(page 187) Adjoining the Slicer lots on Cincinnati (or Main) street space was reserved for a temporary courthouse which should serve until a permanent courthouse could be afforded by the young commonwealth. The temporary building was a stout wooden structure, two stories high and twenty-four by thirty-six feet in size, set upon an eighteen inch foundation of stone. The sum of $1,294, was allowed for building. The contract for it was completed by Vachel Blaylock, in 1822, and in the following winter Blaylock made the furnishings of the court room, "a good, substantial bar, three sets of jury boxes, one table five feet square and two smaller tables," receiving $60 for the work. (Solomon McColloch afterward bought this property, in 1825.)
The services of all the earliest churches were held in this old court house. The home of Robert Patterson, located immediately north of it, accommodated the Presbyterian mid-week prayer-meetings. Patterson's holdings extended north to the corner of Main street and Court avenue, and east on Court to Opera street. On the corner he built his store, and added, in both directions from it, the lines of small buildings which came soon to be known as "Patterson's Row," and which survived until 1879, when they were torn away to make room for more modern buildings.
The first jail was built by Blaylock at the same time, on the northeast corner of the public square, and was constructed of logs, (page 188) one wall within another, the interstice of ten or twelve inches filled with loose stones. The floors above and below were of logs, and all logs used in the building were hewn, fifteen inches square. Roofs and subsequent additions of equal strength made it sufficient for the accommodation of the county's prisoners for nearly fifty years, until 1870, when the new jail and sheriff’s residence at the corner of Mad River and Court streets was erected. In 1833 contracts were let to William Bull, John Wheeler and George Shuffeton, all of whom were citizens, for the erection of a permanent court house, of brick and stone, which was to cost, all told, $2,050, and was completed in 1833, in which year two additional office buildings, erected one on either side of the court house, were built by William Watson, at an expense of $650. The new court house did duty for many public services which are not in the usual category, yet were eminently proper in themselves. Churches were organized there; celebrations of national and municipal events were held in it; political meetings were not barred from it; entertainments, professional and amateur, were staged in it, in addition to the tremendous legal battles fought before its bar of justice. Concerts and theatricals given by the Bellefontaine talent of those decades cannot be recited now, but a glance through old scrapbooks and newspapers tells many a tale of men who are only remembered as "grave and reverend seigneurs." And great artists appeared before the audiences there. In the meantime, the temporary court house was having its second "day." Purchased by Peter Leister, it was altered and enlarged by him, and opened as a tavern in 1834, and in the next ten years became a famous hostelry, which lost none of its prestige when it passed, in 184-4, into the keeping of Walter Slicer, whose fame as a host is still a proverb. The first bell ever hung or rung in Bellefontaine was that at Peter Leister's tavern.
Other taverns were opened, almost too numerous for anything but mere mention. William Bull had one of these, at the site of the Tremont block, on Main street. Daniel Workman, whose daughter married Nathaniel Dodge, a fellow merchant, kept a store and tavern in a building erected by him at the corner of Columbus and Main streets, which was afterward occupied as a shoe store by John B. Miller, and in 1846 purchased by William Rutan, who erected the first Rutan building-three stories high-the same year. This was kept as a hotel for a few years, then converted to mercantile purposes. A building of logs, put up for a store (kept by John Rhodes, the first Bellefontaine merchant), stood on the northwest corner of the same streets, where the Watson block was built in after years, which was also operated as a tavern for some years. The Simpson House, built at the corner of Mad River and Auburn streets, was a pretentious brick structure, which afterward became the home of Hiram B. Strother, and has been torn down. The Black Horse tavern was a resort which even in that unmistakably rough time was regarded with public disfavor and even repulsion, but it stood far outside the northern limits of the town. The Fountain House, situated on West Chillicothe, close to the railroad, was a later affair, and a well-kept place of entertainment for the traveling public. It burned about 1872. Another, known as the Branham House, erected (page 189) on West Chillicothe avenue (north side), between the tracks, was removed to make room for the Cleveland, Cincinnati, Chicago & St. Louis Railway depot.
Hotels. None of these, however, ever held the same place in public estimation that was occupied by the old court house tavern, under its various landlords. Everybody knows that every tavern in those early days had a "bar," and that those bars did inestimable damage to the youth of the town, and did not remarkably improve the morals of their elders. The evil may for the greater part, in the case of the famous old tavern under consideration, be ascribed to "the times" and the manners, both of which have changed. What horrifes the present day citizen was then taken for granted. And certain it is that the best of Bellefontaine society-and that is to say something !-centered its social life and innocent gaiety in Walter Slicer's old hotel. It was there that the youth of Bellefontaine danced many a night away to the music of "the old band." It was there that Coates Kinney penned the immortal lines of "The Rain Upon the Roof," the poem having shaped itself in his brain while walking in from a home on the West Liberty road, where he had spent the previous night under the rafters of a farm house, listening while "the melancholy darkness gently wept in rainy tears." There, too. the poet brought his lovely bride, to be greeted by the elite of the town in a gay fete given in her honor. Many a great man rested under its roof, and many a newcoming solid citizen sojourned there while choosing or building a home. The house was bought in 1855 by John B. Miller, a native of New York, who came to Bellefontaine in 1832, by way of Cincinnati, where he stopped temporarily, and where he married Miss Susanna Thurston. When the Mexican war broke out Mr. Miller entered the service of the government, was recruiting officer, and went into the fight as a lieutenant. After establishing himself in the tavern,- which he again improved and enlarged, he changed the name to the "Union House," under which title it remained until torn down in 1880.
The Union House continued the success of the past, the wide acquaintance of its landlord, who was an enthusiastic admirer of the best in dramatic and musical art and artists, attracting the best of transient custom to his hotel. Like Peter Leister and Walter Slicer, he had a family of beautiful daughters, and social life still centered for a long time about the hospitable house. Of the Leister daughters, the three eldest married, respectively, William Newell, Robert H. Canby, and Andrew Gardner. Jr. The elder Miss Miller, Sarah J., married Thomas Hubbard, sr., then editor of the Gazette, and founder of the Examiner, and was the mother of the distinguished Hubbard family of today. The younger daughter, Miss Mary Miller, lives on East Auburn street, with her brother, Dr. Frank Miller. Other members of the Miller family have achieved distinction in different lines far away from their native city.
Upon the outbreak of the Civil war, Lieut. Miller again responded to his country's call, and was recruiting officer for the county, also a soldier in the field, returning in 1864 as Capt. Miller. During his absence in the service, Capt. Miller provided a private home for his family, placed his financial affairs in the hands of (page 190) Andrew Gardner, a man who deserved and held the confidence of everyone, and left the tavern in the keeping of "Long" Jim Moore, who was faithful unto his very sudden death from heart disease, just before the proprietor's return. From 1864 to 1877, when he died, Capt. Miller was personally the host of the Union House. Under his remime the old "bar" was forever abolished. The house was maintained by the family until 1879, when it was sold to be torn down for the erection of the Opera block.
In 1853, in the wave of prosperity which followed the coming of the railroad, the Hotel Logan was built on East Columbus avenue, opposite the court house, the builder being David Whitehill, who very shortly afterward left Bellefontaine, never to return. The hotel was opened and conducted for the first year or two by Nehemiah McMichael, veteran clock seller and mender of old Bellefontaine, who had also conducted the Rutan House during its career as a hotel. Cooley and Leonard also operated the hotel at some period, but most definitely remembered among the scant details that survive the mist of time, are the Lamisons, who kept the place with all of elegance that pertained to the time and circumstances. The two Misses Lamison were popular young ladies, who, with the Miller sisters, and the Slicer girls and others, composed a gay group, whose grown-up graces their younger sisters envied from a perspective of short frocks and pinafores. One of the Lamison sisters became Mrs. Underwood of Lima, and another married Dr. Travis. Both are deceased.
The hotel has undergone many changes, additions being built at both the east and west ends, and of its many managers, several, like the Lamisons, Lanes and Dickinsons, have left grateful memories in the Bellefontaine mind, while some others are better soon forgotten. It is now in good hands, but its days of public service are probably near an end, on account of its advanced age. It is the sole surviving relic of ante-bellum hotels in Bellefontaine.
The Hotel Ingalls was erected in 1873 by Thomas Miltenberger, whose name it at frst bore. Whether Bellefontaine, which had outgrown its tavern days, had not yet arrived at the age of hotels, cannot be said, but the big new hotel which was undertaken with such high hopes brought financial ruin to its builder, and its custom languished for twenty years or more. Some time ago it was purchased by Howenstine and Huston, who renovated it and introduced modern improvements, and now, under good management, it is enjoying a prosperity its young days never knew. The same f irm also own the old Hotel Logan, which is managed by Robert Berndt ("Bobby Burs"), while the Hotel Ingalls is operated by John C. Alexander and Eldin Reed.
Business and home building kept pace with the development of the town, whether that is considered fast or slow. It was, doubtless, average. The great cyclone of 1825 did little damage to the new village, the brick house of Leonard Houtz, built outside the corporation limits, being the only building injured. It was a two-story brick, and the top story was neatly removed by the tornado. Mr. Houtz replaced the roof on the story that was left, and so the house remained ever after.
(page 191) After John Rhodes, who failed as the town's first merchant, Thomas Armstrong bought the property of William Powell at the site of the First Presbyterian church, and had the first store of the times. Afterward Armstrong occupied a site where the Logan hotel was built.
The Lot T. Janney store opened about 1821 in a one-story log structure at the site of the Melodeon building. The Robert Patterson store was started in 1824. Janney kept a tavern next to his store, as also did John Wheeler, who built a large two-story wooden house north of Columbus avenue, on the west side of Main street, and built up a trade and custom of wide extent. In this store William G. Kennedy, who came from West Liberty in 1835, began his career as a captain of local industry. Isaac Gardner arrived in Bellefontaine about 1828 or 1830, a young man just of age, and embarked in mercantile business in what had been the McClanahan tavern, at the present site of the Wissler dry goods house, opposite the court house. Here he laid the foundation for the famous Gardner store, which held first place in Bellefontaine for so many years. For a long time he had as partner Noah Z. McColloch, whose attractive young cousin, Eliza Reed-the daughter of Elizabeth Zane-he afterward married. "General" Isaac Gardner became a foremost citizen of the town, and is to be counted one of the real builders of Bellefontaine, having had a hand in the promotion of every improvement up to the time of his retirement from active life. He died in 1894. The Gardner store was removed in after years to the Watson corner, where it was long the gathering place for congenial souls. Let no one imagine for an instant that those gatherings indicated ordinary loafing or gossip. They included the best men of old Bellefontaine, in a day when clubs and societies and reading rooms did not exist, and were the board upon which were spread feasts of reason with a flow of soul which in this day of haste can never be duplicated. There are still a few men living who remember hearing the voice (not professional) of Dr. B. S. Brown at the door of the "corner store," inquiring in his inimitable tones, "Is there any man within who has leisure for intelligent conversation?" and the answering chorus of welcome from the rear. And those conversaziones ! What a pity it is that there was no Boswell loafing there to jot down the wit and wisdom of the village Johnson ! In 1846, Howe, the historian, found eleven dry goods stores in a village of six hundred and ffty inhabitants. Today, with nearly ten thousand population, the dry goods trade is taken care of by' four great department stores, the Annat, Denman, Morris and Wissler establishments, which display a greater variety of textile merchandise than could have been found in the most metropolitan store of 1846. Leather goods and saddlery were handled by William Rutan and Abner Riddle, who came from West Liberty in 1846 and 1848 respectively, and were partners in business. Mr. Rutan built the first three-story block in the town, and the presence of these men in the affairs of Bellefontaine was a great impetus. Incorporation had been effected by act of legislature in 1835, at which time the promise of the first railroad was already gilding (page 192) the future. Local capital and business and engineering talent being engaged in the project, great expectations were indulged in, and not without realization, though stage coach traffic was not entirely displaced for many a long year. Not until 1847 did the first train creep slowly into Bellefontaine on the steel highway. Scarcely had the town realized its new prosperity when its frst great disaster almost overwhelmed it-the great fire of 1856, which started in a stable' in the rear of the Rutan building, and with no f ire protection but a line of buckets from the springs and the town pump, the pride of old Bellefontaine went down in ruins, followed by the whole of west Columbus avenue, and "Scarf's Row" on the west side of North Main street. Seventy-eight buildings in all were devoured by the fire-fend. Rutan and Riddle set an example of courage and enterprise to the stricken town and a better Bellefontaine began to rise slowly from the ashes. In the years following the fire, several of the staunchest structures of the town were erected, beginning with the new Rutan building, which still houses the People's National Bank and many of the most important offices in the city ; the Watson block, to which judge Lawrence added on the north; Melodeon Hall, Bellefontaine's frst real place of public entertainment, and gradually, the Buckeye block, and many others too numerous to mention, which accommodated the growing business of the county seat.
Home building progressed as prosperity was slowly won, or as men of capital located in the town permanently. Many of the early residences of Bellefontaine's well-known citizens still preserve the social character of the times-dignified, spacious, and even stately with an old-time elegance which is not attempted in the smaller, cozier homes which are popular today.
The first "addition" to Bellefontaine 'was that made by Jared B. Dawson, whose wife was "Kitty" or Catherine Armstrong, a grand-daughter of Isaac Zane. The addition was situated at the southeast quarter of the town plat in 1845. Isaac Gardner made an addition in 1849, and Walter Slicer another in the same year, Beddow's addition following in 1850. All these were on the southern border, and the men who laid out the improvements gave an extra thirty feet to the corporation road, making Auburn street conform to the sixty-foot average of the first streets. Dawson gave the land for the building of St. Patrick's church on Patterson street. Slicer and others gave much of the unimproved land for the railroad right-of-way. Additions on the south, west, north, northeast and east, four in 1851, one in 1856, 1866, 1869 and 1870, by McColloch, Gardner, Powell, Aylesworth, Stanton, Julia Powell, D. W. Hoge, and William Lawrence. Rambo's, Howenstine's and Powers' came later, and in 1871 all lots were renumbered, as the city limits had then been extended to cover one square mile, the center of the new plat being still maintained at the intersection of Main and Columbus streets. Brown, Park and Elm streets, it should be remarked, were the north, east and west corporation limits of old Bellefontaine, and were allowed to remain at the original width of thirty feet, because of the building which had taken place at certain points before additions were regularly platted. Leonard Houtz, (page 193) whose property lay on the west, was accounted one of the proprietors of the town site only because it was necessary, in order to complete the plat, to secure the thirty-foot roadway from his land. Mr. Houtz preferred to give, rather than to sell, this thirty feet, and his name therefore appears as a proprietor.
After the fire of 1856, hesitating steps were taken toward providing fire protection to builders. The early "city fathers" may be said to have followed the policy of taking care of the public pennies while the public-spirited citizens took care of themselves as before. It took several more or less expensive experiments and several sharp lessons before a really adequate department was organized. Once having fallen into step with the march of progress, however, old mistakes have one by one been cast on the scrap heap of the past, and the well-organized city fire department of 1919, with its up-to-date "triple combination equipment," is able to fling a def into the teeth of the monster which once had Bellefontaine at its mercy. The Central Fire Station at the corner of Columbus avenue and Mad River street, was built in 1899, one outside station being maintained on Garfeld avenue, where a team and hose wagon are kept, carrying also ladders and chemicals. The great auto-engine was installed in the department in February, 1915. The Gamewell alarm system is used in Bellefontaine, and the department includes seven full-paid men, and eight call men who respond to alarm signals. Fire alarms are frequent enough in the city, but the most serious fre in many years was the burning, about four years ago, of the Church of Christ and one adjoining dwelling. The department is thoroughly efficient under its chief, H. S. Blair, and is one of the best assets the city owns.
Bellefontaine's City Building stands at the corner of Detroit and West Chillicothe streets. It was adapted to its present use, with only slight changes, from one of the fine old residences of former years, having been built by Jared B. Dawson, and used by the Dawsons as a home, after which it passed into the hands of N. H. Walker, and still later became the residence of General R. P. Kennedy and family. It is a splendid old mansion, lofty ceiled and massively built, and was in former days the scene of many gala social events, a history which in no way detracts from its usefulness as a city headquarters. The present official family of Bellefontaine is: Mayor, U. L. Kennedy ; city solicitor, John E. West; treasurer, John D. Inskeep ; auditor, Paul O. Batch ; chief of police and sanitary officer, John F. Lamborn; health offcer, Dr. W. C. Pay; board of health, Dr. F. R. Makemson, Leister JoHantgen, Arthur Mohr, R. E. Brooks, Max Leonard ; city council, president, Altman A. Smith ; members, N. A. Hess, C. J. Brooks, A. W. King, J. C. Reinhart, L. G. Startzman, J. O. Smucker, W. F. Wright. Civil service committee, Harry E. Pusey, Frank R. Moots, J. J. McGee. Trustees of sinking fund, W. W. Riddle, president; C. B. Churchill, vicepresident ; Charles S. Hockett, F. E. Cory, Paul O. Batch. Trustees of Mary Rutan Hospital, Anson B. Carter, W. T. Haviland, D. W. Askren, O. L. JoHantgen, Paul O. Batch, clerk. Directress, Hazel Webster. Chief of fre department, H. S. Blair. Superintendent of public parks, Henry Roberts. Director of public safety, (page 194) Brad. D. Hiatt. Director of public service, Claire A. Inskeep. Office department, Miss Susie Huston, chief bookkeeper; Mrs. Edna Morgan, assistant bookkeeper ; Miss Margaret Guy, clerk and stenographer.
Melodeon Hall, built in the early sixties, divided the honors of public entertainment with the old courthouse, usurping them in fact, very soon, for the old courthouse before the seventies had become an object of ridicule to the public. Old newspaper files of the later sixties are sprinkled with sarcastic comments, and humorous sallies directed against the shabby old relic, all of which united to bring public feeling to a focus and resulted in the erection of the fine sandstone courthouse which, though criticized by some, has been a source of pride to the county and is yet a staunch and honorable edifice of justice, but needing remodeling and additional rooms and more modern equipment.
Bellefontaine early became known as "a good show town," and many a first class attraction was seen in old Melodeon Hall, the greatest actors and actresses of the times not scorning to tread the boards of its cramped stage. Edwin Forrest once played Richelieu there, in the seventies, and although his manager had booked him to be entertained at one of the newer hotels, while the theater was across the street from the time-worn old Union House, all "modern improvements" were foregone for the sake of a reunion with his old friend, Capt. Miller. When the Miller House was torn away, in 1880, to make room for the Opera Block, much genuine regret was mixed with the rejoicing that at last Bellefontaine was to have a play house worthy of the best talent. The old Patterson corner had already, in 1879, been replaced by the Empire Block.
The wave of improvement which reached its crest in the building of the Opera Block began in 1875, when a company was formed which purchased two lots of the Miltenberger estate, and erected there, first, the Buckeye Block, and in 1876 the Tremont Block, on the west side of Main street. The company, consisting of W. V. Marquis, James Cowman, T. L. Hutchins, and Webb Hoge, was enlarged to include, in the Empire and Opera Block enterprises, R. P. Kennedy, Dr. J. A. Brown, G. D. Davis, Russell Bissel, A. G. Wright, J. F. Mangans and W. H. Chandler. The Opera Block, which covers all the ground once occupied by "Patterson's Row," and also the site of the Union House, is in "L" shape, and was designed by D. W. Gibbs, architect, of Toledo, finished, and the Bellefontaine Opera House opened, with an engagement of three nights, December 23, 24, 25, 1880, the attraction being the operas "Chimes of Normandy" and "H. M. S. Pinafore," brought here by Bob Miles, of Cincinnati. From that time for a long term of years, the city of Bellefontaine enjoyed a reputation among the stage profession which drew the best talent before the local footlights, With the flight of time, the play house lapsed into rather shabby condition, and has been for some years outside the popular circuit of "the road," but it has lately been renovated, redecorated and new lighting system installed, by the new manager, Daniel Gutilla, and will probably once more attract a high order of entertainment to the city. Already, since the reopening in October, 1918, the gifted young (page 195) actor, Lou Tellegen, has appeared before a well-filled house in "Blind Youth."
Building of the better sort again halted for a time after the completion of these improvements. It seems difficult to realize that as late as 1890-91, Opera street, from Columbus to Court, was bare of building, except for one insignificant frame dwelling, now recalled as the abode of an African family who had a little Albino daughter. This, however, was the era of the Big Four shops and terminals, and on the steady tide which then set in, the Powell Block, the Good Building, and the Memorial Hall were built, filling the waste space with substantial and comely structures. West Columbus avenue is filling up with new buildings of a superior character, and the older business houses on that thoroughfare are being remodeled according to modern standards. Detroit street, lined at an early date with many dwellings of the old brick of local manufacture, shows less change, except incidentally, than any other in the old part of Bellefontaine, but there is an air of solid old respectability about the severely plain old brick homes, set broadside to the street, that speaks of a well-being within the faded outer walls, that is quite independent of busy time and change. East and West Chillicothe are both indicative of remarkable progress toward modernization ; East Sandusky and Columbus avenues mingle the past and present together in architectural friendliness, and North Main street maintains its mid-century stateliness as far as the old limits. when the new mode is distinctively seen as the city climbs the slope northward. The Bellefontaine National Bank Building was erected in 1892, and the Examiner and Index-Republican buildings preceded that date-the Examiner by some years. The new Lawrence Block, rebuilt a number of years ago after partial destruction by fire, is one of the finest in the city, being surpassed only by the beautiful Canby Building, which occupies the old "Boyd's Corner," where Joseph Gordon's pioneer log cabin stood for nearly a century preceding it. One who left Bellefontaine a bare ten years ago, returning today, would think a fairy's wand had touched many points and transformed them. The Carnegie Library, at the corer of Sandusky avenue and Main street, was dedicated May, 1905. It is of yellow pressed brick and Bedford stone, simple but refined in architectural design, and fireproof. It is well planned and lighted, and the reading rooms are commodious, and in constant use. The stack room is fairly well filled, and the reference library is good, but the fund for replenishing the shelves is somewhat insufficient for the needs of the community. Miss Laura Morgan, the librarian, is' a most capable director, and the establishment is well patronized by old and young. The library board, in 1905, included Robert Colton, John R. Cassidy, E. J. Howenstine, Dow Aikin, C. G. Parker, Dr. G. L. Kalb, and Gen. R. P. Kennedy. The present board is : President, E. J. Howenstine ; vice-president, C. G. Parker ; secretary, E. C. Cowman ; treasurer, W. G. Stinchcomb ; E. K. Campbell, Dow Aikin and Miss Annie Price, who, with Mr. Parker and Miss Morgan, constitute the book committee. The library stands on the site of the Rebecca S. Brown residence, which in late years was the Methodist parsonage. The nearly nine thousand volumes in the stack room (page 196) include those given by the Women's Club Free Library, opened in 1901.
The new postoffice building at the southwest corner of Chillicothe avenue and Detroit street, was opened July 1, 1914. It is an excellent example of simple and adequate architecture developed in gray stone, and the position is one of unquestionable superiority from every standpoint. The postmaster is Walker C. Prall; assistant, Luther B. Stough ; the corps of clerks are : Edwin M. Fulton, Frank M. Shepherd, Cyrus 0. Taylor, Blanche Kauffman, Robert V. Rea and Lulu E. Coulter.
Until 1890 Bellefontaine had been remarkably backward in the matter of street improvement, sidewalks being irregular in their width and construction, everyone choosing his own material ; and while many were excellent, the general effect was very uncertain especially after dark. Pavement previous to the discovery and manufacture of the Buckeye cement languished. The court house square was surrounded by streets with no pavement but ordinary gravel piking, and the grounds were enclosed within a none too slightly picket fence. The old town pump still stood at the corner of Columbus and Main. There was no light better than gas, although gas had been a very early improvement. The town was in the clutches of the Bell telephone monopoly. The temperance laws for which the newspapers and lawyers of Bellefontaine had fought in the legislature were yet unenforced in the city. Beginning in the late eighties, the next two decades witnessed a remarkable evolutionary turmoil (not entirely subsided even now, though pushed aside to some extent by the war activities of 1917-1918), in which the town, which up to 1895 was content to strain its eyes in the dim gaslight of the old gas plant so hardly won in 1873, became the city which owns its up-to-date electric plant; in which the town which then had not found an adequate water supply to replace the springs and seep wells it had outgrown, discovered, while boring for natural gas, an inexhaustible subterranean stream of pure water of priceless value to Bellefontaine for all the future ; in which the community which had suffered the blight of the liquor traffic, which its journalists and greatest men had fought against for nearly thirty years, at last throttled the evil, and made Bellefontaine for a while, at least, the largest dry town in the United States ; in which the courthouse was at last surrounded with a pavement comporting with its dignity ; in which the independent telephone was established, and delivered from unjust competition ; in which the great Big Four shops were brought to Bellefontaine, and since the beginning of which the population has nearly trebled itself.
All this was not brought about without struggle and stress. Every step of the way was contested-the improvement of public utilities, the principle of municipal ownership of the same, the suppression of the soul-destroying liquor traffic. It was a battle of giants. The press, the pulpits, the professions and the interests threshed out each question in the columns of the papers, on the public platform, in the back offices, at the curbstone and at the ballot box. The rural districts came in for a share of the contentions, for not every farmer desired a share in the expense of better roads. It (page 197) was a great formative epoch of personal opinion, as opposed to personal prejudice, and in every instance opinion, supported by reason, won the battle when the questions were put to test at the polls. The futile "reservoir" built in 1883 was abandoned for the new water works in 1889: The electric light plant became a fact in 1896. The "dry" ordinance, twice proposed before it was passed, became operative in 1892. The first petition for it, addressed to the council in 1890, by John Carter, failed. The second passed in 1892, since when Bellefontaine has been but once betrayed by its council, and then only for a brief season. Hammer and trowel, saw and chisel, have never been idle a day since the passage of that law which the liquor interests would have had us believe (and indeed, many did honestly so believe) would "make the grass grow in the streets" of a paralyzed city. The superficial observer sometimes calls Bellefontaine dull. Surely such a one never witnessed or took part in one of its municipal struggles!
In the year 1850 the necessity for a more extensive public burial ground became acute, and an association was formed, sixty citizens uniting to purchase a twenty-acre plat northeast of the city, to be devoted to this use. The organization was effected in 1851, at a meeting of the proprietors, Gen. Isaac Gardner being the president. A board of directors was chosen, with Noah Z. McColloch, president; Dr. B. S. Brown, secretary ; William G. Kennedy, treasurer; Benjamin Stanton, James B. McLaughlin and William Fisher. The directors in 1880 were, in due order : Ezra Bennett, I. S. Gardner, G. B. Thrift, Edward Patterson and R. P. Kennedy. At present, 1918-1919, the board consists of Joseph JoHantgen, president; Alfred Butler, secretary ; E. J. Howenstine, treasurer; W. W. Coulter, Allie J. Miller, and Ray F. Tremain. The cemetery has been added to extensively since its purchase, and the situation is beautiful, lying beyond Rutan park, and reached by way of Stanton avenue. Brown park, the pretty little retreat in the heart of the city, was the memorial gift of Mrs. Rebecca S. Brown, the widow of Dr. B. S. Brown, whose statue seems to cast a benediction on the spot by its benignant mien.
Rutan park, the picturesque strip of woodland given to Bellefontaine by Mrs. Rebecca Williams, in memory of her father and mother, Mr. and Mrs. William Rutan, is many acres in extent, and furnishes an enviable advantage to the city, not possessed by many towns of its size. It is a playground for the children and a rest and recreation spot for their weary elders in summer afternoons. The annual Chautauquas are held on its green slopes. The logs of the old Joseph Gordon cabin, from "Boyd's Corner" stand purified and rejuvenated, among the trees on a hillside. These logs were purchased by Thomas Hubbard, jr., at the time the old place was torn down, and presented to the city by him. Miss Mary Powell defrayed the expense of having them reconstructed into the rustic rest house at the park, and quaint furnishings for the cabin have been contributed from different sources. Its fre-place was built of oldtime bricks from the Rutan sidewalk, the antique mantel-piece was donated by the brothers Anson and Andy Carter, and Miss Mame Scarf gave the old andirons. The last touch is added by the (page 198) hanging of an old iron crane, the handiwork of Bellefontaine's oldest blacksmith, Murray Dowell.
Near Rutan park rises Possum Run, the pretty stream which used to purl its winding way untrammeled through the centre of Bellefontaine, on its route to Blue jacket creek. It still sings in public as far as Park street, where it enters a tunnel and from thence is straight-jacketed underground to its destination-and all because of its naughty propensity to wake up when everybody least expected it, and inundate sidewalks and cellars, and sometimes to endanger life. Other natural fountains of water have been diverted into straightened channels in similar fashion, because they stood in the way of city building. One famous spring in particular is now covered by the north section of the Watson block, added by judge Lawrence many years ago, and the water which slaked the thirst of the central business district for at least thirty-five years runs away forgotten under some of its largest buildings.
Bellefontaine has reached its majority, and the future beckons with fine promise. The story, nearly told, is one of a long youth which makes for a strong manhood. Unconsciously located at the highest point of any city in the state, and arbitrarily set as nearly as possible in the center of the county, out of the established line of traffic, and behind other towns in settlement, the county seat owes its steady advancement to the men and women who were its makers and builders. Much attention has been paid in these pages to Bellefontaine's great men, and with the utmost justice has every word been spoken. But from the strong warp and bright woof of Bellefontaine's social fabric, the historian draws one more thread- the life thread of Richard Hennesey, "born in County Kerry, Town of Listowel, Ireland, April 18, 1827." "Buckshot" Hennesey, as he is affectionately known in Bellefontaine, is now its oldest living citizen. He was brought to America at the age of seven years, entered the employ of the old Mad River railroad at the age of fourteen, in 1841, and landed in Bellefontaine with the railroad, remaining in its employ for more than sixty-six years, being honorably retired on a pension twelve years ago-to his deep regret!
From 1852 for ten years he was stationary engineer for the old Bee Line ; foreman on the night express for the ensuing five years; for four summers he ran the engine on the little pleasure steamer on Silver lake, and on White river at Indianapolis (the latter being his only absence from Bellefontaine) ; subsequently, up to 1876 he had care of engines at the old roundhouse of the Big Four, and then was variously employed as track-walker, pump inspector, engine wiper and boilershop helper, until his retirement. In 1904, Mr. Hennesey was the one employee beside the foreman who stood by the company in the strike of that year. And so, for sixty-six years, Bellefontaine saw "Buckshot" come and go to his daily work, marching straight as any soldier. chin in the air, his dinner-pail swinging like a knapsack from his shoulders, a song in his heart and a merry, kind word ever ready on his tongue. Baptized in infancy by Rev. R. B. Mahoney, he has been a loyal member of St. Patrick's ever since its organization, and loyal, beside, to every principle of civic righteousness. When Charles Olby, railroad official, wrote "Buck (page 199) shot" on Mr. Hennesey's pass, saying "Richard Hennesey was too long to write," everybody knew that he meant that Richard Hennesey went straight to the mark. Mr. Hennesey was the purchaser of the first lot in Slicer's Addition, and from his home in the south portion of the city has watched the railroad district grow from a wild duck lake to a populous and busy industrial locality. He also watched the rise and fall of a local brewery on the south side, and rejoiced at the triumph of the "Drys." Now, at the age of ninety-two, he lives in a cozy bungalow on East Patterson street with his daughter, Miss Emma Hennesey, in the enjoyment of still excellent health, a clear memory and a wit as ready and kind as ever. Mrs. Mary Anderson, a nurse in the state hospital at Lima, and Mrs. W. P. Cantwell, of Bellefontaine, are also daughters. Mrs. Hennesey went to the farther shore ten years ago. With such fne fbre is Bellefontaine bound together.
The Logan County Bar
When the first court ever held in Logan county sat in the tavern of Edwin Mathers at Belleville, in 1818, just a round century ago, there was not one lawyer resident in the whole territory. It was necessary for the judge to appoint James Cooley of Urbana to act as prosecuting attorney pro tem. Lawyers of repute from other parts of the state were frequently present in the newly formed counties, their custom being to travel the circuits by vehicle or on horseback, if roads did not permit this-stopping barely long enough to attend each court, and pushing on to the next. In other days, it was not uncommon for an important murder trial to be completed in one day, such was the necessity for despatch. The heavy load of responsibility which had been laid upon the newly created county prepared a great field for resident practitioners. There was, to begin with, the natural ignorance and license in construction of law of the early days of American liberty. There was also the fact that the courts of Logan county were to be held responsible for the punishment of all crimes committed within the vast indefinite territory included in the phrase: "All that territory lying to the north of said [Champaign county] line." There was, in addition to these, the confusion of land titles brought about by the Virginia Military Surveys, in the relocation of the Ludlow Line north of the Greenville Treaty Line; and the half century dispute over the Hardin county boundary line, both of which were veritable mines of litigation. But, while to be the scapegoat of border outlawry might have carried opprobrium with it, there was a distinct advantage in the situation. For the crimes incident to the edge of civilization and the inevitable quarrels which even the best of people had (since they were merely human) and the endless land tangles drew the best of legal talent Loganward as gladiators to the arena.
Prominent Ohio lawyers of that day who were often present in the primitive court room of 1820 and the few years following, were Orvis Parrish, Sampson Mason, Charles Anthony, Gustavus Swan, Moses B. Corwin, William A. Rogers, Peter P. Lowe, and (page 200) others whose names are written high on Ohio's scroll of fame.
Battles royal were fought and won by the legal giants of a hundred years ago. Moses Corwin was an able advocate, witty and persuasive; William A. Rogers a quiet but formidable opponent; Sampson Mason a lawyer of great polish, courtly and eloquent in appeal; and all were men of marked ability, resourceful and astute. William Bayles was the first of his profession to locate in the county, coming from Urbana in 1818. He had married a sister of Moses Corwin, with whom he studied law, and, while he had only limited educational equipment, was a man of considerable native ability. He served four years as prosecuting attorney, from 1821 to 1825, but soon neglected his practice, and as years went by drifted into hopeless inebriety, from which habit he met his death one night in the waters of Possum Run, which flows through the heart of Bellefontaine.
Following Bayles, Anthony Casad, a young lawyer of high integrity, came to the Logan county bar in 1826. Casad is not recorded as a brilliant lawyer, but successful through diligence. He succeeded Bayles as prosecuting attorney until 1831. In 1840 he was elected to the state legislature, and again in 1852. In 1858 he was elected judge of the probate court, which court was established in 1852, and he held this office until his death in 1861. He was a fervent patriot and was driving from Camp Chase (near Columbus) after visiting the federal troops there, when he contracted a cold from the effects of which he died soon after reaching home. Hiram McCartney located in Bellefontaine in 1830, having studied law with judge Benjamin Piatt at West Liberty, who was then a resident of the county. McCartney had decided ability, added to industry and energy. He was a fearless and outspoken abolitionist at a time when that meant political ostracism. "He lived," said judge Lawrence of him, "in advance of his time." Before his death, which occurred in 1842, "all too short a lease," he had advanced to the head of the Logan county bar. Samuel Walker, who came to Bellefontaine in 1831, was also. like McCartney, an ardent abolitionist, and especially active in the "underground railway." He was a man of ordinary ability, though honest and thorough, and held in high esteem. McCartney and Walker were friends linked in sympathy on the question of slavery, but maintained a lifelong argument over their opposing religious beliefs. Walker retired from practice to a farm near Huntsville and died in 1852.
Henry M. Shelby, a native of Lewistown, became a resident of Bellefontaine in 1851. As Judge Lawrence wrote, "he had a respectable degree of ability, and enjoyed the distinction of being a leading Democrat in a strongly Republican county." He died in Bellefontaine after a practice of twenty years.
Isaac Smith and George H. Neiman were lawyers from De Graf who practiced at Bellefontaine for a number of years. Smith was previously a justice of the peace. Neiman, a Virginian by birth, lived but a few years after coming to this county.
Richard S. Canby came to Quincy, Logan county, with his father, Dr. Joseph Canby. He was but a very small boy at the (page 201) time. Richard received the finest of educational advantages and became a most finished scholar. He was admitted to the bar in 1839, and thereafter divided his time between law and business. He was sent to the state legislature in 1845, but had previously served as prosecuting attorney. In 1846 he was elected to congress, but after serving one term he retired from law and engaged in business pursuits until 1860, when he removed to Olney, Illinois.
There he was elected circuit judge and became distinguished as a jurist during a long incumbency. Judge Canby was politically unambitious, and personally very modest. Of himself, he said in a letter to judge Lawrence, "If I had stuck to the practice of law, I might have become a respectable lawyer."
Benjamin Stanton, born of Quaker parents, June 4, 1809, at Mt. Pleasant, Ohio, and left an orphan at the age of two years, had a life story which reads like a romance. He lived with his grandmother until he was fifteen, attending school and working on a farm, but by some accident acquired a stiff ankle which was believed to unfit him for continuing the life of a farmer. In consequence of this circumstance Benjamin was apprenticed to a tailor, a trade which did not appeal to his taste, but which as a dutiful lad he tried to do well, though he freed himself from his master before his majority, and became an independent workman. Very early in life, Mr. Stanton married a Methodist lassie, whereby he lost his birthright membership in the Society of Friends ; but it is recorded that he never considered it a cause for regret. He succeeded in supporting his family by means of his distasteful trade (in which he did not shine) while studying law with Samuel Stokely and Rowell Marsh of Steubenville, and was admitted to the bar in 1833, coming with his wife to Bellefontaine in 1834. For thirty-two years thereafter he was engaged in all the most important litigation in the county, except that which occurred during his eight years of service in congress. He was also a supreme court practitioner. When in congress he held a position on the board of regents of the Smithsonian institute, and was at one time chairman of the committee on military affairs.
Beside the activities mentioned, Benjamin Stanton served two terms as prosecuting attorney early in his career and two as state senator ; was a prominent member of the constitutional convention in 1850, and in 1862 was elected lieutenant governor of Ohio. His forensic ability was superb, and the occasion of his famous reply to Vallandingham, candidate for governor of Ohio, caused a genuine sensation.
Mr. Stanton was a cousin of Edwin M. Stanton, Lincoln's great secretary of war. After the war was closed he decided to leave Logan county for West Virginia, where, he said, there was a dearth of loyal lawyers, and spent the remainder of his life in that state, dying in 1873 at Wheeling.
C. W. B. Allison came to Bellefontaine from Union county. He married a daughter of Benjamin Stanton and became his partner in legal practice. Allison is said to have been a highly valuable counselor, though not a great jury lawyer, as he was not a public speaker. He removed with Stanton to West Virginia in 1866.
(page 202) Joseph H. Lawrence, a son of judge Lawrence (see judges of Logan County), was a native of Bellefontaine, born August 4, 1847. He was graduated from Washington and Jefferson college, in Pennsylvania, in 1870, and from the Columbian law college at Washington, D. C., in 1871, and was admitted to the bar the same year. He was associated in practice with his distinguished father during the latter's lifetime.
John M. Lawrence, a brother, born April 10, 1854, was educated at Wittenberg college, Springfield, Ohio, graduating in 1878, and in the Cincinnati law school, which he completed in 1880, and was admitted to the bar at Columbus. While at the law school he was a classmate of President William H. Taft. He returned to Bellefontaine, and, the practice of law not being to his liking, he remained in his father's office while the latter was comptroller of the United States treasury, afterward entering the Bellefontaine National bank, and devoting himself to fnancial and business interests in active association with his father, following this line of work until his death, which occurred September 12, 1913.
James Kernan, sr., was born in Ireland in 1814, was brought to America when a child, and received his education in this country. He graduated from Cincinnati law school in 1849 and located in Bellefontaine, where he practiced for nearly thirty years. He was the embodiment of what is known as "an Irish gentleman," as well as a successful lawyer. He died suddenly, in 1878, from a stroke of paralysis.
His son, James Kernan, jr., born 1840, was educated in the Bellefontaine schools, studied law with his father and became his partner in 1865. James, jr., inherited the gentlemanly and scholarly qualities of his father and is now one of the most exact and painstaking members of the bar. He is in active practice and highly respected.
James Walker, a lawyer of splendid ability and fine training, came to Bellefontaine about 1850. From 1854 to 1856 he was prosecuting attorney; from 1862 to 1865 he was United States assessor; in 1867 he was elected mayor of the city, and subsequently was member of the legislature for four terms. In 1854 he co-operated with Judge William West in the establishment of the Bellefontaine Republican, a Republican newspaper which later became famous for its fearless advocacy of political principles, morality and righteousness under the management, ownership and editorship of John Quincy Adams Campbell.
James B. McLaughlin, born in Perth, Scotland, in 1817, was brought to America at the age of three years, and settled in Bellefontaine in 1833, when he was sixteen years of age. During the fifties he was twice elected county surveyor. He studied law with Judge Lawrence and was admitted to the bar in 1860. In 1862 he was elected prosecuting attorney and served one term, after which he received an appointment as United States commissioner. In 1872 he was admitted to federal court practice. He died in 1878. J. Duncan McLaughlin, son of James B., was born in Bellefontaine in 1845, educated in the local schools, and graduated from the Cincinnati law school in 1869," being admitted to practice (page 203) immediately thereafter. He was county surveyor in 1866 and prosecuting attorney in 1874, and in 1880 was elected mayor of Bellefontaine. He was associated in practice with his father and Judge Duncan Dow. He, ably served for two terms as judge of the probate court, from February 9, 1897, to February 9, 1903. He is still in active practice in Bellefontaine, highly esteemed and respected. N. G. Johnston, born in Logan county, 1830, graduated from the Ohio Wesleyan university in 1859. He read law in the office of West & Walker and attended the Cincinnati law school, and was admitted to the bar at Cincinnati in June, 1869. He formed a partnership with H. R. Gwynn, who subsequently died, and later became a partner of E. J. Howenstine. In 1876 or 1877 he removed to Defiance, where he resided until his death, about 1902. Thomas H. Wright is a native son of Bellefontaine, born in 1849. He was graduated from the local high school with honors, studied law with the Kernans and was admitted to practice in 1871. He spent a short period in Denver, Colorado, then returned to Bellefontaine, but was never an active member of the Logan county bar. He was, however, a successful pension attorney, rendering faithful service to the soldiers of the civil war.
Sidney B. Foster of Huntsville was a native of New York and came to Logan county in 1850. He studied law under James Kernan, sr., and began practice in 1856. For many years he was a thriving merchant and a justice of the peace in his home town. Sidney B. Foster was widely known for his high ideals and especially for his opposition to saloons and the use of intoxicating liquors. His influence on the community still lives. Henry C. Dickinson, born in Logan county, June 30, 1839, was educated at Marysville, Ohio, and read law with the McLaughlins and Dow at Bellefontaine, entering the practice of law in the fall of 1873. During his active practice he was regarded as one of the best trial lawyers of the Logan county bar. He died after a successful career of nearly thirty years.
William W. Beatty came to Logan county in 1850 and studied law with Judge Lawrence, being admitted to practice in 1853. He lived at Huntsville but his large practice carried him into
all the courts of this and surrounding counties. In 1870 he was licensed to practice in the United States courts. He was sent to the state legislature in 1873, and to the state senate in 1875.
While there he originated or was the author of the Township Local Option Law. His death occurred some years since. R. N. Jordan, who never an active practitioner, came to West Liberty in 1850 and was local justice of the peace there for many years, and also mayor of that village for three years previous to being admitted to the bar in 1874. He was a brother of the Jordans of Cincinnati and Dayton. His death occurred about 1910.
George W. Emerson of Bellefontaine was born in Logan county and educated at Hinsdale college. He studied law with West, Walker and Kennedy, and was admitted to the bar in 1875, after which he taught school for one year, and began practicing in 1876.
"George Emerson," as he was familiarly known, was one of the most kindly and amiable characters, enjoying the confidence and (page 204) affection of the entire community. He was in the very prime of his professional, useful, happy and exemplary life, forty-eight years of age, when he died. He was prosecuting attorney for several terms, and at the time of his death, 1897, was a candidate for the legislature.
Capt. Harold B. Emerson, son of "George," having graduated from the local schools and from Columbia university, is well educated, admitted to the bar and is a practicing lawyer, being a member of the law firm of Miller & Emerson, enjoying a large practice. He served two terms as city solicitor. When the United States entered the world war he volunteered his services and remained in the army until honorably discharged after the signing of the armistice, and is now practicing.
James W. Steen, a native son of Logan county, and once a member of the law firm of Price & Steen, is still living, in Oklahoma, where he is a judge.
Milton Steen, an uncle, was both banker and lawyer. He died at Bellefontaine and is buried in the Huntsville cemetery.
John Reese, who practiced law in Bellefontaine courts for a long period of time, served as mayor of the city and later removed to Broken Bow, Nebraska, where he resides at this writing. James A. Oder, a native of Logan county, was educated at Geneva college, Northwood, afterward studying law with J. B. McLaughlin. He commenced practice in 1867, was prosecuting attorney for two terms, and died about fifteen years ago. John O. Sweet of Urbana, who was educated in the local schools and studied law with Emanuel J. Howenstine, afterward becoming his partner and enjoying a large practice, left Bellefontaine. about the year 1895 and is now in the pension department in Washington, D. C.
William A. West. son of judge William H. West, was born in Bellefontaine. His education was finished at Wooster university, and he studied law in his father's office, being admitted to the bar in December, 1876. He entered the firm, which then became West, Walker & West. His death occurred in 1916.
Samuel H. West, a nephew of judge William H. West, who also studied with him, served two terms as prosecuting attorney and was afterwards attorney for the National Cash Register company at Dayton. He was state senator for this, the Thirteenth district, for two terms, and is now in Cleveland, serving as general attorney for the L. S. & M. S. railway.
John E. West, born in Bellefontaine. February 8, 1858, was educated in the local high school, Wooster university, and the Cincinnati law school. He also read law from early boyhood in his father's offices. He has been in continuous practice of his profession since 1885. Mr. West is now United States commissioner for Logan county and is a member of the board of trustees of Wooster university, and is now one of the leading members of the bar, enjoying a fine practice. The law firm of West & West is widely known, having existed for nearly sixty years. His son, Johnson E. West, educated at Bellefontaine, Wooster, Ohio, and Columbia university, New York. was admitted to the (page 205) bar and is now in diplomatic service for the United States in Siberia, but previous to this service was city solicitor for Bellefontaine, his native city, and in active legal practice in the firm of West & West.
Robert P. Kennedy was born in Bellefontaine in 1840. He was educated in the local high school and in New Haven, Connecticut, after which he read law in the offices of West and Walker, and was admitted to the bar in 1866. Previous to this, he had served more than four years in the Federal army during the Civil war, attaining by successive promotions the rank of brevet brigadier general of volunteers. He became a partner of judge West and James Walker in 1876. In 1878 he was appointed collector of internal revenue, and in 1885 he was elected lieutenant-governor of Ohio. While serving in that capacity, he acquired, by reason of his sturdy rulings, the appellation of "King Bob." In 1887 he was sent to Congress, and once re-elected. In 1899, following the Spanish-American war, he was appointed by President William McKinley, a member of the Insular Commission, to visit Cuba and Porto Rico, preparatory to planning their new form of government. In 1903 he published a "Historical Review of Logan County," a handbook of genuine value to posterity. The city of Bellefontaine owes its beautiful shade trees along the streets to General Kennedy's activity while serving on the Tree Commission for the city. He died in the spring of 1918, leaving behind him a splendid record of public service, which will perhaps never be fully written save in the hearts of those who knew him personally.
Emanuel J. Howenstine, born in Bucyrus, Crawford county, Ohio, receiving his education there and at Jefferson college in Pennsylvania, graduating in 1864, and graduating from Cincinnati law college in 1W; came to Bellefontaine in the same year, March, 1866, and has occupied the same rooms for his office during the fifty-two years of practice. From time to time partnerships in practice with Mr. Howenstine were formed, in which judge Lawrence, N. G. Johnson, John O. Sweet, A. Jay Miller and others have been interested. For the past twenty-eight years the partnership of Howenstine and Huston has continued. Mr. Howenstine's activity and devotion to the business of his profession has been of great service to the community. Of all the members of the Logan county bar who were in practice in the spring of 1866, when Mr. Howenstine commenced practice, judge John A. Price and James Kernan, jr., remain.
John R. Cassidy was born in Ireland and came to America when a boy. He studied law with great ardor and was admitted to the bar in 1893. He continued in the active practice of law until 1913, when he was made clerk of the House of Representatives. On January 1, 1915, when judge John C. Hover resigned as judge of the probate court to become judge of the court of common pleas, Governor James M. Cox appointed Mr. Cassidy to serve during the unexpired term as judge of the probate court, which he accepted and was again made clerk of the house when the political wheel turned to his favor, where he is now serving. Mr. Cassidy was twice elected (page 206) mayor of Bellefontaine and represented Logan county in the constitutional convention of 1912.
William B. Ramsey has considerable local practice at Belle Center, the town of his nativity. He was educated at the local schools, Wooster, Princeton, and graduated from the Cincinnati law school, June 10, 1898. He practiced in Toledo, Ohio, for a few years, but after the death of his father, he gave his attention to the "Ramsey" bank, founded by his father, who, with his brother, Earl, conducted it in Belle Center.
Joseph C. Briggs of Belle Center, studied law under the direction of judge William H. West. He was admitted to the bar in 1890 and enjoys a large practice, his services being in demand in his immediate community, before justices of the peace, and he practices extensively in the Logan and Hardin county courts, as well as the court of appeals and supreme court.
P. M. Stewart, admitted to the bar in 1903, is in partnership in the practice at Belle Center with Joseph C. Briggs, his half brother.
Major Edward K. Campbell, born. in Bellefontaine, was educated in the local schools, graduating from the high school, and extended his education in Washington, D. C. He served in the Spanish-American war, after which he studied law and was admitted to the bar in 1901. He has been in the general practice, serving two terms as city solicitor. He volunteered when the war against Germany was declared and at this time, January 1, 1919, is still serving in Camp Sherman, Chillicothe, Ohio, having been made provost marshal at that camp. Mr. Campbell is one of the four sons of Charles D. Campbell now in the U. S. army service, and is a grandson of Edward Knight, former U. S. commissioner of patents and celebrated widely for his genius and attainments. Alexander Jay Miller, born in Bellefontaine, educated in the local schools, Wooster college, and is a graduate of Princeton university and of the Cincinnati law school. Was admitted to the bar in 1895. At the beginning of his practice he served two terms as city solicitor. His ability as a lawyer is recognized and his services required in many jurisdictions. He has a partnership with a law firm of which his brother, Albert Miller, is a member, at Toledo, Ohio, and gives a portion of his time to practice there. Mr. Miller has a fine education, is well traveled, having made two or more visits to Europe, and is familiar with all parts of his own country. William Wallace Riddle, a son of Bellefontaine, and scion of one of the older and substantial families of this community, was educated at Wooster college and is a graduate of the Cincinnati law school. Besides his law practice, he is president of the People's National bank, the oldest financial institution of the city. Mr. Riddle is an expert in conveyancing and on questions of taxation. He has served as city solicitor, two terms in the legislature, and is now one of the trustees of the sinking fund. His services to the United States government were valuable as chairman of the Liberty Loan committee.
Thomas M. Shea, a native of Bellefontaine, son-in-law of judge John A. Price, was admitted to the bar in 1892. He has served as city solicitor and is now in active practice.
(page 207) Jacob J. McGee, formerly of West Mansfield, removed to the county seat about the year 1910, and is a valuable acquisition to the legal force now practicing in Bellefontaine.
The law firm of Hamilton Brothers, consisting of John M. and Ernest M. Hamilton, was established about 1880. These brothers first opened their eyes to the beauties of the village of Zanesfeld and the Mad river valley, coming from a staunch pioneer family. They have been actively engaged in the law practice, but have not been content to confine their efforts to the practice of law alone, their buoyancy of spirit and activity of life has carried them into a wide range of business enterprises.
Hugh H. Newell was born and raised in Union township, Logan county, studied law and was admitted to the bar in 1896. Mr. Newell has extensive farming and other business interests besides his active law practice.
E. P. Chamberlin, a native of Logan county, studied law in the office of Judge William H. West, graduated from the Cincinnati law college in 1893, served two terms as prosecuting attorney and was enjoying a large practice when he was appointed special assistant district attorney by the United States government, with headquarters at Cleveland, Ohio. For a time he was in partnership with Mr. Hugh H. Newell. When Judge Dow retired from the bench, a partnership was formed with him, and later, after the death of judge Dow, a partnership was formed under the name of West & West & Chamberlin. Mr. Chamberlin has continued to reside in Cleveland since being appointed by the government.
Dow Aikin, born in the country near Bellefontaine, was educated at the local schools and is an active lawyer, served two terms in the legislature, and while so serving became the author of the "Aikin law," an outcome of the "Dow law," and touching the taxation of intoxicating liquors. He is now one of the leading lawyers of the county and highly respected.
John P. Bower, of Rushsylvania, well serves that community as counselor and practitioner, and is a member of the county school board. In 1897 he was elected to the House of Representatives of the Ohio general assembly, and brought credit upon himself while serving in that capacity.
M. R. Brown, of Quaker parentage and having native ability, is in regular practice in Bellefontaine.
Elmer L. Godwin was a school teacher and postmaster at West Mansfield, before he became one of Bellefontaine's younger lawyers.
In 1918 he was in government service as buyer of lumber for airplanes in the state of Washington, but returned early in 1919 to the practice of law in Bellefontaine, after the armistice was signed.
Lewis F. Hale is the present prosecuting attorney, serving his second term, and has a promising future. He was born in Logan county; was educated in the local schools and at the Northwest university, and taught school before studying law.
John S. Huston, a brother of W. Clay Huston, of the firm of Howenstine & Huston, is a resident of DeGraf, but practices law in Bellefontaine and other jurisdictions.
Forrest G. Long, born in Pleasant township, educated in the (page 208) common schools and at Ada university, admitted to the bar and is in active practice, has been city solicitor and also, for two terms, prosecuting attorney.
S. J. Southard came to Bellefontaine from West Mansfeld ; served twice as a member of the state legislature, and is now in active practice.
Frank DeFrees, a native of Bellefontaine, was admitted to the bar in 1885 and continued in the practice until a few years ago, when he retired from the practice to engage in other work.
Marion G. Bell was born near West Mansfield in 1864, was educated at the Ohio Northern university, Ada, Ohio, studied law in the office of West & West, was admitted to the bar in 1890. He continued in active practice until 1911, when he was appointed postmaster of this city. He died in April, 1915, while serving as postmaster.
Thomas L. Moore came to the local bar from the western part of the county. His practice was principally abstracting and he did not often appear in the trial of cases. His death occurred on the 19th day of May, 1917.
Ben. S. Johnson enjoyed a large practice and was regarded as one of the strong members of the bar. He died suddenly while in the prime of his career.
W. Clay Huston was born in Butler county, Ohio, in June, 1858, and removed with his parents to DeGraff at an early age. He received his education in the DeGraf schools, graduating from the high school in that town in 1881, and being retained as a teacher for three years following his graduation. He completed the course in the Cincinnati law school in 1886, and was at once admitted to the bar, practicing in the county courts from his DeGraff office until 1890, when he came to Bellefontaine to enter partnership with E. J. Howenstine, a business relationship which has lasted continuously ever since. Mr. Huston has devoted himself closely to law practice and is one of the most forceful members of present Bellefontaine society, a citizen in whom general confidence is well placed. Walter S. Plum is a native of Logan county, born near Lewistown, November, 1852, the son of Jonathan and Sallie (McKinnon) Plum. He was educated in the county schools, attended Wittenberg college for one year, and graduated from Adrian (Michigan) college in 1878, receiving the B. S. degree, after which he entered the study of law in the office of judge William Lawrence, and was admitted to the bar in 1880 after examination before the supreme court of the state. From 1882 until 1884 he was city attorney of Bellefontaine, and from 188.5 to 1891 he served as prosecuting attorney for Logan county. In 1893 he was elected by the Republicans to the state senate, where he took an active and prominent part in the proceedings and on the committees. He was elected in 1902 to succeed Judge J. Duncan McLaughlin on the probate bench of Logan county, which position he held from February 9, 1903, to February 9, 1909. In 1912 Judge Plum removed to Atlantic City, New Jersey, where he still resides.
P. M. Keller of West Mansfield was a member of the Logan (page 209) county bar, and occasionally appeared in the trial of cases at Bellefontaine while in practice.
Edward Kellison came to Bellefontaine from Quincy, Ohio, his education having been acquired in the schools of that village and the State university at Columbus. He was admitted to the bar in 1905 and has had his office in Bellefontaine practically ever since.
He has devoted his time more to money lending and commercial matters than law practice.
N. G. Hahn came to Bellefontaine from Quincy, Ohio, and graduated from the Cincinnati law school, having practiced at Wauseon for several years before coming to Bellefontaine. He is deeply interested in the law and is enjoying a large clientele. Ernest Thompson came to Logan county in 1889 at the age of thirteen years. His education was received in the common schools and in the Huntsville high school and at Ohio Northern university at Ada, where he graduated with the degree of bachelor of science. He then attended the law department of Ohio State university, was admitted to the bar, and commenced the practice of law at West Liberty. He was from there elected prosecuting attorney, and removed to Bellefontaine, where he continued the practice after his term expired, and in 1916 was elected judge of the probate court, where he is now efficiently serving.
So far as the writer is informed, there is not at this time a law student in Logan county. The foregoing completes the roster of the county bar, only attempting a brief sketch for each one, exclusive of those who have been elevated to the common pleas bench. This history of the Logan county bar would hardly be complete without mentioning the court reporter, R. Eva Byers, who has faithfully and efficiently served in that capacity for nearly fifteen years. Her skill in reportorial work, taking the testimony of witnesses in shorthand and reproducing it in accurate typewritten form, her faithfulness and obliging disposition are appreciated by both bench and bar. Miss Byers was honored by her election, in 1917, to membership on the Bellefontaine Board of Education. Judge John A. Price, now the dean of the legal profession in this county, is the president of the Logan County Bar Association. County officials and assistants now (January, 1919) attached
to the courthouse are : Judge of the court of common pleas, John C. Hover; judges of the court of appeals for Logan county, Phil M. Crow, Walter H. Kinder, Kent W. Hughes; judge of probate court, Ernest Thompson; court reporter, R. Eva Byers ; clerk of courts, Irvin P. Steinberger; deputy, Mrs. Ruth Steinberger; deputy clerk of probate, Sergis Wheeler; court bailiff, Joseph Miner; sheriff, Homer Kennedy; deputy-sheriff and criminal court bailiff, George W. Smith ; Miss Helen Brehm, stenographer to sheriff; 2nd deputy sheriff, George Henry. County treasurer, I. N. Plum ; deputy treasurer, Berlin Davisson; Mrs. Helen Kinnan, clerk. County auditor, Dr. O. W. Lofer; deputy auditor, Stephen L. Smith; clerks, Henry Kemper, Miss Amy Rairdon, Miss Mildred Renick. County recorder, Resin M. Painter; deputy recorder, Miss Emma D. Campbell ; clerk, Mrs. R. M. Painter. County commissioners, John R. March, Arthur Renick, W. Allen Bell. County surveyor, Walter B. (page 210) Scott ; assistant surveyors, Oliver Richey, Harry Daily, and James Crane. Prosecuting attorney, Lewis F. Hale; stenographer, Miss Delpha Peele. Trustees of Children's Home, Harry G. Aikin and W. S. Jones, Bellefontaine; Henry Mack, Belle Centre; Charles McGee, West Mansfield. Courthouse janitor, Jont I. Ansley. Superintendent of county infirmary, George W. Kennedy. The newly elected commissioners are Pearl J. Humphreys, East Liberty; A. B. Hover, Stokes township ; Hal E. Knight, Bellefontaine.
A characteristic incident of the old temporary courthouse days was printed by the late Thomas Hubbard many years ago. It was during the incumbency of judge Joseph H. Crain, who sat, on the occasion, with three "associate" judges, all of whom were baldheaded, while the judge himself possessed a fine head of hair. Into the open door of the old courthouse, one day, Lewis Davis dashed, seated on his mare "Brown Ear." The assembled court was, of course, speechless for a moment, during which the bold horseman removed his hat with a flourish, bowed low to the court, and roared, "Three bald eagles and a crane!" and rapidly clattered out and away. Judge Crain and the associates joined in the inevitable laugh, but the offender was subsequently apprehended and jailed for contempt of court.
Courts of Logan County
Before the majestic figures which have illumined the bench of Logan county in its earlier years, the annalist of today bares his head. It is rarely vouchsafed to a community to have as inspiration for its youth so many and so fine examples as we may write upon our county's roll of honor, of the dignity of law and its nobility as a profession when followed in high-minded fidelity to its traditions.
Orvis Parrish was the first presiding judge to hold court in Logan county, the time being 1818, immediately following its organization, and the place the house or tavern of Edwin Mathers at Belleville. During Judge Parrish’s incumbency the county seat of justice was established at Bellefontaine, and all the details provided for the court and administration of the law. Beginning with judge Parrish, all the judges who sat upon the county bench until 1851, when the new constitution went into effect, were non-resident in Logan. The law, however, provided for "associate judges" for the dispatch of land cases (rarely for criminal cases), and these dignitaries, appointed by the presiding judge, were chosen from the responsible member of local society, and during thirty years included many of the best known citizens of Logan, who thereafter bore the title of "Judge," although their names do not appear in the roster of the bench proper. James Mcllvain, Levi Garwood, James McPherson, Abraham Elder, Joshua Robb, Gabriel Slaughter, William Hoge, Noah Z. McColloch, W. H. McKinnon and Peter Kelly were among the list of associates, none of whom were appointed until after Judge Parrish's term closed.
The establishment, in 1851, of a probate court eliminated the associate bench, and the first probate judge to be elected under the (page 211) new law, was Ezra Bennett, who was succeeded by Anthony Casad, Samuel B. Taylor, W. L. Nelson, R. E. Pettit, T. Miltonberger, L. E. Pettit, J. D. McLaughlin, W. S. Plum, John C. Hover, John R. Cassidy (for about eleven months), Don A. Detrick (for about six weeks), and Ernest Thompson.
Judge Benjamin Metcalf, of Allen county, elected in 1852, was the first judge of the common pleas court to preside under the new constitution, serving for five years. Judge William Lawrence, the first of the Logan county judges, succeeded, being elected in 1857, and serving until 1864, when he resigned to accept a seat in the National Congress, the appointee to fill his place being Jacob S. Conklin of Shelby county, who was afterward elected regularly, retaining the position until 1872. P. B. Cole of Union county followed judge Conklin, presiding for five years, and succeeded by John L. Porter, also of Union county, who held the position until 1882. The honor then returned to Logan county, in the election of John A. Price of Bellefontaine, who administered justice from 1882 until 1897, a period of fifteen years-or five years longer than any other judge of this district or county in the century of justice just completed. Judge Price was succeeded in 1897 by Duncan Dow, also of Bellefontaine, who presided for ten years, being followed in 1907 by John M. Broderick, of Union county. During the term of judge Broderick, a law was passed by the state legislature providing for single county jurisdiction, thus creating Logan county a separate judicial district, and under this law judge John C. Hover is the frst to occupy the judicial chair.
Hon. William Lawrence, A.M., LL.D., lawyer, jurist, statesman, author, educator, banker and agriculturist, born June 26, 1819, at Mount Pleasant, Ohio (ten years after Benjamin Stanton, of the same town), was the son of Joseph and Temperance (Gilchrist) Lawrence, and his early education was secured in the schools of his native village. In 1830 the parents retired from the town to a farm, where the father continued to follow his trade of blacksmithing, and the services of the boy were requisite in this occupation, in which he dutifully acquiesced, although he found it uncongenial. However, he kept up his studies, and in 1831 was rewarded by being placed under the instruction of Rev. John T. Tidball, of a then recently opened classical seminary, near Steubenville. Here he studied for five years, assisting his father at intervals until the spring of 1836, in the autumn of which year he entered Franklin college at New Athens, Ohio, graduating two years later with the highest honors of the institution. Bending every step of his life toward his chosen goal, the law, young Lawrence at once began his legal studies under James L. Gage, of Morgan county, at the same time maintaining his economic independence by teaching school in Pennsville and McConnellsville, where he met and (later) married Miss Cornelia Hawkins, daughter of Col. William Hawkins of that place. In the fall of 1839 he entered the law department of Cincinnati college, and took his degree in the following March, at an age too early to admit him to the bar. In the interval before attaining his majority, he reported the proceedings of the Ohio Legislature for the State Journal, and also was correspondent from Columbus for two well (page 212) known newspapers of the day, at the same time acquiring by observation an intimate knowledge of legislative methods and parliamentary tactics. After a few months' preliminary law practice in Zanesville, Mr. Lawrence came to Bellefontaine in July, 1841, and thereafter was in continuous active legal work until his death in May, 1899, at the age of seventy-nine years. The death of his bride in 1843 occurred three months after their marriage, and in 1845 Mr. Lawrence married Miss Caroline M. Miller, who was the mother of their six children.
No brief sketch can do justice to this extraordinary man's career. His integrity, both personal and public, was unswerving and unassailable. To a mind broadly schooled was united a signal capacity for mental labor, a profound understanding of legal and judicial principles, and a thoroughness in detail, which made him the most imposing character of the legal forum of his day and place, as well as one of the greatest incentives to professional emulation instanced in Logan's frst century. As a practicing lawyer, he won some of the greatest land cases ever argued in the United States court of last resort. He edited the Logan County Gazette for two years, and for seven years was editor of the Cleveland Western Law Monthly. He was sent to the state legislature for eight years, and to the National Congress for ten years. He was supreme court reporter in 1851, and the author of the Ohio free banking law. In 1871 he organized the Bellefontaine National bank, and served as its president until 1896. In the winter of 1876-7 he was elected by the Republicans in Congress to argue the claims of Rutherford B. Hayes in the great election contest. He was frst comptroller of the United States treasury from 1880 to 1885, and frst vice president of the American Red Cross after its incorporation in 1882. He was the author of two or three score works of permanent value upon law, science and business, and was a recognized authority upon all questions pertaining to wool, from grazing to tariff, holding at times the presidency of the Ohio State, and the National Wool Growers' associations, and contributing frequent articles to their journals and bulletins. Neither in an act or capacity is there occasion for apology in the life of judge William Lawrence. No name in the annals of Logan county is spoken with greater pride and reverence than that of judge William N. West, the most brilliant of her legal lights, and a figure of national prominence, but none the less a citizen of sincere, fraternal spirit.
Judge West was born in Millsboro, Washington county, Pennsylvania, in February, 1824. At six years of age he came with his parents, Samuel and Mary (Clear) West, to Knox county, Ohio, where he was inured to the hardships incident to pioneering, while obtaining his early education under the usual difficulties of frontier life, subsequently entering Jefferson college, in Pennsylvania, from which institution he graduated in 1846, with honors. Following his graduation, he taught public school in Kentucky, with James G. Blaine, was a tutor in Jefferson college, and an associate professor in Hampden-Sidney college in Virginia, until 1850, when he came north to Bellefontaine, to engage in the study of law with judge William Lawrence. lie was admitted to the bar and to partnership (page 213) with judge Lawrence at the same time, in 1851, and immediately came into prominence both in practice of law and in politics, being elected prosecuting attorney in 1852. Four years later, in 1856, he was elected to the general assembly, and served two terms. In 1860 he was sent as a delegate to the Republican national convention which nominated Abraham Lincoln. He was elected to the state senate in 1863, holding his seat until his election as attorney general of Ohio, in 1867, during the administration of Rutherford B. Hayes. This latter position he filled with the distinction which had by that time become expected of him, and, declining the United States consulship to Rio Janeiro, offered to him in 1869, he was elected judge of the supreme court of Ohio in 1871, and served from January, 1872, until February, 1873, when he resigned, because of the failure of his sight, but not before he had demonstrated the marvelous retentiveness of his memory and the profundity of his legal learning, which enabled him to proceed unassisted in the exercise of his official duties though it was chiefly at his recommendation that a rule was adopted requiring all court records and briefs to be printed to facilitate reading.
Judge West became a member of the constitutional convention in 1873, continuing throughout the session. He was nominated by the Republicans for governor of Ohio in 1877, a season which was characterized by various labor disturbances, notably the great railroad strike, which inevitably became an issue of the campaign. With native straight-forwardness, judge West met the issue, offering, in his great speech at Cleveland, a solution of the question which was the original advocacy of the principle of profit-sharing between manufacturer and employee ; but while since successfully adopted by many firms, the idea was then so far in advance of public thought that he was misunderstood by both sides. Nevertheless, he continued his campaign, winning many supporters and enlightening the thoughtful. Misquoted, he deigned not to controvert, but persisted in the exposition of his idea that the working man's labor is his capital, which at last gained nation-wide attention ; and though the governorship was lost to him, his reputation was broadened and enhanced by the staunch honesty of his course.
In 1884 Judge West was once more a delegate to the Republican national convention, which met at Chicago, and by reason of his national reputation as an orator was given the very distinguished honor of placing in nomination for the presidency the name of James G. Blaine, who was made the nominee of the convention. In the field of legal practice his talents had no limitations, though he was never forgetful that "thrice armed is he who hath his quarrel just," and his comprehensive grasp of every merit of his case and of the law applying to it, seconded by an equal ability to present the case to judge and jury, made him well nigh invincible in the court room. He became an acknowledged authority in civil and corporation law throughout the middle west, and upon all questions affecting public welfare he was a leader and molder of thought. As supreme judge, "the beam of justice stood sure," and his judgments were as unimpeachable as his character.
As a speaker, his oratory was the spontaneous utterance of (page 214) principles deeply fixed and supplemented by vast knowledge of his subject; for his forensic ability was a gift, an instinct, a genius of eloquence which could not fall to the commonplace, and which, under the stimulus of excited thought, or strong emotion, rose to inspired heights, swaying his hearers with irresistible force. As "The Blind Man Eloquent" he is still most widely and loving remembered.
Judge West was married in 1851 to Miss Elizabeth Williams, who was the mother of his four sons, William A., John E., Clarence and Samuel A. Mrs. West died in 1871, and he subsequently married Mrs. Clara Gorton, who also preceded him to the "undiscovered country." His death occurred in March, 1911.
Judge John A. Price, third and youngest son of Charles Fenton Mercer and Martha Mary (Kelly) Price, was born on the ninth of November, 1840, in Callaway county, Missouri. His ancestors on both sides were Virginians, and his paternal grandfather was Samuel Price, a captain of the Virginia line, on continental establishment, in the revolutionary war. His maternal grandfather, John Kelly, emigrated from Virginia to Logan county, Ohio, in 1818, settling in the Mad river valley on a farm which for nearly one hundred years remained in possession of the Kelly family. Here his daughter Martha Mary was courted and married by the young guest from Virginia, Charles Fenton Mercer Price, and from here the young couple removed to Missouri in the early years of their married life. Charles Fenton Mercer Price died in Missouri at the age of twenty-seven years, when the subject of our sketch was three years old, and his widow and children then returned to Logan county to reside. John A. Price received his formal education in the country schools and the West Liberty high school, and has supplemented that equipment by wide and constant reading. His knowledge of books is unusual, and his ability to quote from the masterpieces of literature indicates a discriminating taste and a cultured mind. After teaching for several terms in the country schools, Mr. Price, in 1860, when nineteen years of age, began the study of law in the office of the well known law firm of Stanton & Allison of Bellefontaine. In 1861 he enlisted as a private in the Thirteenth Ohio volunteer infantry, the first company raised in Logan county for service in the war of the rebellion. The victim of an acute attack of pneumonia, he was honorably discharged at Columbus before his regiment was ordered to the field. In 1863, his health restored, he again enlisted, becoming a member of Company K, Fifth Ohio volunteer colored regiment, in which he was commissioned first lieutenant. He was at the front until the latter part of 1864, and participated in the siege of Petersburg. In 1862 Mr. Price was admitted to the bar, and in 1864, while still in the army, he was elected prosecuting attorney of Logan county, to which office he was re-elected in 1866, and again in 1868. In 1869 he resigned the office of prosecuting attorney, having been elected to represent his county in the Ohio legislature. He served in this capacity one term, declining a re-election, as he preferred to devote his time to his profession. In 1881 Mr. Price was elected judge of the court of common pleas for the district (page 215) composed of Logan and Union counties, was re-elected in 1886, and again in 1891, holding the office continuously for fifteen years, a record without parallel in the history of the judiciary of the district. Judge Price's qualifications as a jurist are admirably presented in the following tribute paid him by a member of the Bellefontaine legal fraternity : "Mr. Price's term on the bench was distinguished by the highest legal ability. To wear the ermine worthily it is not enough that one possess legal acumen, is learned in the principles of jurisprudence, familiar with precedents, and thoroughly honest. Many men, even when acting uprightly, are wholly unable to divest themselves of prejudice, and are unconsciously warped in their judgments by their own mental characteristic or educational peculiarities. This unconscious and variable disturbing force enters more or less into the judgment of all men, but in the ideal jurist this factor becomes so small as not to be discernible in results, and loses its potency as a disturbing force. Judge Price was exceptionally free from all judicial bias. His varied legal learning and wide experience in the courts, the patient care with which he ascertained all the facts bearing upon every cast which came before him, gave his decisions a solidity and an exhaustiveness from which no member of the bar could take exception."
Judge Price's decisions were rarely reversed by higher courts, and his legal ability, his fairness, his probity, gave him a wide reputation. His charges to a jury excited much favorable comment, and are rated as classics among their kind. After retiring from the bench, judge Price resumed the private practice of law, in which he is still actively engaged. He is president of the Logan County Bar association, and has been at that bar longer than any other member of the association. A gentleman of the old school, believing in the dignity of his profession, distinguished in bearing and courtly in manner, judge Price is a representative of a type which is, unhappily, fast passing away. In politics judge Price is an old-fashioned Republican, and has done much hard work for his party. In matters of civic interest he is a progressive conservative, and invariably uses his effort and his influence to bring about the best results for the common good. He has always been deeply interested in the school system, and unfailingly gives his vote and his support to every measure designed to further the cause of education. On the 7th of February, 1865, John A. Price was united in marriage with Miss Caroline McClure of Bellefontaine. Five children have blessed their union: Effe Kelly, now Mrs. Thomas S. Gladding of Montclair, New Jersey; Annie Allison; Mabel McClure, who died in 1881; Charles Fenton Mercer, who died in 1882, and Carlotta Knox, now Mrs. Thomas M. Shea of Bellefontaine. Judge Duncan Dow was born in Logan county on the home farm of his parents, Robert L. and Harriet (Brewster) Dow, March 13, 1843. The Dows are of immediate Scottish ancestry, Mr. and Mrs. David Dow coming from Scotland in 1818 with their young family, and settling very soon after in Logan county. Robert Dow became a prominent citizen of the county early in life, and served in the Civil war frst as captain of the 45th O. V. I., and later (page 216) as adjutant of the 132nd regiment. Duncan Dow began his education in the one-room school of his home district, but later attended the Bellefontaine schools, and finished the course at Geneva college, Northwood, Logan county. He then took up the study of law in the office of judge Lawrence, in 1865, after which he attended the Cincinnati law school, from which he graduated in 1868, and entered into partnership with the McLaughlins, father and son, an association which was maintained for twenty-nine years, until the election of J. Duncan McLaughlin to the probate bench and of Duncan Dow to the common pleas bench of Logan county. In the meantime, however, judge Dow had been elected, during his frst year of practice, to the prosecuting attorneyship, an office which he held for two terms. In 1875 he was elected to the lower branch of the state legislature, being returned for a second term, and in 1885 he was sent to the state senate, where, during two successive terms, he originated and framed several bills of importance, his greatest fame as a legislator resting upon the Dow Liquor law, which, passing both houses of the assembly, was made a law May 1, 1886. It imposed a heavy tax upon all persons engaging in the sale of intoxicating liquors, and provided for municipal prohibition and regulation, and had the effect of benefiting the state treasury to the extent of about three and one-half millions annually. R. P. Kennedy, who was lieutenant governor at the time of its passage, said of judge Dow: "His name will be associated for all time with the greatest legal enactments for the suppression of vice and the uplifting of his fellow men." Gov. Foraker, discussing the law after twenty-five years of enforcement, said: "It is the best regulative liquor law ever framed in the world."
The election of judge Dow, in 1897, gave opportunity for the exercise of his judicial faculties, and he brought to the bench not only a love of justice, but a native sense of justice, ripened by years of painstaking legal research and sustained by positive but cool conviction. Seldom, if ever, was a decision of his reversed. An active party Republican, he was, when on the bench, faithful to law and justice alone, and was held in highest esteem, irrespective of political creeds, by all his confreres. That his strict sense of justice was tempered with the "quality of mercy" is apparent in his appointment by Gov. Herrick to the state board of pardons after his retirement from the bench and his reappointment by Gov. Harris, the honor being bestowed in recognition of his personal worth. He was an ardent supporter and member of the United Presbyterian church, standing high in the local and general councils of that body. His interest in church, state and nation was broad and vivid; but he was, after the judge incorruptible, the citizen pre-eminent, holding his home city the best in the world. His sudden death from heart failure, on the afternoon of Friday, April 15, 1910, just as he was leaving the (old) postoffice in company with two friends, was a deep shock to the whole community, and felt throughout the state, upon which his public services left an indelible impress. Always frail of health and slight in physique, Judge Dow, by efficient systematizing of his labors, surmounted these difficulties and attained his sixty-seventh year, as dauntless in purpose and (page 217) resolve as when he first embarked on his career. His lifelong integrity was a universal theme in his eulogies, and the text of the memorial sermon, "Know ye not that there is a prince and a great man fallen this day in Israel?" fitly expressed the sentiment of the city.
Judge Dow was survived by his wife, Mrs. Margaret A. Dow, and their three daughters, Mrs. E. R. Gebby of Bellefontaine, Miss Florence Dow, at present (1918-19) general director of recreation at Atlanta, Georgia, for the government, and Mrs. (Rev.) Benjamin F. White of Long Branch, New Jersey.
Judge John C. Hover, born December 1, 1866, on a farm, a native of Logan county, is as nearly an absolute American as can be found within its borders, the Hover ancestry having come to America more than two centuries ago, and having in succeeding generations identified themselves with the cause of freedom and independence in this country. Two of his ancestors fought with the colonies in the French and Indian war, one of them being taken prisoner by the French. A ransom was demanded by the French for their prisoners, which in his case was paid by a French officer and he was liberated. Judge Hover's great-great-grandfather, Henry Hover, served as a captain of the New Jersey line in the revolution. His son, George Hover, emigrated from New Jersey to western Pennsylvania at an early date, later journeying down the Ohio river from Pittsburg to what became Cincinnati, on a flatboat, bringing his wife and two little children. A team of horses and a wagon loaded with their household effects was the sum of their capital. They settled first, after a season of careful prospecting, on what was known as "Darby Plains," in Madison county, where Samuel Hover, the grandfather of judge Hover, was born, at "Little Darby." Samuel had arrived at the age of eight years when the family once more migrated north, settling in Logan county at what is now the village of Huntsville. Here he grew to manhood, and married Miss Margaret McCracken, of Scotch descent, the daughter of John McCracken, and here their son, George M. Hover, was born, February 22, 1838. In 1861 George M. Hover
entered the Union army as a volunteer, and served for nearly four years in the conflict for the preservation of the Union, engaging in four of the great battles, Chancellorsville, Lookout Mountain, Mission Ridge and Gettysburg, scaling Lookout Mountain under shot and shell. He was once taken prisoner in an engagement at Cumberland Gap, fortunate enough, however, to be exchanged at the end of twenty days. A brother, John Calvin Hover, for whom the subject of this sketch is named, also served in the war, giving his life for the cause at the battle of Rasaca river, Georgia. George M. Hover married, September 5, 1865, Miss Mary Irwin, of Irish ancestry, also a native of Logan county, and daughter of George and Margaret Irwin, and their eldest son, John Calvin Hover, is the present judge of the Logan county court of common pleas.
The young John Calvin had no royal road to preferment, but began his education in the country schools near his home, from (page 218) which he went to the Northwood normal, afterward old Northwood college, that pioneer institution of higher education in which so many of Logan county's men and women were started upward, had removed to Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania, and later attended the Ohio Northern university at Ada, Ohio. The following eleven years were spent in teaching, barring a few years when a break in health disabled him, and in this great practical university judge Hover found that medium of development in which so many eminent men have acquired mental poise and control.
The law, however, was judge Hover's ultimate- ambition, and in 1895, while still teaching in the grammar schools of Huntsville, he began reading law with A. Jay Miller of Bellefontaine, a recent graduate of Princeton university and the Cincinnati law school, and an able and worthy preceptor. In the fall of 1897 he entered Cincinnati law school, from which he graduated the tenth day of the following June, taking the degree of bachelor of laws, having been admitted to the bar at Columbus a few days previous. He began the practice of law at once in Bellefontaine, devoting himself to his profession with steady diligence and winning admission to federal court practice in 1900; after which he continued to practice with increasing and signal success until elected to the probate bench in the fall of 1908, taking office February 9, 1909. While nearing the end of his sixth year as probate judge, he was elected, by a large majority, in the fall of 1914, to the court of common pleas, being the first judge to preside since the establishment of single county jurisdiction. He took his place as judge of Logan county on the first day of January, 1915, and is now serving his fifth year with dignity and distinction, his reputation growing with every term of court. His decisions stand the test of review by the superior courts without reversal or modification, almost without exception.
To be a just judge requires not only honesty and not only knowledge, but wisdom, breadth, firmness, calmness, integrity, fearlessness, an abiding sense of justice, a temper of mercy, and the ability and will to place personal feelings under foot. Every one of these qualities judge Hover possesses.
Litigation is no longer so broad a field as it was in the days of old. Points have grown less and less tangible. Justice and injustice are more and more difficult of differentiation. But through the maze of latter-day legal hair-splitting, judge John C. Hover is drawing the thread of jurisprudence with safe discrimination. His life history is still in the making, for he is yet in the early prime, but it bids fair to make a page to which his native county will have cause to point with pride.
On December 21, 1898, judge Hover was united in marriage with Miss Carrie L. Simms, a Huntsville girl, the marriage, however, taking place at Cincinnati, where her family had removed from Huntsville a short time before. Mrs. Hover is a daughter of Payton S. Simms and wife, a hardy Logan county pioneer family of Scotch-Irish descent, who settled at an early day on the Miami river near McGraw chapel. Judge and Mrs. Hover have one child, a son, John Curry Hover, now a senior in the Bellefontaine high school.
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