John M. (John McAuley) Palmer.

The bench and the bar of Illinois : Historical and reminiscent (Volume v.2) online

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his speeches, while prosecuting attorney, were among the ablest ever made in our
court, and compared favorably with those of his opponents, among whom we


may name Browning, Walker and others. Mr. Blackwell was evidently a rising
man when he left our courts and settled in Chicago, in a broader field of useful-
ness, where he died several years ago. He had a most remarkable memory, was
always ready with his authorities, quoting book and page with the greatest fa-

Jackson Grimshaw, of Pike, afterward of Quincy, was for many years well
known in our county and had considerable practice at our bar. He was always
regarded as a strong lawyer and able to cope with the best. He possessed an
active, perceptive and vigorous mind, was well grounded in the law, and was pre-
eminently strong before a jury in any and every case where an analysis of the
testimony and motives of witnesses might be brought into view. Mr. Grimshaw
was, perhaps, best known to our people as a stump orator, having been on sev-
eral occasions before the people of the district in that capacity, either as a candi-
date or a volunteer in aid of his party.

Almeron Wheat was a Quincy attorney, an able lawyer, who years ago had
considerable practice in this county.

N. Johnson died a number of years ago. He was an active member of the
"Peace Committee of One Hundred" from Quincy, during the last Mormon
troubles, and through his influence and skill probably the destruction of much
life and property was averted.

William H. Roosevelt was a scion of a rich family in New York city. He
settled in Warsaw about 1836 and acquired large interests there. His practice at
the bar was merely nominal, as he was better known as a politician, a trader and
land speculator. He was intimately identified with the interests of Warsaw, and
labored hard to advance her prosperity. He was genial, good-natured, high-
minded and held many honorable positions. He was several times a candidate
for the legislature, and was elected to that position in 1858. His death occurred
soon after the commencement of the Rebellion.

Malcolm McGregor was a New Yorker who came to Warsaw about the same
time with Mr. Roosevelt ; was also a Democratic politician ; was a candidate for
the legislature in. 1840, but defeated. In 1839 he had been elected to the office
of probate judge ; was afterward appointed by the county commissioners to the
responsible position of school commissioner, and died while holding the office.

Thomas Morrison was a Tennesseean, and settled in Warsaw about the year
1842 or 1843; afterward resided in Carthage. He was a good lawyer, though
he never obtained a large practice. He was a pofitician of the Whig school, and
was elected to the legislature in 1846. His death occurred not long afterward.
Messrs. Roosevelt, McGregor and Morrison were brothers-in-law married to
the Misses \Vells, sisters of James M. Wells, one of the Warsaw proprietors.

Henry Stephens was a New Yorker, and is said to have read law in the office
of Millard Fillmore. He settled in Warsaw about 1840, and arose to the rank
of brigadier general in the militia. The general was not an able lawyer, neither
was he an orator, yet by his industry, energy and methodical habits he attained
to considerable practice.

Sterling P. Delano was raised in Hancock county in the vicinity of Warsaw.


He studied with Browning & Bushnell, of Quincy, and entered into practice in
that city with Messrs. Buckley & Macy. He enlisted in the army, and was
elected captain of a company of cavalry. He was unfortunately wounded by a
pistol ball accidentally discharged in the hands of his first lieutenant, Catlin,
which lodged in the spine and proved mortal. He died at his home in Quincy,
after months of extreme suffering. Mr. Delano's career as a lawyer was short
but honorable. He was greatly esteemed by the members of the bar, and died
regretted. We are not aware that he had practice at the Hancock bar, but as a
Hancock boy this notice is due to his memory.

Of old attorneys, non-residents of the county, and who formerly practiced at
this bar, we mention Hon. Orville H. Browning, Hon. James W. Singleton and
Calvin A. Warren, Esq., all of Quincy.


When Sheriff Deming was in Warsaw looking for the defendants in the
Smith murder cases, he was treated very shabbily. He put up for the night, and
when he started to leave in the morning he found that some ruffian had shaved
his horse's mane and tail. He mounted him, however, and started to leave.
Coming to where some citizens were standing, he halted, and remarked : "My
horse got into bad company last night." "Most generally is, I reckon," retorted
one of the by-standers. The General rode on, thinking it unnecessary to parley
with such a crowd.

Here is a story told of a certain Rushville attorney. He practiced at the
Hancock bar, or at any rate attended courts here for that purpose. But, if the
truth must be told and there is where the joke comes in he practiced also at
the bar of Charley Main's grocery. It was in the early days, when courts were
held in the log cabin south of the square. But early as it was, there had been a
circus perambulating the country, and one had exhibited a few days before on the
square, and left its ring in the soil. So one night after a parcel of attorneys and
others had been "indulging" at Main's, our Rushville friend started to go to his
hotel alone. Coming to the circus ring, he took the track and followed it round
and round for some time, till others coming along, asked what he was doing.
"Doing !" replied he ; "I'm going home ; but I didn't know this town was so big.
I've been half an hour on my way, and I've passed ever so many houses just like
that over there." The next day the story got out, and the lawyers had a high
time over it. We believe it was Sidney Little's suggestion that he was going to
be candidate for judge, and "was only practicing how to run the circuit."

Christopher E. Yates tells us this story and it must be true that "once
upon a time," about 1834, during court, a certain jury got "hung" under a cot-
tonwood tree, not far from the court house, which had been appropriated for a
jury room. Constable Duff had been deputed to watch them, and make them
hang together. But the case was a knotty one, and they couldn't agree. One
of them, becoming tired and saucy, said he was going home, and started. Duff
told him he could not go without first whipping him. At it they went, and Duff


whipped him into obedience. But still they could not agree upon a verdict.
Again the refractory man began to rebel, and go home he would. Duff was
again under the necessity of whipping him in ; and thus kept him until a verdict
was rendered.

Jesse B. Winn, a citizen of Carthage, had a mule that strangely enough died
a natural death, during the session of one of these early courts. The fact caused
great comment among the lawyers. Among them was one from Quincy, a native
of Kentucky, who had no business at the town ; but his associates started the
story that he came to attend the mule case ; that it was good law in Kentucky
that a mule never died, and their associate came especially to investigate the
reason why the law was not equally good in Illinois. The attorney decided that
the mule in question had lost his "bray," and consequently had to give up the
g-gho-o-st !

Wesley H. Manier, a prominent member of the Hancock county bar, was
born on October 2, 1829, in the state of Kentucky. He received a classical edu-
cation and taught school a short time in his native state, and in May, 1851, came
to Quincy, Illinois, where he commenced the study of law in the office of Will-
iams & Lawrence. Archibald Williams, of that firm, was his uncle, and after-
ward became the United States district judge for Kansas ; and Charles B. Law-
rence, the other member of the firm, was for many years one of the judges of the
supreme court of this state. Mr. Manier was admitted to practice in 1852, and
in June of that year located at Carthage, Illinois, where he resided until his death,
which occurred February 24, 1897. During his practice he was associated as a
partner, at various times, with John M. Ferris, Hiram G. Ferris, Bryant T. Sco-
field and Bryant F. Peterson. At the time of his death he was the senior mem-
ber of the firm of Manier, <J. D.) Miller & (J. W.) Williams.

About 1873 or 1874 Mr. Manier became associated with the Hon. Norman
L. Freeman, as the assistant supreme-court reporter of Illinois, and continued as
such until the death of Mr. Freeman. During that time it was a part of the duty
of Mr. Manier to prepare the syllabi of the decisions of the supreme court, and,
with few exceptions, the syllabi of the decisions during that period were prepared
by him, and were models for accuracy of statement and conciseness of expres-
sion. His work received the commendation of the bench and bar of the state,
and was and is relied upon as the correct interpretation of the points decided in
the decisions. He had quite an extensive practice for many years, and was an
industrious and resourceful lawyer in any branch of the practice. He excelled
as an equity lawyer, and his knowledge of equitable principles was profound and
of the highest order. His mind was a veritable store-house, and such was the
accuracy and extent of his acquaintance with the decisions of this state that he
could give the number of the volume and the page, and frequently the names of
the litigants, where a given point had been decided. This remarkable knowl-
edge of where the law might be found made him an adversary to be feared.
Quite early in his business life he was admitted to practice in the federal courts,


and had considerable practice in the United States courts. He prepared and
published a work entitled, "Warehouses, Railroads and Eminent Domain." It
was a digest of the decisions of Illinois on the above subjects, and exhibited much
care in its preparation. For many years before his death he had been preparing
a digest of the Illinois reports, but death cut short his labors, with his manuscript
uncompleted. Mr. Manier filled many local offices of importance and trust, and
always with great benefit to the public. He was the author of the act creating
the Carthage school district, and when president of the town council of Carthage
prepared an excellent code of ordinances of the town. He had many friends,
and the friends once made he retained throughout his lifetime. Personally he
was sociable and urbane, and his kindness of heart was a very prominent charac-
teristic. He was very careful to avoid wounding the feelings of others, and he
would make almost any sacrifice to keep from being the occasion of inflicting
pain upon another.

He was married October 25, 1854, to Miss Sarah Allen, who survives him.
There were six children born of this union, one of whom, Miss Laura A. Manier,
is still living.

Orville F. Berry, one of the most distinguished lawyers and political leaders
in his section of Illinois, has won the respect which is so freely accorded him by
his many acquaintances and friends, by those virtues which are the most axio-
matic. Practical industry, wisely and vigorously applied, never fails of success ;
it carries a man onward and upward, brings out his individual character and acts
as a powerful stimulus to the efforts of others. The greatest results in life are
usually attained by simple means and the exercise of the ordinary qualities of
common sense, perseverance and earnest, continuous labor.

Born in Table Grove, McDonough county, Illinois, February 16, 1852, he
is a son of Jonathan L. and Martha (McConnell) Berry. His father died in 1858,
his mother in 1860, and thus early left an orphan he went to live with his maternal
grand-parents in Fountain Green, Hancock county, where he worked on the
farm and attended the district school until sixteen years of age. He completed
his literary education in the Fountain Green high school. After attaining his
sixteenth year he worked as a farm hand in the neighborhood for six months in
a year and attended school for the remainder of the time. Shortly after putting
aside his text-books and leaving the school for the last time, he was married and
went to live on a farm. Agriculture was to him a congenial occupation, but he
believed that he would be more successful in the practice of law, and desired to
study that he might become a member of the bar. In this he was opposed by
Mrs. Berry. For a year he continued his farming operations, and then engaged
in merchandising. All this time his desire to study law never left him, and his
wife finally agreeing to the plan he became a student in the law office of Mack
& Baird, of Carthage, with whom he remained until his admission to the bar in
1879. He then entered into partnership with Hon. Thomas C. Sharp, and a few
years later they were joined by M. P. Berry, a brother of our subject. Judge
Sharp remained a member of the firm until his death a few years ago, and under
the name of Sharp & Berry Brothers they soon built up a very extensive and


profitable business. Orville F. Berry was soon recognized as the trial lawyer
of the firm, and remains so to this day. His firm has been connected with most
of the important litigation, both civil and criminal, that has been heard in Han-
cock county for many years, and now has a distinctively representative clientage.
He is now the general attorney for the insurance department of Illinois and at-
torney for Carthage College. He prepares his cases with the greatest thorough-
ness, is painstaking and exact in research, and in the court-room marshals the
points in evidence with the precision of a general on the field of battle. His gifts
of oratory, his incontrovertible logic and his comprehensive knowledge of the
law make his arguments forceful and convincing, and he is regarded as one of
the strongest advocates at the bar in his section of the state.

Mr. Berry has long been prominent in the public affairs, both county and
state, his fitness for leadership causing him frequently to be called into public
service, where his fidelity to duty has won him high commendation. He was
elected the first mayor of the city of Carthage, in 1883, and held the office for six
years. In 1888 the Democrats of Illinois made a herculean effort to carry the
state, and the Hancock district was regarded as doubtful. The Republicans
were importuned to name their strongest man, and Senator Berry was induced
to make the race and was elected. In 1892, when the Democrats swept the
state, the district gave Harrison a majority of only one hundred and eighty-
seven, while Mr. Berry received a majority of two hundred and forty-four a fact
which indicated his personal popularity and the confidence reposed in him by his
fellow townsmen. But the legislature of 1893 was Democratic, and new dis-
tricts were made, throwing Senator Berry into what was thought to be a hope-
lessly Democratic district. In 1896, without warrant of law, his opponent's name
was placed on the ballot in the Democratic and Populists' columns, and appar-
ently defeated Mr. Berry by about one hundred votes. The latter contested,
however, and was awarded the seat, the senate holding that the secretary of
state illegally certified his opponent's name as a candidate of the Populists. Mr.
Berry was chairman of the judiciary committee during the session of 1895, chair-
man of the police investigation committee of 1897, and was also chairman of the
Republican state convention of 1896. He has been a leader in the legislature in
every session since he first took his seat in the house in 1889, has long been
prominent in state politics, and his opinions carry weight in the conferences,
councils and conventions of this party.

Mr. Berry is a man of domestic tastes and his home relations are very pleas-
ant. He was married in Fountain Green, Illinois, March 5, 1873, to Anna M.
Barr, who was educated in Monmouth, Illinois, and was a teacher for several
years prior to her marriage. A lady of culture and refinement, she presides with
gracious hospitality over their pleasant home, which is the center of a cultured
society circle. Five children were born to them, but all are now deceased ; they
have an adopted daughter, Mary Lenore, now four years old.

Mr. Berry is connected with several social organizations, including the blue
lodge and Royal Arch chapter of Masons, the Knights of Pythias and the Mod-
ern Woodmen of America. He is also a member of the Ancient Order of United


Workmen, has served as grand master of the order in Illinois, and has been rep-
resentative of the state in the supreme lodge for many years. He also belongs
to the Hamilton Club, of Chicago, and is a member of the Presbyterian church.
By his careful expenditures and good investments in former years he has ac-
cumulated some property, and has a very comfortable home in Carthage, to
which he is greatly attached. His life has been well spent, and he has risen to
prominence by earnest labor, fidelity to duty and honorable purpose.

Apollos W. O'Harra, a lawyer of Carthage, Illinois, was born on a farm near
Camp Point, Illinois, on February 22, 1857, tne eldest child of Jefferson and
Paulina O'Harra. His father, who was in the early years of his life a thrifty,
hard-working farmer, but who for many years past has been engaged in. mer-
chandising, is a man of strict integrity of character, both in private life and busi-
ness, and a man who is greatly respected by his fellow-townsmen. His mother,
a gentle, refined and capable woman, is a mother in whose heart and life a family
of nine children have claimed a large place, and who has lived for domestic and
religious circles.

The subject of this brief sketch received his elementary education in the
district school where he lived, and assisted his father all that he could by clerking.
P>ut, not having a taste for work of this kind, and being fond of study and intel-
lectual effort, he pursued his studies in Carthage College, obtaining for himself
financial aid by teaching school in his home village. Before he reached his
twentieth year he exhibited the possession of natural ability for the law, and hav-
ing determined to follow that profession, he arranged with the law firm of Draper
& Scofield, prominent attorneys of Carthage, to become a student of their office,
and in 1877 entered upon his studies with great assiduity. He devoted himself
with all earnestness to the study of his chosen profession, and was examined for
admission to the bar before the appellate court at Springfield in November, 1879,
and was licensed to practice, passing a most creditable examination.

On January 5, 1880, he began practicing in Carthage, and was alone in busi-
ness until 1882, when he formed a partnership with F. H. Graves under the firm
name of O'Harra & Graves, a connection which continued until the removal of
the latter to Spokane, Washington, where he is now regarded as the leading
lawyer in the eastern part of that state. During these years Mr. O'Harra had
shown, by his diligence and untiring perseverance, capacity for an able and
efficient lawyer. He persevered in a course of wisdom, rectitude and benevo-
lence, and won the confidence of those with whom he had become associated.
He was a young man ambitious to possess a true manhood, true honor and per-
fection of our nature. His ability won him many admirers, and his kindness of
heart and genial manners gathered round him a host of friends.

In 1884 he became associated in the practice with Charles J. and Timothy J.
Scofield. This partnership existed but a short time, however, Charles J. Sco-
field's election to the office of circuit judge in the following June making neces-
sary his withdrawal from professional duty, at which time Mr. O'Harra became
the senior member of the firm of O'Harra & Scofield. Desiring to extend their
practice they opened an office in Quincy also, where a partnership was formed


with Colonel W. W. Berry, of that city, who ranked among the most prominent
attorneys of that part of the state; but upon his sudden death in 1893 the Quincy
office was discontinued. In the meantime Timothy J. Scofield had been ap-
pointed assistant attorney general of Illinois, and removed from Carthage to
Springfield. In the fall of 1897 Judge Charles J. Scofield, at the expiration of
twelve years on the circuit bench and four years on the appellate bench, again
entered the practice of law, and associated himself with his brother and Mr.
O'Harra, making the present firm of Scofield, O'Harra & Scofield.

Mr. O'Harra is a man of decided talent, a good speaker and a clear reasoner,
and justly ranks as one of the ablest attorneys in this part of the state. As a
vigorous prosecutor and an able defender he has no superiors in western Illinois.
He has a wide reputation for his successful examination of witnesses, and is espe-
cially apt in cross-examination, but at all times displays a courtesy to those on
the stand that has made him very popular. He prepares his cases with most
careful and painstaking effort, and his logical deductions, apt conclusions, clear
and cogent reasoning and sound arguments never fail to carry weight and seldom
fail to convince. In social and private life he is beloved as a man, warm in his
friendship and charitable toward those who differ from him, and a firm friend of
young men struggling for success in the legal profession. He is an active citizen
and forward in all schemes for improvement and enlightenment. He is a clean-
handed Democrat, and is frequently sent as a delegate to the judicial, congres-
sional and state conventions of his party. He has served as mayor of Carthage
two terms, has been for many years a prominent member of the board of educa-
tion of the Carthage public schools and of the board of trustees of Carthage

On October 14, 1880, Mr. O'Harra "took to wife" Miss Eliza J. Burner,
daughter of Isaac S. Burner and Jane A. Burner, who came to Illinois from Vir-
ginia, and to them have been born five children, one of whom died in infancy.
The others are Clifton J., Edith M., Gladys J. and Roswell B.



ER. E. KIMBROUGH, whose name is inseparably interwoven with the
history of Danville in its professional, commercial and political life, has
1 long been an important factor ; and through his efforts the interests of the
city have been materially advanced. He now holds in his hands the reins of mu-
nicipal government, and his administration of the affairs of the city is progressive,
business-like and commendable. He has been the promoter of several leading
enterprises, and in his profession has attained an eminent position to which merit
and skill justly entitle him.

Mr. Kimbrough was born on a farm in Edgar county, Illinois, March 28,
1851, his parents being Dr. Andrew H. and Sarah (Ashmore) Kimbrough, now
residents of Danville. Both are representatives of old colonial families. The
Kimbroughs were among the earliest settlers of Virginia, but prior to the war of
the Revolution removed to North Carolina, locating near Newberne. Repre-
sentatives of the name aided in the struggle for independence, serving under
Sumter and Marion. The grandfather of our subject, Richard C. Kim-
brough, was a soldier of the war of 1812, serving on the staff of
General Andrew Jackson. He took part in the battle of New Orleans and was
severely wounded at the Horseshoe Bend. He died at the age of thirty-three
years, his death resulting from the exposure and hardships endured in the war.
His wife was a member of the rather numerous family of Morrisons of Kentucky.
The maternal grandfather, Amos Ashmore, was born at Staunton, Virginia, and
married Patience McGuire, a native of Dandridge, Tennessee, her birth occur-
ring in a fort where her mother had taken refuge from the British and Indians
during the Revolutionary war. Amos Ashmore came to Illinois in 1808, locat-
ing in Clark county, where his daughter Sarah was born, in 1820. Dr. Kim-
brough has long been a successful physician and now practices his profession in
Danville, where he and his estimable wife are numbered among the most re-
spected citizens.

Although born on a farm, Danville's popular mayor, E. R. E. Kimbrough,

Online LibraryJohn M. (John McAuley) PalmerThe bench and the bar of Illinois : Historical and reminiscent (Volume v.2) → online text (page 39 of 83)