John M. (John McAuley) Palmer.

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enough that one possess legal acumen., is learned in the principles of jurispru-
dence, familiar with precedents and thoroughly honest. Many men, even when
acting uprightly, are wholly unable to divest themselves of prejudice and are
unconsciously warped in their judgments by their own mental characteristics or
educational peculiarities. This unconscious and variable disturbing force enters
more or less into the judgments of all men, but in the ideal jurist this factor
becomes so small as not to be discernible in results and loses its potency as a dis-
turbing force. Judge Robarts is exceptionally free from all judicial bias. His
varied legal learning and wide experience in the courts, the patient care with
which he ascertains all the facts bearing upon every case which comes before
him, gives his decisions a solidity and an exhaustiveness from which members
of the bar seldom take exception. His re-election in 1897 was the tribute of the
public to his ability and personal popularity.

In. 1873, when a young man, the Judge was elected assistant doorkeeper of
the house of representatives in the twenty-eighth Illinois general assembly. In


1881 he was elected state's attorney for Pulaski county, and in 1883 was ap-
pointed commissioner for the southern Illinois penitentiary by Governor Hamil-
ton. In 1890 he was elected county judge of Pulaski county, but resigned the
following year in order to enter upon the duties of the higher office to which he
was called. He has always been a Republican in his political views, and before
his election to the circuit bench was an active worker in the interests of his party
during the campaigns. He has frequently served as delegate to state, congres-
sional, senatorial and county conventions, and in 1892 was a delegate to the
national Republican convention at Minneapolis.

On the 2ist of October, 1875, in Murphysboro, Illinois, Judge Robarts mar-
ried Miss Lillie Ozborn, daughter of Colonel Lindorf Ozborn, who was com-
mander of the Thirty-first Regiment Illinois Volunteers. Her mother, Mrs.
Diza M. Ozborn, was an own cousin of General John A. Logan, their respective
mothers having been sisters who held the same relationship to the eminent jurist
and statesman, Judge Alexander Jenkins, who at the opening of the war of the
Rebellion sat upon the bench of the first judicial district.

Judge Robarts joined the Odd Fellows society in Murphysboro in 1874, and
is still a member in good standing. In 1884 he was raised to the degree of Mas-
ter Mason in the Lodge of Cairo, now belongs to the Royal Arch Chapter and
to the Knight Templar Commandery. The Knights of Pythias and the Knights
of Honor also account him one of their worthy representatives. He is a man
of fine personal appearance, six feet in height and weighing three hundred
pounds. On the bench his manner is dignified, fully sustaining the majesty of
the law, but in private life he is a cordial, genial gentleman, very approachable,
and known among his friends simply as Jo Robarts. Nevertheless he stands
among the highest socially and professionally in southern Illinois, and the his-
tory of the bench and bar would be incomplete without the record of one whose
career has added new honors to its judicial annals.

Hon. William Nichols Butler. -There are numerous members of the Cairo
(Illinois) bar who have won distinction in their noble profession, and among
the foremost of these is the gentleman whose name forms the heading of this
tribute to his worth and ability. Absolute merit is the only thing that counts
in the legal profession and success is never achieved by one of mediocre talents.
Concentrated effort for many years alone raises a lawyer to a position of influ-
ence and prominence in a community, and long and untiringly must he labor to
gain a high name and standing. While his interest in his chosen line of en-
deavor has been paramount to all else, Mr. Butler has not neglected his duties
as a citizen, and is noted for his patriotism. His means and influence may al-
ways be safely counted upon when measures for the welfare of the general
public and this particular section of Illinois are being agitated, and this fact
partially accounts for his wide popularity.

The birth of our subject occurred in Berlin, Green Lake county, Wisconsin,
August 16, 1856. In the autumn of 1859 his parents, Comfort Edgar and Ce-
lestia A. (Carter) Butler, removed to Pennsylvania, where the family resided
until the outbreak of the civil war. Twice the father enlisted in the defense of


the Union, fighting gallantly as a member of two regiments from the Keystone
state. In the meantime his family made their home among relatives in Canan-
daigua, New York. Soon after the patriot returned to them they removed to
Texas, in January, 1869, but, not liking the country, they came to the town of
Anna, Union county, Illinois, and there William N. grew to manhood, attending
the local schools. He graduated in the University of Illinois at Champaign
June 7, 1879, and soon determined to enter the legal profession.

In order that he might pay his way through college and obtain the advan-
tages which he desired, Mr. Butler worked at various employments at intervals,
engaged at carpenter work, clerking in stores, teaching and employed in a print-
ing-office. The same steadfast persistence which marked him in his efforts to
obtain an education is one of his chief secrets of success in later life. His initial
steps in the direction of becoming a lawyer were taken under the instruction of
Judge M. C. Crawford, of Jonesboro, Illinois. In the fall of 1881 he entered
the Union College of Law in Chicago, being a classmate and seat-mate of Hon.
W. J. Bryan. The following autumn he entered the senior class of the Albany
(New York) Law School, receiving therefrom the degree of Bachelor of Laws
May 25, 1883.

August 13, 1883, Mr. Butler came to Cairo in the internal revenue service,
as clerk under General C. W. Pavey, and remained here one year. September
10, 1884, he was the nominee of the Republican party of Alexander county for
the office of state's attorney and was elected. He gave such general satisfaction
that he was re-elected in 1888 and again in 1892 and 1896. No better comment
is needed on his efficiency and faithfulness to his duties than these repeated
marks of his fellow-citizens' confidence in him. For six years he was honored
with the chairmanship of the Republican central committee of Alexander county
and was chairman of the Republican judicial committee, first circuit, and chair-
man of the Republican committee of the first supreme-court district in 1889. In
1888 he was an alternate delegate to the national convention of the party. He
was corporation counsel for this city from 1895-97, ar >d has been a member of
the board of education for two terms. He was chairman of the judiciary com-
mittee of the first supreme-court district in 1888, when D. J. Baker was elected
a member of the supreme bench. This was the first time in the history of the
state that the supreme bench was Republican. Mr. Butler was a partner of
David T. Linegar from December, 1884, until the death of Mr. Linegar, in
February, 1886. Later he was engaged in the practice of law as one of the firm
of Boyer & Butler, but this connection also was terminated by the death of our
subject's partner.

In the multiplicity of honors which he has enjoyed none has ever been more
thoroughly appreciated by Mr. Butler than that of president of the alumni asso-
ciation of the University of Illinois, in which capacity he acted during 1888 and
1889. At one time he was captain and adjutant of the old Ninth Regiment, Sec-
ond Brigade, National Guard of Illinois. Fraternally, he is a Knight of Pythias,
a Mason and an Odd Fellow. He is a regular attendant upon the services of


the Presbyterian church, is one of the trustees of the same and contributes to
its support, though he is not a member of the denomination.

October 28, 1885, the marriage of Mr. Butler and Miss Mary Mattoon was
celebrated at Fairbury, Illinois. They have an interesting little family, namely:
Comfort Straight, born in 1887; William Glenn, in 1889; Franklin Mattoon, in
1892; Mary, in 1894; and Helen, in 1897.

Richard Watson Mills, a well and favorably known citizen and lawyer of
Virginia, Cass county, is one of the native sons of Illinois, his birth having oc-
curred August 3, 1844, near Jacksonville, Morgan county. His maternal grand-
father, Dr. George Cadwell, was the first physician of that county, and was in-
deed one of the first settlers of the state. He came here as early as 1804 and
settled in the vicinity of St. Louis at first, afterward, in 1821, removing to Mor-
gan county, where he resided until his death in 1826. His wife, whose maiden
name was Pamelia Lyon, was a daughter of Matthew Lyon, _who was the first
victim of the "Sedition Act," passed by congress during the administration of
John Adams. Matthew Lyon was a man of prominence, was a colonel during
the war of the Revolution and afterward a member of congress from Vermont
for four terms, a member of that honorable body from Kentucky once, and later
was a delegate to congress from the territory of Arkansas.

Chesley L. Mills, the father of our subject, was born in Tennessee, not far
from the town of Lebanon, June 10, i8c6, and some time between 1825 and
1830 removed to Hannibal, Missouri, with his parents. His ancestors had been
early colonists in this country, coming from England to Maryland with one of
the Lords Baltimore. Mr. Mills, who was a mason by trade, was in the prime
of life when the summons came to him to forever lay aside his labors, and he
entered the silent land February 18, 1844. His widow was a Miss Harriet L.
Cadwell in her girlhood, daughter of the pioneer physician previously men-

Richard Watson Mills was born in the summer following the death of his
father, and until he was nine years of age he and his mother lived at the home
of the widowed grandmother, Mrs. Cadwell. Then, for two years, the lad re-
sided with other relatives near Whitehall, Illinois, his school work being dili-
gently pursued in the meantime. In April, 1861, on the beginning of the civil
war, the youth was enthusiastically anxious to go to the defense of the Union,
and enlisted as a private in Company B, Tenth Illinois Infantry, the first com-
mand to reach Cairo on the way south; but there, to the intense disgust of the
young patriot, he was rejected and sent home on account of 'his age. He soon
succeeded in his endeavors to get into the ranks, however, as the following
month he was accepted in Company F, Nineteenth Illinois Infantry, in which
he served for over three years with marked fidelity and gallantry. With his reg-
iment he fought in many a hard campaign, and, with the exception of the two
battles of Chickamauga and Resaca, he participated in all the fierce engage-
ments in which they took part, including Stone river and Missionary Ridge.
July 9, 1864, he received an honorable discharge and, returning home, resumed
his interrupted studies.


After two years in school he began teaching and at the same time com-
menced the study of law, under the tutelage of the Hon. Cyrus Epler, of Jack-
sonville, Illinois. Since his admission to the bar he has carried on a general
practice and has met with success in his chosen vocation. For six years he was
master in chancery of Cass county. Though always active in the Republican
party and in 1888 a delegate to the Republican national convention in Chicago,
he has never been a candidate for public office, nor has he desired such prefer-
ment. Since 1869 he has been a member of the Masonic order and for the past
thirteen years he has been a Knight Templar. He holds a membership in the
First Presbyterian church of Virginia and is one of the trustees of the congre-

February 4, 1873, Mr. Mills married Matilda A. Tate, a daughter of Dr. H.
Tate, of Virginia. Her death occurred March 26, 1884, and November 28, 1889,
Mr. Mills married Miss Nellie Woodman Epler. Two children have been born
to them, namely: Epler, March 16, 1893, and Myron, September 19, 1896.

James F. Hughes, judge of the city court of Mattoon, has been a member
of the bar of Illinois for thirty years. He was born January 17, 1839, on a farm
in Franklin township, Wayne county, Ohio, his parents being John and Susan
Hughes, the former a farmer and stock-dealer. Reared on the old family home-
stead, Judge Hughes assisted in the labors of the farm and acquired his edu-
cation in the common schools of the neighborhood and in Fredericksburg Acad-
emy, of his native county. He left that institution in order to enlist in the
Union army, in 1861. Hardly had the smoke from Fort Sumter's guns cleared
away when he offered his services to the government, becoming a member of
Company G, Sixteenth Ohio Infantry, on the igth of April. He served in West
Virginia under Generals McClellan and Rosecrans and re-enlisted July 22, 1862,
as a member of Company F, One Hundred and Second Ohio Infantry, serving
in the Army of the Cumberland for three years, with the rank of first sergeant.
Loyally he followed the old flag on southern battle-fields, and when the war was
ended, in 1865, returned to his home to take up the pursuits of peace.

It was at this time that Judge Hughes entered the law department of the
University of Michigan, at Ann Arbor, where he was graduated on the comple-
tion of a two-years course, in 1867. He then went to Sullivan, Illinois, where he
entered into partnership with Alvin P. Greene, also a graduate of the law depart-
ment of the Michigan University, in the publication of the Okaw Republican.
Their combined capital was ten dollars. They met with fair success, and at the
end of fifteen months Mr. Hughes sold his interest to his partner and went into
the office of the late W. J. Henry, of Shelbyville, Illinois, in order to gain some
practical knowledge of law. Mr. Henry was then associated in business with
Charles B. Steele, of Mattoon, Illinois, and upon the election of the latter to the
position of judge of the city court, in December, 1869, Mr. Hughes became a
partner of Mr. Henry. In 1873, when Mr. Steele resigned from the bench, Mr.
Hughes became his partner, and the relation was maintained until 1877, after
which our subject practiced alone until 1885, when he was elected judge of the
fourth judicial circuit, composed of nine counties in central Illinois. His asso-


ciat'es on the bench were Judge J. W. Wilkin, now on the supreme bench of Illi-
nois, and C. B. Smith, now of Minneapolis. On the expiration of his term of
service in 1891 he resumed the private practice of law and had a distinctively
representative clientage. On the 26th of January, 1898, he was elected judge
of the newly organized city court of Mattoon, which office he now holds. He
is extremely fair and impartial in the discharge of his judicial duties and his
comprehensive knowledge of the law makes him a most efficient incumbent of
the office. He has never held public office outside the line of his profession, but
gives his political support unwaveringly to the Republican party, with which
he has been affiliated since casting his first ballot for Abraham Lincoln in 1860.
In his religious associations he is a Methodist.

Judge Hughes was married September 17, 1874, in Mattoon, in the pres-
ence of the Illinois Methodist conference, by Bishop R. S. Foster, the lady
of his choice being Miss Julia Chrisman, an accomplished teacher in the pub-
lic schools, and a daughter of Edwin Chrisman, of Edgar county, Illinois.
Their children are Columbia, born July 3, 1875; Arlington, born July 22, 1876;
Florence, born June 24, 1879, an d James F., born December 25, 1890.

Henry A. Neal, of Charleston, was born in Tuftonboro, New Hampshire,
December 13, 1846, his parents being Nathaniel and Mary E. Neal, the former
a farmer by occupation. He attended the public schools and also a seminary
of New Hampshire, and thus was fitted for the practical duties of life. His
boyish fancy pictured the stage-driver as a very important personage in the
community, and it was his ambition at that very early period in his life some
day to drive a stage. With the passing years, however, came broader, truer
views of life, and higher ambition and loftier ideals. His first step after leaving
school was to enlist in the Union army, for the country was calling for men to
put down the Rebellion, and with patriotic zeal he joined Company K of the
First New Hampshire Volunteers in 1864. After the close of the war he at-
tended a business college in Poughkeepsie, New York, and in 1866 came to
Illinois, where he accepted a position as teacher in one of the country schools
in Coles county through the winter term. He then spent one year as teacher
in the schools of Paris, Illinois, and for three years was superintendent of the
schools of Watseka, Iroquois county.

He pursued his professional course of study in the law school of Ann
Arbor, Michigan, and was graduated in 1873. He then began the practice of
law in Charleston, Illinois, where he has remained up to the present time, en-
joying a good business, which has increased with the passing years as he has
demonstrated his ability to handle successfully intricate and involved prob-
lems of jurisprudence.

Mr. Neal has been twice married. In June, 1873, Miss Lizzie Jones, of
Paris, Illinois, became his wife, and by that marriage one daughter was born,
Orra E., whose birth occurred in May, 1874. The lady who now bears the
name of Mrs. Neal was in her maidenhood Miss Louise Weiss, of Charleston,
Illinois. They were married in April, 1888, and have one son, Harry F., born
in February, 1889.


In his social relations Mr. Neal is a Mason, a Knight of Honor and a
member of the Grand Army of the Republic. An important factor in political
affairs, he is recognized as one of the leading members of the Republican party
in Coles county, and has been honored with official preferment. He was
elected and served as a member of the thirtieth and thirty-first general assem-
blies, and was mayor of Charleston from 1895 until 1897. He has been active
in campaign work since 1876, and his. effective oratory in advocacy of his party's
principles has largely advanced the cause of Republicanism in this locality. In
1896 he was a delegate to the national Republican convention. A public-spir-
ited citizen he gives a loyal and progressive support to all measures tending to
promote the public good, and his sagacity in judging all new measures makes
his example most effective and well worthy of emulation in all such matters.
James Wesley Craig, for thirty years a member of the bar of Mattoon,
was born on a farm in the township of Morgan, Coles county, Illinois, on the
29th of June, 1844, and on the paternal side is of Scotch-Irish descent, while
on the maternal side he is of Swiss lineage. The ancestry of the family can be
traced back to William Craig, a Scotch-Irishman, who was born in 1731 and
died in 1823. In the struggle for independence he joined the American army
and for four years fought for the liberty of the nation, as a member of a com-
pany commanded by Captain Uriah Springer in the Seventh Regiment of the
Virginia line. His son, Robert Craig, was born in the Old Dominion, but emi-
grating westward in pioneer days died in Illinois in 1850. He, too, was a
soldier, and participated in the engagement in which the Indian chief Tecum-
seh was killed, being at the time under the command of Colonel Johnson of

The parents of our subject were Isaac N. and Elizabeth (Bloyer) Craig,
and to agricultural pursuits the former devoted his energies. He was born in
Montgomery county, Kentucky, in 1810, and died in Coles county, Illinois, at
the age of eighty-two years, while his wife, who was born in Lancaster county,
Pennsylvania, and was of Swiss descent, departed this life three years later, at
the age of seventy-six. Living in Illinois in its pioneer days, he participated in
the Black" Hawk war, resulting from the unruly conditions of the Indians of
the Black Hawk tribe. It will thus be seen that bravery and loyalty are strong
characteristics of the Craig family.

During his boyhood days James W. Craig, in the usual manner of farmer
lads of that period, trudged along the road to the log school-house, where he
conned his lessons, becoming familiar with the rudiments of an English edu-
cation. Having access to a good library of books, he spent all his leisure time
outside the schoolroom in reading and study, gaining a broad general knowl-
edge. On the igth of July, 1864, he became a student in the law office of Col-
onel O. B. Ficklin, and at a later date entered the law department of the Uni-
versity of Michigan, at Ann Arbor, where he was graduated March 27, 1867.

In May of the same year Mr. Craig formed a law partnership with his
former preceptor, Colonel Ficklin, and began practice in Charleston, Illinois.
A year later, in May, 1868, Mr. Craig removed to Mattoon, where he has since


engaged in active practice. He has tried nearly every kind of a case that comes
within the province of a lawyer in general practice, and has had charge of suits
in all courts from that presided over by a justice of the peace to those which
come under the jurisdiction of the supreme court of the United States, and has
had a successful professional career. He served one term as state's attorney
of Coles county, being commissioned November 23, 1872. His political sup-
port has ever been given the men and measures of the Democracy.

Mr. Craig was married on the I7th of June, 1868, his wife's maiden name
being Mary Chilton. Her father was a native of Maryland, her mother of
Maine, and they were married in Scott county, Illinois, where they lived many
years. The former, James Chilton, was a merchant in that county for many
years and finally removed to Coles county, Illinois, where he died, at an ad-
vanced age. To Mr. and Mrs. Craig have been born four children, now living:
Ina L., who was born June 4, 1869, and is now the wife of John Van Meter,
of Charleston, Illinois; Edward C., who was born April 7, 1872; James W.,
born May 18, 1870.; and Donald B., born May 9, 1883. The family.attend the
Episcopal church, to which Mr. Craig belongs.

Throughout his life he has been a persistent worker, a close student, and
has always been justly regarded as a scholarly and well read lawyer. His pre-
eminent success, not only as an advocate but also as a lawyer in the highest
sense, is well demonstrated by his important victories, not alone in nisi-prius
courts, but also in the various courts of appeal. For years Mr. Craig has had
a general practice not limited to any one branch of the law. He has, in con-
sequence, grasped the philosophy of the law in its entirety and has a full con-
ception of its controlling principles. It can be said of him that he is a fine ex-
ample of "the country lawyer." With little educational training in youth, by
dint of his native abilities, supplemented by unflagging energy and tireless per-
sistency, he has acquired, in addition to his learning in the law, no little ac-
quaintance with the arts, sciences and literature, knowledge in all of which is
truly the handmaiden to that jealous mistress, the law.

Judge Frank K. Dunn is now occupying the bench of the fifth judicial
circuit, to which he was elected in June, 1897. He was born in Mount Gilead,
Ohio, on the I3th of November, 1854, his parents being Andrew Kershner and
Emily (Armentrout) Dunn. The father was a lawyer of Ohio and served as
judge of the court of common pleas. The son, Frank Kershner Dunn, com-
pleted his literary education by his graduation in Kenyon College, of Gambier,
Ohio, in 1873, at which time the degree of Bachelor of Arts was conferred upon
him. He then entered the law school of Harvard University, and was grad-
uated in 1875, with the degree of LL. B.

The same year Judge Dunn was admitted to the bar in Columbus, Ohio,
and entered into partnership with his father for the practice of law in Mount
Gilead, where he remained until 1878, when he came to Charleston, Illinois,
where he has since made his home. For twenty years identified with the bar
of Coles county, his ability and merit are well known to the people of this sec-
tion of the state, and accordingly he was elected to the bench of the fifth judi-

Online LibraryJohn M. (John McAuley) PalmerThe bench and the bar of Illinois : Historical and reminiscent (Volume v.2) → online text (page 46 of 83)