John M. (John McAuley) Palmer.

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the war for independence. Zadok Casey, the father of our subject, was a native of
Georgia, and in 1817 married Rachel King, who was born in Tennessee. The
following year they removed to Jefferson county, Illinois, locating on a farm
to which they gave the name of Red Bud. In 1841 they purchased a new home,
adjoining Mount Vernon, which they named "Elm Hill." The father was a
farmer by occupation and was one of the honored pioneers of the state, whose
labors laid the foundation for the present prosperity and greatness of the com-
monwealth. As a local minister of the Methodist church, he also labored for
the uplifting of humanity, and his life was an inspiration to all who knew him.
He served in the Black Hawk war when the Indians threatened the destruction
of the new state, and in every possible way aided in the material, educational,
social and moral advancement of the community with which his life was cast.
A man of broad mind and ripe scholarship, of sound judgment and noble pur-
pose, he was well fitted for leadership in the world both of thought and action,
and was called to represent his district in both houses of the state legislature.
He was also a member of congress for ten years and was lieutenant-governor
of Illinois.

4S 70S


General T. S. Casey and his brothers spent their early years under the care
of a tutor in their own home. Later he attended the Mount Vernon Seminary,
and at the age of sixteen entered McKendree College, in which institution he
was graduated on completing the scientific and classical courses. Thus with a
comprehensive general knowledge on which to rear the superstructure of profes-
sional learning, he entered the law office of Hugh Montgomery, under whose
direction he mastered the fundamental principles of jurisprudence. After thor-
ough preparation he was admitted to the bar before the supreme court at Spring-
field, Illinois, and through the succeeding two years resided in Shawneetown,
Illinois, where his brother, Samuel K. Casey, had charge of the land office, he be-
coming an assistant in this office.

On the expiration of the two years, Colonel Casey returned to Mount Ver-
non, where he engaged in the practice of law in partnership with Tazewell B.
Tanner, and also edited the Democratic county paper from 1856 until 1858. In
1860 he was elected spate's attorney over two opponents by a large majority,
and in 1864 was re-elected for a term of four years. His law practice, however,
was interrupted by his military service, for in response to his country's call for
troops he determined to go forth to battle for the Union, and within fifteen days
raised a full regiment, with which he reported at Anna, Illinois, in September,
1862, and was elected colonel of what became the One Hundred and Tenth Illi-
nois Infantry. At the head of his command he went immediately to the front,
where he soon participated in several minor engagements and in the important
battle of Stone river, where he was reported killed. He was with General Palm-
er's brigade, which pursued General Bragg to Murfreesboro, and honorable
mention is made of his service on page 361, volume I, "Patriotism of Illinois,"
where an account is given how Colonel Thomas S. Casey and the One Hundred
and Tenth Illinois, together with the Forty-first Ohio regiment, by their un-
flinching determination and bravery foiled the overwhelming force of the rebels
in their attempt to break the front of General Hazen's forces. Subsequently they
occupied the extreme left under General Palmer against which a heavy attack
was directed. This position had to be held or the left wing of the army sacrificed.
The ammunition of the One Hundred and Tenth was exhausted when the voice
of the Colonel rang out, "Club your muskets!" to which command the men
heartily responded, and like heroes they fought and held the line unbroken
until reinforced by the One Hundredth Illinois under the lamented Colonel Bar-
tleson. The bravery of their commander often inspired the One Hundred and
Tenth to deeds of great valor, for they knew that he would never needlessly
sacrifice a single man, and that he would not only give them orders but would
be their leader in the thickest of the fight and in the midst of the greatest danger.

Returning to Mount Vernon at the close of the war Colonel Casey resumed
the practice of law and with the passing years his clientage increased both in
volume and importance. He ever took a patriotic and public-spirited interest in
the welfare of his state, and in 1870 was elected a member of the legislature,
where he served with distinction. In 1872 he was elected state senator, and dur-
ing his term made the first "free-trade" speech ever delivered in the general


assembly of Illinois. His knowledge of constitutional law made him a very able
member and his influence and counsel were widely felt in framing the statutes
of the commonwealth. In 1879 he was elected circuit judge of his district and
was immediately appointed one of the appellate judges, which position he filled
until the expiration of his term of office. He took to the bench a mind well
stored with legal lore, a large experience gathered from years of extensive and
important practice, a character that was an assurance that the duties of the high
office would be faithfully administered and a general natural fitness for the posi-
tion that few men possess. His record as a judge was in harmony with his record
as a man and a lawyer, distinguished by unswerving integrity and a masterful
grasp of every problem that has presented itself for his solution. While he was
at all times fair and impartial in his rulings and based his decisions upon a com-
prehensive and accurate knowledge of the law, he also exercised the higher at-
tribute of mercy which often is followed by a reform that cold justice never
brings. Upon his retirement from the bench Judge Casey resumed the practice
of law in Springfield. His preparation of cases was most thorough and exhaust-
ive; he seemed almost intuitively to grasp the strong points of law and fact,
while in his briefs and arguments the authorities were cited so extensively and
the facts and reasons thereon presented so cogently and unanswerably as to
leave no doubt as to the correctness of his views or of his conclusions. No de-
tail seemed to escape him; every point was given its due prominence and the case
argued with such skill, ability and power that he rarely failed to gain the ver-
dict desired.

Judge Casey was married in Springfield, Illinois, October 30, 1861, to Miss
Matilda S. Moran, a daughter of Patricius Moran, a native of Roscommon
county, Ireland, and a graduate of Jefferson Medical College, of Philadelphia.
They had three children, one of whom died in infancy, the others being Carrie,
wife of Dan C. Nugent, of St. Louis, Missouri, and Louise, wife of Lieutenant
D. J. Baker, Jr., of the Twelfth Infantry, United States Army. The Judge was
a member of the Knights of Honor and the Sons of Maccabees, and was a con-
vert to the Roman Catholic church. He died March i, 1891, and was buried in
Calvary cemetery, in Springfield, Illinois. Any monument erected to his mem-
ory and to commemorate his virtues will have become dim and tarnished by
time ere the remembrance of his noble example shall cease to exercise an in-
fluence upon the community in which he lived and labored to such goodly ends.

Jesse M. Freels, of East St. Louis, is the subject of the following paragraphs.
"Biography," said Carlyle, "is the most universally pleasant, the most universally
profitable of all reading." The reason for this is evident and may be found in
the words of Pope: "The proper study of mankind is man." Nature furnishes us
illustration and even lessons of value, but where is found the inspiration and
encouragement that comes through a story of heroic action, of successful ac-
complishment, of honorable purpose crowned by brilliant achievement, the
conquering of a seemingly adverse fate and triumph over great obstacles. The
man that gains a position of eminence in any calling must possess certain quali-
ties, perseverance, energy, determination and business aptitude; but he who


attains prominence in professional life must add to those strong mentality and
careful preparatory training. That Mr. Freels is possessed of these various
elements that go to make up the successful life is shown by his large clientage
and his enviable position as one of the foremost lawyers in his section of the

A native of Tennessee, he was born in Robertsville, Anderson county, Octo-
ber 13, 1842. His father, William S. Freels, was a prosperous planter whose
ancestors lived in Virginia and were supposed to be of Scotch-Irish extraction.
For many years the father was chairman of the county court of Anderson county,
and his death occurred there at the age of seventy-nine. His wife bore the
maiden name of Maria L. Tunnell, and was of English lineage.

Jesse McDonald Freels acquired his preliminary education in the country
schools of his native county and supplemented that training by a course in the
Tennessee University, at Knoxville, and later was graduated in Amherst College,
of Amherst, Massachusetts, as a member of the class of 1871. When his literary
education was completed he became a student in the law department of the
Iowa University, at Iowa City, and was graduated in that famous institution in
June, 1874, with the valedictorian honors of his class. In August of that year
he located in East St. Louis, entered upon the practice of law and soon after-
ward formed a partnership with the late Judge W. G. Case. About one year
later the connection was dissolved by mutual consent, Judge Case entering politi-
cal life. Since that time Mr. Freels has been alone in law practice, his business
being of an important character. He has served as counsel on some of the most
celebrated cases that have been tried in the courts of southern Illinois, where his
masterly arguments, his sound logic and his clear reasoning are unmistakable
evidence of his skill and ability. He has argued many cases and lost but few.
No one better knows the necessity for thorough preparation and no one more
industriously prepares his cases than he. His course in the court-room is char-
acterized by calmness and dignity that indicate reserve strength. He is always
courteous and deferential toward the court, kind and forbearing toward his ad-
versaries, and, while he examines a witness carefully and thoroughly, ever treats
him with respect. His handling of his case is always full, comprehensive and
accurate; his analysis of the facts is clear and exhaustive; he sees without effort
the relation and dependence of the facts and so groups them as to enable him to
throw their combined force upon the points they tend to prove. He has always
avoided criminal cases, making a specialty of corporation and other branches
of civil law. For two years he held the office of corporation counsel and his ser-
vices proved so valuable that he was retained for two years longer as special

During the Civil war Mr. Freels manifested a patriotic loyalty -to the Union
cause by enlisting in the federal army in February, 1862, when only nineteen
years of age. He was assigned to Company E, Third Tennessee Volunteer In-
fantry, participated in all the leading battles with his regiment, including the
engagements at Richmond and Perryville, Kentucky, Resaca, Georgia, and
those of the Atlanta campaign under command of Generals Thomas and Sher-


man. Later his regiment returned to Nashville, where the Union troops suc-
ceeded in defeating General Hood. After three years of faithful service, Mr.
Freels was mustered out at Nashville, at the close of the war. He has ever been
a public-spirited citizen, interested in the welfare and progress of county, state
and nation, and his aid and influence have been given to the support of all
measures for the public good. He exercises his right of franchise in behalf of
the men and measures of the Republican party, but has never been an aspirant
for office. Socially he affiliates with the blue lodge of Masons. He is a man
of upright character, one that subordinates personal ambition to public good
and seeks rather the benefit of others than the aggrandizement of self. Endowed
by nature with high intellectual qualities, to which were added the discipline
and embellishments of culture, his is a most attractive personality.

Mr. Freels has been twice married. On the i$th of November, 1882, he wed-
ded Miss Alice, daughter of John Tunnell, and they became parents of two chil-
dren: Arthur M. and Alice T. The mother died October 23, 1886, and Mr.
Freels was again married December 13, 1888, his second union being with Miss
Belle Baker, daughter of Captain Angus Baker, an extensive planter of Red
Banks, North Carolina. Three children graced this union: Jesse B., deceased;
John W. and Mary I.

John B. Hay, a member of the bar of Belleville, has spent his entire life in
this city, where his birth occurred January 8, 1834. His parents were Andrew
and Emily (Morrison) Hay, the former a native of Cahokia, St. Clair county, and
the latter of Kaskaskia, Illinois. He acquired his education in the common
schools and supplemented it by knowledge gained while working in a printing-
office. During his early boyhood he always took great interest in the transac-
tions of the courts, and as opportunity offered attended their proceedings. Thus
was awakened a desire to become a lawyer, which wish was gratified on his ad-
mission to the bar in 1851.

In 1862 Mr. Hay entered the Union army as a member of the One Hundred
and Thirtieth Illinois Infantry, and with the rank of adjutant served for about a
year. With the exception of this period he has continually engaged in the prac-
tice of the law and has attained a distinguished position among the able members
of the bar of St. Clair county. In the year 1860 he was elected state's attorney
for the judicial circuit composed of the counties of St. Clair, Madison and Bond,
and in 1864 was re-elected, proving a most able prosecutor, whom fear or favor
could not swerve from the path of duty. In 1868 he was elected to congress
from the old twelfth district of Illinois and re-elected in 1870. He became a
Republican upon the formation of the party, and was the candidate on that
ticket for state's attorney in 1856, the year in which the first Republican governor
of Illinois was elected. His official service was ever commendable, and his com-
prehensive understanding of political questions and his fervent Americanism
made him a most able representative of his district in congress. In the year 1886
he was elected judge of the county court of St. Clair county.

On the I5th of October, 1857, Mr. Hay was united in marriage to Miss
Maria L. Hinckley, who was born in Belleville only a short distance from the


birthplace of her husband. They are the parents of two sons: John, who was
born July 31, 1858, and William Sherman, born July 13, 1864. Both have fol-
lowed in their father's footsteps, professionally, the former being a lawyer of
Minneapolis, Minnesota, the latter of Chicago. John B. Hay is now one of the
older members of the bar of Belleville, and has for years maintained an honored
position among the legal fraternity by reason of his ability and his upright life.

Charles P. Wise, of Alton, was born in Emmittsburg, Maryland, March 15,
1839, and is a son of Peter and Harriet (Sneeringer) Wise. On the paternal side
the ancestors were farmers and mechanics, of Maryland, distinguished only for
their industry and integrity; on the maternal side they were farmers and land-
owners of Pennsylvania. The father of our subject was a miller by occupation
and built the large mill in Alton, Illinois, now owned by the Sparks Milling
Company. There he carried on business from 1840 until his retirement to pri-
vate life.

During his infancy Charles Peter Wise was brought by his parents to Illi-
nois, and in private schools at Alton pursued his education between the ages of
six and thirteen years. He then entered the St. Louis University, where he
completed the work of the classical course through the junior year, leaving that
institution at the age of eighteen. For about five or six months thereafter he
assisted his father in the mill, and then entered upon the study of law in the
office of the Hon. Levi Davis, of Alton, who directed his reading for two years,
after which he became a student in the Albany Law School, where he was grad-
uated in May, 1861.

Returning to Alton, Mr. Wise began there the practice of his chosen profes-
sion in September, 1861, and was a leading member of its legal fraternity until
January, 1892, when he formed a partnership with George F. McNulty and re-
moved to East St. Louis. His family had located in St. Louis some years pre-
vious. He votes the Democratic ticket, but has always refused to become a
candidate for political office, preferring to give his entire time and attention to
his profession and business interests. His practice is large and of a very im-
portant character, and the ability with which he masters the intricate problems of
jurisprudence insures him continued success. In his religious views he is a

On the 25th of December, 1865, Mr. Wise was married, in Wyandotte,
Kansas, to Miss Mary Josephine Weer, a daughter of William and Gloriana
(Hamilton) Weer. Her father was a celebrated lawyer, who served as United
States district attorney at Lecompton, Kansas, was afterward state senator, and
in the Civil war served his country as colonel of the Tenth Kansas Infantry. His
wife was a granddaughter of the distinguished Presbyterian divine, Rev. Gideon
Blackburn, who founded the Blackburn University at Carlinville, Illinois. To
Mr. and Mrs. Wise have been born eight children: Henrietta, born October 13,
1866; Charles E., born December i, 1869; Albert R., born August 6, 1872;
Blanche T., born August 8, 1875; Francis A., born August 14, 1878; Marie J.,
born October 31, 1880; Cyril P., born July 9, 1883, and Austin, who was born
July 5, r886, and died in infancy. The others are all yet living.


Judge Martin W. Schaefer, of the third judicial district, holds marked pres-
tige among those who occupy the benches of the various circuit courts of Illinois.
His career at the bar is one where merit has gained continuous advancement, and
his marked capability in handling the intricate problems of jurisprudence has
secured to him distinguished preferment in his chosen calling.

Judge Schaefer was born in Troy, Madison county, Illinois, March 20, 1857.
His father, Jacob Schaefer, was a native of Rhenish Bavaria, Germany, and with
his widowed mother emigrated to America, arriving in St. Louis in July, 1850.
Four years later Miss Margaret Noll, also a native of Rhenish Bavaria, took
up her residence in St. Louis, and the two were married. The father was a tailor
by trade and followed that pursuit in St. Louis until 1856, when he removed to
Troy, Madison county, Illinois. In 1858 he went to Lebanon, where he and his
wife are still living, each having reached the age of sixty-two years.

In the public schools of Lebanon Judge Schaefer acquired his early educa-
tion, which was supplemented by study in McKendree College, also of that city.
On the completion of the classical course he was graduated in June, 1876. He
possesses a very industrious and studious nature and during his boyhood attended
the public schools during the winter season, while in the summer months he
worked on a farm. Between the ages of fourteen and sixteen years he clerked in
a store in Lebanon, after which he entered college as before stated. On the com-
pletion of the classical work he made arrangements to pursue the study of law
under the direction of the law department of McKendree College, and at the
same time he engaged in teaching in the Franklin school west of O'Fallon, Illi-
nois. From 1877 until 1879 he devoted his energies to teaching and study and
in May of the latter year was admitted to the bar. He did not then begin prac-
tice, for his parents were desirous that he should embark in business in Leb-
anon, and from September, 1880, until October, 1881, he maintained a part-
nership connection with Seller's Bank, of that city.

Wishing, however, to devote his energies to professional labors, Judge
Schaefer removed to Belleville, November 27, 1881, and entered the law office
of Hay & Knispel, with whom he continued his studies for about a year. In
September, 1882, he formed a partnership with Hon. William H. Snyder, Jr.,
and in December, 1884, he entered into partnership with Hon. J. M. Dill, which
connection was continued until Mr. Schaefer's elevation to the bench in June,
1897. In the practice of law he found that his experience on the farm, in the
store, school-room and banking-house was highly beneficial, because no pro-
fession demands such an extensive and accurate knowledge of all lines of busi-
ness and modes of life as does the law. His mind is acute, clear, quick in per-
ception and rapid in deduction, just the kind that fitted him for a successful
nisi-prius practitioner. In' April, 1883, he was elected city attorney of Belle-
ville, and so ably did he fill that office that he was again chosen for the posi-
tion in 1885 and 1887. He soon became widely known as a very capa-
ble practitioner, and in November, 1888, was chosen state's attorney
for St. Clair county, to which position he was re-elected in 1892. Thor- .
oughly versed in the science of jurisprudence and equally at home in every


branch of the law, his defenses were able, logical and convincing. His argu-
ments showed thorough preparation and he lost sight of no fact that might
advance his client's interests and passed by no available point of an attack in
an opponent's argument. On the bench his rulings are ever just, incisive and
incapable of misinterpretation. With a full appreciation of the majesty of the
law he exemplifies that justice which is the inherent right of every individual,
and fearlessly discharges his duties with a loyalty to principle that knows no
'wavering. He has the respect of the entire bar of the third district and has
long occupied a place in the foremost rank of its distinguished members.

Judge Schaefer is an esteemed and prominent Odd Fellow, who in October,
1880, became a member of St. Clair Lodge, No. 119, of Lebanon. He trans-
ferred his membership to Pride of the West Lodge, No. 650, of Belleville, in
1883, and since 1884 has been a member of the Grand Lodge, serving as grand
master for one year, to which position he was elected in November, 1891. It
was during his term that the Odd Fellows' Orphans' Home at Lincoln, Illi-
nois, was dedicated.

Judge Schaefer was married November n, 1879, in Lebanon, Illinois, to
Louisa Weigel, daughter of John and Caroline (Art) Weigel, resident of Leb-
anon, where the father is engaged in merchandising. The children of Judge
and Mrs. Schaefer are Edna W., a student in Lindenwood College, of St.
Charles, Missouri; Leota M., who is attending the high school in Belleville;
Elmer W., Edwin M. and Otho E., who are students in the public school in
Belleville; and Anna Corinne, a little maiden of four summers. The family is
one of prominence in the community and their home is the center of a cultured
society circle.

Marshall W. Weir is an attorney of St. Clair county. The Weir family are
descendants of Scotch-Irish ancestors. Samuel Weir, the father of the subject
of this sketch, was born in Williamston, Pennsylvania, March 16, 1807. His
father, Samuel, was also born in Pennsylvania. His grandfather, the great-
grandfather of Marshall W., was born in county Londonderry, province of
Ulster, Ireland. He there grew to manhood and married, and came to this
country about the middle of the eighteenth century.

Samuel Weir, the father of Marshall W., was by trade a cabinet-maker.
While yet young he removed to Ohio and settled in Trumbull county, where,
on the 1 6th day of March, 1835, he married Miss Nancy Sophia Barnes, who
was born in the town of Gill, Franklin county, Massachusetts, September 14,
1812. Her father, Samuel Newton Barnes, and her grandfather, John Barnes,
were natives of New England. Her father married Miss Elizabeth Morley, a
daughter of John Morley. Both her grandfathers John Barries and John

Online LibraryJohn M. (John McAuley) PalmerThe bench and the bar of Illinois : Historical and reminiscent (Volume v.2) → online text (page 16 of 83)