John M. (John McAuley) Palmer.

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especially for gallantry at the battle of Cerro Gordo."

He died of congestion of the brain, after a few hours' illness. He was a
man of the kindliest, most generous impulses, of strict integrity, and a scrupu-
lous sense of justice in his dealings with others. On the evening preceding his
death, in the course of conversation with his family, he remarked that in starting
out in life he had adopted as his motto "Fiat justitia, coelum ruat" "Let justice
reign, though the heavens fall;" and that in his profession, however large the fee
offered him, he had never taken a case which would require his pleading against



his conscience. Owing to this well-known fact, joined to his gift of oratory, he
rarely lost a case before a jury.

William J. Gatewood was from Kentucky, and first settled in Shawneetown ;
but when the county-seat was moved to Equality he located there. He was a
handsome man, dignified and impressive in appearance, and was said to be a man
of fine scholastic attainments and of a fine reputation as a lawyer. He was a
ready debater on almost any question, and was said to be the only lawyer in this
part of the state that could meet Henry Eddy with any prospect of success. He
was very popular and was at the time of his death a member of the state legis-
lature. He died at Springfield, in the winter of 1841, during a session of the state
senate. Some years after his death it was remarked by persons living in this and
other counties, "Had Gatewood lived he would have been the next United
States senator."

Edward Jones came from Clarksville, Kentucky, to Gallatin county. It was
said by those who thought they knew that he was a graduate of a college at
Bardstown. He had the reputation of being a good lawyer, but was very
eccentric to a degree that was hard to account for. In warm weather he would
go down on the banks of the Saline and declaim for nearly an hour, and laugh
heartily at his effort ! His voice was strong and he talked very loud. The boys
would often slip up close to him to hear what he said. He had a good library,
the most noticeable feature of which was the disproportionate number of French
law books it contained.

Mr. Jones was a warm friend and admirer of the Hon. John C. Calhoun, of
South Carolina, and corresponded with him on the breaking out of the war with
Mexico. He enlisted as a private in Captain Lawler's company and served the
full term of his enlistment, and while in the army he contracted a diarrhea that
carried him off about a year after his discharge from the service.

Michael Jones was a young lawyer at Lawrenceburg, Indiana, about the
year 1808, and was married to Miss Mary C. James, eldest daughter of John
James, who came west from Frederick county, Maryland, and settled in Law-
renceburg in 1807. A few months after his marriage he removed to Shawnee-
town, then the most important town on the Ohio below Louisville. He was the
half-brother of Hon. Jesse B. Thomas, one of the early attorneys of this state.
He practiced law at Shawneetown for a few years, but abandoned it to engage in
agricultural pursuits, and was at the time of his death the largest land-owner in
Gallatin county. He was appointed to the United States land office at Kaskas-
kia, but we do not know whether as register or receiver ; was a member of the
first legislature held in Illinois from Gallatin county, and was a candidate for the
United States senate against Governor Edwards in 1820.

Jeptha Hardin, a brother of Ben. Hardin of Bardstown, Kentucky, came to
Shawneetown about the year 1812, in search of a locality in which to engage in
the practice of the law. He made the acquaintance of Michael Jones and through
him that of Miss Sarah F. James, second daughter of John James, of Lawrence-



burg, Indiana, who was on a visit to Mrs. Jones, her sister, which culminated in
their marriage at Lawrenceburg, in 1813.

After a successful practice of the law for ten or fifteen years he was ap-
pointed circuit judge of the Shawneetown district, in which capacity he served
for many years. Soon after his marriage he purchased a beautiful tract of land
on the bluff back of Shawneetown, about one mile, and after he had erected a
comfortable dwelling and other necessary buildings thereon removed to it and
there lived and died. His remains were buried on the bluff, about a quarter of a
mile east of his dwelling, at his own request, although the beautiful cemetery of
Westwood was distant less than a mile in an opposite direction.

Henry W. Moore was an eastern man, probably from Massachusetts. It is
supposed that he was admitted to the practice of the law in this state, and that
he claimed Hon. John C. McClernand as a preceptor; at all events they were
good friends and McClernand aided him to a considerable extent. He was a
tall, dignified man, but did not attain a very high position in his profession. In
1848, when the gold fever broke out, Moore went off with the first company that
organized here for the gold fields, and died on the way.

Henry Eddy, of Shawneetown, deserves mention in this connection. A
marked feature of Shawneetown is the number of men of distinguished ability
who were attracted to it as a place of residence. It has the distinction of having
given to the state, in John McLean, the first member of congress and senator ;
contemporaneous with him was Henry Eddy, who was a conspicuous lawyer
throughout the west.

He was born 1798 in Pittsfield, Vermont, his ancestors being of Puritan
stock. He and an elder brother attended a boys' school in Buffalo, New York,
while there, they served in a "called out," in November and December, of Colonel
McMahon's regiment of militia of New York. The city of Buffalo was burned,
and he was slightly wounded at the battle of Black Rock, when he was not quite
sixteen years old. He drifted to Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, where he entered a
printing-office, and while working at the printer's trade pursued his education at
a night school. The love of acquiring knowledge was a passion with him and
continued to his last days. From a diary he kept during his early life one can
judge of his thirst for learning and desire to acquire a finished education.

Judge Schaler, a prominent lawyer of Pittsburg, invited him to study law in
his office, an offer he gladly accepted. He became interested in the cause of
Illinois being entered as a free state, and early in 1818 he secured a printing-press
and workmen and boated down the Ohio river to Shawneetown, then the most
important point on the river below Louisville, Kentucky, and he was soon editing
the second paper published in the state of Illinois. It was known as the Illinois
Emigrant, and advocated very zealously the importance of this being a free state.
He was an ardent Whig, politically ; was appointed a judge of the circuit court,
but declined, being unwilling to give up a large, and for that day a lucrative, prac-
tice, and requested that his late student, Alexander Grant, might be appointed
in his stead. Notwithstanding that he lived in the stronghold of Illinois De-
mocracy, he was elected a delegate to the constitutional convention, politics


being laid aside for the time, that the state might have the benefit of its ablest
citizen from that section. For many years he was regarded as the most thor-
oughly read lawyer in the state, and in the competition of later years he had no
superiors in this respect. He was not an orator, but presented his case with
masterly clearness and conciseness. He was a man of fine literary taste and
ability, conversant with English and French literature, reading the latter in the

He was a man of rare personal attractions, being large, finely formed, hand-
some, of dignified bearing, kindly and cordial manner, generous to a fault, and
although a man of the strongest feelings, constitutionally, he held himself in such
control that he met all trials and sorrows with patient endurance, and all provoca-
tions, however trying, without loss of temper or dignity. Few men possessed so
many grand and noble traits of character. It may be said of him :

"The elements were

So mixed in him that Nature might stand up
And say to all the world, 'This was a man!' "

He was married in 1826 to Mary, daughter of John Marshall, an early and
prominent citizen of the state. He died June 29, 1849. Four children survive:
Mrs. Carroll, wife of Hon. Charles Carroll ; Miss Alice B. Eddy, John M. Eddy,
and Frank M. Eddy, all of Shawneetown.

Alexander Fraeser Grant was one of a number of men who studied law in
the office of Hon. Henry Eddy and afterward became prominent. Equality being
the county-seat of Gallatin county at that time, he located there and soon after-
ward was appointed judge of the circuit court. He was born in Inverness, Scot-
land, in 1804, and died at the age of thirty-one, in Vandalia, then the capital
of the state, where he had gone to spend the winter. During his somewhat pro-
tracted illness he was tenderly watched and cared for, in addition to the loving
ministrations of his sister, by Messrs. Lincoln, Eddy, Browne and other warm
personal friends. Physically, he had auburn hair, blue eyes and other marks of
the Scotch physical character. His moral and intellectual excellencies and
pleasing manners won him universal respect and esteem. He was never married.

He was a brother of Mrs. Mary Fraeser Ridgway, the mother of the late
Hon. Thomas S. Ridgway, of Shawneetown. The family to which he belonged
came to this country in 1807, locating in Philadelphia, but subsequently moved to
southern Illinois. It may be said of this family that in the early days of Shawnee-
town and vicinity it had precedence in point of education, refinement and deep
piety, and as such became a special blessing to the community ; its elevating
influence is still noticeable there. The son, the subject of the foregoing para-
graph, received his education in Philadelphia and was considered a remarkably
bright boy by his teachers.

John Cook Rives was born in Franklin county, Virginia, May 24, 1795, and
at the age of eleven years came to Kentucky to live with his uncle, Samuel Casey,
who gave him a good education. They subsequently removed to Edwardsville,
Illinois, and while residing there Mr. Rives was in some way connected with the


bank at that place. About the year 1824 he moved to Shawneetown, where he
began the practice of law, but abandoned it to accept a clerkship in the fourth
auditor's office in Washington city.

In 1830 he formed a partnership with Francis Blair, Sr., and founded the
Congressional Globe, as the exponent of the principles of the Democratic party,
in opposition to the National Intelligencer, which espoused those of the old
Whig party. They continued the publication of the Globe until after the close
of the war of the rebellion, up to the spring of 1864, when Mr. Rives was taken ill
and died at his country place, now known as Rives's Station, on the Baltimore &
Ohio Railroad, a few miles northwest of Washington, in Prince George county,
Maryland, on the loth day of April, 1864. Mr. Rives had accumulated consider-
able wealth, and was noted for his charity and liberality in many ways. He left
a widow and three sons surviving, one of whom, probably, still resides at the old
homestead above described.

His career as a lawyer at Shawneetown was brief, but is worthy of record
with those who continued in the field for longer terms of service.

Thomas C. Browne was a member of the second territorial legislature. In
the third territorial legislature he was a member of the "council" representing
Gallatin county, which convened December 2, 1816. He was appointed prose-
cuting attorney by Governor Ninian Edwards in July, 1815. The May term
(1819) of the Gallatin circuit court was held by Judge Browne, and the succeed-
ing courts were, until 1823, held by him.

John McLean, one of the distinguished representatives of the bar of Illinois
during the early part of the century, was born in North Carolina, February 4,
1791, and died in Shawneetown, Illinois, on the I4th of October, 1840. He was
taken by his father to Logan county, Kentucky, in 1795, and after acquiring a lim-
ited literary education began the study of law. After continuing his preparation
for some time he was admitted to the bar and entered upon the practice of his
chosen profession in Shawneetown, in 1815. He was also prominent in the law-
making bodies of the nation. He was the first congressman elected from Illinois,
taking his seat on the 4th of December, 1818, and serving until the following
March. In 1820 he was elected to the house of representatives of the Illinois
legislature and was chosen speaker. On the resignation of Ninian Edwards he
was appointed to the United States senate, and served from the 2Oth of Decem-
ber, 1824, until the 3d of March, 1825. In 1829 he was elected United States
senator for a full term, by the unanimous vote of the legislature, and took his
seat on the 7th of December, 1829. He died while in that office, October 14,

He was a man of signal ability and honor and was of generous and amiable
nature. He was one of the ablest of the early lawyers of Illinois and upon both
state and nation left the impress of his individuality.

Albert Gallatin Caldwell, attorney at law, was born in Shawneetown, Illinois,
in 1817, the son of John Caldwell, who was a native of Brownsville, Pennsylvania,
and who married Sarah, a daughter of John Badallet, a Frenchman. The latter
and Albert Gallatin (not our subject) were schoolmates together, in Geneva,


Switzerland, the former coming to America in 1786, and the latter in 1780, both
locating in Pennsylvania. In 1802 Gallatin was secretary of the treasury under
Thomas Jefferson, and secured Badallet's appointment as register of the land
office at Vincennes, Indiana, and John Caldwell obtained the same office at
Shawneetown. Badallet's privilege of naming the fourth county in Illinois ter-
ritory resulted in this county having its present name, Gallatin, in honor of his
old friend and schoolmate. John Caldwell died in 1835.

Albert G. Caldwell was educated in Shawneetown, and in 1841 married
Eleanor, born in 1822, a daughter of Joseph Castle, of Philadelphia. Air. Cald-
well was one of the leading members of the county bar and an eloquent speaker.
In 1850 he was elected to represent his county in the legislature, and the following
year he died, passing away in his prime, leaving many friends to mourn his loss.
He was a Mason and an Odd Fellow.

Willis Allen, born in Wilson county, Tennessee, in December, 1806, was the
son of John Allen, one of the seven heroic soldiers whose death at the battle of
New Orleans gave such peculiar emphasis to General Jackson's bloody repulse
of the British, on the 8th day of January, 1815, was of Virginia ancestry and
Scotch-Irish descent. When not yet ten years of age he found himself the sole
dependence of a widowed mother, and four orphan sisters, living on a small farm,
where he grew up to manhood, in his native^ county, with very limited educational
advantages. At the age of twenty he married Elizabeth Joiner, and in 1830, with
his wife and two infant children, he moved to Franklin county, Illinois, locating
in what is now Williamson county. In 1834 he was elected sheriff of Franklin,
and was re-elected to that office in 1836. In 1838 he was elected a member of the

Having determined to embark in the law, he located at Marion, in 1840, that
having become the county-seat of Williamson, stricken off from Franklin in 1839,
and commenced practicing law, with but little acquaintance with the text-books
or professional preparation. When elected by the legislature in 1842 state's
attorney for the third judicial circuit, he had not been licensed to practice law ;
but his splendid adaptation to new conditions, his strong common sense, his per-
suasiveness of speech and fairness of action, enabled him to soon become one of
the ablest and most successful prosecutors in the state. His reliance as authority
was Archibald Cumnal's Pleading and Practice, a book with which he soon
became perfectly familiar.

In 1844, he was the Democratic candidate for elector in his congressional
district, and made a campaign for Polk and Dallas, which added much to his
reputation ; and he was elected to the state senate the same year, serving with
Matteson, Judd, Ninian Edwards, Thomas G. C. Davis, Constable, and others
who were then, or afterward became, prominent. In 1847 he was elected a mem-
ber of the constitutional convention of Illinois, and proved a valuable member of
that distinguished body. In 1850 he was elected to congress from the Shawnee-
town district and was re-elected in 1852. Retiring from politics in 1855, he re-
sumed the practice of the law, but in 1857 was elected judge of the circuit court


and was holding a term of the circuit at Harrisburg, Saline county, when he
was attacked with pneumonia, and died in April, 1859.

He was a man of great candor, of warm friendship, very near to the people,
who relied upon him with entire confidence. As a jury lawyer he had few equals
in the state ; and as husband, father, neighbor and citizen none stood, or de-
served to stand, higher.

William Jefferson Gatewood was born in Warren county, Kentucky, and
moved to Franklin county, Illinois, while yet a boy. He was of great buoyancy,
elasticity of disposition, of a remarkably robust and vigorous constitution, which
enabled him to overcome a thousand obstacles. About 1832 he moved to
Shavvneetown, having previously acquired a good English and classical educa-
tion. He taught school two or three years, devoting his leisure hours to the
study of the law, and admitted to the bar in 1828 he rapidly rose to distinction in
his profession. He represented Gallatin county in the legislature several times,
both in the house of representatives and in the senate.

He possessed a kind and benevolent heart, justice was always before his eye,
and so strongly was he attached to justice that he often combatted the opinions
of the judges, even though they may have been favorable to his own side of the
case, because he believed them to be at variance with the law, which was to him
the medium through which justice was to be obtained.

He died January 8, 1842, leaving a wife and four children.

Thomas G. C. Davis was a native of Virginia, but soon after attaining his
majority located in Alabama, and in 1842 removed to Illinois, locating at Me-
tropolis in Massac county. His literary attainments were of a high order, and his
culture broad. With these advantages, united to a splendid presence and voice,
he became one of the most popular orators in the state.

As a member of the constitutional convention of 1847 he won high dis-
tinction for eloquence and ability. In 1850 he was an independent candidate for
congress, in the Shawneetown district, against Hon. Willis Allen, the regular
Democratic nominee, but was defeated, and soon changed his residence to Pa-
ducah, Kentucky, removing afterward to St. Louis, where he was a leading law-
yer for many years, locating late in life at Denton, Texas, where he died in 1888.
He had high claims on scholarship and oratory, had much force, and was very
ambitious for political distinction.

Andrew McCallon, son of Hays and Susannah McCallon, was born at
Palmyra, Indiana, October 29, 1813, and died at Shawneetown, Illinois, Febru-
ary 10, 1861. He came to Shawneetown in 1843 an< i m connection with Bernard
Timmons established the dry-goods store of Timmons & McCallon. This con-
cern quit business in 1845, when he commenced the study of the law, and com-
menced its practice the following year. At one time he was a member of the
legislature. He was a successful criminal lawyer, and devoted nearly his entire
time to the criminal practice. In politics he was a Whig, and in 1860 voted for
Bell and Everett.



THE attorneys constituting the bar of Schuyler county from 1839 to 1854
were : William A. Minshall, William A. Hinman, General Maxwell, Horace
S. Cooley and J. B. Bigler. The attorneys who resided in adjoining coun-
ties within this judicial circuit (the fifth) and who practiced here were Messrs.
Browning, Bushnell, Archie Williams, and Abraham Jonas, of Quincy ; Cyrus
Walker, of Macomb ; H. M. Wead and Lewis W. Ross of Lewistown.

Those who resided without the circuit but who attended court here occa-
sionally, were E. D. Baker, Stephen T. Logan and Abraham Lincoln, of Spring-
field ; and Murray McConnel, of Jacksonville.

Early in this period H. S. Cooley moved to Quincy, was appointed secretary
of state, and ex-officio state superintendent of schools, in 1846. He died many
years ago.

Mr. Bigler went, after a short residence in Rushville, to Mount Sterling,
and thence to California, and was elected governor of that state, and perhaps
filled other public offices.

Soon after Colonel Richardson returned from the Mexican war he removed
to Quincy, was elected to congress several times, and also appointed by the legis-
lature to fill Judge Douglas' vacancy in the United States senate.

About the year 1852 there was a change made in the circuit. Pike county
was taken into this circuit, and Adams, Hancock and Henderson were put into
a new circuit, and by fixing the time of holding court the same in both circuits,
the Quincy attorneys were prevented attending courts here, or, as "Bob" Black-
well expressed it, "We got rid of them Quincy fellows."

The change in the circuit, and the removal of several of the old attorneys,
created a great change in the bar of this county, and of the circuit. It brought
to the front P. H. Walker, R. S. Blackwell and John C. Bagby, of Rushville ;
William and Jack Grimshaw, C. L. Higbee, James Irwin, Charles C. Warren and
Milton Hay, from Pike county ; John S. Bailey, of Macomb county ; and O. C.
Skinner and Calvin A. Warren, of Adams county.

In 1838 Judge James H. Ralston was elected senator of Adams county,
thereby creating a vacancy on the bench, which Governor Thomas Carlin filled
by appointing Peter Lott, of Quincy. Judge Lott held his first term of court in
Rushville, in December, 1839.

He was succeeded by Judge Stephen A. Douglas, who, as judge of the su-
preme court, performed circuit duties, under the new law of 1840-41. This he
continued to do until 1843, when Jesse B. Thomas was appointed, and held court
till 1845. J uc lg e Richard M. Young, another of the supreme judges, held the



April term in 1845. Judge N. H. Purple was then appointed, and continued to
hold court until 1849; D. M. Woodson, of Greene county, held one term in this
year, and then William A. Minshall was appointed, and served as judge until
he died, in 1852. He was succeeded by O. C. Skinner, of Adams county, and he
by Pinckney H. Walker, in 1853, wno continued our judge until he was elected to
succeed Judge Skinner on the supreme bench, in 1858, where he continued to
the satisfaction of the people of this district until he died, February 7, 1885.

Theophilus L. Dickey and DeWitt C. Johnson practiced in our courts, the
former belonging in the first class the latter in the second, in point of priority as
members of our bar. Mr. Johnson came to Rushville in 1852. He was a young
man of fine mind, well educated and a good lawyer, and, of course, well fitted
for county judge, which office he held for four years. He died in 1866 or 1867.

Judge J. P. Van Dorston, in whose death there passed away another member
of that little group of distinctively representative lawyers that in the middle period
of the nineteenth century made the bar of southern Illinois famous, was remark-
able in the breadth of his wisdom, in his indomitable perseverance and strong
individuality. There was in him a weight of character, a native sagacity and a
fidelity of purpose that commanded the respect of all. He seemed to realize, as
few men have done, the importance of the profession to which he devoted his
energies, and the fact that justice and the higher attributes of mercy he often held
in his hands. His high reputation as a lawyer was won through earnest, honest
labor and his standing at the bar was a merited tribute to his ability.

John Packer Van Dorston was born in Center county, Pennsylvania, Janu-
ary 22, 1837, and was the eldest son of Rudolph and Elizabeth (Packer) Van

Online LibraryJohn M. (John McAuley) PalmerThe bench and the bar of Illinois : Historical and reminiscent (Volume v.2) → online text (page 35 of 83)