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History of York County Pennsylvania From the Earliest Time to the Present online

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to Margaretta L., a daughter of Jacob Bar-
nitz, December 31, 1833. He was at one
time editor of the York Republican. He
soon became a prominent member of the bar.
He associated with him John L. Mayer, Esq.,
who had read law under his guidance, the
firm name being Evans & Mayer. He took
pai-t in many of the most important cases of
his time, practicing in the supreme and
several of the adjacent county courts. He
was one of the lawyers who defended the
right of the new school branch of the Pres-
byterian Church to the possession of the
church property. For more than half a cen- \
tury he was regarded as an upright, Indus- j
trious and intelligent member of the bar. i

In addition to his professional duties he
energetically assisted in any enterprise that ]

might prove of advantage to the citizens of
the county and town, aad was often entrusted
with prominent positions by them. He was
much interested in agriculture and live stock.
When the York County Agricultural Society
was organized in 1852, he was elected presi-
dent of the board, and held that position
continuously till his death. By his interest,
liberality and industry he largely contributed
to make that society the success it has proven
to be.

He was for a long time president of the York
Water Company. During his presidency, he
used his power to veto every measure which
tended to yield the stockholders more than a
legal rate of interest, maintaining that all
surplus gains should be used in cheapening
the water rents, rather than enriching the
stockholders. He was a member of the
board of directors of the York Bank as well
as counsel to the board. He died January
30, 1876, after but a few hours' illness. A
son and daughter survived him.

The firm of Evans & Mayer were widely
known as careful and experienced lawyers,
reputed for learning and professional skill.
Mr. Evans was for more than half a cen-
tury conversant with the business of the
courts, and most largely engaged in all the
important transactions connected with the
administration of justice in the county of
York. Ml-. Evans was a very highly re-
spected citizen, and filled the measure of
usefulness. He was possessed of large pub-
lic spirit and great liberality, prompt to
respond to every call of individual aid and
contribute to any enterprise of general ad-


John L. Mayer was born at Shephardstown,
Jefferson Co., Va. (now West Virginia), on
the 5th of August, 1810. After the usual
education of youth at his home, he entered
Yale College in 1830 and gi-aduated in 1831.
He studied law with John Evans, Esq., and
was admitted to the bar of York County,
February 20, 1834, and pursued diligently
the practice of his profession in York for
forty years. He was a partner of his precep-
tor, John Evans, Esq., for many years, and
the firm of Evans & Mayer held the largest
practice and tried the most of the causes in
our courts during the partnership. After its
dissolution Mr. Mayer continued to hold a
very large and lucrative practice. He gave
no attention to politics and never held office.

Christopher Bartholomew Mayer, the found-
er of the Pennsylvania branch of the Mayer
family, was born at Carlsruhe, Germany,,




November, 1702, and came to this country in
1752. He was the grandfather of Rev. Dr.
Lewis Mayer. He landed at Annapolis, Md. ,
with his wife and four children, and did not
tarry there long, but soon went to " Monocasy
Station." or " Fredericktown," in the west-
ern part of the province. It is supposed that
it was his design to acquire land and settle
his family in that fertile region, but he died
in November, sis months after his arrival in
America, and was buried in the "Gottes-
Oken" of the Lutheran Church of Frederick-
town, on the 21st of November, 1752. After
their father's death, the family dispersed.
George Ludwig Mayer, the oldest son and
the father of Rev. Dr. Lewis Mayer, quitted
Frederiektown, Md. , for Lancaster, Penn. ,
where many of his descendants still live.

Christian Mayer (second of that name),
founder of the Baltimore branch of the fam-
ily, was born at Ulm in 1763, and came to
this country in 1784 and settled in Balti-
more, Md.

Mr. Mayer was a man of very great learn-
ing in his profession — perhaps no one his
superior in that respect. His arguments were
close and thorough. His citation of authori-
ties was voluminous; but it seemed necessary
for him thus to cite them because of that keen
analytical power he possessed of resolving
the cases into principles, and then leading
the mind to the particular point by a line of
thought that distinguished his case from all
apparent analogies. He was, moreover, a
scholar in the true sense of that word; an in-
defatigable student in branches of learning
outside of his profession, and he could adorn
his argument with apt quotations and illus-
trations drawn from such other sources. He
possessed, too, a knowledge of business, a
practical mind, and, by close attention and
prudence, amassed a handsome fortune. He
died at his home in York, August 17, 1874.


John Gardner Campbell was born in
Chanceford Township, York County, in 1812.
His grandfather, John Campbell, came to
this country from the north of Ireland early
in the last century. He was then but a young
man, and commenced life as a merchant in
Philadeljjhia. After several years' experi-
ence in that business, he removed to a farm
in Lancaster County, and subsequently to
York County, where he purchased a large
tract of land about three miles from Brogue-
ville, in Chanceford Township. He had, pre-
vious to his departure for America, been a
member of the Church of England, and hence
his descendants in this county have been con-

nected with the Protestant Episcopal Church.
He was a prominent citizen of Chanceford,
and died on his farm at an advanced age.
His son, James Campbell, was ten years old
when his parents emigrated to York County,
and, upon the death of his father, succeeded
to the estate and followed for a number of
years the occupation of farming. He married
Rebecca Gardner, of Hellam Township, and
soon after became the possessor of the Gard-
ner farm. This farm is situated in Hellam
Township, and is the site of Campbell Sta-
tion on the Frederick branch of the Penn-
sylvania Railroad. They had three sons and
one daughter, of whom a son, Clement, is
living in Nebraska, and the daughter, Caro-
line, resides in the borough of York.

Johu Gardner Campbell was a member of
the York bar distinguished for his learning
and ability, as well as for his extensive prac-
tice. He grew to manhood in the country,
and received the rudiments of his education
and taught school there. He entered the
York County Academy, and acquired a thor-
ough English education and became profi-
cient in the classics. He studied law with
his uncle, John Gardner, a prominent lawyer
of his day, and was admitted to the bar on
the 17 th of May, 1836. He soon took a
prominent position at the bar, by reason of
his industry and capabilities, and was recog-
nized as one of the most learned and efficient
of its members. He was possessed of enter-
prise as well as devotion to his profession,
and took part in the organization of insti-
tutions for the benefit of the public. The
York County Mutual Insurance Company, the
oldest company of its kind in York County^
was organized at his office. He was one of its
charter members and was its secretary for
many years. He assisted in the organization
of the York County Bank and was for some
years its president, and exhibited in that
capacity eminent abilities as a financier. He
was a forcible writer, and was for a time one
of the editors of the People s Advocate,
a newspaper published in the borough of
York. There were associated with him in
this enterprise Dr. W. S. Roland and G.
Christopher Stair. The original character
and interesting material of this paper under
such management was a marked feature of
that day. Mr. Campbell, in addition to the
grasp of intellect which made him noted
among his professional brethren, was gifted
with a mind of uncommon versatility. He
was a voluminous reader; everything that
came within his reach was absorbed by him,
and retained by a memory unexcelled by that
of any one. His conversation was entertain-


ing by reason of this vast fund of informa-
tion, and he was a great favorite with stu-
dents, while in the recesses of his capacious
mind were stored not only that practical and
scientific knowledge that served him in mat
ters of business, but all these curiosities of
literatm-e that give zest to conversation. Apt
quotation and illustration sparkled through
all he wrote. Arguments in his paper books
were not the dry things they are in others'
hands, but they are compositions that would
bear publication. Some of his cotemporaries
were inspired to contest the palm with him,
and John L. Mayer and Thomas E. Cochran.
Esqs., were his competitors in this novel
species of legal disputation. Mr. Campbell
married in York, in 1845, Sarah M. Spang-
ler, daughter of Zachariah Spangler, for-
merly sheriff of the county. They had four
children: one deceased in infancy, Helen
(wife of J. Gr. McDowell), Florence and Dora.


Mr. Cochran was the oldest son of Dr.
Eichard E. Cochran, of Columbia, and was
born at Middletown, NeAv Castle Counjy,
Del., March 13, 1813. His early educa-
tion was thorough, including a full classical
course. In 1824 his father and family
moved to Columbia. He remained in Col-
umbia until 1834, when, at the earnest solici-
tation of Thomas C. Uambly. Ill' nniiio to York
to edit and publish the i:ri,,i!,lir,i n. of which
he had chai-ge until l>i'j-j, th'jugh he con-
tinued to contribute valuable editorial matter
for publication to the literary and political

During his editorial life he became a stu-
dent at law with the late Hon. Charles A.
Barnitz, and was admitted as a member of
the York County bar on December 6, 1842.
In 1840 be was elected to the State senate,
representing York and Lancaster Counties in
the sessions of 1840-41-42-43. A writer of
that day in referring to Mr. Cochran as sen-
ator, says:

" Mr. Cochran is inferior in point of native
talents to no man in the senate. This is ad-
mitted by his contemporaries, who are compe-
tent judges in these matters, for they speak
of that which ' they themselves do feel.'"

In 1856 Mr. Cochran, was the anti-
Buchanan candidate for canal commissioner,
and, in 1860, was elected auditor- general and
served until 1863. In 1872 he was a member-
of the State constitutional convention, in
which body he was chairman cf the commit-
tee on " railroads and canals " and a mem-
ber of the committees on " accounts and
.expenditures" and on " printing and bind-

ing." In 1860, 1864, 1868 he was a mem-
ber of the Republican National Committee.
Besides these public positions of honor, he
performed the duties of many offices of trust,
such as school director, etc. As an attorney,
he distinguished himself not only in the
courts of York County, but in various parts
of the State. He was next to the oldest
member of the York County bar, Hon. E. J.
Fisher being his senior. In 1860 he asso-
ciated with him in the practice of law
William Hay, Esq., his former law-student,
who continued to be his partner until the
time of his death.

In early life he connected himself with St.
•John's Episcopal Church and served as
vestryman for many years. On April 14, 1853,
he married Miss Barnitz, a daughter of Gen.
Jacob Barnitz, who was his bosom comiaaniou
until the time of her decease, which occurred
about four months before his decease.

While Mr. Cochran was a prominent states-
man and politician, and was one of the first
to espouse the cause of the Eepublican party
in this State, he was also prominently identi-
fied in various Christian and charitable enter-
prises. For many years he was a member of
the York County Sunday-school Executive

He possessed great industry, energy and
firmness of character, and was not easily
driven from the course ho believed to be
right, nor forced from it when he deter-
mined that it was the path duty pointed
out. .\nd his jadgiuent seldom led him

He left to survive him a son, Richard E.
Cochran, Esq., a practicing member of this
bar, and three daughters.*


Jeremiah S. Black was born in Somerset
County, Penn., January 10, 1810, and re-
ceived the usual education in the schools of
the neighborhood of his home. His father,
Henry Black, was for twenty years an asso-
ciate judge of that county, was a member of
the State legislature and a representative in
Congress. His mother was born in York
County, and was a daughter of Patrick Sul-
livan, who came to this county about the year
1790 ; was' a captain in the Revolutionary
war, and was married in York County,
whence he removed to Somerset. The future
'chief justice and statesman very early
evinced a predilection for the higher order
of literature and classics, and such studies
prepared him for the exercise of that forcible
j rhetoric so eminent a characteristic of his

I. Applelon & Co.


subsequent literary and forensic disputations.
He studied law with Chauncey Forward, Esq.,
of Somerset, and was admitted to the bar be-
fore he was of age. When Mr. Forward
was elected to Congress his business was in-
trusted to Mr. Black, who was soon after ap-
pointed deputy attorney general for Somerset.

In 1842, at the age of thirty-two years, he
was appointed by Gov. Porter, president
judge of the Sixteenth Judicial District of
Pennsylvania, succeeding the Hon. Alex-
ander Thomson. He very soon attained dis-
tinction as a judge, and became known
throughout the commonwealth as one of its
judicial lights. The law was then, as it were,
in a transition state in many of its features,
and the symptoms of those innovations which
subsequently occasioned almost acrimonious
controversy on the elective supreme bench,
had begun to manifest themselves. In 1851,
under the judiciary amendments to the con-
stitution, he "was made one of the candidates
by the Democratic Convention for the Su-
preme Bench, together with John B. Gibson,
then Chief Justice; Ellis Lewis, then Presi-
dent of the Lancaster District; Walter H.
Lawrie, of the district court of Pittsburgh,
and James Campbell, late of the commoQ
pleas of Philadelphia. At the election be
received the highest popular vote. On the
opposite ticket were such men as William M.
Meredith and Joshua Comley and Richard
Coulter, the last-named being elected.

Judge Black became chief justice by lot,
drawing the shortest term. In 1854, his
term haviug expired, he was re-elected to the
sui^reme bench over Hon. Daniel M. Smyser
and Hon. Thomas H. Baird by a very large
plurality vote. His judicial career, though
brief, was distinguished ; his decisions, con-
tained in the state reports from Fourth
Harris to Fifth Casey, are cited as emphatic
expositions of the law; and when he was
obliged to dissent from the majority of the
<!ourt, his opinions contained unquestionable
law at the time. His loyalty to his great
predecessor in the chief justiceship, as well
as his own firm convictions regarding what
were then acknowledged landmarks of the
law, held them together against what they
conceived to be innovations; and this posi-
tion was maintained by him after his lament-
ed and renowned colleague. Judge Gibson,
was removed from the bench by death. These
evolutions, however, take place inlaw, as well
as in other human affairs; and the body of our
jurisprudence received a deep impress from his
terse and vigorous style, the clearness and logi-
cal force of his reasoning, almost formulating
a code on many subjects discussed by him.

Shortly after the 4th of March, 1857, while
upon the supreme bench, President Buchanan
appointed him attorney-general of the United
States. In this position, upon which he en-
tered with no other experience as a lawyer
than the practice of Pennsylvania law af-
fords, and no political experience other thao
may be gained by any citizen, he acquired
distinction. In law, the great cases of the
California land grants, involving in extent
over 19,000 square miles, including a lai-ge
part of San Francisco, the whole of Sacra
mento and other cities, and in money $150,-
000,000, called into exercise not only the le-
gal ability, but the professional skill of the
attorney-general, resulting in a great triumph
of justice over a most stupendous fraud.
This laid the foundation of his national rep-
utation as a lawyer, and secured that mar-
velous success that attended his subsequent
professional career.

In statesmanship, during that trying period
of our country's history, there devolved upon
him the most onerous duties. He was the
principal adviser of the President, who was a
man of high intellectual ability, but who, on
account of the warring elements of his cabi-
net, was compelled to lean his arm upon his
attorney-general for support. Upon the res-
ignation of Gen. Cass, Mr. Buchanan ap-
pointed Judge Black secretary of State. The
events of the closing months of that admin-
istration are memorable, and the action of the
cabinet has been but recently revealed. The
course of Judge Black has been vindicated
by the documents prepared under his own
hand or supervision, and the legal and con-
stitutional status of the government and its
powers, in case of secession as then ex-
pounded, and the wisdom of the deter-
mination of the many intricate questions aris-
ing in that crisis, have been sustained in the
light of subsequent events.

During the earlier portion of that admin-
istration, the great struggle between the North
and the South for the occupation of the ter-
ritories urider existing institutions culmi-
nated. The Lecompton constitution and
other troublesome matters raised issues that
severed the dominant party. The great
champion of territorial rights, Stephen A.
Douglas, had announced doctrines on behalf
of the party which the attorney-general, en-
tering that arena, showed to be unsound. It
was in that controversy that Judge Black first
attracted the attention~of the people of the
United States to that keen power of logic
and force of rhetoric which have made him
so famous in polemics.

At the close of Mr. Buchanan's adminis-



tration Judge Black was nominated for the
supreme bench of the L'nited States, but,
in that crisis, and in the midst of the politi-
cal excitement thereby occasioned, it was not
acted upon. He was subsequently apjjointed
reporter of the supreme courts, and pub-
lished two volumes: First and Second Black.

At the close of Mr. Buchanans adminis-
tration he became a resident of York, and
participated in the trial of some local causes.

The career of J udge Black after his retire-
ment from public life was unexampled in the
line of professional saccess as a lawyer. His
name is associated with greater cases and
larger fees than that of any American lawyer
who preceded him, in the highest tribunal of
the land or in local courts. The war gave rise
to a class of cases which, strange to say,
involved the fundamental principles of lib-
erty, the stiuggles for which had been handed
down to us from a past age, and which, it
was presumed, had been settled a century
before. The cases of citizens of the repub-
lic, Blyew, Mc-4.rdle and Milligan, have made
the state trials of the United States of
America more illustrious than those of Great
'Britain, for they arrested in this land the
encroachment of a government, Republican in
form, upon the absolute rights of individuals,
when the excitement of the hour seemed to
obscure the better judgment of those in
power. They established the judiciary as
truly the bulwark of liberty.

The case of Blyew arose under the Civil
Rights' Bill. The defendant had been sen-
tenced to death by a Federal court in the
State of Kentucky, but the prisoner, for
whom Judge Black appeared, was released
by the supreme court. The case of McArdJe
arose under the Reconstruction acts. The
defendant was held under a conviction by a
military commission, and under the argument
of Judge Black would have been released
had not Congress ousted the jurisdiction of
the supreme court. The prisoner was then
released by the government. The case of
Milligan ^^fas a trial and conviction before a
military commission. He, too, was under
sentence of death, approved by the president
of the United States. The case came before
the supreme court on a writ of habeas corjnis.
The argument of Judge Black, in this last
mentioned case, is one of the most memora-
ble of forensic efforts before any tribunal.
The case is among the most celebrated of
State trials, and its result, the discharge of
the prisoner, maintained inviolate the con-
stitution of the United States.

In 1876, the year that completed the cen-
tenary of American independence, a presi-

dential election took place, the contest over
the result of which shook the pillars of our
electoral system. By an electoral commis-
sion, mutually agreed upon by the contest-
ants, the question of the result in the several
disputed States was determined by a majority
of the commission according to their polit-
ical predilections. Judge Black, as one of
the counsel for Mr. Tilden, contended with
great force against the fraudulent returns
which were counted. His effort in the South
Carolina case is a masterpiece of bold invec-

Judge Black occupied no official position
after leaving the cabinet, e.\cept as a mem-
ber of the constitutional convention of Penn-
sylvania, 1872-3, as a delegate at lai-ge. His
appearance in that body attracted the marked
attention of his fellow members, as did also
every word he uttered there, not only in de-
bate but in ordinary conversation. Though
he participated but little in its public dis-
cussions, he largely influenced the action of
the convention on many important subjects,
notably those upon the restrictions on rail-
road corporations and upon legislative job-
bery. Afterward he took the part of the
people before the judiciary committees of
the legislature against monopolies, as mani-
fested in the combinations in defiance of the
new constitution, and contended for the power
of the general assembly to check their rapac-
ity. In the matter of legislative jobbery, the
offense of private solicitation under which
the conviction of prominent lobbyists has
been secured, was owing to him, as well as-
in a great degree the limits put upon the
legislative power.

Judge Black acquired fame as a contro-
versialist on many subjects connected with
his own political experience on questions of
political reform and the redress of wrongs.
He also entered the arena in defense of Chris-
tianity, with a force of logic that the cham-
pion of the attack has not been able to

His colloquial powers were of the highest
order. It has been regretted that there has
been no Boswell to transcribe his many wise
and witty sayings, the strength and drollery
of his observations, his readiness of forensic
repartee, nay, his deep philosophy. The
talale-talk of many of the literati, such as
Coleridge, for instance, has been given to the
world, and the coteries of France, where the
great Franklin appeared with his practical
wisdom, have been celebrated by historians.
Are there not many observations of our own
savan that may yet be profitably gathered
for publication?



Judge Black enjoyed the powers of his
intellect to the last. He seemed to be in the
enjoyment of sound health when stricken by
the hand of death at his beautiful home,
" Brockie," near York. He died, August 19,
1883. His high character, his open hearted-
ness and wealth of intellectual resources
have made his memory sacred among the
people of his adopted home, the fame of
which has been enhanced by his presence.


VERY little is known of the very early
medical history of York County.
Nevertheless the first physicians, having re-
ceived their education in Europe, were well
educated, skillful in their profession and oc-
cupied prominent positions in the affairs of
the county, and several became prominent in
the early medical history of the United
States. The first physician in York, of whom

Online LibraryJohn GibsonHistory of York County Pennsylvania From the Earliest Time to the Present → online text (page 93 of 218)