THE OLD COURT-HOUSE AGAIN - Part II

      Stoddard Benham COLBY, of Montpelier, is here placed because "Peck and Colby" were so long together. He was the second son of Nehemiah and Melinda (LARRABEE) COLBY, and was born at Derby, February 3, 1816, fitted for college in I. F. REDFIELD's law office, graduated at Dartmouth in 1836, read law with William UPHAM, was admitted in Orleans county, December term, 1838, and practiced in Derby till 1846, when he came to MontpeIier and was a partner of L. B. PECK for seventeen years. He was state's attorney two years. Mr. COLBY was a finished orator and always charmed with beautiful language, and his partner said of him, “give him a case with neither law nor fact on his side and he would win when another man would never dream of trying it." PECK, on the other hand, did best with a good case. Mr. COLBY was appointed register of the treasury and went to Washington, where he resided the last three or four years of his life. He married Harriet Elizabeth PROCTOR, February 11, 1840, and they had four children; two growing up, one became the wife of Col. A. B. CARY, and the other is Jabez Proctor COLBY. Mrs. COLBY perished at the burning of the Henry CLAY on the Hudson. Mr. COLBY's second wife was Ellen Cornelia HUNT, of Haverhill, N. H. They were married July 12, 1855, and had two children, Ellen and Frank. Mr. COLBY went to Haverhill for rest and died there, October 21, 1867. See Baldwin and Hemenwav for full sketches.

      Isaac Fletcher REDFIELD. -- Near PECK and COLBY should be sketched the REDFIELDs, those two great lights of the bench and bar of the state. Isaac F. never practiced in this county, but he lived here for some eleven years after he was elected Judge. He was born at Weathersfield, April 10, 1804, went to Coventry when his father moved there in 1805, graduated at Dartmouth in 1825, and was in 1827 admitted to the bar in Orleans county. He began practice at Derby, and so good a lawyer was he that he was continuously state's attorney from 1832 till elected a Judge of the Supreme Court in 1835. He moved to Montpelier, and about 1846 to the Judge CHASE house at Randolph Center, where he lived three or four years and then moved to Windsor, where he lived till he went to Boston in 1861. He was on the supreme bench twenty-five years, the last eight of which he was chief Judge. He conferred honor on the court and it was quoted in other states as the "Redfield Court." After he declined further service on the bench he went to Boston. He wrote many valuable legal works, notably treatises on the law of wills and railway law. He died in Charlestown, Mass., March 23, 1876, of pneumonia, and was buried at Windsor. He married Mary Ward SMITH, of Stanstead, September 28, 1836; and Catharine Blanchard CLARK, of St. Johnsbury, May 4, 1842. No children survive. See Baldwin, pp. 84 to 93, for full sketch by E. J. Phelps.

      Timothy Parker REDFIELD, Of Montpelier, was one of the twelve children of Dr. Peleg REDFIELD and Hannah (PARKER) REDFIELD. He was born at Coventry, November 3, 1812, and was educated at Dartmouth in the class of 1836. He read law with his brother Isaac F., was admitted to Orleans County bar in 1838, and began practice at Irasburgh, where he remained ten years. In 1848 he was elected senator from Orleans county. He moved to Montpelier after the session of 1848, practiced here till his election as a Judge of the Supreme Court in 1870, and continued on the bench till the fall of 1884, when he declined a reelection. He married Helen W. GRANNIS, of Stanstead, February 6, 1840, and she survives him. They had four children, one of whom, Alice, the wife of Andrew J. PHILLIPS, is living in Chicago. Alice has two children, a daughter, Helen, and a son, Timothy. The Judge, after many years, lies with his three other children in Green Mount cemetery, that pleasant place of rest of which Eastman wrote:

"This fairest spot of hill and glade,
Where blooms the flower and waves the tree, 
And silver streams delight the shade,
We consecrate, O Death, to thee."


      Judge REDFIELD was a wise and genial man as well as a profound lawyer and great Judge. No man at the bar had quite so much the flavor of the olden time. Some way he remembered the wise and witty things that seemed to be the common stock of the ancients of the law, and it was an education to hear him discourse of the old lawyers and the old practice. And withal he knew more things that were "going on" about him than nine-tenths of their actors; how he became possessed of his information was a mystery -- he must have absorbed knowledge from the air as he went along. He was a powerful advocate while at the bar -- logical, adroit, with play of wit and humor, he was a dangerous antagonist. And after he was on the bench his power and mastery of the art of putting things used to make the lawyer who was getting the worst of the charge wince, and make the one whose law and facts the Judge thought were right ashamed of himself to see how a real artist could do his work. When he had his mind made up he took care that his position should be understood. When he made decisions as a chancellor he would often file reasons with or as a part of the decretal order that, when the case went up, were a tower of strength in defense of the order he had made.

      It is, I find, the general sense of those who knew the two Judges REDFIELD that Isaac F. was the more studious in habit, and Timothy P. the stronger by nature. The elder brother cultivated more assiduously, but the younger plowed the deeper -- and he seemed to know intuitively legal fields and what grains and fruit they bore. I have been surprised, after examining a doubtful point and going over all the authorities attainable, to hear him, the moment the question was sprung in the court-room, start from a principle and go on till he had talked all the law there was about the thing -- give a better summary of the law offhand than one could find in the books of those who had taken their time for thought and statement. He was solidly grounded in the principles of the law -- and he remembered a vast deal about practice. He was to the younger members of the bar a spring of pure and ever flowing law; and I believe that his brethren on the bench would say that they looked to him as to the master of a stronghold of the law with all its weapons available to his hand.

      Judge REDFIELD died in Chicago in 1888, and his remains were brought to Montpelier for burial. See Baldwin and Hemenway for excellent sketches. by Judge Thompson and Mr. Fifield.

      Lewis MARSH was the son of William and Hannah (NYE) MARSH, and was born in Montpelier, July 6, 1804. He studied with J. Y. VAIL, was admitted September term, 1826, and at once went to Derby, where he practiced eight years successfully. He died in Montpelier, June 4, 1835. See Baldwin, p. 118.

      Orion W. BUTLER, of Stowe, began practice there in 1826, and retired in 1845. He was admitted to the Supreme Court in Montpelier, March term, 1830. He was first state's attorney of Lamoille county, and a state senator. See sketch in 2 Hemenway 729.

      Willis G. BUTLER, of Stowe, eldest son of above, was admitted here, September term, 1856. He went to Minnesota and practiced.

      Azel SPAULDING, of Montpelier; was admitted at the August term, 1827, practiced first in Plainfield, and moved to Montpelier in 1829. He represented the town in 1831, 1832, and 1833. About thirty years ago he moved to Kansas, where he died at Grasshopper Falls about three years ago. His remains were brought to Montpelier.

      Theron HOWARD, the first lawyer to settle in Cabot, practiced there from 1827 to 1832, but as Cabot was till 1855 in Caledonia county he did not properly belong to our bar; the same is true of Timothy P. FULLER, who was, from 1847 to 1850 in Cabot, (see his sketch in Child's Orange County Gazetleer, p. 118,) and of John MCLEAN, who was practicing in Cabot in 1850 and died there. Mr. HOWARD went to Danville, and I am told to Groton also. John W TWISS, afterwards in Chelsea, (see Child's Orange County Gazetteer,) practiced in Cabot in 1841 and 1842.

      Sidney Smith TAPLIN, a son of John and Lydia (GOVE) TAPLIN, was born in Berlin, February 5, 1803, was admitted May term, 1828, and practiced for a short time in Williston. About 1829 he went to Buffalo, N. Y., where he was successful and prominent. He went to Springfield, Ill., to see whether he would locate there, and died there July 8, 1833. He married Sarah, BAILEY, of Buffalo, who survived him and was a successful teacher in Pittsburg.

      David B. WEBSTER was admitted to the Supreme Court at June term, 1829. He practiced in Chittenden county, and in 1836 was for a little while in practice in Northfield. He married a daughter of Samuel GOSS, of Montpelier, and moved to Kalamazoo, Mich.

      Gen. Seth CUSHMAN, who was a nephew of Judge Elijah PAINE, and who went to Guildhall in 1805 and died there in 1845, aged sixty-three, came down to Montpelier on some political wheel in 1830 and opened a law office, but the wheel didn't revolve, so he went back home.

      Jonathan Peckham MILLER, of Montpelier, son of Heman MILLER, was born in Randolph, February 24, 1797. His father died when Peckham was two years old. He went to Burlington with the Randolph volunteers for Plattsburgh. He enlisted in the regular army in 1817, served two years, fitted for college, and was at Burlington in college when the college buildings burned, May 24, 1824. Afloat again, he sailed for Greece, August 21, 1824, and became a colonel in the Greek revolution. Returning, he settled in Berlin, where he lived until 1833. He was admitted May term, 1831, and practiced in Montpelier till his death, February 17, 1847. He was an earnest abolitionist, and deserves a high place in the annals of men who have sought to free the oppressed. He was a brave soldier and a noble man. He married Sarah, daughter of Jonathan ARMS, in June, 1828. Their daughter Sarah is the wife of Abijah KEITH, an honored citizen of Chicago. See Hemenway, vol. 4, p. 457 for full sketch.

      Lucas Miltiades MILLER Was a Greek orphan adopted by Col. MILLER and brought to this country by him. He was admitted to the bar, April term, 1844. He practiced here a few years, when he went to Oshkosh, Wis., where he became a prominent and successful man.

      Heman W. W. MILLER, brother of Col. J. P., was born in Randolph. He was, like Col. MILLER, of commanding presence, but, unlike his brother, of erratic character. He is given in the Registers as a practicing attorney in Calais in 1838, and in Moretown in 1839 and 1840. Whether he was ever really admitted to the bar I do not know. He was an abolitionist and was as a stump speaker a sort of "Great Kyhega of the Universe." He was once discoursing to a multitude of the martyr, LOVEJOY. Said he: "My friends, future ages will erect to him a monument that shall have for its base eternal space, and from whose top you can behold the throne of Almighty God." He was married. He died in poverty, about which he cared nothing.

      Peter Sleeman WHEELOCK was born in Montpelier, studied law with W. UPHAM, and was admitted November term, 1832. He went into business at Sutton, but was not successful. He then went to Boston and began the practice of law, and was for many years a police Judge, in the Roxbury district I think. He attained a competence and died only a few years ago.

      William Morrill PINGRY, of Waitsfield, son of William and Mary (MORILL) PINGRY, was born in Salisbury, N. H., May 28, 1806. He was admitted in Caledonia county, June term, 1832, went to Waitsfield and practiced there till 1841, when he moved to Springfield and thence to Perkinsville, where he lived an honored citizen, being state senator, and also assistant Judge as he had been in this county. He was twice married. He wrote a Genealogy of the PINGRY Family, published in 1881, which see for more full account.

      Thomas J. ORMSBEE was admitted November term, 1832.

      Sylvester C. EATON, of Plainfield, was born in Hardwick, April 2, 1808, read law with UPHAM & KEITH, and was admitted here, April term, 1833. He practiced in Plainfield till 1839, when he moved to Tunbridge, going thence to Chelsea in 1840. In 1842 he began preaching as a Universalist, and so continued in various places for very many years. He died at Northfield, January 7, 1886.

      Lewis ROYCE was admitted at the April term, 1833, and went into practice at Washington, where he remained two years, being the first lawyer to locate in that town. He moved from Washington to Michigan.

      Moses N. FLINT was admitted April term, 1833. I am told that "he was a New Hampshire boy and went up north, where he practiced and soon died."

      Jeremiah T. MARSTON, of Montpelier, was admitted April term, 1833. He practiced one year in Cabot, and in 1834 came to Montpelier and became editor of the Vermont Patriot, and so continued till 1846, the latter part of the time owning as well as editing the paper. He was town representative in 1844 and 1845. Something more than forty years ago he moved to Madison, Wis., where he has had a successful life. He married a daughter of Jacob F. Dodge, of Montpelier, and they had three children.

      Anson SARGENT was admitted April term, 1834.

      Alanson C. BURKE studied with MERRILL & SPAULDING and was admitted November term, 1834. He went into practice in Stowe and there continued until 1856, when he moved to Berlin and there remained, practicing a part of the time for about ten years, when he returned to Stowe. J. A. WING says he was living at Morrisville two years ago, and he thinks he is still living there.

      Benjamin F. CHAMBERLAIN, of Northfield, was admitted November term, 1834. He practiced in Northfield two years and went to Snowsville, in Braintree, where J. P. KIDDER read law with him. He practiced at Snowsville several years, and Gov. FARNHAM says in Childs Gazetteer of Orange County that he went to Concord and was an editor. He fell out of a tree and broke his back about 1843, but where this fatal accident occurred I am not sure.

      Edward L. MAYO studied with Judge PRENTISS and was admitted November term, 1834. He went to Woodstock, Ill., where he was successful, and where he was living not many years ago.

      Harrison B. PAGE was admitted November term, 1834. His father was a clergyman and went to Ohio. Mr. PAGE was a gentlemanly young fellow, but economical; he never practiced in this county.

      John COLBY, son of Jonathan and Esther COLBY, was born in Barre, September 19, 1807, studied with N. KINSMAN, and was admitted April term, 1835. He practiced in Washington till 1848; went to Salisbury; and in 1853 to Craftsbury; to Glover in 1855 and soon to Hartland, where he staid till 1872, when he went to Fairlee, where he died March 19, 18$75. He represented Washington, Salisbury, and Hartland. In 1837 he married Adaline M. KNEELAND, of Hartford, by whom he had four children. I have followed Baldwin's account, which see for more detail.

      Samuel A. CHANDLER practiced in Montpelier a few months -- in 1835. He was a man of some capital and went to Concord, N. H., where I am told he was in business and did not practice much.

      Stephen S. JONES was admitted November term, 1835.
 
 
 

Gazetteer Of Washington County, Vt. 1783-1899, 
Compiled and Published by Hamilton Child,
Edited By William Adams.
The Syracuse Journal Company, Printers and Binders.
Syracuse, N. Y.; April, 1889.
Pages 82-87.

Transcribed by Karima Allison, 2003