The Bench and Bar of Dayton-Early Legislation Establishing Courts-First Courts Held in Dayton-Jurisdiction-English Common Law-Roman Civil Law-Early American and English Lawyers-Common Pleas Court-Judges-Superior Court-Judges Personnel of the Dayton Bar, Etc.
ON the 30th of April, 1802, Congress passed an act, authorizing the people of the eastern part of the Northwest Territory to form a State government, preparatory to the admission of Ohio into the Union.
A convention assembled at Chillicothe, on, the first of November following, to frame a State constitution, which was adopted on the 29th of the same month, and on the 19th of February, 1802, Congress passed an act, admitting Ohio as a State into the Federal Union.
The first legislature which assembled under the new State government passed an act on the 15th of April, 1803, organizing the judicial courts of the State.
By the sixth section of that act, the State was divided into three judicial circuits, the first comprising the counties of Hamilton, Butler, Montgomery, Green, Warren, and Clermont.
A president judge of the court of common pleas was required to be appointed in each circuit, who, together with three associate judges (not necessarily lawyers), constituted the courts of common pleas of the respective counties.
By an act of the legislature, passed on the 24th of March, 1803, the county of Montgomery was established, and its boundaries prescribed.
It then comprised all the territory north of the line of Butler and Warren counties, as far as to the State line, and west to its western boundary; and included the present counties of Treble, Darke, Mercer, Allen, Van Wert, Paulding, Williams, Fulton, Henry, Defiance, Putnam, Auglaize, Shelby, and Miami.
The sixth section of that act provided that, until permanent seats of justice should be fixed, in the several new counties, by commissioners appointed for that purpose, the temporary seat of justice, and the courts, should be held in the county of Montgomery, at the house of George Newcom, in the town of Dayton."
(page 473) The time fixed by the statute for holding the court of common pleas in Montgomery County, was the fourth Tuesdays in March, July, and November; and that fixed for holding the supreme court, was the third Tuesday of October, thus establishing and perpetuating among us the custom of "court terms," which still generally prevails, and which originated centuries before in England, under widely different conditions, when the sovereign himself, with a retinue, passed from county to county to dispense justice to his subjects. This persistent survival of institutions, long after the conditions in which they had their origin seem almost entirely obliterated, is one of the most suggestive phenomena of civilization.
March having passed, the first court for Montgomery County was held on the 27th of July, 1803, in the upper room of George Newcom's tavern, in the house still standing at the southwest corner of Main Street and Monument Avenue, in the city of Dayton.
It is a hewed log house of quite ample dimensions, and has long since had its rude frontier-looking surface concealed and preserved under successive coats of painted weather-boarding. It is the last well preserved relic of the first settlement of Dayton, and the only one connected with the origin of the judicial history of Montgomery County. Its unpretentious shelter and hospitalities were enjoyed in those early times by the rugged pioneers, who came, in the face of dangers and privations of which we can now have but the faintest conception, to lay the foundations of this fair city, whose wonderful progress and splendid future they could not have foreseen, even in dreams.
A patriotic inspiration has preserved the headquarters of Washington, at Newburgh, New York, in the precise condition in which they were left by the commander-in-chief and his staff' at the close of the Revolutionary War. It is the great attraction of the city; regarded with affectionate reverence for its rare historical associations and as an object lesson of deep significance. It contrasts the simplicity and economy of the early days of the Republic, when life was an ' Heroic struggle for liberty and independence, with the luxurious ideas of modern times when the ruling passion seems to be the acquisition of wealth and its extravagant display. Would it not be the gratification of a worthy and noble sentiment for the people of this city and county to preserve this old landmark of our early history with all its deeply interesting historical associations, especially as it is in the very shadow of the splendid monument dedicated to the memory of the soldiers of Montgomery County, whose valor so largely contributed to the preservation of the blessings of constitutional government? It would not be difficult to secure the (page 474) necessary legislation to enable either the county commissioners or the city council to acquire this property and to utilize as well as preserve it. Judge Francis Duclevy, a learned lawyer and a gentleman of high character,, residing in Warren County, was the first presiding judge of the first judicial circuit. His associate judges for Montgomery County were Isaac Spicing, who lived a little east of Dayton; John Ewing, and Benjamin Archer, of Washington Township, all of whom have left numerous descendants in the county.
The first terms of the supreme court for Montgomery County was held at the same "seat of justice," on the third Tuesday of October, 1803.
Samuel Huntington and William Sprigg were the judges; George Newcom, sheriff; Arthur St. Clair, Jr., prosecuting attorney, and Benjamin Van Cleve, clerk.
The supreme court at, that time, besides its usual jurisdiction in law and equity, provided by the constitution and laws, had exclusive jurisdiction in divorce cases.
In the courts of common pleas was vested by statute as now, jurisdiction in civil and criminal cases.
The first case tried in the common pleas, as the record shows, was in vindication of the public peace and personal immunity from violence. It was in the form of a prosecution for an assault and battery upon the person of Benjamin Scott, to which one Peter Sunderland pleaded guilty. Benjamin lived to grow old, and to become one of the notable characters of the village; and to enjoy the unique honor of having been the first man to put in motion the judicial machinery of Montgomery County, which has been moving with accelerated speed and importance ever since. He was a faithful patron, especially in the latter years of his life, of the great infant industry of the frontier. I well remember his grizzled image, and his characteristic expression "Plumb as R," in emphasizing the truth of his assertions.
The first case recorded in the supreme court, was an action of divorce,, in which Hannah Burk asked to be released from the obligations of the Marriage relation, which had been violated on the part of her unworthy husband Thomas, by gross abuse. Thomas was made an early example to all undutiful husbands of Montgomery County forever, by the decree of the court compelling him to renounce all claims upon the helpmeet he had falsely vowed to "love, honor and keep," and it was on this occasion doubtless, that the expression. originated, "And that was what was the matter with Hannah!
Laws had already been enacted prescribing the methods of proceeding in civil as well as in criminal cases, pursuant to which grand and (page 475) petit jurors had been summoned, who were in prompt attendance, with the officers of the court, to be instructed in their duties by the presiding judge. Any person accused of crime then, as now, had the constitutional right (under the sixth amendment to the Federal constitution, as well as the provisions of the State constitution), to "a speedy and public trial by an impartial jury of the State and district in which the crime shall have been committed; " could only be held for trial " upon presentment of an indictment by a grand jury," and could not be deprived of life, liberty, or property, " unless by due process of law."
The grand jury being duly impaneled, sworn, and instructed in their duties, for want of a more convenient place to deliberate, were
directed to withdraw to the secluded shade of a neighboring oak tree. having found an indictment against a luckless culprit, for larceny, he was put upon his trial before a petit jury of his "peers," and being found, guilty, was sentenced by the court to punishment in jail. lie was thereupon let down into an adjacent dry well, in Sheriff Newcom's back yard, there to be "fed on bread and water" during the weary hours of his imprisonment. Such were the courthouse, seat of justice, and jail of Montgomery County, in Dayton, but eighty-five years ago-which to-day find luxurious accommodation in stately structures of stone, located but three squares distant, upon ground which was then partially covered by a swamp, but is now worth more than three quarters of a million of dollars.
Although these rude surroundings characterized the inauguration of the first tribunals provided for the administration of justice in Montgomery County, it must not be inferred that the laws themselves, and the methods of procedure, were in like manner rudimental. On the contrary, the establishment of regular tribunals to hear and determine matters in dispute, had been from time immemorial characteristic of all phases of civilization. The first step, indeed, in the advance of mankind from a savage to a civilized state, is the substitution of the principle of justice for the use of force, in the adjustment of human controversies. Among the enumerated objects for which the federal government itself had been organized but a few years before, the second in importance was declared to be "to establish justice."
The principles of the English common law constituted a well defined system long before the colonization or even the discovery of the American continent, and many of the provisions of the great charter of English liberty, forced from King John by the barons at Runnymede, in 1215, were transplanted to American soil from the mother country, and nurtured by our forefathers until they bore fruit in the Declaration of (page 476) American Independence and the ordainment of our splendid system of American written constitutions.
But long before Runnymede, or even the conquest of England by William of Normandy, back in the sixth century, a celebrated Roman emperor, named Justinian, the son of all illiterate savage, descended from one of the conquered tribes that had yielded reluctant obedience to the yoke of imperial Rome, at the instance of the David Dudley Fields, Judge Dillons and other learned jurists of his day, had ordered a commission, composed of the most eminent lawyers of the age, to codify the existing common and statute laws of the expiring empire. The immense body of jurisprudence, which had resulted from the varied conditions of that wonderful people through the experiences of a thousand years, commencing with the twelve tables of the Decemvirs, and including the successive revisions that had been made from time to time, embraced a monstrous and unwieldy mass, corresponding to our elementary, statute, common law, and court decisions. This vast aggregate was again revised, condensed, and classified into what are known to the profession as "the Code Pandects and Institutes of Justinian." An historical sycophancy has thus ascribed immortal honor to a titled monarch of ordinary capacity and gross passions, which the world will forever owe to a body of illustrious lawyers (most of whose names are long since forgotten), with the celebrated Tribonian at their head, who, by the diligent labor of years, achieved this mighty work, and rescued from the debris of a perishing empire, what is known as "THE CIVIL LAW," the priceless legacy of the dying mistress of nations to the modern world.
This " civil law,' together with what is known as the common law of England, established in the colonies by legislative enactment, or custom, being those principles, rules of action, and usages applicable to the government and security of person and property, constituted the basis of
American jurisprudence, as it existed when the first courts were organized and held in Montgomery County in the year 1803, in the upper room of the log tavern of George Newcom, in the infant town of Dayton, Ohio. The whole adjoining country was an unbroken wilderness. The clearings were few and far between, only some half dozen cabins constituted the little settlement, named in honor of the distinguished senator from New Jersey, Jonathan Dayton; and doubtless the entire population of the county, far and near, comprising but a few hundred, at most, of men, women, and children, together with those who were interested as projectors or proprietors of the new town, were present at the first holding of the court. (page 477) It is to be regretted that even tradition has not transmitted to us any account of this notable occasion. Colonel Newcom had no doubt made suitable preparation for the important event. He must have procured several chairs for the judges and lawyers, whose duty required them to be present, and a table of some sort upon which a record of the proceedings could be written. Benjamin Van Cleve was clerk of the court, and had doubtless provided himself with a sheet of foolscap paper from Cincinnati, to keep his „minutes upon. Seats for spectators were probably provided, on benches made of Hewed slabs or puncheons. There was no formidable array of statutes or books; such as were absolutely necessary, were brought in the saddlebags of the presiding judge, Dunlevy, who had arrived on horseback the day before from the village of Lebanon, in Warren County.
The conditions of the infancy of an American frontier community in the beginning of this century, were vastly different from those existing now. Then emigrants came singly or in very small parties, by slow and toilsome journeyings, either in rude boats upon the streams, or on foot, with animals, through a tangled wilderness, infested with wild beasts and savage Indians. They came, bringing with them but few of the comforts or conveniences of the older settlements, prepared to. encounter all sorts of dangers and privations, until their own patient labor should supply them, in their new homes. one but the more courageous, frugal and hardy, would venture upon an enterprise so daring. Few expected that even during their own lives they would reap the reward of their toils, but were cheered by the hope that to their children and their children's children would come blessing and abundance out of their labor and privations. The instinct of self-preservation inspired a willingness to assist each other, and their simple acquisitions were scarcely of sufficient value to supply a temptation to, transgress the tenth commandment. Under such circumstances, there was but little of course to submit to the adjudication of judicial tribunals-still the courts were, regularly held, as prescribed by law, and as immigration increased, subsistence became less precarious, property rights and land boundaries more important and specifically defined, traffic grew more active, and as a necessary result of these better conditions, sources of litigation also increased. U Agriculture, manufacture, and commerce slowly but surely began to lay the secure foundations of wealth, growth, and increasing prosperity in the infant settlement. The very first demand for machinery to supply the wants of the new settlers was for saw and grist-mills. The only practicable power was that of water. Contracts became necessary. Water rights grew important and had to be defined; land boundaries had to be more carefully (page 478) prescribed, and the law of meum et tuum better understood and strictly observed.
Gradually the business of the courts increased. Great consideration was conceded to the judges and lawyers, who were necessarily men of superior knowledge, of especial legal learning, often of eloquence and always of high character. The most conspicuous men of the ante-revolutionary era, as well as of the membership of the colonial legislature, of the Continental Congress, and afterwards of the convention which framed the constitution of the United States, were lawyers. Of the signers of the Declaration of Independence, more than half were lawyers. It was so also in the history of the progress of constitutional liberty in England. Every protest ever made against the encroachments of arbitrary power was formulated by lawyers. Lawyers were the authors of the " Great Charter," which laid the foundation of the liberties of England. Lawyers drew the "Statute of Treason," the "Habeas Corpus Act," and the "Petition of Right." After the revolution of 1688, which was a vindication of the power of parliament over the succession of the crown, the great " Declaration of Rights " was prepared by a committee, of which Somers, afterward lord chancellor, was chairman, and very soon after confirmed by an act of parliament. The lawyers of our revolutionary era, and those who were influential in laying the foundations of the judicial system, as well as of the constitution of Ohio, were familiar with these time-honored monuments of English liberty, and in many instances, even their exact phraseology is incorporated into our own bills of rights and constitutions.
The early American bar, therefore, was composed of men, not only educated in the technical learning of the law, as a profession, but who were conversant with the principles of personal and political liberty, and with the history of the struggles of the people against the encroachments of arbitrary power.
The organization and faithful administration of the department of the judiciary, under our system of government, is necessary to that domestic tranquility and general welfare that can nowhere exist in human societies without the observance of the principles of justice and their enforcement in the settlement of controversies among men. The judicial system of this country, with its vast, complex, but harmonious organization, may justly be regarded as among the most notable achievements of the human intellect. Through its numerous tribunals of every grade, from that of the supreme court of the United States to local justices of the peace, it takes cognizance of every question of constitutional construction, or of personal and property rights, that can arise out (page 479) of the social conditions or commercial activities of an indefinite number of separate communities, organized as States, and forming a Federal Union-the foremost nation of all the world. It reaches the daily life of the people. It protects the weak against the strong, the peaceable against violence, the innocent against wrong, the Honest against fraud, the industrious against rapacity. By the universal consent of enlightened men, justice is regarded as a divine attribute, and such is its essential nature, therefore, as to impart dignity and purity to all those who are worthily engaged in its administration. The wise and just judge has, therefore, in all ages and societies, been held in universal esteem.
The American lawyer can only be admitted to the practice of the profession upon proof of good, moral character and of such proficiency in knowledge of the law, as to enable him to render valuable service in the administration of justice. The special law of each State prescribes the character and method of the examination to which each applicant for admission must be subjected, the length of time he must have devoted to the study of the elementary principles of the law and the system of its practice.
As the judicial department of the governments, Federal and State, can be administered only by those learned in the law, and trained in its practice, the legal profession is the one only calling, indispensably necessary to the continuation of our constitutional system. Those called to the performance of legislative or executive functions, need not necessarily be lawyers. Indeed, many of those who have most acceptably filled the various offices in both, have been called from other pursuits. It is different with the judiciary. No man can attain the dignity of the BENCH, who has not demonstrated his fitness and learning at the BAR; and who has not displayed in the course of his legal practice, those abilities, correct habits, and moral principles that commend him to the endorsement of his fellow-members of the profession for promotion.
COMMON PLEAS BENCH.-The first judge of the court of common pleas of Montgomery County, Francis Dunlevy, of Lebanon, presided up to the year 1817, when he was succeeded by Joseph H. Crane, who served until the year 1828, when George B. Molt was elected by the legislature, Judge Crane having been elected as a representative in Congress in the fall of that year.
Judge Holt was a native of Connecticut, and came to Dayton in 1819. He was a learned lawyer, an active, bright, and ambitious man had been admitted to the bar in Litchfield, Connecticut, in 1812, and was elected as a member of the legislature of Ohio from Montgomery County, in 1824.
(page 480) He was conspicuously connected with sonic of the most important early legislation of the State; served acceptably his first seven years' term on the bench, up to 1836, and afterwards in 1842-1843, and was again elected judge, his last term expiring in 1849.
In 1850, he and C. L. Vallandigham, who, had then but recently located in Dayton, were rival candidates for the State convention, which was called for 1850, to adopt a new State constitution for Ohio. Mr. Vallandigham was then quite a young mail, although he had served a term in the general assembly of Ohio as a representative from Columbiana County. He was an active politician, and acted as president of the convention called to make the nomination.
Judge Holt, however, having a high reputation as a lawyer and judge, and popular among all classes of the people, received the nomination, very much to Mr. Vallandigham's chagrin, who openly repudiated the action of the convention, and opposed the election of Judge Holt, who was, nevertheless, successful, and a few years afterwards retaliated by opposing Mr. Vallandigham's candidacy for Congress in a notable paper of the times, entitled, “The Bolter Bolted.'
Judge Holt took a prominent part in the labor of the Constitutional Convention, which was composed of many of the ablest men of the State. He soon after retired from active professional and political life, was a strong supporter of the Union during the Rebellion, and died in the year 1871, at the advanced age of eighty-two, at his home in Dayton. William L. Helfenstein was elected by the legislature to succeed Judge Holt at the expiration of his first term in 1835, and served as judge up to 1842, when, as we have seen, Judge Holt was called to the bench a second time.
In 1849-1850, he was succeeded by John Beers, of Darke County, who served but a short time, when Ralph S. Hart was appointed in 1851; and after the adoption of the new constitution in 1852, under which the judiciary was made elective by popular vote, he was elected for the constitutional term of five years.
After an acceptable service for that term, Judge Hart removed to St. Louis, where he practiced law until the war broke out. He accepted from Secretary Chase sonic appointment in the Treasury Department in the South, and after the termination of the war, did not again engage in active practice.
He was always highly esteemed in this community where he had passed the greater part of his professional life, and retired some years after to the quiet of rural pursuits.
He is now, at nearly eighty years of age, one of the only three (page 481) survivors of the original Dayton bar, and is still in the possession of his mental faculties. Rich only in reminiscences and the Christian hope of soon entering upon the enjoyment of a better world than this, he looks out upon the setting sun from the porch of his comfortable farm house in the fertile valley of the Miami.
Judge Ebenezer Parsons, a very respectable lawyer of our neighboring town of Troy, followed Judge Hart upon the bench, continuing until 1861, when he was stricken with a malady that terminated his life a year or two afterwards.
John C. McKemy, of Darke County, succeeded Judge Parsons, and occupied the bench from 1868 until 1872, when he resigned and resumed the practice of his profession. After remaining in Dayton several years in active business, he removed to Hamilton, Butler County, where he continued to practice law until his decease, which occurred within the last year. Judge McKemy was a man of bright, active mind, very ambitious, of genial disposition, and popular manners.
His successor upon the common pleas bench was Henderson Elliott, who was elected in 1871, and has been continued in office ever since. Judge Elliott's term of service has been distinguished, not only by its great length, but by the faithfulness and ability which he has uniformly brought to the discharge of his duties. No judge has ever so long continuously discharged judicial functions in Montgomery County since its organization.
The judicial qualities of a mind possessing a strong sense and clear perception of natural justice, and well learned in the elementary principles of the law, have been developed by long experience and conscientious devotion to duty into rare excellence.
Judge Elliott's decisions uniformly give evidence of a clear legal mind, great industry and patience in the examination of cases tried before him, and an honest purpose to do no unrighteousness in judgment.
SUPERIOR COURT.-Soon after the adoption of the new constitution, under the authority granted by that instrument, superior courts were established in Cincinnati and Cleveland, and by an act of the General Assembly of March 29, 1856, the superior court of Montgomery County was established in Dayton.
Its jurisdiction was local; similar, however, to that of 'the court of common pleas, excepting criminal cases, cases on appeal from justices of the peace, and in divorce.
Under the very able administration of Daniel A. Haynes, who was elected its first judge in June, 1856, it soon engrossed the larger portion of the important litigated business of the county. It possessed many (page 482) advantages in the dispatch of business over the common pleas court. Its terms were monthly or bi-monthly. It was not subject to the interruptions of the criminal calendar, nor of appeal or divorce cases. The judge was always to be found here. By the common consent of the bar, Judge Haynes' preeminent fitness for the position of superior judge was conceded, and from the start gave a high reputation to the court in the history of the judiciary of Ohio. Daniel A. Haynes was born in the town of Chatham, Columbia County, New York, September 9, 1815. He was educated at Union College, Schenectady, when that institution was under the charge of the celebrated Dr. Eliphalet Nott. Before entering college, lie had been a pupil of Mr. E. E. Barney at Lowville Academy. Mr. Barney was also a graduate of Union College, and who came to Dayton in 1834. Not long after Mr. Haynes' graduation at Union College, in 1835, he came to Dayton at the instance of Mr. Barney, who had taken charge of the Dayton Academy. He was an assistant teacher to Mr. Barney for a year or more, and in 1838 entered the office of Judge Crane as a law student, and was admitted to the bar in 1839. He formed a partnership in the practice, in 1840, with Henry Stoddard and afterward with John Howard. He was elected prosecuting attorney in 1843 and served two terms, and was then elected to the legislature.
One term of service in the house of representatives of Ohio seemed to be sufficient to satisfy his political ambition, and he devoted himself thenceforth to his chosen profession as a lawyer.
Judge Haynes was continuously on the bench of the Superior court from July, 1856, until February, 1870, when lie resigned to enter into a law partnership with Hon. C. L. Vallandigllanl, who had a national reputation politically, and was regarded by those who knew him best, as a lawyer of superior ability.
The untimely death of Mr. Vallandigham in June, 1871, resulting from the accident that caused a profound sensation throughout the United States, and even abroad, which occurred during his engagement in the celebrated McGehan murder case at Lebanon, abruptly terminated the existence of the firm of Haynes & Vallandigham, which originated but a brief year before, with such high promise of future distinction. After an interval of a few years' practice at the bar under the firm of Haynes, Howard & Howard, Judge Haynes was again elected to the bench of the superior court, and served another terns of five years, from 1876 to 1881.
Upon Judge Haynes' resignation, in 1870, of the supreme court judgeship, Jackson A. Jordan was selected and recommended by the Dayton bar to fill the vacancy through the appointment of the governor.
(page 483) Mr. Jordan had been for many years a very active and successful practitioner at the bar, had earned a good reputation and a large practice
by hard work, and was very ambitious. He highly appreciated the compliment of being selected by his brethren of the bar to fill the place which had been so long and honorably occupied by Judge Haynes; and seemed fully to realize the amount of diligent labor it would require of anyone, of even the highest ability, to sustain the high reputation the court had acquired under his predecessor.
Judge Jordan displayed from the start some of the very best qualities of a judge. He was methodical, courteous, very attentive, and patient in the hearing of cases. He was prompt and diligent in investigation and decision, and for the brief period he occupied the bench, increased the reputation he had acquired at the bar as a clear-headed and energetic lawyer.
At the regular annual election, succeeding Judge Jordan's appointment, Thomas O. Lowe was elected judge of the Superior court, which position he held and adorned until 1876. He sustained the high reputation of the court and fully entitled himself to be esteemed as a faithful, able, and honest judge. After the expiration of his term, he continued a few years at the bar, and became afterwards a regularly ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church, which position he still flls with rare ability and acceptance.
In 1881, Judge Haynes was again elected to the Superior court bench and served one term, at the expiration of which he was succeeded by Hon. Dennis Dwyer, who held the position until the court passed out of existence in the year 1886, and was superseded by an additional court of common pleas for Montgomery County, of which Judge Dwyer became judge by popular election, and which place he still holds.
Judge Dwyer's official characteristics are carefulness and diligence in the hearing and examination of cases, courtesy to the bar and all others engaged in the administration of justice, and unimpeachable uprightness of character.
The probate court of Montgomery County was organized under the provisions of the fourth article of the State constitution, and went into operation in 1852. Youngs V. Wood was elected as its first judge, assuming office in February, 1852, and was succeeded by Joseph G. Crane in 1855. In 1858, James 11. Baggott was elected judge, and was succeeded by Samuel Boltin who continued to discharge the duties of probate judge until 1867. Dennis Dwyer was elected in the fall of 1866, and held the-position continuously for three terms, up to 1875, when John L. H. Frank was elected for two successive terms. Judge Frank was succeeded, (page 484) in duties of the office by W. D. McKemy, who still most acceptably discharges the duties of the office.
PERSONNEL OF THE DAYTON BAR.-For the purposes of this sketch, I have divided the members of the Dayton bar into three groups, to-wit:
First, those who were admitted and practiced law here previous to 1840.
Second, those who were admitted and practiced after 1840, and up to 1860.
Third, those who were admitted after 1860, and up to the present time.
The following, or first group, may be properly classified as the original Dayton bar:
Anderson, Charles; *Bacon, Henry; *Bacon, Henry Jr.,; *Blodgett, Wm. H.; *Bomberger, Geo. W.; *Brown, Robert P;. *Bruen, David H.; *Crane, Joseph H.; *Crane, William E.; *Davies, Edward W.; *Fales, Stephen; *Fenn, Ira S.; Hart, Ralph S.; *Helfenstein, Wm. L.; *Holt, George B.; *Huffman, William P.; *Lowe, Peter P.; *Lowe, Ralph P.; *McKinney, Wm. J.; *Munger, Warren; *Odlin, Peter; Schenck, Robert C.; *Shedd, James A.; *Smith, William W.; *Smith, Edwin; *Smith, Thomas J. S.; *Stoddard, Henry; *Thruston, Robert A.; *Van Cleve, John W.; *Whitcher, Stephen.
All the above named members were living in the year 1840, except General William M. Smith, Henry Bacon, Robert A. Thruston, William H. Blodgett, and Stephen Whitcher.
Now, in 1889, but three are surviving-General Schenck, Governor Anderson, and Judge Hart. John W. Van Cleve, Edwin Smith, and William P. Huffman were never in active practice.
The second group is comprised in the following alphabetical list:
*Ackerman, John J.; Boltin, Samuel; +Brown, George W.; Baggott, James H.; +Bartlett, William C.; *Bruen, Luther B.; *Booth, Ely; *Belville, W. H.; +tBond, I. M.; +Brown, William E.; +Butterfield, M. Q.; Craighead, Samuel; Craighead, William’ *Clegg, John; *Cuppy, F. P; *Conover, Wilbur; *Clay, Adam; *Collins, Francis; *Chipman, W. W.; *Crane, Joseph G.; *Cahill, Abraham; Corwin, Robert G.; Corwin, David B.; *Curwen, Maskell E.; *Darst, Samuel B; +Douglass, John G.; Elliott, Henderson; *Ewiug, Joseph H.; +Ells, George W.; +Ells, Stewart; *Fry, J. Harrison; *Forsyth, E. J.; *Fitch, D. G.;(page 485) *Fox, F. C.; *Graham, J. V. L.; *Gilman, W. H.; *Garst, Michael; +Gates, Leo; +Gebhart, Simon; Gunckel, Lewis B.; *Giddings, Luther; Haynes, Daniel A.; *Howard, John; Houk, David A.; Houk, George W.; *Iddings, D. W.; Jeffords, Elza; +Jordan, Jackson A.; +Jordan, Isaac M.; +Jordan, Nathan E., +Kiersted, Isaac H.; *Kelly, James; *Kelly, Patrick; +Knox, I. Riley; *King, Edward A.; *Kennedy, Gilbert; +Lowe, John G.; *Lowe, John W.; *Lowe, Jacob D.; +Lowe, Thomas O.; *Lord, H. V. R.; *Lovell, Josiah; +Lyman, A. O.; McMahon, John A.; Malambre, George W.; *Smith, Lucius Q.; +McMaster, John M., *Moyer, George W.; Munger, Warren; *McCorkle, J. W.; Nolan, M. P.; *Nead, Daniel P.; +Osborn, William; *Parrott, Marcus J.; +Parrott, Edwin A.; +Parrott, Charles; Pfouts, Lewis R.; *Plunkett, Joseph; *Powell, Thomas; *Piper, William H.; +Robertson, Isaac; *Scott, John; *Scott, A. M.; +Shaw, George W.; *Strong, Hiram; +Stoddard, Henry, Jr.; +Stoddard, John W.; +Simms, William H.; +Starr, George W.; +Sullivan, Theodore; +Swallem, E. C.; +Smith, J. McLain; +Smith, Samuel B.; +Smith, Jas. Manning; Sullivan, S. M.; +Snyder, Jacob; *Taylor, Dr. J. C.; Thresher, Thomas F.; Thompson, W. P. ; +Thruston, Gates P.; +Tyler, Reuben; *Tilton, Thomas B.; *Vallandigham, C. L.;*Wood, Youngs V.; +Wood, Frederick L.; +Walker, Moses B.; *Walker, George; +Williams, Israel; +Weakley, H. H.; +Weaver, George; *Young, E. Stafford.
The third group is composed of the following list (since 1860):
Allaman, D. W.; +Allison, Daniel K.; *Brumbaugh, Lee; Bauman, C. L.; Baldwin, Cyrus H.; Breene, Frank S.; *Belville, J. J.; *Baggott, John S.; Belville, Wicklife; Brotherton, Theo. W.; +Dunlevy, John C.; Brown, Oren B.; Carr, S. H.; Clay, Amos K.; Conover, Frank; Corwin, Thomas; Craighead, Charles A.; Gottschall, O. M.; Crickmore, L. S.; Dale, Charles W.; Davisson, Oscar F.; *Delaney, Edward; *Dechant, W. L.; *Dravenstadt, I. B.; Dustin, Charles W.; *Ellis, Hiram W.; Finch, Charles W.; Garst, Jasper; Gebhart, Fred. W.; Greer, John E.; +Gunckel, Patrick H.; +[Henderson, S. J., +Hosier, Frank M; Hanitch, John; *Hallinan, John; Hallinan, Walter A.; Hershey, B. F.; +Howard, William C.; Hartranft, Uriah C.; (page 486) +Huesman, Aloise; Iddings, Charles D.; +Jackson, Samuel B.; Jones, Walter D.; Jeffreys, James O.; Kennedy, Grafton C.; Kerr, E. H.; Kern, Albert; Kumler, A. W.; Kumler, Charles H.; +Keating, Thomas J.; Lichliter, J. H.; +Lefevre, O. E.; Marshall, R. D.; McDermont, Horace; McKee, Charles J.; McKemy, D. W.; *McKemy, John C.; *Manning, J. S.; Murray, L. G.; Matthews, Edwin P.; *Mory, Bert C.; +Mount, William; +Marshall, A. L.; Nevin, Robert M.; Nolan, Harry F.; Nolan, Christian M.; Nutt, John M.; Nutt, John M.; *O'Driscoll, D.; +Oram, John L.; +Owen, Benjamin F.; Patterson, J. C.; Parker, Granville; Prugh, Harry H.; +Peck, C. M.; Payne, E. D.; Rowe, Edward L.; Romspert, A. H.; Russell, William H.; Robert, J. A.; Ritchie, William; Sage, H. H.; Shauck, John A.; *Sharts, J. W.; Schuster, John; Shuey, Philip M.; *Sigman, W. H.; +South, Philip G.; Smith, Sumner T.; Sprigg, John M.; Sullivan, William B.; Swadener, Charles E.; +Showers, Frank; Thompson, Elihu; Van Skaik, William H.; +Vallandigham, C. N.; Williamson, T. S.; Waltmire, Charles A.; Warrington, Geo. O.; Waymire, O. P.; Weaver, W. I.; Wortman, James A.; Winters, A. A.; Winters, Charles H.; +Wood, E. M.; Young; George R.; *Young, William H.; Young, James C.; *Zeller, D. M.
These lists give the aggregate number of those who have been members of the Dayton bar since the organization of the county – 281.
Of the first group, there are only three survivors; of the second group, thirty-three, and of the third, seventy-five.
A large number, embraced in the aggregate, have retired from the practice to engage in other business, or have removed from the county and are in practice elsewhere – all such are marked with + and those who are deceased are marked with *.
Of those now surviving, four are exercising judicial functions, to-wit: John A. Shauck, circuit judge; Henderson Elliott, common pleas judge; Dennis Dwyer, common pleas judge, and W. D. McKemy, probate judge.
Of the first group, one, Charles Anderson, became governor of Ohio upon the death of John Brough in 1863. Four served as judges of the court of common pleas, to-wit: Joseph H. Crane, R. S. Hart, William (page 487) L. Helfenstein, and George B. Bolt. Two were members of Congress Joseph H. Crane and Robert C. Schenck. Eleven were at different periods members of the State legislature of Ohio-viz.: Charles Anderson, Joseph H. Crane, George B. Holt, Peter P. Lowe, W. J..McKinuey, Peter Odlin, Robert C. Schenck, General Smith, Edwin Smith, Thomas J. S. Smith, Henry Stoddard, and Robert A. Thruston.
Of the second group, three were members of Congress-viz.: Lewis B. Gunckel, John A. McMahon, and C. L. Vallandigham. Four were judges of the superior court-Daniel A. Haynes, Dennis Dwyer, Jackson A. Jordan, and Thomas O. Lowe. Two were judges of the court of common pleas-Henderson Elliott and Dennis Dwyer, both now in office, and four were judges of the court of probate-Youngs V. Wood, Joseph G. Crane, Samuel Boltin, and James H. Baggott. Ten were members of the general assembly of Ohio-viz:. W. H. Belville, F. P. Guppy, David B. Corwin, L. B. Gunckel, Daniel A. Haynes, George W. Houk, Marcus J. Parrott, E. A. Parrott, J. McLain Smith, Thomas F. Thresher, and Moses B. Walker.
In the War of the Rebellion, three members of the Dayton bar became generals-Robert C. Schenck, Gates P. Thruston, and Moses B. Walker. Eleven were colonels-Charles Anderson, Edward A. King (commanding a brigade when lie was killed), Hiram Strong, M. P. Nolan, Edwin A. Parrott, John G. Lowe, Samuel B. Smith, John W. Lowe, and H. H. Sage. Three were majors-Luther B. Bruen, Daniel O'Driscoll, and W. H. Sigman. Three were captains-E. M. Wood, S. B. Jackson, and George W. Brown. Two were lieutenants-O. M. Gottschall, and William Howard; and two were sergeants-Elihu Thompson, and William Craighead.
Although the bar embraced, during the term which I have assigned to the first or original class of lawyers, only about all average of ten to twenty active practitioners, and during the next period, from 1840 to 1860, not to exceed double that number, which increased, after 1860, to sonic fifty or sixty, the brief statistical facts I have detailed of the important public services performed by its members, indicate to a considerable extent their general character, ability, and spirit.
My personal recollections of the original Dayton bar extend as far back as 1840. At that time the leading firms were Crane & Davies, Odlin & Schenck, Stoddard & Haynes. Messrs. Peter P. Lowe, Charles Anderson, W. J. McKinney, and George W. Bomberger, were also in active practice. Riding the judicial circuit on horseback was still the custom. Regular terms of court were held in Greenville, Eaton, Troy, Sidney, and St. Mary's, which some, at least, of the Dayton lawyers (page 488) regularly attended. Beyond St. Mary's, and as far north as Defiance and Toledo, the wilderness was unbroken. The roads were through the woods, almost impassable at times, and the streams generally without bridges. I have made diligent efforts; I regret to say without success, to perpetuate the recollection of, or rather to rescue from oblivion some of the experiences of the members of our early bar, in this method of law practice which has long since passed away never to return. I have appealed to my honored friends, General Schenck and Governor Anderson, to enable me to embody in this very brief and imperfect memorial sketch of the Dayton bar, some of their recollections which I am sure would have been as entertaining in substance, as charming in style. But the increasing infirmities of advancing age were pleaded alike by both, and we are only left to lament that such men have to grow old. General Schenck, however, was kind enough to supply me with a few brief notes in regard to some of the more prominent members of the bar when lie came to Dayton in 1831, and commenced the practice with Judge Crane.
He says: "The leading and most prominent members of the Dayton bar at that time were Joseph H. Crane, Henry Bacon, Henry Stoddard, Peter P. Lowe, Judge Holt, Edward W. Davies, Thomas J. S. Smith, and Robert A. Thruston.
"Judge Crane was at that time regarded as the father of the Montgomery County bar, not only for his age, but for his ripe and profound learning in his profession. ** Outside of mere professional and technical learning, lie was a man of wide and varied reading, and prodigious memory, especially familiar with English history, and the English classics and poets.
"Henry Bacon under a careless personal appearance and dress, and sometimes moody manner, concealed much force and keenness, and waked up sometimes in addressing a jury, especially as a prosecutor in criminal cases, to flashes of eloquence.
“Henry Stoddard, without special brilliancy, was a most industrious, methodical, painstaking, and successful practitioner. He was particularly distinguished for the care with which lie hunted up and prepared all the evidence in his cases.
“Peter P. Lowe, although without the benefit or advantage of early education and training, and not, in any sense, a profound or discriminating student of his profession, was remarkable for his shrewdness and pertinacity. He always knew men better than books or, principles, and went for winning, and generally did win. If there was a prejudice or passion in the mind of a juror to be appealed to, he was pretty sure, to find it out.
(page 489) "Judge Holt had been a student and well-trained, but I suspect did not keep up his reading. He improved his opportunities by being on the bench. He was adroit and shrewd.
"Edward W. Davies was a careful, exact, business-like lawyer, cool, calm, and always respected.
"Thomas J. S. Smith was a good deal of a student, trained and measured in manner, safe though not brilliant.
"Robert A. Thruston was the most strikingly brilliant and fluent speaker among them all. He was varied in accomplishment, a fine belles lettres scholar, with high social knowledge; and with a command of language, polished diction, and glowing manlier, which raised him to the quality of an orator in a superior sense. He was besides a charming gentleman personally."
I have been most happy as well as fortunate to obtain from General Schenck this estimate of the prominent members of the early Dayton bar. It possesses especial value by reason of his own long association and varied experience with distinguished men in public life. Joseph H. Crane, who received General Schenck as a partner in the practice of the law, when, as a young man, he came to Dayton in the year 1831, was the first member of the Dayton bar. He came to Dayton in the year 1804, at the age of about thirty years. He had studied law with Aaron Ogden, governor of New Jersey, an officer in the Revolutionary War, an able lawyer, and a distinguished statesman. The Federal Government had only been in operation fifteen years under the constitution, when Judge Crane came to the West, then literally a wilderness. He became at once the trusted attorney and legal counselor of Daniel C. Cooper and his associates, the original proprietors and projectors of the new town of Dayton. Of course, at that early period, Ohio having been admitted as a State into the Union only two years before, there was but little call for the professional services of a lawyer in general practice; but in those early years of the Republic, when States were being organized, communities forming, the foundations of local and municipal institutions being laid, and methods of procedure established, men of trained minds, of legal learning, men instructed in the principles of the new representative system of Federal and State government, and in the history of English constitutional liberty, were of the class most in requisition.
To this class belonged Joseph H. Crane. He was in the first flush of a vigorous manhood; of large frame and commanding presence. Be came from a family identified with the heroic struggle for American independence. His father was an officer in the Revolution, and in the service (page 490) under Washington lost a leg in the battle of Brandywine, at the head of his regiment.
He was nearly grown when the convention assembled which framed the Federal constitution in 1787, and attained his majority during the second term of General Washington as president-of the United States. His preeminent purity of character, his superior learning and ability as a lawyer, were at once recognized by the little community of pioneers, with whom he determined to cast his fortunes.
At the first convention ever held in Montgomery County in 1809, he was nominated for a seat in the general assembly of Ohio, was elected, and rendered an almost invaluable service to the State and the legal profession, as the author of what was termed the Practice Act-Linder which legal proceedings in the State were regulated until the adoption of the constitution of 1851.
From 1813 to 1816 he acted as prosecuting attorney, and in 1817 was elevated to the judgeship. In this capacity he rendered valuable and satisfactory service until the year 1828, when he was elected to Congress, where he served eight years, at the expiration of which period he withdrew from public life and resumed the practice of his profession in Dayton.
To the end of his illustrious and blameless life, he was universally venerated in the community with which he had been so long and honorably identified.
His great ability as a lawyer was recognized not only by his associates at home, but by all the .most distinguished lawyers and judges throughout the State.
He belonged to the class of Ohio lawyers, of which Thomas Ewing, hocking Hunter, Henry Stansberry, Ebenezer Lane, Judge Burnet, Samson Mason, Charles Hammond, Gustavus Swan, Charles Goddard, Samuel F. Vinton, Peter Hitchcock, John C. Wright, and John McLean were illustrious representatives.
Members of the bar will readily recognize the brilliance of such a ,galaxy of names, to which might be added as many more, showing the stamp of the men who constituted the original bar of Ohio. Judge Crane was not only thoroughly read in the literature of the law, but he was accomplished in his attainments and scholarly in his tastes. He was simple and domestic in his habits, and I have a grateful personal remembrance of his custom, in the latter years of his life, of reading to his family the English classics, especially the historical novels of Sir Walter Scott.
I well remember, too, the warm association that grew up between (page 491) him and Mr. Vallandigham, when the latter gentleman came to Dayton, a very young man, in 1847,-more especially, a few years later, when Mr. Vallandigham became actively engaged in the practice of law. He was an exceedingly industrious student of his cases, and often availed himself of the superior facilities afforded by Judge Crane's extensive law library in their preparation.
With characteristic kindness, Judge Crane encouraged the aspiring diligence of the young barrister, who became an enthusiastic admirer of so capable and instructive a mentor, and a warm personal friendship sprung up between them which was never broken.
I have thus spoken at some length of Judge Crane's life and character, not only because I feel it to be a grateful duty to pay a deserved tribute to his exalted merit, but because I regard him .as the best type of the early American lawyer; and more especially because of the indelible impression he left upon the tone of the Dayton bar, which has been perpetuated, I think I can truthfully say, to a large extent, through its membership, down to the present hour.
His own high sense of honor and professional integrity, impressed itself upon all his associates. No member of the bar would have ventured, had he been so inclined, to resort to a dishonorable device, to attain a professional advantage under the searching scrutiny of Judge Crane. Upon Daniel A. Haynes, who was a student in his office, and who came to the bar about 1840, his spotless mantle as a lawyer and a man, seems to have fallen. Esteemed alike by the bar, for his superior abilities as a lawyer, his clearness, purity and impartiality as a judge, and by the whole community for his unimpeachable character in all his relations as a citizen and a man, Judge Haynes, better than anyone else, deserves to succeed to the honorable preeminence so long awarded by the unanimous suffrages of his professional cotemporaries to the venerable Judge Crane. I have some personal recollection of all the members of the original Dayton bar, except Stephen Fales and General Smith, the father of Dr. Edwin Smith, so long a prominent resident of this city. Mr. Fales was a native of Boston, and a graduate of Harvard. He studied law with Jeremiah Mason, one of the most eminent of the early lawyers of New England, and came to Dayton about the year 1819. He remained until 1830, when he removed to Cincinnati, where he was highly esteemed by the older set of lawyers, and where he died in 1855. General Smith's name is connected with a traditionary story, ascribing to him a somewhat unique and ingenious defense he made in behalf of a client, who was upon trial, in Preble County, for larceny. It seems the defendant had stolen some property from the person of the (page 492) prosecuting witness, while the latter was asleep. It was a cold, wet night, and the fellow was sobering of in' a fence corner, where he had taken refuge. A sudden change in the temperature had frozen his clothing fast to the ground. This circumstance, General Smith insisted, converted
his client's offense from larceny to trespass, inasmuch as a well-established and long-recognized rule of law held that nothing that was attached to the freehold could be the subject of larceny, but if taken, constituted trespass.
Judge Bolt, in his charge to the jury, said that the rule as stated by General Smith, could not be disputed, but he did not think it was applicable to the case at bar. The jury, however, took a different view, and returned a verdict of not guilty.
Of the members of the early Dayton bar, no one attained so wide a reputation as
GENERAL ROBERT C. SCHENCK, born in Franklin, Warren County, Ohio, in 1809. General Schenck, who for many years past has resided in Washington City, will complete his eightieth year on the 4th of next October.
He has retained in a remarkable degree his vigor of mind and even of body, although some years ago he was regarded as stricken with a fatal physical malady. By the power mainly of an indomitable will and voluntary self-subjection to the most severe and long continued dietetic restriction, he astonished the medical faculty by overcoming a pronounced case of Bright's disease of the kidneys.
In congratulating himself to his older brother, Admiral Schenck, upon his recovery, he wittily said: " I have beaten Bright's disease, but I can't beat old age." Whereupon an esteemed lady friend, who had always been interested in his spiritual welfare, wrote him that she could give him a sure prescription to "beat old age that was, "to be born again."
In the year 1824, when fifteen years of age, Robert C. Schenck, then the ward of General James Findlay, of Cincinnati, (his father, General William C. Schenck, having died in 1821), entered Oxford College, Ohio, in the sophomore class. He graduated in 1827 and remained in the capacity of tutor until 1830. In the fall of the same year, he entered the office of Thomas Corwin, in Lebanon, as a student of law and was admitted to the bar in January, 1831. He came to Dayton in that year on horseback, inquiring at a house on the roadside, then surrounded by undergrowth, at a point now near the centre of the city, the distance to the town. He was told it was about three-quarters of a mile. He brought a letter of introduction from his law preceptor, Mr. Corwin, to Judge Crane, who immediately offered him a partnership, which he accepted.
(page 493) This association continued three years. Judge Crane being then in Congress, the partnership was dismissed and a new one formed with Mr. Peter Odlin, then a young lawyer recently arrived from Perry County, Ohio, but formerly from Washington City, where he had been admitted to the bar in 1819.
The firm of Odlin & Schenck continued until about 1844, enjoying an always increasing and important practice until Mr. Schenck entered upon congressional life.
His first political success was in the celebrated "Log Cabin" campaign of 1840, when General W. Ii. Harrison was elected to the presidency.
He was a candidate that year for the legislature, and was elected. He was at that time but thirty-one years of age, slender in form, of an extremely nervous physical organization, white hair and complexion, weighing not over one hundred and forty pounds; quick in movement, with a sort of explosive energy in delivery, and captivating speaking talent. His partisanship was of the most combative, bitter sort. He seldom honored his opponents by calling them Democrats, but always "loco-focos." The older Whig stumpers, Corwin, Crittenden, Metcalfe, and others, who were conspicuous supporters of "Tippecanoe and Tyler too," regarded " Schenck " as one of the foremost young Whigs of Ohio, and among the most eloquent and effective of their speakers. He was already a popular orator; his speeches were strong, argumentative, witty, and sarcastic.
In the legislature he became at once conspicuous as a leader of his party. His term of service was signalized by an act of boldness, which indicated his mastery of emergencies.
The Democrats were in a majority in the general assembly, and had prepared a bill for the apportionment of the State into congressional districts. Montgomery County was placed in a strongly Democratic district. The bill was vehemently denounced by the Whigs as unfair to their party, and as giving the Democrats a grossly unjust predominance in the congressional representation of the State. One of the districts along the Ohio River extended up and down some hundreds of miles, and was likened in shape to some nondescript monster, called a "gerrymander," and thus a new word, coined by one of Mr. Schenck's most ardent Dayton supporters, John W. Van Cleve, was given to American political nomenclature, which still survives.
Mr. Schenck led the bitter opposition to this measure in the house and under his leadership the Whigs determined in caucus to resign in a body and leave the legislature without quorum to enact the law, if no other means could be found to defeat it.
(page 494) The final test came. As Rufus P. Spalding, then the speaker of the house, ordered the roll to be called upon the passage of the bill, Mr. Schenck nervously arose in his seat, and, pointing his finger to the chair, said, "No, you don't, Mr. Speaker," whereupon he announced the resignation of himself and his fellow Whig members, of their seats as representatives, and left the hall of the house in a body without a quorum.
The measure of course was defeated. An exceedingly bitter contest in the following fall election ensued throughout the State, but Mr. Schenck was returned to the legislature, although by a reduced majority. An apportionment act was passed by the next legislature which gave the Dayton district to the Whigs.
In 1843, after an exciting contest for the congressional nominations, with Charles Anderson, who was then a rising young lawyer and Whig politician of Dayton, and possessed wonderful popularity by reason of his extraordinary oratorical talents, Mr. Schenck was nominated and afterwards elected to his first term in Congress.
He was reelected subsequently twice, serving three successive terms, and was ranked among the foremost men of his party in Congress.
In 1851, he was appointed by President Fillmore as United States minister to Brazil. After an absence of some years, during which he performed important diplomatic services, he returned to his home in Dayton, taking no active part in political affairs until the year 1859, when he made a characteristic speech in Dayton on the political situation, and was credited with first suggesting Abraham Lincoln for the presidency upon introducing him to an audience before the Dayton courthouse for a political address.
Upon the breaking out of the Rebellion, he promptly tendered his services to the government and received a commission as brigadier general. His career throughout the war is familiar history. He received a severe wound at the second battle of Bull Run, which permanently disabled his right hand and arm.
He soon afterwards received a commission as major-general and served until December, 1863, when he resigned to accept a seat in Congress, to which he had been elected in the fall of 1862 over C. L. Vallandigham from the Third District which had been made strongly Republican by the legislature by the addition of Warren County to Butler, Preble, and Montgomery.
He was made chairman of the military committee of the House, upon which he rendered most important and arduous service.
He was reelected to Congress in 1864, over his Democratic competitor, (page 495) A. Houk, and again in 1866, over General Durbin Ward, and again in 1868, over C. L. Vallandigham. During this term of service he was chairman of the committee of ways and means, and the recognized leader of his party in the House.
In 1871, General Schenck was appointed by General Grant minister to Great Britain, in which capacity he served with distinction until 1876.
It was during this period that he was appointed a member on behalf of the United States of the celebrated Joint High Commission, which assembled at Washington and effected a treaty providing for the Geneva Conference, a measure which, by the substitution of arbitration for war in the settlement of a serious controversy between two powerful and war-like nations, marked an era in the development of the spirit of a true Christian civilization.
General Schenck's highest faculties were brought into requisition in this important service. Upon no occasion in his eventful life were his intellectual abilities, his tact and force of character more conspicuously or advantageously displayed. Associated with him on the commission in behalf of the United States, were Hamilton Fish, secretary of state; Judge Nelson, of the United States Supreme Bench; Hon. E. R. Hoar, now senator from Massachusetts, and Hon. George H. Williams, then United States attorney-general. The gentlemen comprising the British commission were all greatly distinguished and able-Earl DeGrey and Ripon, a baronet and peer of the realm, president of the privy council; Sir Stafford Northcote, a privy councilor and member of parliament; Sir Edward Thornton, British minister to the United States; Sir John A. McDonald, member of her majesty's privy council for Canada, and minister of justice, and attorney-general for the Dominion of Canada; and Montague Bernard, professor of international law in the University of Oxford.
The matters submitted to this celebrated commission comprised the existing diferences between the government of the United States and that of Great Britain, the most notable of which was known generically as the Alabama claim. The treaty, however, which was successfully negotiated, embraced questions connected with the fisheries, navigation of the St. Lawrence, relations with Canada, and the boundary at Fuca Strait.
It is hardly necessary to say that in a commission thus constituted, all these questions were exhaustively and critically examined. The relations between the government of Great Britain and that of the United States, owing to circumstances that had transpired during the war, were, to say the least, somewhat strained. The Confederate cruisers, (page 496) which had inflicted such irreparable damage to our commercial marine, had been built and almost equipped in British ports, and had sailed from British waters with the knowledge of all the world except that of the English authorities, whose duty it was, as the officers of a neutral government, to have prevented so palpable a breach of the law of nations. In addition to this serious grievance, involving an immense unadjusted pecuniary loss, the American government still felt the sting of the surrender of Mason and Slidell, which England had virtually demanded at the cannon's mouth. Some seven years had passed since the collapse of the Southern Confederacy, which, notwithstanding its slavery cornerstone, England would have gladly seen erected upon the ruins of the American Union, and still no hour of reckoning had ever come. It was fortunate for all that this step for adjustment was taken, when the silent man, whose name and fame were associated in England and throughout the world with the conquest of the gigantic American Rebellion, was seated in the presidential chair.
Whilst American public opinion recognized and embraced all the mighty forces that had combined to achieve the great victory, not by any means withholding his due proportion of credit to General Grant, abroad, and especially in England, he was looked upon as a military colossus, and the " conqueror of the Rebellion."
The suggestion of a peaceful method of settling existing differences with England, therefore, emanating from his administration, was promptly responded to by that government.
General Schenck, in addition to the qualifications resulting from his long experience in political life, from his training as a lawyer and diplomatist, went upon the commission as, in a degree, a representative of the military element, a close friend of General Grant, with personal knowledge of his ideas and purposes.
With social qualities of a notoriously high order, great intellectual alertness, as well as force, keen discrimination of points in controversy, and unflinching firmness and courage, it is no depreciation of others to say that no man's influence on the commission was superior to that of General Schenck.
So widely were his important services on this commission known and recognized throughout the country that there was a perceptible current of public opinion in his party setting his name in connection with the approaching nomination for the presidency.
It was about this time that, through the malicious resentment of a newspaper correspondent in London, for some imputed personal affront, a wide notoriety was given (or revived rather) to General Schenck's (page 497) consecution with a. mining enterprise in Colorado. The same matter, which had transpired several years before, had been brought to the attention of the American secretary of the State, Mr. Fish, who, upon full investigation of all the facts, had entirely exonerated him from any blame in connection with it. Before the termination of his mission broad, the members of the Dayton bar and his other personal friends in Dayton, without distinction of party, tendered General Schenck a banquet (which he accepted) as a testimonial of the high respect entertained by those who had been intimately acquainted with him for a life time, for his personal purity of character, and the high appreciation of his neighbors for his eminent public services. Born, reared, and educated in Ohio, his professional and political successes having been achieved here, always regarding Dayton as his home, he has been throughout his whole life, a thoroughly typical Western, or more distinctively, an Ohio man. The marked traits he has displayed in a long and illustrious career of public service, as a legislator, diplomatist, soldier, and statesman, have been strong virility of character, superior intellectual power, courage, decision, and unimpeachable integrity. Although, for the last forty years General Schenck has not been continuously engaged for any considerable length of time in the active practice of the legal profession, his general habit of mind has been that of the trained lawyer. With strong intellectual tastes he has always been an extensive reader in the higher departments of belles lettres, as well as of historical and scientific literature. On the floor of the house of representatives where he was so long conspicuous and influential, he displayed, whenever opportunity offered, the power of logic, lucidity of statement, closeness of reasoning, and adroitness of presentation, characteristic of an educated and superior legal mind. He was especially gifted in repartee. The ten or fifteen years of close study and laborious training in a large miscellaneous practice at the Dayton bar, in the early part of his life, so familiarized him with the elementary principles of the common and civil law, with methods of legal procedure, the law of evidence, and the fundamental principles of international law, that when he was called upon to exercise the high functions of statesmanship or diplomacy, he did not find himself by any means unequipped for the service.
The early bar of Ohio was no mean school for men destined to be called into the highest ranks of public life. In it were trained Ewing, Corwin, Crane, Tinton, the Stanberrys, Chase, Stanton, McLean, Swayne, and later, Thurman, Ranney, Groesbeck, Waite, and a score of others whose public services have conferred lustre upon the State and nation. General Schenck well deserves to be ranked among the most illustrious (page 498) men Ohio has produced-and no State in the Union could furnish him better company. lie has himself sketched briefly but accurately, in a letter kindly written by hiui and quoted in this chapter, the other more prominent inenibers of the original Dayton bar when he came here in 1831.
Mr. Odlin, for many years his senior partner, and to whom he did not refer, did not conic to Dayton until afterwards. His partnership with Mr. Schenck was formed in 1834. He was purely a lawyer and one of very high standing. He was a most effective speaker, educated, always logical, and at times very eloquent. He was a superior trial lawyer, as strong in the arguments of questions of law to the court as of facts to the jury. There were very few, if any, law firms in the State that excelled in their day that of Odlin & Schenck.
Another most widely-extended reputation attained by a member of the Dayton bar was that of Clement L. Vallandigham. He,belonged to the group of lawyers who came to the bar here after 1840 and prior to 1860.
He also was a native of Ohio, born in Columbiana County, July 29, 1820. His father was a Presbyterian minister, who graduated in the year 1804 at Jefferson College, Cannonsburgh, Pennsylvania. His mother, whose maiden name was Laird, was of an Irish family. Mr. Vallandigham, with three brothers, was prepared for a college course by his father, who gave instruction in a private classical school, and at the age of seventeen, entered the junior class of the same college at which his father had graduated more than thirty years before. He remained, however, but a year, when lie was solicited to take charge as principal of an academy at Snowhill, in Maryland, where he remained two years.
In 1840, being then twenty years of age, he reentered Jefferson College as a member of the senior class. A short time before he would have graduated, by reason of a difficulty with Dr. Brown, the president of the college, he requested an honorable dismission, which was granted.
Mr. Vallandighani studied law and was admitted to the bar in December, 1842. He commenced his professional and political life in Columbiana County, and removed to Dayton, where he permanently located, in August, 1847. He was inclined to seek a career in politics rather than in law, and although his early practice in Columbiana County gave promise of success, lie became a representative in the legislature from that county as soon as lie arrived at the eligible age of twenty-five years, as prescribed by the constitution. He was the youngest member of the legislature, and at once became popular with his fellow-members, and greatly respected for his superior talents, his lofty aims, and pure (page 499) habits. He was a most industrious and discriminating reader, and well versed in the best class of ancient and modern literature. Soon after lie located in Dayton, in 1847, he took charge of the Democratic paper, the Empire, which he continued to edit with marked ability until 1849, when he sold out his interest.
The year before he removed to Dayton, in August, 1846, he had married Louisa A. McMahon, sister of the distinguished lawyer, Hon. John V. L. McMahon, of Baltimore, Maryland. Upon the deposal of his interest in the Empire he more diligently pursued the practice of the law, still, however, avowedly looking forward to political leadership. He was a candidate before the State Democratic Convention for lieutenant-governor in 1851, but was defeated. He was a candidate for Congress against Lewis D. Campbell in 1852, and was defeated. Again in 1854, in the memorable "Know-Nothing" year, he was a candidate against Mr. Campbell, and was "snowed under" by a majority of over two thousand five hundred. He was a third time a candidate against. Mr. Campbell in 1856, and although the official returns showed a majority of nineteen against him, lie gave notice of contest, and was declared, upon trial by the House of Representatives, entitled to his seat by a lawful majority of twenty-three. From his entrance into Congress he became at once conspicuous in the political history of the country. He was reelected in 1858, and was serving in the house when the War of the Rebellion broke out. He strenuously opposed the war as being an unnecessary, unconstitutional, and impracticable method of settling the matters in controversy between the North and South. His term in the House ended in 1862. He had ranked among its most able and distinguished members. His opposition to the war was radical. He did not believe, and so boldly declared, that a Federal Union, based upon consent, could be restored by force. He questioned upon constitutional grounds what were claimed as "war powers" of the government by the administration of Mr. Lincoln and its supporters, and had the thorough conviction that the only feasible and constitutional method by which the controversy could be adjusted, would be the calling of a convention to revise and amend the constitution of the United States.
Mr. Vallandigham became the most conspicuous man perhaps in the entire North for his opposition to the war. He was arrested upon the order of General Burnside on the morning of the 5th of May, 1863, .at about two o'clock, at his residence on First Street iii Dayton by a company of soldiers and taken to Cincinnati, where he was tried by a military commission the next day, found guilty of charges which were preferred against him for disloyal utterances in a public speech made (page 500) some time before at Mount Vernon, Ohio. An application for a writ of habeas corpus made to Judge Leavitt was refused, and lie was sentenced to close confinement during the war, which sentence was afterwards changed to banishment within the rebel lines.
In June following, he ran the blockade from Wilmington and arrived by sea at Halifax, whence he proceeded to Windsor, his place of final sojourn, on the 24th.
While at Windsor he was nominated for governor of Ohio, with George E. Pugh as lieutenant-governor, against John Brough and Charles Anderson, who were nominated for the same offices, and were elected by over one hundred thousand majority.
In June, 1864, Mr. Vallandigham returned to his home in Dayton, was elected a delegate to the Chicago Convention that nominated General McClellan for the presidency, and was active in the political campaign in Ohio in which Judge Thurman ran for governor. His audiences were generally larger throughout the State than were drawn by any other speaker, and he was an avowed candidate for the senate. Much to his disappointment, the Democratic majority in the legislature elected Judge Thurman to that position over him.
He was a delegate to the National Convention in New York in 1868, and, although supporting Mr. Pendleton with the Ohio delegation as Ohio's candidate, was really in favor of Mr. Chase's nomination. In the confusion resulting from the withdrawal of Mr. Pendleton's name, a concentration could not be effected on Mr. Chase before the current set in for Horatio Seymour, who was nominated on the twenty-second ballot by a majority which was made unanimous on Mr. Vallaudigham's motion.
In January, 1870, Mr. Vallandigham formed a law partnership with Judge Haynes. In May, 1871, he inaugurated in Montgomery County the celebrated political movement, known as the "New Departure." The author of this sketch was president of the meeting, at which Mr. Vallaiidigham presented his resolutions, and on taking the chair, delivered a brief address which "shadowed forth the action afterwards taken by the meeting." Mr. Vallandigham, after reading the resolutions, delivered a brief but powerful speech in support of them, and they were unanimously adopted. They were, in the following July, adopted at his instance by the Democratic State Convention of Ohio, upon which occasion he made one of his greatest political speeches and the last of his life. I vividly remember the elation with which he received and read to me the following letter he had just received from Mr. Chase, who was then chief justice of the United States, complimenting him upon the inauguration of this important movement: (page 501)
WASHINGTON, D. C., May 20, 1871.
"MY DEAR SIR:-I have just read the resolutions of the Montgomery County (Ohio) Democratic Convention, reported by yourself, together with your remarks and those of Mr. Houk. You have rendered great service to your country and the party; at least such is my judgment.
May God bless you for it, Nothing can be truer than your declaration that the movement contemplated by the resolutions is the restoration of the Democratic party to its ancient platform of progress and reform. I know you too well to doubt your courage or your fidelity to your convictions.
Very truly yours,
"S P. CHASE.
" HON. C. L. VALLANDIGHAM."
In the following June occurred at Lebanon the important trial of the case of Thomas McGehan, for the murder of Myers, in Hamilton, in which, with a large array of distinguished counsel on both sides, Mr. Vallandigham was the leading attorney for the defense. His tragic death, which resulted on that occasion from an accidental self-inflicted pistol shot, received whilst illustrating his theory of the manner in which Myers had been shot, created a feeling of sympathy and sorrow as profound as it was universal throughout the United States. He had to a great extent lived down the hatred with which he had been. regarded in the Northern States by the supporters of the administration of Mr. Lincoln during the war. No one had expressed a more utter detestation of Mr. Lincoln's assassination than he, nor declared more strongly the conviction that it could be regarded in no other light than as a most serious national calamity. He had continued to be a conspicuous figure in American politics, and his great abilities were everywhere recognized. He was a most accomplished and popular orator, of attractive presence, and winning manners. His style was formed upon the best models of ancient, as well as of English and American oratory. His study of these models had been one of the chief occupations of his life. His convictions were strong, and as honest as they were inflexible. His personal, courage and integrity were undoubted.
Although Governor Anderson has not been a resident of Dayton for many years, and was in active practice at our bar only from 1835 to about 1847 or 1848, he has yet always regarded this city, as, in some sort, his home, identified as it was with his early social and professional life, and being still the location of important property interests, as well as of a large family connection.
He came here early in 1835, at twenty-one years of age, and in the (page 502) autumn of the same year married Miss Eliza J. Brown, of one of the most estimable of the original Dayton families--the Pattersons. Having graduated two years before at Oxford, then under the charge of the celebrated old Scotch Presbyterian, Dr. Bishop, and completed his law studies, he "hung out his shingle," and commenced the practice of his profession in Dayton.
He found here a galaxy of bright, educated, ambitious young lawyers, like himself, just entered upon the threshold of life, - Odlin and Schenck, Ralph and Peter P. Lowe, George B. Holt, Henry Stoddard, and Robert A. Thruston, with Joseph H. Crane, then in early middle life, their exemplar and leader, at the head of the bar. He at once took equal rank with them; for he, too, was educated and accomplished, as he was generous, brave, and especially gifted as an orator.
The literary accomplishments of this class of young men, in those days, before the world was drowned in the food of current literature that now prevails: consisted mainly in familiarity with the classic stories, in verse, of the Odyssey, the Iliad, and 1Eneid; the poetry of Ovid and Horace; the writings in philosophy of Plato and Aristotle, of Epictetus and Setkeca, and the teachings of the great master of them all, Socrates; and with the biographies of Plutarch; in English literature, first of all with Shakespeare-then, in poetry, with Milton, Chaucer, and Spenser, Cowper and Pope, Thomson and Young, Grey and Goldsmith, and later, Byron, Burns, Scott, Moore, Shelley, and Wordsworth; in philosophy, with John Locke, and Lord Bacon, Bolingbroke, and Dugald Stewart, and in lighter literature and politics, with Ben Jonson, Butler, Swift, Steele, Fielding, Sterne, Addison, Horne Tooke, and Dr. Hugh Blair; intermingled with all these there were, for steady, systematic, dutiful reading, the "Commentaries upon the Laws of England," by one Sir William Blackstone," Tidds' "Practice," Chitty's "Rules of Pleading," and Espinasse's "Nisi Prius." Their models in oratory were Demosthenes and Cicero among the ancients; Burke and Chatham, Curran, Grattan, and Phillips, among the moderns; not forgetting the Adamses, Henry, and Lee, with the other celebrated orators of our own Revolutionary era. The intervals of leisure in the practice of most young lawyers at an inland Ohio bar in the thirties and forties, were neither few nor brief; so that these young Dayton barristers did not pine for want of time to indulge their literary proclivities in the cultivation of these ancient and modern classics, with whom it was fashionable and popular to be conversant. Charles Anderson's early habit of extensive miscellaneous reading, so congenial to his mental. organization, has continued with him through life. With the rarest faculty, aided by a wonderful memory, of classifying (page 503) and retaining knowledge so acquired, an unrivalled power of chaste and happy expression, and the strongest and purest social tastes, he became widely celebrated, not only for his eloquence upon the platform and at the bar, but for those most attractive and charming personal traits, that have endeared him to perhaps as large a circle of cultivated and admiring friends, as have ever fallen to the lot, or blessed the social life, of an American gentleman.
After a successful term of service as prosecuting attorney of Montgomery County, he was elected to the State Senate, serving in 1845, with Henry B. Payne (then. a young Democratic leader and now senator from Ohio) and other gentlemen who have since become eminent in public life. His brave, chivalrous nature there found expression in a bold single-handed assault upon what were known as the black laws of Ohio-one provision of which prohibited negroes from testifying in courts of justice. Although a native of Kentucky, born and reared in a slaveholding family, lie was the first man in the legislature of Ohio to raise a voice in protest against these laws. It was many years before public sentiment advanced so far as to demand their repeal.
At the close of his senatorial term, he made a visit to Europe, spending some time in Constantinople; and upon his return went to Cincinnati, where he formed a law partnership with the -Ion. Rufus King-so well known and so universally esteemed, afterwards embracing John W. Herron, now the very capable United States attorney for the Southern District of Ohio. This partnership continued for a number of years, commanding a large and successful business. Cincinnati supplied a most congenial place of abode to Mr. Anderson, being the place of residence of his brother Larz, one of its most eminent and esteemed citizens, and embracing a very large society of gentlemen as well as ladies, of the highest culture and social distinction. Returning to Dayton along in 1855 or 1856, lie resided here until his precarious state of health induced him to remove to Texas, where he invested in large landed property, and remained until the breaking out of the Rebellion. He made no scruple in the face of an overwhelming secession sentiment surrounding him, of announcing his unfaltering fidelity to the Union and the old flag, which he afterwards so fondly and eloquently denominated the "banner of beauty and glory." Too brave and patriotic to conceal his sentiments, he at once became known as a pronounced "Union man," and with the inauguration of the Rebellion, by the firing upon Fort Sumter, then garrisoned by a company of United States troops under the command of his distinguished brother Robert, he was placed under arrest by the secession authorities in Texas and held in close custody. At great personal (page 504) risk, he adroitly effected his escape, leaving his property, including a large and valuable library, legal and miscellaneous, to be confiscated, and he returned to his home in Dayton. He was entrusted by Mr. Lincoln with a special mission to England, to attempt to stem the tide of opposition to the Union cause in that country, but found the task hopeless, and returned to the United States. He went into the field as colonel of the Ninety-third Ohio Regiment, raised in this city and county, and close vicinity, and was wounded at the battle of Stone River. His wounds and exposure so impaired his health, he was compelled to resign, and was elected lieutenant-governor of Ohio, over his warm personal friend, the Hon. George E Pugh, in the celebrated Brough and Vallarrdigham campaign of 1863, to which allusion has been made. Upon Governor Brough's decease, Charles Anderson became governor of Ohio, in which capacity he was serving at the close of the war, when he again returned to his home in Dayton. Always having a taste for agricultural life and a large landed estate, he finally removed from Dayton about 1870, and settled upon a tract of some ten thousand acres of land, which he purchased in Lyon County, Southern Kentucky, where lie now resides, widely known and Honored as a hospitable, chivalrous, and accomplished Christian gentleman.
It was the fortune of still another member of the Dayton bar to have been afforded the opportunity of attaining a national reputation in public life.
John A. McMahon was elected to Congress from the Dayton district in the fall of 1874, was reelected in 1876 and again in 1878. Although not a native of Ohio, lie was educated from his early youth at St. Xavier College, in Cincinnati, from which lie was graduated in 1849. He was born in Baltimore, Maryland, in 1833. His father, Hon. John V. L. McMahon, ranked among the very first lawyers of the early American bar. He was purely a lawyer, and seems to have transmitted to his son the superior legal qualities that so eminently distinguished himself throughout his career at the bar. John A. McMahon came to Dayton in the year 1851, and at once entered upon the study of the law in the office C. L. Vallandigham, who had married his aunt, Miss Louise McMahon. He was admitted to the bar in 1854, and entered upon practice in Dayton in partnership with his preceptor. In 1861, lie formed a law partnership with George W. Houk, which continued until the third term of his service in Congress. Since his withdrawal from public life in 1880, he has practiced his profession alone, and is generally known and regarded as one of the most able and distinguished lawyers of the State. Although during Mr. McMahon's first terra in Congress he was placed by Speaker Kerr upon a rather (page 505) inconspicuous standing committee, that of post-offices and post roads, an opportunity occurred in the impeachment trial of Secretary of War Belknap, which enabled him to become known and recognized, not only by the bar throughout the United States, but by the press and public generally as a most capable and thorough lawyer. The impeachment proceedings were instituted in the House of Representatives, and a special committee of managers was selected by that body, composed of Scott Lord, Mr. McMahon, Proctor Knott, William P. Lynde, George A. Jenks, George F. Hoar, and E. G. Lapham, all lawyers of recognized ability. Mr. McMahon was chosen by the committee to conduct the trial on behalf of the prosecution. The attorneys for the defense were Hon. Jeremiah Black, attorney-general under Mr. Buchanan's administration, Ex-Senator Matthew Carpenter, of Wisconsin, and Montgomery Blair, of Maryland, all lawyers of the highest rank. The trial lasted from the 6th of July .to the 1st of August, and was the engrossing political topic of the time. It attracted the attention of the bar, especially; not only at Washington, but throughout the country; was fully reported daily in the press, every movement upon both sides being closely watched and criticized. Mr. McMahon's especial duty was regarded as the most arduous and responsible, and required the continuous, most vigilant exercise of the highest qualities of the trial lawyer. The facts involved in the case were numerous and intricate, requiring patient and thorough searching out, and, in their presentation to the senate, the utmost familiarity with the law of evidence. It was universally conceded that Mr. McMahon's conduct of the case was beyond criticism. The press, without distinction of party, teemed with compliments upon the consummate tact and ability he displayed.
A correspondent of the Cincinnati Commercial (Republican) thus speaks of him:
"The complete manner in which Mr. McMahon has won the plaudits and admiration of the public here in Washington, and especially of the members of the bar, who resort to the senate chamber day by day to witness and enjoy as a rare treat the masterly, unequaled manner in which lie conducts the trial, on behalf of the house, may be taken as another tribute to the State of Ohio. The unanimity with which, on all hands, Mr. McMahon is enthusiastically applauded, is something new and wonderful in Washington. He is combating giants, but lie meets those veterans, Jeremiah Black, Montgomery Blair, and Matthew Carpenter, to say nothing of Conklin, Logan, and others, who seem to have undertaken the dual labor of judging and defending, with the assured air of their conceded superior, and his uniform success in overthrowing them is ample (page 506) warrant for the calm confidence that becomes him so well. Nobody was more surprised than Carpenter himself, at the great power and skill so unexpectedly displayed by the hitherto almost unknown lawyer from the interior of Ohio. *** Jeremiah Black himself cannot refrain from testifying to his admiration for this young master of nisi prius practice.”
A special dispatch to the Graphic ( Republican ) speaks thus: "Nearly everyone thought that when the case actually came to trial, Messrs. Black and Carpenter would be rore than a match for the whole board of managers. A few days has served to undeceive us all, including the counsel for the defense. The manager, McMahon, who had charge of the introduction of testimony for the prosecution, has managed his case with consummate skill. He has again routed the defense on all points. He has again and again measured swords with Carpenter, on questions arising on the competency of testimony, and the famous ex-senator has retired worsted from the field. In acuteness, in logic, in law, he has shown himself fully able to cope with the defendant's counsel, while in thorough knowledge of his own case and theirs, there is only contrast between him and them." Special dispatches equally complimentary to Mr. McMahon, were sent to the Boston Post, Chicago Times, and other leading papers of the country.
General Belknap having resigned before the impeachment proceeding was regularly begun, his counsel raised the question that the senate had no jurisdiction of his case. The vote of the senate nevertheless stood thirty-six guilty, twenty-five not guilty; nineteen of the latter giving the qualified vote of "not guilty for want of jurisdiction.”
In the next, being the Forty-fifth Congress, Mr. McMahon was placed upon the judiciary committee and also oil the committee oil accounts.
To the judiciary committee was referred, during the first session of this congress, the important bill to provide for the further distribution of the moneys received under the Geneva Award. It will be remembered that the aggregate award of the Geneva arbitration, to be paid by the government of Great Britain to that of the United States, amounted to fifteen million five hundred thousand dollars. This amount was duly paid over to our government, and proper steps taken by Congress fur just and equitable distribution to those who had suffered loss during the war, in consequence of the depredations upon American commerce, for which it had been duly determined England should be held accountable. Among the claims upon this fund, the most important, and by far the largest in the aggregate, was the class presented by the American marine insurance companies for losses they had been compelled to pay for property insured (page 507) them, and destroyed or confiscated upon the high seas by the Confederate cruisers that had been permitted to sail from British ports. Some nine or ten millions of dollars yet remained for distribution, and a bill was reported from the judiciary committee, for the purpose of prescribing the principles and rules which should be observed in such distribution, and govern the same. A minority of the judiciary committee, consisting of Mr. McMahon, General Butler, William P. Frye, now senator from Maine, Oscar D. Conger, afterward senator from Michigan, and Elbridge G. Lapllam, dissented from the bill reported by the majority, upon the ground, mainly, that in indemnifying the insurance companies for the losses they had suffered during the war, in paying for property destroyed or confiscated, they should be required to account for what gains they had made during the same period in increased war premiums. Against any such rule the insurance companies, of course, violently protested. With unlimited means at their command, they had a powerful lobby and the most eminent counsel in Washington to represent their interests. It is hardly necessary to say that Mr. McMahon could probably have prescribed his own terms for the withdrawal of his opposition to the bill that had been reported in accordance with the interests of the insurance companies. As a lawyer, he regarded it as a violation of justice and equity, and considered it his duty as a faithful representative of the people to oppose it. He, therefore, prepared a bill with the cooperation of the other members of the minority of the judiciary committee, embodying their views and a report upon its presentation to the House.
On the 18th of January, 1849, he made an argument upon the bill to the House, which, together with the report which he submitted as the views of the minority of the judiciary committee, was exhaustive of the whole subject, and which, in view of the international character of many of the legal questions involved, as well as the magnitude and importance of the claims, may justly be regarded as one of the most logical, comprehensive, and able speeches ever made upon any subject in the Congress of the United States. For the first time in a long lapse of years in the history of Congress, the House refused to sustain the majority report of the committee oil the judiciary and passed the bill reported as a substitute on behalf of the minority by Mr. McMahon. It went to the Senate and failed there only for want of time. At a subsequent session, however, a law was passed by Congress and signed by the president, providing for the distribution of. the balance of the award in accordance substantially with the views which had been so ably and conclusively presented by Mr. McMahon in his report and speech. As a practicing lawyer at the Dayton bar, lie has always been held in the very highest esteem by his (page 508) brethren and the community. Invariably honorable and courteous, he is as generous to weak r adversaries as lie is formidable to the strong. A sincere encomium upon the purity and beauty of his domestic life, the spotless integrity of his character, and is unsurpassed abilities as a lawyer, may be pardoned to one who has long known and esteemed him in most intimate association, social and professional, and who has felt a pride as a member of the Dayton bar, in the well-deserved fame he has achieved in the legislative councils of the country. From the distinction won by these gentlemen may be inferred what might have been accomplished by others had occasion offered-ex pede Herculem!
It is no disparagement to those who attained such wide celebrity to say that there have been, doubtless, many men who have been in time past, and others who are now members of the Dayton bar, who, if they had sought or been afforded opportunity, would have achieved a like distinction. Among these, I am sure it will not be regarded as invidious to mention the now senior practicing member of our bar, Mr. Samuel Craighead. Mr. Craighead came from the Cumberland Valley, Pennsylvania, where he was born and reared among the Allegheny Mountains, and from as fine a race of men as there is in the world.
In his early manhood, with the advantages of an early ordinary education, he went to the city of Now York, where a relative was the proprietor of a large publishing house, and was there employed for several years. He studied law, was admitted to the bar, and, arriving in Dayton in the spring of 1844, at Duce entered upon the practice of his chosen profession. He was elected prosecuting attorney of Montgomery County in 1848 and served two terms, fully maintaining, by his able discharge of the duties of that office, the high character that had been conferred upon it by his predecessors, Daniel A. Hayties, Charles Anderson, Judge Holt, William Blodgett, Judge Crane, Peter P. Lowe, and Harry Bacon. From this time forward, continuously, until the present, Mr. Craighead has maintained his position in the foremost rank of our lawyers. His practice has been wide, varied, and successful. Uniformly able aid thorough in the trial of cases, always distinguished for courteous bearing, gifted as an orator, and strong in argument, with excellent literary taste, and superior social accomplishments, no one has better title to be regarded as a typical Ohio lawyer. Had Mr. Craighead determined, instead of pursuing the even tenor of his profession, to have entered the political arena, there is little doubt that lie would have attained, through his sterling abilities-and character, as well as his social qualities, a rank among those who are regarded as the foremost public men of the United States. Although not personally in politics, he has always been a pronounced Republican, and (page 509) has for years been considered as one of the safest and ablest counselors of the Republican party in Ohio. Preserving to a most wonderful degree the appearance of the freshness of youth, his presence repels the suggestion of age, and lie still pursues diligently the duties which professional and private business relations impose upon him, regarded with the unanimous and warmest esteem of his professional brethren, as well as that of the entire general community.
Of the early Dayton lawyers, Henry Stoddard and Judge Holt, both natives of Connecticut, were about the same age, the former born in 1788, and the latter in 1790. Mr. Stoddard came to Dayton in 1817, and George B. Holt in 1819. They both speedily became prominent and successful, and maintained their high position to the close of their lives. Mr. Stoddard died at the age of eighty-one, in 1869, and Judge Holt died at the same age in 1871. This interval of two years between them, first. occurring at their birth, by a singular coincidence marked the difference in the dates of their location in Dayton, and the final end of their long lives. They were both prominent members of the Presbyterian Church, and always highly esteemed as citizens. Judge Molt's professional qualifications and public services have been hereinbefore alluded to. Mr. Stoddard was a careful, methodical, and successful lawyer, reputed to be especially well versed in real estate law.
Messrs. Edward W. Davies and Peter P. Lowe were about ten years younger than Stoddard and Holt, and about the age of each other- Mr. Lowe having been born in 1801, and Mr. Davies in 1802. Mr. Lowe came to the bar here in 1825, and Mr. Davies in 1826. Mr. Davies was for many years a partner in practice of Judge Crane, with a leading and important business. Ile was long the attorney of the Cincinnati, Hamilton & Dayton Railroad Company, and in the latter part of his life, a partner of Colonel John G. Lowe. The following extract from the testimonial of the Dayton bar, adopted at his death, is a truthful, though brief, summary of his character:
"Edward W. Davies deserved and maintained without reproach, throughout his .long and useful life, the character of a sincere and upright Christian, and an honest man. By unswerving integrity and force of character, lie commanded the confidence and respect of the entire public, but those only who were intimately associated with him knew the excellence of his social qualities, and tire still higher attributes that adorned with grace and happiness his domestic circle, and belong to the cultured Christian gentleman. With a dignity that seemed natural, alike to his personal appearance, and character, he blended a generous kindness that never failed to respond when a proper occasion called it (page 510) forth, and such were his sterling qualities that no temptation could swerve his fidelity to truth or his devotion to duty."
Mr. Davies was one of the executors and trustees under the will of D. Z. Cooper, and for many years managed the large property interests of the estate with great wisdom and judgment. He, in connection with his co-trustee, Mr. Alexander Grimes, projected the important improvement, changing the original natural channel of Mad River from the aqueduct to its mouth, thus bringing into the market. all the valuable property now occupied by Mr. Bimm's ice business, the car works, city water works, manufacturing establishments, railroad tracks, canal extension and desirable ground between the present bed of Mad River and First Street. When the will of Mr. Cooper was contested, about 1858-1859, the whole management of the litigation devolved upon Mr. Davies, and after a long and really celebrated trial, most ably contested by eminent counsel on both sides, the will was sustained.
Of Mr. Peter P. Lowe, his confrere, it may be truthfully said that, in his prime, he was for many years one of the very foremost and successful lawyers at the early Dayton bar. Governor Anderson very kindly says of him: "He gained and long held a most leading position. That fact was not an accident. He could only have done it by his own abilities. For one thing, to his great honor, he was without rival. Even to my knowledge, the foremost man at the bar in giving to any raw fledgling the most considerate, kindly, generous, and efficient countenance and hand of help in his new vocation. I never can forget," continues Governor Anderson, "this noble trait, as shown to myself and to many others, yourself included." And I wish to add for myself that I know this warm praise to be fully deserved, for neither can I "ever forget" this "noble trait," as shown to myself.
I may be regarded as entitled to bear personal testimony to many estimable qualities in the character of Mr. Lowe when I say, that at eighteen years of age I entered his office as a law student, under his preceptors hip. Upon my admission to the bar three years afterwards I became associated with him as a partner in the practice. He was a true, considerate, and generous friend to me in my early life. During a long business connection with him and, ill fact, during forty years of most intimate association, personal, professional, and social, I can recall no act or word of Mr. Lowe that I would desire to forget, but many that it is a pleasure to remember. He was always kind, just and hospitable, entertaining in conversation, vigorous in thought, ripe in reflection and instructive experience.
Colonel John G. Lowe, now for many years past retired from active (page 511) practice, was originally in partnership with his brother, with Mr. Odlin, then with Edward W. Davies. He later; graduated at Oxford in1839, and commenced practice in Dayton in 1841. He was an active and enthusiastic ,young Whig in the celebrated campaign of 1840, and an ardent supporter of Mr. Clay in 1844. He has always continued to be one of the most respected and public spirited citizens of Day ton, and regarded as an accomplished lawyer and safe counselor. He served as colonel of a regiment in the war, being called into sudden service, to do important garrison duty at Baltimore, when there was urgent need of veteran troops at the front, full reference to which will be found in the chapter upon the military history of the city.
Before further reference to others of the group of attorneys to which Mr. John Lowe belongs, I wish to speak of two others of the original bar. I allude to Thomas J. S. Smith and Robert A. Thruston. Both these young men came from Maryland, or the District of Columbia, to Dayton about 1830. Mr. Smith was a graduate of Jefferson College, Pennsylvania, and Mr. Thruston of West Point; or if not a graduate, had been a cadet there several years, completing his education elsewhere. He was accomplished and very talented, a son of Judge Buckner Thruston, one of the first senators from Kentucky after its admission to the Union; afterward appointed, by President Madison, United States district judge at Washington.
Mr. Smith, soon after settling in Dayton, determined to remove to Troy, where lie at once took a leading position at the bar, and remained there until 1844, when he returned to Dayton and resumed the practice here. He was president of the Dayton & Michigan Railroad Company upon its organization, and continued in that position until the road was completed. lie represented Montgomery County in the legislature in 1856 and 1857, and was a candidate for the supreme bench in 1860. Mr. Smith was an excellent lawyer, and especially qualified to exercise judicial functions. He was highly esteemed personally for his social qualities, and as a thorough gentleman. He was the father of Hon. J. McLain Smith, who for a while was proprietor and editor of the Dayton Ledger, and represented this county in the legislature, and is a gentleman of the highest culture and ability; and also of general Samuel B. Smith, who served gallantly through the war, and was, during Governor Foster's administration, adjutant-general of Ohio, now a resident of Ludlow Falls-both members of the Dayton bar.
Mr. Smith was for a considerable time the senior law partner of Mr. Vallandigham, and afterward of Elza Jeffords, who, after the war, became judge in Louisiana and a member of Congress from that State.
(page 512) Robert A. Thruston was conceded by his brethren, as stated by General Schenck, to be the most accomplished orator at our early bar, as he was one of its most promising members. He was not a man of robust physique, and died when comparatively young, universally lamented.
His eldest son, Gates P. Thruston, also a member of our bar, and a graduate of Miami University, served with distinction through the war. He entered the service as captain of the color company of the First Regiment of Ohio Volunteers, recruited and organized here at Dayton, and commanded by Colonel Alexander McD. McCook, afterward, on General McCook's promotion, by Colonel Edwin A. Parrott, also a member of the Dayton bar. General Thruston earned his rank by' conspicuous gallantry in battle; was promoted to the post of adjutant upon General Rosecrans' staff, and afterwards to the same position on the staff of Major-General Thomas. On one occasion he was promoted on the field by his chief. At the close of the war he removed to Nashville, where he married and entered upon the practice of the law. Property investments, united with failing health, so interfered with his professional duties as to withdraw him from active practice. He has become thoroughly identified with Nashville interests, and is engaged
in the preparation of an illustrated work now in press, upon the "Antiquities of the Mound Builders," of which the vicinity of Nashville and the region of Middle Tennessee supply a most prolific and interesting field.
Ralph P. Lowe, another of the early Dayton lawyers, brother of Peter and John G. Lowe, did not practice many years in Dayton. He removed to Keokuk, Iowa, about 1839. He, too, was a graduate of Oxford, and attained eminence in Iowa both as a lawyer and a public man. He became Governor of the State, and afterward one of the judges of the Supreme Court. He removed to Washington about the year 1873, where he practiced in the higher courts, much esteemed as a lawyer and gentleman, until his death, which occurred in 1883.
Among the group of lawyers, numbering one hundred and eleven, who came to the bar after 1840 and prior to 1860, fifty-one are dead, forty-one removed or retired to other business, and only nineteen are now living.
Among the deceased those who were most actively engaged in the practice and more prominent in the profession, were Wilbur Conover, Adam Clay, Abraham Cahill, John Howard, D. W. Iddings, Daniel. P. Nead, Hiram Strong, Youngs V. Wood, C. L. Vallandigham, and E. S. Young.
Wilbur Conover was in his time one of the best lawyers that ever (page 513) practiced at the Dayton bar. He was a graduate of Oxford (in the year 1840) and was distinguished at college for his superior faculties. He was a close student and possessed a clear, vigorous intellect. He studied law with Odlin & Schenck, and on his admission to the bar, became a member of the firm. He afterward was the sole partner of Mr. Schenck until that gentleman went to Brazil as United States minister. He then entered into partnership with Mr. Samuel Craighead, which continued up to his death in 1883. The firm of Conover & Craighead always commanded a leading practice, and was regarded as one of the ablest and most reliable in the State.
Mr. Conover's opinions as a lawyer were regarded with deserved confidence as well by the community as by the profession, and his business life seemed to illustrate a lofty sense of' duty united to a sincere devotion to his profession. He came to the bar imbued with those ideas of professional honor, handed down by Judge Crane, Edward W. Davies, Robert C. Schenck, and he Dayton lawyers of their generation. He never tarnished the achievement of professional success by personal self-seeking, or that unworthy rivalry that finds its own advancement in the depreciation of others. He esteemed that professional eminence only as worthy of attainment that is deserved by real merit and faithful devotion to the interest and cause of a client.
John Howard, who died in 1878, was for many years one of the most eminent and successful of our lawyers. He was a graduate of Kenyon College, came to Dayton about 1839, and studied law with Odlin and Schenck. His association in the practice with Mr. Haynes was formed some years after, and thence forward the firm of Haynes & Howard ranked with the other leading firms at the bar. Mr. Howard, without being eloquent or attractive as a speaker, was extremely adroit and convincing. He generally exhausted every favorable point in his case with a force equal to the ingenuity lie displayed in concealing or refuting those of his adversary. Mr. Howard was always popular and universally esteemed. He was tempted once to run for Congress, but after a very vigorous canvass, in which he proved himself a formidable opponent, lost by only some ninety votes.
Colonel Hiram Strong, who was fatally wounded at the head of the Ninety-third Regiment at the bloody battle of Chickamauga, was one of the most estimable men who ever belonged to the Dayton bar. He was a graduate of Miami University in the class of 1846, and was admitted in 1849. He practiced with success, first as a partner of William C. Bartlett, and afterward, in 1853, became associated with Lewis B. Gunckel.
The firm of Gunckel & Strong ranked among the best in Dayton, and (page 514) commanded a large and growing business. In August, 1862, he was commissioned Lieutenant-Colonel of the Ninety-third Regiment. No man ever entered the service from purer motives of patriotism. He had been married but ten years, and had a family of little children and a devoted wife, and besides was in a prosperous business. He had never shown the slightest taste for military life or affairs, and was totally without such knowledge. He speedily, however, mastered the duties of his new position, and became conspicuous for his proficiency as a drill master. He was a gallant soldier, a good lawyer, a faithful friend, a pure patriot, and in every sense of the word a true man.
Daniel P. Nead and Youngs V. Wood, both of whom have been dead many years, died when in full practice. The firm commanded a large and lucrative business, and possessed to a large degree the public confidence.
Daniel W. Iddings was a student at law at the same time with Samuel Craighead, Wilbur Conover, and their set of brilliant young men, and was conceded to be about the brightest of them all. He graduated at Oxford ill 1842, and was admitted to the bar in 1846. Possessing especial literary qualifications and taste, lie drifted into journalism and became the part proprietor and editor of the Dayton Gazette, which he conducted for five years. He became prominently connected with municipal affairs, and served two terms as Mayor of the city in 1856 and 1858. He was president of the city council for nearly ten years, was Register in bankruptcy from 1867 until the office was abolished, and meantime conducted a successful and growing legal business in association with his two sons. He had a clear legal mind, was gifted intellectually, and drafted the first law ever passed in Ohio to incorporate joint stock insurance companies. He had accumulated a handsome property, and was stricken with paralysis, dying in 1883, at the age of sixty-four.
Adam Clay was another of the deceased lawyers of this class who was long prominent in practice and in public life. He was a member of the Constitutional Convention of 1872, which assembled at Cincinnati.
His son, Amos K. Clay, who is a graduate, and an estimable and good lawyer, succeeded to his business.
The most recent death at the Dayton bar among this group of lawyers was that of E. Stafford Young. Mr. Young was a mal of marked legal ability, and for thirty years had been a prominent member of the bar. His sterling qualities of personal independence and integrity commanded everybody's confidence and respect, and his diligent devotion to business and his constantly improving capabilities, with his large experience, commanded a wide and varied practice. Mr. Young well deserved to rank among the foremost men of the Dayton bar, and he (page 515) was so regarded at home and abroad. A biographical sketch of him, written by myself, too extended for this place, will be found in the closing chapter of this book. His sudden death, which occurred on the evening of the 14th of February, 1888, was a startling shock to the whole community, for there were few among us who had been so conspicuous or more generally known and respected.
The only survivors of this group of lawyers now at the bar are Judge Boltin, Judge Baggott, Samuel and William Craighead, Robert G. and Colonel D. B. Corwin, Judge Elliott, Lewis B. Gunckel, Judge Haynes, David A. and George W. Houk, John A. McMahon, George W. Malambre, James Manning Smith, Warren Munger, Colonel Nolan, Lewis R. Pfouts, S. M. Sullivan, and Thomas F. Thresher. Judges Boltin and Baggott each filled two terms of honorable service in the probate court. Judge Baggott was also prosecuting attorney for two terms and distinguished himself in the prosecution of Frank Dick for murder, in which he was convicted and hung.
Judge Boltin has always pursued diligently his profession, has not sought political distinction, but has been contented with the good reputation he has earned, and always enjoyed as a lawyer and an honest man. Robert G. Corwin has long since retired from active practice. Colonel David B. Corwin, his son, has had a share of political distinction in a very creditable term. of service in the State senate as senator from this district. He was regarded not only as one of the most industrious and useful, but one of the very ablest members of that body. He is now city solicitor of the city of Dayton, a very important and responsible legal position. Colonel Corwin served in command of a regiment west of the Mississippi during the war.
William Craighead, now the partner of his relative, Mr. Samuel Craighead, practiced for many years in partnership with Mr. Warren Munger. He graduated at Oxford in 1855, and after teaching two years, studied law with Conover and Craighead, and was admitted to the bar in 1859. He soon after formed a partnership with Warren Munger, the firm at once acquiring a prosperous business. Mr. Craighead was elected city solicitor, and served acceptably two terms; the only office, I believe, he ever sought or accepted, as he has been singularly free all his life from any desire for distinction outside of his profession. His association with Mr. Munger continued some fifteen years, during which his reputation as an accurate and able lawyer continued to grow. Since the decease of Mr. Conover, he has been a partner in the present firm of Craighead and Craighead, in full and well-sustained practice.
Warren Munger, who is about Mr. Wm. Craighead's age, came to the (page 516) bar about the same time. He is the son of Warren Munger, deceased, one of the most respected of the members of the original Dayton bar, and most esteemed of the early citizens of Dayton. He graduated at Kenyon College in 1858, and studied law also with Conover and Craighead. During the continuance of the firm of Craighead and Munger, Mr. Munger filled for two terms the office of prosecuting attorney with great credit, and was regarded as one of the ablest men at the bar; distinguished not less for the purity and beauty of his social character, than for his wise judgment and abilities as a lawyer. He is still in full practice as senior in the firm of Munger & Kennedy.
Lewis B. Gunckel is now one of the senior members of the Dayton bar. He graduated at Farmer's College in 1848, and from the Cincinnati law school in 1851. In his early professional life he was associated with Mr. Strong, and laid the foundation of a practice which, through his fidelity, industry, and abilities, has grown to be as important as any ever enjoyed at our bar. In 1862, Mr. Gunckel was elected to the State senate. He served there during the years of the war, was chairman of the judiciary committee, and during the entire period especially distinguished himself in furthering legislation favorable to the soldiers and their families. He introduced a bill for the establishment of a State soldiers' home, another for a bureau of military statistics, and in all that concerned the welfare of the soldiers in the field he was especially conspicuous and efficient. In 1864, he was a presidential elector, and canvassed the State for Mr. Lincoln. He was influential in the inauguration of measures for the establishment of the Soldiers' Home in Dayton, and was appointed one upon its first Board of twelve managers. He held this responsible position for twelve years, during ten of which he was Secretary of the Board, and local manager. In 1871, Mr. Gunckel was appointed by President Grant special commissioner to investigate frauds upon the Cherokee, Creek and Chickasaw Indians, upon which he made a valuable report, which led not only to the detection and punishment of the guilty parties, but to important reforms in the Indian service. In 1872, he was elected to Congress, served on the Military Committee, voted to repeal the salary-grab law of the preceding Congress, and declined to accept the increased pay to which he was legally entitled under that law.
Since Mr. Gunckel's retirement from congress, he has been more especially identified with his profession and devoted to its practice, in connection with his partner, Mr. E. L. Rowe. He was for three successive years a delegate from the Ohio State Bar to the National Bar Association, and was for the same period treasurer and member of the executive committee of the latter.
(page 517) In 1884, he was nominated by his party for Congress, but persisted it, his refusal to accept the nomination, making another convention and nomination necessary.
Mr. Gunckel's public services have been varied and important-those most highly appreciated by the community, as well as most satisfactory to himself, were rendered in connection with the Soldiers' Home. He has been long known as one of the leading members of the Dayton bar, and so recognized throughout the State.
David A. Houk came to the bar about the year 1854. He first formed a partnership with Mr. Malanibre, and afterwards with Mr. E. S. Young. He served as prosecuting attorney for two terms, and made a high reputation in that department of practice: He was recognized as a lawyer of fine acquirements in his profession was clear and powerful in argument. He was a candidate for Congress against General Schenck, in 1864, in an overwhelmingly Republican district, and of course defeated. He is a Iran of conspicuous integrity and independence of character, has measurably withdrawn, in recent years, from the practice, on account of failing health. Colonel M. P. Nolan is another of the older lawyers who has long been regarded as among the most prominent of Dayton attorneys. He, too, has had experience in public and military life. He was United States commissioner by appointment of President Johnson, and always an active participant in political affairs. He was a war Democrat, and entered the military service during the war. He has long been distinguished for his powers as a jury-trial lawyer, and is still in active practice in partnership with his son.
Lewis H. Pfouts, of the firm of Pfouts & Hartranft, and in the enjoyment of a large and successful business, has been content to pursue the even tenor of his way without seeking any conspicuousness in the political field of public service, with the best results to his prosperity and happiness. Thomas F. Thresher, another of the survivors of the second group, cane to the bar in the fifties, and, when in active practice, was an unusually bright lawyer. He served in the legislature of the State two terms, and took rank with the most influential and able of the members of that body. Mr. Malambre, S. M. Sullivan, and James Manning Smith, all of whom have withdrawn from the practice, are the only remaining members of the class of lawyers before '60, besides myself, other than those I have named.
It is obviously impossible to make even similar brief reference to the Dayton lawyers embraced in the last list, from which I observe I have accidentally omitted the names of Quincy. Corwin, A. A. Thomas, J. L. H. Frank, and Mr. Harvey Conover. (page 518) There is, however, one gentleman whose good fortune it was to be elevated to a seat on the bench of the Circuit Court, who may be rightfully embraced as belonging to the judiciary of Dayton. I refer to Hon. John A. Shauck. As he was elected circuit judge over myself by some three thousand votes in 1884, his omission here might be regarded as invidious. Mr. Shauck was born in Morrow County, in this State, was educated at Otterbein University, where he graduated about 1864, and entered the hundred-day service as a soldier. After the close of the war, he entered Michigan University, where he graduated in the law department. Upon his admission to the bar, he went to Kansas City to enter upon the practice of his profession, but being, through various influences, attracted to Dayton, he finally determined to settle here, about 1868. Soon after, he formed a partnership with Judge Boltin, which continued up to his nomination and election to the Circuit Judgeship, in 1884.
The canvass for the nomination for this office was the most extraordinary that ever occurred in Dayton. It was generally understood that the Republicans of Montgomery County would name the nominee. Mr. Quincy Corwin and Mr. Shauck were the two candidates for the nomination. It was a regular primary election. The utmost activity was displayed by the respective friends of the two candidates. Polls were opened, printed ballots received for Shauck and Corwin delegates, and it was ascertained upon count that over fifteen hundred votes had been cast, resulting in the election of the Shauck delegates by a majority of some seventy or eighty votes. Mr. Shauck was nominated by the Circuit Convention that assembled at Urbana a short time after, and was duly elected at the fall election of 1884. He drew the six year term, and has been
upon the bench ever since, increasing his reputation as a lawyer and as a diligent, very capable, and scholarly judge.
Two organizations have been established, and are in successful operation, to promote the interests of the Dayton bar in connection with the administration of justice. The Dayton Bar Association was incorporated in April, 1868, by E. S. Young, Samuel Craighead, John A. McMahon, Thomas O. Lowe, Abraham Cahill, and John Howard. The principal object was to establish and maintain a law library, which consisted, at the time of the incorporation of the association, of some eight hundred volumes.
Its first president and board of directors, elected in December, 1868, were Daniel A. Haynes, president; John A. McMahon, C. L. Vallandigham, J. A. Jordan, David A. Houk, Thomas 0. Lowe, and E. S. Young, directors; Thomas 0. Lowe, treasurer, and 0. M. Gottschall, secretary. The library is now located in a suitable room, fitted up for its especial (page 519) , in the new courthouse, communicating with the court rooms as well as with the private chambers of the judges, and contains some three thousand and six hundred volumes, consisting of fill] sets of English common law, exchequer and chancery reports, together with full gets of nearly all the State reports and United States reports, digests, etc. The association is a joint stock company, the stock being divided into fifty-dollar shares and held by the members of the bar. The board of directors, elected yearly, at present consists of Warren Munger, president; J. A. McMahon, 0. M. Gottschall, George R. Young, John M. Sprigg, A. A. Winters, and E. L. Rowe.
The Montgomery County Bar Association was organized in 1883, with a constitution and by-laws, and embraces some seventy members, being all the lawyers, with few exceptions, at the Dayton bar. It holds monthly meetings, at which discussions of legal questions and matters of interest to the profession are held, and has regular standing committees, to-wit: On membership, on grievances, on jurisprudence and law reform, on legal biography. Members are elected by a majority vote. Present president, O. M. Gottschall; secretary, George 0. Warrington. Of these coming to the bar later, and still in active business, are R. D. Marshall, E. L. Rowe, John M. Sprigg, C. L. Bauman, J. L. H. Frank, 0. M. Gottschall, Charles W. Dustin, John Hanitch, 0. F. Davisson, C. W. Dale, C. W. Finch, A. K. Clay, L. S. Crickmore, A. A. Winters, Charles E. Swadener, Elibu Thompson, J. C. Young, John E. Greer, the most of whom may be ranked as the now senior members in successful practice at the Dayton bar. Of the junior members, much might be said in high personal commendation. In the front rank of this list may be placed in seniority R. M. Nevin, Wickliffe Belville, George R. Young, Frank Conover, Charles Craighead, Frederick W. Gebhart, Charles J. McKee, Harry E. Prugh, Edward D. Payne, G. O. Warrington, James A. Wortman, C. S. Waltmire, Henry Nolan, 0. B. Brown, Grafton C. Kennedy, W. H. Van Skaik, Charles D. and William B. Iddings, Albert Kern, Webster W. Shuey, A. W. and C. H. Kumler, U. C. Hartranft, E. P. Matthews, W. B. Sullivan, E. H. Kerr, S. H. Carr, Toni Corwin, W. H. Young, A. H. Romspert, and J. C. Patterson. There were a few names of the younger members of the bar accidentally omitted from the third group (as heretofore classified), which are here supplied, to-wit: John D. Borough, Carl L. Bauman, William G. Frizell, L. B. Mcllhenny, E. T. Snediker, and Harvey Conover.
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