John M. (John McAuley) Palmer.

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most acceptable and creditable manner, and in 1892 retired, since which time
he has never sought or held public office. His manner is one of modesty, yet
he is ever most courteous and kindly to those with whom he is brought in con-
tact, and those who are admitted to his friendship find him a most entertaining,
social man, always worthy the highest regard and esteem.

George A. Crow, of East St. Louis, was born in Massac county, Illinois,
March 17, 1860, and is a son of Jacob W. and Kezia (Sherwood) Crow. The
father, who followed the occupation of farming, was of Scotch-Irish extraction,
while the mother was of English lineage. He spent his boyhood in the manner
of most farmer lads. In the active, healthful pursuits of the farm, with plenty
of pure air and sunshine, wholesome food and exercise, the usual environ-
ments of an agricultural life, he grew strong and robust and sound of mind
and body. He obtained his elementary education in the district schools, and
in 1879 began teaching, but desiring to enter the legal profession he borrowed
some law books in 1880 and began studying them. He was aided and instructed
by Josiah P. Hodge, of Golconda, Illinois, and was admitted to practice in
February, 1884, after passing an examination at the bar of the appellate court,
in Mount Vernon, Illinois. He then began practice in Golconda, and at the
end of two years was nominated by the Republicans for county judge. He
was elected by a good majority and upon the expiration of his first term was
renominated and re-elected, notwithstanding the Populist landslide which de-
feated half the county ticket. In 1894 he was again renominated, and was
elected without opposition. In 1895, however, he resigned and removed to
East St. Louis, where he formed a partnership with Thomas E. Dempsey,
which connection is still continued under the firm name of Crow & Dempsey.

His reputation as a lawyer and judge he has won by honest, hard labor
and by an earnest endeavor to act fairly and justly. Fidelity to the interests
of his clients, a high sense of honor and integrity in all the relations of life are
among his characteristics. His diligence and energy in the preparation of his
cases, as well as the tenacity, zeal and courage with which he tries them at the
bar and pursues them on appeal, render him a formidable adversary. His
method is to present his arguments in the strong, clear light of common sense,
reason and sound legal and logical principles.

On the loth of October, 1883, Judge Crow married Miss Flora L. Hemp-
hill, whose death occurred June i, 1892. They had no children, but adopted


a nephew of Mrs. Crow's, Arthur F. Hemphill, who is still a member of the
Judge's family. On the i8th of December, 1895, he married Miss Nannie
Crow, and they have one son, Leslie S. ; born December 25, 1897. For a num-
ber of years the Judge has been a member of the Presbyterian church, served
as elder in Golconda, and is filling the same office in the First Presbyterian
church of East St. Louis. He is identified with the Masonic order and the
Knights of Pythias fraternity and is a Republican of the most uncompromising

The earlier lawyers of McLean county, who were members of the bar
before 1850, were as follows: Jesse W. Fell, Asahel Gridley, Washington
Wright, David Davis, Wells Colton, Amzi McWilliams, Kersey H. Fell, Wil-
liam H. Holmes, William H. Hanna, Major W. Packard, John M. Scott, John
H. Wickizer, and Leonard Swett. Of these all are deceased except Major W.

Thomas F. Tipton's life and career have been such as to suggest the fol-
lowing general reflections:

The glory of our republic is in the perpetuation of individuality and in the
according of the utmost scope for individual accomplishment. Fostered under
the most auspicious of surroundings that can encompass one who has the will
to dare and do, our nation has almost spontaneously produced men of finest
mental calibre, of true virile strength and vigorous purpose. The cradle has
not always been one of pampered luxury, but the modest couch of infancy has
often rocked future greatness. American biography thus becomes, perhaps,
one of more perfect individuality, in the general as well as the specific case,
than does that of any other nation of the globe. Of America is the self-made
man a product, and the record of accomplishments in this individual sense is
the record which the true and loyal American holds in deepest regard and high-
est honor. In tracing the career of the subject of this review we are enabled
to gain a recognition of this sort of a record, for he is a man of broadest intel-
lectuality and one who has attained to distinguished honors. For this reason
there is particular interest attaching to the points which mark his progress in
life, and this sketch is amply justified.

Thomas F. Tipton, who has just retired as circuit judge of the eleventh
judicial circuit of Illinois, was born near Harrisburg. Franklin county, Ohio,
on the 29th of August, 1833. The Tiptons have been residents of America
since the pre-Revolutionary period, and the representatives of the family as
disseminated throughout the Union all trace their genealogical record back to
the state of Maryland. The grandfather of our subject, Sylvester Tipton, re-
moved from Maryland to what is now central Ohio, about the year 1790, this
section being at that time part of the Northwestern territory. Here he followed
the vocation of school-teaching until he was nearly eighty years of age. He
reared a family of eight children, four sons and four daughters. His young-
est son, Hiram, was the father of the immediate subject of this review.

Hiram Tipton was born in 1802, and devoted his life to agricultural pur-
suits. In 1827 he was united in marriage to Deborah Ogden, a daughter of


Albert Ogden, of Fayette county, Ohio. After his marriage he remained in
Franklin county until 1837, when he removed to Pickaway county, Ohio, and
there remained until the fall of 1844, when he left the Buckeye state, and took
up his abode in McLean county, Illinois, where he died on the 2Oth of March,
1845, leaving his widow and three small children, namely: Thomas F., subject
of this sketch; John, now a resident of Saybrook, Illinois; and Jane, who is
the wife of William S. Tuttle, who died September 26, 1885. He also was a
resident of Saybrook, where his widow still resides.

Thomas F. Tipton began his individual efforts in life at the early age of
twelve years, living with his uncle, John Ogden, and devoting his time during
the summer months to work on the farm, while in the winters he was enabled
to attend the district schools. He continued in this routine until he had at-
tained the age of sixteen years, after which he attended school for two years
at Lexington, where he pursued his studies under the effective tutorage of
Colonel William N. Color. After putting his acquirements to practical test by
teaching school for a year, he made ready to prepare himself for that profession
which his ambition had led him to adopt as his vocation in life. He entered
the law office of H. N. Keightley, a prominent attorney of Knoxville, Illinois,
and was licensed to practice law on the 6th of June, 1854, being then in his
twenty-first year. He opened an office in Lexington, this state, and at once
entered vigorously upon the practice of his profession, retaining his residence
in Lexington for a period of seven years, and gaining no little prestige by
reason of his ability and determined efforts. In January, 1862, he removed to
Bloomington, and in the spring of the following year he here formed a pro-
fessional association with Judge R. M. Benjamin, one of the framers of the
state constitution of 1870. In 1868 Hon. Lawrence Weldon, now one of the
judges of the United States court of claims, became a member of the firm,
which gained recognition as one of the ablest legal associations in central

In 1866 Mr. Tipton was appointed by Governor Oglesby as state's attor-
ney of the old eighth judicial district, which incumbency he held for two years.
The firm of Weldon, Tipton & Benjamin continued until August, 1870, at
which time our subject was elected circuit judge of the eighth circuit, which
then comprised the counties of McLean, Logan and De Witt, and he accord-
ingly retired from the firm. In 1873 the circuit was changed, and the new
eighth comprised the counties of McLean and Ford. He was elected judge of
the new circuit, and his tenure in that office continued until 1877. In the fall
of the preceding year he had been elected, as a Republican, to the forty-fifth
congress, and his resignation of the office of circuit judge was tendered on the
ist of March, 1877. His service in the halls of congress was characterized by
that sterling wisdom and practical judgment which he had shown so perfectly
in his professional career, and was of that discriminating and faithful order
which not only gained to him the endorsement of his constituents but which
gained him recognition as an honest representative and a true statesman.

Sodn after the adoption of the state constitution, in 1870, a case was


brought before Judge Tipton which involved the question as to the right of
railroad corporations to discriminate against localities in charging more for a
less than a greater distance for transportation on the same line and in the same
division. His decision in that case fully sustained the position of the people
and asserted the constitutional powers of the legislature to control the charges
of railroad corporations and to prevent extortions and unjust discriminations.
This was the first of a series of cases that came before the courts of Illinois, and
all were watched with absorbing interest, not only by the people of the state
but by the whole country, until the constitutional powers of the legislature to
regulate railroad and warehouse charges and thereby to protect the public
against imposition, were finally established by the supreme court of the United
States in what are known as the Granger cases.

After Judge Tipton returned from congress he was again actively con-
cerned in the practice of his profession until 1891, when he was again elected
one of the circuit judges for what is now the eleventh judicial district, com-
posed of the counties of McLean, Livingston, Kankakee, Iroquois and Ford,
which office he held for six years, retiring in June, 1897, and resuming the
practice of the law.

Judge Tipton is a man of broad intellectual culture, and has ever main-
tained a lively interest in the higher forms of literature, his private library
being one of exceptionally comprehensive arid select order as touching the
purely literary productions, while his law library is considered as one of the
best private collections in the state. While practicing at the bar he proposed
and secured the organization of the Bloomington Law Library Association,
which has full sets of all the state and federal reports, besides most of the
English reports. His services in this regard are not to be held in light esti-
mation, for they have secured to Bloomington an accession which will be of
lasting value and constant benefit.

The marriage of Judge Tipton to Mary J. Strayer was consummated in
Bloomington, in the year 1856. Mrs. Tipton is a native of Logan co.unty,
Ohio, being the daughter of Nicholas Strayer, whose demise occurred prior to
her marriage.

To Judge and Mrs. Tipton seven children have been born, two of which
number died in infancy. Harry V. died March 31, 1887, at the age of twenty-
seven years. Belle E. is the wife of E. E. VanSchoick, of Hastings, Nebraska.
Helen F. is the wife of William R. Bair, of Bloomington; and Laura B. and
Thomas W. still abide beneath the parental roof.

Judge Tipton is a man of distinctive ability and his character is one which
is above a shadow of reproach. He has been faithful to the high offices in
which he has been called to serve, and is widely known and respected by all
who have be.en at all familiar with his honorable and useful career.

Judge Owen T. Reeves. It is always a pleasurable task for the historian
to chronicle the deeds of a good and great man, such an one as he of whom we
now write. No flattery, no eulogy is needed, only the simple, unembellished
record of a noble life, nobly lived. With some men the law is a trade; with


Judge Reeves it has been a science. Endowed by nature with sound judgment
and an accurate, discriminating mind, he delights in penetrating the disguises
of the crafty, and bringing truth and justice to light. He possesses a high
moral sense which tolerates only fairness, right and goodness. Popular pas-
sion never sways his judgment, nor has personal ambition moved or deterred
him where he felt his path of duty clearly marked out before him. When he
was elevated to the bench the keenly analytical powers of his mind had full
play, not in the advocacy of one side of a question but in the careful weighing
of both sides presented, and in the concentration of all his faculties upon the
point to be elucidated,

The parents of our subject, William and Mary (McLain) Reeves, were
natives of Virginia and Ohio, respectively. The birth of the Judge took place
in Ross county, Ohio, December 18, 1829, and his early education was such
as the public schools and village academy afforded. In 1850 he was graduated
at the Ohio Wesleyan University, after which he taught in the college for two
years with success. He then went to Chillicothe, Ohio, and became principal
of the high school there. At the close of the school year, however, he entered
upon the study of law and in 1854 was admitted to the bar.

Coming to Bloomington the same year, Mr. Reeves established himself
in practice, and has since considered himself a citizen of the place. In 1861
he was elected city attorney, and in the spring of the following year, true to
his patriotic impulses, he recruited the Seventieth Regiment of Illinois Infan-
try, and was elected colonel of the same, and went with his men to the front.
In October of the same year he was mustered out of the service and resumed
his interrupted practice. Though he has not neglected his legal work, he has
from time to time identified himself with several enterprises of local impor-
tance. In 1867 he with others engaged in the building of the Lafayette, Bloom-
ington & Mississippi Railroad (now the Lake Erie & Western), and up to 1877
he was the general solicitor of this road. At that time he was elected to the
circuit bench, to fill out an unexpired term. In 1879 he was re-elected and
again in 1885, retiring in 1891, with a record for judicial impartiality and firm-
ness which his associates of the bar are proud to mention. Later he served
for three years on the appellate court bench at Mount Vernon. In 1874, with
Judge Reuben M. Benjamin, Judge Reeves organized the Bloomington Law
School, the law department of the Wesleyan University. He has since given
to the institution his helpful support and guidance, being the dean of the school
for the past seven years. As he has been in full control of the same it is almost
needless to say that the school has flourished and prospered until to-day it
enjoys a reputation extending far beyond the limits of the state.

Such, in brief, is the outline of Judge Reeves' busy and useful career. By
continuous devotion to the highest demands of his profession, by an ability
equal to the most severe requirements, and by an integrity that has never been
deflected from the true line of right and duty, he has won his way into the
front ranks of a body of men who, collectively, are the ablest lawyers of the


Robert L. Fleming has a character suggesting the following general
reflections: In no country of the world does merit and genuine worth so soon
forge its way to the front as in America, and this is one of the proudest boasts
of our beloved land. We hold that a man of noble character and superior tal-
ents, a faithful citizen and patriot, should take precedence of the merely titled
or wealthy man; that brains, energy and enterprise, love of country and a
broad humanitarian view of things are the measures of true greatness. For
that reason, therefore, we know no prouder tribute for a successful man than
this: that he is "self-made;" and under this category multitudes of the best .
and most honored citizens of this glorious republic have come, justly glad of
the fact that by their own undaunted ambition and perseverance in a well laid
out path they had reached the goal of their labors.

Robert L. Fleming belongs to this class of men. Possessing undoubted
talent and a great desire to rise in the legal profession, which was his choice
of an occupation, he fought many a battle with adverse circumstances, and at
last bore off the palm of success. Born in Athens, Illinois, February 15, 1861,
he is a son of William and Isabel (Burbridge) Fleming, who were natives
respectively of Pennsylvania and Indiana. The boyhood of our subject passed
uneventfully, much of his time being given to the mastery of the fundamental
principles of knowledge as taught in our public schools. His higher studies
were pursued in the Illinois State Normal School, where he fitted himself for
teaching. Having done so, he obtained a certificate and taught in the schools
of McLean county for about one year and for three years in the schools of
Piatt county. He met with gratifying success in this occupation, but he had
no desire to continue in it longer than necessary, only using it as a means of
future progress. When he could see his way clear to taking up the study of
law he commenced his real life work, and after two years of earnest labor, his
studies being directed by Fifer & Phillips, he was admitted to the bar, in 1887,
and immediately began practice as a member of the Bloomington bar.

On the 3d of November, 1896, Mr. Fleming was elected to the office of
state's attorney, and has since ably and faithfully met the responsibilities of
this important position. He was the city attorney of Normal for eight years
and was township collector for one year. Politically an active Republican, he
was chairman of the county central committee for some time.

Hon. Frank Y. Hamilton, prominent in the legal profession of Blooming-
ton, has occupied a leading place not only in legal circles of this section but
also has borne his part in the world of politics and public affairs. Always
active in the support of the Republican party, and thoroughly imbued with its
principles from his boyhood, he has been an important factor in local cam-
paigns and was elected to serve in the thirty-fifth general assembly of Illinois,
where he remained for one term.

A native of Ohio, Mr. Hamilton was born December 27, 1852, in Rich-
wood, Union county. His father, Samuel Hamilton, was a native of Maryland,
while his mother, whose maiden name was Nancy McMorris, came from the
state of Virginia. They removed with their little family to Illinois in 1854, and


the father, now arrived at the ripe age of eighty-four years, is a resident of
Wenona, Marshall county, this state.

As he was almost an infant when he was brought to this state, Frank Y.
Hamilton can lay claim to being an Illinois boy. He acquired his education
here in our public schools, and grew to maturity in central Illinois. In 1871,
desiring to better qualify himself for the duties of life, he went to Adrian, Mich-
igan, and pursued a course in Adrian College, graduating in 1874. Returning
to La Salle county, Illinois, he engaged in teaching school for some seven
years, making quite a success as a pedagogue. In 1881 he came to Blooming-
ton, with the purpose of studying law, and to that end entered the office of
Rowell & Hamilton, the junior member of that firm being his brother. Ad-
mitted to the bar in June, 1883, our subject at once engaged in practice and
opened an office in this city. He has always been alone in business and has
made a success of his undertaking. He enjoys a large and remunerative prac-
tice, of a general nature, and has been the corporation counsel for the Big
Four Railroad for several years, having succeeded his brother as their local
attorney. Fraternally, he is identified with the Masonic order, being a member
of Bloomington Lodge,. No. 43, A. F. & A. M.

August n, 1875, Mr. Hamilton married Miss Emma J. Cone, of Ohio.
She died March 9, 1888, leaving one son and one daughter. July 22, 1890, Mr.
Hamilton married Miss Olive A. Hudson, of this city. For several years prior
to her marriage Mrs. Hamilton was the principal of one of the largest schools
in Bloomington, and for a number of years she has been a valued member of
the city board of education. Mr. and Mrs. Hamilton are members of the Pres-
byterian church and are respected and highly esteemed by a large circle of
acquaintances and friends, here and elsewhere.

Major Wellman Packard, whose first name is Major, this not being a
title, was admitted to the Illinois bar more than half a century ago, and for
nearly all of this period he has been an active member of the legal profession
of this city. From a political standpoint he is a Democrat of the old school,
and though never desirous of holding public office he has been a worker in
the ranks of his party. His practice has been of a general character, compris-
ing the several branches of civil law, in which he is thoroughly conversant,
practical and skillful.

The paternal grandfather of Mr. Packard bore the name of Richards Pack-
ard. He was one of the heroes of the Revolution, and received a pension for
his gallant services in after years, his widow subsequent to his death being
continued as a pensioner of the grateful government of the United States.
Following the patriotic example of his father, John A. Packard, the father of
M. W., also took up arms for the defense of this country against England, in
the war of 1812, but was not required in active service. Both of the parents of
our subject, John A. and Miriam (Bullock) Packard, were natives of Ver-

The birth of M. W. Packard occurred in Stanstead county, Canada, a
portion of Vermont set off to Canada by the Ashburton treaty, May 31, 1820.


In his boyhood he received a good education in the practical branches of
learning in the public schools of his community, and, being an apt student,
made the best of his opportunities. In 1844 he came to Illinois, where he
believed that a wider sphere awaited him, and the same year he entered upon
the study of law under the guidance of Colonel Gridley. Later he was under
the tutelage of Judge David Davis, and in the winter of 1846 he was admitted
to the bar, the oath being administered by Ebenezer Peck, then clerk of the
supreme court of Illinois. In 1850 the young man, possessing the enthusiasm
of early manhood, started for the gold fields of California and was absent for
five years, at the end of which time he returned and resumed his practice. His
first partner after he came back from the Pacific coast was Robert E. Wil-
liams, with whom he was associated several years. Subsequently Mr. Packard
was in partnership with Hudson Burr, but when the Civil war came on, their
connection was dissolved by mutual consent. The cause of education has
always found a sincere friend in Mr. Packard, and for some nine years he acted
as a member of the school board of Bloomington, being president of that hon-
orable body for four years. For two-score years or more he has been an ardent
believer in the tenets of spiritualism.

Two years after his arrival in Illinois he married Miss Maria Bullock,
whose death occurred about two years afterward, in April, 1848. Their only
child, a son, died in infancy. After Mr. Packard's return from California,
in May, 1857, he married Miss Ellen Harris, and there have been born unto
them four children, two sons and two daughters. The eldest son died in
infancy, the others are living and married.

Reuben Moore Benjamin, the youngest son of Darius and Martha (Rog-
ers) Benjamin, was born at Chatham Center, Columbia county, New York,
June 29, 1833. His father was a soldier in the war of 1812, and his grand-
father, Ebenezer Benjamin, was a captain in the Revolutionary army. His
father and his maternal grandfather, Timothy Rogers, were of English, while
his maternal grandmother, Sarah (Moore) Rogers, was of Welsh extraction.

Online LibraryJohn M. (John McAuley) PalmerThe bench and the bar of Illinois : Historical and reminiscent (Volume v.2) → online text (page 18 of 83)