John M. (John McAuley) Palmer.

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and commenced practice at once, following the law for eight years, until his
death, in 1870. He had been mayor one term, and was city attorney at the
time of his death. Henry K. Boyle was admitted in 1865, and practiced six or
seven years, when he died. He was a good lawyer, a partner of Colonel Dickey
and was mayor of Ottawa one term. Alexander T. Cameron was admitted the
same year with Mr. Boyle, and after several years went west. John H. Shep-
herd, admitted in 1866, was county treasurer two years and died of consump-
tion. He practiced but little. Thomas S. Bowen, who was treasurer imme-
diately preceding Shepherd, was admitted to practice the same year. He died
soon after. Herman Silver, admitted also the same year, practiced a few years
and went to Colorado. He was of moderate ability as a lawyer.

Cyrus Leland, a son of Lorenzo, graduated at Yale and was admitted here
in 1867. After a few years he went to Kansas, where he has a good practice.
Benjamin M. Armstrong, admitted the same 'year, was here a little time, and
then went to southern Kansas.

Charles H. Brush, admitted also the same year, practiced a number of
years and then went to Minnesota, in consideration of delicate health. He was
a promising young lawyer.

Charles H. Oilman was one of La Salle county's most eminent citizens,
and for a quarter of a century a prominent member of the bar. He was born
at East Windham, Connecticut, in 1817. Receiving a good high-school educa-
tion, he was engaged in various occupations, such as farming and clerking by
turns, until 1840, when he directed his steps westward. He first located in
that year at Peru, in this county, and soon afterward bought a farm and went
to work upon it in Troy Grove, adjoining the village of Homer. Marrying
about that time the daughter of Hon. Asa Mann, a former prominent and well
known Pennsylvania politician, but then a resident of Troy Grove, he settled
down to farm work, filling at the same time the office of justice of the peace
and other, local positions. Ten or twelve years later he removed to Mendota
and commenced the practice of law, for which he had been by years of study
preparing himself, and by 1869 his professional ability became so well recog-
nized that he was elected to the important office of county judge of La Salle
county, the duties of which position he discharged with exceptional ability.
Subsequently he was also elected a member of the state board of equalization
from this congressional district, an office for which, by his careful, thoughtful
and methodical habits, he was peculiarly fitted. Retiring from office, he formed
a partnership with Hon. Washington Bushnell for legal practice at Ottawa,
and subsequently with his son-in-law, Mr. Cook, of which firm he remained
the head until his death, which occurred April 14, 1880, the result of an acci-

As a lawyer, Judge Gilman was well read, careful, and in counsel always
safe. Displaying no especial forensic ability, he was trusted more for his care
and faultless accuracy in preparing his cases and especially his pleadings. He
despised all legal dodges and tricks; his only care was to get at the exact facts
and justice of the case. He was a man not only thorough in his legal studies,


but had a thinking, plodding, philosophical mind which made him, aside from
his legal profession, a devotee of scientific studies, especially in the direction
of geology, mineralogy and anthropology.

The first practicing lawyer to reside at Streator was H. N. Ryon, who came
to this city in the autumn of 1867.

Hiram N. Ryon, senior member of the law firm of Ryon & Son, of
Streator, was born in Lawrenceville, Tioga county, Pennsylvania, on the 2Oth
of February, 1832. The family is of Irish lineage, and was foundeti in America
by the great-grandfather of our subject, who emigrated from the north of Ire-
land in 1660, and located in Connecticut. In that state the grandfather of our
subject was born, removing thence to Wyoming valley, Pennsylvania. He was
a colonel in the state militia and was in command of some of the troops at the
time of the memorable massacre of Wyoming. He died at a very advanced
age. John Ryon, an uncle of Hiram N., was a very prominent lawyer of Penn-
sylvania, and for more than thirty years was one of the three associate judges
of the circuit court of his district. James Ryon t father of Hiram N., was also
a native of Pennsylvania, and was by occupation a farmer. He married Sarah
Place, a native of the same state and a daughter of Jacob Place.

Hiram N. Ryon was reared upon a farm in Kendall county, Illinois, where
his father had located in 1838. He attended the public schools of that neigh-
borhood until fifteen years of age, and then entered the academy at Pavilion,
where he pursued his studies for eighteen months. On the expiration of that
period he became a student in Rock River Seminary, at Mount Morris, Ogle
county, where he remained for four years, acquiring a broad general education
which well fitted him for life's practical duties. His professional education
was pursued under the direction and with the assistance of Hon. W. E. Ives,
of Amboy, Illinois. He began practice in Ogle county, Illinois, where he re-
mained for a short time, and then went to Sacramento, California, where he
remained for seven years. Returning then to Illinois, he located in Streator,
where he has since engaged in a general law practice, handling many impor-
tant cases in the various courts of the state. In 1886 he admitted his son to a
partnership in the business, and the firm of Ryon & Son is now enjoying a
very extensive and lucrative clientage, which is given them by reason of their
pronounced skill in handling intricate law problems.

In 1854 Mr. Ryon was united in marriage to Miss Anna E. Hiddleson, of
Kendall county, Illinois, a daughter of William Hiddleson, a prominent early
settler and successful farmer of that county. They have three sons and a
daughter, Oscar B., who is associated with his father in business; Charles E.,
superintendent and general manager of the Streator Cathedral Glass Com-
pany; Clara V., wife of John C. Wheeler, a resident of Piano, Illinois; and
Ralph M., a student in the College of Physicians and Surgeons, of Chicago.

In politics Mr. Ryon has always been an ardent Republican. Socially he
is connected with Streator Lodge, No. 607, A. F. & A. M. He has never held
an office, nor has he ever been a candidate for office; but he has aided in or-
ganizing several of the leading industries of the city and at all times has been


active in promoting those interests which have for their object the improve-
ment and -advancement of town and county.

The second arrival of the legal fraternity was named Pratt ; but little is re-
membered of him. He was here but a short time.

Orlando Chubbuck visited Streator in the autumn of 1868, and opened an
office, but did not make his home here until 1870, when he removed his family
to this place. He was the first village attorney of Streator and held that posi-
tion five years.

Charles Blanchard, when his present term as judge of the ninth judicial
circuit shall have ended, will have occupied that bench for nineteen years.
Such a statement is the highest praise that can be given of faithful service, of
superior ability, of profound legal wisdom and of strict impartiality in the dis-
charge of judicial duty.

For almost thirty-seven years Judge Blanchard has been a resident of
Ottawa, and during the greater part of the time he has been in the public
service in the line of his profession. He was born in Peacham, Vermont, Au-
gust 31, 1829, and was reared upon his father's farm in his native county, his
education being principally acquired in the district schools near his home. For
a period of six weeks through three successive winters he walked from his
father's farm to the neighboring village, a distance of two miles, to attend a
school which was known by the more pretentious name of academy. During
a portion of the time he attended the fires and rang the bell in order to pay his
tuition. Before attaining his majority he worked as a farm hand in the neigh-
borhood of his home, and when he had earned forty dollars he started with
that capital for the west, arriving at Peru, Illinois, in the autumn of 1850, with
but five dollars remaining. He then made his way to Granville, this state,
where he engaged to teach school through the winter for a dollar per day and
board himself. The following spring he went to Hennepin, where he engaged
in teaching, and through the season of vacation devoted his energies to read-
ing law.

After successfully passing an examination before Judge Treat, in Spring-
field, Illinois, he was admitted to the bar, and then, having taught school in
order to secure the means necessary to purchase law books, he opened an
office in Hennepin, but soon removed to Peru, where he practiced his profes-
sion until -his removal to Ottawa, in 1861. From that time his professional
career has been attended by success. He steadily built up a good practice, as
he demonstrated by his work in the courts his ability to handle the intricate
problems of the law in its various branches. In November, 1864, he was
elected state's attorney of the district, composed of La Salle, Bureau and Ken-
dall counties, and re-elected in 1868, his term expiring December i, 1872. He
then engaged in the private practice of law until August i, 1884, when he was
appointed by Governor Hamilton to fill out the unexpired term of Judge
Goodspeed, who resigned his position on the bench of the ninth judicial cir-
cuit. At the regular election, in June, 1885, Judge Blanchard was elected to
the position, and in 1891 and 1897 was again chosen by popular vote for that


office, so that his service will continue until 1903. His mind is keenly analytical
and his opinions are clear, concise and just. The public has expressed in unmis-
takable terms its opinion of his service by three times electing him to this
important office.

While on the bench Judge Blanchard fully sustains the dignity of the law,
realizing the importance of the position through which man finds protection
for life, liberty and property; but when he lays aside the "judicial ermine" he
is very genial and approachable, with a keen appreciation of friendship, always
showing a loyal interest in and attachment for his friends.

The Judge has been twice married. In Hennepin, Putnam county, Illi-
nois, in 1852, Miss Sarah H. Cudgel, daughter of Isaac and Sarah (Hormel)
Guclgel, became his wife. They had four children: Sidney, an attorney at law;
Mae; Herman S.: and Charles, who died in infancy. Mrs. Blanchard, who
was a member of the Congregational church, died April 16, 1880. On the 3ist
of December, 1884, the Judge married Mrs. Sylvia A. Bushnell, daughter of
Jay and Jeannett Carner, formerly of Athens, Pennsylvania, but now deceased.

Maurice T. Moloney, a prominent lawyer of Ottawa, and one of the dis-
tinguished leaders of the Democracy in Illinois, was born in county Kerry,
Ireland, on the 26th of July, 1849, an d came to the United States in 1867, at
the age of eighteen years. A survey over the various fields of labor to which
men direct their energies and attention was followed by a resolve to make the
practice of law his life work, and to this end he matriculated in the University
of Virginia, in which institution he was graduated in the class of 1871, with the
degree of Bachelor of Law. Later he was admitted to the bar of Virginia, and
the same year he emigrated westward, locating in Ottawa, Illinois. He then
sought and obtained admission to the bar of this state, and rapidly won his way
to a place among the foremost practitioners of La Salle county. In 1879-81
he served as city attorney of Ottawa, and in 1884 was elected state's attorney
for a four-years term. He discharged the duties of both positions with the
utmost ability, faithfulness and fearlessness, and won the high commendation
of the bench and bar of La Salle county. Much important private legal busi-
ness was entrusted to his care, and his mastery of the intricate problems of
jurisprudence was shown by the success which crowned his efforts in the court-
room. He now maintains a law office in Chicago, although still making his
home in Ottawa, and has secured a large and lucrative clientage in the western

Mr. Moloney has long been one of the most important factors in Illinois
politics, and is a recognized leader in the ranks of the Democracy. In 1892 he
was nominated by the Democratic state convention for the office of attorney
general and in November' was elected to that office, in which he served for
four years. That epoch in his career has become a matter of history. It was
at all times commendable, being marked by the strictest fidelity to duty and a
devotion to the cause of justice which knew no wavering. Neither fear nor
favor could swerve him from the path he believed to be right, and his service
augmented the honors which his party has won in the state. A contemporary


biographer has said of him: "No man who ever filled the distinguished posi-
tion of attorney general of the state of Illinois has made his name more widely
known through the length and breadth of the Union than Maurice T. Moloney.
His continual struggle with the great trusts of the country, and his fortitude
in seeking them out, has never been equaled. It is said that he was one of the
very few men in the state of Illinois with whom the Rothschilds ever sought to
secure an acquaintance. He is considered a leader of the silver element of
the state, and so sound is his judgment and so wise is he in the matter of party
management and policy that he will long maintain his prominent place in the
ranks of the Democracy."

Henry Mayo, who has engaged in the practice of law at the bar of Ottawa
for thirty-three years, was born in Ithaca, Tompkins county, New York, July
28, 1836, a son of Hiram and Polly Mayo. His parents were plain people,
industrious and honest, and the son was trained to habits of industry, economy
and integrity. He acquired a fair English education in the schools of his
native city and supplemented it by a high-school course in Ottawa, Illinois.
He lost his mother when four years of age, and when a young man of seven-
teen left home. Desirous to improve himself by education he made his own
way through high school and college, meeting his expenses with money earned
at teaching. He was a student in Hillsdale College, at Hillsdale, Michigan, in
1858-59, and left that institution in order to accept the position of principal in
one of the city schools of Ottawa, in 1860. He continued teaching until after
the inauguration of the civil war, when in 1861 he put aside all personal con-
siderations in order to respond to the president's call for troops, enlisting in
Company I, Eleventh Illinois Infantry. He remained at the front while his
services were needed to defend the Union, and then resumed the duties of
civil life in Ottawa, where he has made his home continuously since 1854.

Having made himself familiar with the principles of jurisprudence, Mr.
Mayo was admitted to the bar in 1865, and in his law practice has met with
reasonable success. For more than twenty-six years he was the senior partner
in the firm of Mayo & Widmer, which took rank with the leading firms of the
circuit. The practice which Mr. Mayo has conducted has been such as falls
to the lot of the attorney in small cities, embracing nearly the whole range of
legal inquiry. He has been connected with some very important litigated in-
terests and his ability has brought him distinction among the representatives
of the legal profession. By the election of the county board of supervisors' he
held the office of county attorney for twelve years, from 1869 until 1881, and
by vote of the people was chosen state's attorney, in which position he ac-
ceptably served from 1872 until 1880. In addition to the work of his law prac-
tice he is discharging the duties of postmaster of Ottawa, to which he was ap-
pointed in 1898. His life has been a very busy one, and, entirely dependent upon
his own resources from an early age, the success which he has achieved is in-
deed creditable.

In 1862, in Ottawa, Mr. Mayo married Miss Isabella M. Kistler, and they
have four sons and two daughters. They are widely and favorably known in


social circles, and Mr. Mayo is a popular member of various fraternities. He
became a member of Occidental Lodge, No. 41, of Masons in 1873, a Knight
Templar in 1875 and served as Eminent Commander of Ottawa Commandery,
No. 10, from 1892 to 1895 inclusive. He has also held the office of worthy
patron of Mary E. Chapter, Order of the Eastern Star, and belongs to Seth C.
Earl Post, G. A. R. In all of these organizations he has filled various offices,
and is a worthy exemplar of their benevolent teachings. He has long been
deeply interested in all that pertains to the welfare and advancement of his
adopted city and for seventeen years has been a member of the school board,
the cause of education finding in him a faithful friend. For the past eight
years he has also been one of the trustees of the Reddick Public Library, and
eight times has been elected supervisor of his town. In politics he has always
been a stanch Republican, the intense Whig proclivities of his father undoubt-
edly having much to do with his strong preference for the Grand Old Party.
He has taken an active part in campaign work since 1860, when he canvassed
the county in support of Abraham Lincoln, and his political addresses are at
once logical, entertaining and convincing. His ecclesiastical relationship is
with the Baptist church. In manner he is pleasant, agreeable and free from
ostentation or display. In all places and under all circumstances he is loyal to
truth, honor and right, justly regarding his self-respect and the deserved es-
teem of his fellow men as infinitely more valuable than wealth, fame or position.

Walter Reeves is numbered among the lawyers of Illinois, and the law-
makers of the nation. He is a prominent attorney of Streator, and is now for
the third time representing his district in congress. He was born near Browns-
ville, Pennsylvania, on the 25th of September, 1848, and is a son of Harrison
and Maria (Leonard) Reeves, the former of Scotch descent and the latter of
Welsh lineage. The father was a farmer by occupation and was also a native
of the Keystone state. The paternal grandfather. Samuel Reeves, married a
Miss Palmer.

When eight years of age Walter Reeves accompanied his parents on their
removal to Illinois, the family locating on a farm in La Salle county, where he
was reared to manhood. He acquired his education in the public schools and
private study, and in early manhood became a teacher. During that time he
also read law, and at the June term of the supreme court, in 1875, he was ad-
mitted to the bar. He at once began the practice of law in Streator and soon
attained prominence at the La Salle county bar. In 1884 he was admitted to
practice in the United States supreme court, and has since been identified with
much important litigation. He is the senior member of the firm of Reeves
& Boys.

In politics Mr. Reeves has always been a pronounced Republican and pro-
tectionist. In 1894 he was nominated by the Republican party for representa-
tive in congress from the eleventh congressional district of Illinois, and was
elected by a plurality of four thousand nine hundred and eighty-two votes. In
1896 he was re-elected by a plurality of six thousand and two hundred and
fifty-one votes, and on the 4th of March, 1899, he will take his seat for the third


time in the house of representatives. Upon entering congress in 1895 he rec-
ognized the fact that he could best serve his constituents by devoting his en-
ergies to the work of internal improvements in the country. He was appointed
a member of the committee on rivers and harbors, and in the river and har-
bor bill passed by the fifty-fourth congress he obtained from the general gov-
ernment for improvements in the state of Illinois between eight and nine mill-
ion dollars. His position was that in the midst of exceedingly hard times the
laboring people should be helped by providing work to be done in these in-
ternal improvements and that in turn farmers and business men would be
benefited by the influence on freight rates resulting therefrom. Thus he ac-
complished more for the internal improvement of the state by the general
government than had been accomplished for a score of years. He has pre-
pared and introduced a bill in congress to control the patent system of the
United States, and a leading labor paper of New York said that if passed it
would accomplish more for the laboring people of the United States than any
bill ever introduced. His course in congress has ever been one favoring ad-
vancement and progress, and that he has been three times elected to represent
his district is unmistakable evidence of the confidence reposed in him by his
fellow citizens.

Mr. Reeves was married in 1876 to Miss Metta M. Cogswell, of Connec-
ticut, a daughter of Lucius T. Cogswell. He is a man of fine personal appear-
ance, affable in manner, a cultured, genial gentleman, worthy the high regard
in which he is uniformly held.

C. W. Keller was the next member of the bar to take up his residence at
this point. He was born in Titusville, Pennsylvania, September 24, 1835, and
was married to Ellen M. Wright, in Brookfield, Illinois, June 3, 1858. Pre-
vious to the civil war, in which he lost an arm, he was a day-laborer. He was
admitted to the bar in Erie, Pennsylvania, March n, 1871, and came to this
county the same year. After practicing some years here, he went to Kansas.
He was a member of the Methodist Episcopal church, and in politics a Repub-
lican. He was village attorney for a year or more.

H. H. Brower came from Livingston county about the same time as Mr.
Keller, and after two years' residence in Streator went to Nebraska. He was,
while here, a partner of O. Chubbuck. Democratic in politics, he was inter-
ested in all matters of local importance. As a lawyer, he stood well.

E. J. Wall came about 1873, went into partnership with Mr. Chubbuck the
following year, and about 1875 went west. He was a Democrat, and a mem-
ber of the Catholic church. C. Dominy's arrival was chronicled in 1875. He
was justice of the peace for several years, and about 1877 formed a law part-
nership with Orlando Chubbuck, which relation existed about two years. He
was then appointed special agent of the yEtna Life Insurance Company, of

Peter Wilson came about 1856, from Buffalo, Missouri, remained two or
three years, and then returned to Missouri. J. D. Murdock, an Indianian, came
here about 1877 and commenced practice the following year.


The first resident lawyer of Peru was Judge William Chumasero. who
settled here some time in the " '405," and practiced in Peru and La Salle (after
the latter was founded), for about twenty years. He was a prominent Whig
politician, afterward joining the Republican party, and held in a great degree
the esteem of his fellow citizens. He was city judge of the two cities for two or
three years. He was a good lawyer, and accumulated some property here. He
removed many years ago to Montana, and there served as territorial judge.

Henry Fetzer, born near Winchester, Virginia, on the nth of April, 1854,
is a son of William and Catharine (Stickley) Fetzer, the former a farmer by
occupation. The great-great-grandparents of our subject on both sides were
natives of Germany and at about the same period in the colonial epoch of
our history came to America, the Fetzers locating in Pennsylvania, the Stick-
leys in Frederick City, Maryland. Their descendants emigrated to Wood-
stock, Shenandoah county, Virginia, and thus the families became united
through the marriage of William Fetzer and Catharine Stickley.

In his early youth the subject of this review worked on his father's farm
in Virginia, and at the age of sixteen years, in opposition to his parents' wishes,
left home and went to Belmont county, Ohio, He had no money and no
friends in that locality, nor had he enjoyed any educational privileges. He

Online LibraryJohn M. (John McAuley) PalmerThe bench and the bar of Illinois : Historical and reminiscent (Volume v.2) → online text (page 31 of 83)