has applied himself to the law, and has never entered any political
campaigns for the sake of honors for himself. He has a law library
of about 3,000 volumes.
682 COURTS AND LAWYERS OF ILLINOIS
July 9, 1902, he married Miss Ivy L. Seger, daughter of Dr. C.
V. Seger, of Morrison. Mrs. Ramsay was educated in the public
schools at Morrison and finished in a seminary in Ohio. She is
prominent in club and social circles at Morrison. Mr. Ramsay
is affiliated with the Masonic fraternity and the Benevolent and
Protective Order of Elks, and belongs to the Morrison Club and the
Commercial Club. He has recently purchased the old home place
in Morrison, and has remodeled it as a modern and attractive resi-
dence. Mr. Ramsay is a republican in politics. His offices, which
are the finest in Morrison, are at 127 East Main Street, and his
residence at 511 Lincoln Way East. He is a member of the Com-
mercial Law League.
JUDGE CHARLES J. SEARLE is easily one of the lawyers of dis-
tinction in Western Illinois. He is now practicing as senior member
of the firm of Searle & Marshall, at Rock Island. The twenty-five
years since his admission to the bar have been filled with many of
the successes and dignities that go with high professional conduct
and exceptional legal attainments.
Born at Fort Smith, Arkansas, May 16, 1865, he is a son of the
late Colonel E. J. and Cassie R. (Pierce) Searle. Colonel Searle
was one of the pioneers of Rock Island County, served with honor
in the Civil War, and died at his home in Rock Island August 18,
1906, followed by his wife on September 12, 1908.
During his youth Judge Searle resided in various localities and
acquired his education in the public schools of Arkadelphia and
Little Rock, Arkansas, at Chicago and Pana, Illinois. He is a grad-
uate of the Pana High School. At the age of twenty he went out to
Marshall County, Kansas, and did farm work and taught school in
order to gain the funds sufficient to continue his education. While
in Campbell University at Holton, Kansas, he paid part of his ex-
penses by work as a janitor. He finally entered the law department
of the Iowa State University, and was graduated LL. B. with the
highest honors of his class.
Admitted to the bar in 1889, Judge Searle began active practice
at Rock Island. In 1892 he was elected state's attorney for Rock
Island County and re-elected in 1906. In 1899 Governor Tanner
gave him the unsolicited appointment as trustee of the Western
Illinois State Normal School at Macomb. The Legislature had just
given the appropriation for the establishment of this institution.
Judge Searle was elected president of the Board of Trustees, and by
far the greater share of the details and responsibilities connected
with the establishment and the erection of the first buildings for one
of the state's finest educational institutions devolved upon his shoul-
ders. Again without solicitation in 1904 he was appointed by Gov-
ernor Yates one of the judges of the Illinois State Court of Claims
with- the rank and title of judge. This court has jurisdiction in all
cases of disputed claims against the state and its institutions. From
COURTS AND LAWYERS OF ILLINOIS 683
this position he resigned in 1909. Judge Searle has been presented
three times by Rock Island County as candidate for congress, and in
1912 was nominated at the republican primaries and his nomination
was endorsed by the progressive party, but he failed at election by a
small margin. He has served as a delegate to state conventions, is
attorney for the Tri-City Light Company and other corporations
and banks, and is a member of the state and county bar associa-
tions. In 1898 Judge Searle formed a partnership with Charles B.
Marshall under the firm name of Searle & Marshall, and that is
one of the ablest law firms now in practice at Rock Island.
On April 7, 1898, he married Miss Mary Pryce, the daughter of
John J. and Margaret Pryce, of Coal Valley, Illinois. They have
three children : Franklin, Charles and Margaret.
JOHN A. RIORDON. Now serving his fourth term as city attorney
of Morrison, John A. Riordon has been in active practice of the law
in that city for the past fifteen years. He grew up on a farm in
Whiteside County, and it was while a boy on the farm that he
made the resolution which determined upon the law as his pro-
fession, and the years of his practice have demonstrated the wis-
dom of that choice.
John A. Riordon was born in Newton Township, Whiteside
County, Illinois, August 24, 1876, the fifth in a family of nine chil-
dren born to Bartholomew M. and Ellen B. (Kane) Riordon. His
father was a native of Vermont and his mother of New Jersey, and
the former grew up on a farm and made farming his lifelong work.
He came to Illinois in 1852, after having lived a short time in Wis-
John A. Riordon acquired his early education in the district
schools in Newton township, at the age of nineteen determined to
prepare for the law, and thereafter directed all his studies and pur-
suits in such a way as to enter the profession well qualified and in
the soonest possible time. In 1897 he entered the Northern Illinois
College at Fulton, having previously taken a business course at
Clinton, Iowa. He was graduated from the Northern Illinois Col-
lege in June, 1900, and in the meantime had carried on the study
of law in the office of Charles C. McMahon, of Fulton. In the
spring of 1900 Mr. Riordon was admitted to the bar at Chicago,
and in January of the following year began his active practice at
Morrison, forming a partnership with William A. Blodgett, under
the firm name of Blodgett & Riordon. On December i, 1910, Mr.
Blodgett began his duties as county judge of Whiteside County and
since that time Mr. Riordon has had an individual practice. He was
elected city attorney of Morrison in 1909, and is now serving his
fourth consecutive term. He is also attorney for the Morrison
State Bank and attorney and legal adviser for other banks and
corporations. He has been a delegate to several state conventions.
Mr. Riordon was married February 20, 1908, to Miss Daisy M.
Boyd, daughter of Peter R. and Elizabeth A. (Fraser) Boyd of
Morrison. Mrs. Riordon was educated in the schools at Morrison,
finishing at Dixon, Illinois, and is an active member of the literary
and other women's clubs. Mr. Riordon is a democrat in politics,
and has affiliations with the Masonic order, including the thirty-
second degree of Scottish Rite, and with the Independent Order of
Odd Fellows and the Knights of Pythias and the Benevolent and
Protective Order of Elks. He has a fine law library of about 700
volumes. His office is at 100 South Cherry Street, and his home
at 530 East Main Street.
HON. SUMNEU S. ANDERSON was born in Coles County, Illinois,
and is a son of James M. and Dorothy A. (Leitch) Anderson.
James M. Anderson was a native of Virginia but spent the greater
part of his life as a farmer in Illinois. He married Dorothy A.
Leitch, who was born in Coles County. They were people of ex-
cellent standing and ample resources and were well known in this
section of the state. Robert Leitch, a native of old Virginia, the
maternal grandfather of Judge Anderson, was a pioneer of the finest
type, of superior ability and was one of the first county judges
of Coles County. Sumner S. Anderson received an academic educa-
tion, taught school, read law in the office of his uncle, the late Samuel
M. Leitch, attended special courses of instruction at the University
of Michigan and later 1888 graduated from the law department
of that university.
One who was closely associated with him at this time afterward
spoke admiringly of his earnestness and perseverance as a student,
of his mental capacity and of his moral courage, qualities notably
present in his subsequent career. He established himself in prac-
tice at Charleston, where he was elected city attorney early in prac-
tice and served also as a member of the county board of super-
visors. In 1894 he was elected county judge of Coles County by
1,000 majority. He was but a young- man then, the youngest county
judge in the state, but his knowledge of law was sound and his
decisions correct, for out of twenty cases appealed from his deci-
sions to the Supreme Court, all but two were affirmed. Judge
Anderson served out his full term but declined re-election, prefer-
ring to devote himself entirely to his private practice, which has
grown to include much of the most important litigation and legal
business within his region. He is a dependable man along every
line, public spirited and exerts an influence in many circles that is
highly beneficial because of its practicality. He is a valued member
of the Coles County Bar Association and of the State Bar Asso-
ciation of Illinois. To sortie degree political affairs in the state
have claimed his attention and from 1900 to 1902 he was chairman
of the Republican Congressional Committee of the old Nineteenth
District. He has honorably filled civic positions at different times
and for a number of years has been president of the Charleston
COURTS AND LAWYERS OF ILLINOIS 685
public library board. He has long been an active member of the
Presbyterian Church and has been elected and served as delegate
to the General Assembly The Supreme Court of that church.
Judge Anderson was married in 1895 to Miss Mary Piper, a
daughter of the late Rev. James A. Piper, who was pastor of the
First Presbyterian Church at Charleston for a quarter of a century.
They reside at No. 1060 South Seventh Street, Charleston.
JUDGE JOHN BUEL CRABTREE. Now serving as county judge of
Lee County, Judge Crabtree is a son of the late Judge John Dawson
Crabtree, who for a number of years was a distinguished lawyer of
Northern Illinois, and held the office of judge of the Circuit Court
in the Thirteenth Judicial District. The name has been identified
with the legal profession in that section of Illinois for nearly half a
The late John Dawson Crabtree was born at Nottingham, Eng-
land, November 19, 1837, came to America in 1848, and located
at Dixon, Illinois, in 1853. He finished his education in the public
schools at Dixon, and in 1861 went from that town as a Union
soldier, enlisting in Company A of the Thirteenth Regiment of
Illinois Infantry. Though entering as a private he was soon
advanced to the rank of lieutenant, later to captain, and at the date
of his discharge on August 16, 1864, was brevetted with the rank
of major. On his return to Dixon he took up the study of law, was
admitted to the bar in 1866, and in the same year was elected state
senator on the republican. ticket. He continued in active practice
and was rated as one of the foremost members of the Lee County
bar. In 1888 he was elected judge of the Circuit Court, was re-
elected in 1891 without opposition, and in 1897 was returned to the
office, which his services had dignified and distinguished for nearly
ten years, but his death occurred May 22, 1902, one year before
the expiration of his term.
John Buel Crabtree was born at Dixon, Illinois, July 12, 1876,
acquired his early education in the public schools, graduating from
high school in June, 1894, and after some miscellaneous occupation
entered the University of Wisconsin in the fall of 1898, and was
graduated A. B. in 1901. He had in the meantime studied law, and
in 1901 was admitted to the Illinois bar at Springfield, and began
practice soon after returning home from Madison in 1902. Mr.
Crabtree served as a justice of the peace in 1908-09, and on Novem-
ber 3, 1914, was elected county judge of Lee County for the regular
term of four years. He has been active both in the law and in busi-
ness affairs, and was the first secretary, and is now president and
treasurer of the Dixon Water Company, having succeeded his father
in the latter office. He is also secretary of the Lee County Bar
John B. Crabtree was married May 27, 1914, to Miss Edna
Dobbie, daughter of Alexander Dobbie, of Salida, Colorado. Mrs.
686 COURTS AND LAWYERS OF ILLINOIS
Crabtree received her education in the Salida public schools. Judge
Crabtree is affiliated with the Masonic order, in which his father was
also a well-known member, has been junior warden, and is a past
exalted ruler in the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks. He
is also a member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows. Politic-
ally he is republican and is a member of the Baptist Church. His
office is in the Loftus Building, in Dixon, and his home at 412 East
HIRAM A. BROOKS. Senior member of the firm of Brooks &
Brooks, at Dixon, Hiram A. Brooks has been in active practice more
than twenty years, is regarded as one of the ablest members of the
Lee County bar, and represents a family that has been identified
with this section of Illinois since 1837. The Brooks estate in Lee
County has been in the family name more than three-quarters of a
century. The original ancestors came from England and Scotland,
and settled at Hartford, Connecticut.
Hiram A. Brooks was born in Marion township of Lee County,
September 19, 1868, a son of Benjamin F. and Susan O. (Morris)
Brooks. His early education came from the district and village
schools of Lee County, with later attendance at Dixon College, and
in 1890 he graduated from the Northern Illinois Normal School, at
Dixon. In May, 1891, Mr. Brooks began the study of law in the
office and under the direction of William Barge, of Dixon, and was
admitted to the bar at Ottawa in May, 1893. Since the following
year he has been in active general practice at Dixon. He has never
mingled in politics, served two years as city attorney, and at a recent
election for mayor was defeated by the narrow margin of sixty-
three votes. During the campaign he never left his office in the
interest of his candidacy nor made a single speech. His present
political affiliation is with the socialist party.
Mr. Brooks was married in 1893 to Miss Mary S. Fisher, of
Dixon. She died April i, 1900, leaving a son, Byron A. Brooks,
who was born February I, 1897. On June 20, 1903, Mr. Brooks
married Mrs. Lottie Baldwin, widow of Major Baldwin of the
Spanish-American War. Mr. Brooks has his office on Galena Av-
enue and his residence at the corner of Cranford and Seventh
CLARENCE C. BROOKS. Junior member of the firm of Brooks &
Brooks, at Dixon, Clarence C. Brooks was born in Marion town-
ship, Lee County, April 12, 1879, being one of the younger children
of Benjamin F. and Susan (Morris) Brooks. He grew up in the
country, acquired an education in the public schools, and in 1903
graduated from Dixon College. His law studies were carried on in
the office and under the direction of his brother, Hiram A., and
since his admission to the bar at Mount Vernon, in 1906, he has been
COURTS AND LAWYERS OF ILLINOIS 687
in active partnership with his older brother, and the firm enjoy a
large business in all the courts of Lee County.
JUDGE GEORGE A. COOKE. Since 1909 the broad experience of
Judge Cooke as a lawyer has been read into the decisions of the Illi-
nois Supreme Court, where he is recognized as one of its ablest mem-
bers. Judge Cooke is a resident of Aledo, began practice there
twenty years ago, and was elected a judge of the Supreme Court in
September, 1909, as a successor of his former law partner, the late
Judge Guy C. Scott. Judge Cooke, in 1912, was re-elected for the
full term of nine years.
George Anderson Cooke was born July 3, 1869, at New Athens,
Ohio, the second of three children born to Dr. Thomas and Vanceline
(Downing) Cooke. His father was born at New Athens in 1843,
and died in May, 1872, and the mother was also a native of the same
place and died in June, 1880. The Cooke ancestors were Scotch-
Irish, and settled in Pennsylvania. Judge Cooke was the first of the
family to come to Illinois, and has been a resident of Mercer
County since 1880. He had attended the district schools of Ohio,
and continued his education after coming to Mercer County for six
years in the public schools. In 1886 he entered the Aledo High
School, graduating in 1888, and in the same year matriculated in
Knox College at Galesburg, where he was graduated A. B. in 1892.
At the age of seventeen Judge Cooke had definitely determined upon
the law as his profession, but while securing a thorough foundation
of learning in high school and college was unable to take up his
studies until 1892, when he became a student in the office of Pepper
& Scott at Aledo. He was admitted to the bar at Mount Vernon in
1895, practiced for eight months in Galesburg, and in 1896 formed
a partnership with Judge Guy C. Scott at Aledo under the name
Scott & Cooke, which was in active practice from 1896 to 1899.
Judge Cook.e then formed a partnership with John F. Main, who is
now one of the judges of the Supreme Court of the State of Wash-
ington, but after one year Mr. Main went out to Seattle. His part-
ner for the following five years was Alexander McArthur, and then
John M. Wilson became associated with him in practice and con-
tinued until elected state's attorney of Mercer County in 1908. Mr.
Wilson is the present state's attorney of Mercer County. Judge
Cooke then continued practice alone until his election September
25, 1909, as judge of the Supreme Court of Illinois from the Fourth
district to fill the unexpired term of Judge Guy C. Scott, who had
died a short time before. In June, 1912, Judge Cooke was elected
for the regular term.
Judge Cooke was a member of the Illinois Legislature from
1902 to 1906, representing the Thirty-third district. In politics he
is a democrat, and both in the law and public affairs made a reputa-
tion for thorough learning and general ability. He has a law library
of about 2,500 volumes. Judge Cooke is a thirty.-second degree
688 COURTS AND LAWYERS OF ILLINOIS
Mason, a Knight Templar and Mystic Shriner, and has affiliations
with the Knights of Pythias and the Independent Order of Odd
Fellows. He is a member of the University Club of Chicago, of the
Iroquois Club of Chicago, the Rock Island Club of Rock Island
and the Aledo Club of Aledo. His college fraternity is the Beta
Theta Pi, and he is a member of both the State and County Bar
Associations. His church is the Presbyterian.
Judge Cooke was married October 20, 1896, to Miss Sarah S.
Blee, a daughter of Robert and Martha J. Blee of Aledo. Mrs.
Cooke is prominent in women's club and social work, and is a grad-
uate of the Aledo High School and of Knox College. Their chil-
dren are : Marjorie, born July 29, 1898, and attending Drury
Academy of Aledo; Martha, born April 17, 1900, also a student in
Drury; George Blee, born October 22, 1904, and in the public
schools at Aledo; and Thomas Blee, born September I, 1908.
ISAAC NEWTON BASSETT. At the time of this writing Isaac N.
Bassett of Aledo is the oldest attorney in active practice in the
State of Illinois. He is senior member of the prominent firm of
Bassett, Morgan & Hebel. When Mr. Bassett was admitted to the
Illinois bar in the fall of 1854, Abraham Lincoln was at the zenith
of his career as a lawyer, and was still riding circuit out of Spring-
field. Many other eminent men in Illinois law and politics were
then in the prime of their powers, and Mr. Bassett has a range of
personal association and recollection such as probably no other
lawyer in the state at this time possesses.
Isaac Newton Bassett was born September 8, 1825, nearly ninety
years ago, in Lewis County, Kentucky, near Portsmouth, Ohio. His
parents were Isaac and Frances A. (Hall) Bassett. His father was
born August 4, 1791, in New Jersey and died in 1863. The mother
was born in Ohio May 27, 1797. There were fourtteen children in
the family, the Aledo lawyer being fifth in order of. birth. His
brother John R. also became a prominent lawyer, and for years they
were associated in practice.
Isaac N. Bassett spent his boyhood at a time when schools were
of the most primitive character throughout the middle \vestern coun-
try, and all his education, so far as schools were concerned, came
from a log schoolhouse, which had the slab seats, the rough desks
and all the equipment made so familiar to readers of pioneer chron-
icles. He attended such a school during winter season and worked
on a farm during the summer. At the age of fourteen his school
days were over, and after that he attended neither public school nor
college. The rest of his boyhood was spent on a farm and when
about twenty-one he and his brother, Luke Allan, engaged in the
merchandise business, spending about three years in that field. In
1850 Mr. Bassett began reading law, and his brother John also took
up the same study, and they spent their spare time for the next
four years in acquiring the fundamentals of jurisprudence.
COURTS AND LAWYERS OF ILLINOIS 689
Mr. Bassett came to Illinois in 1852, locating at New Boston.
He was admitted to the Illinois bar before the Supreme Court in
October, 1854, and in the following spring began active practice and
settled at Keithsburg. He has had many partners in the course
of his long career and a number of men now prominent in the pro-
fession look back with gratefulness to instruction and help they
have received from this venerable attorney. In 1858 his firm in
one term of court appeared in 341 cases. Mr. Bassett practiced
with Elias Willits under the firm name of Willits & Bassett for one
year, after which he was alone a year, and then formed a partner-
ship with his brother John R., Mr. Willits having also returned from
Chicago, making the triple alliance of Bassett, Willits & Bassett.
This partnership continued until February, 1860. At that time Mr.
Bassett moved out to Denver, Colorado, on account of the poor
health of his wife, who died at Denver. Mr. Bassett was a resident
of that western city about one year, and while there was associated
in practice with Daniel C. Collier under the name Bassett & Collier.
In 1860 he was elected city attorney of Denver, being one of the
first to hold that office. After the death of Mrs. Bassett he returned
to Aledo and resumed practice with his brother John under the name
of J. R. & I. N. Bassett. In 1869 J. H. Connell was taken in as
partner, and after 1874 Mr. Bassett was alone in practice for one
year. His next partner was John C. Wharton, and the firm of Bas-
sett & Wharton was prominent in the Mercer County bar until 1888,
at which time Mr. Wharton moved out to Omaha. Mr. Bassett then
took into partnership his son Thomas W., who practiced with him
until 1903, when the son moved out to Seattle. Oscar E. Carlstrom
was then his associate for one year, and in 1906 George B. Morgan
formed a partnership with Mr. Bassett, and in 1907 David A. Hebel
was added to the firm. This made the name Bassett, Morgan &
Hebel, which still continues. About two years ago Mr. Morgan
removed to California, but at his own request the firm name has not
Mr. Bassett first married March 4, 1847, Scienda Isle Moore of
Scioto County, Ohio. Mrs. Bassett died January 24, 1861. Her
children were : Fletcher S., deceased, who was a lieutenant in the
United States navy ; Clayton W., who died at the age of ten years ;
Flora A., widow of William N. Graham; Laura M., who lives with
her father ; Thomas W., an attorney at Kent, Washington ; Luella,
wife of James S. Adams of Galesburg. On February 26, 1862, Mr.
Bassett married Mrs. Caroline Yerty of Aledo. She was a widow
and had a daughter, Clara Yerty, who married O. J. Ingmire of
Aledo and now of Galesburg. She died in 1908 without children.
The children of Mr. and Mrs. Bassett are: Ray H., who died at
the age of thirteen ; Bertram, who died when three years old ; Victor
Hugo, who is a graduate of Johns Hopkins University and now a
resident of Savannah, Georgia; and Bessie, who lives at home.
Mrs. Bassett died January 29, 1910.
690 COURTS AND LAWYERS OF ILLINOIS
Mr. Bassett has had many interesting experiences both as a
lawyer and man of affairs. He assisted in 1854 in the organization
of the republican party in Mercer County, and in the same year was
elected a member of the first board of -supervisors for the new
county, and in the same year also assisted in forming the first agri-
cultural society of Mercer County. In the fall of 1855 he was
elected county treasurer, and by re-election in 1857 held the office
four years. He served as master in chancery during 1857-58, and
was a director of the public schools for about four years. He was