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Memoris of the Miami Valley - Volume Two
The Press of Butler County, Butler County Bench and Bar

The Press of Butler County


            (page 475) Butler county can today boast of four daily newspapers-two published in Hamilton and two in Middletown, and three weekly newspapers all published in Hamilton. The newspapers of Butler county are today modernly equipped, progressive and representative of the communities in which they are published. While all are partisan in affiliation, still none is politically controlled nor politically offensive. Like all modern newspapers, the publications of Butler county are more representative of the spirit of progress in their respective communities than they are representative of any political party. On broad lines they are political in nature, but in affairs of material interest to their communities they hold above all else the progress, support, and well-being of the people whom they represent.

            In Hamilton there are two daily newspapers-The Hamilton Evening Journal, Democratic in politics ; and the Hamilton Daily News, Republican in politics. Both date their existence to the early days of the nineteenth century. The three weekly newspapers published in Hamilton are the Butler County Democrat, the weekly edition of the Hamilton Evening Journal ; the Hamilton Telegraph, the weekly edition of the Hamilton Daily News ; and the Butler County Press, the organ of organized labor in Hamilton and vicinity. Middletown's two daily newspapers are the Middletown Journal, published by the Naegele-Auer company; and the Middletown News-Signal, published by the News Printing company.

            It was on June 22, 1814, that the first newspaper was published in Hamilton-The Miami Intelligencer. The office was in the old log house at what is now North Monument avenue and Dayton street. The publishers were Colby, Bonnell & Company, the press and type being owned by James McBride. This publication had a rather varied career until October 5, 1819 when Tames B. Cameron and John L. Murray purchased it. It was on November 10,1821, that Mr. Cameron became the sole editor and proprietor. At this time the office of publication was removed to a frame building at what is now High street and journal square. In June, 1827, Mr. Cameron dropped the name Intelligencer and began the publication of a radical Jackson Democratic paper under the name of The Western Telegraph. In August, 1828, however, the name of the publication was changed back to the Intelligencer and Dr. John C. Dunlevy became the editor. In March, 1829, The Intelligencer again changed hands when John Woods became the sole owner. Shortly afterward, Mr. Woods sold a half interest to M. B. Sargent, his law partner, but again on June 21, 1831, Mr. Woods became the sole owner. At that time, L. D. Campbell who had learned the printing trade in Cincinnati, entered the office of The Intelligencer. When John Woods retired from the newspaper November 10, 1832, Mr. Campbell became the editor. He was not only the editor, but also (page 476) the compositor and proofreader. In 1834, L. B. Gibbons and D. B. Gardner aided Mr. Campbell in the publication of the newspaper, but on November 12, 1835, Mr. Gardner retired and on May 12, 1836, Mr. Gibbons retired, being succeeded by Isaac M. Walters. Having studied law, Mr. Campbell retired in November, 1838, and finally on February 27, 1840, William C. Howells purchased the paper and continued its publication until November 16, 1848, when he sold it to Charles and Boardman. Mr. Charles sold his interest to J. W. McBeth on May 17, 1849, and the firm name became McBeth and Boardman. This continued until April 24, 1851, when D. W. Halsey took over the interest of Mr. Boardman. Halsey and McBeth continued the publication of the paper until February 15, 1855, when Mr. Halsey bought the interest of Mr. McBeth and continued the publication personally until his death in 1857. The executors of Mr. Halsey's estate sold the property to Minor Millikin and D. W. McClung, but on June 30, 1859, it was sold to Jacob Morris of Lebanon who became associated with William Bunston as a joint owner. In May, 1862, the Intelligencer was purchased by Williams and Egry who merged it with the Telegraph.

            James B. Cameron and Taylor Webster began the publication of the Western Telegraph in June, 1827; but on March 11, 1831, the name was changed to the Hamilton Telegraph, by which it is still known. The Hamilton Telegraph was issued in Rossville, but on October 28, 1836, the publication was suspended until November 18, of the same year, when its publication was resumed by Franklin K. Stokes, with John B. Weller as editor. In November, 1839, the office of publication was removed to Hamilton and on November 18, 1847, the paper was sold to Ryan and Witherby with the Rev. N. M. Gaylord and O. S. Witherby as the editors. Michael C. Ryan became its editor in 1847 and in 1849 Ferdinand Van Der Veer occupied the editorial chair, being succeeded in 1851 by Charles L. Weller.

            Radical changes were made in the Hamilton Telegraph when it was purchased by William R. Kinder November 11, 1852, Mr. Kinder continued the publication until June 13, 1854, when he sold out to Charles L. Barker and James McCormick. Mr. Barker sold his interest to A. A. Phillips on November 8, 1855. Daniel R. Empson became the purchaser of Mr. Phillips' interest in April, 1856. It was on September 3, 1857, that James R. Webster purchased the Telegraph and continued its publication until 1861, when it passed, by purchase, to John P. P. Peck and John McElwee. In August, 1861, Mr. McElwee disagreeing with Mr. Peck, retired and began the publication of the True Telegraph, which was then printed in Oxford. The Telegraph passed into the hands of Frank Scobey, later into the hands of Fred Egry and finally on December 17, 1879, into the hands of Charles M. Campbell, now a resident of Washington, D. C.

            On April 23, 1863, Stephen Crane and E. E. Palmer became the editors of the True Telegraph and continued to hold this position until July 21, 1864, when the True Telegraph company was organized and purchased the publication, making John E. McElwee the editor. On February 23, 1865, John A. Cockerill, later one of the most noted (page 477) editors of the New York Times, became the editor and on October 28, 1865, the Cockerill Brothers became the sole owners. They continued this proprietorship until July 2, 1867, when they sold to J. H. Long, under whose ownership Col. H. H. Robinson edited the paper. Finally, on January 13, 1870, Dr. John R. Nickel and L. B. De la Court purchased the True Telegraph and rechristened it as the Butler County Democrat, by which name it is still issued as the weekly edition of the Hamilton Evening Journal. Dr. Nickel retired May 11, 1871, and on December 21, 1873, Mr. De la Court sold the Democrat to Thomas H. Hodder of Marion. The paper was later sold to R. N. Andrews and company on April 15, 1875, with J. W. Short as the editor. Mr. Short was succeeded for a short time by James P. Caldwell. Harry C. Hume became the editor December 2, 1875, but ultimately the paper was sold to Daniel J. Callen of Celina, Ohio, who became financially embarrassed and the property was placed in the hands of N. E. Warwick as receiver. The publication, by direction of the court, was continued under the receivership until 1877, when Byran K. Brant, now a resident of California, purchased the property. Mr. Brant finally sold the property to the Butler County Democrat company composed of William M. Dingfelder, Christian Benningham, Frank W. Whitaker, George W. St. Clair and Christian Pabst. John K. Aydelotte was made the editor and under his direction much progress was made. With the growth of Hamilton becoming more marked each year and the opportunity for another daily newspaper becoming more apparent, the company decided to issue not only a weekly newspaper, but also a daily newspaper. And so on December 22, 1886, the first issue of the Hamilton Daily Democrat appeared upon the streets of Hamilton. While its success from the first was assured, still the publication passed through perilous times and had its periods of depression. However, at every serious situation, strong hands were found to guide its destiny and with the years it acquired strength and prestige. On January 26, 1891, John K. Aydelotte was killed in the pressroom of the company's new building at Court and Reily streets. He was succeeded by Homer Gard, who eventually went to Canton, Ohio. Mr. Gard was succeeded by Thomas M. Boyd; Sloane Gordon, Samuel Lee Rose and Charles Alf. Williams, but eventually Mr. Gard was recalled to the editorship of the paper. Finally in 1901, Mr. Gard, associated with L. R. Hensley, George E. Holdefer and Clayton A. Leiter secured by purchase the stock of the Butler County Democrat company, which was at once reorganized with Mr. Gard as president; Mr. Leiter, vice-president; Mr. Holdefer, treasurer; and Mr. Hensley, secretary. A few years later it was determined to abandon the name Democrat and the name of the corporation was changed from the Butler County Democrat company to the journal Publishing company and the name of the daily publication changed from the Hamilton Daily Democrat to the Hamilton Evening Journal. In the past few years the progress of the Evening journal has been very rapid. It now occupies its own building at Court street and journal square-a model of perfection in arrangement for the purpose for which it is used-and is possessed of all modern equipment, having installed in the fall of (page 478) 1919 additional linotype machines and a Goss perfecting press of the very latest model.

            Hamilton's first daily newspaper, however, which survived the vicissitudes which usually mark at least the early career of most publications, was the Hamilton Daily News, published for a number of years as the Daily Republican News, but now again known as the Hamilton Daily News. It was soon after Charles M. Campbell had purchased the Hamilton Telegraph that he saw a good field in the city of Hamilton for a daily newspaper. Few shared in Mr. Campbell's vision, but he launched the enterprise and while it remained under his guiding hand, it held a place of wide influence in the community and achieved notable financial success. - When Mr. Campbell came to Hamilton he was not without newspaper experience. Born in Guernsey county, Ohio, January 1, 1852, Mr. Campbell was 'a student at Cornell and the University of Wooster, Ohio. He learned the printing trade and became a half owner of the Cambridge, Ohio, News, and later the owner of the Washington, Pennsylvania, Observer. When Mr. Campbell decided upon the publication of a daily newspaper in Hamilton, he made Albert Dix, now living in Wooster, Ohio, the business manager, a position Mr. Dix held until October, 1896. The first city editor of the Hamilton Daily News was Frank H. Scobey, who was succeeded by Fred L. Rosemond, who later became an attorney and located in Cambridge, Ohio. The original reportorial staff consisted of Thomas Moore, still identified with the publication; Frank I. Whitehead, now located in Washington, D. C.; and Col. Lou J. Beauchamp, the eloquent and widely known Chautauqua lecturer. On July 1, 1888, a stock company was formed and took over the property for an unusually valuable consideration. Mr. Campbell continued in charge of the property for a short time, but then retired to locate in Washington, where he engaged in several successful business enterprises. Mr. Campbell was succeeded. as the editor of the Hamilton Daily News by Thomas J. McMurray, of Lynn, Massachusetts. Mr. McMurray remained but a short time, however, and was succeeded by John M. Downey, who later became a successful practitioner of the law in Cle eland, Ohio Mrs. Dowey retired January 1, 1896, and was succeeded by Thomas Moore, who held the position until June 15, when he was succeeded by Homer Gard, who remained with the publication until 1898, when he resigned to take the managing editorship of the Hamilton Daily Democrat. On March 21, 1898, the Hamilton Daily News and the Hamilton Daily Republican consolidated and shortly afterward Carl R. Greer became the editor of the publication then known as the Daily Republican-News. Mr. Greer retained this position until he resigned to become the secretary of the Hamilton Chamber of Commerce. Mr. Greer was succeeded by Howard Egbert, now editor of the Dayton Daily News and the Springfield Daily News, the publications controlled by Governor James M. Cox of Ohio. Mr. Egbert was succeeded by Emerson Robinson, now located in Detroit, Mich., who in turn was succeeded by George Hahn, the present editor, who came to Hamilton from LaPorte, Indiana, in the spring of 1919. In October, 1919, the company installed a Hoe perfecting press and (page 479) added other equipment, and changed the name of the publication from the Daily Republican-News to the Hamilton Daily News, the name of the original daily publication:

            The Republican Publishing company was incorporated on March 4,.1892, and published the first issue of the Hamilton Daily Republican on July 19, 1892. At that time William S. Osborn was business manager and Walter L. Tobey editor. Mr. Osborn resigned in March, 1893, and was succeeded by the late A. F. Sloane of Oxford. Mr. Sloane retired December 18, 1893, at which time the positions of business manager and editor were combined and Walter L. Tobey elected to the position, which he still holds. On March 21, 1898, the Republican Publishing company acquired by purchase the property of the Hamilton Daily News and moved from its offices in the St. Charles Hotel property on High street to the Daily News building at North Third and Market streets, where it began the publication of the Daily Republican-News. The Butler County Press, the organ of organized labor in Hamilton is published by the Nonpareil Printing company, in which Edward E. Weiss and John F. Mayer are principally interested. Both are leaders in organized labor and have conducted a newspaper that has been representative of the interests of labor. Conservative and fair, these men have won and hold the confidence of the people of Hamilton and especially of the great laboring class. While Hamilton today has but two daily newspapers, still other attempts were made to keep a daily publication in the field. In 1883, the Hamilton Daily Herald was established with Colonel H. H. Robinson as editor. He was later succeeded by Ben Harding. In February, 1884, Peter Schwab, Stephen Decatur Cone and Jervis Hargitt, all now deceased, invested some capital in the enterprise, which produced about three months of prosperity. Then George Gohen, of Cincinnati, invested some of his own capital and made a live newspaper of the publication, until September, 1885, when he wrote an editorial with the closing words, "I am not only Gohen, but I am gone," instructed the office force to issue the paper that day, and went back to Cincinnati never to return.

            The Hamilton Evening Sun sprang into existence in 1902, the first issue appearing on June 19. It was published in the building at 322 and 324 High street, with Sloane Gordon as editor. The directors of the Sun Publishing company were Sloane Gordon, William F. Mason, O. P. McHenry, Charles Z. Mikesell and R. L. Kinsey. After a career of five years, the publication was taken over by the Butler County Democrat company and was merged with the Hamilton Daily Democrat.

            Hamilton has had many other publications which had rather abbreviated careers, but no doubt served the purpose of their day. The following is a chronological record of the newspapers of Hamilton from 1818 until 1920:

            Hamilton Intelligencer-June 22, 1814, to March 29, 1816.

            The Philanthropist-August 23, 1816, to April 18, 1817.

            The Miami Herald-September 12, 1817, to October 5, 1819.

            The Hamilton Gazette and Miami Register-October 12, 1819, to November 11, 1821.           (page 480) Murray's Volunteer-April, 1821, to December 25, 1823.      

            Hamilton Intelligencer and Advertiser-November 11, 1821, to January 10, 1825.                  

            Hamilton Advertiser-January 10, 1825, to November 17, 1826.       

            Hamilton, Ohio, Advertiser-November 17, 1826, to October 26, 1827.                     

            The Western Telegraph-November 2, 1827, to :March 9, 1832.

            The Hamilton Telegraph-March 9, 1832-still published.

            The Hamilton Intelligencer-August 10, 1828, to May 20, 1862, when it was merged with The Hamilton Telegraph.

            The Christian Intelligencer-January 1; 1829-now published, under the name of The United Presbyterian in Pittsburg, Pa.

            The Harrison Democrat-April 21, 1845-for twenty-five issues.

            The Miami Echo-From May 10, 1848, for seven issues.

            The Free Soil Banner-From August 21, 1848, to October 9, 1848.

            The Rose Bud-From June 9, 1849, to June 13, 1851.

            Democracy Untrammeled and Butler County Investigator-From September 20, 1849, to October 4, 1849.

            The Rossville Advertiser-From April 20, 1849, to August 10, 1849.

            The Miami Democrat-From January 1, 1850, to October 1, 1851.

            The Daily Press-From April 22, 1851, to September 15, 1852.

            The Scott Battery-From June 13, 1852, to September 15, 1852.

            The Herald of Education-From January 1, 1853, to December 1,     1854.

            The Schildwache-From May 10, 1859, to January 1, 1874.

            The True Telegraph-From September 26, 1862-now published by the journal Publishing company as the Butler County Democrat.

            The National Zeitung-From July 4, 1864, until 1917, when the name was changed to The American, and a few months later publication was suspended.

            Tri-Weekly Advertiser and Independent-From March 14, 1867, to April 5,     1874.

            The Examiner-From May 2, 1874, to September 14, 1874.

            The Sunday Morning News-From July 17, 1876, to November 28, 1876.

            The Orcus-From June 18, 1878, to February 12, 1880.

            The Hamilton Daily News-From December 22,1879, to March 21, 1898. Again published under this name by the Republican Publishing company, beginning October 1, 1919.

            The Daily Herald-From January 1, 1883, to September 1, 1885. The Daily Democrat-From December 20, 1886-now published as the Hamilton Evening Journal by the journal Publishing company.

            The Daily Republican-From July 19, 1892, until March 21, 1898, when it was consolidated with the Daily News and published as the Daily Republican-News.

            (page 481) The Butler County Press-May, 1901, published by the Nonpareil Printing company.

            The Evening Sun-From May, 1901, to July, 1905.

            So far as the records show, Middletown did not have a newspaper until 1839, when the publication known as The Middletown Mail issued its first number on April 20. John M. Gallaher, who had previously edited the Columbus journal and later the Cincinnati Gazette, was the publisher. The Mail was neutral in politics, but its continuance was not of long duration, as the venture did not prove financially profitable.

            Middletown's next publication was The Emblem, which made its first appearance April 26, 1851, with F. J. Oblinger as the proprietor. The Emblem had a career of - about two years. David Heaton and the Rev. J. B. Morton assisted Mr. Oblinger in his editorial work. The Emblem was then sold to James D. Jackson, who changed the name to The Middletown Herald, but it eventually dropped out of sight.

            In 1855-1856, the Rev. M. Harlan, a Methodist Episcopal minister, published a newspaper called The Middletown Engine. About this same time, J. J. Pete published a magazine called The Hesperides, but its life was of short duration.

            It was in 1857 that C. H. and A. C. Brock purchased from the Rev. Mr. Harlan the publication which he had established and changed its name to The Western Journal. The first number was issued January 12, 1857. In 1859, the name of the publication was changed to The Middletown journal, by which name it is still known. In 1871, the publication was sold to E. H. Harkrider, who kept it but a short time, several ownerships of short duration following until 1879, when James L. Raymond of Cincinnati secured the property, which was leased to W. H. Todhunter and W. H. Tucker. These men made the journal a Republican organ. In 1880, the American Color Printing company acquired the property, which, after a few years, was again transferred to W. H. Todhunter and company, who continued in control for twelve years, converting the newspaper into a daily in 1890. From the first the publication was a success, passing, later, however, into the hands of William M. Sullivan, who in 1912 sold it to the Nagele-Auer Printing company; but late in 1919 a separation took place and the office of publication was moved into a modern building on North Broad street. This building is attractive in appearance, convenient in arrangement and equipped with every device for the issuing of a modern newspaper. Frank M. Pauly, a man of ability, force of character and great energy, now the editor of the journal, has done much to place the publication among the foremost ranks of the newspapers of the smaller cities of Ohio.

            For a brief period, about 1857, Charles M. Goul, would later located in Logan, Ohio, printed a newspaper in Middletown, known as the Butler County Democrat. This publication was devoted to the political interests of Clement L. Vallandigham.

            It was in 1874 that L. F. Bowman opened a dry goods store in Middletown. He believed in advertising, and in 1876 began the (page 482) publication of a small paper called the Given Away. The first issues were without cost to those who received it ; but to secure the advantage of low postal rates, Mr. Bowman, in 1878, changed the name of his publication to the Middletown Signal and charged a nominal subscription price for the same. In 1880, Mr. Bowman sold his printing outfit to Thomas G. Word, who enlarged the publication and continued to make many improvements until 1887, when he sold out to Charles E. Bundy and others who organized the Signal Printing company. In 1888, John Q. Baker secured control of the Signal and almost immediately launched the Middletown Daily Signal-Middletown's first daily newspaper. In June, 1901, Mr. Baker disposed of his holdings to Charles E. Gaumer, who remained in control for five or six years, when he sold out to the News Printing company, which had been organized by Mr. Baker. In 1905, the Middletown News was established, but its independent career was rather brief and resulted in the consolidation of the Middletown Signal and the Middletown News, as the Middletown News-Signal, by which name it is still published by the News Printing company, of which John Q. Baker is the controlling influence.

            Other Publications. In the days when weekly publications prospered, Oxford and Venice supported such sheets. For a number of years Alfred Demoret conducted the Venice Graphic, which wielded quite a telling influence in this community. But with the failing health and death of Mr. Demoret and the rapid invasion of the rural territory by the daily newspapers of the larger cities, the Graphic passed out of existence.

            Oxford had a newspaper from 1854 until a few years ago. On December 19, 1854, the Oxford Citizen made its. initial appearance. Charles H. Bringham was the publisher; Thomas W. Lane, the editor, and Z. Casterline, associate editor. In 1859, the paper was sold to Richard Butler, who had been a compositor on the Cincinnati Gazette. He conducted the publication with marked ability until 1866, when he sold out to Jacob A. Zeller, who continued in charge for three years. Grennan and Prentice then became the owners for the ensuing two years, at the end of which the Rev. L. E. Grennan became the sole owner and editor. In 1877, Charles B. and Hewitt Hill came into the possession of the paper and conducted it as editors and proprietors until January 19, 1885, when Stephen Decatur Cone became the editor and proprietor. Mr. Cone finally disposed of the property to Charles W. Stivers of Liberty, Ind., on April 15, 1891.

            The Oxford News sprang into existence in 1885, with Jay Brown and William S. Osborn as the publishers. After the death of Mr. Brown, Mr. Osborn continued the publication until 1890, when a stock company was formed which retained Mr. Osborn as manager. In the meantime, the Oxford Citizen had been absorbed. Later the News passed to the control of the Moore brothers of College Corner, and then into the hands of the Rev. A. G. Warner, who retired in 1902, to be succeeded by J. F. Fenton. But the daily newspaper had invaded Oxford with such force that the patronage (page 483) of the News rapidly dwindled and the publication soon ceased to exist.


Butler County Bench and Bar


            Names familiar throughout the state and in the courts of both state and nation have adorned the roster of the bar of butler county -such names as Campbell, Millikin, Gard, Bebb, Hume, Benham, and Vance-men who attained a standing of eminence-in the legal profession, because of their clear insight into the law, their keen judicial minds, their pronounced ability, their integrity as men and their eloquence in the pleading of a cause. Men whose fame has spread from one end of the land to the other have had their day in the courts of Butler county.

            Shortly after Ohio became a sovereign state-on Tuesday, July 12, 1803-the first court was held in Butler county. The first sitting of this court was held in one of the old buildings of the garrison of Fort Hamilton, which had been erected for a public store house, the old Torrence Tavern at North Monument avenue and Dayton street, a building which stood until the summer of 1919, when it was torn down to make way for the flood prevention work of the Miami Conservancy District. The first presiding judge was Francis Dunlevy, with James Dunn, John Greer and John Kitchell as associate judges. Daniel Symmes was the prosecuting attorney; James Blackburn, sheriff ; and John Reily, clerk. At that time the old magazine of the fort was converted into a jail, while the tavern was used as a place of entertainment and for the holding of court. A public square had been set aside shortly afterward and a stone building erected thereon. The upper part of this building was used for a court house, while the lower floor was the jail and the quarters of the jailer. Upon the same site in 1816 were erected the three county buildings, the court house and the separate buildings for the various county offices which stood until 1885 where the present stone structure, remodeled after the disastrous fire of March, 1912, now stands. Judge Dunlavey, the first presiding judge of the courts of Butler county, was the descendant of a family originally from Spain, but who went to France and finally came to America ; while Prosecutor Symmes was a native of New Jersey, a son of Timothy Symmes, and a nephew of judge John Cleve Symmes, and a graduate of Princeton university. He was a resident of Cincinnati and was appointed to the Butler county prosecutorship because there were no resident lawyers then in Hamilton. He was soon succeeded, however, by Arthur St. Clair, Jr., a son of Gen. Arthur St. Clair. In the same year that the first court was held in Butler county, the first lawyer settled here-William Cory, a native of Washington county, Virginia, where he was born, December 14, 1778. He was a graduate of Duke's academy in Tennessee. He had studied law with William McMillan of Cincinnati and established himself in Hamilton for the practice of the law. From 1807 until 1810 he was prosecuting attorney as well as a member of the Ohio legislature for the term to which the members were elected in 1807. Later, after Mr. Cory had married Miss Eleanor Flemming, a daughter of Thomas Flemming, he retired to a farm near Cincinnati, but again (page 484) heard the call of the law, and, going to Cincinnati, took up its practice, being elected to the general assembly from Hamilton county, and then appointed mayor of Cincinnati by the town council, which position he held until 1819. Mr. Cory died in 1833.

            Another of the early lawyers of Hamilton was David Este, also a graduate of Princeton, he being a native of New Jersey, where he was born October 21, 1785. Being admitted to the bar in New Jersey in 1804, Mr. Este decided to try his fortunes in what was then the far west, and so, in June, 1809, settled in Hamilton. His first case was tried and his first arguments made in the courts of Butler county. Honors came to him also and in 1810 he was appointed prosecuting attorney, which position he continued to hold until 1816, when he went to Cincinnati, where still greater honors came to him in his selection as president judge of the court of common pleas and later as judge of the superior court. John C. Manus was also a member of the Butler county bar during the same period, but, following his defeat in an election for representative to the general assembly in 1817, he went to Preble county, where he died in 1851.

            Among the early members of the Butler county bar who attained a name for his oratorical ability was Joseph S. Benham, a native of Warren county. Coming to Hamilton as a boy, he made his home during 1808-1809 with his sister, Mrs. John Torrence, whose husband then kept the famous Torrence Tavern. After studying under David Este, he was admitted to the bar and began the practice of law in Hamilton. Mr. Benham was a finished orator, possessed of a wonderful command of the English language and adept in the choice of words. He won his greatest reputation as a public speaker. But he, too, sought larger fields for his talents, and in 1821 went to Cincinnati, where he spent ten years in practice, finally going to Louisville, Kentucky, but later returning to Covington, Kentucky, and becoming the instructor in commercial law in the Cincinnati Law School. Later he removed to New Orleans, Louisiana, and again practiced law. He died in Cincinnati in 1840 while on his way to New York.

            A graduate of Dickson college, Carlisle, Pennsylvania, Benjamin Collett, in 1815, came from Lebanon, Ohio, where he had studied law with John McLean and his brother Joshua Collett. Honor also came to him, and in 1816 he was made the prosecuting attorney of Butler county, which office he held until 1820. Among those who chose the law as a profession and took up its study in Hamilton was George Sargeant, of Vermont, who came to Hamilton in 1816 and entered the office of Joseph S. Benham. The history of Sargeant, however, was not one worthy of emulation, for, while he succeeded fairly well in the practice of law, his indulgence in liquor is said to have so impaired his mind that confinement in an asylum became his lot and he died in a Columbus institution.

            While in the early days of its history Butler county could not boast of a galaxy of legal lights, still its courts, especially when important cases were presented, were visited by lawyers of eminence from other counties. Among those who thus in their early days (page 485) honored the courts of Butler county by their presence were John McLean, of Lebanon, who afterwards became a justice of the supreme court of the United States ; Jacob Burnet, of Cincinnati, who afterward became a judge of the courts of Hamilton county; Joshua Collett, Thomas Freeman, and Thomas L. Ross, of Lebanon ; and Arthur St. Clair, Nicholas Longworth, Ethan Stone, George P. Torrence, and Elias Glover, of Cincinnati.

            David Higgins, of which little is known except that he was a brilliant orator, practiced at the Butler county bar for several years from about 1821 until 1826. In later years, Michael B. Sargeant, a student of literature and a scholar whose reputation extended beyond the confines of Butler county, also practiced law in the courts of the county; but his life was suddenly ended at the age of thirty-three years on April 19, 1830.

            The first authentic record of lawyers practicing at the Butler county bar is found in the year 1842. The members of the bar in that year were Col. Lewis D. Campbell, John M. Millikin, John Woods, F. D. Rigdon, William Bebb, John P. Reynolds, Jesse Corwin, Alfred C. Thomas, Elijah Vance, Thomas Millikin, John B. Weller, Michael C. Ryan, Oliver S. Witherby, Ezekiel Walker and Thomas H. Wilkins.

            The law was now becoming an attractive profession. Men sought its honors and emoluments, and from 1844 until 1858 a number of those whose names attach to the progress and history of Butler county entered the profession. Among these, the memory of many of whom still lives among the older generations, were Isaac Robertson, Charles Richardson, Valentine Chase, William Shottwell, Robert Hazleton, Moore C. Gilmore, George Webster, William H. Miller, William P. Young, John B. Weller, J. M. Nutt, I. W. Crosby, Col. Thomas Moore, John W. Wilson, James Clark, James B. Millikin, William E. Brown, E. V. Wilson, J. H. Gist, Alex F. Hume, Josiah Scott and N. C. McFarland. Some of those who had entered the practice of law at an earlier date were still engaged in the practice of their chosen profession during this period.

            One of the men unusually prominent during this period was James Clark. He was born in Adams county, Ohio, in 1830, and graduated from Miami university, Oxford, in 1854. He was later admitted to the bar and elected a judge of the common pleas court. His private library was considered the finest in the state. Perhaps the most distinguished practitioner at the Butler county bar was the late Thomas Millikin. For sixty years he was engaged in the practice of law and during that time was counsel in most of the important cases brought to trial. Mr. Millikin made a specialty of wills and it has been said of him that there was never a will written that he could not break. His greatest distinction in this particular practice was won in the famous Deshler will case at Columbus. Mr. Millikin never. sought public honors, although he served one year, in the early forties, as prosecuting attorney, and in 1874 refused an appointment to the supreme bench.

            Alexander F. Hume was also one of the attorneys of the Butler county bar who attained great distinction. He entered upon the practice of law in 1852 and soon had an enviable reputation both as (page 486) a counselor and a trial lawyer. He served two terms as judge of the common pleas court and in 1878, as a candidate upon the Democratic ticket, came within three thousand votes of being elected to the supreme bench of Ohio.

            Another Butler county attorney who won fame and wrote into the fundamental law of the land the right of municipal ownership of public utilities, but whose life was ended all too soon by death, was Edward E. Hull. It was Mr. Hull who fought to the supreme court of the United States, he then being the city solicitor of Hamilton, and there won the final victory, the great legal battle that gave to the City of Hamilton the right to construct, to own and to operate its own gas plant. The best legal talent in the country, retained by the Hamilton Gas Light and Coke Co., opposed Mr. Hull, but in every battle he came out victorious.

            Henry Lee Morey was another man who stood high in his profession, but who also achieved political honors, being twice elected to the congress of the United States.

            Hon. James E. Campbell, congressman and governor of Ohio, is another man who was a member of the Butler county bar, and who, in the later years of his life, attained a worthy competency through the practice of his profession. Governor Campbell, although now a citizen of Columbus, has ever looked upon Hamilton as his home. Governor Campbell is a native of Butler county, having been born in Middletown, July 7,1843. He was prosecuting attorney from 1875 until 1877, a member of congress from 1884 until 1889, and governor of Ohio from 1890 until 1892.

            S. Z. Gard also held a high place in the legal profession. Born near Oxford and receiving his education at Antioch college, Yellow Springs, Ohio, he studied law under judge Alex F. Hume. He was prosecuting attorney of Butler county from 1862 until 1866 and again in 1871, filling a vacancy caused by the death of Captain John W. Wilson. Judge Gard made his greatest reputation as an advisor, and few clients of his who followed the advice he gave them ever went to court.

            The traditions of the Butler county bar are well sustained today by those who have chosen the legal profession. In Middletown, that grand old man, judge William H. Todhunter, has given up the active practice of the law, to exercise the authority of the judge of the municipal court. Judge Todhunter is a man of sterling character, a keen student not only of the law but also of the many sociological problems facing mankind. He gives much of his time to research and his leadership for any just cause is always sought, because he gives unsparingly of his time and energy for that which he believes to be right.

            Benjamin Franklin Harwitz is also one of the members of the Butler county bar who has made a reputation for himself. Mr. Harwitz has ever been a close student, and no case coming to his attention or in which his services are sought passes without the most careful investigation. Mr. Harwitz is not only a keen advisor, but also an eloquent pleader of any cause with which he becomes-identified. Perhaps no, one of the younger men at the Butler county bar possesses such force and eloquence.

            (page 487) Naturally the county seat becomes the center of activity among the members of the bar, and today, sustaining the reputation made in the earlier days of the law in Butler county, many of those prominent in the courts reside in Hamilton. One of these is Allen Andrews. Mr. Andrews has practiced at the Butler county bar since early in the eighties. His cases are prepared with great care, his understanding of the law is minute in its detail and his services are sought especially by clients who know that their cause must be presented for final arbitrament to the decision of a jury. Judge Edgar A. Belden stands high in his profession. Having served one term as common pleas judge of the county, he is now devoting his time to the practice of the law. He is especially sought in the adjustment of legal matters where the intervention of the court is not desired.

            U. F. Bickley has a wide practice, especially in criminal cases, in the trial of which he has been unusually successful.

            One of those who are eloquent in the presentation of a case, who perhaps has a greater reputation as an orator than any other member of the bar is Michael O. Burns. Mr. Burns, a man of commanding presence and resonant voice, is unable to meet the demands made upon his time for addresses for various causes.

            Congressman Warren Gard, despite his duties in the national capital, maintains an office in Hamilton and continues the practice of the law at such times as his public obligations permit him. Serving one term as judge of the common pleas court, two terms as prosecuting attorney, judge Gard is especially sought for advice of a legal nature. A natural orator, his services are also in great demand upon public occasions, not only in Butler county, but in all parts of the country.

            Shotts & Millikin-Robert-N. Shotts and Brandon R. Millikin -comprise a law firm that was the outgrowth of the wonderful practice of the late Thomas Millikin. When the responsibilities of a large practice became too urgent for Mr. Millikin, especially in his older years, he associated with himself his nephew, Brandon R. Millikin, and Robert N. Shotts, who had entered his office as a young man for the study of the law. When life's end came to Mr. Millikin, the law firm of Shotts & Millikin was established, and that long series of clients from all parts of the county still retain this firm as counsel.

            Perhaps one of the best known consulting attorneys at-the Butler county bar is Nelson Williams. Mr. Williams seldom seeks the court for the adjustment of the affairs of those who seek his counsel. Rather by timely suggestions, and a full consideration of the facts presented to him, he so develops the affairs of his clients that they avoid action in the courts for an adjustment of their cases. William C. Shepherd has a state-wide reputation as a corporation lawyer. Many large corporations seek his services and much of his time is spent in various courts of the state in their interest. Many other members of the Butler county bar have attained eminence in the practice of the law, but their achievements are of such recent date that the history of the future must record them. All the members of the bar of Butler county are men of high (page 488) integrity, of undoubted honesty, worthy of the confidence placed in them by their clients and fulfilling in every detail the honorable traditions of an honorable profession.

            Among those now engaged in the practice of the law in Butler county are the following:

            Hamilton-Allen Andrews,. Allen Andrews, Jr., John D. Andrews, Judge Edgar A. Belden, M. O. Burns, U. F. Bickley, Ben A. Bickley, Joseph E. Brate, Walton S. Bowers, Captain Theodore E. Bock, Peter Paul Boli, Judge John B. Connaughton, Clinton J. Egbert, Cyrus J. Fitton, Samuel D. Fitton, Jr., Judge William S. Giffen, Congressman Warren Gard, William H. Harr, Peter B. Holly, Charles S. Haines, John F. Heath, Judge Ed H. Jones, Judge E. J. Kautz, Henry L. Krauth, City Solicitor Harry J. Koehler, Jr., Samuel C. Landis, Brandon R. Millikin, Gouveneur C. Morey, Miss Adena Myers, Captain J. Wesley Morris, John F. Neilan, David Pierce, Benjamin F. Primmer, Alphonse Pater, Frank P. Richter, H. Russell Reigart, Mayor Culbertson J. Smith, William C. Shepherd, Robert N. Shotts, Stanley Shafer, Robert J. Shank, Horace C. Shank, Hinckley Smith, J. Paul Scudder, Millikin Shotts, George Schelhorn, Captain Robert M. Sohngen, Nelson Williams, Harry S. Wonnell and Leon J. Ziliox.

            Middletown-Clinton D. Boyd, C. E. Burke, John A. Crist, Harry. L. Dell, Edward H. Dell, Clifford W. Elliott, Albert S. Fenzell, Ben Harwitz, W. G. Palmer, W. H. Todhunter, G. W. A. Palmer, Thomas A. White, Henderson Estees.

            Oxford-E. E. Williams.

            West Chester-James W. Jones.

            Somerville-Isaac C. Baker.

            Members of, the Butler county bar now honored with public positions are the Hon. Clarence Murphy and the Hon. Walter S. Harlan, judges of the court of common pleas ; the Hon. Robert S. Woodruff, judge of the probate and juvenile courts; Isaac C. Baker, prosecuting attorney; Harry J. Koehler, Jr., city solicitor of Hamilton ; E. J. Kautz, judge of the municipal court of Hamilton ; and W. H. Todhunter, judge of the municipal court of Middletown. Under the constitution adopted for Ohio in 1802, the court of common pleas consisted of a president judge of each circuit, and not more than three nor less than two associate judges for each county. The president and associate judges then composed the common pleas court. The first judges were chosen by the general assembly of the state and under this arrangement Francis Dunlevy became the first president judge, serving from April, 1803, until January, 1817. His successors were John H. Crane, 1817 until 1818; Joshua Collett, 1819 until 1829; George J. Smith, 1829 until 1836; Benjamin Hickson, from 1936 until 1843: Elijah Vance from 1843 until 1850; and John Probasco, Jr., from 1850 until February, 1852. The associate judges during this period were James Dunn, from April, 1803, until February, 1810; John Greer, from April, 1803, until January, 1806; John Kitchell, from April, 1803 until January 1806; Henry Weaver, from February, 1805 to February 1810; Celadon Symmes, from January, 1806, until February, 1810; Ezekiel Ball, 1810, until January, 1817; Daniel Millikin, from (page 489) February, 1810, until January, 1817; Robert Lytle, from February, 1810, until January, 1817; Henry Weaver, from January, 1817, until January, 1828; Robert Taylow, from January, 1817, until January 1831; Robert Anderson, from January, 1823, until January, 1830; Daniel Millikin, from January, 1827, until January, 1841; John Knox, from January, 1828, until January, 1835; Joel Collins, from January, 1830, until January, 1837; Vincent D. Enyart, from January, 1831, until January, 1838; Squire Littell, from January, 1835, until January, 1841; Fergus Anderson, from January, 1836, until January, 1842; Nehemiah Wade, from January, 1841, until February, 1852; James O'Conner, from January, 1841, until January, 1848; Jeremiah Marston, from January, 1847, until February, 1852; Charles K. Smith, from January, 1848, until January, 1849; and John Traber, from January, 1849, until February, 1852.

            Under the constitution adopted in 1851, the judges of the common pleas court became elective and since then the following members of the bar have served the courts of Butler county in this capacity : Abner Haines, from 1852 until 1855; James Clark, from February, 1855, until October, 1857; William L. Wilson, from October, 1857, until November, 1858; William J. Gilmore, from November, 1858, until February, 1862; Alexander F. Hume, from January, 1860, until January, 1865; William White, from February, 1857, until February, 1864; James J. Winans, from February, 1864, until February, 1868; William J. Gilmore, from December, 1866, until January, 1875; Alexander F. Hume, from January, 1875, until February, 1887; Ferdinand Van Der Veer, from February, 1887, until November, 1892; William S. Gifen, from November, 1892, until February, 1897; John F. Neilan, from February, 1897, until February, 1902; Edgar A. Belden, from February, 1902, until February, 1908; Warren Gard, from 1908, until February, 1914; Clarence Murphy, from February, 1908, until the present time ; and Walter S. Harlan, January, 1913, until the present time.

            The office of probate judge was created by an act of the Ohio legislature in 1851. This office has since then been held by these members of the Butler county bar: Thomas H. Wilkins, from 1852 until 1855, when he resigned : William R. Kinder, from 1855 until 1860, when he died ; David W. McClung, 1860-1861; Z. W. Selby, 1861-867; Joseph Traber, 1867-1873; William R. Cochran, 1873-1876; Benjamin F. Thomas, 1876-1882; William Henry Harr, 18821888; Philip G. Berry, 1888-1894; Clarence Murphy, 1894-1900; Ed. H. Jones, 1900-1906; C. R. Hartkof, 1906, until 1910, when he died; John B. Connaughton, 1910-1916; Robert S. Woodruff, 1916-1922.

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