John M. (John McAuley) Palmer.

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was appointed a judge of the United States court of appeals, in 1891. Mr.
Aldrich retained the incumbency as solicitor-general until June, 1893, and no
more able officer has ever occupied the position. His name is always associated
with the able conduct of the Chinese, Cherokee and hat-trimming cases, causes
in which he was opposed by some of the most gifted jurists of the nation, yet in
two of these he won triumphant victories, and in the other his argument was
said, by a member of the supreme court, to have been one of the most masterly
ever addressed to that court.

The opinion prepared by Mr. Aldrich upon the power of the national gov-
ernment in matters of public health and quarantine regulations, and also that
upon the scope and effect of the election law, showed a broad grasp and met the


cordial approval of those of the legal profession who were conversant with the
questions, while his opinion that the administration might issue bonds to main-
tain resumption and keep the money of the United States at parity, was prac-
tically adopted and acted upon during President Cleveland's second administra-
tion. Since his retirement from the office of solicitor-general, he has been twice
retained by the United States. once, through Attorney-General Olney, in the
Sunday-closing case of the World's Columbian Exposition; and once by At-
torney-General Harmon in the suit to cancel the Berliner patent, against the
Bell Telephone Company. Mr. Aldrich enjoys a very large patronage, his
practice being mostly in the federal courts. He is a member of the American
Bar Association, the Illinois State Bar Association, of which he has been first
vice-president; the Chicago Bar Association, and the Lawyers' Club, of New
York city.

Mr. Aldrich has always been deeply interested in civic and social problems,
and is ever ready to support real reforms of existing abuses in the law or its
administration, and to encourage and support institutions designed to aid his
fellow men. He is a member of the First Presbyterian church, of Evanston, and
his views on the governmental problems of the day lead him to give an earnest
support to the Republican party. He maintains membership relations with the
Country Club of Evanston, and the Union League Club, of Chicago, and of
the latter has served as vice-president. He was also a member of the Civic
Federation of Chicago, and was chairman of the committee which prepared a
new charter for the city.

On the I3th of October, 1875, he married Miss Helen Roberts, and they
are the parents of three children.

Lewis L. Coburn was the pioneer in patent law in Chicago and the Missis-
sippi valley, and in this important branch of jurisprudence has won a distinction
that places him foremost among the brilliant men now devoting their energies
to this specialty. It is of pleasing interest to know that he has attained this emi-
nent position entirely through his own efforts.

The world instinctively pays deference to the pioneer. to him who dares
to walk in untrodden paths, to become a leader and not a follower, to assert his
individuality in carrying out original ideas, to present entirely new plans of
action or to introduce into a community a new field of labor. The originator has
ever held an honored place in public esteem, and the pioneer in the realm of
thought or professional life is just as worthy of public commendation as he who
blazes his way through trackless forests and carries the refining influences of
civilization into the wilds of the west.

Mr. Coburn's early years were spent more amid the surroundings of poverty
than of wealth, his advantages were limited, his opportunities few; but the innate
force of his character, his laudable ambition, his strength of purpose and his pre-
dominant, overruling energy enabled him to triumph over all obstacles, fit him-
self for the greatest of all the learned professions, and seek and gain that dis-
tinction and success which comes only from superior ability and exceptional


Lewis L. Coburn is a native of Vermont, his birth having occurred in Mont-
pelier, November 2, 1834. His parents were Larned and Lovisa (Allen) Co-
burn. His father was a man of more than ordinary ability and resources and
served his locality first in minor public offices and later as a member of the state
legislature, attaining considerable prominence by his energy, intelligence and
rectitude. Farm work and attendance at the district schools through the winter
season occupied the early boyhood of our subject. He manifested considerable
aptitude in his studies, and by the time he had attained his fifteenth year had
fitted himself for entrance into the Morrisville Academy, where he remained for
some time. Later he attended the Northfield Academy and subsequently con-
tinued his preparation for college at Barre, Vermont. In the autumn of 1855
he was enrolled as a freshman in the University of Vermont, and after a brilliant
course of four years was graduated with distinction and the degree of Bachelor
of Arts was conferred upon him.

Thus thoroughly equipped for the duties of life with a cultured mind, well
stored with broad general information, he thought of the different business in-
terests to which man has given his energies and chose as his own particular vo-
cation the law. Even in college his studies were pursued with that end in view,
and during the periods of vacation he began to acquaint himself with the elemen-
tary principles of law in the office of Roberts & Chittenden, of Burlington, at-
torneys of prominence. He also spent portions of his vacations in teaching
school and thus made possible his college career. After obtaining his diploma
he became a law student in the office of Hon. T. P. Redfield, of Montpelier,
where he was trained in the practice as well as the theory of law. He next en-
tered the law department of Harvard University, closely applying himself to
his work, so that he was graduated with honor in 1861, and given the degree
of Bachelor of Law.

Life in all its possibilities now lay before him. He had no capital but pos-
sessed a character reliable and trustworthy at all times, a comprehensive knowl-
edge of the science of jurisprudence, a courage and training that would enable
him to conquer many of the difficulties of a professional career. After mature
deliberation he determined to adopt the specialty of patent law, and with that
object in view came to Chicago. It was wonderful foresight that enabled him
to select this city and see its possibilities and growing opportunities, which
would render it a fit field for a specialist in his line. Success, however, attended
his efforts from the beginning and his practice became so large that in November,
1861, he admitted to a partnership in the business his old college friend and
classmate, William E. Marrs. Their practice soon extended to all the western
states and was of a very important character.

But now another phase entered into the life of Mr. Coburn. In the summei
of 1862 he visited his old Vermont home and while there was unanimously
elected captain of a newly-formed company for the war. Prompted bv a spirit
of duty and patriotism, he accepted the trust and at the head of Company C,
Thirteenth Vermont Infantry, went to the front, where he participated in a
number of engagements of importance. At the battle of Gettysburg he gal-


lantly led his company in one of the headlong charges against one of the most
active of the rebel commands, which had captured a battery, and assisted in re-
capturing the same, himself being the first to reach two of the cannon. Major
Moore, of a Florida regiment, and a captain and lieutenant of a Mississippi regi-
ment, surrendered to him personally, and so conspicuous was the bravery he dis-
played that he was permitted by his superior officers to keep the side arms of
the latter two. He continued to serve with gallantry until the term of his en-
listment had expired, when he was honorably mustered out of the service.

When he laid aside the sword and other accoutrements of war, Captain Co-
burn returned to Chicago and resumed the practice of patent law, which he has
since continued with marked success. In 1868 his partner died and he was left
with an enormous practice in the federal courts, but with the assistance of an
army of clerks he carried it all through to a satisfactory finality. Since 1875
Mr. Coburn has been associated in a partnership with an old classmate, Hon.
John M. Thatcher, and the firm is without a superior in the realm of patent law.
Mr. Coburn is especially well fitted for his specialty and has performed most ex-
cellent service in protecting the rights of inventors whose genius has given to
the world many of the most useful and important inventions of the age. His
aptitude for mathematics and his own fertility in problems of invention give him
absolute mastery of any mechanism that is presented to him. Added to this is
a thorough and accurate knowledge of the law applicable to patents and the
rights of the patentee, and in the preparation of his cases he shows the utmost
care and precision, while in the presentation of his cause he is forceful, logical
and clear. One has only to realize how indispensable are machinery and in-
genious devices and forms in the economy of life to apprehend the importance
of patent law, not only as a special line of practice, but also in its application
to the wants and expansion of civilization. Mr. Coburn handles with consum-
mate skill the intricate problems involved in his specialty, and in the profession
has attained an eminence that few in this country have reached.

In public matters of Chicago Mr. Coburn has been an active and interested
participant. Many reforms in local governmental matters have been the out-
come of his persistence, energy and sagacity. He was largely instrumental in
inaugurating the movement which led to the change in the south town and city
governments, and several social organizations with which he is connected, hav-
ing been one of the founders of the Christian Union and the Vermont Associa-
tion of Illinois, serving as president of the latter at one time, and was the first
president of the Union League Club. He has been frequently urged to become a
candidate for official honors, but though deeply interested in politics has always
declined office. His ability and gifts of oratory and conversation enable him
to grace any assemblage, whether public or private, and he stands to-day as one
of the representative and honored citizens of the western metropolis.

On the 23d of June, 1880, was celebrated the marriage of Mr. Coburn and
Miss Annie S. Swan, of Brooklyn, New York. Their pleasant and hospitable
home is the center of a cultured society circle.

James G. Jenkins was born at Saratoga Springs, New York, July 18, 1834.



His father, Edgar Jenkins, was a well known business man of the state of New
York. His mother was the daughter of Reuben H. Walworth, the distinguished
jurist, who for many years held the position of chancellor in the state of New
York. He was educated in his native state, read law in New York city and was
there admitted to the bar in 1855.

Two years later he came to Milwaukee and at once engaged in the active
practice of his profession. Wisconsin had then just adopted the New York code
of practice, his thorough familiarity with which gave him at once a marked po-
sition of advantage among lawyers trained to an older system. Well read in his
profession, clear in thought, forcible in argument, and endowed with a rich vein
of humor, ever at command, he soon became the favorite of the court-room. His
work was so bright it often seemed like play, but it was preceded by careful and
earnest preparation in his office.

He was elected city attorney in 1863 and held the office for four successive
annual terms. In 1867 he formed a partnership with Theodore B. Elliott. The
firm, which some six years later was joined by General F. C. Winkler, soon took
rank with the leading practitioners of the state. Upon Mr. Elliott's sad death, in
the Newhall House fire, Mr. A. A. L. Smith came into the firm.

Until his appointment to the federal bench Judge Jenkins continued in the.
active and devoted service of his profession, enjoying a large and profitable prac-
tice, a very large share of popularity, and the confidence and respect of his client-
age. He confined himself to no special branch of the profession, and proved
his superior qualifications as lawyer and advocate in many important causes in
the different courts of the state.

In politics Judge Jenkins is a Democrat, and he gained prominence at an
early day in the councils of his party. He was its candidate for governor of
Wisconsin in* 1879, received its vote for United States senator in 1881 and has
been delegate to numerous state and national conventions.

He is a man of taste and wide reading in general literature.

In 1870 he was married to the daughter of the Hon. Andrew G. Miller,
judge of the United States district court. His home in Milwaukee is the nucleus
of a refined and intelligent social circle.

In 1888 he was appointed judge of the United States district court for the
eastern district of Wisconsin, and in 1893 to the position he holds now, that of a
circuit judge of the seventh judicial circuit of the United States, in which con-
nection he occupies the bench in Chicago. In both positions he has fully vin-
dicated his reputation as an able and enlightened jurist.

In 1893 tne university of Wisconsin conferred upon him the degree of
LL. D.

William A. Howett, one of the recent acquisitions to the bar of Cook county,
in July, 1898, was appointed to the position of local attorney of the Illinois Cen-
tral Railroad Company for Cook county. The large amount of business as-
sumed by him has at once thrown him into active practice, and his continued suc-
cess has shown that the corporation made no mistake in his selection for the


Mr. Howett was born in Flora, Illinois, June 18, 1860, but spent the greater
part of his youth in Mississippi, whither his parents removed in 1868. His
father, Judge Edmund L. Howett, was a native of the Empire state and was a
man of considerable influence, and of high reputation in legal circles in central
and southern Illinois, where for almost twenty years, following 1850, he was a
well known practitioner at the bar. During President Grant's first term, Judge
Howett was appointed by him to the position of United States district attorney
for the southern district of Mississippi, and after the reconstruction of that state
he held the office of United States district judge.

William A. Howett began his education in the common schools, and after
his graduation in the high school of Flora, Illinois, he entered the Northern In-
diana Normal School, where he completed the scientific and elocutionary
courses and was graduated. Being then too young to enter professional life
he engaged in teaching school for a year, and at 'the same time continued his
law studies, which he had begun at the age of sixteen years. In June, 1882, he
was admitted to the bar of Illinois, and began practice in connection with his
father-in-law, Thomas J. Rutledge, in Hillsboro, the connection being main-
tained until the death of the senior member in 1885. Mr. Howett then engaged
.in practice alone, and won a very large and remunerative clientage. In 1894 he
formed a partnership with Thomas M. Jett, the present member of congress from
the eighteenth district, and from that time until Mr. Howett's removal to Chi-
cago the firm enjoyed one of the most extensive practices in that section of the
state, their clients coming from many counties in central Illinois.

While residing in Hillsboro Mr. Howett served for two years as mayor of
the city, being elected on the Democratic ticket by an overwhelming majority,
although the city is strongly Republican. This plainly indicates his personal
popularity and the confidence reposed in him by his fellow townsmen, a con-
fidence that was never betrayed in the slightest degree. In 1889 he was ap-
pointed master in chancery of Montgomery county, and held that office for four
terms, or eight years. In 1897 he received the support of Montgomery county
in the Democratic convention for the nomination for circuit judge of the district
composed of Christian, Effingham, Fayette, Clinton, Marion, Montgomery,
Shelby, Jasper and Clay counties. During the past twelve years he has been
closely and intimately associated with Chief Justice Phillips, of the supreme
court of Illinois, being in the same office with him and serving for several years
as his private secretary and assistant.

On the death of Judge Gwin, last district attorney for the Illinois Central
Railroad, in Chicago, it became necessary for the corporation to secure a com-
petent man to take charge of its Cook county litigation, and Mr. Howett's suc-
cess as a trial lawyer, his well known ability and his reputation throughout the
state were such that he was selected from a large number. Added to natural
genius and an inherited taste for the law are years of experience in the business
world, and the skill and mental alertness which result from continual contact
with brilliant minds. In his profession he is an untiring worker, preparing his
cases with the utmost regard to the detail of fact and the law involved. He


never loses sight of even the most minor point which may advance his client's
interest, and at the same time gives full weight to the important point upon
which the decision finally turns.

On the i6th of February, 1882, in Hillsboro, Mr. Howett was united in
marriage to Miss Ida M. Rutledge, who had spent her entire life in that city and
was one of its leading young ladies. Four sons have been born to them: G.
Earle, W. Roy, Wilbur E. and Hugh Drexel. Mr. Howett and his wife have
already made many friends in their new home, and in the legal fraternity his
talents have been accorded recognition, and still further successes are predicted
for him in his professional career.

Morton Taylor Culver is numbered among the younger members of the
Chicago bar. He was born in this city, December 2, 1870, his parents being
Morton and Eugenia M. (Taylor) Culver. He began his education in the pub-
lic schools and pursued his professional course in the Northwestern Law School,
in which he was graduated in 1890. He was admitted to the bar as soon as he
arrived at legal age, but later attended the Kent Law School, of Chicago,
in which institution he was graduated with the class of 1894. He
entered upon his professional career in 1892 and has since engaged in active
practice with good success. He now has a pleasant office in the Oxford build-
ing, and is making a specialty of realty and commercial law. He is well in-
formed on the science of jurisprudence, and in the application of principles to
the points in litigation shows masterly skill. He is now serving as attorney for
the village of Glencoe, in which suburb he has resided since two and a half years
of age. He succeeded to some of the business of James Lloyd, who died in
February, 1898, and in his practice is now associated with his brother, H. N.

For nine years Mr. Culver was a member of the First Regiment, Illinois
National Guard, and his brother and partner is now second lieutenant of Com-
pany G, of that regiment, which recently made such a brilliant record in its
service in Cuba during the war with Spain.

In his political views Morton T. Culver is a stalwart Republican and for the
past two years has served as secretary of the Glencoe Republican Club. So-
cially he is connected with A. O. Fay Lodge, No. 676, A. F. & A. M., of High-
land Park, and of Unity Council of the National Union, at Evanston.

Charles S. Thornton is now serving as corporation counsel of Chicago, and
no more capable incumbent has ever occupied that position. His knowledge of
the law is comprehensive, his application of its principles exact, and his experi-
ence in all branches of jurisprudence so extensive that his fitness for office is at
once recognized by all. He is a man of strong mentality, with a ready com-
mand of English, and before court or jury his arguments are forceful, logical
and convincing. His discernment is keen, his judgment sure, and with masterly
skill and tact he manages his cases, winning the laurel in many a forensic com-
bat. In a profession that depends upon intellectual prowess, distinction can only
be won by individual effort, and the eminent position which Mr. Thornton


occupies at the Illinois bar at once indicates the labor and diligence that have
enabled him to attain splendid success.

Mr. Thornton is a native of Massachusetts, his birth having occurred in the
city of Boston, on the I2th of April, 1851, his parents being Solon and Cordelia
A. (Tilclen) Thornton, the former a native of New Hampshire and the latter of
the old Bay state. When he had mastered the elementary branches taught in
the public schools of Boston, Mr. Thornton entered the famous Boston Latin
School, where in a six-years course he prepared for college, and as a student
entered and later graduated from America's oldest and most honored educa-
tional institution, Harvard College.

In the month of March, 1873., Mr. Thornton arrived in Chicago and, after
studying until the fall, in the offices of Lyman & Jackson, and Isham & Lin-
coln, was admitted to practice, upon examination before the supreme court of
Illinois at Ottawa. Immediately thereafter he opened an office in Chicago and
entered upon his professional career. At a later date he entered into partnership
with Justus Chancellor, which connection, with the addition of several well known
lawyers, still continues, and the firm of Thornton & Chancellor, now number-
ing seven members, has become one of the largest and most prominent in the
legal fraternity of Chicago.

Mr. Thornton was not long in securing a liberal clientage, and has gained
distinctive preferment in several branches of the law. He has made a specialty
of corporation and real-estate law and is thoroughly informed on all matters
pertaining to these departments. He has conducted many suits involving large
interests, and, having been called upon so frequently to adjust the rights of
owners of lands, he is recognized by the bar and in real-estate circles as an
authority on all real-estate litigation and matters relating to that branch of the
profession. Yet his efforts have not been confined to this line alone, for he has
tried with success a few notable criminal cases, among them the Williams for-
gery case. His successful speech to the jury on behalf of the defendant in this
case, occupying two days in delivery, at the end of a trial of great public interest,
which lasted six weeks, placed him in the proud rank of eminent jury advocates.
His oratory is convincing and his zeal and earnestness never fail to impress his
auditors. Care and precision mark the preparation of his cases, and his essen-
tially clear-headedness enables him to grasp at once the salient points in a
case and to present them with unusual conciseness and directness.

Previous to the annexation of the town of Lake, which at that time con-
tained one hundred thousand inhabitants, Mr. Thornton was elected to the
office of corporation counsel, and most efficiently served in that capacity. In
1897 he was appointed by Mayor Harrison corporation counsel of Chicago, and
is therefore the present incumbent. In 1889 he was elected president of the
board of education of Auburn Park, which is his place of residence. The pride
of the American citizen in American institutions culminates in the public schools,
and, considering the zeal and energy expended in developing them and the
momentous influence they have upon the manhood of the country, this is justi-
fiable. Mr. Thornton was elected a member of the Cook county board of edit-


cation and subsequently was elected a member of the board of education of Chi-
cago. In January, 1885, an appointment, made by the governor of the state
and confirmed by the senate of Illinois, gave him a membership on the state
board of education. He has been a prominent and very useful factor in educa-
tional circles, and is the originator of a number of reformatory measures now

Online LibraryJohn M. (John McAuley) PalmerThe bench and the bar of Illinois : Historical and reminiscent (Volume v.2) → online text (page 33 of 83)