John M. (John McAuley) Palmer.

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and he is in politics a Republican.

John C. Oxford was elected clerk of the circuit court in 1884, and held that
office for eight years. During his term as clerk he applied his spare time to the
study of law with Judge Ledbetter, and in 1891 was admitted to the bar. After
his admission to the bar he continued his legal studies until the clqse of his term
as clerk, in 1892, when he began the active practice of the law. By reason of the
superior knowledge he had gained of the records of the county, as the clerk,
and also owing to his extensive acquaintance, he at once entered on the practice
of law with more than ordinary advantages. He is now in partnership with
James A. Watson, under the firm name of Oxford & Watson. In politics he is
a Democrat.

Adolphus M. Baldwin began the study of law several years ago with the
late L. F. Plater, but the press of private business forced him to discontinue his
studies for a time. He eventually took up the study again, and in 1895 was ad-
mitted to the bar. Immediately upon his admission he became the junior mem-
ber of the firm of Fowler & Baldwin, and was at once thrown into active prac-
tice; in politics he is a Democrat.

John H. Ferrell, Jr., began the study of law with Richard F. Taylor, and
so continued until he was admitted to the bar, in 1896. During his preparation
for his profession he was a justice of the peace in the county-seat, and took
great pains to inform himself upon all questions of law upon which he was to
pass, and by this means his decisions were uniformly correct, and showed a clear
and distinct appreciation of his position as a judicial officer. He is now the
junior member of the firm of Taylor & Ferrell, and in politics is a Democrat.

Thomas H. Stubbs was elected superintendent of schools for this county
in 1890, and held that office until the expiration of his term, in 1894, and during
his term of office, in connection with his duties as superintendent, he studied
law with Mr. Plater, and later with Mr. Fowler. He was admitted to the bar
in 1896, and at once opened an office for business, which was not long in coming
his way. In politics he is a Democrat.

James A. Watson studied law'with Mr. Winders, and was admitted in 1896.
He at once began the practice of law and is now the junior member of the firm
of Oxford & Watson. In 1897 he was appointed village attorney for Elizabeth-
town, and resigned that position in the beginning of the year 1898. In politics
he is a Republican.

Jackson G. Young studied law with George W. Pillow, and was admitted
to the bar in 1896. Shortly afterward he removed to Marion, Williamson coun-


ty, and formed a partnership with a Mr. Fowler, of that place, in which he re-
mained for a short time, and then returned to this county and opened up an
office at Cave In Rock. In politics he is a Republican.

James A. Craig read law with Mr. Taylor, and was admitted to the bar in
1897. Shortly thereafter he formed a partnership with Mr. Winders, in which
position he continued for some time. After the dissolution of the partnership
he removed to Shetlerville, this county. In politics he is a Republican.

Richard H. McConnell studied law with Hon. H. R. Fowler, and was ad-
mitted to the bar in 1897. Thus far he has not engaged in the active practice
of law, but is a man of considerable force, and will, no doubt, at an early date
make for himself a name among the legal profession.



SAMUEL P. BRAINARD was the first lawyer who settled in Henry
county, Illinois. He located at Cambridge, about 1846 or 1847, an( i prac-
ticed law a few years, and was clerk of the court at the same time.

Henry Brainard was the second lawyer who located at Cambridge, late in
the '405. He also was clerk of the circuit court, as well as practicing lawyer.

Early in the '503 Julius Saul Hinman located at Cambridge, as a lawyer.
He was also county judge for many years. J. S. Burkels also located at Cam-
bridge as a lawyer early in the '503. In a few years he moved to Geneseo; he
was a first-class lawyer. Henry W. Wells located at Cambridge as a lawyer
about 1855, and moved to Peoria a few years later.

The first court held in the county was at Richmond, Judge Sheldon pre-
siding. Thomas Ford was our next judge, and remained on the bench until
1843, when he was elected governor. Thomas C. Browne was our next judge,
and served until about 1849, when the judges were elected by the people.

There were a number of very able lawyers, from other counties, who at-
tended the Henry county courts for the first dozen or fifteen years. They were
able and grand men, but they will be written up from their own counties. There
were Knox and Drury, of Rock Island; Julius Manning, of Knoxville and
later of Peoria; Peters and Knowlton, of Peoria; Norman H. Purple was our
first prosecuting attorney; Henry B. Stillman was at our courts from White-
side, county.

Hon. Jonas W. Olson, of 'Galva, is from the land of the midnight sun, as
Scandinavia has been poetically styled, from which country have come many of
the valued citizens of this commonwealth. He was born in Soderala, Sweden,
on the 3Oth of June, 1843; an d there is much in his history that is of general
interest, as it indicates a surmounting of difficulties and a mastering of expe-
dients which have enabled him to win a place among the able members of the
bar of central Illinois and to gain prestige as a leader in thought and action in
his section of the state. In his youth he was surrounded by disadvantages
which seemed almost ^insurmountable. He was left an orphan at the early age
of three years, and it was not until he had passed the fiftieth milestone on the
journey of life that he obtained authentic knowledge of the exact date of his

His father was the Rev. Olof Olson, who came to America in 1845 as the
representative of a colony who desired to seek religious liberty in "the land of
the free." He was connected with a religious movement in Sweden which
awakened the condemnation of the "established church," and the new sect were



forbidden to hold public services. It is said that Olof Olson was arrested and
made to pay heavy fines for holding meetings or conventicles in his own home,
and that had he been again arrested he would have been banished in conformity
with an old law, now obsolete, making that the penalty of holding such services
without the consent of the established church! This led him to seek a home
in the New World, and eleven hundred others of the same sect determined to
emigrate. Accordingly Rev. Mr. Olson was chosen to select a favorable loca-
tion for the colony, and in 1845 ne came to the United States, accompanied by
his wife and two children, their third child, Jonas W., who was then in very
delicate health, being left to the care of his grandmother and aunt, Catharina
Wilhelmina Petronella Skoglund, who were to bring him to America with the
colony the following year, if he were living, which seemed very doubtful when
the parents sailed for their new home. Emigration to this country was then
almost unknown among the Swedish people, but Olof Olson crossed the Atlan-
tic and finally made his way to central Illinois, where he selected Bishop Hill
as the site for the establishment of the colony. Accordingly, the following year
he was joined by that band of devoted Christian people whose influence was to
be widely felt in the affairs of Illinois.

The subject of this review was then only three years of age. His illness
had terminated in the paralysis of one limb, rendering him permanently lame,
and other troubles were to gather like clouds across the sky of his boyhood.
The day before he was brought by his aunt to his father's home his mother died;
his sister and brother were .shortly afterward called to the home beyond, and
his father and grandmother soon followed them "to that undiscovered country
from whose bourne no traveler returns." Thus left an orphan, h6 was taken by
his aunt, who had married Peter Dahlgren, to Galesburg, Illinois, where he at-
tended school for a time. After the removal of Mr. Dahlgren to a farm five
miles from Victoria, he walked a distance of two miles to attend school at Cen-
ter Prairie, a long and often difficult journey to one in his crippled condit'ion.
He continued to live with his aunt until fifteen years of age, when he was obliged
to earn his own livelihood, and was apprenticed to Ira C. Reed, of Lafayette, Illi-
nois, to learn the shoe trade, for whom he was to work for twenty-five dollars
per year; but so faithful and efficient was he that his employer paid him twice
that amount. On the completion of his apprenticeship he worked at his trade
for one year, until he had earned enough to enable him to attend the Galva
high school. When his money gave out he returned to his trade, and thus
worked and studied alternately for some time.

During this period of his life he became ambitious to enter the legal pro-
fession, and while working at his trade during the day devoted his mornings
and evenings to reading law. He subsequently studied law under the instruc-
tions of the late Hon. John I. Bennett, and was admitted to the bar in 1869.
His indefatigable industry, keen mental discernment, analytical power and
gifts of oratory have been the salient characteristics of his success as one of the
able practitioners at the bar of Illinois, and he now enjoys an excellent client-
age. His knowledge of law is thorough and broad, and his careful preparation


of cases, backed by -ability to strongly present the points in evidence to court
or jury, has won him many notable forensic victories. His fitness for leader-
ship and his close study of the political situation of the country also drew him
into political life, and by the vote of the people he was called to represent his
district in the state legislature in 1870. He served in the twenty-seventh gen-
eral assembly as the member from Rock Island and Henry counties, and al-
though one of the youngest members he took a very active and prominent part
on the floor of the house, served on several important committees and several
times was called upon to act as speaker pro tempore.

Only a short time prior to his election a very large number of the Swedish
immigrants, who had obtained work on the Peoria & Rock Island Railroad,
had, through the insolvency of the contractors, been swindled out of their
wages and were left penniless in a strange land, whose language they could not
speak. To remedy evils of this character and prevent the recurrence of such
injustice Mr. Olson procured the enactment of a law, of which he was the au-
thor and which has ever since remained on the statutes of Illinois, giving to
laborers who work for contractors or sub-contractors a lien upon all property
of the railroad corporation to secure their wages.

During the extra session of the legislature to consider the matter of the
Chicago fire he visited that city, together with the other members of the house,
and upon his return to Galva found his own home in ashes! Four times has
he had to suffer that disaster! but with unconquerable hope, born of great
force of character and determination, he has set to work to retrieve his lost
possessions. In 1881 he erected a fine business block in Galva which stands
as a monument to his enterprise and marked ability.

But his political prominence did not end with his service as state repre-
sentative. He is a man of great prominence and influence in Democratic cir-
cles, and is regarded as the best advocate of the Democracy among the Scandi-
navian people of the Mississippi valley. He voted the Republican ticket until
after the settlement of the war and all the questions arising out of that struggle;
but in 1872, like so many of its leaders, he withdrew from its ranks and has
since been an unfaltering advocate of the Democracy. His countrymen are
mostly Republicans, and being a great favorite among them, he could have un-
doubtedly won very high political honors at their hands had he not preferred
to maintain his honest convictions, even at the cost of personal honors and
prestige. In 1880 he was the Democratic candidate for state's attorney, and
although defeated on account of the overwhelming Republican majority in his
district, he received a very complimentary vote, running one thousand ahead
of his ticket and having nine hundred and' seventy-nine more votes than Han-
cock, the presidential candidate. In 1884 he was again his party's candidate,
but again met defeat. When Grover Cleveland was elected to the presidency
his labors in behalf of the Democracy were recognized by his appointment to
the position of postmaster of Galva, and during Cleveland's second adminis-
tration he also held that office. He has also been a member for the state at
large of the Illinois Democratic state central committee, and his opinions carry


weight in the councils of his party. He is a brilliant and effective campaign
orator, his public addresses in support of the Democratic platform being log-
ical, entertaining, instructive and convincing. He has done campaign work in
Illinois, Kansas and Iowa, and the state committees of all have gladly ac-
knowledged their indebtedness to him for his effective efforts.

That Mr. Olson occupies a high position in the ranks of the Democracy
of the west and enjoys the warmest regard of the party leaders is shown by the
fact of the hearty endorsement which he received from the western Democrats
as the candidate for appointment to the position of minister to Sweden and
Norway. It is said that the only thing which prevented his appointment was
the fact that he was of Swedish birth and technically a native-born subject of
that country. However this may be, the words of commendation which were
written concerning his candidacy may ever be a source of just pride to Mr.
Olson ; and to indicate his popularity in the party and among his friends we
quote the following:

To the President: It gives me pleasure to address you in recommendation of Hon.
Jonas W. Olson to appointment as resident minister to one of the Scandinavian nations,
Sweden and Norway or Denmark. Mr. Olson is a man whose loyalty to his party is
unquestioned and whose services in the last campaign, as hitherto, were conspicuous. He
is a man of undoubted ability, of large information on public questions, an alert and
vigorous thinker, forceful in statement and debate, of much personal and political influ-
ence, and, withal, a man whose moral qualities command general respect. Though born
across the sea, Mr. Olson is a man whose Americanism can be "writ large;" and no
sympathies which he may justly entertain for fatherland would have power to swerve
him from an undivided attachment to the land of his adoption or from fidelity to every
duty entrusted to him by it. In my judgment, Mr. Olson would represent your adminis-
tration abroad with ability and success.

Very respectfully,


The home life of Mr. Olson has ever been most happy. He was married
November 18, 1869, to Miss Carrie Matteson, daughter of Anson Matteson,
who at the time of his emigration from Sweden occupied the rank of major in
the Swedish army, having risen to that position from the rank of corporal. He
received a silver medal from the king on account of his efficiency as a soldier
and a swordsman. Mrs. Olson was born in Ugglebo, Sweden, June 5, 1848,
and came to this country when about eleven years of age. She now has three
children: Mary Aurora, born September u, 1870; Maude Violet, born No-
vember 10, 1876, and Mabel Winefred, born October 24, 1880. They are all
accomplished young ladies of estimable worth, and their parents are justly
proud of them. Mary Aurora graduated at Knox College June 12, 1896, and
is now first assistant postmaster at Galva. Maude Violet and Mabel Winefred
have graduated, with honors, at the Galva high school, both being valedic-
torians of their respective classes. Mabel Winefred has musical talent of a
high order, and aspires to obtain a thorough musical education.

Mr. Olson is one of the foremost Swedish-Americans of the entire coun-
try, and his fellow countrymen are proud to claim him as their representative.


Hampered by physical disadvantages, he has reached a height in professional
and political circles far above the many. He possesses splendid oratorical abil-
ity and his utterances have swayed large audiences and brought conviction to
the minds of many of his hearers. His life should certainly serve as a means
of encouragement and inspiration to others who are forced to early begin a
struggle for existence without the aid of pecuniary advantages or influential

General John H. Howe was born at Riga, Monroe county, New York,
September 12, 1822. In 1832 he went with his father to Connellsville, Penn-
sylvania, and assisted him to clear a farm in that densely timbered region; and
after this he obtained work on the Erie canal in order to earn money to enable
him to attend school at Austinburg, Ohio, namely, the Western Reserve Col-
lege, at which place he remained some time, finishing at Kingsville, that state.
He then commenced the study of law under E. B. Wooclbury, Esq., at Monroe,
same state, and was admitted to the bar in June, 1845, Benjamin F. Wade and
Joshua R. Giddings being his examiners. March 27, 1845, ne was married to
Miss Julia A. Castle. For ten years he followed his profession, in the counties
of Ashtabula, Lake and Geauga, living at Unionville, Lake county.

In 1855 he came to Kewanee, Illinois, continuing in the practice of law,
with marked success, until 1860, when he was elected circuit judge for the sixth
district of Illinois to fill the unexpired term of Judge Drury. August 7, 1862,
he enlisted in the war, raising two companies for the One Hundred and Twenty-
fourth Illinois Volunteers, and was mustered in at Springfield, Illinois, Septem-
ber 10, 1862, being elected lieutenant colonel upon the organization of the regi-
ment. He remained with the regiment during the war, acting for nearly the whole
period tis colonel. He was twice promoted, bearing at the time of his discharge
the rank of brigadier general. His regiment saw much active service, having
marched over four thousand one hundred miles, and having been engaged in
fourteen skirmishes, ten battles and two sieges, and having been under the fire
of the enemy eighty-two days and sixty nights ; but the close of the war found
him, from exposure and anxiety, broken in health; and, believing that a change
of climate might have a beneficial effect, he obtained an appointment as chief
justice of Wyoming territory, April 30, 1869. Judge Howe then presided over
the first female jury ever impaneled in this or any other country.

After three years' service upon the bench his health again failed, and he
returned to his home in Kewanee and tried to resume the practice of law. His
health not improving, his physician and friends advised him to go south, and
he obtained an appointment as one of the Mexican border commissioners. He
left Kewanee, accompanied by his wife, and after six weeks with his compan-
ion fell seriously ill at Laredo, Texas, lingering twenty-three days, and died
April 3, 1873, three hundred miles from railroad communications. Mrs. Howe
arrived April 17, 1873, with the remains of her late husband, who was buried
with Masonic and military honors in the Kewanee cemetery.

A true friend, a kind husband and father, an upright judge and citizen, an
able lawyer, a faithful and heroic soldier, such was Judge Howe.


John P. Hand became a member of the bar of Cambridge twenty-three
years ago. He was born in the county of which Cambridge is the seat of gov-
ernment on the loth of November, 1850, and acquired his education in the
Rock River Seminary, of Mount Morris, this state, and in the Iowa State Uni-
versity. Having determined to make the practice of law his life work, and
accordingly mastered many of the principles of jurisprudence, he was admitted
to the bar in 1875 and opened an office in Cambridge, and from the beginning
his practice steadily increased in volume and importance, and in various de-
partments of the law he demonstrated his ability to handle successfully the in-
volved and intricate problems of jurisprudence. So well had he demonstrated
his right to a place among the leading members of the profession that in 1885
he was nominated and elected county judge of Henry county, filling that posi-
tion for five years. On his retirement from the bench he became assistant
United States attorney for the northern district of Illinois, and in that capacity
acceptably served until 1894. He has since engaged in the private practice of
law and much legal business of an important nature is intrusted to his care.

On the 26th of October, 1871, Mr. Hand was united in marriage to Miss
Elizabeth Brayton, of Mount Morris, Illinois, and they now have one child,
Fred H v who was born April 27, 1874, and is now in Chicago.

Chester M. Turner, a member of the well known law. firm of Turner &
Streed, of Cambridge, was born in Toulon, Stark county, Illinois, November
i, 1861, his parents being Benjamin and Ruth A. Turner. The former was of
English descent and was born in Delaware, December 5, 1807. When a young
man he emigrated to Ohio, and thence in 1839 to Stark county, Illinois, becom-
ing one of the first settlers of Toulon; and there he carried on merchandizing
and farming for a number of years, and for sixteen years filled the position of
postmaster. He died March 21, 1887. His wife, who is of German and En-
glish descent, is a native of Wilkesbarre, Pennsylvania, and a descendant of the
Starks who figured so prominently in the early settlement of the Keystone
state, some of the family being killed in the historic Indian massacre in the
Wyoming valley, near Forty Fort; and of General Stark, of Revolutionary
fame. Mrs. Turner bore the maiden name of Ruth A. Myers, and her grand-
father Myers was also a Revolutionary hero. She is now living in Toulon,
Stark county.

In his youth Chester M. Turner assisted his father in the cultivation of the
home farm during the summer months and in the winter season attended
school. He was graduated in the high school of Toulon, Illinois, in 1879, and
in the autumn of that year entered Knox College, in Galesburg, where he com-
pleted the regular classical course by graduation in 1884. On account of his
father's ill health he was obliged to return home and take charge of the farm,
but his tastes were in the direction of the law, and he spent as much time as
possible in pursuing a course of law reading in the office of the Hon. M. Shal-
lenberger. From his boyhood he was always an interested auditor of court
proceedings in the old court-house at Toulon, and in August, 1888, having


largely mastered the principles of jurisprudence, he passed an examination in
Mount Vernon, Illinois, and was licensed to practice at the bar of this state.

The following winter Mr. Turner opened an office in Toulon, where he
continued to practice until June, 1890, when he came to Cambridge, Henry
county. For a time he was alone in business as the successor of Hon. William
H. Shepard, then recently deceased, but in the autumn of 1890 he entered into
partnership with John V. Streed, under the firm name of Turner & Streed,
which connection has since continued. Their business and clientage have con-
stantly grown and a large share of the law practice of the district is now en-
trusted to their care. They are most faithful to their clients, for whom they
have won many important suits as the result of their careful preparation, their
ability to determine the strongest points in evidence and to apply the correct
principles of law thereto.

While reading law in Toulon Mr. Turner served as police magistrate and
filled the position until his removal to Cambridge. Here he filled the office of
mayor for one term and is now, 1898, a member of the town council. He is
also for the fifth time filling the office of president of the board of education,
and the schools find in him a warm friend who is ever ready to advance their
best interests. He was also instrumental in organizing the Cambridge Electric
Light & Power Company and is a member of its directorate. He is a very
progressive and public-spirited citizen and withholds his support from no

Online LibraryJohn M. (John McAuley) PalmerThe bench and the bar of Illinois : Historical and reminiscent (Volume v.2) → online text (page 29 of 83)