John M. (John McAuley) Palmer.

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The nomination was accorded him without his solicitation or knowledge.
He has been honored with several official positions, was chosen to represent his
district in the twenty-eighth general assembly, in 1872, was twice city attorney
of Hillsboro, was mayor of the city one term, was alderman for two or three
terms and for fifteen years was an efficient member of the school board. He
has always used his official prerogative to advance the general welfare, has been
active in support of all measures for the public good, and is regarded as a most
loyal, progressive and public-spirited citizen. He was presidential elector in
1876, giving his support to Hayes; was presidential elector at large in 1888,
when he voted for Harrison, and in 1880 was a delegate to the national Re-
publican convention, and was one of the three hundred and six who voted for



Grant. In 1884 he was again a delegate to the Republican national convention
and first voted for Logan and afterward for Elaine.

On the ist of October, 1867, Mr. Truitt was united in marriage to Miss
Jennie Blackman, of Hillsboro, and to them two children, a son and daughter,
have been born. Long residents of Hillsboro, Mr. and Mrs. Truitt have a wide
acquaintance and are held in the highest regard by many friends.

Hiram L. Richardson has attained a leading position at the bar of Kan-
kakee, and is deserving of great credit for his success, owing to the meager
advantages to which he was limited in his youth, and the necessity that forced
him to make his own way in the world unaided. He was born in Morristown,
St. Lawrence county, New York, on the 3oth of July, 1844, his parents being
Amasa and Martha (Goodwin) Richardson. His father, of English descent,
was born in Rutland, Vermont, in 1805, followed the occupation of farming
and died in Wesley, Illinois, in 1891. He was a distant relative of Sir John
Franklin, and on the maternal side was also a distant relative of General Stark,
of Revolutionary war fame. Mrs. Richardson was a relative of General Jos-
eph W. Worth, who served his country in the war with Mexico. She was born
in Watertown, New York, in 1811, and died in Wesley, Will county, Illinois.
May 9, 1898.

Hiram L. Richardson spent the first thirteen years of his life in the Em-
pire state, and then accompanied his parents on their removal to Wilmington,
Illinois. He was one of nine children, and as his parents were in limited cir-
cumstances he was accorded few privileges and advantages, educational or other-
wise. He assisted in the labor of the farm through the greater part of the year,
attending the country schools for three months in the winter season. Of a
studious nature, he thoroughly mastered his text-books and by reading added
largely to his fund of knowledge, so that at the age of nineteen he was enabled
to accept a position as teacher. He followed that profession for two years, and
at the age of twenty-two began the study of law under the direction of his elder
brother, William H. Richardson, being admitted to the bar in 1869. The fol-
lowing season he worked on a farm and then opened a law office in Kankakee.
To an understanding of uncommon acuteness and vigor he added a thorough
and conscientious preparatory training, and in his practice exemplifies all the
higher elements of the truly great lawyer.

In 1870 Mr. Richardson was elected city attorney for a one-year term, and
in 1872 was elected state's attorney for a four-years term. After an interval
of eight years he was re-elected, and in 1892 was again chosen, so that he has
filled that position altogether twelve years, his service being most able and
acceptable. He has always been elected on the Republican ticket, being a stanch
advocate of the principles of that party, but has won the high commendation of
the opposition by his faithful discharge of duty. His practice has steadily in-
creased from the beginning and has brought to him good financial returns,
which he has invested largely in real estate, now owning some valuable farm-
ing property. He, is a lover of fine horses and other animals and makes friends
of them bv his care and kindness to them.


For the past six years Mr. Richardson has been a member of the Knights
of Pythias fraternity, but takes no very active part in lodge work or in interests
outside his farms and profession. In the latter regard one who knows him well
said of him: "Mr. Richardson has had phenomenal success at the bar. He
is an accurate judge of human nature and always turns his knowledge to good
account when selecting a jury. The danger to his case through the prejudices
or environments of the juror is surely developed by his examination, and with
a polite bow and pleasant smile he is excused. During the trial he never loses
sight of or forgets his jury. Every incident likely to affect the jurors unfavor-
ably is noted, and every effort made to destroy the effect. Many an opponent
sure of his case on the law and the evidence has been chagrined with defeat
on the return of the verdict of the jury. As an attorney he is generous to a
fault, his sympathetic nature is quickly touched by the story of the wrongs
and injustice of the poor, and in him they find a ready champion to defend or
prosecute, regardless of their ability to compensate him for his services. Mr.
Richardson has ever been an ardent Republican and an active worker in the
ranks of the party. He has been repeatedly elected to the office of state's at-
torney, from which office he retired with a clean and honorable record, having
performed his duties with marked ability. The same qualities of mind that make
him successful before a jury are always in demand during a campaign ; his talks
on the hustings are shrewd and convincing to the voter."

Frederick A. Randle, of Hillsboro, was born at Bunker Hill, Illinois, on
the 2 1st of January, 1854, his parents being Edward Barton and Mary (Powers)
Randle. His father was one of the first to cross the plains to California on the
discovery of gold in 1849. He remained on the Pacific slope for a number of
years, and then started to return by the water route, and was shipwrecked on
the Pacific ocean for forty days. The vessel in which he had taken passage
then drifted into the harbor of Acapulco, Mexico, whence Mr. Randle and a
party of miners made their way across the country to the city of Mexico and
on to Jalapa and Vera Cruz, where they embarked for New Orleans. After a
stormy voyage on the gulf, they landed at the Crescent city, and thence pro-
ceeded up the Mississippi river to St. Louis. He was married soon afterward
to Mary Powers, of New Orleans, and later engaged in merchandising in
Bunker Hill and Gillespie, Illinois. About 1860 he began farming near Stan-
ton, in the same county, and later moved to Irving, where he followed farming
eighteen years. On the expiration of that period he embarked in the drug and
hardware business at Bunker Hill, with his son-in-law, W. F. Neisler.

Frederick Alanson Randle, whose name introduces this sketch, attended
school at Gillespie, Stanton and Irving, and then entered McKendree College,
of Lebanon, Illinois, where he completed the work of the junior year and the
law course. In 1879 he was admitted to the bar and has since engaged in the
practice of law in Hillsboro, Illinois, in connection with the prosecution of cer-
tain literary labors. He has a keen, analytical mind, is a clear thinker, a log-
ical reasoner and is seldom at fault in his application of legal principles or
precedents to the litigated interests in question. His law practice has assumed


considerable proportions. Mr. Randle has always exercised his right of franchise
in support of the men and measures of the Democratic party, but has never de-
sired political office for himself. Since 1875 he has been a member of the
Methodist Episcopal church, but has never belonged to any secret societies.

John C. Seyster, practicing law in Oregon, his native city, was born May 12,
1854, his parents being Michael and Margaret Seyster, the former a farmer who
located in Ogle county, Illinois, in 1838. Our subject completed his literary
education in Rock River Seminary, Mount Morris, Illinois, by graduation with
the class of 1876, and in the autumn of that year entered the Union College of
Law, of Chicago, where he remained until the following spring. At the same
time he read law in the office of Barge & Dixon, attorneys of Chicago, who in
the summer of 1877 removed to the city of Dixon. Mr. Seyster accompanied
them and continued as a student in their office until his admission to the bar
in 1879. The following year he opened an office in Oregon.

He has been very successful in his chosen profession, and recognizes the
fact that earnest labor is the keynote to prosperity in the law as in every other
vocation in life. He prepares his cases with great thoroughness and is never
surprised by any unexpected discovery by an opposing lawyer, for in his mind
he weighs every point and fortifies himself as well for defense as for attack. In
1882 he was elected and served one term in the general assembly, but declined
a re-nomination, preferring to devote his energies to the law and to the inter-
ests of his clients, his fidelity thereto being proverbial. He was tendered the
office of assistant United States district attorney for the northern district of
Illinois by President Cleveland, but declined. He is a warm advocate of Dem-
ocratic principles, and is a popular, entertaining and convincing speaker, and
above all an American citizen who places the country's good above partisan-
ship and the public welfare above self-aggrandizement. Mr. Seyster was married
December 15, 1880, in Blanchard, Iowa, to Miss Ella M. Vinacke; they have two
children, Thomas B., born June 17, 1888, and Margaret, born February 21, 1890.

Francis Bacon, one of the most prominent trial lawyers in Ogle county,
who by superior ability and close application to business has attained a fore-
most position among the legal practitioners in his section of the state, was
born in Oregon, this county, August 21, 1858, and is a son of Captain Bow-
man W. Bacon. His father was born in Luzerne county, Pennsylvania, in
1823, and in 1839 came to the west, his education being completed in Rock
River Seminary, of Mount Morris, Illinois. He afterward engaged in farming
and studied law in the office of Henry C. Mix. After hostilities had been de-
clared between the north and the south he enlisted in the Union service in
August, 1862, and was commissioned captain of Company G, Seventy-fourth
Regiment of Illinois Volunteers, remaining with his command until wounded
at Kenesaw mountain, on the 2ist of June, 1864. He died a month later from
the effect of his injuries. He was recognized as an able and gallant officer and
soldier and his commission as colonel was ready for the final signature when
the news of his death was received in the war department.

Captain Bacon had been married on the 1st of February, 1852, to Almira


M. Fuller, widow of the eminent lawyer, W. W. Fuller. She was born in Rip-
ley, New York, and removing to the west entered Rock River Seminary as a
student in 1841. Later she was elected the first preceptress of that institution
and filled the position for a number of years in a most satisfactory manner. In
1847 sne became the wife of William VV. Fuller, uncle of Margaret Fuller
D'Ossoli. After the death of her second husband she entered the State Normal
University, in 1866, and was graduated in 1870. She died at her old home in
Oregon, in 1896, leaving an only son, Francis.

In his native city Francis Bacon began his education, which was contin-
ued in Normal, Illinois, and in the Highland Military Academy, in Worcester,
Massachusetts, and he graduated at the latter institution in June, 1877. In Octo-
ber of the same year he entered the Columbian Law School, of Washington,
D. C., where on the completion of the prescribed course he was graduated in
June, 1879. In the previous April, then in his twentieth year, he passed the first
written examination of all students for admission to the supreme bench of the
District of Columbia, and was admitted to the bar before his graduation. At
the request of his mother, then advanced in years, he decided to locate in Ore-
gon, Illinois, and has since been a practitioner at the bar of Ogle county.

Mr. Bacon then formed a partnership with J. C. Seyster under the firm
name of Seyster & Bacon, January i, 1880, but during the greater part of his
professional career has been alone in practice. In November, 1896, however,
the present firm of Bacon & Emerson was formed. He is a man of strong
mental endowments, of great natural and acquired ability, careful in research,
exhaustive in his investigation of a subject and rapidly grasps the strong
points in a cause and presents them clearly, forcibly and logically to judge and
jury. He has never divided his allegiance to the law save with his agricultural
interest, which he finds a source of recreation from the arduous mental duties
of the law, as well as profit. He owns a large stock farm of nearly four
hundred acres, pleasantly located two miles from his office, and there is
extensively engaged in the raising of thoroughbred Aberdeen and Angus cat-
tle and Chester White swine. He is a large and successful feeder of stock, and
the capable management of his farming interests has added very materially
and extensively to his income. In the line of his profession he has held sev-
eral offices. He was elected city attorney of Oregon in April, 1881, and re-
elected in 1883. The following year he was elected justice of the peace. In
1887 ne was the choice of the people for mayor, and in 1889 was re-elected,
being the first mayor of the city, up to that time, who served for two con-
secutive terms. His administration of municipal affairs was most business-
like and commendable. He conducted the affairs of the city without levying
taxes, and at the same time provided electric light, good walks and many other
substantial improvements. He has always been a stanch Republican and for
a number of years was president of the Republican League of the county.

Socially, Mr. Bacon is connected with various organizations, being a val-
ued member of the Red Men, Knights of the Globe, Knights of Pythias, For-
esters and the Masonic lodge and chapter. At the breaking out of the Spanish-


American war he was elected captain of a local company, part of the Sons of
Veterans regiment, which was tendered to the government by Colonel John B.
Hamilton, of Elgin, Illinois, but owing to the speedy close of the war the regi-
ment was not called into active service. It has since been made a part of the
Illinois National Guard, and Captain Bacon's company was on duty at Virden,
Illinois, during the riot there. The home life of Captain Bacon is very pleas-
ant. He was married June 23, 1881, in Dixon, Illinois, to Kezzie H. Kennedy,
daughter of William and Keziah Kennedy, and a niece of Dr. Oliver Everett,
of Dixon. They have two children: Francis Everett, born April 4, 1883, and
Marion Eugene, born December 6, 1884.

Charles B. Garnsey. About 1639 there came to the shores of the New
World Joseph Garnsey, who took up his residence in the Massachusetts col-
ony and became the founder of the family in America. Collateral branches of
the family have since spelled the name Guernsey, but the branch to which our
subject belongs has retained the original form. His parents, Nathan B. and
Emily (Benedict) Garnsey, were farming people of the Empire state, and Charles
B. Garnsey, of this review, was born October 25, 1842, in Lima, Livingston
county, New York. He spent the first fifteen years of his life in the place of his
nativity and attended the Genesee Wesleyan Seminary, of Lima, pursuing the
classical course of study until 1859, when he emigrated to Illinois. Locating
in Wilmington, he secured a position as clerk in a store where he remained
until 1860, when he obtained a clerkship in Manteno, Kankakee county, Illi-
nois. From his earliest youth, however, it was his desire to enter the legal pro-
fession, and in September, 1861, he eagerly grasped the opportunity of enter-
ing upon a course of law study in the Union College of Law, now the North-
western University Law School, of Chicago, in which institution he was grad-
uated on the 3d of July, 1862.

On the 3Oth of the same month, Mr. Garnsey offered his services to the
government, enlisting as a member of the One Hundredth Regiment of Illi-
nois Infantry. Joining the army as a private of Company A, he was promoted
to the rank of regimental commissary sergeant, April i, 1863, and was mus-
tered out July i, 1865, after three years of continuous service. He was wounded
at Chattanooga, but otherwise escaped uninjured and was always found at his
post of duty, faithfully defending the cause represented by the old flag.

Returning to the north Mr. Garnsey was admitted to the bar on the /th of
August, 1865, and at once opened a law office in Joliet, where he has since re-
mained. On the ist of May, 1867, he became deputy revenue collector, which
position he filled until July I, 1871. He was master in chancery of Will county
for the same period, and corporation counsel of the city of Joliet in 1877 and
1878, while in 1882 he was elected county judge of Will county, serving on
the bench for eight consecutive years. In the private practice of law he has
been connected with much of the most important litigation heard in the courts
of Illinois and has appeared many times as counsel in suits taken before the
supreme court. The first case in that court of last resort with which he was
connected was reported in the 4Oth Illinois, and the last in the I73d Illinois.


His practice has been largely in corporation and real-estate law and has in-
volved some of the most intricate problems of jurisprudence and the disposal
of millions of dollars' worth of property. He has been the leading counsel for
the Illinois state canal commissioners and the owners of real estate in Joliet,
in their contests with the sanitary district of Chicago, suits involving almost
fabulous sums, and he is said to know more about the Illinois and Michigan
canal laws than any other member of the profession. For over twenty con-
secutive years he has been the active legal representative, together with A.
F. Knox, his partner, of the Joliet Steel Company and the Illinois Steel Com-
pany in Will county, and in this connection was instrumental in securing the
decision in the Shields case, a leading case in the state which decided a legal
principle and established a precedent.

On the 4th of November, 1867, Mr. Garnsey was united in marriage to
Miss Mary A. Henderson, daughter of John D. and Helen M. Henderson, of
Wilmington, Illinois, and to them have been born two children, John H., born
August 15, 1868, and Charles B., born June 3, 1872. Socially Judge Garnsey
is connected with the Masonic fraternity. He joined the blue lodge January
16, 1866, was master of Matteson Lodge, No. 175, in 1873-74, and is connected
with the Knight Templar Commandery. As a member of the Illinois State Bar
Association he is a member of its committee on legal education for 1898-99.
His political support is given the men and measures of the Republican party.
His high reputation as a lawyer has made him known far beyond the limits of
Illinois, for the importance and prominence of the legal interests with which
his name is associated have been such as to require the careful handling of men
of superior ability whose talents are such as to draw to them not only the ad-
miring gaze of their professional brethren, but of the public as well.

William K. Stewart, a practitioner at the bar of Monmouth, Illinois, was
born in McDonough county, this state, on the 3d of December, 1845, ms
parents being James H. and Isabella C. Stewart. The former was born in Elk-
ton, Todd county, Kentucky, January 5, 1818, and was a son of Rev. William
and Lucretia P. Stewart, natives of North and South Carolina respectively, and
of Scotch and Scotch-Irish ancestry. In 1830 they came to Illinois and the
father was pastor of the Presbyterian church in Vandalia and later in Macomb,
dying in the latter place, April 15, 1852, at the age of sixty-two years. In 1840
James H. Stewart was admitted to the bar and for many years was a prominent
legal practitioner. His death occurred December 28, 1897. His wife was born
in Roane county, Tennessee, and was a daughter of John and Jane P. Mc-
Kamy, also of Scotch-Irish lineage. She is still living and makes her home
with her son William the greater part of the time.

During his infancy William K. Stewart was taken by his parents to
Oquavvka, Illinois, thence to Knoxville in 1860, and the following year the
family came to Monmouth. Here he completed his literary education by the
pursuit of the classical course in Monmouth College, in which institution he
was graduated in June, 1867. He then took up the study of law in his father's
office and was admitted to the bar of Illinois by the supreme court of the state


in 1868. Immediately afterward he went to Oquawka, where he opened an
office and engaged in practice until 1873. He then came to Monmouth, where
he remained until 1876, after which he spent two years as a practitioner in Bur-
lington, Iowa. Since that time he has resided continuously in Monmouth and
has gained prestige at the bar of Warren county among many able representa-
tives of the profession. He has a large practice of an important character, and,
being well versed in the law and accurate in the application of its principles to
points in litigation, he has won some notable forensic triumphs.

On the i6th of April, 1873, Mr. Stewart wedded Miss Mary E. Mariner, a
daughter of Henry and Lucretia Mariner, of Walnut Grove township, McDon-
ough county, Illinois. The lady was born June 2, 1850, and died September 2,
1886. Four children were born of the marriage: Mary M., who died in infancy;
James H., who died July 17, 1898, at the age of fifteen years, five months and
sixteen clays; Lucretia M., who was graduated in Monmouth College in June,
1898, and Isabella C., who is a member of the junior class in that school. The
family attend the Presbyterian church, of which Mr. Stewart's mother and
his daughters are members. Since 1868 he has been a member of the Masonic
fraternity, and in his political views is a Democrat, but has never sought office,
his time being fully occupied by the pleasures of the home and the cares of his
important law practice.

J. Meeker was born in what is now Morrow county, Ohio, but was for-
merly a part of Delaware county, and has long been a member of the bar of
Sullivan, Moultrie county. He was born on the 25th of July, 1831, his parents
being Ambrose and Hannah Meeker. The father, who was a blacksmith, was
born in Orange, New Jersey, and his wife in Plymouth, Massachusetts. In
February, 1848, they came from Marysville, Ohio, to Sullivan, with their family.
Soon afterward the mother died, and in 1882 the father was called to the home
beyond. Some years afterward the only daughter, Mrs. J. R. Eden, passed
away, leaving the subject of this review the only surviving member of the fam-
ily. In the common schools he acquired his education, and at the age of seven-
teen accompanied his parents on their removal to Sullivan. He learned the
blacksmith's trade with his father, but an inclination for professional life led
him to take up the study of law, and he was admitted to the bar.

In official service Mr. Meeker has labored for the interests of the com-
munity with which he is associated. He was elected to the state legislature
in 1872, and in 1877 was elected county judge, filling the latter office for nine
consecutive years, with marked ability and fidelity to duty. In 1892 he was
elected state's attorney, and since the expiration of his term has been engaged
in the private practice of law. His political support has always been given the
Democratic party.

In November, 1860, in Rensselaer, Indiana, Mr. Meeker was united in
marriage to Miss Nancy Parker, and to them have been born five children,
namely: Gertrude; Estella; Clara B., now the wife of C. B. Stearns, of the firm
of Mize & Stearns, of Chicago; R. D., who is the junior member of the law
firm of Meeker & Meeker; and Grace, who completes the family.

Online LibraryJohn M. (John McAuley) PalmerThe bench and the bar of Illinois : Historical and reminiscent (Volume v.2) → online text (page 54 of 83)