John H. S. Trainer


HON. JOHN H. S. TRAINER, a prominent member of the Steubenville bar, was born at Lancaster, Penn., January 22, 1826. He is of Irish parentage, both his father and mother having emigrated to this country, from Ireland, in 1818. The father was a manufacturer, but subsequently engaged in farming. Mr. Trainer received his first school training in the public schools of Lancaster. When he was ten years old his parents removed from that place to Jefferson county, and located in Springfield township, where, during his youth, he attended a district school in winter and labored on his father's farm in summer. At seventeen years of age he entered an academy at New Hagerstown, Ohio, where he remained until the spring of 1845. He then took up the vocation of a teacher, and continued in that capacity until 1848, teaching first in a district school in Harrison county, and finally at Cadiz. In the meantime he had entered upon the study of law with Hon. T. L. Jewett, and on the 7th day of April, 1848 he was admitted to the bar at Steubenville., He began the practice of his profession at Mount Gilead, Ohio, having formed a partnership with Judge Stewart, which, however, owing to the impaired state of his health, terminated at the end of six months. He then removed to Carrollton, where he formed a legal partnership with Judge Belden, of Canton, which continued from November, 1848, until June 20, 1850. Mr. Trainer then opened an office at Wellsville, COlumbiana county, where he practiced alone until April 1, 1853. He then removed to Steubenville and formed a partnership with Hon. George W. Mason. At the expiration of nine months Mr. Mason retired, after which Mr. Trainer practiced alone until in May, 1862, he associated himself with Robert Martin, his law student, under the firm name of Trainer & Martin. In the following September Mr. Martin retired to enter the army, with the understanding that the partnership should be renewed when he returned. In April, 1863, Mr. Trainer became associated with J. F. Daton, who was subsequently elected prosecuting attorney, and the firm was dissolved. In April, 1865, his former associate, Mr. Martin, returned from the field, whereupon the partnership was renewed and the firm continued until in February, 1867, when Mr. Martin, having been elected probate judge, withdrew. For one year following this Mr. Trainer was the partner of Milton Taggart, and on November 1, 1868, he became associated with John McClave, a student with him. THis partnership existed until November 1, 1873, after which John M. Cook became his partner. In 1878 Mr. Cook retired to take charge of the officer of prosecuting attorney. His next associated was James F. Bigger, who studied law with Mr. Trainer, was admitted to the bar in 1879, and at once became his partner and so remained for four years. In 1884 he formed a partnership with his son, John W. Trainer, and the firm of Trainer & Son still exists.
Politically Mr. Trainer has been a life-long democrat. While he has not been a politician, in every sense of the term, he has occupied a prominent place in his party's councils, and has been the recipient of many of its honors. He was elected prosecuting attorney of Jefferson county in the fall of 1853, and filled that position until the expiration of his term on January 1, 1856. In April, 1857, he was elected mayor of Steubenville, and served two years, declining a renomination. He was a candidate for county judge in October, 1858, and, though not elected, he succeeded in reducing an opposing majority from about 1, 400 to 373. In April, 1859, he was elected city colicitor, and held the position two years, declining a renomination. In 1871 he was tendered the nomination for common pleas judge, but declined the same. In 1873 he was nominated for delegate to the constitutional convention of the state, but was defeated by 172 votes, although the county had, at the previous election, given 1,700 republican majority. In 1875 his name was brought before the state convention in connection with the office of attorney general, but he declined being considered a candidate, although the nomination could easily have been obtained. In 1883 he yielded to the solicitation of his friends and accepted his party's nomination to the office of common please judge, and in the election which followed he was defeated by but 183 votes though the general republican plurality in the county was about 1,600. Mr. Trainer was married October 10, 1849, to Ether A., daughter of Judge Morrison, of Carrollton, Ohio. THeir children were six in number: Lora V., Mary C., Alma L., Arthur W., John W., and William M., of whom Arthur W. and ALma L. are deceased. Lora V. graduated at St. Vincent's Female seminary, Cincinnati; Mary C. graduated at College Hill, near Cincinnati; Alma L. graduated at the Wesleyan Female seminary, Cincinnati; John W. graduated from Cornell university, in June, 1880; studied law with his father; was admitted to the bar in 1884 and since then he has been a member of the law firm of Trainer & Son; William M. graduated from Princeton college in June, 1883; has since spent two years in the Ohio state adjutant general's office, and is now a student at law, with his father. During all the years of his professional career Mr. Trainer has been very successdul and has had a large and lucrative practice. He began with very limited means, yet, by indomitable perseverance and industry, has amassed a competence, and he now ranks as one of the best attorneys in the state.

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