Robert J. Shawhan (1868 - 1936

Transcription contributed by Arne H Trelvik on 15 Mar 2004
23 Mar 1936 obituary from unnamed newspaper
copy obtained from the Warren County Genealogical Society Obituary Collection
Probably from The Western Star
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Well Known Warren County Lawyer Dies Suddenly at His Home in Lebanon Early Sunday; Funeral at Presbyterian Church Tuesday Afternoon

The entire community was shocked Sunday morning to learn of the sudden passing of Judge Robert J. Shawhan, practicing attorney here for more than 40 years and a former judge of the Warren county probate court. Judge Shawhan’s death occurred at his home on East Main street.

His body was found by members of the family shortly before 10 o’clock Sunday morning when concern was felt over his failure to arise at his usual time. Death was believed to have been due to a cerebral hemorrhage suffered as he slept.

Judge Shawhan, who was 67 years of age last June, had not been in ill health and news of his sudden death came as a severe shock to his many friends throughout Lebanon and Warren county.

Funeral Is Tuesday

Funeral services will be held at the Presbyterian Church at 2:30 o’clock Tuesday afternoon conducted by the Rev. John C. McCoy, pastor of the church. Burial will be made in the Lebanon Cemetery. The funeral arrangements are in charge of the Johnson Funeral Home, Lebanon.

Robert J. Shawhan was the son of the late William L. and Mary A. Wilson Shawhan, born June 24, 1868 on a farm in Union township. It pleased him greatly that he was linked to pioneer days of the county closely enough to have been born in a real pioneer log cabin with clapboard roof.

His family was of the early staunch and substantial pioneers into this country, having come to America from the Rhine section of old Germany early in the eighteenth century to escape the better religious and political persecutions. The first Shawhan family settled in Frederick county, Maryland and was the fountain head of the entire Shawhan family in America, although some branches of the family later changed the spelling.

Robert Shawhan attended country school at Washington district school and in 1888 came to Lebanon to enter the Holbrook school. After spending a year in school here he taught school until May, 1894. In the meantime he read law at night and attended law classes during the evening at the N. N. U. of which he was a devoted and ardent alumnus.

Active N. N. U. Alumnus

He was one of the prime movers in the establishment of the National Normal Reunions a number of years ago and maintained as active leadership through the years.

After leaving the teaching profession he entered the law department of N. N. U. and spent a year in intensive study. In June, 1895 he was admitted to the practice of law and joined the Bar of Ohio. He immediately opened an office here.

In 1906 he established a law partnership with Seth W. Brown, who had just returned from Washington where he had been a member of the Congress from this district. This partnership was dissolved by the death of Mr. Brown. In 1924 with Judge Alton F. Brown he formed a second partnership which existed until his death Sunday. He was admitted to the practice of law in the United States District court of Ohio on May 7, 1917 and on April 3, 1928 was admitted to practice in the U. S. Circuit Court, comprising Ohio, Michigan, Kentucky and Tennessee. While attending the inaugural ceremonies of President Hoover in March 1929 he was admitted to the practice in the U. S. Supreme Court.

Politics always had an interest for Judge Shawhan and in 1899 he was a successful candidate on the republican ticket for judge of the Probate Court of the county. He entered upon his duties in February, 1900 and was re-elected for a second term four years later. At the end of the second term in 1906 he re-entered the practice and went into the partnership with Seth Brown.

During the most of his tenure on the probate bench he served as teacher of law in the Holbrook school and for a time was dean of the law department.

During the war Judge Shawhan was a member of the Selective Service Board and was honorably discharged by the War Department in April, 1919.

In 1912 Judge Shawhan was delegate to the national republican convention and followed the Roosevelt leadership into the Progressive party.

Judge and Mrs. Shawhan and their family have for many years been active in the Presbyterian church. For several years he has been a devoted president of the Men’s Bible Class of that church. He has been a deacon and an elder of the church for a number of years.

In his fraternal relations he was a member of the Lebanon Lodge No. 26, F. & A. M. and was a Past Master of the lodge, and a life member.

On February 19, 1891 Judge Shawhan and Miss Elmira Hatfield were united in marriage. To them were born three daughters, two of whom with Mrs. Shawhan survive, Mrs. Mabel Gowdy of Oakwood and Miss Myra Robin, at home. One daughter, Helen Roberta, passed away at the age of three and one half years.

Judge Shawhan is also survived by one brother, H. D. Shawhan, of Loveland, the father of L. S. Shawhan, cashier of the Lebanon Citizens National Bank.

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This page created 15 March 2004 and last updated 4 July, 2005
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