John M. (John McAuley) Palmer.

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which his father's captain was killed; and his uncle went on southward with the
Tennessee soldiers and was at the battle of New Orleans. In the late civil war
there were Lansdens both in the north on the federal side and in the south on
the Confederate side.

Judge William H. Green, of Cairo, in the most exacting of all the profes-
sions has won distinguished honors, and as jurist, statesman or writer stands
among the eminent men of southern Illinois who have shaped the destinv of this
section of the state and left the impress of their individuality for good upon the
annals of the commonwealth.

A man's reputation is the property of the world. The laws of nature have
forbidden isolation. Every human being submits to the controlling influence of
others, or as a master wields a power for good or evil on the masses of mankind.
There can be no impropriety in justly scanning the acts of any man as they af-
fect his public, social and business relations. If he be honest and successful in
his chosen field of endeavor, investigation will brighten his fame and point the
path along which others may follow with like success.

Our subject was born in Danville, Boyle county, Kentucky, December 8,
1830, and is a worthy representative of a family whose ancestral history is one
of close connection with the development of Virginia and Kentucky. His par-
ents were Dr. Duff and Lucy (Kenton) Green, the former a most capable phy-
sician and scientist. His grandfather, Willis Green, was one of the pioneers of
Kentucky and was the first delegate from the district of Kentucky to the Vir-
ginia legislature. He was also a soldier in the Continental line during the Rev-
olutionary war and afterward one of the pioneers of Kentucky and a delegate


from the district of Kentucky to the Virginia legislature. The great-grandfather
of Judge Green was General Duff Green, of Virginia, who married Anne Willis,
who was the daughter of Colonel Henry Willis and Mildred Washington, who
was an aunt to General George Washington. His ancestors were among the
first settlers of Virginia and were extensive land-owners in the Shenandoah val-
ley. The mother of Judge Green was of Scotch descent, and of the same family
as the celebrated pioneer and Indian fighter Simon Kenton, who was contempor-
ary with Daniel Boone in the exploration of Kentucky.

William H. Green, whose name introduces this review, was educated in
Center College, of Danville, Kentucky, and became a fair classical scholar. He
has always been a profound student, an extensive reader of history and scientific
works, and his range of thought and investigation has been most comprehensive.
At the bar, in the field of politics and as a writer for the press he has manifested
ability of a superior order, and his merit has won him high encomiums. While
yet a boy he accompanied his parents on their removal to Illinois, the family
locating in Mount Yernon, where Dr. Duff Green, his father, died and is buried.
On the completion of his education the Judge successfully engaged in teaching
in Benton and St. Louis counties, Missouri, and in Mount Vernon, Illinois. In
the last named place he began reading law under the direction of Judge Walter
B. Scales, and was admitted to the bar in 1852. Opening an office in Mount
Vernon, he practiced there for a year, after which he removed to Metropolis,
where he conducted a large and lucrative practice for ten years. Since 1863 he
has been a resident of Cairo, and thirty years ago he formed a partnership with
W. B. Gilbert, under the firm name of Green & Gilbert. Later Miles Frederick
Gilbert and his son, Reed Green, were admitted to a share in the business and
the firm still continues, and is now without a superior and has few equals at the
bar in this section of the state. Judge Green is equally at home in all depart-
ments of jurisprudence, making a strong, logical and forceful plea before a jury
in the trial of a criminal suit, or handling with masterful skill the intricate and
complex problems of civil law. The greatest characteristic of his mind is
strength, his predominant faculty is reason and the aim of his eloquence is to

In 1865 he was elected judge of the third judicial circuit, and for three years
served upon the bench. During the past twenty-five years he has been the prin-
cipal counsel for the Illinois Central Railroad Company in southern Illinois and
is now district attorney for that company. He has twice represented his dis-
trict in the state legislature, as a member of the house, and once in the senate.
While acting as a representative he was chairman of the judiciary committee,
having been appointed by the speaker, Hon. W. R. Morrison. He was a very
prominent member of the house and did not a little toward molding the public
policy of the state at that period. For more than thirty-six years he has been a
member of the state board of education, and his labors have been most effective
and commendable in advancing the standard of the schools in Illinois. He has
six times been a delegate to the national convention of the Democratic party,
when its sessions were held in Charleston, Chicago, New York, Cincinnati and


St. Louis. He served eight years as a member of the state central committee
and for over twelve years as chairman of the district central committee of his
party. He has been a most important factor in its management and is a recog-
nized leader in its ranks in Illinois. He has been a frequent contributor to the
press and is a fluent and entertaining writer. In the various walks of life in
which he has been seen, political, professional and social, he has attained a
conspicuous position that has been a tribute to his superior talents and high per-
sonal worth.

Miles Frederick Gilbert, of Cairo, is the subject of the following paragraphs:
Not all men order their lives to their liking; nor yet are all men true to them-
selves in living as nearly to their ideals as possible and attaining to such heights
as their talents and opportunities render accessible; but Mr. Gilbert is one who
has done much and done it well, wherein all honor lies. Not a pretentious life
has been his, but one that has been true to itself and its possibilities. He has
attained both prominence and success in the legal profession and is one of the
worthy representatives of that calling which has an important bearing upon the
progress and stable prosperity of any section or community, and one which has
long been considered as conserving the public welfare by furthering the ends of
justice and maintaining individual rights.

Mr. Gilbert was born September n, 1846, in Alton, Madison county, Illi-
nois. The genealogy of the family can be traced back to some of the most dis-
tinguished characters in English history, whose names have been conspicuous
in literature, science and art. The family was first represented in America by
five brothers, who emigrated from Norfolk county, England, at an early date
and settled, one in Virginia, one in Massachusetts and three in Connecticut, near
the present cities of Hartford and New Haven. Judge Miles A. Gilbert, father
of our subject, belonged to the New Haven branch of the family, and was born
in Hartford, Connecticut. He was long a resident of Kaskaskia, Illinois, the
ancient capital of this state, and was one of the pioneers of Cairo, entering from
the government the land on which the city now stands. Subsequently he re-
moved to Ste. Genevieve county, Missouri, where for sixteen years he served as
judge of the county court. He was a man of superior ability and on the bench
discharged his duties with marked impartiality. He is still living and now
makes his home in St. Mary, Missouri. He has passed the eighty-eighth mile-
stone on life's journey and his career has been one of signal usefulness and honor.
His wife, Mrs. Ann E. Gilbert, died on the I4th of July, 1893.

Miles Frederick Gilbert, whose name introduces this review, completed the
course in the public schools of Alton and then entered Washington University,
of St. Louis, Missouri, but on account of ill health was forced to leave that in-
stitution before his graduation. Subsequently he was enrolled among the stu-
dents of the Pennsylvania Military College, at Chester, Pennsylvania, and on the
completion of his literary education he entered the law department of Harvard
University, at Cambridge, Massachusetts, where he was graduated with the de-
gree of LL. B. on the 29th of June, 1869. His is a scholarly nature, and from
boyhood books have been to him a source of delight. At an early age he began


reading law and prior to entering Harvard he had pursued a course of study in
the office and under the direction of the firm of Haynes & Marshal, well known
attorneys of Cairo, who directed his reading from 1866 until 1868, when he was
admitted to the bar. Not content, however, with the proficiency he had then
gained, he continued his study within the classic old walls of Harvard, and after
his graduation returned to Cairo, where, on the ist of January, 1870, he entered
upon the practice of his chosen profession as a member of the firm of Green &
Gilbert. In 1875 he was licensed to practice in the various federal courts, and in
1892 was admitted to practice before the supreme court of the United States.
He has been connected with much of the important litigation, especially in cor-
poration law, for a quarter of a century. He has won for himself very favorable
criticism for the careful and systematic methods which he has followed. He
has strong powers of concentration and application, and his retentive mind is
often spoken of by his professional colleagues. As an orator he stands high,
especially in the discussion of legal matters before the court, where his com-
prehensive knowledge of the law is manifest and his application of legal prin-
ciples demonstrates the wide range of his professional acquirements. The ut-
most care and precision characterize his preparation of a case and have made
him one of the most successful attorneys in Cairo. In addition to the practice
of law Mr. Gilbert is a practical man of affairs and is now successfully adminis-
tering the interests of the Board of Trade and the Loan & Improvement Asso-
ciation, of both of which he is president.

On the i8th of October, 1871; Mr. Gilbert was married in Alton, Illinois,
to Miss Addie Louise Barry, the youngest daughter of the late Amasa S. Barry,
formerly of Alton and later of Chicago. They have two living children: Mrs.
Nellie Gilbert Halliday and Edward Leigh Gilbert, the latter now a well known
business man of Cairo. Mr. Gilbert is a prominent and influential member of
the Episcopal church, in which he is serving as warden and vestryman. He has
also annually represented his parish in the diocesan synod for many years, and
represented the diocese as a deputy at the general convention of the American
church for nine years, serving on the committee on constitutional amendments.
His political support is given the Democracy, and although he is an unfaltering
advocate of the principles of the party he has never been an aspirant for official
honors. Frequently he has refused to allow his name to be placed on the ticket
as a candidate, but is an earnest worker in behalf of the party and is now presi-
dent of the Illinois Club, a permanent Democratic organization. The cause of
education has ever found in him a warm friend. Through many years he has
manifested a deep interest in the public-school system, and for sixteen years has
been a member of the board of education of the city of Cairo, and has been re-
elected by the people for four years and is its president. His efforts in advancing
the standard of the Cairo schools have been very effective and beneficial, and the
city may well be proud of its educational facilities, which have largely been
secured through the efforts of Mr. Gilbert. He is also one of the trustees of the
Western Theological Seminary, of Chicago, and is a member of the board of
incorporators of that institution.


At this point it would be almost tautological to enter into any series of state-
ments as showing our subject to be a man of broad intelligence and genuine
public spirit, for these have been shadowed forth between the lines of this re-
view. Strong in his individuality, he never lacks the courage of his convictions;
but there are, as dominating elements in this individuality, a lively human sym-
pathy and an abiding charity, which, as taken in connection with the sterling
integrity and honor of his character, have naturally gained to Mr. Gilbert the
respect and confidence of men.

Judge William Sabin Dewey, at the time that he was elected county judge
of Alexander county, in 1894. was undoubtedly the youngest man occupying
such a position in the state of Illinois. That he was entirely equal to the onerous
duties devolving vipon him was abundantly proven during his term of office, and
that he gave complete satisfaction to his associates in the profession and to the
public in general, whose interests he so ably defended, was manifested when he
was re-elected to the same office in 1898, at the close of his first term of service.
Though comparatively young in his profession, he has already made an en-
viable reputation for thoroughness in his knowledge of the law, and his clear,
well-balanced mind makes him specially suited for the weighing of evidence. He
is trustworthy and conscientious, devoted to the cause of right, justice and truth,
and those who know him best are earnest and zealous in their friendship toward

It is not a matter of surprise when a young man, with such a noble line of
honest, industrious, intelligent ancestors, comes to the front, commanding the
respect and admiration of all. In this connection it is of interest to trace the lin-
eage of Judge Dewey, and it may be mentioned that few in this country have a
family record that is more honorable, definitely chronicled and worthy of just
pride. He belongs to the same family as does the illustrious Admiral George
Dewey, the hero of Manila, the latter being a distant relative. One Thomas
Dewey, of Sandwich, Kent, England, came to the bleak shores of New England
in 1633, settling in the Dorchester (Massachusetts) colony. He married Frances
Clark in Windsor, Connecticut, March 22, 1638', and died in the town last men-
tioned April 27, 1648. His son, Jedediah, baptized December 15, 1647, married
Sarah Orton and lived at Farmington, Connecticut, and Westfield, Massachu-
setts. His death occurred in Westfield January 26, 1727. Thomas, his son, born
June 29, 1672, married Abigail Ashley November 7, 1706, and passed his entire
life at Westfield, dying there March 15, 1758. His son Israel, born March 3,
1712, married Lydia Mosely September 19, 1754, and died May 23, 1773. His
home was chiefly in Great Barrington, Massachusetts. Paul, the next in the
line of descent, was born in 1739 and made his home in Lenox, Massachusetts.
About 1763 he wedded Susie Reed, and it was not until he was well along in
years that he deparfed to his reward, August 9, 1827. Edmund, born October
10, 1768, was likewise a resident of Lenox. He chose Betsy King for his wife,
their marriage being solemnized in January, 1795. He died November 9, 1842.
Oliver, who was born July 24, 1805, is still living, now in his ninety-fourth year.


He married Eliza Sabin April 14, 1829, and has dwelt in Lenox, Massachusetts,
and in later years in Aurora and Sandwich, Illinois.

This brings us to the father of our subject, Edmund Sabin Dewey, who
deserves special mention. He is a native of Lenox, born November 10, 1836,
but for the past forty-five years has made his home in Illinois. During the
civil war he gallantly served in defense of the Union for three years, first being
an adjutant of the One Hundred and Thirtieth Regiment of Illinois Volunteer
Infantry, and later being captain of Company C, Seventy-seventh Illinois In-
fantry. Twelve years ago he was appointed clerk of the circuit court of Alexan-
der county, and has been retained in that office ever since, his record being of
the best in every particular. He is a man of fine education and talents, and at
the time of the birth of his son William S. he was professor of mathematics and
military tactics in the Southern Illinois Agricultural College, then at Irvington,

June 16, 1868, Edmund Sabin Dewey married Miss Maria Jane French,
daughter of Rev. D. P. French, a well known Baptist clergyman of southern Illi-
nois, who was president of Almira College (a ladies' seminary), at Greenville,
this state, and afterward president of the Southern Illinois Agricultural College
at Irvington. Mrs. E. S. Dewey was born at Goffstown, New Hampshire, July
12, 1847, ar >d accompanied her parents to this state in 1853. She was summoned
to the better land at her home in Cairo, Illinois, January 29, 1889. She was a
direct descendant of one William French, who came to America in the good ship
Defiance in 1635, from his former home in Bellnacuy, England. He was accom-
panied by his wife Eliza, their four children and a niece, and they continued to
dwell in Massachusetts during the rest of their lives. John French, born in 1635,
a resident of Billerica, Massachusetts, was a corporal in a militia company and
died in 1712. His son, William, born in 1687, and a citizen of the same town
throughout his life, was a sergeant in the militia and, died in 1745. His son
William, born in 1712, removed from Billerica to Hollis, New Hampshire.
David, his son, was born in 1754, and died in 1790. He lived in Hollis and Bed-
ford, New Hampshire, and was a soldier of the Revolutionary war. His son,
Isaac Parker, born in 1790, lived to see the year 1867, and was always a resident
of Bedford. Rev. David Patton, grandfather of our subject, was born in 1817,
and died in 1886.

Judge William S. Dewey was born in Irvington, Washington county, Illi-
nois, August 25, 1869, and two years later removed with his parents to Ashley,
Illinois, where they resided for one year. In the fall of 1872 they came to Cairo,
since which time they have been identified with the interests of this locality.
For ten years our subject was a student in the public schools here and for two
years, from 1887 to 1889, he attended Sioux Falls University, at Sioux Falls,
South Dakota, graduating in that institution with honor. In order to enjoy the
benefits of a collegiate education he had worked for two years, from 1885 to
1887, as a shipping clerk in the flouring-mills of Halliday Brothers, and the same
determination and ambition which marked him as a boy are noticeable traits in
his mature character.


From an early age Judge Dewey planned to become a member of the legal
profession, and after pursuing law studies in the office of the Hon. Walter Ward-
er, state senator, in Cairo, Illinois, he was admitted to the bar June 20, 1892.
Prior to this event, however, by some two years, he had been made deputy cir-
cuit clerk and served in that capacity for four years, gaining valuable information
and training in routine work connected with the courts. He established an office
and has enjoyed a good general practice in all the courts since his admission to
the bar. As a speaker he has gained more than a local reputation, his arguments
being clear, forcible and eloquent. He was honored by being chosen as the ora-
tor of the day at the "Dewey Day" celebration in St. Louis, Missouri, May 14,
1898, and at the Fourth of July celebration the same year at Baton Rouge,

In political circles the Judge is recognized as an important factor in south-
ern Illinois. He is now the secretary of the Republican county central commit-
tee and secretary of the Republican senatorial committee of the fiftieth senatorial
district. He has frequently been sent as a delegate to various local, state and
national conventions of his party, including the convention of the National Re-
publican League held in Cleveland, Ohio, in 1895. The only secret society with
which he is associated is the Knights of Pythias, he being past chancellor com-
mander of Ascalon Lodge, No. 51, of Cairo, Illinois. He is also a member of
the Alexander Club (a social organization), of this city. In religion the Judge
is a Presbyterian and a very active worker in the interests of the denomination,
belonging to the First Presbyterian church of this city. Christian Endeavor
work has also claimed considerable attention from him; for the years 1893-94
he was president of the Cairo District Christian Endeavor Union, and for 1896
and 1897 he was treasurer; and in 1898 vice-president of the state organization
of the same name.

Joseph P. Robarts, who now occupies the bench of the circuit court of the
first judicial circuit of Illinois, and whose record adds luster to the judicial his-
tory of the state, was born March 2, 1849, in Godfrey, Madison county, Illinois,
and is a son of Dr. James Robarts, who was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania,
May 5, 1814. A graduate of the Jefferson Medical College, of his native city,
he removed to Brownsville, then the county-seat of Jackson county, Illinois, in
1836, and engaged in the practice of his profession. In 1847 he took up his resi-
dence in Godfrey, Madison county, and in 1858 removed to Carbondale, Jackson
county, where he passed the residue of his days, his death occurring in 1890.
During the war of the Rebellion he enlisted as brigade surgeon, and rendered
efficient service to his country by his aid of the ill and wounded boys in blue.
He was always an earnest anti-slavery man, and in 1838 was one of the organ-
izers of the Whig party in southern Illinois, and afterward stood as the Whig
candidate for the legislature against Dr. John Logan, the father of General John
A. Logan, who was the pro-slavery Democratic candidate. On the organization
of the Republican party the Doctor became a stalwart supporter of its principles.
In early life he united with the Methodist Episcopal church, and lived and died
a devoted Christian. In 1848 Sarah M. Crandall became his wife. She was born


in Providence, Rhode Island, in 1824, was reared in Rochester, New York, in
1842 removed with her father to Brighton, Illinois, and died in Carbondale, this
state, in 1891.

Judge Robarts acquired his education in the public schools and the Illinois
Military Academy at Fulton, Whiteside county. For proficiency in military at-
tainments he was rapidly promoted from the rank of corporal to the first lieu-
tenancy, and held a commission signed by Governor Yates in 1864. When a
youth of only thirteen he followed a regiment of volunteers into camp and at-
tempted to enlist in the Union army, but his father objecting on account of his
age, took him back home under promise that if he would not enter the army he
should be allowed to attend the military academy. After leaving school he re-
fused several lucrative positions as bookkeeper and complied with his mother's
wish that he should learn a trade, being apprenticed to John H. Barton, who was
ihen publisher of the New Era, at Carbondale, Illinois. On the completion of
his three-years service in that office he worked as a journeyman for Hon. John
H. Oberly, of the Daily Bulletin, of Cairo, Illinois. He was subsequently em-
ployed on other daily papers in various cities, and in May, 1873, established the
Jackson County Era at Murphysboro. With great success he conducted that
journal and made it one of the influential political organs qf southern Illinois;
but, preferring another field of labor than journalistic work, he entered upon a
course of law study under the direction of the Hon. Abraham R. Pugh, late of
Murphysboro. His interest in the law was aroused by his reading of a trial of
Aaron Burr for treason, and he resolved to devote his energies to the profession
which stands as the conservator of human rights and liberties. In February,
1880, he was admitted to the bar, and the same year removed from Murphysboro
to Mound City, Pulaski county, Illinois, where he successfully practiced law
until June, 1891, when he was elected judge of the first judicial circuit. Since
May, 1896, he has resided in Cairo, and in 1897 he was re-elected to the judge-
ship, receiving a very "complimentary vote, his majority being larger than that
of any other candidate on the ticket. To wear the ermine worthily it is not

Online LibraryJohn M. (John McAuley) PalmerThe bench and the bar of Illinois : Historical and reminiscent (Volume v.2) → online text (page 45 of 83)