and a member of the Missouri bar." On the 30th of the same month it says, "Died, after a short illness, William F. Duncan, a member of the Missouri bar. Endowed with a highly-cultivated mind, he was gifted with all those endearing and social qualities which never fail to render their possessor an object
of love and admiration." Jan. 12, 1833, the sudden death of Bethel S. Farr, a young member of the bar, called forth the following: "Resolved, That the death of Mr. Farr has deprived the bar of a member who gave every indication of future usefulness and brilliancy."
The most notable loss of the bar in 1839 was that of Joseph M. White, October 19th. A bar meeting was called, Judge Bowlin presiding, and G. A. Bird acting as secretary. The resolutions closed by saying, "The bar of St. Louis has lost one of its brightest ornaments, society one of its most valued members, and the country one of its most gifted and patriotic sons."
Another lawyer who already had made considerable reputation died in 1840. The Republican of November 30th says, "Died, on Saturday last at his residence, George F. Strother, Esq., formerly of Culpeper, Va. Mr. Strother was a member of the bar, was a member of Congress from Virginia, and since his residence here has held several highly important offices, having served several sessions in the State Legislature as a representative from this county." In 1841, Stephen Lanhan, a justice of the county court, died at his residence near Manchester. The following year (September 23d) Joseph W. Walsh, clerk of the St. Louis Court of Common Pleas, died, aged thirty-two. In May, 1847, Judge Alonzo Manning, of the St. Louis Criminal Court, died. The Republican said, "Judge Manning had been for many years a citizen of St. Louis, and was endeared to those who knew him intimately by his many excellent qualities. In his official capacity he was distinguished by uprightness, firmness of purpose, and a desire to render strict and impartial justice."
July 4, 1849, a newspaper announces, "Russell Prentis, Esq., member of the bar, was buried yesterday." On the 15th of the same month it says, quite as briefly,
The same year, June 29th, the same journal spoke of Judge Schaumburg's death, saying that he "was a Creole from New Orleans, and thirty-nine years of age at the time of his death. After graduating with great éclat at the Transylvania University, in Kentucky, he studied law and was admitted to the bar of Louisiana. He was made a parish judge, and soon after married one of the fair daughters of our city and became a resident of St. Louis. All who knew him well acknowledged his fine talents, classical education, and bland manners." March 30, 1851, occurred the death of D. N. Hall, for ten years an active and estimable member of the St. Louis bar.
Of an altogether different sort is a leaf from early St. Louis court records: "On the 7th day of May, 1827, Marie P. Leduc presented his commission as justice from Governor Miller, as also did Hartley Lanham, father of Judge P. J. Lanham. The court was opened by Robert Simpson, sheriff. At the next meeting Frederick Hyatt appeared as associate justice on the bench, and Marie P. Leduc was made presiding justice. The name in French, Marie, was frequently given to males as a premonition of good luck by the old French habitants. A large part of the business done at that time was connected with probate matters."
Judge Marie P. Leduc was a distinguished character in the early history of the St. Louis bench and bar. Indeed, his may be said to have been an official life, for throughout the period of his residence in the village until his resignation, about 1839, of the position of judge of the county court, not a year elapsed that he did not occupy some important public station.
Judge Leduc was born in St. Denis, near Paris, France, from whence he came to this country and located in 1793 at New Madrid, Upper Louisiana. St. Louis being then the seat of government, Mr. Leduc removed here in 1799, and being a man of superior abilities, his influence in the affairs of the little village soon brought him into marked prominence. Early in November, 1799, Governor Dehault Delassus appointed him secretary of the province, which office Mr. Leduc held until the cession of Louisiana to the United States. On the 10th of March, 1804, he was appointed by Capt. Stoddard syndic of the town and within four miles of its vicinity. On the 1st of October of the same year he was appointed by Governor William H. Harrison judge of probate, recorder, and notary public of St. Louis. He was appointed translator of the Board of Land Commissioners on the 14th of December, 1805; in 1807 he was appointed by acting Governor Frederick Bates justice of the peace and notary public, and in 1810 to administer oaths of office. In 1812 he was reappointed justice of the peace, judge of probate, notary public, recorder, and register of boatmen, and was also appointed clerk of the Court of Common Pleas.
In 1815 he was appointed clerk of the County Court, and in February of the same year clerk of the Circuit Court, which position he held with great acceptability to his fellow-citizens until 1818, when he resigned, and received from the presiding judge a note expressive of "the great satisfaction with which the duties of said office had been discharged." In 1818
he was elected a member of the Territorial Assembly, and when Missouri was admitted into the Union he was re-elected, and again in 1822, but soon after resigned. In 1825 he was commissioned by Governor Bates judge of probate for the county of St. Louis, and when that court was abolished and the county court created he was appointed presiding justice of the latter, and continued to serve in that capacity until he resigned about 1839. In all the various offices of high responsibility conferred upon Judge Leduc, he discharged his duties with eminent ability and to the general satisfaction. He said "he had no family until the year 1802."
Judge Leduc resigned his last position on account of declining health, and continued to linger until his death, at the residence of Hypolite Papin, "about five miles west" of St. Louis, on Monday, Aug. 15, 1840, aged seventy years.
Another old volume of court records contains the "marks and brands," commencing February, 1831. The first entry is:
Another book contains a list of free negroes and mulattoes licensed by the county court of St. Louis County, as all such were required to register. The name, age, height, and occupation are given; the first entry December, 1841, and the last entry May 1, 1863.
The salaries paid in those days in St. Louis County were liberal enough, all things considered. In 1846 the State Legislature abolished the fee system, which had made some offices enormously lucrative, and fixed salaries as follows: Sheriff, per annum, $7000; clerk of Circuit Court, $3500; clerk of Common Pleas, $3000; clerk of Criminal Court, $2500; clerk of County Court, $3000; marshal, $2500; law commissioner, $1500; each justice, $1200; each constable, $1500.
Some of these clerks were lawyers themselves and deserve mention. We will advert to a few in this place and this connection, without attempting to arrange them in chronological order. Joseph V. Garnier was born in Prance and emigrated to San Domingo. He came away from there at the insurrection of the negroes in 1793 to New York, where he was for a number of years in the employment, in some fiduciary capacity, of Col. Livingston. He came out to St. Louis about the period of the transfer in 1804. At the incorporation of the borough town of St. Louis in 1809 he was appointed by the trustees the first town clerk, and also filled the office of clerk of the Superior Court of the Territory. Subsequently he was a justice of the peace and notary. He came to St. Louis a mason, and was the first secretary of St. Louis Lodge, No. 111, and subsequently a member of No. 12 and No. 1. His widow survived him, living beyond ninety years of age, and his only child, Harriet, married the Hon. John Hogan.
Col. Thomas Fiveash Biddick was born at Suffolk, county-seat of Nansemond County, Va., on June 5, 1781. He removed to St. Louis about the time of the transfer of the country to the United States, and during the first fifteen years of his residence filled at various periods a number of public offices of trust, as follows: 1807, July 9th, appointed by Frederick Bates, secretary of the Territory and ex officio acting Governor, to the office of assessor of rates and levies for the district of St. Louis; 1807, July 10th, appointed by same to the office of clerk of the Courts of Common Pleas, Quarter Sessions, and Oyer and Terminer for the district of St. Louis; 1807, August 20th, appointed by the same a justice of the peace for the township of St. Louis; 1808, May 7th, also appointed by "Frederick Bates, recorder of land titles under the board of land commissioners, about to be absent from St. Louis on official business connected with his duties, his deputy recorder, to act as such in his absence;" 1812, December 10th, reappointed a justice of the peace by acting Governor Bates; 1813, March 1st, reappointed by Secretary Bates to the office of clerk of the before-mentioned courts; 1815, January 2d, appointed by Governor William Clark a justice of the peace for four years; 1817, when the old "Territorial Bank of Missouri" was chartered, he was one of the first directors of the same; and in the year 1820 succeeded Col. Auguste Chouteau, its first president, in that office, which position he held until the collapse of the bank in the summer of 1822. Col. Riddick was for twenty years an active and efficient business man of St. Louis. Subsequently he removed to the Sulphur Springs, in Jefferson County, where he continued to reside until his death on Jan. 15, 1830, at the age of forty-nine, leaving a widow, a sister of Judge William C. Carr, and four children, two sons and two daughters, who subsequently became the wives of Charles J. Billon and Edward Brooks.
Ewel Baker came from Winchester, Va., in 1824, a nephew of the Gambles, and during his few years' residence in St. Louis he was a clerk in the office of his uncle, Archibald Gamble, circuit clerk.
One of the best of real estate lawyers was R. M. Field, who died in July, 1869. He was born in Newfane, Wyndham Co., Vt., in the year 1807. At fifteen years of age he was graduated at Middlebury College, and at eighteen was admitted to the bar. His legal and literary career was marked by great ability and determination, even before he left his native State. In 1839 he came to St. Louis. Field's name was associated with coadjutors or opponents in nearly every important lawsuit in the State daring twenty-five years. His profound studies led to the most keen and acute judgment, whether in law or literature. He was familiar with the literature and language of France, Spain, and Germany, and in the ancient classics seemed ever to be as proficient and ready as in his college days. Mr. Field had few intimate companions but many friends, by whom the genial warmth of a generous nature was known and appreciated. To the world he perhaps appeared austere, but it was the austerity of a profound intellect and a deeply thoughtful nature. His success as a lawyer in his native State was in every way unusual. He practiced law fourteen years in his native county, and represented it in the Vermont General Assembly. Judge Story declared some of his special pleas to be masterpieces. From 1832 to 1835 he was State's attorney for Wyndham County. But an event which occurred in 1838 was the leading motive of his leaving his native State. Miss Mary Ann Phelps was engaged to one Jeremiah Clark, but secretly married Mr. Field. She returned home the same day, and soon after told her family, wrote to Mr. Field, desiring to rescind her action and refusing to see him, and in a few days married Clark. Clark and his wife then filed a bill to declare the marriage with Field null and void. The Chancery court so ruled, and the Supreme Court strongly supported this view. After Mr. Clark's death his widow visited St. Louis to bring about a reconciliation with Mr. Field, but he refused to see her. This episode in his life necessarily had a marked effect upon his character, and for many years he avoided society. He finally married Miss Frances Reed, a relative of C. W. Pomeroy, of St. Louis, who died a few years later, leaving two sons, one of whom entered journalism.
At one time Mr. Field's partner was Myron Leslie, also a native of Vermont, and a very gifted man. He was born near Bennington, and had little education, but his abilities were far beyond the average, and he picked up enough law to pass an examination. By 1834 he was building up a lucrative practice in Central Illinois, and by 1837 was in St. Louis, in partnership with F. W. Risque, who afterwards removed to Washington. He then joined forces with Mr. Field, and the firm took high rank immediately. About 1842 he became circuit judge for that district, held the office two years, and then went to the State Senate. In 1845 he was a member of the Constitutional Convention. He succeeded Judge Bowlin as attorney of the old State Bank. As a speaker, he was full of energy and almost invincible when aroused, though often he seemed slow and indolent. In later years his health failed, and he died in 1854, mourned deeply by all his associates.
Judge E. B. Ewing, a prominent lawyer and judge of the Supreme Court, was born in Todd County, Ky., in 1819. His father was Rev. Finis Ewing, one of the founders of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church. He immigrated to Missouri about 1820. He was educated at Cumberland College, Caldwell Co;, Ky. Studying the law, he was admitted to the profession at the Ray Circuit Court in 1842, and soon acquired such influence and reputation as to bring him prominently before the people of Missouri. In 1848 he was appointed to the office of Secretary of State, the duties of which he performed for four years. Again, in 1856, he was elected attorney-general, and performed the duties of that office until his election, in August, 1859, to the Supreme Bench, to fill the vacancy occasioned by the resignation of Judge Richardson. This position he occupied until 1861, "when he resumed professional practice at the bar, first at Jefferson City, and then at St. Louis, until his election as one of the judges of the St. Louis Circuit Court in 1869. The labors of this office so severely taxed his energies that in 1872 he was induced to accept the nomination for judge of the Supreme Court, to which station he was elected, and he took his seat at the January term, 1873, but his death occurred in June of that year. Pleasant, winning, and earnest in his manners, though often reserved, his uprightness won him the implicit confidence of the public, and though never brilliant, his lucid and well-developed decisions were always to the point, were usually sustained, and commanded the respect of his brothers of the bar. Rev. Dr. Linn, of the Methodist Church, preached his funeral sermon, and the usual resolutions of regret were passed by his professional brethren. One of the interesting episodes of his life was when, in 1856, his brother, Robert C. Ewing, also an able lawyer, was nominated for Governor, in the great triangular contest of that year, but E. B. Ewing was running for attorney-general on the Polk ticket. The brothers were political antagonists, but the ticket headed by Trusten Polk was elected.
A career which well illustrates the sterling qualities of manhood was that of Hugh A. Garland, who was born in Nelson County, Va., about 1805. When sixteen he entered Hampden-Sidney College, and did such good work there that after his graduation he became Professor of Greek at that institution. Shortly after he married Miss Anne P. Burwell, daughter of Col. Armistead Burwell. In 1830 he studied literature and law for a year at the University of Virginia, and then opened an office in Boydtown. Two years later Mecklenburg sent him to the State Legislature. It was a time of great political turmoil. He was an ardent Jackson partisan, and contributed considerably to the controversial literature of the day. For five years he represented that county. In 1838 he was chosen clerk of the House of Representatives. About 1840 he retired to rural and literary pursuits, but in 1845 lost his property through unfortunate business connections, removed to St. Louis, and resumed law practice with an ardor and capacity which bore good fruit. Five years later he published a "Life of John Randolph." His death occurred in October, 1854.
Judge James Ransom Lackland held high rank at the St. Louis bar, though contending against early educational disadvantages, and in later years poor health. His birthplace was Montgomery County, Md., where he was born in January, 1820. In 1828 his parents removed to Missouri, and settled on a farm near St. Louis. His early opportunities for education were limited, until he reached the age of sixteen, to those which a country neighborhood could afford. He then entered the grammar school connected with Marion College, over which Rev. Dr. Potts then presided, remaining there three months. He subsequently attended as student, and afterwards as assistant teacher, a school conducted by Rev. W. D. Shumate, on the St. Charles Rock road, fifteen miles from St. Louis. Beyond these modern advantages his acquirements were the fruits of private study. He next obtained employment in the house of Mullikin & Pratt, wholesale grocers, and was subsequently engaged under his relative, Rufus J. Lackland, as a clerk on a Mississippi River steamboat.
In the year 1845 he became a deputy clerk of the St. Louis Court of Common Pleas, under Nathaniel Paschall, then clerk.
At this time he decided to adopt law as his profession, and began study in the office of Hon. Charles D. Drake, and was admitted to practice in 1846. He had neither fortune nor influential friends, but his indomitable energy enabled him to surmount all obstacles. In 1848 a vacancy occurred in the circuit attorneyship of St. Louis County, and he was elected to fill it. This was an important office, involving great labor and responsibility, and brought the young lawyer into conflict with the best legal talent of the day. As a prosecutor, he is described as "bold, defiant, and successful." In 1852 he was again a candidate, but shared the defeat of the Whig party of that year, but meanwhile (in 1849) he had formed a partnership with Mr. Jamison, 239 and engaged in civil as well as criminal practice.
In 1853, Judge Colt having resigned from the bench of the St. Louis Criminal Court, he was elected to fill the vacancy, and sat as judge of that court during the residue of the term, which expired in 1856. At the general election in 1857 he was the successful candidate for judge of the St. Louis Circuit Court, then held by one judge, and held that office until 1859, when he resigned from the bench and resumed the general practice of the law as senior in the firm of Lackland, Cline & Jamison. In 1864, attacked by a pulmonary complaint, he undertook long journeys in hope of recovery, and in 1868, partially restored, he became senior member of the firm of Lackland, Martin & Lackland (his brother), from time to time until the day of his death, Oct. 9, 1875, appearing in important cases.
A St. Louis journal after his death said, "The professional career of Judge Lackland was distinguished to an extraordinary degree by untiring industry, vigorous common sense, learning, and integrity of the highest order. As a lawyer, he grasped with unusual clearness and force the essential questions of a controversy, and presented them to court or jury with direct and powerful simplicity of diction. In the discharge of official duty no man was more diligent, more upright, or more fearless. No one charged to protect the community from crime has ever won, whether at the bar or on the bench, a higher or more deserved reputation. And to those who at first doubted whether a like success would attend his labors in his administration of civil justice,
his ceaseless industry and honorable ambition were not slow to furnish a reply. Simplicity, courage, honesty of purpose, scorn of everything mean or base, and dauntless energy, these were his characteristics. As a man, to these in later years was added earnest Christian faith."
There is little to add to this deserved praise of one of the leaders of the St. Louis bar, whose power in impressing a jury has seldom been surpassed. His greatest case was that of Effie Carstang vs. the noted Henry Shaw, of Shaw's Gardens, a suit for alleged breach of marriage promise. She had obtained, with Uriel Wright and L. M. Shreve for her lawyers, a verdict of one hundred thousand dollars damages from a jury, to the utter astonishment of the whole city. The verdict was set aside, and a new trial granted. Mr. Shaw retained Judge Lackland and Mr. Glover (his former counsel had been Edward Bates and John R. Shepley), and spent, it is said, twenty thousand dollars in the affair. The woman's earlier history was searched into, and the entire case prepared by Judge Lackland. On the second trial the verdict was for the defendant. The skill and energy displayed in this famous case increased Judge Lackland's already great reputation. In social life he was generous and warm-hearted. He was twice married, and left several children.
We have spoken of Uriel Wright as engaged in the case of Carstang vs. Shaw, and it is proper to say further of him here that, all in all, Missouri, and indeed the West, never had a more brilliant, eloquent, erratic, marvelous genius than Maj. Uriel Wright. Judge Bay calls him the "Prentiss of Missouri." Born in 1805 in Virginia, mother of such orators as Wirt and Henry, Uriel Wright, a descendant of the noted Johnsons and Barbours, showed great mental power, and was sent to West Point, but left the institution on his father's death, and began the study of law with Judge Barbour, of Orange County, also in a law-school at Winchester.
After marriage, in 1833, he removed to Missouri, where so many Virginians had taken high rank at the bar, settling in Northeast Missouri (Marion County). He speculated in one of the paper cities of the era, and lost all his means. About this time he served a term in the State Legislature; soon after he removed to St. Louis, having gained reputation as an orator, and found plenty of work in criminal practice, in which class of cases his success was unparalleled, saving the lives of many hardened criminals by his ardent eloquence, of which no specimens have been preserved, but which carried away judge, jury, and audience alike. Judge Bay says, "The style of Maj. Wright's oratory was sui generis; his words flowed from his lips like a placid stream; his voice was clear and musical; his invective scathing." Another writer says, "His eloquence, the beauty of his diction, and the keenness of his logic were universally acknowledged. As a criminal lawyer, he probably never had a superior at our bar." The greatest genius is, however, sometimes allied with the saddest weaknesses. Maj. Wright lacked will-force, moral power, and moral balance. On the heels of a denunciation of gambling so fierce and yet pathetic that men trembled and wept he might be seen at a card-table. Early in his life he was a Whig in politics, and in 1861 was an Unconditional Union man. As such he was elected by a tremendous majority to the State Convention of 1861. He continued to combat secession and disunion until the capture of Camp Jackson. This roused his indignation, and from the steps of the Planters' House he declared on the night of the 10th of May, 1861, that "if Unionism meant such atrocious deeds as had been that day witnessed he was no longer a Union man." Like Sterling Price and hundreds of others, Maj. Wright joined his fortunes with the Southern Confederacy, and served as a staff officer. After the war was over he returned to St. Louis, where he remained a short time, but finally removed to Winchester, Va., where he died Feb. 18, 1869, and "life's fitful fever" was past. The St. Louis bar met and passed resolutions which showed how highly he was personally esteemed. They spoke particularly of his literary culture (he had been a contributor to the Knickerbocker Magazine, and was always a great reader). With the beauties of Shakespeare he was perfectly familiar, so much so, indeed, that he often unconsciously spoke in the language of that great author as if he were speaking in his own copious diction. Some of his speeches prove that he was not unfamiliar with the Greek tragic poets, Sophocles and Euripides.
Judge M. R. Cullen, an intimate friend, and himself a fine orator, said on this occasion, "No lawyer excelled Uriel Wright in practical management of a case. As a criminal lawyer, he stood among us unrivaled. Discussing political questions, his eloquence was supremely in the ascendant, and the brilliancy of his language won the hearts of his hearers." In conversation, also, he had the same unique combination of wit, talent, and solidity which made his forensic efforts so successful. A little more common sense would have undoubtedly given this eloquent advocate a national reputation.
There is something at least of coincidence in the fact that while Walter C. Gantt was a most prominent
victim of the cholera in 1866, 240 Thomas T. Gantt was among the most devoted combatants of the disease in 1849. During the epidemic the Committee of Public Health was organized, with Thomas T. Gantt as chairman. He filled this position with such ability and thoroughness that when the scourge was driven from the city and the committee disbanded they closed its existence with the following resolution:
Thomas Tasker Gantt bears the names of two of the oldest Maryland families, and was born at Georgetown, D. C., July 22, 1814, his mother being a Stoddart. Young Gantt studied at Georgetown College, and then had an appointment to West Point, which after a two years' course an accidental injury compelled him to leave. He studied law in Upper Marlboro', Prince George Co., Md., under Governor Pratt, and after passing the bar, came West to St. Louis in 1839. Since then his career has been thronged with events and crowned with successes. In 1845, President Polk made him United States district attorney. In 1853, Mayor How made him city counselor; next year the great riot occurred. Mr. Gantt, after helping to suppress it in the streets, drew the police bill, which made the recurrence of such mob violence almost impossible. Many other instances of his successful war upon public abuses are recorded. In 1861, Mr. Gantt became a leader among the Unconditional Union men of St. Louis; served as colonel and judge-advocate in McClellan's Army of the Potomac, provost-marshal-general under Schofield in Missouri, etc. Returning to his profession after the war, Col. Gantt continued in active practice and active political service until 1875, when Governor Hardin made him presiding judge of the St. Louis Court of Appeals. During the same year he was a member of the convention which framed the present Constitution of the State, and was chairman of the committee on the bill of rights, and a member of the committee on the legislative department. He was also the author of Sections 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, and 24 of Article IX. of that Constitution, which separated St. Louis from the county and made it a free city. It was the first attempt of that nature in American jurisprudence, and its success so far has proved the wisdom of the departure. Col. Gantt returned to the bar in 1877 rather than soil the ermine by making a canvass for popular election. That year, the one of the great strike, he was a leading member of the Committee of Safety, seeking to restore law and order. Col. Gantt is wealthy, esteemed, scholarly, distinguished at the bar, but most eminent as the public-spirited citizen to whom all turn, and upon whom all rely in danger and critical emergencies.
In his political career, while he has never been a seeker of office nor asked for the applause of his fellow-citizens, Judge Gantt has consistently and persistently followed a straight course as a constructionist. During the war he was an Unconditional Unionist and a war Democrat; was an opponent of the Drake Constitution and all radical or reconstructive measures; a supporter of President Johnson's policy, and being opposed to the Democratic party in the nomination of Mr. Greeley in 1872, voted for Charles O'Conor for President, but for Mr. Tilden in 1876. He claims that his political career antecedent to the war was consistent, having voted for Seymour in 1868, for McClellan in 1864, for Douglas in 1860, for Buchanan in 1856, for Pierce in 1852, for Cass in 1848, and for Polk in 1844. In 1840 he voted for Harrison on his pledge to reform the civil service; but when the Whig party repudiated that pledge he returned to the Democratic party, to which he has since constantly adhered. But in his political views, while tenaciously clinging to his opinions, he has ever been liberal toward others, and only asking the same liberty for himself. He never asked for an office. Mr. Gantt has never been a member of any church, but has since early manhood inclined toward Unitarianism in his religious belief.
He was married in 1845 to Miss Mary Carroll Tabbs, a granddaughter of Charles Carroll, of Bellevue, Md. In regard to his professional, social, and other characteristics, an eminent gentleman of St. Louis, who has known him long and intimately, says, "He is a man of genial disposition, honorable in his
dealings with his fellow-men, being possessed of a stern sense of justice, and endowed with a keen and discriminating intellect, which enables him to separate the true from the false and the ideal, being gifted in an eminent degree with the qualities which have distinguished him as a lawyer and a judge. There is no man who, by precept and example, has done more than he to preserve the honor of the legal profession in the courts where he has practiced and in the community where he has resided; and whilst it must be admitted that among his contemporaries he is one of the most learned men in the profession, it may be said that he has not considered a professional knowledge of jurisprudence at all incompatible with general culture and literary accomplishment, for in spite of the arduous duties of his profession, he has not only kept himself well informed in the political history of his country, but his literary attainments are of a high order. Industrious, energetic, and orderly in his habits, the knowledge which he has acquired on all subjects to which he has directed his attention is peculiarly accurate and reliable, and this may be attributed not less to his industry and close attention than to his natural love of truth and justice."
Another of the men who, like Judge Lackland, were the architects of their own fortune, and who climbed with steady foot against many disadvantages to a high place, was Thomas B. Hudson. His birthplace was Davidson County, Tenn., the year was 1814. Academically educated, he began law studies in 1832, and about 1835 removed to Tennessee, and began practice. About 1840 he was a member of the City Council, and two years later became city counselor. He was quite a politician, and in 1840 occurred the Chambers-Hudson duel. Hudson was a candidate for the Legislature; Col. A. B. Chambers was editor and part proprietor of the Republican. An editorial had contained imputations upon Mr. Hudson's truth and courage; he replied with a challenge. The parties met and exchanged three shots without effect. A reconciliation followed, and they became lifelong friends. In 1842, Mr. Hudson went to the Legislature, and distinguished himself as one of the most influential of its members. At one time he was president of the North Missouri Railroad Company. About 1854 he retired from the more public sphere in which he formerly moved, and devoted his time to the improvement of a handsome estate and the pursuits of agriculture at his home, Glen Owen, in the Florissant valley, ten miles north of St. Louis. During the Mexican war he raised a cavalry company, was chosen captain, and was one of the heroes of the Doniphan expedition. His wife was Miss Eliza Chambers. Capt. Hudson's death occurred in 1867.
Governor Trusten Polk, one of the ornaments of this period of the St. Louis bar, which then included such men as Wilson Primm, M. Blair, and J. B. Bowlin, became widely known for his adhesion to the cause of the South. His absolute devotion to what he deemed his duty involved personal sacrifices such as earn for his convictions at least respect. After the war he resumed practice in St. Louis, and in fact just before his death, in April, 1876, was preparing an address in the land case of Glasgow vs. the Lindell heirs, which case had then been twenty-three years in court. He was born in Sussex County, Del., in 1811. His father was a well-to-do farmer, and his mother was the sister of Governor Peter Causey. His father gave him a university education at Yale College, where he graduated with high honors in the class of 1831. Soon after he went into the law-office of James Rogers, attorney-general of Delaware, where he remained nearly two years, when he returned to Yale College, and attended a two years' course of law lectures. Returning home again, he was admitted to the bar, but in 1835 removed to St. Louis. Two years after his arrival he was united in marriage to Miss Elizabeth W. Skinner. One of his daughters afterwards married William F. Causey, his law partner and nephew. He labored with brilliant success for nearly ten years, but his health failed. In 1845, while absent on a visit to Cuba, he was elected from St. Louis County as one of the members of the convention which assembled in 1846 to revise the Constitution of the State. James O. Broadhead, Judge Robert Wells, William M. Campbell, Myron Leslie, Uriel Wright, James S. Green, and others were also members.
In 1848 he was chosen a member of the Democratic Convention which nominated Judge Austin A. King for Congress, and in 1848 was one of the Presidential electors on the Cass-Butler ticket. In 1856 he was made the nominee of the Democratic party for Governor, and was elected after an exciting contest over his Free-Soil and Know-Nothing opponents. Receiving the vote of his party in the Legislature for United States senator, he resigned the gubernatorial seat soon after his election to the position and entered Congress. With reference to this eventful period, a prominent journal said at the time,
popularity. Since then the Benton faction in the State has steadily declined. Mr. Polk, in spite of the Benton coalition with Know-Nothings, was elected Governor by a very gratifying vote; and now, again, in joint session of the Legislature, Mr. Polk, by a vote of one hundred and one, is declared United States senator for six years, offset by the mournful vote of twenty-three for Col. Benton." Shortly after the breaking out of the war in 1861 he resigned his seat in the United States Senate and cast his lot with the Southern Confederacy. In 1864 he was taken prisoner, and was confined on Johnson's Island until exchanged several months afterwards. During the war he held the position of presiding military judge of the Department of the Mississippi. At the close of the war he returned to St. Louis to find his property in the hands of the government, but it was afterwards restored to him. Governor Polk was again offered positions of high public trust, but invariably declined. He was generally recognized as one of the leading members of the St. Louis bar, and was engaged in many important cases. He was a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and all his life showed consistent Christian virtues. Few men had fewer enemies. His diligence, patience, friendliness, and courtesy were the corner-stones of his success.
Judge Wilson Primm was born Jan. 10, 1810, in St. Louis, the city which recognized his talents and virtues in after-years by choosing him to many offices of trust and honor, and his death occurred in the same city, after a long and useful life, Jan. 17, 1878. He was twice married, leaving in all five children. He was the oldest of the eleven children of Peter Primm, a Virginian, and Mary La Rue, of French descent. His second wife and his mother survived him a short time. The latter, at the age of eighty-six, recalled vividly the eventful history of St. Louis, and the changes of government in the early Territorial history, the American flag being triumphantly carried up Walnut Street, and the Stars and Stripes unfurled from the fort or magazine, on which occasion, she said, all of the French and Spanish inhabitants of that day, herself among the number, shed tears of misgivings and regret. 241
Wilson Primm attended the village French schools, and then Judge Tompkins' English school, showing great application and capacity. He was then sent to Bardstown College, Ky., where he graduated, and returned to read law under Hon. Edward Bates, who had showed him many kindnesses, and given him every encouragement. At the age of twenty-one he was admitted to the bar, and became justice of the peace for a few years. Charles D. Drake, of Illinois, was his first law partner. George R. Taylor and Charles C. Whittlesey were subsequent partners. In his younger days Judge Primm was an ardent Whig. In 1834 he became a member of the Board of Aldermen, and was retained in that body through many administrations, being its president for many years. He was elected in the fall of 1834 to a seat in the Missouri House of Representatives, and re-elected for several terms.
His efforts in improving the harbor of St. Louis and in fostering its educational interests were great and unremitting. He urged the sale of the "commons" and the devoting of a part of the proceeds to the public schools, and assisted in organizing the first Board of Education, of which he was the first secretary. He was long in the habit of attending the public school examinations and addressing the children, and made some of his happiest efforts on such occasions. In 1816 he was an unsuccessful candidate for sheriff, but some years later was elected clerk of the Circuit Court. About 1862 he was chosen judge of the St. Louis Criminal Court, and for thirteen busy years filled that place with uniform excellence. For
a brief period he returned to practice, but his health failed, and he retired permanently. It is difficult to give any one a proper idea of the well-rounded strength and simplicity of his character. He was called the best linguist at the bar; his social qualities were almost of the nature of genius, and he was a famous amateur vocalist, violinist, and elocutionist. On March 3, 1878, George R. Taylor delivered an eloquent address upon Judge Primm. It shows clearly the devoted affection he won from his associates. Others were equally loved, but none better. His professional capacity and his loyalty to right were corner-stones of his life. In many and important cases the patriarchs of the bar, Greyer, Bates, Gamble, and Spalding, were his associates or opponents. Mr. Taylor says, "As early as 1837 he was among the members of the bar which had for its object the purification of the bench, alleging that the judge of the Circuit Court, among other grievances, was too passionate and impatient while on the bench to admit a calm and full examination of cases. Subsequently, in the impeachment trial of Judge Peck before the United States Senate, the oldest members of the bar were summoned, and among them Wilson Primm, who at that early day showed attainments of so great and universal a character, combined with the blandest manners, not supercilious or obtrusive, with a voice full, musical, and persuasive, that it is no wonder he at once took high position among his brethren." As a witness in the Peck case, he was called upon to translate many of the old French and Spanish archives, and it is related that he attracted universal attention in Washington by his natural grace and charm of manner, and electrified the social circles by his wit and accomplishments.
Judge Hamilton, in after-years, remarked, "None knew better the true use and power of language, or how to match the expression to the thought. It was this peculiarity, added to soundness of judgment, aptness and beauty of illustration, and a voice of rare sweetness and variety of intonation, that made him so successful before the jury." Hon. Gilchrist Porter recently alluded to his recollections of Wilson Primm's eloquence as far back as 1836 before the St. Charles court. The resolutions passed by the St. Louis bar after his death were unusual tributes of respect and affection. In the historical address before alluded to Mr. Taylor speaks of his many professional kindnesses. In 1841 a young and promising lawyer was shot and killed; Judge Primm bore the funeral expenses and gave his splendid talent in the murderer's prosecution, and dozens of such cases occurred, notably in the famous Montesquieu trial, where his knowledge of French was of great service. He aided largely in establishing the insanity of the elder and the innocence of the younger brother. One of the objects of his peculiar interest was the old cathedral, to which so many of the old French descendants contributed years of labor, love, and talent. He was a member of the executive committee that built the cathedral, and organized and for a long time led its choir. Though in demand on public occasions, as an orator of force and grace, his masterpiece in this line was delivered on Feb. 15, 1847, when the anniversary of the founding of St. Louis was celebrated. From the steps of the court-house Judge Primm thrilled a vast assemblage with his fervid and impetuous language, surpassing himself, and surprising even his closest friends.
Judge Primm possessed a vivid recollection of events connected with the progress of the city, and his reminiscences were very interesting. He wrote a small historical treatise, which was accepted as authority as to the matters of which it treated, and delivered numerous addresses and wrote numerous articles for the press on the history of St. Louis.
Judge James B. Bowlin, a contemporary of Judge Primm, died in July, 1874. He was born near Fredericksburg, Va., in 1804, and moved to St. Louis in 1833. In 1837 he was married to Miss Margaret Colburn. In 1838 he represented St. Louis County in the Legislature, and on the establishment of the Criminal Court he was elected judge, being the first to hold that position. Under President Polk's administration he was minister to Bogota, New Grenada, and during the second year of the administration of President Buchanan he was appointed special commissioner to Paraguay, which was the last political position he held. His diplomatic career was a very successful one, and he was held in the highest estimation abroad. Much of his success in life can fairly be attributed to the beauty, manners, and ability of his wife. He mingled in politics a good deal in early years, and established a Democratic paper. He served in Congress for four terms, beginning in 1842, and was very popular there. The warm feelings manifested when the usual bar meeting was held after his death showed how strong a hold upon his associates Judge Bowlin had gained. Hon. John F. Darby, always ready, genial, and full of reminiscences, said, on that occasion,
Congress. At that time the Jackson party was dominant, and had had unlimited sway for twenty-five years. Previous to that congressmen were elected by the State at large, and twice Judge Bowlin had been so elected. A nomination on the State Democratic ticket at that day was always regarded as equivalent to an election. He recollected going out into the State to electioneer for his party, and meeting a man who told him he was wasting his efforts, as there were not Whigs enough there for seed. In the canvass of 1838, however, the State had been for the first time districted, and it happened that in this district the Democratic party was not in the ascendancy, so Judge Bowlin was beaten. Up to this time there were but two courts in St. Louis County, the Circuit Court and County Court. The criminal business had increased until it was found necessary to separate it from the civil business, and the Criminal Court was created. The Senate nominated Judge Bowlin, and the Governor commissioned him. He was universally considered by the bar as a just and impartial judge, and in the days when Geyer and Allen, and Spalding and Bates, and other great men practiced before his bar, he was equal to dealing with all the intricate questions that arose. The speaker cited two great cases that had been tried before him, which showed what metal he was made of, as a lawyer and a man. In one of these cases a great popular interest was excited, and much angry feeling. Judge and jury, defendant and counsel, witnesses and spectators, all came into court armed to the teeth, and no man could tell when the case might be appealed from a court of justice to one of force and violence. Amid all the excitement, Judge Bowlin sat unmoved, coolly rendering his decisions, and satisfying both sides that he was intending to do impartial justice, and when at length a decision was reached it was gracefully accepted by the losing side without a word of fault-finding with the judge."
At this meeting of the bar Hon. L. V. Bogy presided; Governor Polk, Hon. S. Clemens, and others were among the speakers. Judge Bowlin had a younger brother, Richard H., who entered the navy, served with credit for eight years or so, then went to San Francisco, edited a paper, and took part in politics. Leaving this field he studied for the bar, returned to St. Louis, began practice, and was soon elected to the Legislature, but his health failed, and he died in June, 1859.
One of the fine lawyers and business men of the past was Hon. William M. McPherson. Born in Boone County, Ky., in 1813, the recipient of limited school advantages, a school-teacher himself, brought up in a rugged way on a farm, and spending his spare hours in reading law, this gentleman deserved all his success. He studied in Lexington at the Transylvania University, practiced in his native place a while, removed to Arkansas, where he met with financial reverses, came to St. Louis (1841), and entered upon a career that enabled him by 1852 to pay up his Arkansas liabilities. He was known as an excellent advocate, served two terms as prosecuting attorney, and one term in the Legislature. His marriage in 1843 to Miss Mary Mitchell was blessed with five children. He became in later years an extensive and successful operator in real estate, built several business blocks, was a director of several railroads and other important companies, and Thomas Allen's successor as president of the Missouri Pacific. The Bellefontaine Cemetery was one of his enterprises, and, in brief, the city, as it stands, owes much to his business energy. His death occurred in November, 1872.
In 1834 or 1835, Charles D. Drake, whose biography is given on another page, began practice in St. Louis, and soon after identified himself so enthusiastically with the idea of establishing a law library that it is properly his best memorial. In 1847, May 22d, the Law Association, in honor of his efforts, tendered him a banquet. (At that time the library had twelve hundred and eighty-five volumes, sixty-nine members, and an annual income of six hundred dollars.) Joseph B. Crockett, president of the association, presided. Forty-five members took their seats, and the following invited guests: Hon. Thomas H. Benton, Hon. Nathaniel Pope, district judge of the United States for the district of Illinois; Hon. Robert Wash, formerly judge of the Supreme Court of Missouri; Hon. Ezra Hunt, judge of the Third Judicial Circuit of Missouri; Hon. Peter Ferguson, judge of the St. Louis Probate Court. In the course of his speech Mr. Drake gave a résumé of his labors in behalf of the library, saying,
four hundred dollars thus contributed, barely enough to purchase one hundred volumes of books, the law library was commenced."
John F. Darby, in his reminiscences, mentions the fact that until 1836 large pasture and timber tracts had lain waste near St. Louis on "the common," and were the resort of desperadoes. In July, 1838, Judge Thomas M. Dougherty, of the county court, was murdered on the road between St. Louis and Carondelet, being shot with seven buckshot in the head. His friends offered a reward of one thousand dollars for the apprehension of the murderers, and every effort was made to find them, without success. In 1840 a letter was received in St. Louis from Texas, signed by a Dr. Hughes, stating that he committed the deed to gratify his revenge for an injury he imagined he suffered through the agency of Judge Dougherty. This man Hughes had many years ago been engaged in circulating counterfeit money, and was detected and sentenced in Kentucky to ten years' imprisonment, which he served out, and shortly after was seen in St. Louis. Further than this the entire tragedy has since that time remained a profound secret. In 1843 the murder and robbery of a Santa Fé trader named Chavir created considerable excitement. Joseph Brown and John McDaniel were executed in 1844; six or eight accessories, after confinement in jail for some time, were pardoned by the President.
Williamsboro', N. C., was the birthplace of one of the most popular members of the bar, Willis L. Williams, who died in March, 1857, aged forty-eight. He graduated at Amherst, studied law with Joseph Bradley, at Washington, and daily attended the Congressional debates, taking copious notes. His admiration of Clay and Webster was unbounded, and through life he was an ardent Whig. After practicing at Paris, Tenn., for a short time he removed to St. Louis (1842), and became very successful. The revising session of the Legislature of 1844-45 found him an acknowledged leader in that body. Many as were his talents, perhaps his powers of shining supreme in the social circle were most unusual. He exercised, and always for good, a strange fascination over every one he met. A born optimist, he looked on the bright side of everything, and tried to make every one happy. When after his death the members of the bar assembled, the room was densely crowded, and the oldest members of the bar vied with each other in expressing their sorrow. Sobs were heard and tears seen on many, faces. It was as if a loved relative had departed. Edward Bates showed much feeling. He said he felt as if he were walking among the gravestones of his former associates. "I have known Mr. Williams," he said, "from the first month of his residence here, a man of warm impulses, of active heart, so to speak, sometimes impulsive, but even then, it occurred to me, his fault leant to virtue's side. His success at the bar shows at least his qualification, and even when he gave offense, as we all do sometimes, the kindness of his heart won back the affection of him that he may have offended. Mr. Williams belonged to a family remarkable for their success in life, many of them eminent in their old native State of North Carolina. Some have flourished since in South Tennessee, and he was pursuing here a course that might have rendered illustrious his own name."
Charles D. Drake, Senator L. V. Bogy, Gen. Coalter, Judge Albert Todd, Judge Primm, and others paid affectionate tributes to the deceased. Before the Court of Common Pleas, Mr. Strong said, "It would be invidious and untrue to say that he was foremost in his profession, but we all know that in legal attainments, in the number and magnitude of the cases in which he was engaged, and in the general success of his professional life, he had secured a rank among those who are really eminent. Pew men could appreciate more quickly or thoroughly whatever is beautiful in thought, or elegant in expression, or striking in sentiment, or droll, grotesque, and ridiculous in its character. He possessed a great fondness for the humorous, imitated well, and was, among his other genial qualities, an admirable story-teller. He had that greatest glory of man or woman, a large heart."
Of the members of the St. Louis bar who devoted much of their time and talents to the material development of the city, few, if any, played a more active or more prominent part than Lewis V. Bogy. His family was of French extraction, his grandfather having come from Canada and settled at Kaskaskia, where he married Miss Placy. About 1786 or 1787 he began to trade with the Indians in what is now Arkansas, and owing to the lack of facilities in that section of the country, sent his son Joseph, father of Lewis V., to New Orleans to be educated. In 1805, Joseph Bogy settled at Ste. Genevieve, where Lewis V. Bogy was born on the 9th of April, 1813. French was the language of the people, and no English school was established there until John D. Grafton, from Connecticut, opened one in 1822. After remaining at this school for one year, young Bogy was sent with his brother Charles to a Catholic school at Perryville, and while there was attacked by a white swelling, which interrupted his studies for several years. He next engaged as clerk in a store, investing all his savings in books, which he studied in the evening
after business hours. He finally decided to study law, and for that purpose was admitted, in 1832, to the office of Judge Pope, at Kaskaskia, Ill. On leaving home he placed in his mother's hands the following remarkable paper:
"STE. GENNVIEVE, Jan. 16, 1832.
"On this day I left home, under charge of Mr. William Shannon, an old friend of my father, to go to Kaskaskia, to read law in the office of Judge Pope. My education is very limited, but with hard study I may overcome it. I am determined to try; and my intention is to return to my native State to practice law, if I can qualify myself, and while doing so to work to become United States senator for my native State, and to work for this until I am sixty years old. I will pray God to give me the resolution to persevere in this intention. I have communicated this to my mother, and given her this paper to keep. So help me God!
His intention to become a United States senator was never lost sight of, and was finally realized. In order to acquire a knowledge of Latin, he made an arrangement with Father Condamine, a Catholic priest of Kaskaskia, who agreed to give him lessons in return for his services as altar assistant. Young Bogy served as a volunteer in the Black Hawk war, and upon the cessation of hostilities returned to Kaskaskia and resumed his studies. In December, 1833, he entered Transylvania University, at Lexington, Ky., John G. Miller, J. S. Rollins, and William M. McPherson, all of Missouri, being among his classmates. He taught school a while, returned to his studies, and graduated in 1835. In April, 1835, having obtained a license from the Supreme Court of Missouri, he opened a law-office in St. Louis, associating himself with Logan Hanton. He was elected to the Legislature in 1840, but devoted himself otherwise to his growing practice until he decided to enter politics. He removed to Ste. Genevieve, then in the St. Louis congressional district, and led the anti-Benton party there in a very bitter campaign, but was defeated. At the next election for national representatives he ran against Col. Benton himself. Though Bogy was defeated, the talents he displayed increased his reputation. Two years later he was again sent to the State Legislature. In 1848 he became interested in the Pilot Knob iron ores, but ten years' experiment ruined him financially, and he was forced to return to his law practice. In 1863 he was nominated for Congress in St. Louis against Francis P. Blair and Samuel Knox, but, as the Democrats were largely in the minority, was defeated. In 1867, President Johnson called him to the head of the Indian Bureau, but the Senate, being Republican, refused to confirm him, and at the end of six months he retired, after exhibiting superior administrative capacity.
From this time he occupied no other public position until 1873. In the beginning of 1873, Hon. Frank P. Blair's term of office being about ended, Mr. Bogy announced himself as candidate for the place of United States senator. There were a number of candidates on the occasion of the Democratic caucus nomination for senator, the contest finally narrowing down to Bogy and Blair, and resulting in the election of the former by a vote of sixty-four to fifty-seven. When the election by the Legislature took place, Mr. Bogy was elected over the Republican candidate, Hon. J. B. Henderson, by a majority of fifty-nine votes. In the Senate Mr. Bogy chiefly devoted himself to the question of finance, and was especially prominent in connection with the silver bill. He was a member of the congressional commission which visited different cities for the purpose of securing information upon the silver question, and was also its chairman. He was an earnest worker for Western interests, and active in the work of securing direct trade with Brazil. As a member of the Senate, his course was marked by moderation, ability, and great industry, and he speedily won the esteem and respect of his associates. He died at his residence in St. Louis, Sept. 20, 1877. His wife, who survived him, was a sister of Gen. Bernard Pratte, and he left two children, Joseph Bogy and Mrs. T. S. Noonan.
Mr. Bogy was a man of great generosity of heart, charitable toward all who needed help, steadfast in friendship, vigilant in the discharge of his duties, and altogether one of the best citizens St. Louis has ever had.
Hon. James S. Rollins, born in Kentucky in 1812, became a resident of Boone County, Mo., in 1830, and graduated at the Transylvania Law School in 1834. He became the political leader of his section, served many terms in the State Legislature and in Congress, and was particularly distinguished as the friend of public schools and universities, and of internal improvements. His services in the Thirty-seventh and Thirty-eighth Congresses were of peculiar importance, sustaining as he did the war measures of the government and the famous Thirteenth Constitutional Amendment.
Another "noted Transylvanian" was Greer W. Davis, born in Kentucky in 1799, and for fifty-seven consecutive years a lawyer in Cape Girardeau County, Mo., seventeen of these years being passed as circuit attorney. He died in 1878, the only survivor of the Territorial lawyers of Missouri. Since 1824 he had been a consistent member of the Methodist Church. His son is now a member of the St. Louis bar.
Descendant of a well-known artist, graduate of a New England college, a lawyer of good standing, and an officer in the late civil war, Chester Harding lived an active and useful life. His birthplace (October, 1826) was Northampton, Mass. In 1847 he began his law studies in St. Louis, under his brother-in-law, Judge John M. Krum, of the Circuit Court. The next year he entered the Harvard Law School, graduated in 1850, returned to St. Louis, in 1852 became Judge Krum's partner, and, being diligent and capable, was soon favorably known. The firm of Krum & Harding continued till 1861, when the junior partner entered the army as colonel, assigned to duty as assistant adjutant-general on Gen. Lyon's staff. He was in command at St. Louis for a few months before Fremont's arrival in August, 1861. After this he was in active service in the field until the close of the war. He resumed his profession in St. Louis, and continued in practice until his death, February, 1875. Col. J. O. Broadhead occupied the chair at the bar meeting, sympathetic resolutions were passed, and the members of the bar in a body attended the funeral.
Another lawyer of note who settled in St. Louis about the time that Gen. Harding began practice there was Newton D. Strong, son of a Connecticut minister, and a graduate of Yale in 1831. His elder brother William afterwards became one of the justices of the Supreme Court of the United States. From 1834 to 1836, Newton was a tutor at Yale. About 1837 he settled at Alton, Ill., in law partnership with Junius Wall, a college classmate, and soon after was sent to the Legislature. In 1844 he married Miss Matilda Edwards, of Alton. In 1851 he removed to St. Louis, formed a partnership with his cousin, George P. Strong, and they had an extensive clientage. But after his wife's death, in 1851, Mr. Strong's abiding sorrow drew him more and more from active life into quiet and literary pursuits. His death occurred in August, 1866, in his fifty-seventh year.
A jurist of recognized capacities and tried integrity is Judge Horatio M. Jones, born in Pennsylvania in 1826, of Welsh parentage, graduated at Oberlin College in 1849, and at the Cambridge Law School in 1853. The next year he reached St. Louis and began practice. After serving several years as reporter of the Supreme Court of the State, he was in 1861 appointed a Territorial judge of Nevada, where he made many friends. From 1863 to 1866 he had a law-office in Austin, Nev., in the heart of "sage-brush land." Returning to St. Louis, in 1870 he was elected a judge of the Circuit Court, and has since retained that responsible position. He married Miss Strong, of Livingston County, N. Y., in 1851. Another Judge Jones (William C), a prominent lawyer at the St. Louis bar, has held offices of importance. He is a native of Kentucky (Bowling Green), and his father, Cuthbert, was a leading physician of that State. Young Mr. Jones graduated at McKendree College, Lebanon, Ill., in 1852, read law, and was admitted the next year. After a short practice in Chester, Ill., where his father then lived, he came to St. Louis, entered in partnership with William L. Sloss, which only lasted a year, and some time after with Judge Cady. When the war began he enlisted in the United States Reserve Corps, and served in Southwestern Missouri. From 1862 until November, 1865, he was a paymaster of the United States army. He then returned to civil life, entered politics, engaged in business enterprises, and in 1868 resumed law practice, first with Charles G. Mairo, afterwards with John D. Johnson. In November, 1874, he was elected judge of the St. Louis Criminal Court, proving eminently worthy of the honor. Still another lawyer of the same name, Charles Jones, of the Franklin bar, became wealthy, and spent the later years of his life in St. Louis. He was born in Somerset County, Md., in 1814, read law with Hon. William H. Handy, and with Hon. William H. Collins, of Baltimore. About 1837 he came to Missouri. His secretiveness was abnormal; it was his passion to hide his designs, even in the most
frivolous matters, and from his best friends. He was very parsimonious, regarding wealth as the chief passport to happiness; but his kindness to his slaves, whom he would never sell, and never derived any profit from, was in unique contrast to his usual habits. In July, 1876, he died, leaving a widow and four children.
Another eminent lawyer and statesman of this epoch is Hon. Charles P. Johnson, whose life will be found in the chapter on Political Progress.
The greatest loss that the bar of St. Louis had sustained for years was the death of Judge John C. Richardson, partner of Samuel T. Glover, which occurred Sept. 21, 1860. Although but forty-two years of age, the place he had won by his professional talents and illuminated by his virtues has never been more wisely filled. Though not an orator, his clear, precise, earnest, and convincing speeches gave him unbounded success with courts and juries. "A model of a good lawyer and of a good citizen" is what one of his associates termed him. Born in Kentucky in 1817, and educated at that Transylvania University which sent to St. Louis so many well-trained jurists, young Mr. Richardson spent the years between 1840 and 1850 in practice in Boonville, ranking with the best lawyers of Central Missouri. While there he married Miss Lionberger, who, with several children, still survives him. But as all roads once led to Rome, so in those days the paths of ambitious lawyers all led to St. Louis. The year 1850 saw the law-office of Richardson & Kirtley in the tide of success, but Sinclair Kirtley removed to California, and Mr. Richardson, with Samuel T. Glover, under the firm-name of Glover & Richardson, began to create by their industry and ability that reputation which brought them an immense business, and made them known throughout the entire West. In 1853, Mr. Richardson became city counselor for St. Louis. Four years later a vacancy occurred on the bench of the Supreme Court. Hamilton R. Gamble initiated an appeal from the leading lawyers of the time, asking Mr. Richardson to accept the nomination. The people indorsed him with enthusiasm, and he served until 1859, when ill health compelled his resignation, and he returned to practice, again in partnership with Mr. Glover. After his death the members of the bar assembled, Hon. Edward Bates presiding, Judges Wood and Lackland as vice-presidents, and M. R. Cullen as secretary. Judge C. D. Drake reported the resolutions, which were couched in the most tender terms of admiration, affection, and sorrow. "His departure in the prime and vigor of manhood is," they said, "a calamity to the bar and the community." Mr. Glover, Maj. Uriel Wright, and others eulogized the truth, tenacity, and harmonious development of; his character.
Samuel T. Glover is a man of the period now being treated of, but we like to think of him as a contemporary in the strictest sense, or rather as a "man for all time." Eminent as he is at the bar, it is still in public life that he ranks highest.
Mr. Glover was especially prominent in the agitation for the repeal of the "test oath" after the close of the war, and his services in that connection will long be remembered by grateful thousands whose reenfranchisement he helped to secure. Mr. Glover had been a devoted, self-sacrificing adherent of the Federal government throughout the war, and his loyalty was unimpeachable. Upon the adoption of the prescriptive "Drake Constitution," however, in 1865, he placed himself at the head of the movement to resist those of its provisions which were aimed at citizens of Missouri who had sympathized with the South. Speaking of Mr. Glover's legal arguments in this connection, Gen. Francis P. Blair once characterized them as "arguments characterized by extensive and accurate learning, by marvelous power in the grasp of principles and irresistible vigor in their application, by the highest order of forensic eloquence, by a noble courage, by a passionate devotion to the fundamental doctrines of civil liberty as declared in the immortal ‘Magna Charta’ and reproduced in the American Constitution. No man," added Gen. Blair, "has been found to answer his arguments. The judges who listened to them had no responsive arguments to make, though they ruled adversely. With as clear a conscience as any man who lives Mr. Glover could have taken the oath prescribed, for no man in the Union has more faithfully than he, in act, word, and thought, at all times and in all circumstances, fulfilled his obligations to the Union. But the requisition accompanying that oath were so at war with every principle of right that he preferred to be driven from the forum, where he had been the brightest ornament, rather than swear it. He was great before, honored for his unrivaled capacity and strength by all the members of the bar and by judges on the bench. He stands nobler and greater now in public estimation and renown. Those precious and priceless arguments of his will be read hereafter with a glow of admiration for his patriotism and his genius, and no name in Missouri will be cherished in the future in more loving honor than that of Samuel T. Glover."
In September, 1865, Mr. Glover made a test case in his own person. He was indicted for practicing without taking the oath. This indictment was solicited
by him, as will be seen by the following letter addressed by him to the circuit attorney:
"ST. LOUIS, Sept. 11, 1865.
"J. P. VASTINE, ESQ., Circuit Attorney:
"SIR, I am among those who believe that several provisions of the new Constitution of Missouri are not only highly oppressive to the citizens, but in violation of the Constitution of the United States. Indeed, so extraordinary are they that I deem it my duty, in person, to resist them, so far as they interfere with me, by every means which the law provides. With this purpose in view I have omitted to take the oath prescribed for attorneys and counselors-at-Iaw, and on last Saturday and today I have been practicing as an attorney in the suit of Norman Cutter vs. James Clemens et al. Nor is it my intention to take said oath until I have secured the means of putting its constitutionality to the judicial test that I desire.
"I would thank you to institute an indictment on the above admission.
"If other proof is necessary, call on Samuel Gaty, Esq.
"I am ready to save you from any trouble in the premises by such further acts, admissions, or proofs as will enable you to present the matter fully and fairly to the court.
"I have the honor to be, sir, very respectfully yours,
"S. T. GLOVER."
The grand jury, September 20th, returned an indictment, and three days later Judge Primm sentenced him to pay a fine of five hundred dollars. An appeal to the Supreme Court was then prayed for, and a stay of execution was asked, and both granted, and time until the last day of term granted for defendant to file his bill of exceptions. Mr. Glover gave bond in the sum of five hundred dollars for his appearance before the Supreme Court, and to obey every order and judgment that might be entered against him, Abraham M. Gardner becoming his security. The October session of the Supreme Court reversed the judgment, holding the test oath null and void. The question was also carried before the United States Supreme Court, by which, in December, 1866, it was decided that the law of Congress imposing a retrospective oath of loyalty as a condition of being admitted to practice in the United States courts was unconstitutional. Although many and distinguished lawyers and jurists were associated in this great struggle, the final success before the United States Supreme Court is due in large degree to Hon. Alexander J. P. Garesch&eagrave;. It must be remembered that all these men sacrificed their extensive practices, being debarred from the courts until this test case was settled so conclusively.
Another of the many gentlemen who left the law in later years to engage, and successfully, in mercantile pursuits was Maj. Ryland, from 1850 to 1858, when his death occurred, closely identified with St. Louis business interests, and in 1857 chosen president of the Chamber of Commerce. He was a native of Kentucky, but located himself at Franklin, Mo., when he was quite a young man, and soon after accepted the appointment of receiver of public moneys, which he held until the spring of 1840. He was "recognized as honest, faithful, and competent," or, in the words of Judge John C. Richardson, "no man ever held the office longer or left a cleaner record." In 1847 he removed to St. Louis, formed a partnership with his brother-in-law, Capt. Reilly, an old law partner of Judge Richardson's, and three years later, as noted, he became engaged in commercial pursuits. At his death, the Chamber of Commerce and the St. Louis bar passed appropriate resolutions of regret.
In 1850, Judge Nathaniel Pope died suddenly, while on a visit to St. Louis. He had been for some years United States district judge of Illinois, and was a pioneer of 1808 in that State. Many leading St. Louis lawyers read law in his office at Kaskaskia.
An old member of the St. Louis bar was Alexander Kayser, a native of Nassau, born in 1815. From 1833 to the time of his death, 1864, he was in active practice. During the month (October of 1864) in which Alexander Kayser died, the bar of St. Louis was called upon to mourn three other deaths of prominent members, Wells and Coalter died, crowned with years; W. B. Clarke, a native of Waltham, Mass., was cut off at the threshold of many honors. He had been in St. Louis only seven years, but had won marked success, and profound sorrow was everywhere expressed over his loss.
One of the judges of the Supreme Court at this time merits more than a passing notice. Walter L. Lovelace, the son of a Baptist minister, born in Virginia in 1831, toiled in his boyhood to help support his mother and sisters, taught school, worked as a farm hand, studied law, was admitted in 1854, went to the Legislature twice, and in 1865 was appointed to the Supreme Court. His death occurred in 1866. Most of his life was spent in Montgomery County. Integrity and high moral purpose were his characteristics, and the people of that region still venerate his memory.
Alexander J. P. Garesch&eagrave;, already mentioned, was born in 1823, on the island of Cuba. His parents were French refugees from San Domingo in 1791, and his early education was obtained at Georgetown (D. C.) College, and afterwards at St. Louis University, where he received the highest honors, and ultimately the three degrees in the gift of that institution. In 1842 he began to study law in the office of Col. Thomas T. Gantt, and was admitted in 1845. Fervid eloquence and untiring energy were soon recognized as his characteristics, and his practice became very large. In 1846 he served as city attorney, but otherwise declined political preferment.
Mr. Gareseh&eagrave; was especially prominent just after the war on account of the manly resistance which he offered in the courts to the unconstitutional test oath, and his name is identified with those who, as leaders in the cause, inspired the people of the State with a resolute purpose to maintain the privileges of civil and religious freedom. He exhibited his devotion to the cause by self-denying and expensive labors in order to secure a judgment from the Supreme Court at Washington declaring the oath unconstitutional.
In 1849 he married Laura, granddaughter of Wynant Van Zandt, of the old Knickerbocker stock of New York, and nine children were born of this union. A cousin of his, P. B. Garesch&eagrave;, born in Delaware, was for a time his partner (1848), and in 1855 was appointed public administrator, and afterwards elected to the same office.
In 1861, feeling that with his ideas of State sovereignty, and with his sympathies with the Southern people, he could not conscientiously take the required oath of loyalty, he resigned his office and joined his fortunes with the Confederate cause, taking charge of the powder-works of the South, a position he filled until the close of the war, after which he returned to St. Louis, becoming senior member of the firm of Garesch&eagrave;, Bakewell & Farish, but died in November, 1868. Alexander J. P. Garesch&eagrave; still survives, honored and successful.
Edward T. Farish, so long a law partner of the Garesch&eagrave;s, was and is one of the conspicuous men of his time. He was born in Woodville, Bliss., in August, 1836, his father being a physician of large practice, and his mother a granddaughter of Sir William Hamilton. In 1847 his parents died. Young Farish was cared for by his father's relatives, and graduated at the St. Louis University in 1854. He studied law with Hon. A. Fenby, was admitted in 1856, and soon joined the Garesch&eagrave;s. From 1861 to 1864 he practiced on his own account, then formed professional relations with Hon. R. A. Bakewell, afterwards judge of the St. Louis Court of Appeals (elected in 1876). In 1867 he was married to Miss Lily Garesch&eagrave;, sister of A. J. P. Garesch&eagrave;, his former partner. He is an eloquent speaker, with rare power over his associates and the jury, a cultivated gentleman, and a close student. Occasional contributions to the press show his polished literary talent, and his social qualities make him everywhere a welcome guest. His practice has been chiefly in civil cases, but on several memorable occasions he has entered the criminal court. In the Britton-Overstolz contest for the mayoralty (1876), Mr. Farish and Judge Madill were counsel for the latter, and won a hard-fought field. For some time Mr. Farish was city counselor of St. Louis.
In the ten years immediately following the close of the civil war the bar lost several valued members. Two Prussians of ability and fine legal training won rank at the St. Louis bar, and both died in the same year, 1865. Frederick Kretschmar was for eleven years clerk of the Criminal Court. He was a native of Hagen, Westphalia, born in 1806, emigrated in 1830, settled in Philadelphia, married in 1832, and removed to Missouri in 1836. In 1838 he began to publish a paper in St. Louis, but was chosen justice of the peace, and held that office for fifteen years, resigning it to take the clerkship just mentioned. At a time when party politics ran high, and he was, as a rule, in the minority, he retained the esteem and support of his fellow-citizens. Col. Christian Kribben, born in 1821 at Cologne, Prussia, settled in St. Louis in 1835 and studied law. He was afterwards a lieutenant in Doniphan's Mexican expedition, and was at one time inspector-general of the State militia. About 1848 he began to take a high rank at the St. Louis bar, served two years in the State Legislature, one term as Speaker of the House. When Gen. McClellan was nominated at Chicago for President, he was a delegate from Missouri.
Here, if the fact that these gentlemen were not more prominent upon a broader stage, would be the place for the biographies of those leading and contemporary lawyers, Frank P. Blair, Jr., B. Gratz Brown, Charles D. Drake, James O. Broadhead, Gen. J. S. Fullerton, Charles Gibson, and John W. Noble, but they belong to the public, and their biographies must be sought in the stern narratives of grand events given elsewhere in this work in the chapters on "Political Progress" and "The Civil War."
It may not be inappropriate to mention here, however, the fact that of the members of the St. Louis bar Charles Gibson has shed peculiar lustre upon his profession. In addition to the successful management of many important cases at home, he has rendered valuable professional services to foreign governments, which have honored him in return with distinctions such as are seldom conferred except for the highest merit. The decree and accompanying letter from the Austro-Hungarian government conferring the commander's cross of the Franz Joseph Order are as follows:
"837. K. F. J. O.
"His Imperial and Royal Apostolic Majesty, Francis Joseph I, Emperor of Austria, King of Hungary and Bohemia, etc., has by an all highest decree of Dec. 15, 1882, been graciously pleased to confer upon Your Right Honorable self the Commander's Cross of His Sovereign Franz Joseph Order.
"The Chancery of the Order has the honor to make known this grant, and to send inclosed the Insignia of the Order which has been bestowed.
"VIENNA, the 16th December, 1882.
"Chancery of Imperial Austrian
"To MR. RIGHT HONORABLE CHARLES GIBSON,
"Counselor-at-Law, St. Louis."
"K. UND K. OEST.-UNG. GESANDTSCHAFT,
"WASHINGTON, 29th January, 1883.
"SIR, In recognition of your services recently and so disinterestedly rendered to our government in the unfortunate case of our former consul at St. Louis, Mr. Bechtolsheim, His Majesty the Emperor of Austria and King of Hungary has been graciously pleased to confer upon you the cross of the commandership of His Sovereign Order Francis Joseph.
"In transmitting to you inclosed the respective decree together with the Insignia I congratulate you on the high distinction, and have great pleasure to add that by special favor the decoration is not to be returned as usual, but may remain in the family as a gratifying heirloom.
"Accept, sir, the assurance of my high consideration,
"The I. and R. Austro-Hungarian Minister,
"TO THE HONORABLE MR. CHARLES GIBSON,
"K. V. S."
John B. Henderson, another distinguished member of the St. Louis bar, was born in Pittsylvania County, Va., Nov. 16, 1826. His parents were James Henderson, who was born at Dandridge, Jefferson Co., Tenn., and Jane Dawson, of Pittsylvania County, Va. The family resided in Pittsylvania County until 1832, when they removed to Lincoln County, Mo., and settled there. When he was nine years old his parents died, leaving one brother and two sisters younger than himself, who naturally fell to his care during his boyhood. Having but small means, his facilities for an education were restricted at first to the common schools, and then to academies taught by good classical scholars. His tuition embraced the English branches, mathematics, and Latin and Greek, and he is yet a good Latin scholar. He taught school for several years, during which time he studied law, and in 1848 he was admitted to the bar in Pike County, Mo., by Ezra Hunt, then judge of that circuit. In 1849 he commenced the practice of the law at Louisiana, Mo., and continued it successfully at that place until 1861.
Mr. Henderson took a strong interest in political questions from an early age, and in 1848 was elected to the Lower House of the Missouri Legislature as a Democrat from Pike County. In 1856 he was again elected to the lower branch of the Missouri Legislature as a Democrat, and served during the regular and adjourned terms. In 1860 he was a candidate for Congress in the Pike district as a Union Democrat, but was defeated by James S. Rollins by about two hundred and forty votes in a total vote of about twenty-five thousand, after a spirited and memorable canvass of sixty days, during which the candidates traveled together and engaged in joint debate throughout the district.
In February, 1861, Mr. Henderson was elected as a Unionist to the State Convention called in Missouri to determine the question of secession. During its several sessions, which were held until the summer of 1863, Mr. Henderson took an active part in all of its proceedings as a Union man.
In the summer of 1861 he was appointed by Governor Gamble, then Provisional Governor of Missouri, a brigadier-general of the State militia, and was requested to organize a brigade of State troops in Northeastern Missouri. While he was thus engaged, and after having organized nearly two full regiments for the defense of the Union in that part of the State, Lieutenant-Governor Willard P. Hall, then acting as Governor, commissioned Mr. Henderson as a senator of the United States to fill the unexpired term of the Hon. Trusten Polk, who had been expelled for disloyalty, and the appointment was confirmed by the Legislature of 1862-63. The term expired March
4, 1863, and Mr. Henderson was then elected to the United States Senate for the full senatorial term ending March 4, 1869.
During Mr. Henderson's term in the Senate he acted with the Republican party, giving every possible support to the friends of the Union. He served on the following committees: Finance, Foreign Relations, Post-Offices and Post-Roads, Claims, Contingent Expenses of the Senate, District of Columbia, Indian Affairs, and others. He is the author of the amendment to the Constitution of the United States abolishing slavery, known as the Thirteenth Amendment, and immediately on its adoption in 1865 he was among the first to propose the amendment granting suffrage without distinction, which finally took form as the Fifteenth Amendment.
As chairman of the Committee on Indian Affairs, in 1867 he organized a commission, consisting of Gens. Sherman, Terry, Harney, Sanborn, and others, and went among the hostile Indians of the upper Missouri River and the plains, and succeeded by numerous treaties of peace in quelling disastrous and expensive wars then being waged by the Sioux, the Cheyennes, the Arrapahoes, the Kiowas, and Comanches.
While a member of the Senate he succeeded in having the State of Missouri reimbursed for its war expenses from the Federal treasury, which enabled the State to resume its credit, and restored its old condition of solvency.
In the Senate he acted rather on his own judgment than on the dictation of any partisan caucus. He gave a remarkable instance of his independence when, in opposition to the behests of a caucus, he voted with Fessenden, of Maine, Trumbull, of Illinois, and other Republican senators against the impeachment of President Andrew Johnson, and thereby defeated it. This vote undoubtedly prevented his re-election to the United States Senate by the Missouri Legislature of 1868-69.
In 1868, while a member of the Senate, Mr. Henderson married, at Washington, Miss Mary Newton Foote, a daughter of Judge Elisha Foote, of New York.
In 1870 he removed to St. Louis and engaged in the practice of the law, which he has diligently pursued ever since. His practice has chiefly been in the Federal, Circuit, and District Courts, and the United States Supreme Court, and has been attended with marked success.
In 1872 he was the Republican candidate for Governor, but was defeated by Silas Woodson.
In May, 1875, he was appointed assistant United States attorney to aid in prosecuting what was then known as the "whiskey ring," which, mainly through Mr. Henderson's efforts, was entirely broken up. During the prosecutions Mr. Henderson delivered a speech which gave offense to President Grant, and in December, 1875, he was dismissed from the service of the government, since which time he has devoted himself to his profession. Whatever reputation he has gained as a lawyer he ascribes to careful, diligent work. His cases are prepared with great care; every point is fortified, and no point is deemed too unimportant to receive attention.
Gen. Henderson is fond of books, and has a large and well-stocked library both of law and miscellaneous works. He keeps up his youthful studies both in languages and mathematics. He is fond of public discussion, delights in good society, and is of a genial and hospitable nature. Gen. Henderson is fortunate in having a wife who is also fond of society, and who enters with him fully into its pleasures and enjoyments. Their house is celebrated far and near for its open-handed and unstinted hospitality.
Hon. Thomas E. Noell, born in Perry County, Mo., in 1839, and dying in April, 1867, was another of the bright young men of his time. His father, John W., had been sent to Congress from the Third Missouri District, and the son inherited political ability and unusual courage. Being well educated, he was admitted to the bar at the age of nineteen, but volunteered in the Union army in 1861, reached the rank of major of volunteers, and in 1862 was made captain in the regulars, and served bravely in many battles. Chosen to represent the Third Missouri District in the Thirty-ninth Congress, he served there on various committees, and supported President Johnson's policy. In 1866 he was re-elected, and had just entered upon his second term, when his career was cut short.
Judge William S. Allen, for many years an editorial writer on the St. Louis Republican, was perhaps the greatest loss of that year, though his active connection with the bar had long ceased. He was born in Newburyport, Mass., in 1805, liberally educated, a graduate of Dartmouth at the early age of nineteen, and in 1832 represented Essex County in the State Legislature. He edited the Newburyport Herald a while, and in 1837, moving to St. Louis, became connected with journals there. His association with the Republican began in 1856, and continued until within a short time of his death. In 1844 he was secretary of the Board of Aldermen, in 1849 register of the land office, in 1850 a member of the State Legislature, in 1851, and until 1855, secretary of the Territory of New Mexico, in 1855 he was appointed
justice of the St. Louis County Court. It will be seen that his life was spent more in journalism than in law, but his wide and varied legal lore was of untold benefit, and his versatility was shown alike in literary, mercantile, and political articles. In the same year occurred the death of an ex-State senator, Thomas C. Johnson, who before the war had ranked as an able lawyer, but had followed the fortunes of Governor Claiborne F. Jackson.
A more than ordinarily active man of this period was Charles G. Mairo. Born in Washington City in 1828, he removed to Missouri with his elder brother, Philip, in 1840, studied law with Hon. Albert Todd, and entered into practice in 1851; the next year city attorney, in 1856 circuit attorney, in 1861 city counselor, and in 1866 appointed United States district attorney, but not confirmed by the United States Senate for political reasons, his success in his profession was evident. Generous and honest, his friends were many, and his death (in March, 1873) was widely mourned.
In the same month and year the bar lost John Decker, who was born Aug. 29, 1828, in Annapolis, Md. He graduated at St. John's College, and studied with Chancellor Johnson, of Maryland, and with Joseph Bradley, of Washington, entering on practice in 1850. In 1853 he reached St. Louis and joined forces with Robert S. Voorhis, the prosperous firm continuing until 1861, when Mr. Decker joined the Confederate army, but returned to St. Louis in 1865 and resumed his practice. He was Grand Master of the Masonic fraternity in Missouri at the time he went into the army. Two years later the county court lost Judge Busby, aged forty-four, a native of Ireland, who had been justice for four years.
In the same year (1875) that Frank P. Blair (whose life, with that of his brother Montgomery, will be found on another page) passed from the land of the living, Fidelio C. Sharp, a prominent lawyer of long standing at the St. Louis bar, also died, at the age of fifty-four years. He was a Kentuckian, grandson of Capt. Thomas Sharp, of Virginia, a Revolutionary soldier. The family was large, and noted throughout Kentucky for its intelligence and enterprise. At the age of twenty-one young Sharp was admitted to practice; in 1843 removed to Missouri, settling in Lexington, in partnership with John P. Campbell, next with Judge William T. Wood, and afterwards with Judge Samuel Sawyer; in 1857 moving to St. Louis, first in practice with Mr. Thomas, and afterwards with James O. Broadhead. In the latter connection the firm was known throughout the entire West for its ability, and did an immense business. Col. Broadhead, his partner, said that as a practitioner Mr. Sharp had not an equal in the State, that is, in the preparation and trial of a case before a nisi prius court. In speaking before the bar meeting which met to express its sorrow over his death, one speaker said, "He was an industrious man, indefatigable in his exertions to win a victory for his client, yet was fair, open, candid, gentlemanly, and friendly. He had a wonderful stock of good sense and a strong will, and accomplished a good deal. There was something peculiar in his character. He was not a great lawyer in the sense that Daniel Webster and Rufus Choate were; that culture which gave to legal learning a higher cast he did not have. In jury cases and all purely business cases he had, during the time I knew him, no superiors and few equals." During fifteen years he was engaged in almost all the important cases which occupied the courts of St. Louis, and he devoted himself to the law with untiring assiduity, never for a moment stepping aside for political preferment, and uniformly declining all proffered political honors. His happiness was in his profession and his family. He married twice, his first wife being Miss Wallace, of Lexington; his second wife, Miss Maude, of St. Louis. Both were ladies of great worth and culture. He left six children.
This year also witnessed the death of Charles C. Whittelsey, who was born in Connecticut in 1819, of a long line of ancestry, chiefly clergymen. In 1838 he graduated from Yale, taught school for a year, and then entered a law-office in Middletown, Conn., but came to St. Louis in 1841, and devoted his time to the practice of law and preparation and publication of legal works. He was the author of the "Missouri Form-Book," adapted to the statutes of 1856. He was Supreme Court reporter from 1862 to 1868, inclusive, and published Volumes XXXI. to XLIV. Missouri Reports. From time to time he furnished articles for literary and law magazines and for the daily papers. In 1870 he published a work on General Practice, which proved valuable to the profession. Insurance and commercial cases were his specialties, and he was successful in practice, though possessing no oratorical abilities. He seems to have enjoyed the utmost confidence of his legal brethren and of the community, and his capacities were such that high services as a jurist were rightfully expected from him. In 1854 he married Miss Groome, a Maryland lady, and they had six children.
In April, 1875, James F. Maury, a young lawyer, who had acquired considerable reputation in Mississippi, died in that State. His connection with the St. Louis bar was a short one. Born in 1842, in
Port Gibson, graduated at Oxford, Miss., serving three years in the Southern army, and being captured and sent to Johnson's Island for two years, his study of the law was attended with unusual difficulties. But in 1867 he was admitted, and became a partner with his father, a lawyer of some note. In 1873 he removed to St. Louis, and began to build up a good practice, so that two years later he returned for his family, and died suddenly while on his journey.
Joseph N. Litton was born in Nashville, Tenn., Feb. 4, 1846. At the age of twelve years he entered Washington University, St. Louis, as a student, from which he graduated with the highest honors in June, 1866. In the same year he began the study of law, when he was admitted to practice. From that time he continued his general studies, interrupted to some extent by employment in some important cases, until April, 1870, when he was retained by the Pacific Railroad Company as its assistant attorney, which position he filled until the merging of the company in that of the Atlantic and Pacific Railroad Company in 1873, after which he continued to occupy a like position under the management of the latter company, attending to the law business of both companies. His duties from that time were extremely arduous, testing to its utmost his physical strength, at no time very great. He not only attended to the ordinary routine of his office, but also took the principal part in the trial at nisi prius of many important cases in which the company was a party in St. Louis and throughout the State, and also rendering very valuable assistance in the presentment of its cases in the Supreme Court of the State and in the Circuit and Supreme Courts of the United States.
In 1874, the two corporations having become separated again, he severed his connection with the Pacific Railroad, being at the same time retained by the management of the St. Louis and San Francisco Railroad Company, successors of the Atlantic and Pacific Railroad Company, as their chief law officer. In April, 1877, owing to continued ill health, brought on in large part, no doubt, by overwork, he was obliged to resign his office of attorney of the railroad company. He went during the summer to Colorado, and there spent several months, whence he returned in the fall apparently improved in health. Soon after, however, his disease exhibited worse symptoms, and from that time he was confined to his room and bed the greater part of the time until his death on Thursday, April 11, 1878.
As a man, Mr. Litton was honorable, modest, generous, brave, and just. In manner he was quiet, grave, and dignified. He was easily approached by others, but he wanted no one's favor. He delighted in the intercourse of friends, and was of a most kind and genial nature. He was possessed of bright wit, and was a most agreeable companion. As a lawyer, he was faithful to his clients, candid, courteous, earnest, industrious, learned, and able. His intellectual faculties were strong. He was a clear and ready thinker, and endowed with great analytical power. His judgment was sound, and his reason well balanced. He was a close student, and well grounded in the principles of the civil jurisprudence.
Dec. 2, 1879, at Cincinnati, Hon. Samuel Reber, of St. Louis, was found in his room, dead. Born in Lancaster, Ohio, in 1813, well educated, and settling in St. Louis in 1842, in partnership with Mr. Fremon, he soon gained a lucrative practice. After the Mexican war Mr. Fremon removed to New Mexico. Mr. Reber in 1856 was made judge of the Court of Common Pleas, succeeding Judge Treat. Judge Reber held this position of honor and trust with skill, integrity, and fairness until the Court of Common Pleas was changed into the Circuit Court. This position he also held until 1867, when he resigned for the purpose of again engaging more actively in practice. While upon the bench he sustained the Constitution of 1865, and was the author of the "test oath decision." Under the administration of Mayor Cole he was appointed city counselor, and during his term of office was actively engaged in defending many important suits, among which was the famous waterworks case.
Another gentleman who took extreme views on the "test oath" under the Drake Constitution (1865) was ex-Judge Moody, but the course he pursued had a disastrous effect on his subsequent life. He was born in Pennsylvania in 1817, and died in January, 1880. Removing to St. Louis about 1855, he went into the law firm of Moody, McClellan & Hillyer. Capt. U. S. Grant, while collecting bills as a real estate agent, occupied a desk in the office of the firm. In the early part of the war Judge Moody was elected circuit judge of St. Louis County, and for several years discharged the duties to the satisfaction of the profession. For a year or two before he left the bench his political opinions underwent a change, and he became intensely hostile to the Drake Constitution, and absolutely refused in his official position to perform the duties imposed upon him by that Constitution. He refused to require the jurors and others to take the "ironclad oath" required by the Constitution and ordinances of the convention. This opposition led to his removal by address by the Legislature in 1866.
This year, 1880, also took from among the former members of the St. Louis bar Hon. Logan Hunton and George R. Taylor. Mr. Taylor, a sketch of whose life appears elsewhere, was one of the leading members of the St. Louis bar, and promoted many useful measures, legislative and commercial. His business enterprises drew him from legal pursuits in later years. Hon. Logan Hunton and his brother Felix were lawyers of note. The latter practiced chiefly in the southwest of Missouri. His death occurred in 1873. Logan Hunton was born in Albemarle County, Va., in 1806. Educated in Kentucky, he became a member of the State Legislature there, but removed to St. Louis in 1837, and formed a partnership with Hon. L. V. Bogy, afterwards United States senator. He married Miss Mary Jane Moss, daughter of the late Mrs. J. J. Crittenden. In 1843, Mr. Hunton went to New Orleans, remained there ten years, and held for a while the United States district attorneyship, also built up a large practice and gained a competency. After spending some years in travel in Europe with his family, he returned, in 1859, to St. Louis, and made his home near Bridgeton, which became the centre of a generous and discriminating hospitality. He left a wife and three children.
Henry B. Belt, born in Huntsville, Ala., in 1815, and dying in February, 1881, had led an eventful life. His father was a mining prospector in Tennessee, Alabama, and Hannibal, Mo., where he died in 1829, after which young Belt became a clerk in the sheriffs office, then under Archibald Gamble, circuit clerk. On the death of his father, his mother and younger brothers and sisters returned to his mother's old home, Washington, Va., but in 1837 he brought the whole family to St. Louis. In the cholera epidemic of 1849 he lost his mother, one brother, and two sisters. After this he served as deputy sheriff under James Brotherton, Marshall Brotherton, William Milburn, Samuel Conway, and Louis T. Labeaume. In 1855 he was elected sheriff on the Whig ticket. He ran again, two years later, and received a majority of votes cast, but was counted out. In 1853 he formed a real estate partnership with John G. Priest, which lasted till his death. He left a wife and seven children.
Singularly fortunate in examples of early brilliancy the bar of St. Louis seems to have been; eloquence of the highest order was amply illustrated in each decade of its history. But never since Barton, Uriel Wright, and their compeers were in their prime did a young man of thirty-four win such praise as was bestowed on the memory of Edward P. McCarty, who died in June, 1881. A native of Indiana, he studied law in the office of Judge Miller, of Keokuk, Iowa, and came to St. Louis about the year 1861. Under Mr. Fishback he was deputy clerk of the Supreme Court, and chief clerk after Mr. Fishback's death. After having been for a time in the office of Sharp & Broadhead he was admitted to the bar. The position of city counselor, to which he was appointed by Mayor Brown, he filled admirably. He was a Democrat in politics. His wife, née Miss Lydia Evans, daughter of the late A. H. Evans, and two children survive him. The bar association met and passed resolutions expressive of their deep sorrow. A few days later the St. Louis Republican said of him, "The impression of his genius is retained by every one that knew him; possessed of a graceful form and a rich and fluent mind, he commanded attention as a unique person wherever he appeared. He had a mind of extraordinary clearness and quickness of insight. On legal questions his judgment was that of ‘the intuitive decision of a thorough-edged intellect.’ He was rarely wrong, and hence his cases were nearly always put in court correctly, involving no changes in their first presentment. Col. Broadhead, Gen. Noble, Mr. Chandler, and other mature practitioners bore witness to his remarkable natural gifts, and expressed their profound grief at his premature departure."
In the early years of the century, Dr. Abel Slayback was a noted physician of Cincinnati. His father was Solomon Slayback, a soldier at Valley Forge. His son, Alexander L. Slayback, studied at Marion College, Missouri, was admitted to the bar in 1838, married Anna M. Minter, of Philadelphia, and opened a law-office in Shelbyville. In 1847 he removed to Lexington, and died there the following year, leaving a widow and five children. Three of his sons afterwards became residents of St. Louis. He was a sincere Christian and a very successful lawyer, a favorite everywhere, and deeply mourned by his associates. Alonzo W. Slayback, his son, became a prominent member of the St. Louis bar. Born in July, 1838, in Marion County, he received a good education, taught school, studied law, was admitted in 1857, and began practice in St. Joseph. The civil war came with its rendings and desolations; Slayback raised a cavalry regiment, was elected its colonel, and joined the cause of the South. He fought with the greatest courage and skill, took part in more than forty battles and skirmishes, and after the cause was lost joined Shelby's romantic expedition to the land of the Montezumas. No one has yet written the story, pathetic and well worth the telling, of the man, self-exiled, ardent, heart-broken, who could not longer stay under the Stars and Stripes, who went to Mexico,
to Central America, to the West Indies, and regions still farther South, engaging in warlike expeditions, in strange and heroic adventures, in vast commercial enterprises, coffee-planting, stock-raising, mining, and a thousand other pursuits, sometimes successful, sometimes reduced to penury and suffering. But Col. Slayback's career was not to end thus. His mother, a lady of culture, grace, and strong character, made the journey to Mexico, sought long, found her son, and persuaded him to return. So in 1866 he again entered the law in St. Louis, meeting with marked and increasing success. He became known as an orator of remarkable powers of persuasion and conquest, full of liberal impulses, and passionately loved by his friends. The gift of leadership was his; socially and politically, no man seemed to have a brighter future before him. His practice became one of the largest in the city.
Col. Slayback's tragical death in 1882 rallied his friends and roused the most impassioned sympathy. The Merchants' Exchange, whose attorney he was, placed on record an almost unparalleled tribute of their personal sorrow. Speakers, after his death, compared him to a streak of sunshine, a man whom all loved, the friend of the poor, the helpless, the oppressed. And because of this overflowing charity he left his family in straitened circumstances. The citizens and his associates in the law gave liberally, public benefits were held, and in all a large sum was raised for the widow and orphans. Col. Dyer, ex-Governor Stanard, Rev. Dr. Snyder, and many others aided in this good work. Mrs. Wm. McKee paid one thousand dollars for a private box at the first entertainment, and then had it sold again for one hundred dollars, thus netting eleven hundred dollars for the cause. Col. Slayback's wife was Miss Alice A. Waddell, of Lexington.
A man whose youth was beset with difficulties, but who won by reason of his indomitable pluck, was Henry A. Glover, still living (1882) to enjoy the honors and wealth he has so creditably earned. In 1844, a poor, friendless lad, he came to St. Louis, and searched in vain for employment. He was willing to turn his hand to anything; a position in the school department was beyond his reach; nor could he procure a clerkship in any store; but being a good penman, and having read some law, he at last obtained copying and clerical work under Gen. Ruland, clerk of the Circuit Court. Here he spent years in toil at a meagre salary; refused, when Ruland retired, the place the latter had held, and in 1847 was admitted to the bar. Two years later he was city attorney. It has taken but a few words to tell this story of manhood, aspiration, and success, but there is an eloquence finer than speech about its steady progress from friendless obscurity to recognized position. In 1851, Mr. Glover was sent to the State Legislature, and from 1852 to 1856 was circuit attorney for St. Louis. Many able and ingenious men have filled this office, but "it is one of the traditions of the Criminal Court that the State never had a prosecutor whose work, in point of success or ability, compared with that of Circuit Attorney Glover." His treatment of witnesses was admirable, and his skill in conducting a cross-examination has rarely been surpassed. In the argument of cases before juries he also displayed rare excellence. Judge Lackland, who was judge of the Criminal Court, said that the only criticism to be indulged in on Mr. Glover as circuit attorney was that he was too successful, that he not only convicted the guilty, but in some instances verdicts were rendered against innocent parties by juries carried away by the vigor and force of his prosecution. It was at this time and in this position that the full strength of the man developed itself, and it was brought out by his conflicts in the Criminal Court and in the Supreme Court with such men as Leslie, Wright, Blennerhasset, Cline, and others who then practiced at the criminal bar, whose reputation and efforts there are well remembered.
When Judge Lackland retired in 1856, his successor was Henry A. Glover, who continued to hold the office until 1864, when he returned to his private practice, became city counselor, and was a member of the Constitutional Convention of 1865, and chairman of its judiciary committee. In 1868 he was nominated judge of the Supreme Court by the Republicans, but declined the nomination, though tantamount to an election, and Judge Currier's name was substituted. Since that time his large and extended private practice has required all his attention, and some of the heaviest litigation in the courts has been in his hands, As the legal adviser of the city and county he had to deal with many and important interests, such a the gas question, the Pacific Railroad controversy, the long fight over the school lands, the taxation of shares in national banks. As judge over the Criminal Court, no man in the State did more to settle legal principles in reference to crimes and offenses. Well rounded, crowded with achievement, his life-record merits the study of young men in hours of discouragement.
Among the leading barristers of St. Louis now living is Britton Armstrong Hill, a lawyer of forty-two years' practice in St. Louis. He was born in Hunterdon County, N. J., in 1816, received his early
education at Ogdensburg, N. Y., and was admitted to the bar at Albany, and to the Court of Chancery at Saratoga, in that State, in 1839. In 1841 he came to St. Louis, where he was admitted to the bar by Judge Mullanphy. In the same year he formed a partnership with John M. Eager, which was dissolved in 1848. In 1850 his brother, David W. Hill, became his partner, and in 1854, William N. Grover was added to the firm, which thus became Hill, Grover & Hill. This partnership continued till 1858, when it was dissolved, and Mr. Hill gave his attention wholly to practice in important land, insurance, and railroad cases. In 1861 he entered into copartnership with the Hon. D. T. Jewett, which continued about ten years. In 1863 he, with Hon. Thomas Ewing, of Ohio, and Hon. Orville H. Browning, of Illinois, formed a partnership in the city of Washington, under the firm-name of Ewing, Hill & Browning, for the transaction of business in the courts of the United States. This firm, which was one of the strongest in the United States, was terminated in 1865, when Mr. Hill returned to St. Louis. In 1873, Frank J. Bowman, of Vermont, became his partner, and continued till 1876. In his extensive practice in the national and State courts Mr. Hill became strongly impressed with the dangers which seemed to him to threaten the institutions of the country, and in 1873 he published his first work, entitled "Liberty and Law under Federative Government."
In 1876 he published two pamphlets urging the Democratic party to adopt his views with regard to absolute money, and early in 1877 put forth another, entitled "Gold, Silver, and Paper as full, equal, Legal Tenders." The system which was advocated in this pamphlet was adopted in 1878 by Congress and the Treasury, and the financial success which has followed is a source of just pride to its author. In the autumn of 1877 he called, at St. Louis, a State Convention, the object of which was the advocacy of measures for the overthrow of monopolies, for the establishment of governmental control of railroads, telegraphs, and other internal improvements, postal savings-banks, international clearing-houses, courts for the settlement of all national differences without resort to war, and the restoration to the people of the public domain that had been given to railroads. In the campaign of that year he was active in the advocacy of the principles set forth in the platform of that convention. His health failed in 1879, and he was compelled to retire from active political life. In 1880 the second edition of "Liberty and Law" was published, setting forth fully his views of a complete system of popular government. This work was highly commended by the press, and by members of the United States Supreme Court and of several of the State courts. In 1882 he was, without his solicitation, made a candidate for Congress in the Ninth District of Missouri. In this candidacy he was simply the standard-bearer of the Anti-Monopoly party, without, of course, any expectation of an election.
Mr. Hill has retired from the active practice of his profession, with an ample competency, and now only engages as counselor in important cases.
His great popularity among people of all classes has arisen not alone from his eminent intellectual and legal abilities, but from his large humanity, which has manifested itself whenever circumstances permitting its exercise have arisen. One instance may be cited. In 1849, when St. Louis was visited by the cholera, and the physicians of the city were unable to visit half the sick, Mr. Hill, who had been a medical student, "went daily for several weeks into the poor districts, where the scourge was most fatal, visiting the sick, laying out the dead, and relieving the distresses of the poor and unfortunate by all the means in his power at his own expense."
The great aim of his life, as illustrated in his last work on "Liberty and Law," has been to elevate the laboring and producing classes, to abolish all corporations that usurp or control the means of public intercommunication, to remove the tax on lands and manufactures, and to establish a graduated income tax to compel capital to bear its just share of the taxes now borne by labor.
The Empire State has the honor of ranking among its sons Judge Albert Todd, who was born March 4, 1813, near Cooperstown, Otsego Co., N. Y. His parents were Scotch and English, his Scotch blood coming through his father, who was a direct descendant of Christopher Todd, one of the original colonists of New Haven, Conn., and his English through his mother. Albert Todd was the fourth of eleven children. He had the benefit of the public common schools at the rate of four months in the year until he was fifteen years old. While he was not engaged at school he was trained to work at some of his father's vocations. His early choice was that of a seafaring life, but after a brief experience in coasting, which his parents allowed him, he gave it up and chose a professional life, with the privilege of a collegiate education. He was in his eighteenth year when he began his studies in Amherst, Mass., and in 1832 he matriculated at Amherst College. The next year he left Amherst and became a member of the sophomore class of Yale College, and graduated in 1836 with an appointment for an oration. During
the greater portion of his senior year he was engaged in teaching school, and by this means earned the money to pay the expenses of his senior year. On leaving Yale he chose the profession of law, and began his studies in the office of Judge Arphaxed Loomis, in Little Falls, Herkimer Co., N. Y. The regulations in the State of New York then required a seven years' course of study before application could be made for a license to practice in the inferior courts of record, and three years' additional study, with the previous admission to practice as an attorney, before an examination was allowed for a license to practice as counselor and solicitor in chancery. Of the first seven years, a student was allowed a credit of four years if he was a graduate of a college. Mr. Todd prepared himself for his first license to practice, and sought a location in the West. He selected St. Louis as the place to practice his profession, and arrived on the 9th of November, 1839. In March, 1840, he was licensed to practice in the courts of Missouri by Judge Tompkins. In 1854, Mr. Todd was elected to the Lower House of the Missouri Legislature. During this session he devoted his services to revising the laws of the State, which duty was performed that session.
In 1860 he was a candidate for Congress on the Bell and Everett ticket. He was a Whig in politics until the dissolution of that party; since then he has acted with the Democratic party.
Mr. Todd was one of the freeholders who provided a scheme for the separation of the city of St. Louis from the county of St. Louis, and to organize new governments for them, and he was a member of the State Convention held in 1875 for revising and amending the Constitution of the State.
He has always taken an active interest in public enterprises. He is one of the trustees of Washington University, and has given his services gratuitously as professor in the Law Department, of which he is one of the founders. He was one of the founders of the St. Louis Agricultural and Mechanical Association, and of the University Club, Public School Library, Mercantile Library, and the Missouri Historical Society. He was also one of the first members of the St. Louis Bar Association, and is a member of the Academy of Sciences, and one of the founders of the first St. Louis Cremation Society.
For the last twenty-two years Mr. Todd has not practiced in the courts, having withdrawn on account of his health. He continues an office practice of a limited character from his attachment to the profession.
Mr. Todd has co-operated in nearly all enterprises undertaken by private corporations for promoting the attractions of the city and its facilities for trade and commerce.
A graduate of the Michigan University, W. H. H. Russell climbed to enviable prominence in his chosen profession with surprising rapidity, and has added to the technique of law a fund of general knowledge that few persons surpass. Born in Michigan in 1840, of sturdy farmer stock, student, after leaving the university, of the Ann Arbor Law School, he located is 1864 at Memphis, Tenn., entering the office of W. K. Patson; the next year becoming counsel for Capt. John A. Morgan in a noted case against the general government, he won it, received a fine farm of six hundred and forty acres in Arkansas, and fixed at one stroke his own reputation. The year 1867 was spent in travel; 1868 saw him a resident of St. Louis Maj. Uriel Wright, his warm friend, secured him as Hon. R. S. Donald's associate in the murder case of Dr. Headlington. Charles P. Johnson and J. P. Colcord were their opponents. The trial was before Judge Wilson Primm. The admiralty case of the "Bright Star," involving constitutional questions of importance, was shortly after placed in his hands. Though his opponent was the United States attorney, General Noble, a very able lawyer, Mr. Russell won his case. His speech in the noted divorce suit of Redelia vs. Dr. James Fischer was printed and widely circulated for its wit and sarcasm. Then came that long, strange romance of the Max Klinger trial, a boy of seventeen, who murdered his uncle. There seemed no hope for him. Judge Primm chose Mr. Russell as Klinger's counsel. The case had three jury trials, was twice before the State Supreme Court, and in 1872 was decided by the United States Supreme Court, after having been unsettled for over four years. Mr. Russell has since been engaged in many important cases, and is in great demand as a public speaker. In 1871 he visited Europe, and wrote letters to the Democrat and Republican. Ever an admirer of the fine arts, a lover of out-door sports and rural delights, a hard student in his profession, he deserves his success and his popularity.
Blennerhasset's success as a public prosecutor was not equaled again in St. Louis until the days of Col. James C. Normile, whose career in this city began in 1869, he then being but twenty-one years of age. He graduated at Georgetown (D. C.) College, and studied law in Columbia Law School, Washington, D. C., and under Hon. O. H. Browning and Gen. Thomas Ewing, then in Washington. The former gentleman took a warm interest in young Normile, and did much to develop his powers and waken his ambition. The young
lawyer used the libraries and other advantages of Washington to the utmost, and between 1860 and 1868, besides serving for a time in the army, was a witness to some of the most stirring scenes in American history. When, in 1869, he landed in St. Louis, he remained idle for some time. Chosen to defend a young man for murder, with Governor Johnson as prosecutor, he made a three-hour speech that was like a tidal-wave, sweeping down opposition and bearing him into an immediate renown. This was the noted Fore trial, and his speech was published in full in the Missouri Republican. It gained him the nomination of circuit attorney on the Democratic ticket, though three of the oldest and best lawyers at the bar were his opponents. Being elected, he bent all his splendid energies to the task of making the best possible record in that office. A public prosecutor has to familiarize himself with all the secrets, sources, and wanderings of crime, and analyze the most profound mysteries of the human soul in health or disease. The records of the courts and the columns of the press for the past ten years show how great, continuous, and often unexpected have been the successes of Col. Normile, pursuing his object with sleuth-like determination through the most complex labyrinths. The trial of Antoine Holme, for wife-murder, of William Morgan, for the same offense, of Julia Fortmeyer, a professional child-murderess, of John McNeary, for murder, were all State trials that tested the best abilities of Col. Normile. Called upon on many public occasions for speeches, his utterances would fill volumes. Always apt, ready, and eloquent, he is a marked and interesting figure among St. Louis lawyers.
David Patterson Dyer was born in Henry County, Va., Feb. 12, 1838. In 1841 his parents migrated to Missouri and settled near Troy, in Lincoln County, where Mr. Dyer labored on his father's farm till eighteen years of age, and enjoyed only the educational advantages afforded by the common schools of his neighborhood. In these, however, he acquired sufficient education to enter college at St. Charles, where he remained a year. At the age of twenty, or in 1858, he commenced the study of law in the office of Hon. James O. Broadhead, of Bowling Green, in Pike County, and at the end of 1859 he was admitted to the bar of Missouri. In 1862 he removed to Louisiana, Mo., and formed with Hon. John B. Henderson a partnership which continued till 1870. In 1875 he removed to St. Louis, which has ever since been his residence. In 1881 he entered into his present partnership with B. D. Lee and John P. Ellis, under the firm-name of Dyer, Lee & Ellis.
In 1860 he was elected circuit attorney in the Third Judicial District of Missouri. In 1862 he was chosen to represent Pike County in the Legislature of Missouri, and though but twenty-four years of age was made chairman of the judiciary committee. In 1866 he was made secretary of the State Senate, and in 1868 was elected to the Congress of the United States. In 1875 he was appointed United States attorney for the Eastern District of Missouri, and by his able management of the celebrated "whiskey ring trials" achieved a national reputation.
In 1860 he was a Douglas Democrat, and on the breaking out of the civil war in 1861 he took an active part in the organization of the First Regiment of Home Guards. In 1864 he left his seat in the Legislature to raise and organize the Forty-ninth Regiment of Missouri Militia, and was made its colonel. He served with the regiment in 1864 and 1865, under Gens. Rosecrans and Canby, and took an active part in the siege of Mobile.
The honorable positions which he has held, and the important duties he has been called to discharge, are the best evidences which can be offered of his ability, and of the esteem in which he is held by his fellow-citizens.
In 1860 he was married to Miss Lizzie Chambers Hunt, daughter of Judge Ezra Hunt, of Pike County, Mo., and his domestic relations have been exceedingly happy.
The son of Dr. Bernard G. Farrar, one of the earliest and most famous of St. Louis physicians, was educated as a lawyer, and became one of the most efficient members of the county court. James S. Farrar was born in St. Louis in 1839, and educated at the old college which stood on the corner of Ninth Street and Washington Avenue. In 1861 he raised a company at his own expense, was made captain, and assigned to the Thirtieth Missouri Volunteers, and was with Gen. Francis P. Blair's brigade in the hard service of 1862 and 1863. He was commissioned major about this time. In 1865, Governor Fletcher appointed him justice of the county court of St. Louis, and the people at subsequent elections signified their approval, so that he served in that office until 1876. When Judge Farrar assumed this office he was a rich man, but he gave lavishly of his means to the sick and poor, sacrificing much time and money to the public service. Largely to his exertions was it due that the county recovered its seven hundred thousand dollars loan to the Missouri Pacific Railroad in 1875, after it had been given up as lost. Frank J. Bowman, county counsel, proposed action, and with Judge Farrar carried the case to a successful close.
It has been said that class valedictorians never amounted to much afterwards. Josiah G. McClellan is evidence to the contrary. Born in 1824, in Wheeling, W. Va., of New England stock, he took the highest honors in 1847 at Williams College, began the study of law, wrote articles for the journals, and being admitted started for St. Louis in 1850, with fifty dollars in his pocket. He entered the office of Peter A. Ladue, assessor of the county, and as chief clerk familiarized himself with the land and land-owners of the city. In 1851 he began practice, associating himself with Judge Moody, afterwards of the Circuit Court, and Col. Hilyer, afterwards Gen. Hilyer, of Gen, Grant's staff, Capt. U. S. Grant at that time occupying a desk in the same office. In 1856, Mr. McClellan married the daughter of F. C. Sharpe, a renowned Kentucky lawyer. The civil war disrupted the firm. Mr. McClellan removed to Kentucky, and returned in 1863, the disasters of the war having ruined him financially, and he had to begin over again. His practice grew, and turning his attention to land titles, he decided to make an index of titles to all the real estate in the county of St. Louis. This was a gigantic task. There are over six hundred books of records of deeds in the recorder's office, averaging five hundred pages to a volume. The various concessions, grants, and charges under French, Spanish, and English law immeasurably increased the difficulty of this task, but its value to the public needs no comment. It is one of those works which remain as monuments of industry long after their projectors are dead.
George W. Bailey was born in St. Louis Nov. 27, 1841. His father, George Bailey, familiarly known in St. Louis as "the carriage man," was a native of New York State, where he was born in 1813. He was left parentless and penniless at childhood, but by energy and perseverance rose from poverty to an independency. He learned the trade of carriage-black-smithing at Bridgeport, Conn., thence diligently working his way into a small carriage business, and afterwards to a greater. In 1837 he opened in St. Louis the first carriage repository and manufactory of consequence established in the Mississippi Valley. The founders and proprietors of the "Fallon" and "Wright" carriage manufactories of St. Louis learned their trades in the establishment of Mr. Bailey. In St. Louis he rose rapidly to an independent position, and heavily invested the fruits of his enterprise and labor in St. Louis real estate, in which he had unbounded confidence, which he maintained to the time of his death in March, 1878. He was thus closely identified with St. Louis interests for more than forty years, during which period his business sagacity was I widely recognized, and his commercial honesty was without blemish or question. Mr. Bailey left a large estate for equal distribution among his surviving heirs, five sons and one daughter. Most of the sons are prominent business men of St. Louis. Mrs. Mary Bailey, the mother of these surviving children, was a native of Bridgeport, Conn. Her mother was a Palmer, hence her children are members of the celebrated "Palmer family," whose reunions bring together so many thousands from all parts of the country.
George W. Bailey, the second son, who was administrator of his father's estate, was educated in the best schools afforded by New England, finishing his course at the New York Conference Seminary and Collegiate Institute, of Charlotteville, N. Y., after which, entertaining an ambition to follow his father's example to success in the carriage business, he voluntarily acquired, as indispensable to success, a knowledge of the business by learning the trade of carriage-trimming at the establishment of Wood Brothers, in Bridgeport, of which fact he is to-day justly proud, although circumstances caused a departure from his original intention. His father retiring from business, a regular collegiate course was then determined upon, but the breaking out of the civil war in 1861 prevented the execution of the latter purpose. Young Bailey promptly enlisted as a private soldier in the first "three years'" regiment from Connecticut (the Sixth Infantry), and served as a private for seventeen months, during which period the regiment was attached to the Army of the Potomac at Washington, and the Army of the South at Hilton Head and Beaufort, S. C. With the regiment he participated in the expedition which sailed from Fortress Monroe, Va., to Port Royal, S. C., in November, 1861, under Gen. W. T. Sherman and Commodore Dupont, and which was threatened with destruction in the terrible ocean storm off Cape Hatteras. He witnessed the picturesque bombardment of Forts Walker and Beauregard, Nov. 7, 1861, and was among the first Union troops on South Carolina soil.
He participated with his regiment in the campaign and expeditions about Hilton Head, and witnessed the bombardment and reduction of Fort Pulaski, at the mouth of the Savannah River, from Danfuskie Island, where the Sixth Connecticut was stationed, prepared for an emergency.
In February, 1863, Mr. Bailey was commissioned by Governor Gamble as second lieutenant in the Sixth Missouri Infantry, then stationed at Young's Point, La., opposite Vicksburg, and a part of the Fifteenth Army Corps and Army of the Tennessee. He participated
in the entire campaign of Vicksburg, commanding his company in the bloody assaults upon that stronghold on the 19th and 22d of May, 1863. He was slightly wounded, but remained in the field until the surrender of the city, July 4th. He participated in the battles of Champion Hills and Jackson, and accompanied his command to the relief of Chattanooga, when the Army of the Tennessee, under Grant, hastened to the relief of the beleaguered Army of the Cumberland, under Thomas. With the Fifteenth Army Corps, under Sherman, he participated in the bloody battle of Missionary Ridge and the night pursuit of Bragg's defeated army. Thence he proceeded with the Fifteenth Corps to the hurried relief of Burnside, besieged by Longstreet at Knoxville. After the raising of the latter siege the army returned to winter-quarters in Northern Alabama. He participated in the Atlanta campaign, opening in May, 1864, and took an active part in the battles of Resaca and Dallas, and several minor engagements and skirmishes with his company. When the term of service of his regiment expired he, with most of the regiment, promptly re-enlisted for "three years, unless sooner discharged." Shortly after he was promoted to be first lieutenant of his company, and shortly thereafter detailed from the regiment to serve as aide-de-camp on the staff of Maj.-Gen. Morgan L. Smith, then commanding the Second Division of the Fifteenth Army Corps, in which capacity he remained during the rest of his service in the army. At the battle of Kenesaw Mountain, Ga., he performed a brilliant service. Having been directed to accompany the assaulting lines, and report concerning the position and works of the enemy, he was in the thickest of the fire of that terrible, assault, and observed the insurmountable obstacles forbidding the success of the venture. He picked his way back among the dead and wounded, and reported to Gen. Smith the causes of defeat. As orders had been given to "re-form and re-assault at three P. M.," it was important that Gen. Logan (commanding the Fifteenth Army Corps) should be at once apprised of the situation, and Lieut. Bailey was detailed for that purpose. Mounted, he made his way three miles through the timber cover to Logan's headquarters, where he found Gen. Logan and Gen. McPherson. He reported the situation, and was questioned by Gen. McPherson as to his own opinion, and modestly said that he thought that any further attempt to carry the works by assault would prove only a useless sacrifice of life. Thereupon he was directed to return to Gen. Smith with the order that he was not to re-assault without further orders. Lieut. Bailey dashed back, and on the way was the target of batteries, whose aim was to intercept a solitary horseman galloping across the open space, and evidently the bearer of a very important message. Eventually an exploding shell prostrated the horse and dismounted and severely wounded the rider. Regaining their feet, though torn and bleeding, rider and horse were soon again hurrying to insure the delivery of the order. When he arrived the troops were in line for another assault. The welcome order was delivered, the bugle sounded the halt, the troops cheered, but the enemy, mistaking the cheers as indicating another assault, opened a furious fire upon the supposed advance. The "further orders to assault" never came. Thus many valuable lives were saved from useless sacrifice.
At the battle of Atlanta, July 22, 1864, Lieut. Bailey was assigned to the important duty of ascertaining at what point in the Confederate lines Hood's forces were massed for the assault on the Federal works, in order that they might be opposed by the Union reserves. He selected an elevated position immediately in rear of the Federal works, and awaited the terrible battle which followed, and was captured and taken into Atlanta. While at a point about forty miles within the Confederate lines he escaped by the novel means of being buried alive, and permitting his captors to march off and leave him. After two and a half months of endeavor to regain the Federal lines, enduring many hardships, and having many narrow escapes and romantic experiences, he finally gained a point within one mile of the Federal pickets, where he was captured by Confederate guerrillas, taken into the woods, and given "two minutes" to prepare to die. By remarkable presence of mind and by resorting to a ruse he again escaped, though shot at four times, receiving a rifle-ball through his right lung and shoulder, which wound for months after seriously threatened his life. He regained the Federal lines at Atlanta, gradually recovered, and when Sherman "marched to the sea" was, with other wounded, removed to St. Louis, and subsequently promoted captain of his company, but retained his position on the division staff until the close of the war.
A graphic account of his peculiar experiences at the battle of Atlanta and while within the Confederate lines has been published by Capt. Bailey in a neat little volume entitled "A Private Chapterof the War," which was highly commended by officers and soldiers of the late war, and referred to by the press generally throughout the country as one of most thrilling and absorbing interest.
During the war Mr. Bailey acted as special artist and correspondent of the New York Illustrated News,
and his many sketches and accounts of war incidents appearing in that pictorial work were noted for a degree of accuracy hardly to be expected from mere war correspondents and artists, whose duty required of them no exposure to extraordinary dangers.
After the surrender of Lee and Johnson, Capt. Bailey was mustered out of the service of the government, and shortly after received from Governor Fletcher, of Missouri, a position on his staff, with the rank of first lieutenant, and was assigned to duty as enrolling officer of the city and county of St. Louis, and enrolled all citizens subject to military duty into regiments of Missouri militia. In June, 1865, Mr. Bailey had sufficiently recovered from his wound to commence the study of law in the office of Hon. Charles D. Drake, of St. Louis. He completed his legal studies in the office of the late Judge James K. Knight, of St. Louis, and was admitted to the bar of Missouri in 1866 by the late Judge Reber, and to practice in the United States courts by an examining board in 1867. He has ever since been practicing law in the city of St. Louis, enjoying a handsome practice in the civil and appellate courts, which was won only by a strict and careful attention to business, conscientious discharge of duty, and unquestioned integrity, coupled with acknowledged ability.
In 1870, Mr. Bailey married Mary G., daughter of Dr. G. W. Scollay, of St. Louis, of which union three children were born, two of whom still survive. For the benefit of his family Mr. Bailey established his home in Kirkwood, a suburban town thirteen miles from the city on the Missouri Pacific Railroad, where he resided until 1878, when he removed to the city.
When Mr. Bailey went to Kirkwood the town court was held in general contempt on account of its futile efforts to enforce the law and command respect. The orders and writs of the court were disregarded and remained unexecuted, and the recorder was in court openly defied and insulted by some of those who were violent in their opposition to the enforcement of the town ordinances against the sale of intoxicating liquors without a license. At the earnest solicitation of the recorder, Mr. Bailey accepted the appointment of prosecuting attorney for the town, and grasping the situation, at once inaugurated a new order of things. His first step was to enforce respect for the law and the court, which having been accomplished by a series of energetic and masterly proceedings, prosecutions were then vigorously conducted, fines were collected, and the guilty punished, and Kirkwood has ever since had a worthy court.
In 1874, Mr. Bailey was nominated and elected for two years a member of the House of Representatives of the Missouri Legislature. His representative district extended entirely around the city of St. Louis, from the Missouri to the Mississippi River, embracing three large townships. He was elected as a "Straight" Republican, defeating both a Democratic and a "Liberal" Republican opponent. In the Legislature Mr. Bailey took an active and prominent part in all measures of importance which came before the House, and, as the most prominent Republican newspaper of the State said, "made his influence felt on the right side of almost every contest in the House."
An incident illustrating the fidelity of Mr. Bailey to his tried friends is found in the record of the contest between the Missouri Pacific Railroad Company and its colored passengers in 1873. The latter were sold only first-class tickets, but were compelled to ride in the smoking-car. Women and children and infants constituted no exception to the requirement. Finally a colored girl attempted to enter the regular Kirkwood passenger-car, but was forcibly opposed and maltreated by the brakeman. Her friends sought redress, but resident counsel were generally afraid to take hold of the case on account of "public sentiment." Mr. Bailey was appealed to, and accepted the case, ignoring "public sentiment," and glad to be able to cancel a portion of his indebtedness to the colored race on account of services gratuitously rendered to him while in the Confederate lines. He declared that the requirement of the railroad company was a discrimination against "race and color," and was prohibited by the Constitution of the United States and of Missouri, and secured the arrest, conviction, and fining of the brakeman for assault and battery. A civil suit for damages was also prepared, but was ended by the company agreeing formally to acknowledge the right of colored passengers to ride in first-class seats at first-class prices. The case attracted widespread attention, the question involved (the application of the Fifteenth Amendment) being put to the test for the first time in Missouri.
During the labor riots of 1877, when mobs hell possession of St. Louis, Mr. Bailey's military knowledge was rendered available, and he was prominent in effecting the military organization in Kirkwood for home protection known as the "Kirkwood Rifles," which was composed of the most prominent citizens of the town. The company was drilled to efficiency by Mr. Bailey and others, and its services were tendered to and accepted by the town authorities to assist in the preservation of the public peace. Mr. Bailey succeeded Capt. Wright as commander of the company, and remained in command until its services were no longer required.
In politics Mr. Bailey is an earnest Republican.
He is generally recognized as a skilled parliamentarian, and is a prominent member of various orders and societies, the Masonic fraternity, the American Bar Association, the national and local Legion of Honor, the Society of the Army of the Tennessee, and the Grand Army of the Republic, etc.
Mr. Bailey is also an enthusiastic advocate of outdoor recreation, especially for professional men. Being deprived, on account of his wound, of even the unsatisfactory benefits afforded by a city gymnasium, he has always set apart convenient days for out-door exercises in the hunting-fields, claiming that more can be accomplished in six days by spending one in such recreation than otherwise. He is an expert wing-shot, and an admirer of well-bred and well-trained setters and pointers, and attributes his present excellent state of health and power of endurance to a naturally tough and wiry physical constitution, somewhat shattered during the war, but preserved and fostered by periodical and ample exercise in the open air of the country, which he regards as a sure prevention of most of the complaints which mind and flesh are heir to.
Late in the eighteenth century (about 1790) Robert Morrison, of Philadelphia, settled in ancient and quaint Kaskaskia. Fortunate in many things, most of all fortunate in his wooing, he courted and won Eliza A. Lowry, daughter of Col. Lowry, of Baltimore, for years afterwards called "the most brilliant woman in the valley of the Mississippi." Of this marriage James L. D. Morrison was born, April 12, 1816. His father became the largest mail-contractor in Illinois. When but fourteen young Morrison was sent hither and thither, collecting drafts and money, and arranging business matters with tact and fidelity. By 1832 he carried mail two days, "kept store" one day, and attended school three days each week. That year he became midshipman in the United States navy, cruised twenty-seven months in the South Pacific, afterwards in the West Indies, became rich, studied law, and in 1836, returning to Illinois, completed his studies and was admitted. He joined the Whigs with ardor, stumped the State, and became one of its best-known leaders, but in later years has been a Democrat. He now resides in St. Louis. Col. Morrison's second wife is Adele Sarpy, daughter of John B. Sarpy, one of the pioneer St. Louis merchants.
Richard Bland, of the first Continental Congress, had no more notable descendant than Hon. Peter E. Bland, born in St. Charles County, March 29, 1824. He was also connected with the learned Chancellor Bland, of Virginia. Educated in the Methodist college at St. Charles, forced to teach school for a livelihood, student in Judge Lackland's office till 1849, young Bland struggled upwards, and when admitted opened an office, and soon became known as a worker, commanding a large practice. From 1861 to 1863 he served in the Union army as colonel of a Missouri cavalry regiment. Locating in Memphis, Tenn., he practiced with success; in 1868 returned to St. Louis, almost a stranger, but became connected with some of the most important Supreme Court cases, and his services have since been in continual demand. His wife, Miss Virginia Clark, of Richmond, Va., whom he married in 1845, died in 1870, leaving three children, all grown.
Richard Aylett Barret, son of Richard F. and Maria Buckner Barret, was born at Cliffland, the home of his grandfather, a place of great natural beauty, near Greensburg, Ky. The estate was situated on a plateau, diversified by hill and dale, and bordered on the one side by forests of beech and oak, and on the other by lofty cliffs, composed of shelving rocks, to which cling mosses and cedars. At the base of the plateau winds the silvery course of the Green River as far as the eye can reach.
Richard A. Barret spent his early youth at Springfield, Ill., and at St. Louis, where he attended the school of Edward Wyman and the St. Louis University, and also received instruction from Chester Harding, who entered him at Phillips Academy, Exeter, N. H., to prepare for Harvard College, which he entered in 1852. On the journey eastward his companions were Mrs. Rhodes, John Cavender, J. S. Cavender, and Chester Harding (the two last mentioned afterwards rising to distinction as officers in the Union army during the civil war), and the route taken extended from St. Louis to Brownsville, Pa., and along the Monongahela by steamboat, across the Alleghenies to Cumberland, Md., by stages, and thence by rail to Washington. In the latter city his uncle, Aylett Buckner, a member of Congress from Kentucky, was then domiciled opposite the Treasury Department, with Giddings, Greeley, Lincoln, and Richardson, while Clay, Douglas, Crittenden, and other famous men of the period were frequent visitors. When Messrs. Lincoln and Buckner went to Philadelphia to attend as delegates the convention which nominated Gen. Taylor for the Presidency, R. A. Barret accompanied them.
Having obtained the degrees of M. A. and M. D., the latter from the Missouri Medical College, March, 1854, Mr. Barret went to Europe and studied at Bon, Munich, and Heidelberg, being awarded the
degree of Ph. D. He belonged to the Swabia "Burschenschaft," and traveled on foot up and down the Rhine, and through the "Phalz" and "Swartzwald," and much of Italy, France, and Spain. For some time he acted as secretary of legation at Paris under John Y. Mason, minister at the court of Napoleon III. In 1859, having returned to the United States, he was admitted to the bar of St. Louis, and entered into the practice of the law with his uncle, Aylett Buckner. He was immediately engaged with Stephen T. Logan and Milton Hay, of Springfield, Ill., in a suit in which the Hanks, of Decatur, Ill., the relatives of Abraham Lincoln, were interested, and he greatly enjoyed the witty and pointed stories, the cheerful conversation, and the familiar courtesy of the future President.
In the winter of 1859-60, Mr. Barret was employed, with Messrs. Blocker, Gurley, and Coke, now United States senator, in settling disputes as to the eleven-league Galindo claim, near Waco, McLernan Co. In May, 1860, his father died, leaving a distracted and scattered business, and a young and expensive family to his care. About this time the political skies became overcast with the clouds of the impending war, and in the agitation which followed Mr. Barret bore an active and influential part. He at once took firm ground in favor of the Union cause, and became a close and intimate friend of Capt. Nathaniel Lyon, who was looked up to as the leader of the anti-secession element. Mr. Barret was one of the leading actors in the Southwestern campaign, being attorney for the United States government in the offices respectively of Gen. Farrar, general supervisor of confiscated and contraband property; Col. James O. Broadhead, city provost-marshal; and Gen. E. B. Alexander, United States provost-marshal for Missouri. He also acted as chief clerk and private secretary to the latter until April, 1866. Mr. Barret was thrown into contact with the leaders on both sides, and was personally acquainted with Governor Reynolds and Gens. Frost, Jeff Thompson, Buckner, and Price (the last two being his relatives), whom he believes to have been actuated by unselfish and patriotic though mistaken motives, together with many other active participants in the exciting scenes of that stormy period.
Mr. Barret wrote several reports of the fairs of the St. Louis Agricultural and Mechanical Association, which were published in book form, and did much to popularize the association and advance its interests. In 1866 he went to Burlington, Iowa, to settle up his father's estate, and there purchased and edited the Gazette and Argus, the oldest paper in the State. With Henry W. Starr and J. G. Foote, he was sent as a delegate to the Des Moines Rapids Convention a St. Louis, which resulted in the building of the Keokuk and Nashville Canal, and was selected by the State of Iowa, together with Gen. A. C. Dodge, formerly United States senator and minister to Spain, Governor Gear, and Judge Edmonds, of Illinois, to urge upon the business men and capitalists of St. Louis the importance of the St. Paul and St. Louis Air-Line Railroad. On this occasion the Burlington Hawkeye said, "Mr. Barret is entitled to the thanks of our people for his untiring efforts and success in directing public attention to this important road."
Mr. Barret has been a lifelong member of the Turner Association, and is an ardent advocated physical culture, having delivered addresses the Turners at Hyde Park, Burlington, Iowa, in company with Theo. Gulich, Governor Stone, and Senator James W. Grimes, and at Peoria, Ill., with Attorney-General ("Bob") Ingersoll, of Illinois. He is a member of the old "Central Verein," from which so many Union soldiers were recruited in St. Louis during the spring and summer of 1861, and served on the finance and citizens' committees for the great "Turnfest" of 1881.
From 1869 to 1872, Mr. Barret was editor-in-chief of the St. Louis Dispatch, and afterward commercial and then city editor of the St. Louis Times. He was also private secretary to his brother, Mayor Arthur B. Barret, and to Mayor James H. Britton.
Mr. Barret married Miss Mary Finney, daughter of the late William Finney, one of the earliest settlers and most prominent citizens and merchants of St. Louis. He prefers a quiet life, removed from the bustle and confusion of the world, and of late his private affairs and his library have been "dukedom large enough."
Samuel B. Churchill came to St. Louis in 1835. He was born in Louisville in 1812, a lineal descendant of the famous Churchill family of Virginia, and connected by blood or marriage with the Armisteads, the Carters, the Turners, Harrisons, Oldhams, and many other of the proudest families of colonial and Revolutionary days. Col. Churchill practiced law but two years. He was in law partnership with Ferdinand Risk. After 1837 journalism and politics occupied his entire time. Sympathizing with the South, he was arrested and imprisoned in 1861, and in 1863 was ordered to leave the State. He returned to Kentucky, took a prominent part in politics there, serving as Secretary of State from 1867 to 1872.
Shepard Barclay was born in St. Louis, Nov. 3, 1847. He is the grandson of Elihu H. Shepard,
pioneers of St. Louis, who for many years was the leading school-teacher of the city. Mr. Barclay began his education at the public schools and High School of St. Louis, and afterwards attended St. Louis University, where he was graduated in 1867. He next attended the University of Virginia, at Charlottesville, Va., and was graduated with high honors in 1869. He then visited Europe, and studied civil law for two sessions at the University of Berlin, Prussia. During his sojourn on the continent he acquired the French and German languages. He then returned to St. Louis, and began the practice of law June 1, 1872. During his early practice he was connected professionally with the press of St. Louis, as editorial contributor, and manifested decided aptitude for the calling.
In 1873 he formed a law partnership with W. C. Marshall, and in that connection continued to practice law until elected circuit judge, Nov. 7, 1882.
Mr. Barclay has been connected with and has successfully managed some of the most important cases that have come before the courts. A ripe scholar, an able, faithful, diligent, and untiring lawyer, patient, polite, energetic, careful, and honest, he seems by nature, education, and experience eminently fitted for the judgeship, and his friends confidently expect from him a brilliant record on the bench.
Joseph G. Lodge was born in Gloucester County, N. J., Jan. 27, 1840; was educated in Gloucester County and at Chester, Pa.; at the age of nineteen taught school, continuing in this occupation for nearly two years, and in 1860-62 attended the law school of University at Ann Arbor. He also took at this institution a partial course in the senior class of the Literary Department. In 1862 he graduated in the law school with the honors of his class, having been chosen orator. He then spent a year in a law-office Detroit, and in 1863 removed to Battle Creek, Mich. On his arrival in that town he was poor and unknown, but soon made friends and rapidly acquired a lucrative practice. He was elected to several offices, the most important that of prosecuting attorney for the county, in which capacity he managed many intricate cases, and was generally very successful, although had to contend with some of the leading lawyers of Michigan. He retained this office four years, having been re-elected for a second term.
In October, 1866, he married Miss Mary S. Sailer, of Gloucester County, N. J., and in October, 1871, removed to St. Louis. Here, as in Michigan, he began as an entire stranger, but he again quickly built up a large and lucrative practice as a criminal lawyer. While practicing mostly in the criminal courts, he has had many important civil cases, and in both fields has shown himself an able advocate. At present he is a member of the legal firm of Johnson, Lodge & Johnson, which is generally conceded to be one of the first in the West. In 1882 he was a candidate on the Republican ticket for judge of the Criminal Court, but owing to dissensions in the party was defeated. Industrious, faithful, attentive, and with broad and comprehensive views, he is an earnest and forcible advocate, but his analytical mind makes him perhaps more effective in the argument of legal propositions before a court than in the discussion of questions of fact before a jury.
The bar of St. Louis at the present day, as reflected in its living and active members, both those upon the shady side of the hill and those who are climbing to the summit, is not unworthy in any respect of the distinguished ancestry whose faint outline has been traced in the preceding pages. The profession holds out the same high rewards to honorable industry, cultivated talents, probity and integrity, and our contemporaries toil with an inherited zeal and compete with an ardor transmitted through unbroken generations for the same sort of distinction as that which compensated Easton and Hempstead, Carr and Benton, the Bateses, the Bartons, the Gambles, and other illustrious men. Those who lightly pretend to believe that the bar of St. Louis has degenerated are not familiar with its past, or have neglected to measure the stature of its present greatness. They may not have forgotten Gibson, Hitchcock, the Glovers, Broadhead, Henderson, and others of national reputation, but they do not sufficiently take into account such men as D. Robert Barclay, H. A. and A. C. Clover, R. Graham Frost, James S. Garland, Joseph R. Harris, Waldo P. Johnson, Edward P. Lindley, and many others. 243
It will be seen, from what has been set forth above, that the bar of St. Louis was never, even in the most primitive times of its history, what is called a "country bar," where the simple disputes of rustics are adjudicated in an unpretentious, rural fashion, and the calibre of judges and counsel is as light in weight as the causes brought to trial. Where the missiles are mountains and hills, the giants must be called in to throw them. The big lawyers of the country those who felt that they could become big, that is went to Missouri, Kentucky, Louisiana, Texas, because the big fees were there which they
grasped at. So when a class of fledgling doctors graduates, the youth who is content to "tote" around his saddle-bags and pill-box all his life, because he has no greater faith in his own capacity, gets him away to some rural district, where the doctors are as few and far off as possible, but the really ambitious "sawbones" seeks the heart of the great city, where he knows that one critical case well conducted will bring him into lucrative practice. The fees in any good fat land case in St. Louis County, paid in land, were often a fortune to the lawyer who won the case, or, if not, they pointed the way to fortune; for the people took an immense and enthusiastic interest in courts and law-suits, and attended upon prominent trials as one would go to the circus or the theatre. A murder trial or a land suit would bring a whole county, a whole circuit, to the county-seat. Thus the lawyers were always in the public eye, and their merits and achievements instantly known; and in this way the St. Louis lawyer constantly had the two greatest possible incentives to endeavor by which man can be urged on, large profits, and the sincere applause of multitudes.
In this respect the Western courts were as different as possible from those in the East. Hon. Oliver H. Smith, some time United States senator from Indiana, in his very entertaining volume, "Early Trials in Indiana," notes this difference forcibly. The people of the West in those early days, he says, thought "the holding of a court a great affair. They came hundreds of miles to see the judges and hear the lawyers ‘plead,’ as they called it. On one occasion there came to be tried before the jury an indictment for an assault and battery against a man for pulling the nose of another, who had insulted him. The court-room was filled to suffocation. There were two associate judges on the bench. The evidence and the pleadings were heard with breathless expectation, and when the case was concluded, the people returned home to tell their children that they had heard the lawyers ‘plead.’ How different this," continues Mr. Smith, from a scene witnessed by him in Baltimore in 1828, when he visited the United States court-room there and got a seat from the United States marshal. "There was a venerable judge on the bench, a lawyer addressing the court, another taking notes of his speech. These three and the marshal composed every person but myself in the room. They were all strangers. I asked the marshal who they were. ‘The judge,’ he said, ‘is Chief Justice Marshall, the gentleman addressing the court is William Wirt, and the one taking notes is Roger B. Taney,’ three of the most distinguished men in the United States, and yet in a city of fifty thousand souls they were unable to draw to the courtroom a single auditor." Mr. Smith seems utterly unconscious of the fact that they were not there "draw."
This necessity of Western eloquence, "drawing," has been very slow to change, if it has disappeared entirely now. Nor have the busy people quite ceased to be drawn; at least such was the case down to a recent epoch. We do not wish to seem libelous, and hence will not vouch for the tradition that in Lexington, Ky., upon occasion of the second trial of out of the Shelbys for murder, in 1846, the trustees of the Methodist Church seriously and urgently debated as to whether or not a great strawberry and ice-cream festival of the church, to which weeks of labor and preparation had been given, should not be adjourned to a later day, to enable the people to go hear the great Henry Clay "plead." And in the interesting account, quoted from on a previous page, from the pen of Charles Gibson, descriptive of the great St. Louis venue of 1850, when MM. les Comtes de Montesquieu were tried for the murder of Kirby Barnum and Albert Jones, we discover that this personal interest in trials still at that day pervaded the whole community. "The trial," says Mr. Gibson, "was largely attended, not merely by our best citizens, but nearly the whole of the spacious apartment was filled by the most refined and aristocratic ladies, old and young, of the city." The writer adds, in the true regretful spirit of a laudator temporis acti, that "the contrast between a great criminal trial thirty years ago, in which the entire community took a profound interest, and the proceedings of the present day in the Four Courts has to be seen in order to be understood and fully appreciated."
The temples of justice, however, and the instruments of punishment in those primitive day were just as poor and mean as can be conceived, and very little calculated to draw the crowds which they had no capacity to accommodate. The machinery of justice seems to have advanced in complications and magnificence in proportion as the public interest in her mysterious, awful ways has diminished and grown cold. This is the way civilization works, perhaps. We do not say that early St. Louis contented itself with the corn-crib court-house and the goods-box jail seen by Mr. Darby in his early rides upon the circuit; yet in 1811, as Brackenridge describes, there was no jail but the martello tower of the old Spanish fort, and no court-house but the stone barrack in that fort, where vermin must have been plenty, or a dining-room in a tavern by the river-side. The record-office and records did not keep much better
state, nor were the court forms ceremonious or intricate, except in the matter of pleas and replications and practice, where the Indiana forms, which had been introduced, were, like the farmer's worm fence, so twisted in and out that he could not tell which side he was on for the life of him. These forms cost the simple and ingenuous French habitans of St. Louis many a dollar and many an arpent.
There may, perhaps, have been a litigious propensity among the primitive St. Louisans in respect of upon personal issues. The number of slander and scandal cases during the Spanish régime is noticeable, and makes the supposition thrown out quite probable. The early judges under the American régime probably thought it needful to be severe in order to maintain their dignity, at least they were severe in many cases. The newspaper court reporter of the present day had no existence then, luckily for him, but the courts appear to have resented in a very uppish manner not only criticism, but every other sort of reference to their proceedings and manners, and there are several cases on record the chief of them noticed in other parts of this work in which criticism and comment were punished severely as constituting contempt. It usually happens that these blows of the courts, no matter whom they are aimed against, light upon the best and most amiable citizens, and this has been the case in St. Louis from the time of Joseph Charless, the first printer, to that of Samuel T. Glover, who in 1865, as we have seen, was fined five hundred dollars for contempt in resisting an unjust statute that impaired his most precious rights as a citizen.
As a rule, however, the chief and characteristic trait of the courts of St. Louis has been the great individuality and force of ability of the bench and bar, the important character and intricate nature of the issues joined, and the simplicity of the court's methods and surroundings. The extreme economy of the administration in primitive times has already been sufficiently spoken of. This proceeded in part from the simple surroundings with which judge, jury, and bar contented themselves on all occasions, from the low salaries allowed, and from the doubling up of many offices and functions in one person. Thus the clerk of the Circuit Court of St. Louis County was also always ex officio recorder of deeds, and usually prothonotary or register of wills and clerk of the Probate Court likewise. An odd instance of this consolidation of offices in one person is to be observed in the case of Dr. David Waldo, of whom some mention has already been made in this chapter. Said Mr. John F. Darby, "He was clerk of the Circuit Court of Gasconade County and ex officio recorder of deeds for the county; he was also clerk of the County Court of Gasconade County, justice of the peace, acting as coroner and as deputy sheriff, it is said, as well as postmaster. He held a commission also as major in the militia, and was a practicing physician. The duties of all these offices David Waldo attended to personally, and discharged with signal and distinguished ability. The county of Gasconade at the time took in an immense territory, including within its boundaries the scope of country now included in the counties of Osage, Maries, Phelps, Pulaski, Wright, and Texas, and on that account it was called by many of the inhabitants ‘The State of Gasconade, David Waldo, Governor.’ In speaking of the doctor, even to his face, very few of them saluted him as mister, doctor, or major; they all called him ‘Dave.’"
The court-room in which this factotum exercised every quality and degree of civil function consisted of one large hewed log house, with one room, a kitchen, and some log stables, so that all had to eat and sleep in the same room, and after the table for breakfast or dinner, as the case might be, had been cleared away, the judge would take a seat on one side of the room in one of the old-fashioned split-bottomed chairs and hold court.
It is to be observed of Waldo, moreover, that he was a gentleman, a scholar, and a man of many superior qualities, and that he did all these things for the people among whom he lived and not for himself, differing therein entirely from that Iowa family not so many years back, of whom the tradition runs that, profiting by sundry convenient laws of the new State, they moved out into the open prairie, and there, all by themselves, after taking up no end of government land, went through all the motions of erecting a new county, held an election, county, township, and State, electing themselves to all the offices, secured the benefit of the school-house, school, court-house, road, and other county funds, and then issued county bonds at a rate to make the Egyptian Khedive stare, selling them for what they would bring and pocketing the proceeds. Dr. Waldo's method of serving the public was much more genuine and cheaper than the modern method, and the public service was benefited in proportion.
As the officers, so the judges, with one or two exceptions. And well was it for early St. Louis and Missouri that they possessed an honest and capable judiciary in the face of so much and so many temptations, for otherwise corruption and villainy would have stalked abroad.
As we have said, the court's surroundings in St. Louis were a little less rude than in Gasconade, yet
primitive enough in all conscience. The first courthouse, in the tavern under the bank, where Emilien Yosti waited upon his boatmen customers, the second, in the old fort on the hill, have already been spoken of sufficiently in several parts of this book, nor is there need to say much of the third, that on the west side of Third Street, between Spruce and Almond Streets, a little one-story house of frame, fronting on Third Street. Here, within these lowly precincts, McNair ruled upon the bench, Benton took his attorney's oath; here sat Lucas, here pleaded Barton and Easton and Pettibone, and many another of the goodly names enrolled in the preceding pages among the pioneers. The catalogue of buildings need not be extended further. So frugal did the people continue to be that even as late as 1827, when population was growing rapidly and the streets were being paved, the city could only spare eighteen thousand dollars to build a new court-house, and the structure was erected complete within the estimates, two miracles in one!
There is nothing more to be said upon this subject except that the bench and bar of St. Louis continue to maintain their pristine vigor and intelligence, illustrating the records of the future, not by extinguishing but by intensifying the lights of the past upon them, making
"Experience the arch wherethrough
The Bar Association of St. Louis. On the evening of the 16th of March, 1874, a meeting of the members of the St. Louis bar was held in Circuit Court Room No. 2 for the purpose of "considering the propriety and feasibility of forming a Bar Association in the city of St. Louis." Col. Thomas T. Gantt was made temporary chairman, and E. W. Pattison was chosen secretary. Alexander Martin stated at length the objects and purposes of the proposed association, and on his motion a committee consisting of five members of the bar was appointed by the chair to draft a suitable constitution and by-laws and submit the same at an adjourned meeting of the bar. The committee consisted of Alexander Martin, Henry Hitchcock, R. E. Rombauer, George M. Stewart, and Given Campbell. The next meeting was held on the 23d of March, 1874, at which a constitution and bylaws were submitted and adopted substantially as presented, and the final organization and incorporation effected. The incorporators were:
John R. Shepley, E. B. Adams, Henry Hitchcock, G. A. Finkelnburg, Shepard Barclay, Arba N. Crane, Edmund T. Allen, Edward T. Parish, Thomas Thoroughman, E. W. Pattison, Alex Davis, Amos M. Thayer, Nathaniel Holmes, Alex. Martin, H. T. Kent, B. C. Kehr, John E. Warfield, C. S. Hayden, A. M. Gardner, John W. Dryden, E. B. Sherzer, George M. Stewart, R. H. Spencer, William Patrick, Charles T. Daniel, W. F. Boyle, Joseph Shippen, R. E. Roubauer, Edward W. Tittman, H. D. Wood, J. N. Litton, E. P. McCarty, D. W. Paul, T. A. Post, J. B. Woodward, Samuel T. Glover, William H. Bliss, H. A. Hanesslor, J. S. Fullerton, J. S. Garland, Hugo Muench, Preston Player, Leonard Wilcox, M. Dwight Collier, Robert W. Good, George W. Lubke, Leo Tarlton, Charles G. Singleton, W. H. Holmes, W. H. Lackland, R. Schulenburg, J. F. Maury, Wm. H. Clopton, Lucien Eaton, Braxton Bragg, Jr., J. F. Conroy, J. Q. A. Fritchey, H. C. Hart, Jr., Henry M. Post, David Goldsmith, William C. Marshall, D. D. Duncan, John C. Orrick, William B. Thompson, H. L. Warren, J. S. Laurie, John E. Jones, Silas B. Jones, J. A. Seddon, Jr., J. O. Broadhead, A. M. Sullivan, J. T. Tatum, J. D. S. Dryden, Samuel Erskine, Nathaniel Meyers, John H. Rankin, Charles C. Whittlesey, George W. Cline, M. J. Sullivan, F. T. Martin, M. D. Lewis, G. D. Reynolds, John W. Noble, B. L. Hickman, E. S. Tittman, J. P. Vastine, S. S. Boyd, Francis Minor, Given Campbell, M. R. Cullen, T. A. Russo, George B. Kellogg, A. W. Slayback, Thomas G. Allen, C. O. Bishop, Chester Harding, Jr., J. D. Foulon, F. J. Donovan, Francis Garvey, William J. Richmond, G. H. Shields, J. W. Ellis, Henry M. Bryan, J. D. Johnson, James Taussig, R. S. McDonald, Simon Obermeyer, J. K. Tiffany, Samuel Simmons, A. R. Taylor, Sherard Clemens, A. W. Mead, J. F. O'Rourke, G. Pollard, F. C. Sharp, D. Tiffany, F. N. Judson, Leo Rassieur, P. Donohue, Melville Smith, W. C. Jamison, Theo. Hunt, T. C. Fletcher, W. C. Jones, T. T. Gantt, H. B. Mills, V. W. Knapp, George W. Taussig, J. B. Nicholson, Clinton Rowell, John M. Krum, W. C. Bragg, John G. Chandler, J. G. Lodge, F. Wislizenus, L. Bell, M. L. Gray, A. D. Anderson, and Julius E. Withrow.
The association continued to meet in court-room No. 2 until the 2d of November following, when it was removed to the life insurance building on the northwest corner of Sixth and Locust Streets. On the 21st of April, 1876, it returned to the courthouse and occupied a room on the second floor, now used by the fire-alarm telegraph, and just opposite the office of the clerk of the Court of Appeals. It remained there until the 5th of January, 1880, when it was again removed to its present commodious quarters on the ground-floor in the Market Street wing of the court-house, near the office of the recorder of deeds. Since its organization the president and the date of their election have been:
1874, John B. Shepley; 1875, James O. Broadhead; 1876, Samuel M. Breckinridge; 1877, John M. Krum; 1878, George W. Cline; 1879, Alexander Martin; 1880-81, Henry Hitchcock; 1882, Edward C. Kehr. The first board of officers were John R. Shepley, president; G. A. Finkelnburg, A. N. Crane, E. T. Farish, vice-presidents; E. W. Pattison, secretary; A. M. Thayer, treasurer; Alexander Martin, Edward C. Kehr, Charles S. Hayden, executive committee. The present board is composed of Edward C. Kehr, president; Edmund T. Allen, James Taussig, S. M. Breckinridge, vice-presidents; James E. Withrow, secretary; Eugene C. Tittman, treasurer; G. A. Finkelnburg, Alexander Martin, John W. Dryden, executive committee.
The object of the association is to "maintain the honor and dignity of the profession of the law, to cultivate social intercourse among its members, and for the promotion of legal science, of the administration of justice." It has accomplished great good in elevating the tone of the legal profession in St. Louis.
Scharf, J. Thomas. History of Saint Louis City and County, From the Earliest Periods to the Present Day: Including Biographical Sketches of Representative Men. In Two Volumes, Illustrated. Volume II . Philadelphia: Louis H. Everts & Co., 1883. [format: book], [genre: biography; history; proceedings]. Permission: Northern Illinois University
Persistent link to this document: http://lincoln.lib.niu.edu/file.php?file=scharf2.html