John M. (John McAuley) Palmer.

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in his profession and had he lived would undoubtedly have won name and fame ;
but he fell a victim to consumption in 1860, and his ambitious hopes were mostly
never realized. During the few years of his residence in Kane county, he be-
came one of its brightest legal lights, and the profession and those who know
him yet do honor to his memory. Lewis A. Norton, William and Warren
Brown all studied law in the office of Judge Barry, at St. Charles, and were


admitted to the bar. Norton removed subsequently to California, where he
rose to prominence in his profession.

Alonzo H. Barry, brother of Hon. W. D. Barry, studied in the office of the
latter, and was admitted to practice in Kane county in 1853. Until 1870 he con-
tinued to reside at St. Charles, but in that year removed to Elgin and formed a
law partnership with Judge R. N. Botsford and Joseph Healy. The latter gentle-
man died and E. C. Lovell, later county judge, was a member of the firm for two
years. John.G. Kribs and John A. Russell were afterward law partners at
different times with Messrs. Barry and Botsford. In the spring of 1883, Mr.
Barry was elected judge of the city court of Aurora and Elgin, a position he
filled with such great ability that he was re-elected at the end of his term, in 1887.
Judge Barry opened an office in W. J. Median's block at Elgin, in 1885. He has
also an enviable military record, having been elected major of the Thirty-sixth
Illinois Infantry in 1861, with which command he served over two years.
Previous to the war he had served as captain of the St. Charles Cavalry, to suc-
ceed P. J. Burchell, elected major of the battalion. Judge Barry is one of the
ablest criminal lawyers in the west, and on the bench has administered justice
in an impartial manner.

A. S. Babcock, who had previously practiced a few years at Blackberry Sta-
tion (now Elburn), was located at St. Charles from 1868 to 1872, in the law and
insurance business. He subsequently practiced at Sycamore, and in 1876 re-
moved to Oregon, Illinois, whence he journeyed a year or two later to California,
where he died September u, 1887.

John McGuire and John J. Flannery studied in Mr. Babcock's office, at
St. Charles, and both were admitted to the bar. Mr. Flannery also studied in
the law department of the University of Michigan, and with A. M. Herrington
at Geneva, and was admitted to the bar in September, 1873. He removed sub-
sequently to Sycamore.

T. E. Ryan studied law in Judge Barry's office, and was admitted to the bar
in 1870. He opened an office of his own in 1876. In 1880 he was elected state's
attorney for Kane county, serving four years, and he has also been prominently
engaged as attorney for several railway companies.

Wilbur C. Hunt, George F. Ross and Edward H. Bowman are later attor-
neys. Mr. Hunt served several years as city attorney for St. Charles, as did
also Mr. Ross, who removed to Omaha, Nebraska, in the autumn of 1887, but
who later returned to St. Charles. Mr. Bowman, who opened an office in Chi-
cago, is a graduate of the University of Michigan and of the Harvard law school.
Richard Nichols Botsford, a native of Connecticut, located at St. Charles in 1851,
and taught in a select school. He taught later in Missouri and elsewhere, and in
1856 began the study of law with C. C. Pope, at Black River Falls, Wisconsin,
being admitted to the bar in 1857. Returning to St. Charles, he was for a time
engaged in the publication of the Argus at that place, but disposed of it and
opened a law office in partnership with D. L. Eastman. After the latter's death,
in 1860, Mr. Botsford associated himself with S. S. Jones, thus continuing until
1865. In 1861 he was elected judge of the county court, a position he filled


with great credit for four years. He removed to Elgin in 1867, and has since
made that city his home. Judge Botsford is recognized as one of the ablest
lawyers in the district. It has been said of him that he is always ready for trial
when his cases are called, and it is a fact that he has made a marked success in
his chosen profession.

In Elgin the first representative of the legal profession was Edward E. Har-
vey, who has been already mentioned. He located at the place in 1840, having
been previously a student in the office of Joseph W. Churchill, at Batavia. He is
remembered as an able and eloquent lawyer.

Isaac G. Wilson, who was later judge of the circuit court, as already noted,
was the next to hang out his professional Shingle in the aspiring young city, be-
coming a resident in 1841, and removing a few years later to Geneva, upon his
election to the bench in the county court. From 1846 to 1850 he was a law
partner with Silvanus Wilcox, who has already been mentioned. A former
writer says : "The practice thus ably commenced was continued by Edmund
Gifford, from 1845 to 1861 ; Paul R. Wright, A. J. Waldron and Charles-H.
Alorgan, from 1847 to J 863; E. S. Joslyn, from 1852 to the outbreak of the Re-
bellion; John S. Riddle, from 1857 to 1862; Thomas W. Grosvenor, from 1858
to 1861 ; Joseph Healy, E. W. Yining, A. H. Barry. R. N. Botsford, J. W.
Ranstead, William H. Wing, W. F. Lynch. Eugene Clifford, Henry B. Willis,
Cyrus K. Wilbur. John McBride, and others. Many of the above left their pro-
fessions to serve their country in the late war, and some died from wounds re-
ceived on the battle-field."

Eugene Clifford, now practicing in Chicago and Elgin, studied in Elgin law
offices, and was admitted to practice by the Illinois supreme court in March,
1871 ; was town clerk of Elgin in 1872; city attorney, 1873 to 1877, inclusive;
master in chancery of the Elgin city court, and in 1882 revised the Elgin city

John H. Becker studied law at Elgin, where he now resides. He gradu-
ated at Union College in 1861, and was admitted to practice by the supreme
court of Illinois, May n, 1886. He has been a justice of the peace in the town
of Elgin since 1877. James Coleman studied for his profession at Elgin, with
Colonel E. S. Joslyn, and was there admitted to the bar, by the superior court,
in 1863. He was city attorney from 1863 to 1865, and in April, 1886, was elected
police magistrate. Mr. Coleman has also dabbled to some extent in newspaper

Robert M. Ireland studied law at Chicago, and was admitted to the bar, on
diploma of Union College of Law of Chicago, at the June, 1876, term of the
supreme court at Mount Vernon. He was elected to the lower house of the
state legislature and served one term ; was nominated for county judge, but was
defeated by D. B. Sherwood. He died April 23, 1895.

Clinton F. Irwin, now of Elgin, studied law in the office of W. H. H. Ken-
nedy, at Maple Park, and was admitted to the bar in April, 1879. H C first prac-
ticed at Maple Park, and in 1881-2 was supervisor of Virgil township. Subse-
quently removing to Elgin, he was assistant supervisor of the township, in


1885-6. He is a prominent candidate for one of the judges of Oklahoma, with
every prospect of success (December, 1898).

Frank W. Joslyn, of Elgin, studied in the office of his father, Colonel E. S.
Joslyn, and was admitted to the bar at Ottawa, May 23, 1883. He served as city
attorney of Elgin, and is also serving his second term as state's attorney.

Colonel Edward S. Joslyn was one of the ablest lawyers and readiest and
most eloquent speakers who ever practiced in the courts of Kane county. He
acquired a national reputation, and some of the best of his life work was done in
the service of the government in Utah territory. He was one of the first to
volunteer upon the breaking out of the Rebellion, and served with distinction
while in the army. At his death, which occurred in 1885, he was mourned
by the bar as one of its most gifted members.

Oscar Jones prepared himself for his profession at Sycamore, Illinois, and
was admitted to the bar at Ottawa, May 16, 1883. He had previously been
successfully engaged as a teacher at St. Charles and elsewhere. In September,
1883, he became master in chancery of the city court of Elgin. John P. Mann is
a graduate of the University of Michigan, class of 1882. He was admitted to the
Michigan bar April n, 1882, and to the Illinois bar at Ottawa, upon motion,
September 17, 1885. He resides at Elgin.

Thomas J. Rushton studied law with Judge Smith at Woodstock, and gradu-
ated at the law school of the State University of Iowa, in June, 1880. He took
the degree of LL. B., was admitted to the Iowa bar in 1880, to the Illinois bar
in 1881, and located at Elgin in June, 1882, where he became a law partner of C.
A. Van Home, who came to Elgin in June, 1887.

Hon. John W. Ranstead, who is a native of Kane county, was graduated in
the law department of the University of Michigan in 1866, and in the same year
was admitted to the bar at Ottawa, Illinois. He is a lawyer of marked ability,
and from 1873 to 1882 served as county judge of Kane county. As the county is
overwhelmingly Republican, and Judge Ranstead is a Democrat, the compli-
ment can be readily appreciated. Ezra Rue, a native of Steuben county. New
York, came to Elgin in 1858, when a boy. He was admitted to the bar in 1876.
David B. Sherwood, one of the most prominent members of the Elgin bar, studied
law at Galveston, Texas, where he was admitted to practice in November, 1870.
He was elected county judge in 1890, defeating the Republican nominee. John
H. Williams, a graduate of the Iowa State University, was admitted to the bar
at Ottawa, Illinois, in 1881, and in 1882 located at Elgin, where he still resides.
William H. Wing studied law with Hon. S. Wilcox, at Elgin, in 1865-6; was ad-
mitted to the bar for Illinois, at Elgin, in the spring of 1867, and later at Chi-
cago, for the United States courts. He was city attorney of Elgin, in 1871-2;
treasurer of the Illinois Northern Hospital for the Insane for five years from
April i, 1880; and is a director of the First National Bank of Elgin, over which
he has his office. Mr. Wing came to Elgin in 1846. For four years he was a law
partner with Colonel E. S. Joslyn.

William H. Wilcox, a native of Montgomery county, New York, came to
Elgin with his father, General Elijah Wilcox, in 1842. He served with dis-


tinction in the Union army during the war of the Rebellion. His connection
with the legal profession dates from 1871, when he was admitted to the bar.

Hon. Henry B. Willis is a native of Bennington, Vermont. He located at
Sycamore, Illinois, in 1852, when a child, and in July, 1872, came to Elgin. He
had graduated in the previous year, at Albany, New York and was the same
year admitted to the bar of that state. His admission to the Illinois bar oc-
curred in 1872. He has been several times elected to responsible and honorable
official positions, among them supervisor of Elgin township, and city attorney
and mayor of the city of Elgin. He is now judge of the circuit court.

Colonel John S. Wilcox, a native of the state of New York, came to Elgin
with the family of his father, General Elijah Wilcox, in 1842, when nine years
of age. He began the study of law about 1852, with his brother, Hon. Sylvanus
Wilcox, was admitted to the bar in 1854, and entered upon the practice of his
profession. In the fall of 1861 Mr. Wilcox entered the United States service,
enlisting in the Fifty-second Illinois Infantry. He went into camp as captain,
and was promoted successively to lieutenant colonel and colonel. He resigned
in 1864 to take the stump in behalf of President Lincoln's re-election, and made
able speeches in numerous portions of the state. He held a brevet brigadier
general's commission at the close of his service. In the spring of 1864, after
his resignation, he took command of the organization of the One Hundred
and Forty-first Illinois Infantry, a three months' regiment, and continued until
the command was ready for the field. This service was gratuitous to the
state. He was elected mayor of Elgin in 1865, and also resumed the practice
of his profession, being in partnership one year with his brother Judge Wilcox.
In the fall of 1871 he became a director in and general solicitor for the Chicago
& Pacific Railroad Company, continuing in that position over six years, since
which time he has not been in practice. Colonel Wilcox is a fine orator, a genial
gentleman, energetic and persevering in business, and was a successful lawyer.

Hon. Edward C. Lovell, who has served as county judge, retired from the
circuit bench in 1890, read law in the office of Colonel J. S. Wilcox, and is a
graduate of the University of Michigan. He was admitted to the bar at De-
troit, in April, 1870, is a fine scholar, an able lawyer, and honored citizen. He
has long been identified with the educational interests of Elgin, and with the
upbuilding of her splendid free public library, of which he was a director during
the first six years of its existence. He was mayor of Elgin in 1877, member of
the Illinois legislature in 1879, and city attorney of Elgin in 1879-80.

John A. Russell is one of the successful lawyers of Elgin. He studied with
Messrs. Botsford & Barry, and after his admission to the bar became a partner
with them, thus continuing several years. In the fall of 1884 he was elected
state's attorney for Kane county, on the Republican ticket, and proved an
energetic and efficient officer. Carl E. Botsford, son of Judge R. N. Botsford, is
one of the younger members of the profession in Elgin. He studied under the
guidance of his father and graduated in an eastern law school.

Charles vH. Wayne studied law with A. B. Coon, at Marengo, Illinois, and
was admitted to the bar before the appellate court at Ottawa. Illinois, in De-


cember, 1882. He is now a member of the firm of Botsford, Wayne & Botsford.
Albert T. Lewis read law in the office of Colonel J. S. Wilcox, and was admitted
to the bar at Ottawa, Illinois, January 31, 1868. He has been a justice of the
peace for a number of years and a notary public since 1867. Charles M. Hopson
studied law and graduated at Ann Arbor, Michigan, and was admitted to the
bar, both in that state and Illinois, in June, 1887. He has since been in practice
in Elgin.

Hon. Samuel Drake Lockwoocl, who located at Batavia in 1853 and died
there April 23, 1874, is referred to in the chapter touching the supreme court of
the state.

W. H. H. Kennedy, now deceased, was a prominent lawyer, who formerly
resided at Maple Park (then Lodi), where he located in 1857. He was admitted
to the bar in 1860 and for several years represented his township on the board of
supervisors. James O. McClellan, a graduate of the Columbian Law School,
at Washington, D. C, was admitted to the bar in Illinois, September 13, 1869.
He is a well known lawyer of recognized ability, and has held the position of
master in chancery of the circuit court of Kane county since 1875. He resides
at Batavia. Thomas Cincinnatus Moore, also of Batavia, studied at Marshall,
Illinois, where he was admitted to practice in May, 1843. He has been a well
known figure in the courts of Kane county for many years. His practice has
been extensive.

F. G. Garfield, of Compton, who came to Kane county in 1841, commenced
the practice of law about 1857, although he was not regularly admitted to the
bar until 1865. He was an able lawyer and successful business man. His~death
occurred April 23, 1895.

W. R. S. Hunter, of Elburn, studied law under the direction of Hon. W. D.
Barry, W. J. Brown and W. H. H. Kennedy, and was admitted to the bar at
Chicago March 24, 1880. He was deputy sheriff under Sheriff Ethan J. Allen;
postmaster at Blackberry Station under President Lincoln ; local attorney for the
Chicago & Northwestern Railway, and has seen long service as corporation at-
torney of Elburn.

At Aurora there has been a long list of attorneys, and many of them have
been very prominent, not alone at home but in state and national affairs. A few
of them have already been named.

Leander R. Wagner came to the place with his parents in 1837, when a small
child. He studied law in the state of New York and was admitted to the bar in
1857. He was a brilliant and gifted lawyer, and was district attorney for the
district including Kane county from 1864 to 1868. He died of consumption
March 29, 1869. John M. Little, a practitioner residing in Aurora, died of con-
sumption August 21, 1868, and was taken to his father's home in De Kalb, for
burial. Hon. William B. Plato, now deceased, was an exceedingly able lawyer,
an eloquent speaker, and possessed a reputation second to that of no lawyer in
the state. He was a tailor by trade, and settled at Aurora in 1839. ,He soon after
took up the study of law and subsequently removed to Geneva, where he was
for a time in partnership with Judge Wilson.


James G. Barr, a native of Pennsylvania, came to Aurora when seventeen
years old, in 1844, with the family of his father, Oliver Barr. He studied law
with W. B. Plato, in 1846, and was subsequently admitted to practice. He was
superintendent of schools in Kendall county in 1849, but located permanently in
Aurora in 1851. He was the first justice of the peace elected from Aurora under
the township organization ; was town clerk two years ; first city clerk, holding
six years ; four years clerk of the Aurora court of common pleas, etc. He died
January 27, 1872, and was at that time, and had been for seven years, assistant
United States assessor for southern Kane county.

Charles J. Metzner, a fine lawyer and a thorough gentleman, was a native
of Saxony, and came to Erie, Pennsylvania, when three years old. He after-
ward removed to Sheboygan, Wisconsin, thence to Naperville, Illinois, and in
1856, to Aurora. He first worked at blacksmithing, but was forced to give up
the trade because of an injury to his eye, from a flying spark from the anvil. He
studied law with B. F. Parks, and was admitted in 1859. He was state's attor-
ney four years, and died at Aurora, August 8, 1874, aged forty years. Sewell
W. Brown, a native of Jefferson county, New York, was educated at Watertown,
studied law and practiced several years in the south. He came to Aurora in
1858, and practiced until his death, which occurred March 13, 1878.

Hon. Alexander C. Gibson had been a prominent practitioner and citizen
in Washington county, New York, before coming to Aurora in 1847. After one
and a half years in town he located on a farm in the vicinity of North Aurora.
He was interested in .railroad and agricultural society matters; edited the Daily
Beacon during the Fremont campaign in 1856; and in 1857 was chosen the first
judge of the Aurora court of common pleas, holding the position two years. He
then retired to his farm, where he died fifteen years later, August 14. 1874, aged
eighty years.

Hon. John C. Sherwin, a native of St. Lawrence county, New York, came to
Kendall county, Illinois, in 1856, and during the war of the Rebellion served in
the ranks of the Eighty-ninth Illinois Infantry. He located at Aurora in 1865,
and studied law with Wagner & Canfield. After being admitted to the bar he
continued in practice until 1873, when he was elected county clerk, a position to
which he was re-elected in 1877. In 1878 he was the successful candidate of the
Republicans of the then fourth district for congress, resigning as county clerk.
He was again elected to congress in 1880, serving altogether four years. He
removed to Nebraska in the fall of 1883.

Hon. Benjamin Franklin Parks is a native of Oakland county, Michigan,
and was graduated from the University of Michigan, at Ann Arbor, in 1848. He
studied law with Ferry & Searles at Waukegan, Illinois, and was admitted to the
bar in 1850, coming to Aurora the same year. Mr. Parks was for many years
regarded as one of the ablest lawyers in the Fox River valley. He was the first
city attorney of Aurora; was elected judge of the city court in 1859, and served
four years; and was mayor of the city in 1869. He also represented his district
in the Illinois legislature. Judge Parks met with a severe accident a few years


since, falling upon an icy sidewalk in Aurora and sustaining injuries of a per-
manent character. He is now an inmate of the Soldiers' Home at Milwaukee.

B. F. Herrington, now of Kendall county, was located in Aurora for some
time, dating from June, 1876. He had an office with Eugene Canfield, and had
studied law and begun practice in the state of New York.

Charles Wheaton, of Aurora, has almost completed the Psalmist's span of
three-score years and ten, yet is still actively engaged in the practice of law,
having been a member of the bar of Kane county for nearly four decades.

He was born in Warren, Rhode Island, on the 29th of May, 1829, and
belongs to one of the oldest families of New England. The first of the name to
locate in America was a Baptist minister, of Swansea, Wales, who came to the
United States in 1630, locating in Salem, Massachusetts, whence he removed to
Rehoboth, same state. As the family grew in numbers it sent its representatives
into Rhode Island, New York and Connecticut, and later generations are found
in many of the states of the Union. The parents of our subject were Nathan M.
and Content B. Wheaton, and the former engaged in trading with the West In-
dies and in operating whaling vessels.

At his parental home Charles Wheaton spent his boyhood days, and after ac-
quiring a good elementary English education became a student in Trinity
College, of Hartford, Connecticut, where he was graduated in June, 1849. He
studied law in the office of Hon. Benjamin Thomas, of Worcester, Massachu-
setts, and was admitted to the bar of that place September 7, 1851. Wisely
believing that the west would furnish better opportunities to ambitious young
men, he left the Bay state in the fall of 1854, and in January, 1855, located in
Batavia, Kane county, Illinois, where he remained until April 30, 1859, when
he moved to Aurora. He has since made his home in that city, and has been
a prominent factor in legal circles. His practice has been general and has em-
braced the conduct of some very important cases. He has also been somewhat
active in the conduct of public affairs. He was mayor of the city in 1864, was
supervisor of Aurora township from 1868 until 1872, inclusive; and was a
member of the constitutional convention of 1870, when the present constitu-
tion of the state was adopted. In politics he is a Republican, but has never
been an aspirant for office, preferring to devote his time and energies to the
multifarious duties of his profession.

On the I7th of July, 1860, in Middlebury, Vermont. Mr. Wheaton was
united in marriage to Miss Sarah H. Brewster, a lineal descendant of Elder
William Brewster, who came to the United States in the Mayflower. They
have five daughters: Mrs. Lizzie J. Hale, who was born May 10, 1861 ; Clara
S., July 6, 1863: Mrs. Sarah B. Allen, January 31, 1865; Annie H., May 9,
1866; and Mrs. Mary F. Holden, November 21, 1869. Mr. Wheaton is a mem-
ber of the First Congregational church of Aurora, and is one of the most re-
spected and esteemed citizens of the locality in which for forty years he has
made his home.

Captain Alexander C. Little, of Aurora, is a native of Rome, New York,
and a thorough student in both law and medicine. He studied medicine in


Joliet, Illinois, with Drs. Hanvood & Danforth, commencing in the fall of
1855; read the next year with Drs. Young & Hard, in Aurora; matriculated
in the fall of 1856 in the mediqal department of the Iowa University, at Keokuk,
and attended one course of lectures. He returned to Joliet in 1857, and, while
still continuing his studies, began practice with his first preceptor, Dr. Willis
Danforth. He graduated in the Iowa University in the spring of 1858, receiv-
ing his diploma and the degree of Doctor of Medicine. The study of law was
commenced by him at Aurora, with Hon. Charles Wheaton, in 1866, and after
attending law school at Ann Arbor, Michigan, he was admitted to the bar of
Kane county in August, 1867. He was elected city attorney of Aurora in 1873,
and mayor in 1874. He won an honorable record in the war of the Rebellion
as an officer in the One Hundred and Twenty-seventh Illinois Infantry.

Hon. Eugene Canfield, another Vermonter, and one of the best educated
lawyers in the west, located at Aurora in 1860. In 1861 and again in 1862 he

Online LibraryJohn M. (John McAuley) PalmerThe bench and the bar of Illinois : Historical and reminiscent (Volume v.2) → online text (page 43 of 83)