Transcribed by Ed McClelland (firstname.lastname@example.org). For an explanation and caution about this transcription, please read this page.
SURNAMES APPEARING IN THIS CHAPTERAGNEW, ANDERSON, ASBURY, ASH, AVERY, AYRES, BALDWIN, BANKS, BEATTY, BLACK, BLAIN, BLAIR, BLAKELEY, BOGGS, BOHAN, BOUSER, BOVARD, BOYD, BRACKENRIDGE, BRADFORD, BRADIN, BRANDON, BRANNON, BREDIN, BREWSTER, BRINKEN, BRINKER, BRITTON, BROWN, BRUCE, BRUGH, BRYDEN, BUCHANAN, BUCKELOW, BUELL, BUFFINGTON, BUFFINTON, BURNSIDE, BURRILL, BUTLER, CALDWELL, CAMPBELL, CARNAHAN, CHASE, CHRISTIE, CLARK, CLAY, COLBERT, COLL, COLLINS, COPELY, CORBETT, CORNELIUS, CRAVEN, CRAWFORD, CULVER, CUMMINGS, CUNNINGHAM, CURTIN, DALLAS, DE WOLF, DEMENT, DENNY, DOLPH, DONELY, DONLY, DRUM, DUFFY, DUNLAP, EASTMAN, FALLZ, FERRERO, FIELDING, FILLMORE, FINDLEY, FLEEGER, FORQUER, FORWARD, FOSTER, FOX, FREMONT, GAILY, GALBREATH, GARFIELD, GIBBS, GILCHRIST, GILMORE, GLENN, GOLDEN, GOUCHER, GRAHAM, GRANT, GREER, GUTHRIE, HAMER, HARRISON, HARTRANFT, HASLET, HASLETT, HAYES, HIPPLE, IMBRIE, IRVIN, JACK, JACKSON, JOHNSTON, KELLY, KIRKER, KNOX, KYLE, LANDEN, LANE, LAWRENCE, LEVIS, LEWIS, LINCOLN, LINN, LORAIN, LOWRY, LUSK, LYON, MARSHALL, MARTIN, MAXWELL, MAXWELL, MCALISTER, MCBRIDE, MCCAFFERTY, MCCANDLESS, MCCLURE, MCCURDY, MCDERMOTT, MCGUFFIN, MCJUNKIN, MCKENNAN, MCLELLAND, MCLURE, MCLUSE, MCMICHAEL, MCMILLEN, MCNAIR, MCNEIL, MCPHERRINS, MCPHERRON, MCQUISTIAN, MCQUISTION, MCSWEENEY, MECHLING, MILLER, MITCHELL, MOORE, MORGAN, MORTON, MYERS, NEGLEY, NEYMAN, NIBLOCK, NOSTER, PATTERSON, PEARSON, PIERCE, PIERSOL, PILLOW, POLK, POLLOCK, PORTER, POTTS, PURVIANCE, PURVIS, REBSTOCK, REED, REEVE, REIBER, RIDDLE, ROBINSON, ROTH, SAMPLE, SCOTT, SHANER, SHARON, SHUNK, SMITH, SNYDER, SPEAR, SPENCE, STANTON, STEWART, STOCKTON, SULLIVAN, TETZEL, THOMPSON, TIMBLIN, TIMMORY, TOMBLIN, TOTTEN, TRUNKEY, VANDERLIN, WALKER, WALLACE, WEIR, WHITE, WILKINS, WILLIAMS, WIRT, WOLFF, WOODWARD, YOUNG, ZEIGLER,
p. 48a-- Butler County Court House
p. 52a-- John Bredin
p. 56a-- E. McJunkin
p. 56b-- John N. Purviance
p. 64a-- John M. Greer
p. 66a-- John H. Mitchell
p. 72a-- A.D. Weir
p. 72a-- A.D. Weir Biography
Having presented a chapter upon the civil history of the county, including the courts and a list of the Judges and other officials, we come now to that of the bar--a bar long occupying a well-earned reputation for distinguished ability. For some time after the opening of the several courts in this county, distinguished gentlemen from neighboring counties, especially from Pittsburgh, attended the sittings of the courts. But it was not long before local talent sprang up and asserted itself. To-day, the names of AYRES, THOMPSON (the Judge) GALBREATH, GILMORE, PURVIANCE, SULLIVAN and SMITH--all now passed away--embellish the reputation of the "Butler Bar." Doubtless, many of those now active members of the profession here will in due time, add to its fair renown, as a new generation takes their places.
In giving a biographical sketch of its members, we instinctively begin with that of Gen. AYRES. He came West, we are informed, with Washington's army in 1794, during the whisky troubles generally known as "The Whiskey Insurrection." He came with the soldiers in the capacity of a tailor. Of his early education, little is known. That he had acquired a liberal amount of knowledge, and that he had a thirst for more, is quite evident from his after pursuits. He read law in the office of that celebrated jurist, Judge BRACKENRIDGE, in Pittsburgh, and came to Butler in 1804, as Prothonotary, a position he got by appointment from the Governor. It seems he appointed Henry M. BRACKENRIDGE (son of his preceptor, himself afterward a United States Judge and man of letters) his deputy. Young BRACKENRIDGE attended to the duties of the office, allowing AYRES time to pursue his professional business.
Commencing his local career with the organization of the county, he availed himself of the opportunities offered by giving a strict attention to business, and by discharging every trust most scrupulously; he thus gained and held the confidence of the people through life.
He was a Whig in politics, and had the confidence of his party, and was chosen by it, in 1837, to a seat in the convention then chosen to revise and reframe the constitution of his State, and was one of the minority of that body who voted against the word "white" being placed in that instrument, as a qualification for suffrage. The country has since come up to his views on this subject.
The following notice of Gen. AYRES we take from the pen of Josiah COPELY, Esq., who was a contemporary and a close observer; it may therefore be deemed reliable. He says, in speaking of his first visit to Butler:
"When I was first there, Gen. William AYRES was a leading member of the Butler bar. How long he had been there prior to 1818, I am unable to say, but he was then in the prime of life, a portly man, tidy in his dress, and as fine-looking a man as I ever met. His hair was beautifully silvered, and well and scrupulously kept in order. Although a bachelor--which he continued to be all his life--he had a handsome frame dwelling on the west side of Main street, where, judging from appearances, he lived like a prince. He evidently aimed to be a gentleman of the old school, and kept within the severe proprieties of life, never to my knowledge indulging in dissipation. From the fact that he gradually became wealthy for those days, I infer he was a man of considerable ability in his profession. As a speaker, he was emphatic and precise, keeping prominent all the dignity that was in him, which was not a little. He had a suit once about a tract of land which lay on Slipperyrock Creek. Henry BALDWIN, of Pittsburgh, was the opposing counsel. The General in his argument to the jury had often occasion to name Slipperyrock. BALDWIN, who sat near him, in a distinct but suppressed voice, pretending to correct him, cried, 'No, Slippery Creek.' 'Oh, yes,' AYRES would rejoin, 'Slippery Creek.' Then after two or three 'Slippery Creeks' would be uttered, BALDWIN, with well simulated solicitude, would exclaim, 'No, Slipperyrock Creek.' Then AYRES, as if blaming himself for the misnomer, would say, 'Well, well, Slipperyrock; yes, that's right,' and so would go on correctly for awhile until BALDWIN, in all apparent seriousness, would again interject, 'Slippery Creek.' The poor man became so confused at length that he did not know what was the correct name. Of course, his argument was sadly crippled. Gen. AYRES lived to a pretty advanced age, an eminent member of the bar and a useful and honored citizen. John GILMORE was, I think, nearly the same age as Gen. AYRES, and ranked his equal at the time I first knew him. He had a family. In personal appearance, Mr. GILMORE was the equal of his friend and rival, but was less fastidious. He represented his district in Congress in later years. He, too, was a good and highly honored citizen. I did not know him as intimately as I did the other, [p. 50] but I do know that I always regarded him with profound respect."
John GILMORE was of Scotch-Irish descent. He was born in Bedford (now Somerset) County, Penn., near Stony Creek, in March, 1780. His father, James GILMORE, had emigrated a few years earlier from Newton Lemyada, County Londonderry, in the North of Ireland. His grandfather had emigrated to Ireland from near Glasgow, Scotland. Soon after the birth of John, his father removed to Washington County, Penn. Here he purchased a large farm, overlooking the town of Washington, which is still held by some members of the family. The subject of this notice was educated at Washington and studied law there with Col. BRADFORD.
The Colonel was involved in the whisky insurrection. It is related that one morning while young GILMORE was sitting in the office, a fine, soldierly looking gentleman, dressed in full hunting-shirt uniform, entered. He was Col. MORGAN, who had been ordered to arrest BRADFORD. He said, "Young man, where is Col. BRADFORD?" to which GILMORE replied that he had not seen Mr. BRADFORD that morning. The fact was that Col. BRADFORD had got word of the intended arrest, and had gone South. GILMORE was admitted to the bar in 1801, but soon removed to Pittsburgh. But when Butler County was organized, he was appointed Deputy States Attorney, and, early in 1803, removed to Butler. The same year, he was married to Miss Elena SPENCE ANDERSON, of Washington, Penn., daughter of Rev. Samuel ANDERSON (Mr. ANDERSON belonged to the Presbyterian denomination). About the year 1816, GILMORE was elected to the Legislature, being re-elected several successive years. During this time, he was chosen Speaker of the House. In 1828, he was elected to Congress (this year Gen. JACKSON was elected President). He remained in close relations with JACKSON's administration. He was re-elected in 1830. Later in life, he was elected State Treasurer. In brief, it may be said of him that he filled the full measure of a liberal-minded and highly esteemed citizen.
He had acquired a considerable quantity of land, which he parted with to those of limited means on easy terms, never oppressing any one. He died in Butler on the 11th of May, 1845, aged sixty-five years.
John PURVIANCE, Esq., was one of the attorneys who first settled in the county. He studied law with Parker CAMPBELL, Esq., of Washington, Penn., and was admitted to the first court held in Butler, and continued the practice of his profession until the war of 1812 with Great Britain. Soon after the war began, he was elected Colonel of the Second Regiment of Infantry, which he commanded until mustered out of service, by reason of expiration of term of enlistment.
Col. PURVIANCE was born in Washington, Penn., on the 28th day of December, 1781. Some few years after his return from the army, he moved back to Washington, where he resumed the practice of the law until his death, which occurred on the 28th of December, 1820, leaving a widow (who was the daughter of Rev. Samuel ANDERSON, a Presbyterian minister of the city of Baltimore) and seven children, all of whom yet survive, except the Hon. Samuel A. PURVIANCE and Mrs. Harriet HASLET.
The records of this county show that Mr. PURVIANCE had a large practice, and attest the confidence of the people in his ability and integrity. During his residence in this county, he was the attorney of the Rapp Society, at Harmony, and continued as such until the society removed to Posey County, Ind. After his death, the family removed back to Butler, where, with the exception of his son, the late Samuel A. PURVIANCE, and Mrs. Eleanor BRYDEN, of Franklin, they have resided ever since.
His associate members of the bar were Henry BALDWIN, William WILKINS, Steele SAMPLE, Alexander W. NOSTER John GILMORE, William AYRES, Henry M. BRACKENRIDGE, Thomas COLLINS and David C. CUNNINGHAM, distinguished lawyers, jurists and statesmen.
Judge John BREDIN, one of the most prominent of the early members of the bar, and for a period of twenty years, President Judge, was the son of James and Jane (DUNLAP) BREDIN, and was born in the town of Stranorlar, County of Donegal, Ireland, in the year 1794. The family came to this country in 1802, and settled in Donegal Township, Butler County, where they obtained 200 acres of land by "settlers' right," but John BREDIN, in 1812, bought land two miles southeast of Butler, in the present township of Summit, to which his parents removed. The young lad, who was to become one of the foremost citizens of the county, had only such limited advantages of education as were afforded in the sparsely settled country, but he made the best of them in the later years of his boyhood, and the early years of his manhood, although actively engaged in sustaining himself by honorable, if humble, employment, found time and means for self-culture. At sixteen years of age, he was a clerk in a Pittsburgh store, and was afterward clerk to Prothonotary MECHLING in Butler. He studied law under Gen. William AYRES, and was admitted to practice in 1817. A little circumstance connected with his preparation for the profession he had chosen, serves to illustrate the character of the young man. He desired to study Coke on Littleton, which was in his time a standard text-book, though now gone out of favor, but he could only obtain a copy of the Norman-French edition. The fact, how- [p. 51] ever, did not deter him from reading Coke on Littleton, for he went diligently to work and acquired a knowledge of the language in which the book was written. The young attorney quickly gained a large practice, and had numerous clients in Armstrong and Venango Counties, as well as Butler. At the time he was admitted to practice, and for a number of years after, many of the most important suits in the courts of Butler and adjoining counties were contests for the possession of land, growing out of confused title. Mr. BREDIN had a great reputation for his success in this class of suits, and his thorough and minute knowledge of the intricate land laws applying to Western Pennsylvania gave his opinion great weight in the estimation of the people. He was one of the ablest lawyers of his time. Practicing at the bar during a period when it numbered among its members such men as Henry BALDWIN, afterward a Judge of the Supreme Court of the United States, Gen. AYRES, William WILKINS, afterward a Judge of the United States District Court and Minister to Russia; Walter FORWARD, afterward Secretary of the Treasury of the United States; John BANKS, John J. PEARSON, Daniel AGNEW, Joseph BUFFINTON, Samuel PURVIANCE, Alex. W. FOSTER, John GILMORE and Samuel A. GILMORE. He was recognized as the equal of any of them.
Although extensively engaged in the practice of his profession, the subject of our sketch gave much attention to other matters. He became possessed of considerable real estate, and always had an active interest in public affairs.
Judge BREDIN was an ardent friend of the common school system, and was a very efficient factor in its success, as well in the borough as in the county; he was for over ten years a School Director and President of the board. A distinguishing trait in his character was his large generosity and benevolence, and his liberal aid in every enterprise that tended to promote the welfare of the county. He was an upright Judge and a devoted father and friend. In company with his elder brother, Maurice BREDIN, he carried on, during the years from 1824 to 1830, the Butler Repository, an able Democratic Republican newspaper.* In 1831, on the formation of the Seventeenth Judicial District, composed of the counties of Butler, Beaver and Mercer, he was appointed President Judge of said district by Gov. WOLFF, and was re-appointed by Gov. PORTER in 1841. Various Associate Judges served with him from time to time. At one period, both of his associates were like himself, natives of the County of Donegal, Ireland. They were John DUFFY and James BOVARD. Although the three members of the bench were of the same nativity, they represented three different religious denominations, Judge BREDIN being an Episcopalian, Judge DUFFY a Roman Catholic, and Judge BOVARD a Presbyterian. Judge BREDIN occupied the bench until his death, which occurred May 21, 1851. He was married, in 1829, to Miss Nancy MCLELLAND, of Franklin, Penn. Eleven children were the offspring of this union, three of whom died in childhood, and six are now living in Butler Borough, viz., Judge James BREDIN, Nancy (Mrs. I. J. CUMMINGS), Dr. Stephen BREDIN, Margaret (Mrs. L. Z. MITCHELL), Elvira (Mrs. Edwin LYON) and Joseph B. BREDIN, Esq. The eldest of the family, Jane (Mrs. Ebenezer MCJUNKIN), and George M. are deceased. The latter died in the army.
*See Chapter IX.
George W. SMITH was born in Mercer County, Penn., in the year 1806. He came to Butler, and was at one time employed in the woolen factory, then carried on in connection with the MCNEIL (now Walter's) flouring-mill. He read law with Gen. AYRES, and soon took a prominent rank at the bar. He was a Whig in politics, and, with S. A. PURVIANCE and C. C. SULLIVAN, became one of its most active leaders. His name was on several occasions used by his friends in connection with political positions. He always had a good support. He represented this (Butler) county in the Legislature. He was the candidate of his party for Congress in 1848, but fell a few votes short in the district, being beaten by his Democratic neighbor, Hon. A. GILMORE.
He removed to Kansas in 1855, and took an active part in the stirring scenes that took place during the years that followed. He was elected Governor under the Lecompton Constitution by that portion of the Free-State men who deemed it wise to take part in that election (another portion of the party resolved to treat the election as a fraud, and stayed away). He was afterward elected to the Legislature, and was once chosen Speaker of that body. He was afterward chosen Police Judge for the city of Lawrence, which position he held till his death, which took place on the 28th of September, 1878. He was an outspoken, warm-hearted man; his life was an active one. His early education was limited, but nature had done much for him. He was at home with a jury, and could always make the most of the facts, when submitting his client's cause to their keeping. His widow still survives; she lives in the suburbs of Lawrence, Kan.
David O. WALKER's name is frequently found on the records of the Common Pleas from 1824 to 1830, but we have failed to find any minute of his admission, nor have we learned whether he was a student in this county or not. He was a brother of Mr. Jonathan WALKER, a well-to-do farmer of Buffalo township, this (Butler) county, recently deceased. He [p. 52] may have read law with Gen. AYRES, but the possibility is that he and his brother (James H.) both read law with their uncle, Hon. Jonathan WALKER, of Pittsburgh, the father of Hon. Robert J. WALKER, who became a citizen of Mississippi at an early day, and who was Secretary of the Treasury under POLK.
Both families of the WALKERs were prominent. Of the family to which David O. belonged, we have four strong men in their different spheres. Jonathan and William became prominent citizens and land-owners of Butler County. James H. became one of the leading members of the local bar of Erie, he had an eventful professional life, and died while presiding over the Constitutional Convention of 1873, and David O., the subject of this notice. They are all now deceased.
James THOMPSON was born in Middlesex township, Butler County, Penn. In 1818, he was playing the part of "printer's devil" in the office of the Butler Palladium. In 1825, he still worked at the case, but soon after became a law student in the office of Hon. John GILMORE. About this time, Samuel GILMORE returned from college and became a student in the same office (his father's). Before his admission to the bar, THOMPSON removed to Kittanning and finished his primary course of primary law-reading in the office of Thomas BLAIR. He afterward removed to Erie, and became at once a leader in his profession and his party (Democratic). He became a legislator; at one time was Speaker of the House; afterward, member of Congress, and, finally, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the State.
Soon after the expiration of his term (ten years) as Judge, while he was making an argument in an important case in court, he sank to the floor in a state of exhaustion and never recovered. He was an able jurist, a pure Judge, and, through life, a highly esteemed citizen. Two of his brothers, William and John, still survive him, and remain citizens of his native county.
John GALBREATH has been described by a contemporary, who says that when he first came to Butler, he found him a young lawyer. He afterward established the first newspaper ever published in Butler; it was called the Butler Palladium; he afterward removed to Erie, where he took rank as a lawyer and became Judge of the courts of that county.
The following biographical sketch of Hon. Joseph BUFFINGTON, we take from a history of Westmoreland County, which composed part of his judicial district:
Joseph BUFFINGTON, for many years President Judge of the district of which Westmoreland County was a part, the "Old Tenth," was born in the town of West Chester, Chester Co., Penn., on the 27th of November, 1803, and died at Kittanning on the 3d day of February, 1872. The ancestors of Judge BUFFINGTON were Friends or Quakers, who left the county of Middlesex, England, and came to the Province of Pennsylvania shortly before the proprietary, and settled near Chadd's Ford, in Chester County, near the site of the battle of the Brandywine, where his grandfather, Jonathan BUFFINGTON, had a grist-mill during the Revolution. His father, Ephraim BUFFINGTON, kept hotel at West Chester at a tavern stand known as the "White Hall," a venerable hostelry and celebrated through that region for many years. It was here that the subject of this sketch was born, and lived until his tenth year, when his father, in hopes of bettering his fortunes in the West, left West Chester, came over the mountains and settled in Pine Creek, about five miles above Pittsburgh, on the Allegheny River. It was during this journey that the travelers passed through Greensburg, and it was at the old McQuade House, if the writer mistakes not, afterward for many years his favorite stopping-place, that Judge BUFFINGTON first saw a soft coal fire.
When about eighteen years of age, he entered the Western University at Pittsburgh, then under the charge of Dr. BRUCE, at which place he also enjoyed the instructions of the venerable Dr. Joseph STOCKTON. After pursuing a liberal course of studies, he went to Butler, Penn., and for some time prior to studying law, he edited a weekly paper called the Butler Repository, and in company with Samuel A. PURVIANCE, afterward a well-known attorney of Allegheny County and Attorney General of the Commonwealth, he engaged in keeping a small grocery store. Soon afterward, he entered, as a student of law, the office of Gen. William AYRES, at that time one of the most celebrated lawyers in Western Pennsylvania, and under whose careful training he laid a thorough foundation for his chosen life work.
During his student life, he married Miss Catharine MECHLING, a daughter of Hon. Jacob MECHLING, a prominent politician of that region and for many years a member of the House of Representatives and Senate of Pennsylvania. Mr. MECHLING was originally a native of Westmoreland County, and was married to Miss DRUM, an aunt of Hon. Augustus DRUM, Member of Congress from Westmoreland, of Gen. Richard DRUM, United States Army, and of Maj. Simon DRUM, who was killed in the Mexican war.
In the month of July, 1826, he was admitted to practice in Butler County, and in the Supreme Court, on September 10, 1828. He remained at the Butler bar for about a year, but finding, at length, that the business was largely absorbed by the older and more experienced practitioners, he determined to seek some new field of labor, and finally settled upon Armstrong County, to which place he removed and settled at [p. 53] Kittanning, where he resided continuously until his death. Here his industry, integrity and close application soon brought him to the front of the bar, and although the first years of his professional life were ones of hardship and narrow means, yet in a few years he was in possession of a practice that absorbed all his time and afforded a good income.
When coming to manhood, Judge BUFFINGTON took a strong interest in politics. At the inception of the Anti-Masonic party, in 1831, or thereabouts, he became one of its members, and served as one of the delegates to the National Convention of that body, which met at Baltimore in 1832, and nominated William WIRT for the Presidency. During these years, he was several times nominated for the position of State Senator or member of the House of Representatives, but without success, his party being largely in the minority.
In 1840, he joined the Whig party, taking an active part in the election of Gen. HARRISON, and serving as one of the Presidential electors on the Whig ticket.
During the years that intervened from his coming to Kittanning, until 1843, Judge BUFFINGTON was closely engaged in the line of his profession. Patient, laborious and attentive, full of zeal and energy for his clients' causes, he had acquired an extensive practice. He was constantly in attendance upon the courts of Clarion, Jefferson, Armstrong and Indiana, and his services were often in demand in other counties. He was connected in all the important land trials of that region, and his knowledge of this intricate branch of the law was thorough and exhaustive. Said one of his life-long friends: "To speak of Judge BUFFINGTON's career as a lawyer would be a history of the Judicial contests in this section of the State for more than a quarter of a century. He had a large practice in Armstrong, Jefferson, Clarion and Indiana Counties, the courts of which counties he regularly attended. It was my pleasure to be with him, either as assisting or opposing counsel, in many of those counties. It may not be forgotten that in those early times in the judicial history of Middle Western Pennsylvania the bar constituted a kind of paripatetic association, all and each contributing his share to the social enjoyments of the occasion and to the instruction of the unlearned in law, of the obligations that were imposed upon them. These unions at different places created necessarily many happy reminiscences. But, like the schoolmaster of the village, "the very spot where once they triumphed is forgot."
It cannot be forgotten or denied that Judge BUFFINGTON was a conscientious, fair-dealing and upright lawyer. He had imbibed so largely of the privileges and excellences of the profession--knew so much of it and the rightful manner of pursuing it--that to him chicanery was fraud, technicality, folly, and injustice and wrong (its workings) a crime."
In the fall of 1842, Judge BUFFINGTON was elected a Member of Congress as the Whig candidate, in the district composed of the counties of Armstrong, Butler, Clearfield and Indiana, his competitor being Dr. LORAIN, of Clearfield County. In 1844, he was again elected, in the same district, his competitor being Mr. MCKENNAN, of Indiana County. During his membership of the House, he voted with the Whigs in all important measures, among others voting against the admission of Texas on the ground of opposition to the extension of slave territory.
His fellow-townsman and warm personal friend, Hon. W. F. JOHNSTON, having been elected Governor, he appointed Judge BUFFINGTON, in 1849, to the position of President Judge of the Eighteenth Judicial District, composed of the counties of Clarion, Elk, Jefferson and Venango. This position he held until 1851, when he was defeated in the Judicial election by Hon. John C. KNOX, the district being largely Democratic.
In 1852, he was nominated by the Whig State Convention for the Judgeship of the Supreme Court. In the general overthrow of the Whig party that resulted in the defeat of Gen. SCOTT for the Presidency that year, Judge BUFFINGTON was defeated, his competitor being the late Chief Justice WOODWARD, of Luzerne County.
The same year, he was appointed by President FILLMORE Chief Justice of Utah Territory, then just organized. He was strongly urged by the President personally to accept, as the position was a trying one, and the administration wished it to be filled by some one in whom it had confidence. Its great distance from civilization, and the customs of the country, which were so abhorrent to his ideas, led him, however, to decline the proffered honor.
On the resignation of Hon. John Murry BURRILL, Judge of the Tenth District, he was appointed to that position, in the fall of 1855, by Gov. POLLOCK, with whom he had been a fellow-member of Congress, and with his appointment commenced a close and intimate acquaintance with Westmoreland County and its citizens, that lasted until his death.
In the fall of 1856, he was elected to fill the position to which he had been appointed, for a term of ten years. In this election he had no contestant, the opposition declining to nominate through the advice of their then candidate for the Presidency, James BUCHANAN, a special friend of the Judge for many years. This position he held until 1866, when he was again elected to fill the Judgeship for another term of ten years. [p. 54]
This he resigned in 1871, when failing health admonished him that the Judicial labors, already beyond the power of any man, were too great for one who had passed the meridian of life and had borne the heat and burden of the day, whilst others more vigorous had fallen by his side. It was hard, indeed, for one whose mind was skilled to greatness and trained to labors to listen to the demands of a feeble frame, whilst yet the mind was in the vigor and strength of maturity. But, sustained by the consciousness of duty well done, and cheered by the united voice from without, proclaiming his life's mission to the public nobly performed, he left the battlefield of life, and lived (as was his wont) amid the brighter joys of social and domestic love, himself the center around which the affections of a dear home clustered. He was again in private life, after forty-six years' connection with the bench and bar of the commonwealth, to the thoroughness and industry of which the State Reports for the forty years preceding and silent and eloquent witness.
Surrounded by friends and every comfort of life, the following year passed quickly, but, as in the case of many an overworked professional man, the final summons came without warning. On Saturday, February 3, 1872, he was in his usual health, and, on rising from dinner, went to an adjoining room, across which he commenced walking, as was his wont. His wife, coming in five minutes afterward, found him lying on the sofa, in the sleep that knows no waking. He was buried with the services of the Episcopal Church, of which he had been an attendant, officer and liberal supporter for many years.
Of Judge BUFFINGTON as a lawyer we have spoken. As a citizen, he was public-spirited; and as a neighbor, he was kind and sympathetic. All his intercourse with his fellow-men was marked with a courtesy and quiet dignity, that impressed one as being in the presence of one who was a gentleman in the true sense of the word. His memory is a rich legacy to friends who survive.
Samuel Anderson PURVIANCE was born in Butler, Butler Co., Penn., January 10, 1809. His father, John PURVIANCE, Esq., was a member of the Butler bar, who had served in the war of 1812 as Colonel of a volunteer regiment. Col. PURVIANCE died at an early age, leaving surviving him a widow and seven children--three sons and four daughters. Samuel A. was the second son and child. Upon him and his brother devolved the responsibilities of maintaining and raising the large family which their father's death had left wholly unprovided for. At that time, Western Pennsylvania was comparatively an unsettled region. Mr. PURVIANCE's early days were spent in carrying the surveyor's chain, and in clerking in the offices of the Prothonotary, Sheriff and Commissioners of Butler County, and in such other similar employment as choice or opportunity offered to him. In this manner, he earned his living, meanwhile educating himself as best he could, and diligently pursued his studies as a law student in the office of Gen. William AYRES, of Butler, then one of the ablest lawyers in Western Pennsylvania. In 1828, before he had attained his legal majority, he was admitted to the bar and entered at once upon the active practice of his chosen profession, and continued in that practice until 1876--a period of nearly half a century--when he retired to private life. Soon after his admission to the bar, he was appointed by the Attorney General of the State Prosecuting Attorney for Warren County, Penn. He remained in Warren about two years, most creditably discharging the duties of his office, and forming friendships which he cherished through life. He returned to Butler and resumed the practice of his profession in that county, and continued to maintain a leading place at the bar, until 1859, when he removed to Pittsburgh, where he continued in successful practice until his retirement, in 1876.
At the Butler bar, George W. SMITH, Charles C. SULLIVAN and Samuel A. GILMORE were Mr. PURVIANCE's contemporaries. They have all now passed away. The people of the county at every term of court crowded the court house to witness the forensic contests in which these young attorneys were engaged, over the disputed titles of the county, and their names became household words in all sections of the county. As at that time there was great confusion in the land titles of Western Pennsylvania, the business of the bar consisted mainly in trying ejectments and settling the conflicting titles of the adverse claimants. In this field, Mr. PURVIANCE was perfectly at home, and was retained in almost every leading case. As he was one of the old-time attorneys who rode the circuit of the different counties, his reputation as a land lawyer rapidly spread through all the adjoining counties, and in Armstrong, Clarion and Jefferson especially he has a large practice. To be ranked as one of the leading land lawyers of Western Pennsylvania, when he had such competitors for legal honors as ex-Chief Justice THOMPSON and AGNEW, Judge PEARSON, now of Harrisburg; Judge WHITE, of Indiana; Judge BUFFINGTON, of Armstrong; Judge BANKS of Mercer; Hon. Thomas M. MCKENNAN, of Washington and Hon. Henry D. FOSTER, of Westmoreland, was no small distinction.
Meanwhile, Mr. PURVIANCE took an active part in politics. He was a Whig during the whole period of the existence of that party, one of its most earnest, able and unflinching supporters. He was a member of the National Convention of 1844, which nominated [p. 55] Henry CLAY for the Presidency. He was one of the founders of the Republican organization, and was a member of the Republican National Convention of 1856, which nominated John C. FREMONT for the Presidency. Mr. PURVIANCE was also a delegate from this State at large to the Chicago Convention of 1860, which nominated Abraham LINCOLN, and of the Baltimore Convention of 1864, which re-nominated him, as well as of the Chicago Convention of 1868, which nominated Gen. GRANT.
During the administration of President LINCOLN, he enjoyed in a remarkable degree for one not in official position, the friendship and confidence of Mr. LINCOLN and his Secretary of War, Mr. STANTON. Mr. PURVIANCE was a member of the National Executive Committee of the Republican party from 1864 to 1868.
Mr. PURVIANCE was always a favorite with the people, and his was a well-earned popularity, based upon sterling integrity of character. With a kind, courteous and engaging manner, a pleasing, popular address and manifest interest in everything that pertained to the people's welfare, it could not be otherwise. He sought the recreation of politics as a relief from the severe duties of his profession, and was glad to meet the people in their public assemblies, town and township meetings, and discuss the issues of the day. Thus he became acquainted with nearly every family in the county in which he lived, and it was one of the pleasures of his later years to trace the histories of all these families--rejoicing in their success and sympathizing with them in their reverses.
Mr. PURVIANCE was a member of the Constitutional Convention of 1837 and 1838, ex-Chief Justices WOODWARD and AGNEW and himself being the youngest members of that convention, and his colleague from Butler County being his old legal preceptor, Gen. William AYRES. He was a member of the House of Representatives of Pennsylvania, sessions of 1838-39, a member of the House of Representatives of the United States in the Thirty-fourth and Thirty-fifth Congresses. Attorney General of Pennsylvania in 1861, and a member of the Pennsylvania Constitutional Convention of 1872-73. He discharged the duties of each of these important public trusts with such ability and fidelity as to command the approving "well done" of the people. As a member of the first Constitutional Convention, he was a champion of reform, especially pressing an elective judiciary. He was in Congress in the troublous times preceding the rebellion, and earnestly and eloquently battled for freedom against the encroachments of the slave power in Kansas.
Other public trusts were pressed upon Mr. PURVIANCE, which he declined. President LINCOLN tendered him an important diplomatic appointment, but he had no desire to go abroad. In all the various relations of life, Mr. PURVIANCE filled the full measure of a true gentleman. After months of serious indisposition, he quietly passed away, on the 14th of February, 1882, full of days and surrounded by friends.
Samuel A. GILMORE, a son of Hon. John GILMORE, was born in Butler on the 21st of January, 1806. He was educated at Washington college, Pennsylvania, read law with his father and was admitted to the bar in 1827; he soon acquired a leading place in his profession. He was elected to the State Legislature in 1836-37; he was afterward chosen one of the Secretaries of the Constitutional Convention of 1838; he was appointed President Judge of the judicial district composed of the counties of Washington, Greene and Fayette by Gov. SHUNK; he was afterward elected and re-elected to the same position, after the judiciary became elective, and was still discharging the responsible duties of the office when death took him from the midst of his labors, on the 15th of May, 1873. He was a liberal minded citizen, a good jurist and an honest man.
Charles Craven SULLIVAN was for a long period one of the ablest advocates of the bar of his county. We are under many obligations to a member of the extensive SULLIVAN family for the following brief sketch of their family record; it is in the handwriting of Lieut. Aaron SULLIVAN, who fought so bravely and fell so heroically while doing duty in the war of 1861, and presented by him to an aunt, now deceased. The record is as follows:
Peter O. SULLIVAN located in Northumberland County, Va., about the year 1700; married a lady named CRAVEN; his children were named John, Moses, Charles and Elizabeth. Charles married Jemima REEVE, in the beginning of the year 1757; his children were John, born January 29, 1758; Charles, March 27, 1760; Elizabeth, April 16, 1762; James, September 24, 1765; Anne, died a young infant, all born in Northumberland, on the Wecondia River, near Chesapeake Bay. Charles, the eldest, died March 27, 1767.
Susanna, daughter of Thomas and Margaret JOHNSTON, was born in Chester County, Penn., October 29, 1764. Charles SULLIVAN and Susanna JOHNSTON were married in Chester County, Penn., in the year 1785. Their children were Moses, born at William Long's place, near the head of Saw Mill Run, about five miles from Pittsburgh, October 9, 1786; Aaron, born in Allegheny County, September 4, 1788; Thomas, born in Allegheny County, February 26, 1791; John, [p. 56] born in Allegheny County June 19, 1793; James, born in Allegheny County, at the place called Hanson's Mills, one mile from Noblestown, March 8, 1795; Margaret, born at "May's place," near the line between Allegheny and Washington Counties, about five miles north of Cannonsburg, March 29, 1797; Jemima, born on the "Partnership Farm," about seven miles northwest of the town of Butler, October 20, 1800; Elizabeth, born on the "Partnership Farm" December 11, 1802; William, born on the "Partnership Farm" December 5, 1804; Charles CRAVEN, born on the "Partnership Farm" March 10, 1807; Susanna, born on the "Partnership Farm" September 6, 1809; Charles C. SULLIVAN, Sr., died January 12, 1813; Susanna SULLIVAN, Sr., died July 7, 1834, Moses SULLIVAN died May 21, 1839.
We have given this record as the best authority upon the subject upon which it treats, and also as an evidence of the care with which this family have preserved their family history.
It is worthy of note that Charles C. SULLIVAN, Sr., made the acquaintance of Miss JOHNSTON, who afterward became his wife, while he was serving under Washington during that terrible winter so famous in Revolutionary history. Few have not read the sufferings of Valley Forge. They were afterward married by Bishop ASBURY, of the M. E. Church.
The subject of this notice, after obtaining a liberal education in home institutions within the county, finally graduated at Jefferson college. He read law with Gen. AYRES, and was admitted to the bar in 1830, as is inferred from an examination of the record. His name is first found on the docket in the following case:
ROBERT SCOTT AND JOHN CHRISTY, EXRS. OF REV. JOHN MCPHERRON, vs. JAMES MARTIN.
BREDIN, SULLIVAN--AYRES, Attys.
AYRES appears &c. & pleads nul tial rec,--set off, pay'nt, with leave &c--Rep, hab tal rec,--nonsolvit--issue &c.
Appeal from Abram BRINKEN by Plff., cost $1.75.
Entered Jany. 1, 1831.
ROBERT SCOTT AND JOHN CHRISTY, EXRS. OF REV. JOHN MCPHERRON, vs. JAMES MARTIN.
TAX PAID. John MCQUISTIAN.........$ 4 00 Jas MCCURDY............. 4 00 F. MCBRIDE.............. 2 00 Defts bill.............. 11 92 Atty.................... 3 00 Bro S................... 2 81¼ Bro D................... 48½
July 16, 1832, parties appear and amicably agree to refer all matters in variance in this case to John MCQUISTIAN, Francis MCBRIDE and James MCCURDY Esqsrs., to meet at the house of Wm. BEATTY in Butler on Monday the 13th day of Aug next, at 2 o'clock P M, on whose report or that of a majority Judgt is to be entered (1 copy)
Jany 1st 1833 report filed finding for Deft ninety seven cts.
Exceptions filed 9th Jany 1833.
Exceptions disapproved 4th May 1833 and Judgt.
On examining the transcript from the Justice upon which this proceeding was had, it was found to be as follows, omitting the statement of the case:
Dec 24th 1824 summons case under $100.
Amicable action and on hearing the parties Judgment in favor of Plff's for seventeen dollars and eighteen cents--
Credit as per Clark MCPHERRINS Recd for $6--Feb 12--1830.
Feb 12th 1830 Sci Fa issued to James GLENN, 28th Aug 1830 to appear 3d Sept 1830--Then continued to the 27th inst--Def't met as summoned. James MCCURDY sworn on part of Plff, and after hearing the proofs I continued this case to the 11th day of Dec next under my own Judgment.
Dec 11th 1830 Judgt in favor of Deft James MARTIN for forty-two cents.
Dec 3d 1830 the Pl'ff appeals to the Court of Common Pleas of Butler County.
I certify the foregoing to be a true transcript of a Judgment rendered by me from which the plaintiffs have appealed.
Witness my hand and seal this 29th Dec 1830.
ABM BRINKER [Seal].It is deemed of sufficient interest to let it be seen how important (?) much of the litigation is upon which professional men are required to spend the knowledge they have acquired at a cost of time, money and mental exertion. Here was a case originating in a small indebtedness of $11. The defendant alleged he had paid it in the lifetime of the original creditor. The executors refused to believe this, and had a Sci Fa issued to revive this judgment. After a lengthy deliberation, the Squire gives judgment for defendant for 42 cents. From this the plaintiffs appeal; it is finally referred to arbitrators, and they, after giving it their best attention, render an award for defendant for 77 cents.
This case commenced in 1824; it is concluded in 1833. Two lawyers had charge of plaintiffs' interests and one had charge of those of defendant. Over $28 of cost had accumulated, exclusive of counsel fees.
It was deemed advisable to give this piece of legal history in connection with the introduction of a legal student to his profession. If the perusal of it shall tend to induce caution on approaching litigation, it will not have been written or read in vain.
It is not to be supposed that any of the distinguished gentlemen whose names appear on the margin of the Common Pleas record as attorneys in the case ever advised the prosecution of this senseless litigation. But still, its outcome should teach young men of the profession that they ought frequently to discourage, rather than encourage, litigation.
Mr. SULLIVAN soon took rank as an able advocate and sound lawyer. He was a man of strong will (a quality so fully developed in his nephew, Judge MCCANDLESS). He soon acquired a good practice and finally became one of the leading lights of the Butler bar--a bar long noted for the ability and character [p. 57] of its members. Like S. A. PURVIANCE, he practiced in many of the adjoining counties; he had a great regard for the "name and fame" of his native county, and would never allow any aspersion to be case upon it in his presence, without rendering a prompt and caustic reproof to the unfortunate individual who ventured any disparaging remarks about the land so prolific with "buckwheat and rabbit hams," as Butler County at this early day was alleged to be.
Mr. SULLIVAN was elected to the State Senate in 1841, and was re-elected in 1844, serving six years in that body with great acceptability. He was the author of much legislation during his Senatorial career, some of which still remains on our statute books. During this time, he gained a State reputation, he occupying a somewhat similar relation to the Legislation of the country that Senator BUCKELOW did at a later day. Had it not been that his party (Whig) was in the minority during his vigorous days, he would have occupied a still broader field of usefulness. As a mark of distinction, SULLIVAN County was called for him.
While the subject of this notice was a Whig in politics, he was by no means one of the "Regulation Pattern." In other words, he thought for himself. From his youth up, he sympathized strongly with the oppressed African. He was much pleased with the nomination of Gen. SCOTT by the Whigs over FILLMORE, in 1852, regarding it as a great victory for the anti-slavery cause. He took a deep interest in that campaign, and was much disappointed at its outcome--the election of PIERCE. Such an [sic] one naturally took with the Republican Movement.
When in 1856, Jacob MECHLING, Jr., occupied a place on the Republican ticket as a candidate for Associate Judge, his son (Thompson MECHLING), then in the army, being a West Pointer and stationed in the South, wrote home a reproving letter, reminding his father that when he left home, "Charlie SULLIVAN and Clark MCPHERRON were the only Abolitionists in the county." Young MECHLING had little knowledge of the great change that had taken place in public sentiment. His father, with the rest of the ticket, was elected by a good majority, and no one rejoiced more heartily than did Mr. SULLIVAN.
Nor did the convictions of his youth and early manhood weaken in after life. During the summer and fall of 1859, his interest in national affairs seemed rather to increase. He was satisfied that a great national crisis was imminent, and his great anxiety was that the Republican party would stand up courageously for the right. During the winter of 1859-60, he frequently discussed national affairs; he believed a civil war was approaching, and talked to the young men of his acquaintance on the subject of their duty in such an emergency. He looked with great interest on the National Republican Convention. But, alas! disease came, and he was called away from the conflicts then approaching.
Born of Christian parents, he received from them a thorough moral education. He died as he lived, a professor of that religion which had taught him so forcibly his duty, both to his fellow-men and his God. He died on the 27th day of February, 1860, leaving a widow and five children and a handsome estate, the result of a life of honorable professional labor.
John Nelson PURVIANCE, one of the oldest practitioners of the present bar, was born in Butler September 27th, 1810. His father was John PURVIANCE, Esq., of whom a sketch has been already given in this chapter, and his mother was Annalana (ANDERSON) PURVIANCE, the daughter of Rev. Samuel ANDERSON, of the Presbyterian Church of Baltimore and Frederick City, Md. Mr. PURVIANCE and his wife came to Butler from Washington County, Penn., and were among the earliest settlers of the borough. In 1814, the family returned to Washington County, and, the husband and father dying there, in 1820, Mrs. PURVIANCE and her children shortly afterward came back to Butler.
The youth of the subject of our sketch was thus divided between the Washington County home and the place which he was destined to make his life residence. He obtained a good education in the common subscription schools and in the old Butler Academy, studying both the English branches and Latin in the latter, under Messrs. SCOTT and SHARON, who were fine classical scholars. When about sixteen years of age, he clerked for a short period in the store of Joseph M. FOX, Esq., on the Clarion River, within a few miles of Parker's Landing. When seventeen or eighteen years of age, he began clerking for the County Commissioners, and he labored in that capacity for about three years. During the same time, he read law with Judge John BRADIN, beginning in 1829. He was admitted to practice in the spring term of the Court of Quarter Sessions in 1832. Soon after he, was appointed by Chief Justice Ellis LEWIS as Deputy Attorney General for Butler County, an office equivalent to that of the present District Attorney-ship. On the expiration of his first term, he was re-appointed by George M. DALLAS, and he held the office altogether about five years. Subsequently he followed the practice of his profession with his brother, Samuel A. PURVIANCE, and also with Judge Samuel A. GILMORE. About the same time, he served several years as School Director. When Mr. PURVIANCE was a young man, great interest was taken in military matters. He was a member of the Butler Blues, and, as early as 1831, elected their Captain. Three or [p. 58] four years later, he was chosen as Major of the battalion, and, in 1843, elected Major General of the Military Division of Militia and Volunteers, composed of the counties of Butler, Beaver and Mercer. The title thus gained has clung to him through life. In the spring of 1845, Gov. Francis R. SHUNK appointed Mr. PURVIANCE as Auditor General of the State, which office he held until May, 1851. He was also Escheator General of the State, Commissioner of the Sinking Fund, and member of the Board of Property. The esteem in which Gen. PURVIANCE was held at this time is well illustrated, and the ability with which his office was administered set forth by a communication which appeared in the Lancasterian shortly after his term as Auditor General expired:
"We cannot permit so good and true a public officer to leave the service of the commonwealth without doing some justice to his conduct and character, officially and private. Gen. PURVIANCE was called by Gov. SHUNK, six years since, to fill this important and laborious station, which requires, it is well known, industry, talent and purity of the highest order. Claims against and for the commonwealth, to hundreds of thousands of dollars, annually came before him for adjustment and settlement, whilst the finances of the State were peculiarly under the supervision of his department. We can truly say that he was active, industrious, talented, untiring and indefatigable; that no public officer in the State or nation performed the same amount of labor, bore the fatigue or surmounted the same difficulties. Always at his post, mild, courteous, yet firm and determined, he adjudicated the various claims for and against the State with a fairness, honesty, talent and impartiality that commanded universal respect. Through him, thousands of dollars due the commonwealth for years before have been collected and paid into the treasury; and throughout his whole public service he has displayed talents of a high order, purity of the noblest kind, and a devotion to the public welfare and the duties of his station seldom attained or equaled."
In 1851, Mr. PURVIANCE was a candidate for the office of President Judge of the Seventeenth Judicial District, composed of the counties of Beaver, Butler and Mercer. He received his party vote, but was defeated by Hon. Daniel AGNEW. From this time until 1861, he was principally engrossed by the practice of his profession, his son John being associated with him in a partnership for several years. Very soon after coming home from Harrisburg, he was elected President of the Butler & Allegheny Plank Road Company, and held that responsible position during nearly the entire period occupied in constructing the road, which was the first of the kind in Butler County. When the war of the rebellion broke out, he raised a company of about one hundred men, of which he was elected Captain. The company was mustered into the service in April, 1861, as Company H of the Thirteenth Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteers, of which Mr. PURVIANCE was duly elected Lieutenant Colonel. He served with the company and regiment until they were mustered out. In 1867, the subject of our sketch was again called from the practice of law to official life, being nominated by Chief Justice CHASE for Register in Bankruptcy for the Congressional District composed of Armstrong and Butler Counties, and that part of Allegheny County which embraces the city of the same name. He was commissioned by the late Hon. Wilson MCCANDLESS United States District Judge. In 1872, Mr. PURVIANCE was elected a member of the Constitutional Convention which framed the constitution of 1874. He represented the district composed of Beaver, Butler and Washington Counties. He served creditably to himself and acceptably to his constituents as a member of that body, composed of the ablest men of the State. He was on the committee on executive department, and, on returning from the constitutional convention, he resumed his law practice, which he followed, uninterrupted by other duties of importance, until the 1st of February, 1880, when he began his labors as Receiver of the First National Bank of Butler, to which position he had been appointed on the 13th of January preceding by the Comptroller of the Currency. Mr. PURVIANCE, as lawyer, as public official and as a man, has ever commanded the unqualified respect of all with whom he has been in association. His action, alike in public and in private affairs, has ever seemed to be dictated by duty, and he has been regarded as uniformly conscientious and consistent. As a citizen, he has been public-spirited, and always taken a deep interest in measures tending to material improvement and moral well-being. He is a member of the Episcopal Church, and has been for forty years one of its Vestrymen and its Secretary, and also for several years a Warden. Politically, he was originally a Democrat, but became a Republican at the time of the Kansas and Nebraska slave law controversy. Mr. PURVIANCE was married, by Rev. Isaiah NIBLOCK, September 3, 1833, to Miss Eliza Jane, daughter of Robert and Ann POTTS, of Pittsburgh. Their children are Annalana, Mrs. E. FERRERO; John, who read law with his father, graduated from Jefferson college in August, 1855, and was admitted to practice as an attorney in September, 1858; Emmeline, wife of Dr. A. M. NEYMAN; George, now the physician and surgeon in charge of the United States Marine Hospital at Boston, Mass.; and Francis SHUNK, an attorney at law, located at Pittsburgh. [p. 59]
William TIMBLIN was born in Center Township, Butler County, March 7, 1814. He spent some time at Meadville (Allegheny) college, and was afterward a graduate of Washington college. He studied law under Hon. S. A. PURVIANCE, and was admitted to the practice in 1841. He possessed more than ordinary ability. He soon secured an extensive practice, confining himself strictly to his profession. He died on the 14th of November, 1856, from congestion of the lungs, while yet in his early prime.
Edward M. BREDIN was born in Carlisle, Penn., on the 9th day of December, 1819. He was the son of James BREDIN, and nephew of Judge BREDIN, the elder, and cousin to the present Judge of that name. He was educated at Dickinson college, studied law with Judge BREDIN, and was admitted to the bar in the year 1839. He had a fine legal mind, was a close student, and soon became prominent as a counselor. He was specially fond of practice in courts of equity. When acting in concert with other counsel, the preparation of important papers was mostly referred to him. He was quite familiar with the forms in equity practice, and with pleadings generally at common law. He is yet connected with the profession, but not so active as formerly.
In politics, he was a Jacksonian Democrat. Indeed, he seems to be one of those who have unyielding faith in the final triumph of his party. He has often been honored by marks of party confidence. Once he was the candidate of his party for President Judge of the district in which he practiced, receiving the hearty support of his party, but, with it, suffering defeat.
Few men are more familiar with the personal character of public men than he. It is most enjoyable to hear him, when in the humor, entertain his friends with anecdotes of some of the representative men of all parties. In this field he is perfectly at home.
Alexander M. MCBRIDE was a native of Middlesex Township, Butler County. He was a young man of considerable culture and talent. He was admitted to the bar on the 15th of September, 1841.
Alfred GILMORE, a son of John GILMORE and brother to the Judge, was born in Butler, Penn.; was educated at Washington college, graduating in the class of 1833. He read law under his brother, and was admitted to the bar in 1836. He practiced law in Butler until 1848, when he was elected to Congress; he was re-elected in 1850. He afterward removed from Butler, and now resides in Lenox, Mass.
Of this family, father and sons, it may be said they exercised a large influence in the community in which they figured to conspicuously. While that party had a national existence, up to the time of his death the father acted with the Whigs, while his sons were as devotedly Democratic in their politics.
Jonathan AYRES, brother to Gen. AYRES, read law with his brother, and was admitted on the 11th of June, 1838. He afterward practiced his profession in Lawrence County, Penn.
Judge Ebenezer MCJUNKIN, one of the foremost members of the Butler bar (and with a reputation by no means confined to it), as the descendant of one of the pioneer families of the county. His father, David MCJUNKIN, was a native of County Donegal, Ireland, and came to this country with his parents' family shortly after the Revolutionary war. They soon found a location in Allegheny County, and David, on arriving at manhood, or soon after, in the year 1796, came into what is now Center Township, Butler County, and took up a tract of land by "settler's right." He remained there until about 1830, when he removed to Slippery-rock Township, where he carried on for many years the Mt. Etna Iron Works. He married a Miss Elizabeth MOORE (whose father was a sturdy Scotch pioneer of Franklin Township), and reared a family of nine children--three daughters and six sons. Of these sons, the subject of our sketch was the youngest. He was born March 28, 1819. His good Presbyterian parents brought him up as well as the conditions of the time would admit, and his early years were occupied in attending the primitive schools of the neighborhood, and in working upon the home farm, and in the Mt. Etna Iron Works, in Slippery-rock Township, for many years owned by his father. It was determined, however, that he should have a more advanced education than was attainable at home, and he attended Jefferson college, of Washington, Penn., from which he graduated in September, 1841. Then he came to Butler and read law under the late Charles C. SULLIVAN, Esq. He was admitted to practice in September, 1843, and made slow but sure advancement in his profession. His worthiness for the place led to his appointment, in 1838, as Deputy Attorney General for his county (an office equivalent to the present District Attorney-ship). In 1860, Mr. MCJUNKIN was elected a delegate to the National Republican Convention which met at Chicago. He was on the electoral ticket in Pennsylvania in 1864, and cast his vote for LINCOLN. He represented the Twenty-third District in the Forty-second and Forty-third Congresses, being elected in the years 1870 and 1872. Being elected Judge in the Seventeenth District in 1874, he resigned his seat in the House of Representatives, and returning home, went upon the bench the first Monday in January, 1875, for a term of ten years.
John GRAHAM was another member of the Butler bar whose character and legal attainments added luster to its well-earned fame. He was born in Butler County in August, 1821, and was at an early age left an orphan, having nothing but his own industry to rely on for a living. He possessed more than ordinary intelligence. In 1838, he apprenticed himself to S. C. STEWART, Esq., who was then carrying on cabinet-making in Butler. After his apprenticeship was completed, he acted for a time as Deputy Sheriff of his native county, and then, in company with a friend, he made a trip to the Southwest with a view to a new location. But, not finding things particularly encouraging, he returned to Butler, and for a time attended the academy there, under the care of Rev. William WHITE. In 1842, he commenced the study of the law with Samuel GILMORE, Esq., afterward Judge GILMORE. He was admitted to practice law in 1844. In 1845, Mr. GRAHAM married Catherine, youngest daughter of James BREDIN of Carlisle. He turned all his energies to the vigilant pursuit of his profession, and soon rose to the front rank among a class of associates that had made a reputation for themselves and for the bar to which they belonged. He never sought business in the criminal side of the court, but in the Common Pleas he was quite at home. His forensic talent was not of the highest order. He was a fair public speaker. But his clear judgment and strict integrity in his profession commanded the confidence of the court and the respect of his fellows. He was a constant and consistent member of the Protestant Episcopal Church, a leader in its Sabbath school and a laborer in every good work. In politics, Mr. GRAHAM was a Democrat, but he was no slave to party. In the internal convulsions that disturbed that party during the later part of BUCHANAN's administration, he took an active part with the Douglas wing of the party, stoutly denouncing the usurpations and corruptions of that administration. He died too soon to witness its final overthrow, but his influence and example had a powerful effect on the action of the party long after he had passed away.
He was taken ill with fever, and, after two weeks' sickness, passed away of the 22d of September, A. D. 1860. His widow and three children still survive--two daughters and a son--the latter now a clergyman in the Episcopal Church. The name of John GRAHAM, Esq., is still a household word with the more elderly portion of the people of his native county, and his life would be worthy the study of the young men of the rising generation as a model of frankness and purity in all the relations in life.
John H. NEGLEY, oldest son of the late John NEGLEY, was born near Butler February 7, 1823. He received a common-school education, and attended the old Butler Academy in his early days. He entered Washington college, Washington, Penn., in 1841, and left in 1843, without graduating, owing to the stringency in money matters than prevailing. Beginning the study of law under the late Hon. John BREDIN, then Judge of the courts of the county, he was admitted to the bar of the county in 1845. He was appointed District Attorney of the county, then called Deputy Attorney General, by the Attorney General of the State, in 1848, Lewis Z. MITCHELL being also an applicant. He held the office until some time in 1849, when he was succeeded by Ebenezer MCJUNKIN, owing to a change in the State administration. SHUNK, Democratic Governor, having died, was succeeded by William F. JOHNSTON, Whig, who, as Speaker of the State Senate, became Governor under the law, and was subsequently elected by the Whigs. The next Legislature, in its session of 1850, passed a law making the office elective, and changing its name from Deputy Attorney General, or as it was commanly [sic] called, Prosecuting Attorney, to that of District Attorney. Provision was made for electing this officer in each county at the fall election of 1850. Mr. NEGLEY was nominated for the office on the Democratic Ticket, by a county convention composed of delegates, and Mr. MCJUNKIN, then holding the office, was nominated in similar manner by the Whigs. Thus these two men, having each first held the office by appointment, came before the people as rival candidates, although always personal friends. The election resulted in favor of Mr. NEGLEY by a majority of 144. He held the office for three years. In 1851, he was elected a member of the Town Council of Butler. In the spring of 1855, he suggested to his brother-in-law, Col. Joseph P. PATTERSON, the purchase of the Democratic Herald, then published by its present owner, Capt. Jacob ZEIGLER, familiarly known as "Uncle Jake." In November, 1855, Col. PATTERSON was obliged, by declining health, to discontinue the business of publishing the paper, and it passed into the hands of Mr. NEGLEY. In this way, and very unexpectedly to him, he became an editor. He published and edited the Herald until July, 1858, when he sold it to John C. and Samuel COLL. Up to this time, Mr. NEGLEY had acted with the Democratic party, but, for some time prior, had differed with its leaders upon the slavery question. In 1860, he voted for and earnestly supported the election of Abraham LINCOLN as President. In 1861, he was appointed by Gov. CURTIN to make an enrollment of the men in his county for military and draft purposes, the war for the Union then being in progress. In the spring of 1863, he was nominated by the Republicans for the General [p. 61] Assembly, and elected in the fall of the same year. He was renominated and re-elected in the years 1864 and 1865, thus serving his county three consecutive years in the Legislature of the State. While there, he was instrumental, with Senator HASLETT, in securing important legislation affecting the railroad interests of Butler County, as the chapter in this work upon internal improvements shows. After his last term of service in the Legislature expired, he practiced his profession in Butler until 1869, when he purchased the American Citizen, a Republican paper, which had been started some years before. Soon after, he changed the name to the simpler and better one of the Butler Citizen. This paper he, in connection with a son, continues to edit and publish. It has always maintained a leading position and influence in the Republican party of the county. Mr. NEGLEY has held no office since he became editor of the Citizen except that of Assistant Assessor for his county in the Internal Revenue Department, which position he filled for a period of from fifteen to eighteen months in the years 1870 and 1871. Mr. NEGLEY's religious affiliation is with the English Lutherans, and he is one of the oldest members of that church in Butler.
L. Z. MITCHELL was born in Lower Hanover, Township, Dauphin County, on the 12th day of September, 1824, and came to Butler County in 1834. He was educated at Jefferson College; read law with Hon. S. GILMORE, and was admitted to the bar in 1846. He at once took rank as an eloquent advocate, and has, ever since his admission, pursued his profession with great industry and success. He is yet in the midst of a lucrative practice.
He is a Democrat in politics. He was elected Clerk of the Courts in 1848. He ran for Congress in 1868, but went down with his party. He made the canvass an aggressive one, however, and allowed little rest to his opponent. He was a member of the Constitutional Convention of 1873.
Possessing a rare use of language, he is at home either before a popular assembly or before a jury. He is in the possession of a lucrative practice. He married a sister of one of our present Judges (BREDIN).
Franklin MECHLING was admitted to the Butler bar in May, 1847. He soon after located at Kittanning, Armstrong County, where he still remains. He has been District Attorney and member of the Legislature. He is still engaged in the practice of his profession.
David C. CUNNINGHAM (brother to John, who ceded the site for the town of Butler) was at one time a member of the bar. He was a native of Conestoga, on the Susquehanna. He was a man of good culture.
Arcus MCDERMOTT was born in Butler County. Had an academic education; read law with Hon. C. C. SULLIVAN, and was admitted to practice on the 1st day of October, 1850. He soon located at Mercer, Penn., where he soon took a front rank in his profession. He formed a partnership with S. H. MILLER, Esq. (presently member of Congress from that district). He was finally elected Judge of the district, in 1874, which position he still occupies, his present term expiring in 1885.
Archibald BLAKELEY was born on the 16th day of July, 1827, near Glade Run, Butler Co., Penn., near its junction with Connoquenessing, on the farm now occupied by Andrew BLAKELEY, in Forward Township. After securing all the assistance he could in the common schools of his neighborhood, young BLAKELEY pushed his way to Virginia and completed his literary courses in MARSHALL Academy, an institution then presided over by the Rev. William MCKENNAN, a brother of T. M. T. MCKENNAN and an uncle of Hon. William MCKENNAN, the present United States Circuit Judge. To enable him to finish his education at this institution, he occasionally taught school, having charge of the children of the more wealthy families of the F. F. V.'s according to the old order of things. Returning to Pennsylvania, he entered as a law student in the office of Hon. George W. SMITH, in Butler, and was admitted to the bar in the fall of 1852 (9th Nov.) During this period, he taught school near Brownsdale as a means of assisting him in his expenses.
In October, 1853, he was elected District Attorney for Butler County, which offices he filled with acceptability. He was elected on the Whig ticket, being the last of the line of Whig candidates, politics taking a radical change soon after.
In company with Thomas ROBINSON, Esq., Mr. BLAKELEY was sent as a delegate to the first Republican Convention held in this State, being held in Masonic Hall, in the city of Pittsburgh, on the 22d of February, 1855, and took part in the deliberations of that body. He was afterward presented as a candidate for State Senator for the Senatorial district composed of the counties of Beaver and Butler, but gave way in the conference to Hon. De Lormia IMBRIE, of Beaver. Mr. BLAKELEY followed up his profession with great diligence and fair success until the breaking-out of the war in 1861, when he took an active part in recruiting the Seventy-eighth Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteers, and was mustered into the service of the United States on the 17th of September of the same year, as Lieutenant Colonel, at once accompanying his regiment to Kentucky. He remained with it until after the battle of Shiloh, when he was appointed by Gen. BUELL President of General Court Martial and Military Commission, over which he presided at their respective sittings at Nashville, Tenn., during the summer of 1862. The questions that came before [p. 62] this body were of great interest, but would be too tedious for presentation here. During the progress of many of the discussions had before this tribunal, frequent consultations were had between Col. BLAKELEY and A. JOHNSTON, then Military Governor of the State, who occupied rooms in the same building with this military court, the object being to ascertain what method of treatment, consistent with law, would best serve the Union Cause. The Colonel was as brave in the field as he was wise in council. Wherever placed, he acquitted himself with credit to himself and benefit to his country.
On leaving the service in 1864, on account of sickness in his family, Col. BLAKELEY commenced the practice of the law in Franklin, Penn., where he remained until 1868, when he removed to Pittsburgh.
While in Franklin, Col. BLAKELEY was concerned for Hon. C. V. CULVER, a banker, who was also at that time a Member of Congress. He failed financially, his liabilities amounting to several millions. He was charged with embezzlement and conspiracy to embezzle. He was arrested on a capias in a civil action for the alleged conversion of $86,000 of Government bonds, on oath of Col. J. S. MYERS. He gave bail on a criminal charge, and went to jail on the capias.
When Congress met, Col. BLAKELEY presented his application for discharge from imprisonment to Judge TRUNKEY, then Common Pleas Judge of Venango County. A Habeas Corpus was issued. His imprisonment was alleged to be a breach of his privileges as a Member of Congress. The application for discharge was finally refused, whereupon application was made to Congress. Col. BLAKELEY made the arguments in the case before the Judiciary Committee, and, on their report, Congress resolved that his imprisonment was a breach of the privileges of the House, and the Sergeant-at-Arms was sent to Franklin to conduct the absent member to Washington. Col. BLAKELEY received great credit for his successful management of the case. It was alleged that there was no precedent in this country by which the case could be governed, and therefore recourse was naturally had to English Parliamentary law, which was found, on examination, to sustain the application for release.
From the time he opened up his law office in Pittsburgh, in 1868, Col. BLAKELEY has devoted himself most assiduously to the practice of his profession. He still, however, keeps up his relations to the organization of the Army of the Cumberland. On its meeting at Pittsburgh, he delivered the address of welcome, and is at this writing chosen to deliver the annual address before the same organization at Milwaukee this fall. He also devotes a portion of his time to the Republican cause during the progress of important campaigns.
James BREDIN, son of John and Nancy BREDIN, was born in Butler on the 9th of May, 1831. He was educated in the common schools and the academy of his native town, and one session at Washington college, in the spring and summer of 1846. He was appointed a Midshipman in the navy in July, 1846; attended the Naval School at Annapolis in the fall of that year. He afterward served in the United States ship of the line Ohio, and sloop of war Warren, during the Mexican war, on the Mexican coast, east and west, and was present at the taking of Luspan, and at the bombardment of Vera Cruz. He relinquished a seafaring life, resigning in January, 1850. He returned home via the Isthmus, and began the study of the law with his father, Judge John BREDIN, who died in May, 1851. He finished his legal studies with his brother-in-law, E. MCJUNKIN (now Judge MCJUNKIN), and was admitted to the bar in 1853. In 1854, with others, he opened a bank in Butler, under the name of CAMPBELL, BREDIN & Co., and opened a branch of said bank in New Castle in the fall of the same year. In 1855, he resumed the practice of the law. During the years 1857 and 1858, he had a partnership with E. MCJUNKIN, under the firm name of MCJUNKIN & BREDIN.
In the fall of 1871, he removed to Allegheny City, and pursued the practice of his profession in the several courts of that county.
In 1874, while still remaining in Allegheny County, he was nominated as one of the candidates for Judge in the Seventeenth Judicial District, composed of the counties of Butler and Lawrence, and was elected. The commission of President Judge fell to E. MCJUNKIN by lot. He removed to Butler in January, 1875, and assumed the duties of the office to which he had been called by his fellow-citizens. He was qualified in the first Monday of January. His term runs to the first Monday of January, 1885. As a citizen and as a Judge he has the confidence of all who know him, and who admire a just Judge. He is strong in his convictions, but those convictions are the result of an honest examination of the questions involved. His integrity has never been questioned.
He was married to Miss Matilda SPEAR, daughter of William SPEAR, Esq., formerly a well-known and much esteemed citizen of the county, now deceased.
Samuel FALLZ was born in Brady Township. He read law with Hon. C. C. SULLIVAN, and was admitted to the bar October 1, 1852. He afterward betook himself to the iron business, under the advice of his father-in-law, William STEWART, Esq., and was quite successful. He afterward became a banker in New Castle, Penn. He was accidentally killed a few years ago, by his horse taking affright, throwing him vio- [p. 63] lently out of the carriage and fracturing his skull. His sons succeed him in business.
James T. LANE was born at Williamsburg, then in Huntingdon County (now Blair), Penn., on the 16th day of March, 1830. About two years afterward, his father removed his family to Butler, where he opened a store, with Samuel M. LANE as partner. In 1835, he removed to Karns' Salt Works, about three and a half miles below Freeport, on the Pennsylvania Canal (now railroad). With the exception of a year at Tarentum, the [sic] remained there until 1842, when he removed to Freeport. During this time, young LANE was kept at school, with the exception of about one year and a half in his father's store at Freeport. In the fall of 1845, he was sent to the Lewisburg University, in Union County, Penn., where he remained five years. After completing his literary studies, he entered himself as a law student in the office of PURVIANCE & SULLIVAN, at Butler, where he followed his studies for three years, with John M. THOMPSON as a fellow-student. He was admitted to the bar in October, 1853, as was William G. THOMPSON and John M. GILCHRIST.
In February, 1854, Mr. LANE located in Davenport, Iowa, and commenced the practice of his profession. In 1858, he was elected City Attorney, which position he held until 1862, when he was elected to the Legislature. While in that body, he served as Chairman of the Committee on Military Affairs--at that time the most important committee in the body. He was also Chairman of the Republican State Committee for 1862-63. He was Presidential Elector in 1868, and again in 1872, and voted twice in the Electoral college for Gen. GRANT for President. In 1873, he was appointed United States District Attorney for Iowa, and held the office until the spring of 1882. Mr. LANE never accepted position except in the line of his profession. He enjoys a lucrative practice.
John M. THOMPSON was born in Centre, now Brady, Township, Butler County, on the 4th day of January, A. D. 1830. He is the son of Mr. William N. THOMPSON, who was a member of a very large connection of the same name, most of whose descendants still live in the same community. His mother was a daughter of John MCCANDLESS. The subject of this sketch is one of a family of three sons--Solomon, still residing on the old homestead; William G., is a citizen of Iowa, and at present represents his district (the Fifth) in Congress. John M. received the primary instruction usually acquired at the public schools of the State. He received an academic course at the Witherspoon Institute, an institution located at Butler, from whose walls many good minds have gone forth to make their mark in the history of the various professions and callings to which they respectively aspired. Mr. THOMPSON became a law student in 1852, in the office of Hon. S. A. PURVIANCE, then a leading member of the Butler bar. He was admitted to the practice of his profession in 1854, and soon took rank as an able advocate. He entered into a partnership with his former preceptor, and soon had charge of the office business, Mr. PURVIANCE soon after being elected to Congress, THOMPSON had the entire control of a large practice. He early took a front rank in his profession. It was soon demonstrated that nature had in his case been quite lavish of her gifts. His quick perceptions, his close legal discrimination and his forensic eloquence soon asserted their power. In 1858, Mr. THOMPSON was nominated as a candidate for the Legislature by the Republicans, and, notwithstanding it was an off year, and there was a strong movement made against the school system by a formidable combination, which had a ticket of its own in the field, he was elected by a large majority. He was renominated the following year, and re-elected. He was a leading member of the body of which he was a member during his whole term of service. On his return the second session, his name was used by some of his friends as a candidate for the Speakership. The contest finally settled down, in caucus, between Col. A. K. MCLURE and W. C. LAWRENCE, Esq. The latter gentleman was successful. But, being prevented by sickness from being present during a greater part of the session, Mr. THOMPSON was the presiding officer of the body in the capacity of Speaker pro tem. On his return from the Legislature, he renewed his application to his profession.
In 1862, he became Colonel of the One Hundred and Thirty-fourth Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteers. He took part in the battle of Fredericksburg, under BURNSIDE. In the same year, he was the choice of the Republicans of his county for Congress, and he was also two years afterward, but Hon. Thomas WILLIAMS, of Allegheny County, was nominated in the district. In 1874, he was elected to Congress at a special election, to fill the vacancy that had been caused by the resignation of Hon. E. MCJUNKIN, who had been elected Judge, to fill the unexpired term of the latter. In 1876, he was re-elected, and served the full term. He at once took rank as an able debater. He was again presented for renomination by his county, but failed of receiving a district nomination, the rotation custom of the district obtaining. He is still in the enjoyment of a lucrative practice, and doubtless has still higher achievements of a professional and public character before him. He is married; has a wife living, and two sons. O. D. THOMP- [p. 64] SON, William C. THOMPSON, and one daughter, Anna Eloree, all reside in the State.
Eugene FERRERO read law in Col. THOMPSON's office; he afterward was elected District Attorney by the Republicans; he was afterward elected County Superintendent of Common Schools, which office he filled three years. He then practiced law in Venango County, where he acquired some means. He was a gentleman of fine scholarly attainments.
His first wife was a sister to Judge GILMORE (daughter of Hon. J. GILMORE). After remaining a widower for several years, he married the oldest daughter of Gen. PURVIANCE. He has one child, a daughter, by his first marriage, and several children by his present wife.
Thomas ROBINSON* son of Thomas ROBINSON, Sr., was born in Armagh County, Ireland, on the 4th day of July, 1825. He came to the United States with his parents in the spring of 1832. The family located in Middlesex Township (now Penn), Butler County, in the spring of 1836. He received a limited common school and academic education. He was married on the 20th of June, 1854, to Miss Ann E. DE WOLF, daughter of Dr. Eli DE WOLF, of Centerville, and was admitted to the bar in 1855. He was elected to the Legislature in 1860, and was the nominee of his party for the State Senate in 1876, but did not receive the district nomination.
*This sketch is from the pen of Gen. John N. PURVIANCE.
Mr. ROBINSON for many years and until recently was editor and proprietor of the Butler Eagle and only ceased his duties as such about two years ago, when he passed his interest in the establishment to his son, Eli D. ROBINSON, after having established it on a basis of confidence with the people generally as a true and faithful exponent of Republican principles. He had previously owned and edited the Butler Citizen.
A leading trait of Mr. ROBINSON's character is strong and unswerving fidelity to his friends, adhering to them in adversity as well as prosperity.
Politically, he has always been an ardent Republican, and as a journalist steadily sustained with zeal and ability the principles of the party and its organization. During the late civil war, his paper supported the cause of the Union with marked ability, and always had words of cheer and comfort for the soldier in the field. As a delegate to the last National Convention, he voted for James G. BLAIN, in obedience to what he believed to be the sentiments of his constituents as well as in harmony with his own opinion, and when that distinguished statesman could not be nominated, he voted for the late lamented GARFIELD.
As an attorney, Mr. ROBINSON's career has not been as extensive as it would otherwise have been, owing to the duties devolving upon him as editor, but in the several courts of the county, as well as in the Supreme Court, it has been characterized by more than ordinary success. With zeal and fidelity he represented the interests of his clients. At present he holds the position of County Solicitor.
William G. THOMPSON was born in Centre Township (now Brady), Butler Co., Penn. He is a brother to Col. John M. THOMPSON, of this county. He received a common school and academic course; first at the public schools of his neighborhood, the latter at the Witherspoon Institute. He read law with William TOMBLIN, Esq., and was admitted to the bar in 1854. He soon after became a member of the bar of Linn County, Iowa, where he has ever since resided.
He served as Major of an Iowa regiment during the war, and on his return home renewed his relations to the profession of his choice. Like his brother, Col. THOMPSON, nature had done well for him in the way of a liberal supply of mental vigor. He has been for years one of the recognized leaders of his profession in the State. He is a Republican in politics, and was elected to represent his district (the Fifth) in the Forty-seventh Congress, where he has made an industrious, able member. He is re-elected, and will therefore serve in the Forty-eighth Congress. The friends of his early life are pleased to see him sustain their early hopes in his success in life. He is an honor to his native county and State.
Walter L. GRAHAM, born in Butler, Penn., October 25, 1831, was a student of the Butler Academy, Witherspoon Institute and Jefferson college, graduating from the latter institution in 1854. After reading law with Samuel PURVIANCE and Charles SULLIVAN, he was admitted to the Butler County bar in the autumn of 1855. In 1860, he attended as a delegate the National Convention held at Chicago, Ill., which nominated Abraham LINCOLN for the first time. Although Butler has been his home for the major portion of his life, he has resided in the State of California and other places.
William BLAKELEY was born of Scotch-Irish parents in Cranberry Township, this county, on the 10th of March, A. D. 1833, and is the ninth son of a family of twelve children. He was only eleven years of age when his father, Lewis BLAKELEY, died in the prime of life. The cares of the family were thrust upon the mother and widow, Mrs. Jane McAlister BLAKELEY, who by her devotion, energy and perseverance maintained her family, and educated and fitted four of the younger ones for teachers, and lived to see her children all settled in life, she dying at the age of eighty-five, on June 15th, A. D. 1882. At an early age, William was trained to the duties and labors of the [p. 65] farm, and at the same time receiving his early education in the common schools of his township, his teachers being the best of that day, among whom were Cyrus E. ANDERSON. R. J. BOGGS and William MCMILLEN; from the latter he received his first lessons in Latin and higher mathematics. He continued to labor on the farm and attend school in the winter until the fall of the year 1851, when he engaged to teach his first school at the old Bassenheim Furnace, in Beaver County of this State, and afterward taught school at Hillsburg, Cranberry Township, and the WEIR School in Buffalo Township, in this county.
In 1853, he entered the Butler Academy, at which he remained during the summer sessions of 1853 and 1854. In March, 1854, he was enrolled as a student at law, and one year thereafter he went into the law office of his brother, Col. Archibald BLAKELEY, and was admitted to the bar in March, 1856. On the 27th of May, 1856, he was married to Esther Louisa BROWN, of Brownsdale, this county, daughter of Joseph and Mary MARSHALL BROWN. On the 26th of August in the same year, he commenced the practice of law at Kittanning, Penn., and was elected District Attorney on the Republican ticket in 1859, which position he filled with ability and credit until September, 1862, when he resigned his office, and entered the army as Lieutenant Colonel of the Stanton Cavalry, which was afterward mustered into the service of the United States as the Fourteenth Regiment of Cavalry. He remained in the service until after the close of the war in 1865, when he received the appointment of Brigadier General of Volunteers by brevet for gallant and meritorious services during the war. He participated in the battles of Antietam, Gettysburg, and the campaigns of Kelly, Averill, Hunter, Sigel and Sheridan, of the Shenendoah Valley.
In the fall of 1865, he entered into a law partnership with his brother, Col. Archibald BLAKELEY, at Franklin, Venango Co., Penn., and in March, 1868, he removed to Pittsburgh, Penn., where he has ever since pursued his profession, ranking creditably as a member of the bar of that county.
His early religious training was in the Covenanter (new school) and United Presbyterian Churches, under the Rev. Thomas C. GUTHRIE, D. D., and Rev. Isaiah NIBLOCK, D. D. He was present at the birth of the Republican party at Lafayette Hall, in the city of Pittsburgh, in 1855, and has always taken an active part in the politics of the county.
Thomas M. MARSHALL, of the Pittsburgh bar, was raised from his childhood to mature years in Butler County, where his parents lived and died. He is one of the ablest criminal lawyers in the State. The people of Butler County regard him as belonging to them.
Adam M. BROWN was born and raised in Butler County, but he read law in Pittsburgh with his uncle, Thomas M. MARSHALL; he has reached eminence in his profession, and is in the enjoyment of a lucrative practice. He was one of the leading candidates for the Republican nomination for Supreme Judge in the State Convention of 1882.
William MCNAIR, son of Robert MCNAIR, was a native of Butler County, and a nephew of Hon. William BEATTY. He was admitted to practice law on the 24th of March, 1856. He is now practicing in Venango County, Penn., residing in Oil City.
J. W. KIRKER was born in Connoquenessing (now Lancaster) Township, on the 20th of September, 1832. He spent his youthful days on his father's farm, assisting his parents and embracing spare time in attending the district school, both public and select. He finally secured a classical and scientific education in Allegheny college, at Meadville, Penn. He entered as a student of law the office of SMITH & MITCHELL, at Butler, Penn., in June, 1854, and was admitted to the Butler bar in September, 1856. While pursuing the study of the law, Mr. KIRKER taught school and followed surveying occasionally as a means of support.
He was elected District Attorney for Butler County in the fall of 1859, and filled that office acceptably for three years. He was commissioned Provost Marshal of the Twenty-third District of Pennsylvania, by President LINCOLN, with the rank of Captain of Cavalry, on the 18th of April, 1863, and served as such until the 1st of October, 1865, when he was mustered out of service by reason of the close of the war. He was at once admitted to the Pittsburgh bar, where he has practiced successfully ever since. Before leaving Butler, he was married to a Miss BREDIN, a cousin of Judge BREDIN. Mr. KIRKER stands well in the profession, and has a good practice.
Robert M. MCLUSE is a native of Butler County. He read law with L. Z. MITCHELL, Esq., and was admitted to the bar in 1856. He is a gentleman of good culture and considerable native talent.
James POTTS, a native of Butler, was admitted to practice law on the 11th of June, 1850. He afterward became a Judge in Cambria County.
John H. MITCHELL was born on the 22d day of June, A. D. 1835, near the town of Bentleyville, on Pigeon Creek, in Washington County, Penn. When about two years old, his father and mother moved to Butler County, and settled on a farm about two miles northeast of Butler in the Millinger neighborhood. They lived here about two years, when they moved to the farm in the Albert neighborhood, about seven miles northwest of Butler, where they remained until within a few years. Here the subject of this article [p. 66] was raised to maturity. He had attended school for many years at what was known as the old "Albert Schoolhouse," a log structure, with benches made of split saplings, split side up, with "legs" fastened by auger holes. Here the "hero of our tale" was taught by his father for quite a number of seasons, his father being the teacher employed in his own district school. Subsequently, this studious youth was taught by William G. THOMPSON, formerly of this county, now a Member of Congress from Iowa. Later, he attended a high school in West Sunbury, and still later the Butler Academy, then under the control of Rev. William WHITE, and for some years afterward was a student of the Witherspoon Institute in Butler. On concluding his literary studies, he commenced the study of the law with PURVIANCE & THOMPSON (both members of the firm have in turn been members of Congress). He was admitted to the bar on the 22d day of March, A. D. 1858, and immediately formed a partnership with Hon. John M. THOMPSON, Mr. PURVIANCE having removed to Pittsburgh. He continued to practice his profession at the Butler bar with marked success until the spring of 1860. The name of Mr. MITCHELL's father was John HIPPLE. His mother's maiden name was Jemima MITCHELL. While yet a law student, he married a neighbor's daughter, with whom he lived several years; three children were the fruits of this union. The marriage proved to be a very unhappy one, and after several years of unsuccessful effort, he abandoned all hope of reaching a state of domestic happiness, and quietly took his leave of home and friends, taking with him his oldest child, a daughter. On reaching Pittsburgh, he wrote a letter to his partner, Col. THOMPSON, announcing his purpose, authorizing him to settle up all their partnership accounts, and promising to let him hear from him later. His wife finally got a divorce on the grounds of desertion. To this, of course, he had no objection. For the purpose of avoiding any further trouble of a domestic nature, on leaving home he determined to change his name. In doing this, however, he only transposed the one he had. The name of his youth was John MITCHELL HIPPLE; this he simply transposed into John HIPPLE MITCHELL, his signature being John H. MITCHELL.
Having "drawn anchor," John HIPPLE MITCHELL turns his face toward the setting sun, and in a short time turns up in California. Here he remained but a few weeks. His next objective point was Oregon, where he soon arrived, reaching Portland in that State on the 4th of July of the same year (1860). Here he at once opened a law office, having been first admitted to the bar after an examination in open court. He soon took a prominent place in his profession, and was in March, 1861, elected attorney for the city of Portland by the Mayor and Common Council of that city, which position he held until after his election to the State Senate in June, 1862, when he resigned it. He was elected to the Senate for a term of four years. He had received the unanimous nomination of his party (Republican), and was elected by a large majority. He took his seat in the State Senate in September, 1862, and served his full term of four years. He was Chairman of the Judiciary Committee during his whole term. At the opening of the session of 1864, he was elected Lieutenant Governor of the State and presiding officer of the Senate. This position he held until the end of his term in 1866. On the meeting of the Republican State Convention of Oregon in the spring of 1866, Senator MITCHELL was urged by the friends and leaders of the party to permit the use of his name either for the office of Congressman or for Justice of the Supreme Court. He was urged to accept either of these positions, but he declined both; but in the fall of the same year he permitted his friends to use his name as a candidate for the United States Senator. His competitor in his own party was Hon. A. C. GIBBS, then Governor of the State, and had been during the war. One Republican State Senator declined for a time to go into caucus, and the vote in caucus for three several evenings was a tie between the two candidates. At the next meeting of the caucus, the State Senator who had remained out heretofore attended the caucus and cast his vote for Gov. GIBBS, giving him a majority of one. Strange to say, this same State Senator on the next day went into the Senate, and declined to give his vote to the nominee of the caucus made the nominee by his vote, and continued vigorously to oppose his election. The vote between the two parties was so close that the withholding of his vote prevented an election, and the Republicans finally settled on Hon. H. W. CORBETT, and elected him.
In the same year (1866), he was elected Professor of Medical Jurisprudence for the Willamette University at Salem, Oregon, by the faculty, which position he filled four years, delivering some fifty lectures on that subject at each session. In 1869, he was admitted to practice in the Supreme Court of the United States. In the fall of 1872, Mr. MITCHELL was again a candidate for the United States Senate, and received the party nomination in caucus by a vote of three to one, and was on the 28th of September elected, receiving all the Republican votes in the Legislature. He took his seat in the Senate on the 4th of March, 1873, and remained a member of that body until the 4th of March, 1879. While a member of the Senate, he was always found serving most industriously on some of the most important committees, serving on the committee of commerce, and during his [p. 67] whole term serving on the committees of privileges and elections, on railroads, on transportation routes to the seaboard and on claims. For two years, he was Chairman of the Committee on Transportation Routes to the Seaboard, and the last two years of his service was also Chairman of the Committee on Railroads. During the continuance of the Presidential controversy of 1877, resulting in the adoption of the electoral commission, he was acting chairman of the Committee on Privileges and Elections, composed as it then was of fifteen Senators--nine Republicans and six Democrats. This resulted from the fact that Senator MORTON, of Indiana, who was its Chairman, was elected a member of the Electoral Commission. It was Mr. MITCHELL that wrote the report of the committee on the electoral vote of Oregon; he also presented the Republican side of the Oregon controversy before the Electoral Commission, having been chosen manager of that case by the Republicans of the Senate, the Democratic side being presented by his colleague in the Senate, Hon. James K. KELLY. It has already appeared that Mr. MITCHELL has had a remarkably successful career politically for one of his years; his success as a lawyer has been equally satisfactory.
In 1862, Mr. MITCHELL associated with him as a law partner Joseph M. DOLPH, a young man from Havana, N. Y., who remained with him for seven years, until after his (MITCHELL's) election to the United States Senate. At that time their practice was worth $30,000 a year, and had been for some years previous. Since his retirement from the Senate, he has been actively engaged in the practice of his profession, still having his office in Portland, Oregon, with Ralph M. DEMENT as partner. He is yet in his early prime, with a large legal practice and with bright prospects before him.
Charles MCCANDLESS was born in Center Township, Butler County, on the 28th day of November, 1834; he was the son of Hon. John MCCANDLESS, at one time an Associate Judge in our courts, and in life and at death a highly esteemed citizen. The elder MCCANDLESS was married to a Miss SULLIVAN, a sister of Hon. C. C. SULLIVAN, so long a leading light of the Butler bar. The subject of this notice remained at home with his parents on the farm until he reached maturity, going to school in the winter and farming in the summer. He then manifested a disposition to acquire more knowledge than could be acquired at his county home; he became a student of the Witherspoon Institute, and finally read law with his uncle, Hon. C. C. SULLIVAN, in Butler, and was admitted to the bar on the 14th day of June, 1858. He was an industrious student; he had for his room and school mate during a part of the time devoted to his academic studies, John M. HIPPLE (afterward Hon. John H. MITCHELL). He brought to his professional pursuits the same industry that had thus far marked his life.
In 1862, he was nominated by the Republicans of his county for State Senator; he received the district nomination and was elected. He served in that body three years with great acceptability, never, however, relinquishing his hold on his professional duties.
At the termination of his Senatorial career, he continued his profession with even greater energy than ever, soon gaining that recognition that talent and industry are sure to command.
He soon after gained prominence as a financier, and finally became President of the First National Bank of Butler, an institution that had quite a successful career for some time, though afterward, through severe losses, it was compelled to close.
In 1874, he received the appointment of President Judge of the several courts of the county, by Gov. HARTRANFT. He afterward received the Republican nomination in the district, composed of the counties of Butler and Lawrence, having for his Associate on the ticket Hon. L. L. MCGUFFIN, of Lawrence County. A bolt took place in the Republican Convention of Butler County, and a combination was effected between the friends of E. MCJUNKIN, Esq., and James BREDIN, Esq., the former one of the competitors with MCCANDLESS for the Republican nomination, and the other one of the Democratic nominees. The combination was successful. MCJUNKIN and BREDIN were both elected, distancing their opponents. They were both citizens of Butler, and brothers-in-law.
Judge MCCANDLESS continued to practice law in the district until the spring of 1877, when he was appointed by President HAYES Chief Justice of New Mexico. This position he finally resigned to resume the practice of his profession in his native county, where he still remains in the enjoyment of a lucrative practice, one of the leaders of the bar.
S. P. IRVIN was born in Adams Township, Butler County; he acquired such an education as home institutions afforded, and followed school teaching for a number of years; he read law, and was admitted on the 14th of January, 1858.
Edwin LYON was born in Middlesex Township, Butler County, Penn.; he was the son of T. H. LYON, Esq., and one of the most respected and useful members of society in his neighborhood and beyond.
The subject of this notice was a gifted young man, the hope of his parents. He was exceedingly fond of books from a child, and had a mind well stored with the gems of literature. He read law with Col. THOMPSON. He enlisted, in 1862, in the One Hundred and Thirty-fourth Pennsylvania Volunteers, and became Captain. He was seriously (we might [p. 68] say fatally) wounded at the battle of Fredericksburg, a musket ball passing through his lung. After months of prostration, he recuperated sufficiently to return home; he partially recovered from the injury, but never wholly so. He renewed his relations with literature, and became quite a humorous writer. Hoping to improve his health, he accepted a Consulship to a Mexican city, where he remained for a time, only to return home to die. He was a gifted, generous-hearted fellow, a favorite with all who know him. He was married to Miss Elvira BREDIN.
Isaac ASH was born in Forward Township, Butler County, Penn.; is the son of Isaac ASH, Sr., recently deceased. He acquired an academic education and read law in the office of Col. THOMPSON. He was admitted to the bar January 5, 1859, and practiced for some time in Butler. He afterward located in Oil City, Venango County, where he still resides. He never sought political position, preferring to be a lawyer, pure and simple. He has followed his profession with success. He married a Miss MARTIN, of Allentown, a daughter of Dr. MARTIN.
Amasa BREWSTER was born in Butler County; he read law and was admitted on the 5th day of January, 1859; he went West.
A. J. REBSTOCK followed school teaching for some time; he afterward read law, and was admitted to the practice of the law on the 24th of December, 1860.
John Q. SULLIVAN was born April 2, A. D. 1839 at Prospect, Butler Co., Penn. He was educated at Jefferson college, read law and was admitted to the bar June 10, 1861; admitted afterward to practice Supreme Court of Pennsylvania. He is married to a daughter of Judge MCCLURE, of Pittsburgh, now dead. He is still actively engaged in the practice of his profession.
Lewis K. PURVIANCE, read law with his uncle. Gen. PURVIANCE was admitted on the 6th day of September, 1875; is now in Bradford, McKean County.
Frank FIELDING was a son of Zachariah FIELDING, an early citizen of Slippery-rock Township; he read law in Butler, and was admitted to the bar on the 28th of September, 1863; he has since practiced law in Clearfield, Penn., a portion of the time in the office of Hon. William A. WALLACE, United States Senator from Pennsylvania. He was a gentleman of good attainments and excellent character.
Hugh C. GRAHAM was born in what is now Concord Township, Butler County, Penn., June 28, 1832; he was the fifth child of a family of eleven children, who all grew to maturity, nine of whom are still living. His brothers, William L. and David H., are dead, the latter from the effects of fever contracted while in the war of 1861. His father's name was Edward GRAHAM, Sr., a well-to-do farmer. The subject of this notice remained with his father, assisting him with his farm work, until he was about twenty years of age; during this time, he had the advantages of such schooling as the country district school would allow, which was very limited. When he determined to secure a more liberal education, he commenced attending the Witherspoon Institute, in Butler, Penn. He acquired what might be called an academic education.
In the spring of 1859, he was entered as a student of law in the office of Hon. John M. THOMPSON, and was admitted to the bar on the 25th day of March, 1861. In December of the same year, he formed a partnership with Hon. Charles MCCANDLESS.
In response to one of the calls of the President for volunteers, Mr. GRAHAM, in August 1862, enlisted in Company G, One Hundred and Thirty-seventh Regiment, Pennsylvania Volunteers, and was mustered out with his regiment in June, 1863.
On the 11th of October, 1864, H. C. GRAHAM took unto himself a wife--Miss Augusta CARNAHAN, third daughter of Robert CARNAHAN, Esq., late of Butler, Penn., deceased. Mr. GRAHAM removed to Oil City, Venango County, Penn., where he has been eminently successful in his chosen profession.
J. David MCJUNKIN was born in Centre Township, Butler County, Penn., September 3, 1839, and, until about sixteen years of age, performed the duties usually imposed upon a farmer's son during the busy seasons, and attended the public schools in winter. He then became a student of the Butler Academy and Witherspoon Institute for two years, and of the West Sunbury Academy for two additional years. Reading law with his uncle, Judge Ebenezer MCJUNKIN, he was admitted to the bar of Butler County June 8, 1863. The following year, he became a resident of Franklin, Venango Co., Penn., where he continued until the spring of 1873, when the extensive operations in the Butler County petroleum fields, the consequent great increase of law cases and demand for legal talent, induced him to return to Butler, his present place of residence. In the fall of 1869, he was elected by the Republicans to represent Venango County in the State Legislature, and was re-elected to the same office in 1870 and again in 1871, serving till 1872. He was the choice of the Butler County Republicans for Congressional candidate in 1880 and again in 1882, but failed to obtain the nomination in the district, which is composed of Butler, Crawford and Mercer Counties. Mr. MCJUNKIN enjoys a lucrative law practice, and is a grandson of David MCJUNKIN, one of the earliest settlers in Butler County. See history of Centre Township.
T. H. LYON, born in Middlesex Township, Butler County, Penn., July 23, 1846, was a student of the [p. 69] Witherspoon Institute, Butler, Penn., and Elder Ridge Academy, in Indiana County, of the same State. He commenced the study of law with Col. John M. THOMPSON, of Butler, and completed the same with William G. THOMPSON (brother of John M.), of Linn County, Iowa, where he was admitted to the bar in 1868. Returning eastward, he was admitted as a member of the Butler County bar, July, 1882.
George W. FLEEGER was born in Clay Township, Butler County. He received a common-school education in the schools of the township, and an academic course at the high school at West Sunbury; he commenced life as a school teacher; he early developed rare gifts as a public speaker. At the outbreak of the war, he abandoned his schoolroom and joined Company D, of the Eleventh Pennsylvania Regiment of Volunteers; he became First Lieutenant of the company, and, on the resignation of Capt. LANDEN, he became Captain. From the time his regiment was mustered into the service, in 1861, until the end of that sanguinary conflict, the history of the Army of the Potomac became his history. He shared its marches, its hardships, its disasters and its victories. When "smiling peace" once more blessed the land, he returned to the "home of his childhood" and soon thereafter became a student of law in the office of Gen. John N. PURVIANCE. On the 18th day of April, 1866, he was admitted to the practice of his profession; his industry and integrity soon gained for him hosts of friends and a good practice. In 1870, he was nominated as a candidate for the Assembly by his party (Republican), and was elected. The following year, he was again nominated and also re-elected. He was an honest, active member of the House, and at the termination of his second term he returned to his professional duties with renewed vigor. From that day to the present, he has been constantly engaged in his profession. He is quiet and unobtrusive in his manners, obliging in his disposition and faithful in the discharge of every duty. He is yet in his prime, and his friends anticipate for him a yet more prominent future.
William H. H. RIDDLE was born in Butler County in 1840; he was educated at the public schools of the county, and acquired his academic course at Harrisville, Butler County. He studied law in the office of Col. THOMPSON, and was admitted to the bar in 1864; he was elected District Attorney in the fall of 1865, filling the office three years; he is still in the practice of his profession; he has one of the best selected libraries in the town. He also takes great delight in the cultivation of flowers.
J. B. CLARK was born in Plain Grove Township, Lawrence County, Penn.; he was educated at the Witherspoon Institute, read law with Col. THOMPSON and was admitted to the bar in September, 1864. He served in the Seventy-eighth Pennsylvania Volunteers during the war, and was elected Prothonotary of Butler County afterward; he is at present a citizen of Kansas, located in Stockton, Brooks County; he is the Superintendent of Public Instruction for said county; is permanently engaged in the work of education.
George A. BLACK was born in Butler County, Penn., acquired a liberal academic course and soon engaged in teaching school. On the opening of the war, he enlisted in Company D, Eleventh Pennsylvania Reserves, and served three years; he read law with Gen. PURVIANCE, and was admitted September 25, 1865. He was a gentleman of excellent character, and soon developed a good legal mind. After practicing his profession in his native county for some time, he removed to the City of Kansas, Mo., where he practiced several years. He finally returned to his native county, somewhat enfeebled in health; he finally died of consumption.
J. B. MECHLING, son of Maj. Jacob MECHLING, was admitted to practice law on the 18th of April, 1866, but never relinquished his former occupation as teacher; he still remains a member of that honorable profession, so useful, and yet frequently so poorly rewarded for their labor.
Watson J. YOUNG, son of Rev. Loyal YOUNG, who had served in the army during the war until wounded, and who was afterward elected Clerk of the Courts of Quarter Sessions and Orphans' Court, read law and was admitted to practice in 1867; he soon after went to Wisconsin.
Aaron M. MCCANDLESS was born in Centre Township, Butler County, son of Moore MCCANDLESS. He acquired an academic course at the Witherspoon Institute; he read law with his cousin, Hon. C. MCCANDLESS, and was admitted to the bar April 23, 1867; he removed to Lincoln, Neb., where he afterward died.
Henry D. TIMBLIN was born in Butler; was educated at the Witherspoon, and studied law with L. Z. MITCHELL, Esq., and was admitted on the 23d of April, 1867; he practiced his profession for some time at Marion, Linn Co., Iowa, and afterward at Kansas City, Mo. He died of consumption in 1877.
John PURVIANCE, son of Gen. John N. PURVIANCE, is a graduate of Jefferson college; he read law with his father, and was admitted to the bar on the 27th of September, 1868.
John M. GREER was born in Jefferson Township (then Buffalo), Butler County, on the 3d of August, 1844; his grandfather, Matthew, emigrated to this country with his family from the County of Tyrone, Ireland; he had four sons--Robert, Charles, Matthew [p. 70] and Thomas. The last named was the father of five sons. The subject of this notice was educated in the common schools of the township, and acquired an academic course at a select school in Zelienople; he had taught two winter terms of school before he entered the military service, in 1862, yet under eighteen years of age. He took part in the campaigns of the Army of the Potomac; had a musket ball pass through his thigh while engaged in the assault on Petersburg, in 1864; he was bearing the colors of his regiment at the time. He returned home at the close of the war, and, under the advice of friends, commenced the study of the law in the office of Judge MCCANDLESS. While studying, he taught another term of school, and even after his admission to the bar, on the 23d of September, 1867, he renewed his relations to the schoolroom as a means of livelihood. The following year, 1868, he was nominated by the Republicans and elected District Attorney of his county. He filled this office three years. In 1876, he became the candidate of his party for the office of State Senator, in the district composed of the counties of Armstrong and Butler; he was elected over his Democratic opponent (GOLDEN) by a good majority. Four years later, he was re-nominated and elected in the same district. He is yet in the middle of his second term (four years is a Senatorial term).
In the meantime, his friends presented his name to the people of the State for the office of Secretary of Internal Affairs. He received the party nomination, and ran beyond the vote of his party, but, with the rest of the State ticket, was defeated at the election--swept away by a sort of political cyclone that passed over the Middle States on the 7th of November, 1882, a storm that will long be remembered by politicians.
Mr. GREER is a man of powerful physique, of marked social qualities, and fine presence. His reputation at the bar is that of strict integrity. He possesses a good legal mind, has a good practice and has the sunny side of life before him.
In 1864, he married Miss Julia BUTLER; he has three children--Thomas, John and Robert. His history is not all written; future advances await him.
Samuel M. BOYD is a son of Mr. William S. BOYD, one of the early residents of Butler, and still an active citizen. Samuel obtained an academic course at the Witherspoon Institute. He read law with Judge MCCANDLESS, and was admitted to the Butler bar on the 12th of January, 1869. He soon after opened a law office in Lincoln, Neb., where he remained some years. He is now practicing in Pittsburgh.
Moses SULLIVAN, brother to Charles A., obtained his education at the same institutions, generally in the same classes. He read law with Hon. E. MCJUNKIN, the present President Judge of this Judicial District. He was admitted to the bar on the 14th day of June, 1869. He commenced the practice of his profession in Butler, but at present is practicing at Bradford, McKean Co., Penn.
Richard GAILY, of Ohio, read law with Judge MCJUNKIN, and was admitted to practice on the 11th of January, 1869.
William H. BLACK was the son of John BLACK, Esq. He was born in Marion Township, Butler Co., Penn. He was an excellent young man, of liberal mind and culture. On the outbreak of the rebellion, he enlisted in Company D, Eleventh Pennsylvania Reserves, and served three years in the war. On his return home, he read law, and was admitted to practice at the Butler bar on the 14th of June, 1869. He soon gained prominence and secured a lucrative practice. He married a Miss PURVIS, a daughter of Samuel PURVIS, Esq., of the bar of Butler, and gave promise of a happy and prosperous life. But consumption soon came and blasted his otherwise promising professional life.
Alexander MITCHELL was born in Butler County, Penn., November 22, 1842. He received his academic education at the Witherspoon Institute; read law with Hon. Charles MCCANDLESS; was admitted to the bar on the 14th of June, 1869. He was for several years Cashier of the First National Bank of Butler. In 1879, he formed a partnership with A. G. WILLIAMS, under the firm name of WILLIAMS & MITCHELL, which firm still exists. He is a gentleman of excellent character, and of good standing in his profession.
S. H. PIERSOL was born in Beaver County. He acquired a classical and scientific education at Mount Union college, Ohio, and read law with Hon. E. MCJUNKIN, and was admitted to the Butler bar June 14, 1869. He was also admitted to the bar of the Supreme Court.
He is a gentleman of excellent character, and is engaged in the labors of his profession. Originally a Democrat, he gravitated into the Greenback party, and became a leader in that organization.
Robert P. SCOTT was born at Fairview, Butler Co., Penn, July 11, 1842. After availing himself of such educational advantages as the public schools of his neighborhood afforded, and serving for a brief period as salesman in his father's store, he enlisted, in 1861, in Company H, Seventy-eighth Pennsylvania Infantry, serving until November, 1864. While on duty in the Quartermaster's Department of the Army of the Cumberland, he mastered various studies under the instructions of Capt. BOHAN. Upon his return to Butler County, Mr. SCOTT became a student of the Witherspoon Institute, and subsequently read law with Col. John M. THOMPSON. He was admitted to the bar Jan- [p. 71] uary 11, 1869, and January 1, 1870, formed a partnership with Col. THOMPSON, which business relation continued until August 6, 1881.
Ferdinand REIBER, a graduate of the Witherspoon Institute and Jefferson college, was born at Millerstown, Butler Co., Penn., June 19, 1847. Col. John M. THOMPSON was his preceptor also, and he was admitted to practice in the courts of the county in June, 1869, and was elected District Attorney in the fall of 1871, which office he filled during the three following years.
Theo C. CAMPBELL was born in the borough of Butler, Penn., January 27, 1848. His education was acquired at the Witherspoon Institute and Philip's (Andover, Mass.) Academy. He commenced the study of law with Col. John M. THOMPSON, but completed his course of reading with Samuel A. PURVIANCE, of Pittsburgh, where he was admitted as an attorney at law in July, 1869, and in Butler County during the autumn of 1872.
Livingston MCQUISTION, who is a grandson of John MCQUISTION, one of the first settlers in the vicinity of Butler Borough, was born in Butler, Penn., May 16, 1849. After acquiring an academic education, he read law with L. Z. MITCHELL, and was admitted as a member of the Butler County bar in the fall of 1870.
Washington D. BRANDON was born in Connoquenessing Township November 1, 1847. He graduated from the Washington and Jefferson college in 1868, and, after studying law with Hon. Ebenezer MCJUNKIN, was admitted to the bar of Butler County in March, 1871. His grandfather, John BRANDON, was a native of York County, and settled in the region now known as Forward Township, Butler Co., Penn., about the year 1798.
George R. WHITE was born in the borough of Butler, Penn., in 1848. He acquired an academic education; read law with Hon. James BREDIN, and was admitted to the bar of Butler County in March, 1871.
Charles A. SULLIVAN is the eldest son of Hon. C. C. SULLIVAN. He was born in Butler. He received a primary education in the public schools of his native town, and his classical and scientific course at West Chester, Penn.
He read law with Hon. James BREDIN (at present one of the law Judges of the several courts of the county), and was admitted to practice his profession on the 15th day of March, 1870. He at once gave promise of professional talent, and was, in 1874, made the candidate of his party (Republican) for District Attorney. Owing to internal trouble, in common with most of the ticket with which he was associated, he failed of an election, but ran a heavy vote. In the campaign of 1880, he took an active part for the Republican cause, making some fine forensic efforts in Ohio and Indiana in behalf of Gen. GARFIELD. He is still in the active pursuit of his profession.
Joseph MITCHELL, son of L. Z. MITCHELL, Esq., read law with his father, and was admitted to practice June 21, 1870. He was a young man of good qualities, but an early death closed his earthly career.
Harvy SNYDER was born in Brady Township, Butler Co., Penn. He read law and was admitted to practice in the various courts of Butler County on the 10th of June, 1870.
A. J. MCCAFFERTY was born in Fairview Township, Butler Co., August 15, 1846; was educated at Witherspoon Institute, and at State Normal School at Edinboro, and finally graduated at Allegheny college.
He studied law with Judge MCJUNKIN, and was admitted to practice in 1870. He was a young man of promise, but died of consumption in 1876.
Livingston MCQUISTION is a native of Butler. His grandfather, John MCQUISTION, was one of the first settlers of the county. He became the owner of a large tract of land immediately north of Butler. He built a stone mansion house upon one of the tracts of land which he owned, and carried on the tanning business, in addition to his business, as a farmer. His son William learned the tanning trade and carried the business on in Butler until he was quite advanced in life. He acquired his education in the common schools of his town and at the Witherspoon Institute. He taught school for several winters while he was pursuing his studies in the office of L. Z. MITCHELL, Esq. He was admitted to the bar on the 10th day of June, 1870, and was made the candidate of his party (Democratic) in 1874 for District Attorney, and was elected, serving in that capacity for three years, with marked ability. He is a good criminal lawyer, and has a good practice in the civil side of the court. In 1882, he was the candidate of this party for Congress in his own county, but, not deeming the prospects for a Democrat in the district encouraging, he surrendered his claims to another--Mr. CALDWELL, of Crawford County, who, however, was defeated in the district.
H. H. GOUCHER was born at Richmond, Ashtabula Co., Ohio, May 9, 1847. His parents were of French origin, but English birth on his father's side, and Scotch-Irish on his mother's side. His parents, while he was at an early age, removed to Mercer County, and latterly to Scrubgrass Township, Venango Co., Penn., where he was reared on his father's farm. Besides the advantages of a common-school education afforded him, he made use of the limited opportunities surrounding him for self-culture and improvement, reading such historical and literary works as were within his reach, and taking an active part in the lite- [p. 72] rary and debating societies of his neighborhood. Although an obscure farmer's boy, of limited means and remote from the influences of a high scale of social or educational training, by his habits of study and close application he early in life acquired a taste for learning which gave him an incentive to seek after the paths of knowledge, and an ambition to fit himself for a higher sphere of usefulness.
His early ambition was to become a lawyer. His parents being in comfortable but moderate circumstances, he was thrown upon his own resources for the means with which to accomplish his plans of life. With a view of acquiring sufficient means to educate himself, he learned the carpenter's trade, which he followed for six summers. In the fall of 1870, at the age of twenty-three, he entered Wilmington college, Lawrence County, with the intention of taking a collegiate course. But, concluding, after a brief time, to abandon his cherished plan, and to at once enter upon the study of the profession of his choice. He accordingly commenced the study of the law at Franklin, Penn., in the fall of 1871, under the tuition of James K. DONLY, Esq. He was admitted to the practice of the law at the bar of Venango County in January, 1873, and located in Butler in the month of May following, where he has since practiced his profession, since which time he has been admitted to the bar of the Supreme Court, the United States Courts, and the bar of some of the surrounding counties. In 1876, he was appointed United States Register in Bankruptcy, which office he still holds. He is also engaged in the active pursuit of his profession in the various courts of the county, and is recognized as a sound lawyer and successful advocate, and with a mind especially adapted to proceedings in equity.
Clarence WALKER is the son of Nathaniel WALKER, deceased. He read law with Judge MCJUNKIN, and afterward married his daughter. He was admitted in March, 1871. Mr. WALKER is a ready debater, an aggressive advocate, with a good legal mind. He is a good lawyer, and has a fair practice. M. B. MCBRIDE, the only representative of the legal fraternity in Millerstown, is a son of John MCBRIDE, one of the early settlers of Clearfield Township. He read law with Judge E. MCJUNKIN, and was admitted to the bar in 1871. Having determined to try his fortunes in the West, he attended a course of lectures in the University of Michigan, and from there went to Chicago, Ill., and established himself in practice, when the great fire if 1871 destroyed his library and effects, which caused him to change his location to Paxton, of that State, where he remained until 1873, when he returned to Butler County, and, in 1874, to Millerstown, where, as stated, he is now engaged in practice.
C. S. CHRISTIE was a student of Col. THOMPSON's and was admitted to practice on the 13th of March, 1872. He is a young gentleman of culture, of good habits, and is actively engaged in his profession.
S. S. AVERY was admitted to the practice of the law in Butler on the 14th of June, 1872. He was a young man of much promise, but soon fell a prey to that great enemy of young students, consumption, and died.
F. M. EASTMAN was born in Beaver County in 1846. He enlisted in Company H, One Hundred and Second Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteers, on the 2d day of September, 1861, and re-enlisted in 1863. He lost his left arm by reason of gunshot wound received at Cedar Creek, Va, October 19, 1864. He was discharged June 25, 1865, and taught a term of school in Butler Borough, commencing the following September. He was elected Clerk of Courts in the fall of 1866; appointed Postmaster of Butler in March, 1868.
He afterward read law with Charles MCCANDLESS, Esq., and was admitted to the bar in the spring of 1873, and was appointed official stenographer of the courts in January, 1875, which position he still fills with acceptability to all with whom his official relations bring him in contact. He married a Miss MARTIN, and has now a family of nine children, all boys.
William A. FORQUER was born in Butler County on the 9th day of March, 1845. He received his education in the schools of his native county, and, after spending the usual period in the law office of Col. THOMPSON, he was admitted to the practice of his profession on the 19th day of January, 1874. He soon gave promise of legal talent, and took an active part in the arduous labors of his profession. He was a Democrat in politics, and became a leader of his party in the county, distancing much older men than himself, who had been accustomed to command. He was the nominee of his party in 1877 for the office of District Attorney, and was elected, filling that office three years. He is still one of the recognized leaders of his party, and is in the enjoyment of a liberal practice at the bar.
Walter G. CRAWFORD, a grandson of Robert GRAHAM, Sr., was born in Allegheny County. He read law with his uncle, W. L. GRAHAM, Esq., and was admitted to the bar on the 12th of January, 1874. He is practicing law in the city of Pittsburgh.
R. L. MAXWELL was born in Butler County. He was admitted to the bar on the 12th of January, 1874. He soon gave evidence of good legal attainments, and was building up a fine practice, when disease came. He died of consumption, leaving a young widow, a daughter of Henry B. LYON, now deceased. [p. 73]
Albert C. JOHNSTON, son of William and Sarah A. JOHNSTON, was born in Adams Township, Butler Co., Penn., May 4, A. D. 1850; parents removed to Cranberry Township, same county, where they have since lived, in the latter part of the year 1852; attended the common schools until eighteen years of age, when he began to teach; afterward took a course of private instruction under the direction of Dr. Thomas C. GUTHRIE, and also for a short time attended the Witherspoon Institute, in Butler, Penn., and Westminster college, Lawrence Co., Penn. In the spring of 1872, he began the study of law in the office of Hon. Charles MCCANDLESS, of Butler, Penn., and was admitted to practice in the several courts of Butler County on the 9th day of March, A. D. 1874. On the 26th day of April, A. D. 1876, he was admitted to practice in the several courts of Allegheny County, to which place he removed in May of the same year, and has resided in the city of Allegheny ever since. He practices in the various State and United States Courts of the city. He was married, April 2, 1874, to Miss Mattie M. MCMICHAEL, of Allegheny County, Penn.
S. F. BOUSER was born February 11, 1842, in Manor Township, Armstrong Co., Penn. He received a good primary, academic and classical education, graduating at Washington and Jefferson college in the class of 1872; studied law in the office of Col. John M. THOMPSON, and was admitted to practice law in Butler and adjoining counties in the fall of 1874. He is a gentleman of fine scholarly attainments, and is in the enjoyment of a good practice.
E. I. BRUGH is a gentleman of scholarly attainments, possessing a thorough primary and collegiate education. He is the son of Prof. BRUGH, formerly of Jefferson college. Young BRUGH read law with Judge MCCANDLESS, and was admitted to practice the 28th of April, 1874.
Joseph P. TIMMORY was a law student in the office of Judge MCCANDLESS, and was admitted to practice on the 28th of April, 1874. He is an apt thinker, and full of energy.
J. T. DONELY is a native of Venango County. He was admitted to the bar on the 27th of April, 1874. Since that time, he has pursued his profession with commendable application. He is a young man of excellent character. He became a candidate of the Republican party for nomination to the Assembly, and, although competing with some of the oldest men in the party, he was one of the successful candidates.
Joseph C. VANDERLIN was a native of Butler County. He read law with L. Z. MITCHELL, and was admitted to practice on the 7th of September, 1874. He is still pursuing his profession in his native county.
L. G. LINN is a native of Butler County, a son of Dr. LINN, of West Sunbury (now of Butler). He is a graduate of Jefferson college. He read law with Judge MCCANDLESS, and was admitted to the bar on the 4th of December, 1874. He is a young man of excellent character.
A. T. BLACK, son of John, was born in Marion Township, Butler Co., Penn., December 31, 1847. He studied law with his brother, George A. BLACK, of Kansas City, Mo., and was admitted to the bar of that city and county December 22, 1872. He became a member of the Butler County bar in March, 1875.
J. B. MCJUNKIN is the son of Judge MCJUNKIN, at present President Judge of our courts. He was admitted to the bar on the 11th of March, 1875. He is pursuing his profession.
Edward MCSWEENEY read law with L. Z. MITCHELL, Esq., and was admitted on the 4th of November, 1875. He is a young man of good promise. He is at present located at Bradford, Penn.
Joseph B. BREDIN was born in the town of Butler, Penn., December 24, 1846. His studies and his occupations have been varied. Thus, after having been a student of the Butler Academy, of the Pennsylvania and Michigan State Agricultural colleges, he studied medicine with his brother, Dr. Stephen BREDIN, and attended lectures at the college of Physicians and Surgeons in New York City. He then engaged in business as a druggist in the States of Iowa and Minnesota. Finally, however, he read law with George R. WHITE, and was admitted to the Butler County bar in 1875.
Erman B. MITCHELL was admitted to practice law on the 20th of October, 1875. He went West.
John M. ROTH was admitted to the practice of the law on the 4th of November, 1875.
Andrew G. WILLIAMS was born in Richmond, Va., September 8, 1840. In 1842, his parents removed to Allegheny County, Penn., where he obtained a common-school education, and learned and worked at his trade as a nailer until 1874, when he became a resident of Butler, Penn. After reading law under the instructions of Hon. John M. GREER, he was admitted to practice November 5, 1875. During the late war, Mr. WILLIAMS was especially active. After having assisted to recruit and place in the field three companies, he joined Company E, of the Sixty-third Pennsylvania Infantry, in which he served three years as Sergeant, Second Lieutenant and Captain, meanwhile receiving four wounds.
Robert J. THOMPSON was admitted to the bar on the 18th of March, 1875.
Porter W. LOWRY was born in Butler, Penn., February 12, 1855. After graduating from the Witherspoon Institute, he read law with Judge Ebenezer MC- [p. 74] JUNKIN, and was admitted to practice in the courts of Butler County in April, 1876.
L. J. LEVIS was a citizen of the western part of the county. He read law in the office of Col. THOMPSON, and was admitted to the bar June 13, 1876. He went to Colorado.
Eugene G. MILLER read law with his brother, John M., and was admitted on the 3d of October, 1876. He is a young man of considerable promise. He has removed to McKean County.
G. D. HAMER read law with L. Z. MITCHELL, Esq., and was admitted June 6, 1876.
Newton BLACK was born in Marion Township, Butler County, Penn.; he received most of his education in the common schools. He entered the army in March, 1864, at seventeen years of age, and was wounded September 29, 1864, at Fort Harrison, Va.; was discharged May 19, 1865, by reason of wound; began studying law with MCCANDLESS & GREER, in September, 1874; was admitted to the bar on the 5th of October, 1876, since which time he has been following his profession with great diligence, and gives promise of obtaining a good rank in his profession.
B. J. POLLOCK was admitted to the bar on the 14th of June, 1877; he is at present in Colorado.
James F. Britton, a native of Butler, studied law in the office of Lewis Z. MITCHELL, and was admitted to the bar February 12, 1877. He is a young gentleman of excellent character and good legal mind; he was the nominee of his party (Democratic) in 1880, for District Attorney, and, although the party vote of the district was heavily against him, he came near an election. He is a reliable, industrious, ambitious young man, and may yet be heard from.
W. H. LUSK, son of Dr. Amos LUSK, was born at Harmony, Butler Co., Penn., May 11, 1853. His literary studies were pursued chiefly under the instructions of his father and Prof J. R. TETZEL, of the Zelienople Academy. In August, 1875, he commenced the study of law with W. D. BRANNON, and October 24, 1877, he was admitted to practice. Speaking briefly, Mr. LUSK is one of the most promising of the younger members of the Butler County bar.
L. Q. MAXWELL, son of Mr. Newton MAXWELL, read law and was admitted to practice on the 11th of March, 1878.
W. C. FINDLEY was admitted to the practice of the law on the 3d of June, 1878.
Frank S. PURVIANCE, son of Gen. PURVIANCE, read law with his father; he was admitted on the 29th of March, 1878; he is now practicing in Pittsburgh.
D. J. KYLE, son of THOMPSON KYLE, of Harrisville, read law and was admitted to practice on the 21st of December, 1878.
Kennedy MARSHALL was born in Adams Township July 21, 1834. He entered the freshmen class of Jefferson college in the fall of 1854; pursued his studies until the close of the Junior year, in 1857, when he entered the law office of MARSHALL & BROWN as a student; was admitted to the bar of Allegheny County about June 1, 1859. Was married to Anna E. TOTTEN, of Pittsburg, July 21, 1859. In October, 1860, was elected to represent Allegheny County in the Legislature; served one term. In 1872, he removed to Butler, where he has since resided.
John H. THOMPSON read law with Col. THOMPSON, and was admitted to the bar on the 20th of April, 1879.
George C. PILLOW was born near Whitestown, Connoquenessing Township, Butler Co., Penn., March 1, 1855. After acquiring an academic education, he studied law under the instructions of Hon. J. D. MCJUNKIN, and was admitted as a member of the bar of Butler County June 1, 1879.
J. W. REED was admitted to practice law on the 2d of June, 1879, and is now engaged in the active duties of his profession.
F. J. FORQUER is a young man of good character, born in Butler County, a brother to William A. He read law with his brother, and was admitted to practice October 8, 1879; he was a genial companionable young man, with a good mind; he is at present in the West.
A. M. CORNELIUS is a native of Butler County; he read law with W. D. BRANDON, Esq., and was admitted to practice October 12, 1879.
William H. COLBERT is a son of Mr. William COLBERT, of Butler, and grandson of Mr. Isaac COLBERT, one of the oldest citizens of Butler. He acquired a liberal academic education at the Witherspoon Institute, read law with Hon. J. M. GREER, and was admitted to the bar on the 25th of October, 1879; he is now engaged in his profession and bids fair to make his mark.
James M. DENNY, a son of one of the oldest and leading citizens of Winfield Township, read law in the office of Col. THOMPSON, and was admitted to the bar March 2, 1880; he was an excellent young man, of good judgment, strong will and unswerving integrity.
John K. KELLY is the son of Patrick KELLY, Esq., an early settler; he read law in the office of the MILLER Bros., and was admitted on the 2d of March, 1880.
W. M. CORNELIUS is a native of Butler County, Penn.; he read law and was admitted to practice in the several courts of the county on the 2d of March, 1880; he soon located in Nebraska, where he still resides. [p. 75]
Oliver D. THOMPSON, son of Col. John M. THOMPSON, was born in Butler, Penn., September 24, 1856; his literary studies were perfected at Andover, Mass., academy and Yale college. Graduating from this latter institution in June, 1879, he read law with his father and was admitted to practice in June, 1880.
E. R. SHANER was admitted to the bar on the 31st of May, 1880; since deceased.
Stephen CUMMINGS, son of I. J. CUMMINGS, deceased, nephew to Judge BREDIN, was admitted to practice on the 31st of May, 1880; went West.
D. H. JACK, son of Joseph JACK, was admitted to the bar June 1, 1880; is now in Bradford, Penn.
A. M. CUNNINGHAM is a native of Butler County, a son of Rev. Alexander CUNNINGHAM, deceased. He received his education at Washington and Jefferson college; was Principal of West Sunbury Academy. He studied law with the MILLER Bros., and was admitted to the bar in June, 1878, and was elected District Attorney, which office he now holds.
William C. THOMPSON, brother of Oliver D., was born in Butler, Penn., August 5, 1861; he is a graduate of the Andover Academy, Mass., and was admitted to practice June 29, 1882.
John D. MARSHALL was born in Prospect, Butler Co., Penn., June 20, 1859; educated in the public schools, serving, also, as a teacher; he studied law with W. D. BRANDON, and was admitted to practice July 10, 1882.
William H. MARTIN was born in Penn Township, Butler County, Penn., December 7, 1858. His education was acquired in the public schools and Witherspoon Institute; he read law in the office of Frank M. EASTMAN, and was admitted to the bar September 22, 1882.
Samuel B. SNYDER who was admitted on the 3d of March, 1882; read law with J. D. MCJUNKIN, Esq.
He is a good public speaker; clear and forcible in expression. Since, and even before he was a voter, he has taken an active part in politics. He was a Whig till the Republican party was formed; a hater of slavery, and a friend of temperance.
He has filled many local offices; but especially as a School Director his services are deemed almost indispensable by the people of his township. He has served in that capacity about twenty years.
He was elected County Auditor in 1853, served three years, and Associate Judge in 1881 for five years, which position he now fills with proper dignity, and with acceptability to all. He is still a farmer, and, without disparagement to any, there is no better in the county. His farm and improvements, crops and stock, will show for themselves. He was the first in the county to introduce the use of phosphates and commercial fertilizers generally. His home is a resort for progressive farmers for miles around, not only from his own county but also from Allegheny and Armstrong Counties. He is an Elder in the Presbyterian Church, and was a delegate to the Old School General Assembly, which met first in New York, in May, 1869, and afterward in Pittsburgh, Penn., in November of the same year, when and where the old and new schools were united after a separation of thirty-eight years.
Judge Weir was married to Miss E.J. Morris, in 1855, and has a family of three daughters and two sons, whose attainments in music and scholarship are quite unusual in young people of their age.
[End of Chapter 8--The Bar of Butler County: History of Butler County, Pennsylvania. With Illustrations and Biographical Sketches of some of its Prominent Men and Pioneers. Waterman, Watkins, & Co., Chicago, 1883.]
Edited 29 Mar 2000, 15:18