John M. (John McAuley) Palmer.

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was taken by his parents to Paris, Illinois, when four years of age, and three
years later the family went to Georgetown, this state, where they remained until
coming to Danville, on the 1st of January, 1873. I* 1 t ne common schools our
subject began his education, which was continued in the Normal University of
Normal, Illinois, and completed by his graduation in the class of 1873. On the ist
of July of that year he became a student in the law office of Elias S. Terry, a
prominent member of the Danville bar, remaining under his tuition until January
i, 1876, with the. exception of a period of eight months spent in teaching in Gol-
conda, Illinois. Admitted to the bar in that year, he has since engaged in gen-



890 THE BENCH AND BAR OF ILLINOIS.

eral law practice. Nature bountifully endowed him with the peculiar qualifica-
tions that combine to make a successful lawyer. Patiently persevering, pos-
sessed of an analytical mind and one that is readily receptive and retentive of the
fundamental principles and intricacies of the law; gifted with a spirit of devo-
tion to wearisome details ; quick to comprehend the most subtle problems and
logical in his conclusions ; fearless in the advocacy of any cause he may espouse,
and the soul of honor and integrity, few men have been more richly gifted for
the achievement of success in the arduous, difficult profession of the law. He
now has a very large and distinctively representative clientage. In addition to
his law practice he has for twenty years been connected with the First National
Bank, of Danville, as director and member of the executive board. For a similar
period he has been connected with the Building & Loan Association, and in all
his business transactions has met with success, winning a very desirable compe-
tency.

Mr. Kimbrough has long been a prominent figure in political circles. In
1878 he was a candidate for state senator against George Hunt, afterward attor-
ney general. There was also an independent Greenback candidate in the field,
who received one thousand votes, and in this district, which is very strongly
Republican, Mr. Kimbrough, as the Democratic candidate, was defeated by a
plurality of only three hundred and seventeen. He was a member of the Dan-
ville Board of Education from 1879 until 1888; was a member of the legislature
from 1882 until 1886, serving in the thirty-third and thirty-fourth general as-
semblies; was appointed on the state board of education in 1893 for a four-years
term and reappointed in 1897. In the latter year he was also elected mayor of
Danville, and is still serving in that capacity. He was a delegate to the Demo-
cratic national conventions of 1888 and 1892, and to the Indianapolis gold-
Democrat convention of 1896. He was elected mayor on an independent ticket,
on the issue of reform, defeating the Democratic, Republican and Prohibition
nominees. He has been a close student of the needs of the American people,
national, state and local, and is the advocate and supporter of all measures for
the general good..

Socially Mr. Kimbrough is a Mason, becoming such in 1879, and since 1877
has been a member of the Knights of Honor. He was married September 14,
1876, to Julia C. Tincher, daughter of the late John L. Tincher, the founder of the
banking firm of Tincher & English, whose institution later became known as the
First National Bank, of Danville. Senator Tincher was a warm personal friend
of Governor Palmer, and was a leader in public affairs in Illinois. He served for
a number of years as a member of the general assembly, was a member of the
constitutional convention of 1870, which framed the present organic law of the
state, and was serving as state senator at the time of his death, which occurred
in the Revere House, at Springfield, Illinois, in December, 1871. He was a
very successful and active business man, and was intimately connected with all
public enterprises of Danville and this locality. Unto Mr. and Mrs. Kimbrough
was born an only son, Robert T., who died at the age of nine years, leaving a
place in the household that can never be filled. This is the only great shadow



THE BENCH AND BAR OF ILLINOIS. 891

that has ever fallen upon their home, which is a most happy one. Mr. Kim-
brough is a man of the most unflinching honesty and honor, whose course in life
lies in the path of justice. By some he is regarded as an austere man, but his
intimate friends know of his genial temperament, kindly disposition and ready
sympathy. His habits are studious and reason sways all his acts. Such a man
is a credit to the community, and his worth is appreciated by all who come into
contact with his work and life.

Seymer G. Wilson is a distinguished lawyer of pronounced ability, residing
at Danville, Illinois, he having been a member of the Vermilion county bar for
twelve years. He was born near Harrisburg, in the county of Pickaway, Ohio,
on the first day of March, 1858. In October, 1862, he came with his parents
in a covered wagon to Vermilion county, Illinois, where he has since resided.
The day they arrived in Illinois, his father's family and property consisted of
a wife, four little children, a few household goods, an old team of horses and
fifty-six dollars in money, and thus equipped they began the battle of life. His
parents were farmers, and he remained with them upon the farm until he was
of age. It seldom falls to the lot of a boy to face grim necessity more severely
than he did. His father was a renter and frequently moved from farm to farm
in the county. During the winter months, after the autumn work was done,
he attended the district school, where a studious nature fitted him for teach-
ing, which calling he entered upon at the age of twenty-one, and followed for
four years.

Speaking for himself, he said: ''I acquired more of my education at home,
studying with myself for a teacher, of nights, on Sundays and rainy days than
I did in the short terms of school that I attended. The last two years that I
taught school I also read law under the direction of the firm of Mann, Calhoun
& Frazier, of Danville. At the end of that time, after having taught fourteen
months of country school, I passed an examination at Springfield with a grade
of eighty-five per cent, and was admitted to the practice of my chosen profes-
sion in May, ,1882."

Through the kindness of Hon. J. G. Cannon and Colonel W. J. Calhoun, he
was appointed to a clerkship in the war department, at Washington, D. C., in
August, 1882, which position he held for five years, and during that time he
completed the course and was graduated at the National Law University of that
city, being endowed with the highest degree that can be acquired .in any law
college in America, that of Master of Laws, receiving his diploma from the
hands of Chester Allen Arthur, who was then chancellor of the university. In
December, 1887, he returned to Danville, where he opened an office and has
ever since remained. His merits as a lawyer were soon recognized, and his
practice, then commenced, has steadily increased, until to-day his firm of Wil-
son, Buckingham & Kent have as large a practice as any law firm in the
county, if not larger, much important litigation being entrusted to their care.
The bar and the public, both severe in their criticism of one who would essay
legal prominence, have passed favorable judgment upon him, and he can well
look back over the path he has trod and say, "Labor bringeth its reward.'-'



892 THE BENCH AND BAR OF ILLINOIS.

In 1892 Mr. Wilson was elected prosecuting attorney of Vermilion county,
and again chosen in 1896 to the same position, being the only man that has
ever been able to succeed himself in that office in that county. He has carried
the same energy and determination into the duty of prosecuting violators of
the laws that have marked his other efforts in life. The result has been an
almost unbroken line of, "We, the jury, find the defendant guilty." The rec-
ords of the county show that out of twenty-two men and women prosecuted by
him, up to the date of this sketch, for homicide, eighteen have been convicted.

Mr. Wilson was married December 28, 1893, to Miss Gertrude Kent, a
daughter of one of the old and substantial families of Danville. He is a man
of pleasant disposition, ever ready to extend a favor to a friend, and equally
ever ready to punish an enemy. His steady habits and high moral character
command the respect of all who know him. In politics he is a Republican, and
is much sought after in that community during campaign time as a speaker at
Republican meetings. He is a man of marked ability, strong in character, a
close student of men, possessing a very determined and aggressive nature, to-
gether with a wonderful amount of energy. He seldom quits any proposition
that he becomes interested in until he sees it successfully terminated. He is a
free and quick thinker, with a ready command of language, and at times in de-
bate rises to rounds of forcible and convincing eloquence that carries his jury
or his audience along with him in perfect accord. He is one of the promising
lawyers of the state.

Morton W. Thompson, county judge of Vermilion county, has been a
member of the bar of Danville for fifteen years. He was born on a farm in
Oak wood township, this county, May 23, 1858, his parents being John R. and
Elizabeth A. (Wright) Thompson. The father was born in Greene county,
Pennsylvania, April 12. 1830, and in 1850 came to Illinois, driving three thou-
sand sheep. From that time until his death he continued to make his home in
Vermilion county, where on the 27th. of November, 1856, he married Miss
Wright, who was born in the county, December 26, 1837. She was of German
descent and Mr. Thompson was of Scotch-Irish lineage. He carried on agri-
cultural pursuits throughout his business career, and died in Fithian, Ver-
milion county, September 3, 1895.

Judge Thompson acquired his elementary education in the country schools,
supplemented by a four-years course in the Danville high school, where he was
graduated in the class of 1879. He then engaged in teaching for two years,
and in 1881 entered the law department of the University of Michigan, in which
institution he was graduated with the degree of LL. B., in 1883. He then
opened an office in Danville, and continued in the active practice until elevated
to the bench. He was always alone in business with the exception of the years
1888, 1889 and 1890, when he was associated in a law partnership with Hon.
W. J. Calhoun, the present interstate commerce commissioner, under the firm
name of Calhoun & Thompson. On the 27th of July, 1897, he was elected
county judge, and was the successful Republican nominee for re-election in No-
vember, 1898. So ably has he discharged the duties of the office and so popular



THE BENCH AND BAR OF ILLINOIS. 893

is he in the county that the Democrats placed no opposing candidate in the
field, 'knowing that his nomination was equivalent to an election. For some
years he has been an active factor in politics in Vermilion county, and has
served as secretary of the county committee for ten years, his capable man-
agement, sagacity and executive ability contributing not a little to the party
successes which have been registered. In 1890 he was special agent of the
census department for taking the mortgage indebtedness of Utah.

Judge Thompson was married in Danville, Illinois, November 30, 1887,
to Miss Mary W. Steen. He belongs to Olive Branch Lodge, No. 38, A. F. & A.
M., with which he has been connected five years, and is past master. He also
holds membership in Vermilion Chapter, No. 37; in the council; in Athelstan
Commandery, No. 45, K. T., and in Danville Lodge, No. 332, B. P. O. E.

George F. Coburn, one of the older members of the bar of Danville, Illi-
nois, began practice here in 1867, the year of his admission to the bar. He has
always enjoyed a fair clientage and commands the respect of his fellow mem-
bers of the bar. He was born in Brown county, Ohio, December 29, 1841, a
son of Francis D. and Nancy (Daulton) Coburn, who removed to Danville
when our subject was only two years old.

The success which Mr. Coburn has achieved in life is due entirely to his
own efforts, and he has justly won the proud American title of self-made man.
During his youth he worked on the farm, but while following the plow he
became imbued with the desire of entering professional life, and for him to will
was to do. He afterward engaged in teaching, during which time he spent all
his leisure hours in reading Blackstone, Kent and other commentaries and
authorities. His legal studies were directed by Judge Davis, and his earnest
application and mental alertness enabled him to successfully pass an examina-
tion for admission to the bar in 1867. He then opened an office in Danville,
where he practiced for four years. On the expiration of that period he re-
turned to the farm, but after a time again opened his law office, and in the course
of his practice has handled some very important litigation. In 1889 he was
elected justice of the peace and has since served in that capacity, being twice
re-elected. During this time he has disposed of over six thousand cases, doing
all the clerical work himself. He is a man of unbounded energy, of strong will,
and his perseverance and determination have enabled him to triumph over ob-
stacles which would have deterred most men. As an office-holder he is most
reliable and trustworthy, and has the confidence and esteem of the public and
of the legal fraternity.

Mr. Coburn has one daughter, Mrs. Lena C. Dibble, who is living in North
Stamford, Fairfield county, Connecticut. His entire life has been spent in or
near Danville, from the age of two years, and his circle of acquaintances and
friends in the community is very extensive.

Frank Lindley, a member of the bar of Danville, was born in Dublin,
Wayne county, Indiana, March 10, 1858, his parents being Osmond and Ach-
sah W. (Wilson) Lindley. The father was a graduate of the Friends' Boarding
School, now Earlham College, of Richmond, Indiana, and became a teacher,



894 THE BENCH AND BAR OF ILLINOIS.

pork-packer and farmer. His wife was also a graduate of the same school and
both were orthodox Quakers. In a little Quaker community the subject of this
review was reared, amid a Christian people of quiet habits and simple tastes, and
in his youth he never heard an oath or saw a playing card. He assisted in the
work of the home farm and acquired his education in the public schools of
Henry county, Indiana, and in Hopewell Academy, a high school conducted
by the Quaker church, in Hopewell, Indiana. He finished his course in 1873
and began teaching in 1874, when sixteen years of age. He afterward began
the study of law in the office of Thornton & Hamlin, of Shelbyville, Illinois,
and was admitted to the bar when twenty-one years of age. For about two
years he practiced in Shelbyville and then came to Danville, on the 1st of
May, 1881.

Mr. Lindley here formed a partnership with Frank W. Pennell, which con-
nection has continued with mutual pleasure and profit to the present time. Mr.
Lindley has always been a most indefatigable worker, prepares his cases with
the greatest precision and care, and his reading is never confined alone to the
obvious issue, but goes beyond and encompasses every possible contingency.
His arguments are always forceful, never fail to carry weight and seldom fail
to convince. He has the reputation of winning a greater percentage of cases
than any member of the Danville bar, and has tried every kind of suit from
those heard in the justice courts to those which come under the jurisdiction of
the supreme court. His devotion to his clients' interests is a recognized fact by
the public and this has prevented him taking an active part in political life.
He has made some campaign speeches in support of the men and measures of
the Republican party, frequently attends the judicial and congressional con-
ventions and was a delegate to the state convention of 1896, but has never
sought or desired political preferment for himself.

On the 25th of October, 1885, in Danville, Mr. Lindley was united in mar-
riage to Miss Jennie M. Gregg. Her father was a native of the north of Ire-
land, was educated for the Presbyterian ministry and when twenty years of
age left home, emigrating to Indiana. Mr. Lindley owns a pleasant home in
Danville and has recently invested much of his capital in farming lands, giv-
ing his personal supervision to the management of the same. His well directed
labors in the line of his profession have brought to him a creditable success.
Reared a Quaker, at the time of his marriage he became a member of the First
Presbyterian church of Danville, and is now serving as a member of its board of
trustees. 'Since attaining his majority he has been a member of the Odd Fel-
lows society, and for a number of years has been a member of the Knights of
Pythias fraternity. He is a man of positive nature, strong in his convictions
and firm in support of what he believes to be right, and this quality has won
him the confidence of the courts and has secured him many favorable verdicts.

George G. Mabin, of Danville, was born in Memphis, Tennessee, March
30, 1853, and is a son of Colonel Howard Mabin and Mary Lee Mabin. His
father was connected with the boating interests between Memphis and Vicks-
burg. When about seventeen years of age, the subject of this review came



THE BENCH AND BAR OF ILLINOIS. 895

to Illinois and after pursuing his education for a time in the graded school
entered the State University, where he completed his literary course. In 1875
he began the study of law with Captain Thomas Smith, of Champaign, Illinois,
as preceptor, and the following year became a student in the law office of the
firm of Lawrence & Townsend, of Danville.

In 1877 Mr. Mabin was admitted to the bar, and at once began practice in
Danville, where he has since enjoyed a fair share of the legal business of Ver-
milion county. For six years he served as city attorney, ably discharging the
duties of that position. He has been especially successful in the trial of dam-
age cases, and won the Corbett and Gernaur breach of promise case, in which
a verdict for over fifty-four thousand dollars was awarded. He is familiar with
the law in its various branches, and his practice has been of a general character,
demanding extensive knowledge of both civil and criminal law.

In his political affiliations Mr. Mabin is a Republican and has received the
nomination for state representative, but making no effort to secure the office
he failed of election. His interest centers in his profession and his home, the
latter presided over by his wife, who was formerly Miss Margaret Henderson,
of Danville. By their marriage they have two children, Gordon and Isabella.

George F. Rearick, a practitioner at the bar of Danville, is now serving
his third term as city attorney, and is an able and faithful officer. He came to
Danville in early manhood from Beardstown, Illinois, the city of his birth,
which occurred on the 3ist of March, 1863. His parents were J. W. and Eliza-
beth Rearick. When six years of age he entered school and continued the
perusal of the prescribed course until his graduation in the high school of his
native city. He attended college for two years at the Ohio Wesleyan Uni-
versity at Delaware, Ohio, and read law in the office and under the direction
of W. J. Calhoun, of Danville, diligently applying himself to the mastery of
the principles of jurisprudence. In January, 1888, he was admitted to the bar
and immediately opened an office in Danville, where he has since engaged in
practice. In 1889 he entered into partnership with Mr. Blackburn, then state's
attorney. In 1893 he was elected city attorney and by re-election has been
continued in that office up to the present time. He is careful and painstaking
in the preparation of his cases, and that he has discharged his duties without
fear or favor is shown by his election for the third time. In 1893 he was married
to Miss Grace Haggard, of Danville.

James C. Wood-bury is one of the younger members of the Danville bar,
but his years, however, seem no bar to his professional advancement. He
was born in this city in 1870, and is a son of James H. and Sarah Woodbury.
He acquired his literary education in the public schools of Danville, and in 1892
began reading law in the office and under the direction of E. R. E. Kimbrough.
For three years he pursued his studies, gaining a wide, comprehensive and ac-
curate knowledge of the principles of jurisprudence, and was then admitted to
the bar in the year 1895. He immediately opened an office in Danville and is
rapidly building up a good practice, having now a clientage which many an
older attorney might well envy. He has a keenly analytical mind, applies the



896 THE BENCH AND BAR OF ILLINOIS.

principles of the law to the points in controversy with correctness, and in argu-
ment is logical, earnest and convincing. He has never aspired to public office,
preferring to devote his entire attention to his profession, and the qualities of
his mind and the salient points of his character are such that we may safely
prophesy for him a successful future.

Mr. Woodbury was united in marriage to Miss Mertie L. Foster. Long
residents of Danville they are widely known and the hospitality of the best
homes of the city is extended to them.

Clifton H. Moore, of Clinton, De Witt, county, was born October 26, 1817,
in Kirtland, Lake county, Ohio. His father's name was Isaac Moore, his
mother's Philena Blish Moore. His grandfather on his father's side was John
Moore, who was an old Revolutionary soldier, was in Fort Stanwix when it
was besieged by St. Leger, with his British regulars and Indians, and undoubt-
edly was saved by General Herkimer and his eight hundred Dutchmen. After
Burgoyne was taken he with his regiment, under Colonel Gansevort, was or-
dered south to join General Washington's army at or near New York city, and
was with him in all those masterly movements from New York to Yorktown
that culminated in the surrender of Lord Cornwallis and the peace and inde-
pendence of the United States.

At an early day he came to Ohio, where he lived, in Kirtland and Chester,
then in Geauga county until he died, in 1845, aged about ninety-five years and
was buried in Chester. At the age of five years he was left an orphan, and was
apprenticed to an uncle by the name of Hyde, who lived near the line between
the states of Maryland and Delaware. He was engaged in fighting the Indians
and British for ten years; was in the Third New York Regiment, commanded
by Colonel Gansevort, and was afterward transferred to the First Regiment,
commanded by Colonel Goose Van Schaick. After his discharge from the army
at New Windsor, near West Point, he made some effort to find his brothers
and sisters, but at that early day, with no mail facilities and little money, he
never found but one sister. She had married a man by the name of Groome, and
from her he learned that his brothers had all gone to Virginia and Kentucky.

John Moore had two sons and four daughters, and all came to Ohio in 1811
and settled in Geauga or Cuyahoga county.

Isaac Moore was a fanner in comfortable circumstances, owning two hun-
dred acres of land in Kirtland, much of which he had cleared off himself. In
the winter of 1829-30, he exchanged this farm with the Mormons for a farm in
Warrensville, Ohio. This was the first farm bought by the Mormons of an
unbeliever, and the subject of this article can truthfully boast of seeing, as a
boy from ten to fifteen years old, most of the theological luminaries of that day
in Ohio, consisting of Hartwell. Badger, Rigdon, Alexander Campbell, his
father Thomas Campbell, Joseph Smith, the Mormon prophet, his father and all
his brothers; P. P. Pratt, Orson Hyde, and evangelists Bouchard, Finney and
Foote. Foote could beat Milton, Pollock or Dante in describing the torments
of the damned. It was his strong point and he loved to dwell on it and elaborate
their horrible sufferings until persons with strong imaginations acted as if they








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THE BENCH AND BAR OF ILLINOIS. 897

could smell the sulphurous fumes and hear the groans of those in torment. It
never entered his mind that the stronger he developed this characteristic of his
Deity the less there was in His character to be worshiped or respected. With



Online LibraryJohn M. (John McAuley) PalmerThe bench and the bar of Illinois : Historical and reminiscent (Volume v.2) → online text (page 40 of 83)