John M. (John McAuley) Palmer.

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youngest son is the direct ancestor of Elijah Whittier Blaisdell, the subject of
this review, and throughout the intervening generations the name of Elijah has
frequently appeared, together with other Bible names, a fact which indicates the
strong religious element in the family. One of the descendants of Elijah Blais-
dell, of Newburyport, located at Amesbury, Massachusetts, where he died, and
his widow married Nathaniel Whittier, a member of the same family as the
famous poet, John G. Whittier, whence comes the name borne by our subject
and his father.

Parrett Blaisdell, the grandfather of our subject, served in the Revolutionary
war, and also in the war of 1812. He was described as being "hasty, brave, and
fixedly determined,' 1 as well as noted for his blunt honesty and his hearty and
sincere piety. During the second war with England, alone and unaided, he cap-
tured four British prisoners and marched them into camp at the muzzle of his
musket. He reached the advanced age of eighty-six years, and died at Fort
Covington, New York, in 1836. His brother Daniel was also a prominent citi-
zen and served as a member of congress in 1808.

Elijah Whittier Blaisdell, Sr., the son of Parrett Blaisdell, was born in
Montpelier, Vermont, in 1800, and removed to Middlebury, that state, in 1837.
He was previously married in Montreal to Miss Ann Maria Deacon, a native of


Wexford, Ireland, and a member of the Methodist church. On the i8th of
July, 1826, their son Elijah Whittier Blaisdell, now of Rockford, was born in
Montpelier, Vermont, and in that place he passed his boyhood days until the
removal of the family to Middlebury. His early life was quietly spent, unmarked
by any event of special importance. He attended the district schools, and later,
when his father, who was a printer, removed to Vergennes, Vermont, where he
published the Vergennes Vermonter, the son attended a classical school in
that village. After leaving that school he added to his store of knowledge in
"the poor man's college," the printing-office, and extensive reading in later years
has brought him a broad fund of general information that surpasses that of many
a university-bred man. After remaining in the printing-office for a short time
he became the editor of the Vergennes Vermonter, a publication which Was
founded by Rufus W. Griswold, whose "Poets and Poetry of America" is so
well known, and who was himself a poet of no mean ability. While editing that
journal Mr. Blaisdell was also appointed by President Taylor postmaster of
Vergennes, which office he held for four years.

To a man of his ambition and character, however, the monotony of life in a
little New England village grew very irksome, and he resolved to seek a home in
the west, of which such wonderful accounts were related. Acting under this
determination he came to Rockford, and with the money he had saved purchased
the Forum, which had been published in Rockford for ten years. Changing its
name to the Republican, he again resumed editorial work, and this at a time when
vital questions of public concern were being agitated. With his gifted pen he
entered vigorously into the various controversies of the time, with the force that
ever characterized his writings and his actions. He was soon recognized as a
power in the community, and acquired an extended reputation. Activity in
public affairs and a strong political bias were inevitable in such a man, and it is
not strange that we find him, in company with Lincoln, Palmer, Schneider,
Browning and others, at the meeting in Springfield which organized the Repub-
lican party. He made one of the strongest speeches in favor of the new prin-
ciples at that meeting, and upon his return to Rockford placed the name of
Abraham Lincoln at the head of the columns of his paper as the new party's
candidate for the presidency, and in an able editorial advocated his election to
that office. It is a matter of history that the Rockford Republican, under Mr.
Blaisdell's editorship, was the first paper to suggest the name of Lincoln for the
office in which he earned immortal fame. Nor did his zeal end there. He called
a convention in Rockford for the purpose of nominating a Republican candidate
for congress, and as a result Elihu B. Washburne was the first man nominated
for congress by the Republican party.

During his editorial career Mr. Blaisdell had also boldly espoused the cause
of the farmers against the bankers and moneyed men, who were charging as
high as twenty per cent interest on loans, and in the columns of the Republican
he advocated a law against usury, which course cost him his popularity with the
creditor class, whose patronage was accordingly withdrawn from the paper.
Upon this issue of usurious interest Mr. Blaisdell was elected a member of the


Illinois legislature in 1859, and in Springfield he continued to fight for a law
against extortionate interest charges. When the bill was introduced he made
a most eloquent speech in the house of representatives, such interest had been
aroused by his previous efforts that the members of the senate came en masse and
stood for several hours listening to his arraignment of the moneyed class, his
fierce denunciation of the wrongs endured by the farmers being listened to with
breathless interest. This speech, which is said to be one of the strongest ever
delivered in the legislature, was printed verbatim, occupying seven columns in
one of the great St. Louis dailies, and was the subject of flattering comment far
and near. The principles for which Mr. Blaisdell contested, triumphed, and he
felt vindicated for the stand he had taken. While a member of the general
assembly he also introduced a bill, which was passed, granting independent rights
to a wife to use her own property under certain circumstances without regard
to her husband's wishes in the matter. Mr. Blaisdell's mission in the general
assembly being accomplished, he refused a renomination, and at the expiration
of his term returned to Rockford. He also disposed of his paper, which then be-
came known as the Register, and is now the Register-Gazette.

He at once took up the study of law, and after reading thirty or forty of the
best text-books on the subject, went to Chicago as a candidate for admission to
the bar of the state. Judge Peck, one of the examining committee, expressed
great surprise when he found that Mr. Blaisdell was a candidate, saying that
he had heard his famous speech in the legislature, and from the knowledge dis-
played therein thought he must surely be a member of the bar, and if he wasn't
he ought to be. Such was the effect of the legislative speech that the committee
admitted Mr. Blaisdell to practice without causing him to take the examination,
a most graceful compliment to his ability. His success as an attorney was
pronounced from the beginning. The first year his practice netted him between
three and four thousand dollars, and during the thirteen years that he continued
actively in the profession he was very successful.

In 1884, when Mr. Cleveland was nominated for the presidency, Mr. Blais-
dell became a supporter of the Democracy. Up to this time he had been firm in
his advocacy of the Republican party, but believing that it was more and more
working against the interests of the people he regretfully left its ranks. He
then labored earnestly for Democratic success. He has always been a loyal ad-
herent of General John M. Palmer, and in many ways has advanced his political
fortunes. During many campaigns he has given his time to campaign work,
delivering many speeches throughout the entire northern section of Illinois, and
at different times he has received the nomination for congress in his district.

Since leaving the bar Mr. Blaisdell has given much time to literary pursuits,
and among his productions is a novel, which was published by the Petersons
and evoked favorable comment from the New York Sun, World, Evening Post,
Boston Journal, and many other of the leading journals of the country. He also
wrote a political burlesque of about one hundred pages, entitled "The Rajah,"
which met with great success. He is now about to issue a volume of miscel-
laneous poems, of two hundred and fifty or three hundred pages, and has re-


cently completed a play entitled "Eva, the General's Daughter," founded on
incidents of the Black Hawk war and which has received strong commendation
from A. M. Palmer, the well known theatrical manager, of New York city.

Mr. Blaisdell has been twice married. His first wife, Frances Robinson
died soon after he came to Rockford. His present wife was Miss Elizabeth J.
Lawrence, daughter of Judge Ville Lawrence, of Vermont, and sister of the late
chief justice C. B. Lawrence, of Illinois. Another daughter of Judge Lawrence
married John Pierpont, who was chief justice of the supreme court of Vermont,
and one of the ablest jurists that state has produced. Mr. Blaisdell has five chil-
dren : Byron Richard, of Chicago; Henry, a lawyer of Rockford; Elijah W..,
an artist, residing in New York ; and George and Shelly Pierpont, at home.

James H. Martin, a native of Ripley county, Indiana, was born on the i8th
of October, 1852, and has spent almost his entire life in southern Illinois, where
he has won an honorable name and place in the legal fraternity. His parents
were William and Caroline (Behymer) Martin, the former born in Kenton
county, Kentucky, in 1822, while the latter was a native of Clermont county,
Ohio. The father was a farmer' by occupation and died in Richland county,
Illinois in 1881, at the age of fifty-nine years. The paternal grandfather of our
subject, James Martin, was also a general farmer and a native of Kentucky. In
an Indian massacre of the settlement in which he lived, all of his family then at
home were killed with the exception of himself. He afterward removed to Indi-
ana, where he died, at the home of his son William, in 1864, at the age of
ninety years.

James Henry Martin, whose name begins this sketch, resided on a farm in
Indiana until twelve years of age, when he accompanied his parents on their re-
moval to Illinois. His education was obtained in the common schools of Rich-
land county ; and reading, observation, and experience, combined with a
retentive memory, have made him a well informed man. On attaining his
majority he began teaching school, which profession he followed for three years ;
but this was merely a means to an end, his desire being to enter the legal pro-
fession ; and during his career as a teacher he also read law under the direction
of Judge Preston, of Olney, Illinois. In 1879 he entered the law department of
the State University of Michigan, and on the completion of a two-years course
was graduated, in 1880, with the degree of LL. B.

In the fall of the same year Mr. Martin came to Murphysboro, and in June
of the following year entered into partnership with Hon. G. W. Hill, a connection
which was continued until the latter's death. Mr. Martin has been connected,
as counsel, with many of the most important controversies that have engaged the
attention of the courts of his district through the past fifteen years, and his
ability, uniform courtesy to his fellow practitioners and comprehensive under-
standing of the principles of jurisprudence have won him high encomiums. For
many years he has been counsel for the Logan family and the Abstract Title &
Guarantee Company. He drew up the papers and aided in the organization of
the City National Bank, of Murphysboro, of which he is one of the directors, and
is also attorney for many other important corporations.


On the I3th of November, 1888, Mr. Martin was united in marriage to Miss
Elizabeth W. Kennedy, daughter of George Kennedy, a native of Murphysboro,
who for many years was connected with its mercantile interests, but is now
living retired. Mrs. Martin was born in Murphysboro, was educated at the
Southern Illinois Normal University and is a lady of superior culture, literary
ability and gentle refinement of manner. Like her husband she is held in high
esteem by many friends. Their family includes two children, Anna Kennedy
and Milfred Maud. Socially Mr. Martin is connected with the order of
Knights of Pythias, the Ancient Order of United Workmen and the Independent
Order of Odd Fellows.

In politics he is a Democrat. His circle of friends is extensive and he
commands the unqualified respect of his fellow members of the bar. In the
presentation of a cause he makes a cogent argument, convincing by the clear-
ness of his statement and the force of reason. In manner he is modest and
seems to be satisfied with the discharge of his duty without regard to its effect
upon his fame. Indeed in his very modesty of manner and fidelity is found not
only the chief cause of his popularity among his associates, the legal profession
and the people, but also one of the best evidences of his ability and worth.

John Maurice Herbert, an able, finely educated young man, is the present
state's attorney of Jackson county. The people of this section feel that their in-
terests in legal matters are perfectly secure in his hands, and the confidence which
they place in him must be extremely gratifying to the young lawyer, for it is
spontaneous and justly deserved. He has been engaged in the practice of law
in Murphysboro for the past ten years, as in July, 1888, he entered into partner-
ship with George W. Smith of this place, and their business relations have con-
tinued in force up to the present date. For the past decade, also, Mr. Herbert
has been actively interested in the success of the Republican party, using his
ballot and influence in favor of its platform and candidates. In 1892 he was
elected to the position of state's attorney, and so well filled the requirements of
this difficult office that when his term expired, in 1896, he was re-elected for an-
other four years.

A son of David and Margaret Herbert, natives of Wales, John Maurice
Herbert was born February i, 1864. His birthplace, likewise, was in Wales,
in the town of Pont-y-Pridd, Glamorganshire ; but he has no recollections of his
native land, as he was but three years old when the family sailed for the United
States, arriving on these hospitable shores March 17, 1867. The early education
of our subject was obtained in the public schools of Murphysboro, after which
he was a student for a year and a half in the Southern Illinois Normal, at Carbon-
dale. At the close of four years of training in the Christian Brothers College in
St. Louis, Missouri, he was graduated in 1886, being valedictorian of his class.
He completed his classical and legal education at the University of Michigan, in
Ann Arbor, where he remained for two years, and was honored by being chosen
vice-president of the class of 1888, in which year he received his diploma. Thus
thoroughly equipped, the young man returned to his old home in Murphysboro,
and soon associated himself with his present partner. He has established an


enviable reputation for ability in his chosen profession, and as a public official
his record is above criticism. For some time he has been a director in the First
National Bank of this place, and besides he is financially interested in the South-
ern Illinois Building & Loan Association. Fraternally, he stands high in the
Masonic order, having reached the thirty-second degree. He belongs to the
Murphysboro Lodge, Chapter and Council; to the Cairo Commandery and to
the Oriental Consistory, of Chicago. He is an Odd Fellow, a member of Amity
Lodge ; and is associated with Leonidas Lodge, of the Knights of Pythias.

September 28, 1893, Mr. Herbert married Miss Tillie V. Bross, daughter of
Judge Fred Bross, of Cairo, Illinois. They have two children, namely : Hor-
tense Bross, born June 17, 1894, and Fredoline Willard, born June 29, 1895.

William Augustus Schwartz, of Carbondale, from his earliest recollections
has been closely connected with the material prosperity of Jackson county, being
interested in all new enterprises accruing to the good of his section of the state,
and being a recognized factor in its yearly increasing wealth and high standing.

The second in order of birth in a family of eight children, our subject was
born in Elk Prairie, Jackson county, February 28, 1853. His parents, William
and Sarah Schwartz, were reared on neighboring farms in Elk township, where
their respective parents had been among the first settlers. ' The marriage of Will-
iam and Sarah Schwartz was solemnized September 26, 1850, and their first home
was upon a tract of unimproved prairie land not far distant from their former
places of abode. They were ambitious and determined to make a good home
and livelihood, and carrying out these purposes with a will they became much
respected citizens of the community. The years rolled by rapidly and at length
they found themselves the possessors of six hundred acres of arable land and a
fair amount of personal property. At the time that they went to house-keeping,
prairie chickens, elk and deer and other wild game were abundant and furnished
their little family with many a fine meal. Though hardships of various kinds
were the lot of these hardy pioneers there was much happiness in their lives, after
all, and good will and liberality were the rule and not the exception with the
whole community.

William Schwartz was a man of much more than ordinary ability and genius.
He was well educated for his day and circumstances and was a graduate of Leba-
non College. He was always interested in educational affairs and served as a
member of the local school board for many years. His fellow citizens, appreci-
ating his worth, and believing him to be a man devoted to the welfare of the gen-
eral public, elected him to the lower house of the Illinois legislature, and thus he
served as a member of the twenty-seventh assembly. Some time subsequent to
their marriage Mr. and Mrs. Schwartz united with the Christian or Disciples'
church, and from that day forward they were zealous in every good work, seeking
always to exemplify in their lives the noble faith which they professed. William
Schwartz died at his home in Elk township, surrounded by his family and many
friends, September 22, 1871, after one week's illness, and though over a quarter
of a century has passed since then, his memory is still cherished in the hearts of
a multitude of his old friends and neighbors. His widow is still living and has


long made a home for her son William Augustus of this sketch, in Carbondale.
She is a daughter of Henry Kimmel, who, with Edward Schwartz, the grand-
father of our subject, was one of the first to locate in Jackson county. They
were both natives of Pennsylvania, coming from old and respected families there.
William Augustus Schwartz acquired his elementary education in the public
schools of his home neighborhood and subsequently attended Carthage College,
in Carthage, Illinois, and the Southern Illinois Normal University, at Carbon-
dale. He learned all the details of the proper management of a farm, and became
a practical agriculturist. With the thoroughness and executive ability which are
among his notable characteristics he personally superintended all work done upon
the farm and carried forward to successful completion everything that he under-
took. He remained on the old homestead until 1880, when he took up his resi-
dence in Carbondale. After leaving school, in 1876, he commenced the study
of law in the office of Hon. W. J. Allen and Hon. W. W. Barr. In 1878 he
entered the Union College of Law in Chicago, Illinois, and upon the i6th of
September, 1879, he was granted a license to practice by the supreme court.

Establishing an office in Carbondale, Mr. Schwartz diligently set out upon
his chosen field of labor. In 1880 he was elected state's attorney of Jackson
county and served four years in the responsible and trustworthy position. The
last case of importance which was prosecuted by him was that of the state versus
Thomas Russell. The defendant was tried and convicted, in the year 1884, for
the killing of George Bulliner twelve years prior to that time, the court sentencing
him to fifty years in the penitentiary. This murder was the last one of a series
of assassinations in the famous Williamson county "Vendetta," in the early
'703, which gave to Williamson county the appellation of "Bloody Williamson."
During Mr. Schwartz's incumbency as state's attorney some of the most im-
portant cases ever tried in his county were successfully prosecuted. He has had
the pleasure of trying cases before both of his former preceptors, Judges Allen
and Barr, the first-named presiding at the United States circuit court in Spring-
field and the latter as county judge of Jackson county. Of the numerous im-
portant civil cases which he has pleaded, we mention that of Harris versus The
Illinois Central Railroad Company (reported in Illinois Reports, volume 162,
page 200). Harris was awarded a verdict of eight thousand dollars for the loss
of one hand, amputation of said member being necessary on account of injuries
received while plaintiff was engaged in coupling cars for the railroad company.

In May, 1893, Mr. Schwartz assisted in organizing the First National Bank
of Carbondale, and has since been its vice president and attorney. When the
Carbondale Trust & Savings Bank was founded in 1897, he was very influential
in the enterprise and has acted in the capacity of president of the institution up
to the present time. He was one of the incorporators of the Carbondale Build-
ing, Loan & Homestead Association, and is one of the directors of the same. In
June, 1891, he helped to incorporate the Carbondale Electric Company, which
furnishes light to the streets and homes of his city, and was also one of the prime
movers in the incorporation of the Carbondale Grain & Elevator Company, in
1896, it having since been one of the flourishing industries of that section. With


the exception of the Electric Company, Mr. Schwartz holds stock in all of the
above named organizations, his policy being to encourage the industries and
enterprises of his own community, a truly patriotic spirit, well worthy of emu-

Politically, Mr. Schwartz is an ardent Democrat and has been a great and
effective worker during presidential campaigns. For eight years he was the
chairman of the Democratic central committee of Jackson county, and largely
through his heroic efforts the public gatherings which assembled in his county,
rallying to the support of Bryan in the memorable campaign of 1896, were en-
thusiastic and attended by great multitudes. Socially, he is a member of Shek-
inah Lodge, No. 241, A. F. & A. M. June 30, 1886, he joined the Christian
church and has since been a valued member of the same. He is also a worker
and officer in the Jackson county Sunday-school Association.

Hon. William R. Morrison, an honored member of the Illinois bar, has made
his home in Waterloo, Monroe county, for the past forty-seven years, and has
won distinction, not only in his profession, but as a statesman and soldier. He
is a hero of two wars, having enlisted as a private in the Mexican war, in the
Second Illinois Regiment, commanded by Colonel Bissell, and was in the battle
of Buena Vista. He organized and was colonel of the Forty-ninth Illinois Regi-
ment for two years, and was wounded at the battle of Fort Donelson in the great
Civil war. He was elected clerk of the circuit court in 1852 and later resigned
that office. In 1854 he was elected to the state legislature and was a member of
that honorable body for several successive years, being speaker of the house in
1859. Again in 1870 he was elected to the state assembly. During the inter-
vening years, or from 1863 to 1865, he was a member of the United States house
of representatives, and from 1873 to 1887 he again represented his constituency
in Washington. Thus his service at the nation's capital continued for eight
terms, during which period he was three terms chairman and five terms a mem-
ber of the ways and means committee. From the date of its organization to
December 31, 1897, he was one of the interstate commerce commission, much
of the time chairman, and some of his best efforts as a lawyer and statesman
were in connection with this important branch of the public service.

Online LibraryJohn M. (John McAuley) PalmerThe bench and the bar of Illinois : Historical and reminiscent (Volume v.2) → online text (page 49 of 83)