CHAPTER XXXVI.ATTORNEYS AND COURT SYSTEM.
EARLY JUDICIAL SYSTEM-CHANGES THEREIN BY DIFFERENT CONSTITUTIONS OF THE STATE-CIRCUIT COURT-ASSOCIATE JUDGES -JUDGE ANDREW HOWELL-LIST OF CIRCUIT JUDGES-PROBATE COURT AND LIST OF JUDGES WITH PERSONAL MENTION-COUNTY COURTS AND JUDGES-PROSECUTING ATTORNEYS WITH SKETCHES -CIRCUIT COURT COMMISSIONERS-SHERIFFS-MEMBERS OF THE BAR-LENAWEE COUNTY BAR ASSOCIATION.
The establishment of courts of justice and the installation of the necessary officials were naturally the first work attending the organization of Lenawee county. As has been stated in a previous chapter, the county was detached from Monroe county and given a civil jurisdiction Nov. 23, 1826.Under the Territorial government of Michigan, as established in 1805, the supreme court of the Territory consisted of a chief and two associate justices, appointed by the President of the United States. Their terms of office were "during good behavior," and so they held until 1824, when the "second grade" of Territorial government was established. This court at first had original and exclusive jurisdiction in all cases involving the title to land, criminal cases punishable capitally, and cases of divorce and alimony; afterwards, of all cases beyond the jurisdiction of inferior courts, all cases wherein the United States was a party, and all actions of ejectment. During the existence of the district courts, it had concurrent jurisdiction therewith in civil matters, when the demand exceeded $5oo, and after that it was given original and exclusive jurisdiction of claims above $200. After the organization of county courts, it had original jurisdiction in ejectment and civil actions, when more than $1,000 was in controversy. It also determined all legal questions arising in circuit courts, on motion for new trial, in arrest of judgments or cases reserved, and it also issued writs of error to circuit and county courts. Upon the establishment of the "second grade" of Territorial government, in 1824, the term of office was limited to four years.
The constitution of 1835 provided for a supreme court, the judges of which were to be appointed by the governor, by and with the advice and consent of the senate, to hold, for a term of seven years. By an act approved July 16, 1836, the court was made to consist of a chief justice and two associate justices, a majority of whom should constitute a quorum. It was given essentially the same powers, except chancery, that the supreme court and circuit courts of the territory exercised. The state was divided into three circuits, and the supreme court was required to hold an annual term in each circuit. The revised statutes of 1838 made the supreme court consists of one chief and three associate justices, and gave it "original and appellate jurisdiction of all such matters and suits at law, and in equity and in probate cases," as might be lawfully brought before it; also "jurisdiction of suits, actions and matters brought before it by writ of certiorari or writ of error." Authority was also given "to issue writs of error, certiorari, mandamus, habeas corpus, procedendo, supersedeas," and other necessary writs and process for the due execution of the law. The supreme court was, moreover, given a general superintendence over inferior courts Any two of the justices constituted a quorum for the transaction of business. The revision of 1846 made no essential changes in the composition or the jurisdiction of the supreme court, but altered its annual terms.
The constitution of1850 provided that. for the term of six years the judges of the several circuit courts should be judges of the supreme court. Four of them were to constitute a quorum, and a concurrence of three was necessary to a final decision. There were five circuit judges in the state at that time, and they constituted the first supreme court under the 1850 constitution. , The court thus organized had "a general superintending control over all inferior courts," and. had "power to issue writs of error, habeas corpus, mandamus, quo warranto, procedendo, and other original and remedial writs." In other cases it was given appellate jurisdiction only. Four annual terms were provided for, and these were fixed by statute as follows : A January term to be held at Detroit, a May term at Kalamazoo, a July term at Adrian, and an October term at Pontiac.
In 1857, acting under constitutional authority, the legislature reorganized the supreme court, making it consist of one chief and three associate justices, elected by the people for a term of eight years. The legislature of 1887 increased the number of justices to five, and the terms of the additional justice and all justices elected after 1887, to ten years. By Act 250 of 1903, the number of justices was increased to eight, five of whom constitute a quorum, and the term of office was reduced to eight years.
Upon the establishment, of a state government, equity and common law jurisdiction was separated and vested in distinct courts. All equity powers were vested in a court of chancery exclusively, save that certain exceptional cases might be taken to the supreme court, and appeals by any person aggrieved by the decree or final order of the court of chancery. This court held sessions, in turn, in each of the circuits into which the state was divided by the act establishing circuit courts. All causes were to be heard and determined in the circuits in which they arose. This court was abolished by the revised statutes of 1846, as passed by the legislature, although the original draft of the revision provided for its continuance, with some modifications intended to simplify and perfect the system. Its jurisdiction was conferred upon the several circuit courts and it has remained there ever since.
In 1825-circuit courts were established by name, but were still held by the judges of the supreme court. The circuit court was given original jurisdiction in all civil actions at law where the demand exceeded $7,ooo, of actions of ejectment, of all criminal cases punishable capitally, and of all cases not exclusively cognizable by other courts, concurrent jurisdiction with county courts in civil actions beyond the jurisdiction of justices of the peace, and of criminal offenses not punishable capitally, and appellate jurisdiction from county. courts. Another act was passed, in 1827, repealing the essential provisions of previous acts, and providing for two more circuits, viz : Washtenaw and Lenawee. In 1833 the county courts in all the counties of the territory east of Lake Michigan, except Wayne, were abolished, and their places supplied by "the circuit court of the Territory of Michigan." It consisted of one circuit judge, for the entire circuit, and two associate judges for each county. The circuit judge was appointed for four years and the associate judges for three. The court had both chancery and common law jurisdiction and was given original jurisdiction of civil cases at law and crimes not within the jurisdiction of a justice of the peace and appellate jurisdiction of such as were. ft might also determine questions of law arising on motions for new trial or in arrest of judgment. The circuit courts already existing were now called superior circuit courts, and were empowered to issue writs of error to the circuit courts. By act approved, March 26, 1836, the state was divided into three circuits, and judges of the supreme court were to perform the duties of circuit judges. These courts were given the same powers and jurisdiction as the territorial circuit courts tinder the act of 1833, except in chancery matters. By the revision of 1846, the court of chancery was abolished and chancery powers conferred upon the several circuit courts. Since then the jurisdiction of circuit courts has been essentially as at present. The constitution of 1850 made the 'office of circuit judge elective, and the term of office six years. By act of April 8, 1851, the state was apportioned, into eight circuits, the First being composed of the counties of Hillsdale, Lenawee and Monroe. Although the circuits in general were rearranged and increased in number at different times, the First circuit remained unchanged until 1883, when Monroe county was detached and together with Washtenaw was made to form the Twenty-second circuit. Hillsdale and Lenawee remained together as the First circuit from that time until, by Act No. 75, of the Public Acts of 1907, each of these counties was constituted a circuit, Hillsdale remaining as the First and Lenawee being denominated the Thirty-ninth.
Tecumseh, the first county seat, as is related elsewhere, had its log jail, and a very respectable frame court house. Here, Ross Wilkins, as territorial judge, held court until the state was organized, and after him William A. Fletcher, the first chief justice of the state. Judge Fletcher had the reputation of being an able lawyer and a clear-headed judge, but he succumbed, as many did at that early day, to vicious indulgence in intoxicating drinks. He became unfit for judicial life before his term had ended, and in 1842 Alpheus Felch, a man of clean life not less than of sound head, was appointed to the bench, and assigned to hold the courts of this circuit as judge Fletcher's successor. He had already been auditor-general and bank commissioner of the state, and he -afterward became governor, senator in Congress, and judge upon land claims in California.
Upon the establishment of the state government, when equity and common law jurisdiction were separated and vested in distinct courts, Randolph Manning held courts at Adrian, as chancellor. He was a good man and an able lawyer, but altogether too strict and technical in his practice for an equity judge, and he made his court so unpopular that it was abolished by law. He resigned before the new law took effect, and Eton Farnsworth, who had preceded him as chancellor, took the office again for a short time. Judge Farnsworth is said to have been a good equity judge, but not a learned one.
The ludicrous side of judicial life was illustrated by the system of associate judges. This plan, which went in vogue in 1833, provided that two citizens act as associate judges-theoretically supporting the legal subtleties of the president judge with their native shrewdness and knowledge of human nature-and until 1846 this plan was continuously in operation. Judge Thomas M. Cooley commented upon this judicial arrangement in an address delivered upon the occasion of the laying of the corner stone of the Lenawee county court house. In speaking of the associate judges, he said: "Generally they were what may justly be called solid and weighty men, such as William H. Hoag, Sirrell C. LeBaron, Jeremiah D. Thompson, Jonathan Berry and IL J. Quackenboss. Their duty was to do nothing, and they did it faithfully, and though they sometimes slept on their posts, yet sleeping or waking they performed the duty equally well: Of how very few public officers can we truthfully say this! They were a harmonious element in the court, and never disturbed the business by intermeddling. Excellent as they were, it would be ungracious to say we want no more of side judges, and we forbear."
Warner Wing succeeded judge Felch when the latter became governor in 1845, but was transferred to Detroit, and George Miles and Abner Pratt held court here until, tinder the constitution of 1850, judge Wing was elected to this circuit. After him came, in succession, E. II. C. Wilson, Franklin Johnson, Daniel L. Pratt and Andrew Howell, the last named being the first resident lawyer of Lenawee county to reach the dignity of circuit judge.
Judge Andrew Howell was born in Seneca county, New York, Dec. 18, 1827, and was not yet four years old when his parents settled in Lenawee county. Here he passed his boyhood upon the farm and in the district school of the neighborhood, until well advanced in young manhood. From 1847 to i85o he pursued his education at Tecumseh, and at the Wesleyan Seminary at Albion, Mich. In the fall of 1850 he commenced the study of law at Adrian, in the office of F. C. Beaman and R. R. Beecher, then the leading attorneys of Lenawee county. In 1853 he graduated in the law department of the College of Cincinnati, standing first in a class of thirty-three. After graduation, he returned to Adrian and commenced the practice of his profession in partnership with judge Beaman, his former preceptor. Later, in 1855, he joined in a law partnership with judge R. R. Beecher, with whom he continued in successful practice for many years. While in practice he was three times elected to the office of circuit court commissioner, and for two terms; 1865 and 1867, he represented Lenawee county in the state senate. In 1871 he was appointed by the governor as one of the commissioners to supervise and certify to a new compilation of the laws of the state then lately ordered by the legislature. But this position was soon afterward resigned, and thereupon, in pursuance of an act of the legislature, he was immediately appointed by the governor as ,special commissioner to prepare general laws for the incorporation of cities and villages in the state. Bills for that purpose were accordingly prepared and submitted by him, and were adopted by the legislature at its next session, and are now a part of the general statutes of the state. Some time after this he compiled and published as a work of private enterprise, a complete edition of the general statutes in force, with copious annotations from the decisions of the Supreme Court. This work, now known as "Howell's Annotated Statutes of Michigan," was subsequently approved and adopted by the legislature as the authorized compilation of the laws, and the same is now, by such authority, in use throughout the state. While in practice at the bar, Judge Howell also enlarged, revised, and published several editions of "Tiffany's Justice's ' Guide" and "Tiffany's Criminal Law," both of which he made standard works of practice in Michigan. In the spring of 1881, upon the nomination of both political parties, judge Howell was elected to the bench of the First Judicial Circuit, and at the end of his term removed to Detroit, where he engaged in law practice.
Judge Howell was succeeded as judge of the First circuit by Victor H. Lane, who served from January, 1888, to January, 1894. He was then re-elected for a second term, but resigned before its expiration, and Richard A. Watts, of Adrian, was appointed to the vacancy. After retiring from the bench Judge Lane removed to Ann Arbor, where he is now a member of the law faculty of the University of Michigan. At the spring election of 1899, Guy M. Chester, of Hillsdale, was elected to the position of judge of the First circuit, and was re-elected in 19o5, being the present incumbent of that position. The legislature of 1go7, however, as before stated, separated Hillsdale and Lenawee counties, and John L. O'Mealy, of Adrian, was chosen as judge of the newly-created Thirty-ninth circuit.
In 1818 the Territorial legislative body provided for a court of probate to be established in each county, the office to be held by some "able and learned person," appointed by the governor, from which court appeal might be taken to the supreme court. These courts continued in operation until after Michigan had become a state. The revised statute of 1838 made the office of judge of probate elective, for a term of four years. In different cases appeals were allowed to the circuit, or to the supreme court. The revision of 1846 provided for direct appeals to the circuit court only. The constitution of 1850 provided for a probate court in each organized county, the judge of which was to be elected for a term of four years. The new constitution of 1909 gives probate courts original jurisdiction in all cases of juvenile delinquents and dependents.
The office of probate judge is peculiarly local and intimately associated with the affairs of all the people, and it has been filled in Lenawee county by some of her best citizens. In fact, it may be said that the county has been singularly fortunate in the selection of its-probate judges, included in the list being some able lawyers, and all who have filled the position have been honest and pure- , minded men, giving character and dignity to the court, and reflecting honor upon the county and themselves.
The first judge of the probate court of, Lenawee county was the Hon. Musgrove Evans, of Tecumseh. He was appointed by Gov. Lewis Cass, soon after the organization of the county, in 1827. Judge Evans was one of the small band of pioneers who made the first settlement in Lenawee county, at Tecumseh, in 1824. He was a member of the Society of Friends, and a man of great force of character and kindness of heart. Owing to the sparseness of the population, the business of the court could not have been so onerous as to interfere very seriously with his other avocations, and the records show that nearly a year intervened between the filing of the first and second petitions in his court. On Jan. 1, 1833, he was succeeded by Hon. Seneca Hale, also of Tecumseh, who held the office four years. Little is known regarding the life, character or career of Judge Hale, save what appears in the records of his own court, and these show him to have been a painstaking, careful official. Later he removed to Milwaukee county. Wisconsin,and devoted his attention to agricultural pursuits, living to an advanced age.
Hon. Alexander R. Tiffany succeeded to the office in January, 1837. Judge Tiffany was a lawyer of learning and ability, and was possessed of that culture, refinement and kindness of heart which eminently fitted him for the discharge of the delicate and responsible trust. He had pursued his legal studies with Hon. John C. Spencer, at that time one of the ablest lawyers in New York, and who was afterward chief justice of the highest court of that state. Before coming to Michigan, Judge Tiffany had for some years held the office of county judge of Wayne county, New York, thus acquiring a judicial experience which admirably fitted him for judge of the probate court in a new county, where he had few precedents to guide him. He came to Michigan in 1832, settling in Palmyra, which then had the promise of becoming the future great city of the county. He held various offices of trust and honor-prosecuting attorney, judge of probate, member of the Constitutional Convention of 185o, and of the state legislature in 1855. He was the author of several valuable law books. In all the relations of life he faithfully discharged whatever duty devolved upon him. He died in Palmyra, Jan. 14, 1,968, having lived a useful and honored life.
Hon. Consider A. Stacy, who succeeded judge Tiffany in the office, brought to the discharge of its duties, not only talents of the highest order and a thorough knowledge of the law, but a kindness of heart which eminently fitted him for the position. Among the members of the bar of this state few have attained a more prominent position. Admitted at the age of twenty, he commenced practice, in 1837, with Hon. Peter Morey, afterward attorney-general of the state, and he soon gained prominence in his profession. In the spring of 1838 he was elected justice of the peace, and served four years. In 1839 he formed a partnership with Fernando C. Beaman, which continued three years. In 1844 he was elected judge of probate and served twelve years. In 1845 he formed a partnership with Thomas M. Cooley (afterward judge of the supreme court of Michigan), which continued about three years. In 1849 he was appointed by Governor Ransom prosecuting attorney of Lenawee county, tinder the old constitution, and held the office until that of 185o came into force. For twenty-six years he was a member of the school board of Tecumseh. In 1858 he was the Democratic nominee for Congress, but was defeated by Henry Waldron, of Hillsdale. In 1850 he was appointed by Governor McClelland a member of the State Board of Education, and was active in organizing the State Normal School and erecting the building at Ypsilanti. That the, people of the county appreciated his services as judge of probate is evidenced by the fact that he was three times elected to the position.
In 1857 Judge Stacy was succeeded by Hon. Fernando C. lea-man, who held the office until elected to Congress in 1861, when he was succeeded by Hon. Robert R. Beecher.
Judge Beecher was a good lawyer, and of a most genial and kindly nature. Sympathetic and generous, he brought to the discharge of the duties of the office qualities and qualifications rarely found combined in one man. Nearly all the people in the county personally knew and laved him, and their esteem was evidenced by three times electing him judge of probate of the county. He held the office from Jan. 1, 1861, until his death, in 1871, in the prime of manhood.
Hon. Fernando C. Beaman, who had been judge of probate from Jan. 1, 1857, to Jan 1, 1861, was appointed to succeed judge Beecher, in 1871, was subsequently elected by the people in 1872, re-elected in 1876, and he continued to hold the office until the failure of his health rendered him unable to discharge its duties. He resigned in April, i88o. Judge Beaman is given a somewhat extended mention in the chapter entitled "Politics and Official Honors," to which the reader is referred for facts concerning his interesting and honorable career- He -was succeeded in the office of judge of probate by Norman Geddes.
Judge Norman Geddes was born at Livonia, N. Y., April 14, 1823, and died at his home in Adrian, May 11, 1899. He first became a resident of Lenawee county, Sept. 5, 1835, settling with his parents upon a farm in Cambridge township. He began teaching -at seventeen, was for some time a student in the branch, then Iocated at Tecumseh, of the University of Michigan, and in 1843 entered the law office of Hon. Richard Butler, at Mt. Clemens, and -pursued his legal studies tinder the direction of Mr. Butler and of the late Giles Hubbard, supporting himself meanwhile by teaching. In 1846 he entered the law office of the late A. C. Harris, at Adrian, and was admitted to the bar the following year: After admission he taught two terms in Prof. Hance's academy, an educational institution at Adrian of considerable note at that time. Thereafter he continued in the active practice of his profession until shortly before his death, except for about six years, during which he was in charge of the collection department of a large commercial house at Buffalo, and for nine years in which he served as judge of probate. In 1849 he was elected recorder of the then village of Adrian, and was twice re-elected; in 1851, he was elected justice of the peace; in 1864 he was elected circuit court" commissioner, and was re-elected in 1866, holding the office four years. In 188o Governor Croswell appointed him judge of probate, to fill the vacancy caused by resignation of Hon. Fernando C. Beaman, and at the general election following he was elected to the same office, re-elected in 1884, and he filled the position nine years. For twelve years he was a member of the board of trustees of the 'Eastern Michigan Asylum for the Insane; for fifteen years was trustee and treasurer of the Plymouth Congregational Church at Adrian, and for twenty-seven years was president of the board of trustees of Adrian College, resigning as president at the .June session of the board, in 1898. At the close of the Civil war he was prominent in the organization of the county and city soldiers' monument associations; was secretary of both bodies, and at the dedication of the monument, July 4, 1871, was orator of the day. He was a director of the Commercial Savings Bank in Adrian from its organization, and from Jan 25, 1898, president of the Pioneer and Historical Society of Lenawee County, in the work of which he took great interest and to which he devoted much time, holding both offices until his death.
In 1888 Col. Richard B. Robbins was elected to the position of probate judge, and was re-elected in 1892, and again in 1896, serving in all, twelve years. Colonel Robbins is given appropriate mention in another chapter of this volume. He was succeeded in office by Harry L. Larwill, who was elected in 1900, re-elected in 19o4, and again in 19o8, and is the present incumbent of the position.
In 1815 county courts were first established in Michigan, to be held by one chief and two associate justices appointed by the governor. They had exclusive jurisdiction over all claims exceeding a justice's jurisdiction and not exceeding $1,000, but no jurisdiction in ejectment. In 1818 chancery jurisdiction was given them and provision was made for the appointment of masters in chancery. But after the establishment of circuit courts the county courts began to decline. Much of their jurisdiction was gradually transferred to the circuit courts, and in 1833 they were abolished altogether in the organized counties east of Lake Michigan, except Wayne, by the same act which established the old circuit court of the territory.
The first county judge in Lenawee was Gen. Joseph Air. Brown, appointed soon after the passage of the act organizing the county, and his associates here Elisha P. Champlin and John T. Borland. the three men being sworn into office by Dr. Caleb N. Ormsby, who was a justice of the peace. Elisha P. Champlin had located in Tecumseh among the earliest of the settlers, in 1824. He remained there until 11834, when he removed to Jonesville, where he engaged in the mercantile business with George C. Munro and built a block of stores. He was postmaster at Jonesville from 1840 to 1844, representative in the state legislature in f838 and 1840, and state senator in 1841-42. He died in 1855. Of John T. Borland but little is known, further than the fact that he was one of the early settlers at Tecumseh and a highly respected citizen.
General Brown_ was succeeded in the office of chief justice by S. Blanchard, who was in turn succeeded by Levi Baxter. Judge Baxter was born at East Windsor, Conn., Oct. 5, 1788, and -when a boy removed with his father to western New York, where he was engaged in farming, lumbering and merchandising at Sidney Plains. He settled at Tecumseh in 1831 and built the "Red Mills," the first of any size west of Monroe. He built a mill at Jonesville, in 1834, the first west of Tecumseh. He removed to White Pigeon in 1836 and built large mills. In 1848 he removed to Jonesville, and was elected as senator to the legislature of 1849 and 1850 by a coalition of Whigs and Free-Soilers. Through his influence Jonesville was made a station on the Michigan Southern railroad. He died at Jonesville in 1862.
Following is a list of those who have held the office of prosecuting attorney in Lenawee county, with the year of their appointment or election, since the establishment of the state government, in 1837. In a number of cases the occupancy of this office has been the beginning of a distinguished career in the law: 1837, Milton N. Halsey; 1841, Peter R. Adams; 1843, Consider A. Stacy, 1850, Alonzo F. Bixby; 1852, S. F. Wilkinson; 1856, Robert R. Beecher; i86o, Andrew C. Mercer; 11862, George Kingsley; 1864, Clement E. Weaver; 1868, Charles R. Miller; 1872, Edward B. Sayers; 187-1, Seth Bean; 1876, W. A. Underwood; 188o, Richard A. Watts ; 1882, Lester H. Salsbury; 1886, David B. Morgan; 1890, Fred B. Wood; 1894, John E. Bird; 1898, Jacob U. Sampson; 19o2, Theodore M. Joslin; 1906, Burton L. Hart, present incumbent.
Peter R. Adams was a native of Pennsylvania, born in the town of Tioga, Feb. To, 1805. Although his school advantages were rather limited, by devoting his leisure time to study, he obtained a good knowledge of the common branches, and when a youth of eighteen began teaching. Having in view the legal profession, he repaired to Danville, N. Y., and commenced the study of law, being admitted to practice in 1825. In May, 1830, he came with his wife to Detroit, and not many weeks later they took up their residence at Tecumseh, which remained !heir home from that time. In Tecumseh, then the county seat, Mr. Adams began the practice of law, which he continued with fair success until the fall of 1842, and then on account of impaired health he found it necessary to seek more active employment. Besides giving close attention to his professional duties, he interested himself in the affairs of his adopted county, serving as township supervisor, prosecuting attorney, judge advocate, etc., and would have been called to other and higher offices could he have been persuaded to accept them. Upon giving up his practice he retired to a farm a mile east of the village, and from that time until 1861 gave his attention principally to agricultural pursuits. He returned to the village in 1861, and five years later was elected president and one of the directors of the National Bank of Tecumseh, holding these offices until the institution closed up its business. In 1866 he commenced the publication of the "Raisin Valley Record," and for several years thereafter received a liberal public patronage. He finally transferred his interest in this journal to other parties, and at the organization of the People's Bank became its president, retaining his position until it was succeeded by the bank of Fitzsimmons & Company.
Alonzo Foster Bixby was born in Batavia, Genesee county, New York, July 6, 1819. He was the only son of his parents, with whom he remained until seventeen years of age. Then, an earnest desire for a liberal education induced him to leave the farm and enter upon a course of study, which he pursued at Granville, and in the Western Reserve College, at Hudson, Ohio. Later, he entered the law office of Baker & Millard, in Adrian, and in 1843, after a most satisfactory examination, was admitted to the bar. He commenced the practice of his chosen profession in Canandaigua, but after a few months failing health from an affection of the lungs compelled him to seek a warmer climate, and he took up his residence in LaGrange, Texas. Border troubles, terminating in the Mexican war, agitated the country, and he became one of the renowned Texas Rangers, participating in the battle of Monterey, and enduring much hardship and suffering. He returned to Adrian in the fall of 1846, and opening an office resumed the practice of law in his boyhood home. In 1850 he was elected prosecuting attorney of Lenawee county, running far ahead of his ticket. He continued the practice of his profession until the last illness, which terminated in his death, April 18, 1870. He had maintained the position of one of the leading members of the bar, and was a man of strong and positive character, but with a genial and kindly nature that secured him warm and lasting friends.
Clement E. Weaver was born in Hartland, Niagara county, New York, July 18, 1832, and came to Michigan with his parents in 1835. He lived with his father on a farm in Hillsdale county until he was eighteen years old, when he commenced teaching school, and that occupation he followed for about ten years. In this time he taught one year in the city of Jackson, and two years in the village of Hudson. In 1851. and 1854 he attended the Michigan Central College (now Hillsdale College), then located at Spring Arbor, Jackson county. In the summer of 1853 he attended the high school of Adrian, J. Q. Disbrow being the teacher. He commenced the study of law in 1855, and afterward went into the office of Andrew C. Mercer, of Hudson, in 1856. In the fall of 1856, with Mr. Mercer, he went to the Territory of Nebraska, where he remained one year, and upon his return he read law with Probate Judge Webb, of Hillsdale, for one year. Subsequently returning to Hudson, he read law with Mr. Mercer, and was admitted to the bar of Hillsdale county in the fall of 1859. He remained in Hillsdale one year, and then went to Hudson and formed a partnership with Mr. Mercer in 1861, while the latter was prosecuting attorney of Lenawee county. During the second year of Mr. Mercer's term of office he was too feeble to attend to his duties, and Mr. Weaver acted as prosecutor. In 1864, upon the death of George I(iiigsley, who was then prosecuting attorney, Mr. Weaver was appointed to fill the vacancy. In the fall of 1864 he was elected prosecuting attorney of the county, came to Adrian to reside, and he' was reelected in 1866. In 1867 he formed a law partnership with Edwin Hadley, and remained with him five years. On Oct. 9, 1872, he formed a partnership with Charles M. Walker, which continued until Mr. Walker's death, Oct. 20, 1878. He then formed a partnership with his brother, Charles M. Weaver. His life was an active and honorable one, and as a lawyer and pleader at the bar the stoodone of the foremost among his brothers in his profession. He died in April, 19o6.
Capt. Charles Rollin Miller was born in Moravia, Cayuga county, New York, June 7, 1834, and came to Michigan with his parents in 1837. He remained under the parental roof and labored with his father until he was nineteen years old, profiting by all the school privileges that were then extant. He labored at farm work summers and taught school winters until he was able to attend the State Normal School at Ypsilanti, in which he graduated in 1855. He then entered the literary department of Michigan University, graduating there in 1858, and in the law department of the same institution in 186o. He then located in St. Joseph, Mo., and commenced the practice of law, but after about two years' residence there he found the secession sentiment very strong, and he returned to Michigan. In August, 1862, he enlisted in Company C, Eighteenth Michigan Infantry, as second lieutenant, but soon thereafter was promoted to first lieutenant. At Nashville, Tenn., he was detached from his company and put on the staff of the post commander, and soon thereafter was made assistant judge advocate, on the staff of Major-General Rousseau. Not many months after this, by special order of Gen. George I-I. Thomas, he was made assistant judge advocate of the Department of the Cumberland, on the staff of General Thomas. At the close of the war, in 1865, he was mustered out with a captain's commission. In the summer of x865 he returned to Adrian and immediately entered into a law partnership with I-Ion. Norman Geddes, under the firm name of Geddes & Miller, which partnership continued for over twenty years, when Mr. Geddes was elected judge of probate. Mr. Miller carried on the business until 1894, when he retired from the law to give his entire attention to his extensive business interests. He was twice elected prosecuting attorney.
William Allen Underwood was born at Adrian, Nov. 16, 1846. He was educated in the public schools at Adrian, and finished his preparatory course for college at Williston Seminary at Easthampton, Mass. In the fall of 1863 he entered Yale College as a freshman, and remained throughout his freshman and part of his sophomore year. He then returned home, and the following autumn entered the University of Michigan as a sophomore, and remained during the sophomore and junior years. He entered the office of Eldredge & Walker, in Adrian, as a student in the summer of 1867, and entered the law school at Ann Arbor in the fall of 'hat year. After a time he returned to Adrian and again entered the office of Eldredge & Walker, in January, 1868, and remained there until September of the same year, when he entered the law school at Albany, N. Y. Ile took the full course, graduated there in 1809, and was admitted to the bar of the supreme court of that state. After graduating he returned to Adrian, and during the next few months continued his studies in the office where he had previously been a student. He was admitted to the bar at Adrian, and then for a short time took up his residence in Chicago. In 1871 he entered the office of the late Consider A. Stacy as a clerk and remained in that capacity two years. He then entered the firm, which was composed of Judge Stacy and his son, Scoville, and upon the retirement of the latter, in 1876, a new firm was formed, called Stacy & Underwood, which continued until some time in 1879, when Mr. Underwood began practice by himself. He continued alone until the fall of 1881, when he entered partnership with the late Seth Bean, and the firm was called Bean & Underwood. ']'his continued until some time in 1884, when the Hon. Victor H. Lane was admitted to the firm, the name of which became Bean. Underwood & Lane, and this association continued until July i, 1885. In 1874 Mr. Underwood was appointed by the late Chief Justice Waite, of the United States Supreme Court, to be Register in Bankruptcy for the Second congressional district of Michigan. He continued to hold this office until the spring of 1876, when he resigned, and in the fall of that year he was elected prosecuting attorney of Lenawee county, and was re-elected in 1878. In July, 1888, he moved to Detroit, and finally, in 1889, settled in New York. where he continued in the practice of his profession until his death.
Lester H. Salsbury was also a native of Lenawee county, and was born in Dover township, June 25, 1842. He was reared on his father's farm, and attended school a few weeks during the winter, assisting in the work of the farm during the remainder of the year. He attained his manhood about the time of the breaking out of the Civil war, and in May, 1861, he enlisted as a private in Company B, Fourth Michigan infantry, and was assigned to the Army of the Potomac. He participated in all the campaigns of that army, and in the battle of Gettysburg he was wounded in three places, one ball passing through his left lung, one through his arm, and one lodged in his right thigh. Upon his recovery he rejoined his regiment at Bealton Station, Va., and soon afterward took part in the Mine Run campaign. For meritorious service he had been promoted second lieutenant, but on account of his wounds, and the expiration of his term of enlistment, the commission was never issued by the government, and on March 24, 1864, he was mustered Out of the service, at Bealton Station, Va. Upon his return to Lenawee county he again engaged in farming, and in the following spring was elected treasurer of Dover township. In the spring of 1866, feeling the need of an education, he entered Oberlin College, where he pursued his studies vigorously for two years, devoting a portion of his time to school teaching, whereby he procured the means to defray his college expenses. In the fall of 1868 he entered Hillsdale College, in the junior class, and he graduated with the class of 1870. Having determined upon a professional life, soon after his graduation he entered the law department of the state university at Ann Arbor. After leaving that institution he entered the law office of Sawyer & Bean, at Hudson, and later taught a graded school at Clayton. He then returned to his law studies and was admitted to the bar Nov. 30, 1872. In January, 1873, he formed a partnership with Seth Bean, of Hudson, which lasted for two years, when Mr. Bean was elected prosecuting attorney. Mr. Salsbury then continued the practice in Hudson until 1882, when he was elected prosecuting attorney, as the nominee of the Democratic party, in a county strongly Republican, and two years later was reelected by the handsome majority of r,185 votes. In 1886 he was the candidate for Congress on the Democratic ticket. but ,vas defeated by Hon. E. P. Allen, of Washtenaw county.
The constitution of 1850 stipulated that "The legislature may provide by law for the election of one or wore persons-in each organized county, who may be vested with judicial powers not exceeding those of a judge of the circuit court at chambers." In compliance therewith the legislature created the elective office of Circuit Court Commissioner. Prior to the adoption of the constitution of 1850, an office of the same name and duties had been filled by appointment of the governor, and in Lenawee county A. L. Millard had been the incumbent for two or three terms. The incumbents of the office by election have been as follows: 1850. Thomas M. Cooley, 1854, Lucien B. Bowen; 1858, Andrew Howell; 1862, Andrew Howell and John J. Hogaboam; 1864, Norman Geddes and John J. Hogaboam; 1868, Edward Hadley and John J. Hogaboam; 1872, Edward Hadley and Peter Shumway; 1874, Charles L. Hall and J. H. Goff ; 1876, Willis Merritt and J. H. Goff ; 1878, Willis Merritt and Charles L. Hall; 188o, Frank R. Payne and George W. Whitbeck; 1882, Frank R. Payne and James AV. Helme, Jr.; 1884, George W. Ayers and George L. Bennett; r888, George AA'. Ayers and Grant A. Rogers, 18go, James AV. Helme, Jr., and Burt D. Chandler; 1892, Jacob N. Sampson and George AV. Ayers; 1894, Jacob N. Sampson and Leshe B. Robertson, 1896, George A. Chapman and Leshe B. Robertson ; 1898, George A. Chapman and Henry R. Jewett ; 19oo, George A. Chapman and Louis 0. Brown; 1902, Edmund II. Griffin and William .B. Alexander; 1906, Leland F. Bean and Charles A. Wilson, present incumbents. _
Hon. Thomas M. Cooley was the most eminent man that ever made his home in Lenawee county. Born on a farm about one mile east of Attica, Genesee county, New York, Jan. 6, 1824, he attended district school until he was fifteen years old, and then became a student at the Attica Academy, where he remained three years. In 1842 he began to read law in the office of Theron K. Strong, of Palmyra, N. Y., but in 1843 he removed to Adrian, where he continued his studies in the law office of Alexander R. Tiffany and Fernando C. Beaman. A portion of his time was given as deputy village clerk of Adrian. In 1848 he became a member of the law firm of Reaman, Beecher & Cooley. In 1850 he was elected circuit court commissioner, and also served as recorder of the village of Adrian. In 1855 he formed a law partnership with Charles M. Croswell. In 1857 he was chosen by the legislature to compile the laws, state and territorial, up to that time, and accomplished the great task in nine months. In 1858 he was appointed Reporter of the Supreme Court, and the same year he was also chosen by the Board of Regents of the state university as one of the first three professors in the law department, with judge James V. Campbell and C. I. Walker, and he then removed to Ann Arbor. In 1864 he was elected to the bench of the Supreme Court of Michigan, and of course discontinued his work as Reporter, after having issued eight volumes of reports. In 1868 he published his great work on "Constitutional Limitations." In 187o his edition of Blackstone appeared, and next, in 1874, his Story's Commentaries; in 1876, his work on Taxation; in 1879, on Torts, and in 188o, a manual on Constitutional Law. In 1882, with the Hons. Allen G. Thurman and E. B. Washburn, he was appointed as a tribunal to settle differences between the great terminal lines. In r885 he left the bench, and in 1886 was appointed receiver of the Wabash railroad, becoming general manager. In 1887 President Cleveland appointed him one of the first five members of the Interstate Commerce Commission, and he became its chairman and controlling spirit. In 1891 he resigned this positionon account of ill health, and he died Sept. 12, 1898. His law books and commentaries are the standards among lawyers throughout the nation.
Willis Merritt was born in the township of Tecumseh, in this county, March 10, 1854. He acquired his early education in the country district schools, and on June 26, 1871, graduated at the high school in Tecumseh. In the fall of 1872 he commenced reading law in the office of E. B. Wood, in Tecumseh, and in January, 1873, entered the law department of the Michigan University, graduating there, March 25, 1874, and being admitted to the bar the same month. In the following April he entered the office of Stacy & Underwood, at Adrian, where he remained until April, 1875, and then he began the practice of law at Tecumseh. In 2876 he was elected circuit court commissioner of Lenawee county, and was reelected in x878.
The first executive officer of the courts in Lenawee county was James Patchen, of Tecumseh, who was sheriff previous to the re= moval of the county seat to Adrian. Ezra Ahen Washburn was appointed Territorial sheriff after the removal to Adrian and served until Joseph H. Cleveland was sworn in under the state organization. Messrs. Patchen and Washburn were among the earliest settlers in the county, and their successors in the office of sheriff, with the years of their election to office, are as follows: 1836, Joseph H. Cleveland ; 1840, Darius Jackson ; 1844, Olmsted Bough ; 1848, Suniner F. Spofford; 1850, Joseph R. Bennett; 1854, George AV. Ketcham; 1856, Joseph R. Bennett; 186o, Flavius J. Hough; 1864, Sylvester B. Smith; 2868, William R. Tayer; T872, John G. Mason; 1874, Nathaniel B. El dredge; 1876, James R. Cairns; 188o, Charles Bidwell; 1884, A. K. Whitmore; 1888, Edward C. Baldwin; 1892, Edward G. Wilson; 1896, Edwin S. Ferguson; 1898, John C. Iffland ; 1900, William F. Shepherd; 1904, Oliver H. Holt ; 19o8, L. Lafayette Knowles.
Ezra Allen Washburn was born in Middleburv, Vt., June 1, 1807. In August, 1831, he migrated to Michigan and settled in Adrian, where he purchased the land afterward known as the Colonel ,Wood farm, just south of the city, and he cleared it up. He afterward sold the farm to Jesse Treadwell and purchased another of Samuel Maples, located about one mile south of the present Lake Shore & Michigan Southern depot. In 1844 he again sold out and moved to the village of Adrian, where he engaged in the meat business. He was afterward a veterinary surgeon, and became well known throughout the county. In September, 1836, he was appointed sheriff to fill a vacancy, by the acting governor of the Territory-Stevens T. Mason and he held the office until Jan: I, 1837, when Michigan became a state. He was also a candidate for sheriff on a split Democratic ticket, in November, 1836, but was defeated by J. H. Cleveland. He was elected alderman of the city in April, 1858, and was made chairman of the committee on streets, when much public work was done, especially in the way of bridges, culverts, etc. He was a thorough, practical man, of sound judgment and integrity. He died Dec. 26, 1862.
Joseph H. Cleveland was born in Athens, Greene county, New York, June 27, z8og. He carne to Adrian in October, 1831, and engaged in merchandising, which he relinquished in the spring of 1835. What was then called the township of Logan comprised -what is now Adrian township and city, Rome, Rollin, Hudson, Dover, Madison, Raisin, and a portion of Ridgeway, and Mr. Cleveland was its township clerk in 1833. He was a volunteer in the first call for troops in the "Black Hawk" war, in 1832, marching west as far as Coldwater, where all were discharged. He was elected sheriff of Lenawee county, in 1836, and again in 1838. ' He had much to do, officially, with that famous criminal, "Old Sile Doty," who was then in his prime. Mr. Cleveland was the first sheriff who resided in the old jail in Adrian. In 1842 he was chosen .-superintendent of the Michigan Southern railroad, which position be held until 1846, when the road went into the possession of the present corporation. In 184.7 he renewed merchandising, in which business he continued until 1859, when he removed to Chicago.
Sumner F. Spofford was born in Jeffrey, Cheshire county, New Hampshire, May ii, i8o8. He lived with his father until he was twenty-one, came to Tecumseh with his parents, in July, 1824, and did most of the work in clearing up and improving the pioneer farm. In the spring of 1830 he drove the first stage that ever went west of Tecumseh. In the spring of 1841 he was elected constable .of Tecumseh, and during the following twelve years he held the offices of deputy sheriff, under sheriff, sheriff and deputy United States marshal of Lenawee county.- In 184.3 he moved to Adrian, and, in 1851 he became conductor on the Michigan Southern Northern Indiana railroad, between Toledo and Chicago, which position he held until 1855. In September, 1855, he moved to Des Moines, Ia., and became a prominent citizen of that state.
Joseph R. Bennett was born in Shelby, Orleans county, New York, May 18, 181g, and he lived there until he was six years old, when his parents moved to Sweden, Wayne county. In 1834 he came to Michigan with his parents, and he remained a resident of Lenawee county up to the time of his death. He lived with his parents until he was twenty-one years old, and shared the hardships and privations incidental to the making of a home in the wilderness. In 1841 he was appointed deputy sheriff and held that office about two years. In 1848 he was nominated for sheriff on the Whig ticket, but was defeated. In 1850 he was again nominated for the office and was elected by a majority of thirty-one, being the only survivor of his party. He was re-elected two years later by a majority of 2,000, and he served in all four terms, as he was elected again, in 1856 and 1858, on the Republican ticket. In 1861 he was appointed Deputy United States Marshal, and in the fall of 1862 he was made Assessor of Internal Revenue for the First district of Michigan. In 1869, President Grant appointed him United States Marshal for the Eastern district of Michigan, which office he held by re-appointment until 1877. In 1870 it became his duty as United States Marshal to supervise the census returns taken that year for his district. His record as a public officer was without a blemish, and no man in Lenawee county was regarded with greater esteem by all parties. On Jan. 22, 1903, he met with a severe accident while alighting from his carriage, and it resulted in his death on the morning of Feb. 19, following.
George W. Ketcham was born in Poughkeepsie, N. Y., March 10, 1811. He came to Michigan with his parents in 1824, and lived in Monroe one year. In 1825 he came. to Tecumseh, where he resided until his death, Jan. 31, 1875. He was a man of good business abilities, prompt, accurate and honorable, and when a young man commenced the mercantile business. In 1854 he was elected sheriff of Lenawee county and held the office two years, during which time he resided in Adrian. In 1857 he returned to Tecumseh and again embarked in business, opening a dry goods store,. which he continued until 1862, when, owing to ill health, he sold out. He afterwards engaged in the grocery business in Tecumseh, but he retired in 1868 and went to Florida, where he remained six consecutive winters, hoping to regain his health. His hopes were not realized, however, and he died in 1875.
John G. Mason came to this county in 1840, when a child five years of age. He was born in Richmond, Ontario county, New York, July 9, 1835, was reared to farm pursuits, and completed his studies, in the fall of 1855, in the public schools of Adrian. Afterward he was engaged in agriculture in Ogden township until 1872. In this interval he filled the offices of postmaster, school inspector, and township supervisor three years, was deputy sheriff six years. and in the fall of 1872 was elected sheriff, which office he held two years. He was then re-nominated by acclamation, but was defeated by Col. N. B. Eldredge.
James R. Cairns was a citizen of Lenawee county from 1838, in which year he located in the township of Tecumseh, coming here with his father when he was but six years of age. He was born Aug. 28, 1832, at Seneca Falls, N. Y., and he remained at home until 1846, when he set out to learn the trade of carpenter and joiner. which he soon succeeded in mastering, and he followed that occupation until the breaking out of the Civil war. On Nov. 3, 1862, he entered the army as first lieutenant of Company B, Ninth Michigan cavalry, which was under the command of Col. James I. David. He participated in many engagements and remained, doing good and faithful service until he was taken sick and sent to the Fairmount Hospital at Cincinnati, at which place he received his honorable discharge on account of disability. Returning home, he turned his attention to farming, locating in the township of Franklin, where he owned a good property. In 1876 he was elected sheriff of the county and field the office two terms, which is the limit allowed by the laws of Michigan. Previous to his election to the office of sheriff he had served eight years as deputy sheriff.
Ancil K. Whitmore was born in Monroe, Ashtabula county, Ohio, June 27, 1828. In September, i8.L4, he came to Adrian and served an apprenticeship to the shoemaker's trade, which he afterward followed for many years. In the spring of 1858 he was elected constable and collector of the First ward of Adrian, and was reelected the following spring. In the spring of 1861 he was elected marshal of the city, and was re-elected for the two following years. In the spring of 1865 he was again installed as marshal and served four years. In the spring of 1868 he went into the service of the Lake Shore & Michigan Southern Railway Company as a detective officer, with headquarters at Adrian, and from that time he also served as deputy sheriff of the county. He served as deputy United States Marshal from June, 1875, until the spring of 1877. In i88o he was the candidate of the Democratic party for sheriff of Lenawee county, but was beaten at the polls by Charles Bidwell. In 1884 he was again nominated, was successful at the November election of that year, and in 1886 was re-elected, serving a total of four years. He was one of the most efficient and competent officers that ever served the county.
MEMBERS OF THE BAR.
In 1827 Isaac Stetson came into the county, first stopping at Adrian. He soon returned to Detroit, but after a short stay there come to Tecumseh, where he located and remained until about the time of the Black Hawk war, in 1832, when he went to Illinois, and is said to have died there about 1834. He came from the state of New York, and was a well-read lawyer, but he loved the frontier life and moved on to newer settlements as the population increased.
In the same year, Nathan Willis came from Connecticut to this county and settled in Tecumseh. He lived there until 1833 and then removed to Wisconsin, where he died in 1839. He was a plodding, industrious, painstaking man, correct and careful in his professional and business affairs, and when he left was the oldest lawyer in practice in the county. He was a cousin of the poet, Nathaniel P. Willis, who then lived in New York City, but his habits and mental capacity in its practical matter-of-fact view of things bore a marked. contrast to the idealism of the poet.
In 1830 Peter R. Adams moved with his family to Tecumseh, arriving there on July 26 of that year, and with the exception of a short absence in Kansas he resided in Tecumseh the remainder of his life. The essential facts of Mr. Adams' career have already been given in this chapter and a repetition here is not necessary. As prosecuting attorney, member of the Constitutional Convention of 1850, and in various other public trusts confided to him by the people of the county, he left the impress of his intellect upon the affairs with which he was connected. Mr. Adams died in 1883.
Ezra St. John came to this county and settled at Clinton, in 1834, and he practiced his profession there until his death, in 1839. He was an active, energetic man, and is said to have been older than most of the settlers of that day.
In 1832, as has been heretofore stated, Alexander R. Tiffany came to the county from the state of New York, and located for the practice of his profession at Palmyra. About the same time Andrew Backus settled at Tecumseh, where he' lived until about 1855. He was an able lawyer, held the position of register in the land office at Marquette, in the upper peninsula, four years, and finally removed to Detroit, in 1855, and retired from the profession. His father was one of the ablest lawyers and judges of Connecticut, where Mr. Backus was born and reared, and the son was the best versed in elementary law among Lenawee's early disciples of Blackstone. Kind, genial, of fine social qualities, the young lawyers looked up to him for advice and instruction, which he was always ready to give, at a time when few books and small libraries rendered the study of the law much more difficult than at present.
Orange Butler settled at Adrian about 1833. He came from the state of New York, where he had been admitted to practice. He practiced his profession here a short time, attended court in the fall of 1836 and in April, 1837, but afterward engaged as a contractor on the Toledo railroad, and left the profession. He later removed to Lansing, soon after the removal of .the capital there, where he was engaged in land operations. He was elected justice of the peace, served a number of years, and died about 1855,
Peter Morey was born and reared in Cazenovia, Madison county, New York, was educated at the academy in Hamilton, studied law with Slomer & Gridley, of that place, and was admitted to the bar in 1831. He settled in Cazenovia in 1832, later located in the village of Eaton, from whence, in the spring of 1835, he removed to Tecumseh, where he resided until the spring of 1837, and then removed to Detroit. He was appointed attorney-general by Governor Mason, holding the office four years, and soon after the expiration of his term returned to Tecumseh. After a few years he removed to Adrian, where he resided until his age and infirmities compelled him to stop the practice of law, and he then removed to Marion, Ohio, where he lived with his daughter until his death, in the fall of "1881, at the age of eighty-three years. Mr. Morey was a fine scholar, a courteous old-school gentleman, an active politician of the Democratic school, public-spirited, and foremost in all public improvements. Kind to the poor, charitable to the full extent of his means, he was nobly seconded socially and in kindness and charities by his gracious wife. Mr. Morey was an able lawyer, talented and energetic, and his labors in the office of attorney-general in the early history of the state left their powerful and beneficial impress upon the judicial and legislative history of the commonwealth.
Allen Hutchins came to Adrian from Orleans, county, New York, about 1833, and he practiced his profession here until 1836, when he was appointed Receiver of the Land Office at Ionia, which office was then being organized. He got into serious trouble in the conduct of this office, was accused of being a defaulter, and as the partisan feeling ran high at that time the Whig papers showed little mercy in excoriating him, even invading the sanctity of his [ionic. He stoutly maintained his innocence of any wrongful act, and upon retiring from office returned to Adrian and died a few years later. He was one of the leading politicians of the county, and was reputed an able lawyer and business man.
Joseph Chittenden, who was also a lawyer by profession, cattle to Adrian in. 1833. He was a young man of splendid talents, finely educated, and one of the most promising young men in the Territory. He married the daughter of the late Dr. Webb, but died Oct 6, 1834, ten months after his marriage. He was a brother of Mrs. Henry Hart.
Ahira G. Eastman came to this county in the fall of 1835. was admitted to the bar that year and practiced law here until about 1858, when he removed to Van Buren county and resided there until his death, in 1881. Mr. Eastman was a careful, prudent man, and performed well and faithfully the duties devolving upon him in his profession.
In the foregoing paragraphs mention has been made of the lawyers who resided in Lenawee county prior to the adoption of the state constitution, and it is thought that they include the names of every lawyer who practiced his profession here prior to 1836. In the fall of that year and the ensuing winter, the number of lawyers increased rapidly, both by immigration and admission to practice, and a list of members of the bar in 1841 include the following names: Alexander R. Tiffany, Milton N. Halsey, William L. Greenly, Lorenzo Tabor, Josiah L. Ward, E. W. Fairfield, A. M. Baker, A. C. Harris, A. G. Eastman, Peter R. Adams, Consider A. Stacy, F. C. Beaman, Alfred L. Millard and John W. Turner.
Lorenzo Tabor was born in Bradford, Vt., Feb. 23, 1815, and died at his home in Adrian, April 28, 1882. He was reared and educated in his native town, where he studied law and was admitted to the bar, commencing his practice among the people who had known him during his boyhood and youth. A year later, in 1839, in common with scores of other young men of that region, he decided to cast his lot with the pioneers of the West, and coming to Southern Michigan he entered into partnership with W. L. Greenly, at Adrian. Six years later the firm of Greenly & Tabor was dissolved by mutual consent, and Mr. Tabor then associated himself with Josiah L. Ward, with whom he continued until the removal of the latter to California. Not long afterward Mr. Tabor was elected alderman of the city., the duties of which office he discharged in a suitable manner, and later he began dealing largely in real estate, in connection with his practice.
Ebenezer W. Fairfield was born at Pittsfield,. Mass., in 1812. He came to Ann Arbor in 1835, but shortly afterward removed to Adrian, where he practiced his profession until his death, in August, 1845. He was the most brilliant advocate at the bar of that day, and a good lawyer, but he fell a victim to intemperance, and his death resulted from the effects of strong drink.
Albert M. Baker was born at Eden, Erie county, New York, Feb. 17, 1817, and his ancestors came from New England. He was educated in Buffalo, and studied law in the office of Le Grande and George L. Marvin, at that time prominent attorneys of -that city. Soon after completing his law studies, Mr. Baker came to Michigan and settled in Adrian, Nov. 27, 1838. Immediately after his arrival at Adrian he opened a law office and formed a partnership with peter-R. Adams, of Tecumseh. Upon the arrival of A. L. Millard, then a young lawyer, a partnership was formed which lasted many years tinder the name of Baker & Millard. Early in the 50's Mr. Baker was appointed attorney of the Michigan Southern Northern Indiana railroad (now the Lake Shore), which position he held until his death, July 20, i86o.
Alfred L. Millard was born in Moravia, Cayuga county, New York, March 6, 1814. He lived with his parents until his nineteenth year, when he went to Auburn, N. Y., and commenced the study of. law with the I-Ion. M. S. Myers, who was at that time clerk of Cayuga county, Mr. Millard acting as his deputy. He remained there until July, 1836, when he came to Michigan and settled at Dexter, reading law a few months at Ann Arbor, with the Hon. Olney Hawkins. He was admitted to the bat' Jan. 17, 1837, at the -first session o the Supreme Court held in the Second judicial circuit under the state organization, the judges of the court at that time being William A. Fletcher, George Morell and Epaphroditus Ransom. Immediately after his admission Mr. Millard commenced the practice of his profession in Dexter, where he remained until 1841. He then came to Adrian and became a member of the law firm of Baker, Harris & Millard. After about two years this firm was dissolved and soon afterward Messrs. Baker and Millard formed a new one, which continued several years. Later, Mr. Millard formed a partnership with H. D. Condict, which lasted about two years. Mr. Millard was never an office-seeker, but he served as master in chancery, circuit court commissioner, and alderman and city attorney of Adrian. On Jan. 1, 1877, he formed a law partnership with Seth Bean, which continued some years. He was twice a prominent candidate before the convention of the Democratic party for the nomination as judge of the Supreme Court of Michigan. He died Jan. 11, 1goo.
John W. Turner was born in Putney, Vt., in 1818, and came to Hudson in 1841, but later removed to Coldwater. He was the first Republican nominee for lieutenant-governor, but declined in favor of Coe. As a public speaker and legal advocate, he always stood high in Southern Michigan. He published a volume of poems of considerable merit.
Among the other prominent lawyers who have been given personal mention on other pages of this volume, thereby making repetition unnecessary, are Col. Richard B. Robbins, Willard Stearns, Scovel C. Stacy, Nathaniel B. Eldredge and Orsamus Lamb.
Charles M. Weaver was born in North Adams, Hillsdale county, Oct. 24, 1843. He was reared on his father's farm until the age of twenty, receiving a rudimentary education in the district schools, an important-part of his early instruction being received from his brother, Clement E. Weaver, who was at that time a prominent pedagogue in Hillsdale county. At the age of seventeen he went to Hillsdale college, where he spent in all about two college years. After he left the farm he taught school in Pittsford, Hillsdale county, and subsequently acted as clerk in a clothing store at Hudson. In the spring of 1866 he came to Adrian and commenced the study of law with his brother, C. E. Weaver. In September, 1869, he was admitted to the bar of Lenawee county, and remained in his brother's office until the fall of 1871. In the fall of 1873 he formed a co-partnership with Perry Shumway, of Hudson, which continued until Jan. 1, 1875, when he became associated with John F. Welch, of Morenci. He kept his office in Hudson until the following May, and then removed to Morenci, where he practiced law until November, 1878. Soon after becoming a resident of Morenci, he was appointed village attorney, in which capacity he served for nearly four years, and he officiated as village clerk two years. After the death of Charles M. Walker, in October, 1878; Mr. Weaver formed a partnership with his brother, C. E. Weaver, and in November he became the junior member of the law firm of Weaver & Weaver, of Adrian, which firm became quite prominent.
Charles M. Walker was born in Farmington, Oakland county, Sept. 24, 1834. When three years old he was taken by his parents to Lapeer, where he had the advantage of the district schools of that early day. When fifteen years old, he commenced an apprenticeship at the tinner's trade, but after working at it a short time, he threw down his tools and said: "I believe I can do better than make tin pans for a livelihood," and he went immediately to Oberlin College. He remained there three years and then returned to Lapeer, where he commenced the study of law with Col. J. R. White, then a leading attorney of that county. As soon as he was admitted to practice he and Col. N. B. Eldredge formed a partnership in the practice of law, and the same fall he was elected prosecuting attorney, being re-elected at the end of two years. When the Civil war broke otit he enlisted in the Seventh Michigan infantry, and was made quartermaster of the regiment. After serving in that position with much ability for over a year, he was appointed provost marshal of the Fifth congressional district. He held this position for a few months, and then resigned and again went to the front, serving as volunteer aid to Gen. George A. Custer. After the close of the war he came to Adrian and again commenced the practice of his profession. He was clear and incisive in his views of legal propositions, was thoroughly versed in the common law, and when a case was stated to him he seemed to know and comprehend at once the law which must determine it. He is remembered as a genial gentleman, a -good lawyer and eloquent advocate, and a true friend and companion. He died at his home in Adrian, after a brief illness, Oct. 20, 1878.
William L. Penfield, solicitor of the Department of State in the United States government, and a very prominent lawyer, was a product of Lenawee county, although he won his fame in other fields. He was born in the township of Dover, Lenawee county; in 1846, received his education in Lenawee schools, and was admitted to the bar at Adrian, in 1872. In the early 7o's he taught German and Latin in Adrian College, and then engaged in the practice of law at Auburn, Ind. He served as judge of the circuit court in Indiana, prior to his appointment as Solicitor in the State Department at Washington. He was counsel for the United States in the famous "pious fund case," in the Venezuelan arbitration before The Hague tribunal in 1903, and general counselor of the United States government in the Emery claim against the Nicaraguan government. He was counsel for this country in international arbitration between the United States and San Domingo, Hayti, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Salvador and Mexico, wherein awards amounting to $2,500,000 were given in favor of the United States. In 1905 he was special commissioner to Brazil. Judge Penfield died at his home in the city of Washington, after a long illness, May 9, 1909.
Ovid, N. Case was another Lenawee product who won renown as a lawyer in other fields. He was born at Windsor, Ashtabula county, Ohio, Nov. 13, 1853. After receiving a common school education he removed to Lenawee county, where for some years he worked on his father's farm, and in 1875 he graduated at Adrian College. The same year he became superintendent of schools at Cambridge, and later he entered upon the study of law in the office of Stacy & Underwood, at Adrian. He began the practice of his profession at Vermontville, Eaton county, in 1877. The following year he removed to Detroit, where he rose to a high place at the bar, and to a commanding political position. He was elected successively to the legislatures of 1883, 1885 and 1887, serving with distinction in those of 1883 and 1885. Elected to the legislature of 1887 he never took the oath of office, as he died Dec. 26, 1886, at the age of thirty-three years.
Joseph H. Steere is still another young man who started on his successful career in the law at Adrian. He was born May 18, 1852, at Addison, Lenawee county, but removed to the state of Minnesota with his parents in 1854. He returned. to Adrian in 1861, worked on a farm and taught school, attended Raisin Valley Seminary and Adrian high school winters, until 1872, when he entered the literary department of Michigan University, and graduated in the classical course in 1876. He then studied law with Messrs. Geddes & Miller, of Adrian, and was admitted to the bar in 1878. He removed to Sault Ste. Marie and began the practice of law the same year, was elected prosecuting attorney of Chippewa county in 188o, and in the spring of 1881, when but twenty-nine years old, he was elected judge of the Eleventh judicial circuit.
Jacob C. Winne was a native of the state of New York, where he was born at Cherry Valley, Otsego county, Jan. 28, 1855. He passed his early boyhood in his native county, where he attended the common schools until he was old enough to take a more advanced course, and then attended the Ames Academy in Montgomery county, New York, two years. He then came to Lenawee county with his parents, and entered the Adrian High School, pursuing his studies for a time. He then began teaching school, in which he engaged for three winters. Concluding to adopt the law as the profession of his life, he entered the office of Stacy & Underwood, in the spring of 1877, for the purpose of pursuing the preliminary studies, and afterward he attended the law department of the University of Michigan, at Ann Arbor, for one year. In June, 1879, he passed a rigid examination, was admitted to the bar, and began practice. He grew rapidly into a good practice, but death cut him down in the midst of a promising career.
Henry C. Pratt was born in Reading, Seneca county, New York, Dec. 5, 1832, and there he resided until 1838, when his parents removed to Peru, Huron county, Ohio. He was educated in the district schools of his neighborhood and spent nearly two years at the academy at Norwalk, Ohio. He taught his first school when he was seventeen years old and followed that occupation for six years in Ohio. He came to Michigan in 1856, and at once opened a select school in what is now known as District No. 7, Fairfield. During the following twenty years he followed teaching. In January, 1882, he was admitted to the bar, and for several years he practiced law in Adrian. - He retired from active practice in 1880, and thereafter lived a quiet life upon his farm in Fairfield.
Charles Burridge was born in the city of London, England, Jan. 5, 1837. The family migrated to the United States in 1852, and not long afterward came to this county. Charles attended school and finally developed into a teacher, which occupation he pursued three winters, and then entered the state university, where he took a two-years course. Later, he entered the law office of C. B. Wood, as clerk, and continued with him, finally as partner, until 1879. He served as justice of the peace at Tecumseh for a period of eight years, and as village recorder nine years in succession. He also served as justice of the peace, and practiced law in Tecumseh until his death.
To go farther in the enumeration of the members of the bar would be to trench upon the domain of the present, and discuss the characters of men still upon the stage of public life, which hardly comes within the province of this chapter. The bar has grown rapidly in numbers, and it is not too much to say that Lenawee county has always been noted for the ability of its lawyers. It is said of an old Pennsylvania judge that he was once examining a candidate for admission to the bar, and asked him the stock question: "What is a court?" "A court," said the applicant, pompously, " is a place where justice is judiciously administered." "Not always," said the judge, shaking his head, "not always." The answer given in Blackstone is "a place where justice is judicially administered." The difference between judicially and judiciously is a marked one, and yet it may safely be said of the Lenawee county courts that, from the first, they have been places where justice is both judicially and judiciously administered.
Prior to 1898 there was no regularly organized association of the members of the bar in Lenawee county. There had been occasional gatherings at bar suppers, where the attorneys had met at different times for social intercourse, and also from time to time they met to pay their tribute of respect to deceased associates. But early in the year mentioned above a plan of definite and permanent organization was proposed, tinder the statute providing for the incorporation of such societies, passed in 1881. The purpose of the organization is to establish and maintain a high standard of professional acquirements and deportment, and to promote a proper degree of harmony among the members of the bar. The association is known as the Lenawee County Bar Association, and its first permanent officers were chosen Jan. 7, 1898, as follows: Alfred L. Millard, president; Clement E. Weaver, vice-president; Clarke E. Baldwin, treasurer, and Walter S. Westerman, secretary. Mr. Millard served as president until his death, Jan. x1, x9oo. Clement E. Weaver succeeded him until his death, in April, 1906, and the present incumbent, R. A. Watts, was then chosen to fill the vacancy.