John M. (John McAuley) Palmer.

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worked as a farm hand three seasons and in the winter months attended school,
working nights and morning f6r his board. Noticing his close application
and inclination for study, James Frazier, who indeed proved to him a faithful
friend and to whom he gratefully acknowledges his indebtedness, urged him to
use the little money he had saved to pay his tuition in Franklin College. That
was probably the most important step in the life of Mr. Fetzer, as it opened up
to him new fields and possibilities. He attended school until his money was
exhausted and then resumed work in order to replenish his exchequer.

In 1874 Mr. Fetzer came to La Salle county, Illinois, where he engaged
in teaching school for eight years, with the exception of a short period spent
as a merchant and postmaster in Grinnell, Kansas. There he lost in a tornado
all that he had saved prior to the year 1879, and in 1880 he returned to Illinois,
where he engaged in teaching until 1883. Failing health then forced him to
abandon that profession and he engaged in buying and shipping stock from
the frontier, a vocation which he followed with marked success until 1891.
Always having a desire to graduate at some good institution, in the fall of 1892
he determined to study law, more with a view of self-benefit in the conduct of
his business interests than of practicing it as a life work. Accordingly he en-
tered the Northwestern University Law School, of Chicago, and was gradu-
ated with the class of 1894. In the autumn of that year he opened an office in
Streator and has since enjoyed a fair practice. His naturally studious nature
has led him largely to master the principles of jurisprudence in its various
branches and thus with a wide general knowledge of law he has won some
important cases. In politics he usually votes the Republican ticket, but is not
strictly partisan and has never been an aspirant for office. Whatever success
he has achieved in life is due entirely to his own efforts, as industry, close ap-


plication and perseverance are the qualities which have enabled him to over-
come obstacles and steadily work his way upward.

A son of Dr. Guy Hulitt also located at Peru before there was any La
Salle, and practiced five or six years. He was a gentleman of good education
and a fair lawyer, was unmarried, and died when about thirty-five years old.

The first lawyer to reside in La Salle was James Strain, who came in the
year 1852, from Ohio. He practiced here about fifteen years, then went to
Monmouth, Illinois, and finally settled in Kansas, where he died a few years
later. The second member of the profession to live here was David P. Jen-
kins, who practiced until commissioned major in the Union army in the late
war. He was afterward promoted lieutenant-colonel. He removed to Wash-
ington Territory.

David L. Hough came here about 1848, from Vermont, as canal collector,
but had studied law before coming here. He practiced until about 1872, and is
well remembered as a sharp business man and a shrewd lawyer. He removed
to Chicago.

Nelson C. Cannon came in 1849 or 1850, and was quite prominent in local
affairs, being mayor three terms and city attorney at the same time. He was a
jolly fellow, and practical joker. Shortly after the war he went to Iowa, where
by a prudent management of the negro vote he was elected mayor and police
magistrate of Red Oak, running against candidates of both the old parties.

Alfred Putnam came in 1853, practiced a short time, was city clerk and
justice of the peace, and left here in 1862. E. F. Bull came here from Ohio
in the fall of 1855, and practiced a number of years and then went to Ottawa.

G. S. Eldridge and Thomas Halligan were early comers to Peru. The
latter was judge of the twin cities after Chumasero, and died a number of years

Charles S. Miller came from near Peoria in 1855 or 1856, and left here in
1874, having been chosen county judge. James W. Duncan was born here in
1850, and admitted to the bar in 1872. He has been prominent both in legal
practice and in politics. He was elected state senator in 1882.

The first lawyer in Mendota was Charles H. Gilman, who came in the
spring of 1854, practiced about fifteen years, and then went to Ottawa to re-
side, having been elected county judge. He died in that city. He was a good
lawyer, standing undoubtedly at the head of his profession in Mendota; was
somewhat of a politician, and was village attorney for a number of years.

E. S. Mudgett came at nearly the same time with Gilman, and practiced
until during the war, when he went to California. ' He held the postoffice ap-
pointment under President Buchanan four years.

J. C. Crooker came soon after these two, and resided here nearly a quar-
ter of a century. He went to Nebraska about 1879. He was an active, ener-
getic man, making both friends and enemies. He ran the Observer in partner-
ship with William E. Btck, the two selling after a time to R. H. Ruggles, who
made it the Bulletin. Mr. Crooker also served as alderman from the third
ward, for a term.


William E. Beck studied law here with Mr. Crooker, and was admitted to
the bar soon after he ceased to work on the Observer. He was for some years
also a surveyor and engineer, and altogether did not practice law much in
Mendota. He was married here, and in a year or two more went west. He
became chief justice of the state of Colorado.

Joseph H. Hunter came to the city about 1870; had graduated at some
law school, and was admitted to the bar before coming here. His first legal
practice, however, was in Mendota. He was a zealous Republican, and while
not a pronounced politician, was city attorney three or four years. He mar-
ried a daughter of J. C. Crooker, went to Lincoln, Nebraska, about 1878, and
died there in 1883, having obtained a good business, and earned a reputation
as a good lawyer.

La Vega G. Kinne was admitted to the bar here and practiced one year
in Mendota, in partnership with Charles H. Crawford. He then went to El-
dora, Iowa. He became a judge, and was candidate for governor on the Dem-
ocratic ticket in 1883.

Charles H. Crawford, above mentioned, graduated at Evanston in the
same year with Kinne. He remained at Mendota some three years, and then
went to Chicago. He became state senator for Cook county.

Lucien B. Crooker, a nephew of J. C., served during the late war, and on
his return studied law with his uncle. He practiced until about 1881, when
he was appointed revenue collector for the Aurora district. He was relieved
of this position in 1885, and again engaged in practice.

Corbus P. Gardner, on the 2d of September, 1868, was born in the city
which is still his home, Mendota. His father, George W. Gardner, is a farmer,
and was born in Beaver county, Pennsylvania, February 13, 1824. His wife,
Margaret Gardner, was born in Allegheny county, Pennsylvania. May 4, 1825,
and both are of Irish parentage, their ancestors having come from the northern
part of the Emerald Isle to America in early colonial days. Mrs. Gardner is
a granddaughter of James Smith, one of the signers of the Declaration of In-
dependence from Pennsylvania.

Reared under the parental roof, Corbus P. Gardner completed his literary
education by his graduation in the high school of Mendota, in June, 1887. For
ten months of the following year he studied law in the office and under the
direction of Otto Kieselbach, and in October, 1888, entered the law depart-
ment of the University of Michigan, in which he was graduated in 1890, with
the degree of Bachelor of Law. After his admission to the bar he occupied a
clerical position in the office of Mayo & Widmer, attorneys of Ottawa, for six
months, and on the nth of March, 1891, began practice in Mendota, where he
has since remained. While attending school in Mendota he walked three miles
there and back each day, through sunshine and storm, and the same determined
spirit has characterized his professional career, bringing him a well merited

In January, 1892, Mr. Gardner became a member of Mendota Lodge, No.
176, A. F. & A. M.; in March of the same year he took the Royal Arch de-


grees in Mendota Chapter, No. 79, and in the following July joined Bethany
Commandery, No. 28. For the past five years he has been senior warden of
the blue lodge. He is also a valued member of the Mendota Commercial Club.
For three years, from July 20, 1885, until July 20, 1888, he was a member of
Company B, Sixth Regiment, Illinois National Guard, and was mustered out
with the rank of sergeant. In politics is a Republican, and never sought or
desired nomination for office until recently, when he concluded to accept the
nomination of his party for state senator in the convention, August 22, 1898.
His entire life has been passed in Mendota or vicinity and he has a wide ac-
quaintance in the county. His circle of friends includes many who have known
him from boyhood, a fact which indicates a well spent life.




JAMES B. BRADWELL was born April 16, 1828, at Loughborough,
England, his parents being Thomas and Elizabeth (Gutridge) Bradwell.
Sixteen months after the birth of James B. the family crossed the ocean
to America and first located in Utica, New York, where they remained until
1833, when they came west by wagon and boat to Jacksonville, Illinois. There
they remained until May, 1834, when they removed in a covered .wagon or
"prairie schooner," drawn by one span of horses and one yoke of oxen, to
Wheeling, Cook county, Illinois, consuming twenty-one days in making the
trip of two hundred and fifty miles. They located upon a farm, and here James
B. spent several years in mowing and cradling, splitting rails, breaking prairie,
etc., which served greatly to strengthen his constitution and harden his muscles.
He here suffered all the inconveniences and hardships of pioneer times, but
developed a strong and active mind and an ambition for a higher and more active
position in the great, busy world.

His first lessons 'in schooling were received in a small country log school-
house, but later he attended Wilson Academy, in Chicago, in which Judge Lo-
renzo Sawyer was instructor. Still later he completed his education in Knox
College, Galesburg, Illinois, sustaining himself there by working in a wagon and
plow shop, sawing wood, etc., taking much of his pay in orders on the stores,
many of which he was obliged to discount heavily for cash. This necessity
made so strong an impression upon his mind that ever since he has maintained
that the laborer is worthy of his hire and should receive one hundred cents on
the dollar for his services.

After finishing his education he began to -study law, and in time was duly
admitted to the bar. During this period he worked at various trades as a jour-
neyman, displaying much skill and exhibiting a high degree of inventive genius.
So apt was he in all branches of mechanics that it is stated that if necessary he
could earn his living in any one of seventeen trades. Much of his work was
conducted in Chicago. He invented a process for half-tone work, and is said
to have produced the first half-tone cut ever made in this city. Upon beginning
the practice of law here more than forty years ago he soon acquired a large prac-
tice and the confidence of the public. He steadily advanced and became prom-
inent in local politics by reason of his eloquence as a speaker and his high so-
cial and conversational powers.

In 1861 he entered the field of politics in earnest, and was elected county
judge, by a large majority, and, after serving one term acceptably, was, in 1865,
re-elected for a second term. Several very important reforms were effected by



him in the procedure of this court. As a judge of this court he so distinguished
himself by his fairness, opinions and reforms that his services are yet recalled
by the older members of the bar with great pleasure. In 1873 he was sent to
the lower house of the legislature and was re-elected in 1875 and distinguished
himself there as a speaker and as an advocate of much needed laws and reforms.
He has been called upon by his fellow-citizens to occupy many positions of re-
sponsibility and to discharge grave public duties, all of which have been per-
formed by him with rare judgment, high intelligence and unswerving loyalty
and integrity.

He presided at the American Woman Suffrage Association at its organiza-
tion in Cleveland; was chairman of the arms and trophy department of the
Northwestern Sanitary Commission and Soldiers' Home Fair, in 1865; was
president of the Chicago Press Club; president of the Chicago Rifle Club, and
was its rifle shot; president of the Chicago Bar Association; president of
the Illinois State Bar Association, and many years its historian; president of
the Chicago Soldiers' Home; was one of the founders of the Union League Club
and the first president of its board of directors ; president of the Chicago Photo-
graphic Society; chairman of the photographic congress auxiliary of the World's
Columbian Exposition, etc.

Judge Bradwell has taken all the degrees in Masonry and has occupied
many high positions in that ancient and honorable order. He is the present
able editor of the Chicago Legal News, founded and for twenty-five years edited
by Mrs. Myra Bradwell, and is one of Chicago's foremost citizens.

May 18, 1852, he was married to Myra Colby, a sketch of whom appears
elsewhere in this volume. Throughout his life Judge Bradwell has been an elo-
quent and constant advocate of the equality of man and woman before the law.

Luther Laflin Mills is a celebrated Chicago lawyer, yet his reputation is
too far-reaching to permit him to be designated as one of Illinois' citizens or to
class him among the representatives of the bench and bar alone. He belongs
to the country that he has ever revered and loved, upholding her honor and her
interests by the fervid eloquence which has numbered him among her distin-
guished orators. He stands to-day among the gifted men of Illinois, whose
patriotic utterances have inspired men to deeds of valor or heroic sacrifice, and
whose logic has conquered the reason of their auditors. Yet it is not by his
eloquence alone that Mr. Mills exerts an influence in the world. His life, up-
right and consistent, his quiet but unfaltering devotion to every duty, his broad
humanitarianism and his liberal charity, serve to enforce the words which are
the exponent of a brilliant mind.

A son of Walter N. and Caroline (Smith) Mills, born at North Adams,
Massachusetts, on the 3d of September, 1848, Mr. Mills of this review was
brought by his parents to Chicago in 1849 an d . nas since been prominently
identified with the interests of the city. Having acquired his preliminary edu-
cation in the public schools, he attended the Michigan State University and in
1868 began the study of law in the office of Homer N. Hibbard. Being ad-
mitted to the bar in 1871, he practiced alone for four years, and in 1875 en-


tered into partnership with George C. Ingham and Edward P. Weber, under
the firm name of Mills, Weber & Ingham. In 1876 he was elected state's attor-
ney for Cook county, and in 1880 was re-elected, filling that office for eight
consecutive years, during which time he successfully prosecuted a number of
criminals, bringing them to justice, thus sustaining the majesty of the law and
upholding that order upon which every stable community must rest. He se-
cured conviction in the trial of John Lamb for the murder of Officer Race, of
Peter Stevens for the murder of his wife, and of Theresa Sturlata for the murder
of Charles Stiles. He also conducted for the state the prosecution of several
members of the county board for what is known as "boodling." During his
eight years' service as state's attorney Mr. Mills had readily gained a front rank
among the many distinguished lawyers who adorned the Chicago bar. So
thoroughly was this fact recognized and appreciated by his successor that in
several important cases he was called in to the aid of the regular prosecutor.
One of these was the trial of James Dacey for the murder of Alderman Gaynor.
Dacey took a change of venue to McHenry county and Mr. Mills was commis-
sioned to assist in the prosecution there. His opponent was the eminent T. D.
Murphy, but in the trial of the case Mr. Mills secured a conviction and the
extreme penalty. While in jail, however, Dacey feigned insanity, and a trial
of that special issue was afterward ordered by the supreme court, Mr. Mills again
appearing for the state. Dacey was adjudged sane and ultimately executed by

In 1888 the Democracy of Ohio determined to purge themselves of asso-
ciation with those who had for years been guilty of the grossest election frauds,
and, to aid in bringing to justice the tally-sheet forgers in the contest for the
governorship of that state, Mr. Mills was paid the high compliment of being
chosen, together with Hon. Allen G. Thurman, to assist in the prosecution of
that celebrated case, at Columbus. He was also one of the prosecutors in the
trial of the murderers of Dr. Cronin. No case in the history of Illinois' crim-
inal jurisprudence has attracted more widespread attention, and Mr. Mills spent
seven months in the preparation and trial thereof. The result is a matter of
history, for the punishment of the conspirators was a direct blow at the anar-
chistic tendencies which brought about the fearful deed.

While perhaps the criminal cases with which Mr. Mills has been connected
have brought him wider reputation, his efforts have also been crowned with
notable victories in the field of civil litigation, displaying his wonderful versa-
tility in the branches of the profession. He was connected with John J. Knick-
erbocker as counsel for the proprietors of the Daily News and defended them
in an action brought by a man whose wife had obtained a divorce from him on
the charge of criminal intimacy with a girl in his employ. The paper 'gave an
extended report of the case and the plaintiff sued for exemplary damages. The
News filed a plea of justification that the charge was true. In his argument for
the defense Mr. Mills excoriated the plaintiff and secured a verdict in favor of
his clients. The woman in the case also brought suit against the paper on the same
facts, but in her case the jury disagreed, probably in consideration of her sex.


On other occasions Mr. Mills has been called from Chicago to conduct import-
ant litigation. He was retained for the defense in the Mounce murder trial in
Monticello, Piatt county, Illinois, in 1888. Both the prisoner and the deceased
were prominent citizens of that part of the state, and the case was bitterly con-
tested, resulting in a conviction and sentence for fourteen years. To give a full
account of the litigation with which Mr. Mills has been connected would cover
a large portion of the history of jurisprudence in Illinois through the past quar-
ter of a century, but enough has been said to show the position which he oc-
cupies in professional circles. His treatment of all cases is marked by patient
study and careful preparation, while his addresses to juries are always charac-
terized by logic and eloquence of the highest order.

Not only in the realms of law has his eloquence moved his hearers. He
has been chosen as the orator on many brilliant occasions where the brightest
intellects of the country have been assembled. Patriotism, citizenship, educa-
tion, reforms, progress along all lines, have found in him a champion who has
advanced their interests as few could have done. On Lincoln day, of 1890, he
responded to a toast on the martyred president at a banquet given by the Re-
publican leagues, at Columbus, Ohio; at a banquet in the Sherman House,
Chicago, in December, 1890, he delivered a stirring address on American Citi-
zenship; he spoke before the law school of the University of Wisconsin on Law
and Progress, in July, 1891; at the memorial services for Herman Raster, the
German journalist, in August following; at the memorial services over the
three young reporters killed in the railroad accident, in October, same year;
and at the Kossuth and Grant memorial meetings in 1895.

Mr. Mills \vas married on the 15th of November, 1876, to Miss Ella J.
Boies, of Saugerties, New York, a daughter of Joseph M. and Electa B. (Laflin)
Boies. They have five children: Matthew, a student at Yale University, of the
class of 1900; Electa Boies, Mari Brainerd, Caroline Bigelow and Agnes Shef-
field. Mr. Mills and his family occupy a very prominent position in social cir-
cles and their home is the center of a cultured society circle where intellectual
enjoyments predominate. Mr. Mills became a member of the Psi Upsilon Fra-
ternity in 1865 and for several years has been a member of the executive com-
mittee of the Illinois Humane Society. Personally and socially Mr. Mills enjoys
the popularity that a generous nature, refined manner, great scholastic attain-
ments and the magnetism of a strong intellect would be expected to win, and
has gained the highest regard by reason of the splendid use to which he has put
his marvelous talents.

Charles H. Aldrich was born on a farm in Lagrange county, Indiana,
August 26, 1850, his parents being Hamilton M. and Harriet (Sherwood) Al-
drich. He shared in the duties of the farm, working in field and meadow through
the days of his early youth, and when sixteen years of age removed to Orland,
Steuben county, Indiana, with his parents, who wished to give their children
the advantages provided by an excellent school there. His tastes were scholarly
and his desire to acquire a good education led him to apply himself with such
earnestness to his studies that his health suffered in consequence. He wished to


pursue a collegiate course, but his father, believing that his health would not
stand the strain that would thereby be placed upon it, refused to furnish him
the means with which to enter a university. Not to be deterred, however, from
an attempt to carry out his plan of life, Charles H. Aldrich left home and worked
for his board until he had not only finished his preparation for college but had
completed a portion of the college course. A kind friend became interested in
the ambitious and gifted youth, and insisted upon advancing to him a financial
loan adequate to meet the expenses of the last half of his college course. He later
made further advances in order to enable our subject to continue his profes-
sional studies and enter the practice of law without recourse to teaching in the
meantime in order to replenish an exhausted exchequer. In 1875 he completed
the classical course in the University of Michigan, and some time subsequently
to his graduation his alma mater conferred upon him the degree- of Master of

' Having been admitted to the bar Mr. Aldrich commenced the practice of
law in Fort Wayne, Indiana, and had little of the dreary experience of the no-
vitiate, but won almost at the beginning of his professional career a reputation
that insured his success. He soon acquired a large clientage and in the court-
room gave evidence of the possession of legal powers that drew to him the at-
tention and won him the friendship of such distinguished members of the In-
diana bar as Thomas A. Hendricks, Colonel Abram Hendricks, Benjamin Har-
rison, W. H. H. Miller, Joseph E. McDonald, John M. Butler, Oscar B. Hord,
Noble E. Butler, W. P. Fishback, R. S. Taylor, Allen Zollars and others. In
1884 he was urged to become a candidate for the office of attorney-general of
Indiana, and, though he did not visit a place in the state in the interests of his
candidacy, he lacked but a few votes of receiving the nomination. This was
significant of his fame as a lawyer and his popularity as a citizen.

In April, 1886, Mr. Aldrich came to Chicago, and at the bar of the second
city of the Union has won distinctive preferment. In 1890 he was appointed
special counsel for the United States in its Pacific Railroad litigations, growing
out of the so-called Anderson act. He was successful in both cases which he
argued in the circuit courts for Nebraska and California, and these successes,
opposed as he was by some of the leading counsel of the Union, led to his selec-
tion as solicitor-general of the United States, to succeed William H. Taft, who

Online LibraryJohn M. (John McAuley) PalmerThe bench and the bar of Illinois : Historical and reminiscent (Volume v.2) → online text (page 32 of 83)