John M. (John McAuley) Palmer.

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JAMES S. ECKLES, ESQ., of Princeton, to whom, together with H. Ful-
ler, clerk of the circuit court and recorder, we are indebted for the data
from which this article is prepared, states that he came to Princeton on
the 2ist day of May, 1857, and forthwith entered into a professional partner-
ship with J. T. Kyle, both of them beginning their practice in this place. It is
interesting to note the fact that this association has remained intact to the pres-
ent day a period of more than forty years. At the time of their arrival in
Princeton Martin Ballou was the presiding judge, and the following paragraphs
will treat briefly of the early members of the bar of the county. Milton T.
Peters and Robert Farwell were doing a successful business for the time and
place, under the firm name of Peters & Farwell. Mr. Peters died in Chicago,
in 1897.

Joseph D. Taylor and George W. Stipp had been partners, but the associa-
tion was dissolved in the spring of 1857 and Mr. Taylor continued in practice
alone for a few years, after which he admitted to partnership George L. Pad-
dock and George H. Phelps, two young men who had read law with him. Mr.
Paddock afterward went to Chicago, where he is still engaged in the practice
of his profession. Mr. Phelps abandoned the law and engaged in mercantile
pursuits. He died in Chicago in December, 1864. After the war of the Re-
bellion General Thomas J. Henderson, from Toulon, Stark county, located in
Princeton and entered into partnership with Mr. Taylor. This continued
two or three years, after which Mr. Taylor went to Switzerland with his fam-
ily, with a view of placing his daughters in school there, but soon after his
arrival in the city of Geneva, Switzerland, he was attacked with hemorrhage
of the lungs and died there. His remains were interred in the cemetery in the
fair city where his death occurred. His family returned to Princeton, where
his widow still makes her home.

Mr. Stipp came to Princeton in the early '503 and was elected one of the
circuit judges of the district as early as 1869. By successive re-election he con-
tinued in the office until June, 1897. He is still living in Princeton, at the
venerable age of more than eighty years. He was reared in Ohio and was re-
garded as a brilliant lawyer. His advanced age has caused his retirement
from the practice of his profession.

Robert Farwell was born and reared in the state of Ohio, and is now retired
from the practice of the law. He accumulated enough to buy a farm, which is
now within the city limits of Princeton, and is devoting himself to farming.
Judge Martin Ballou retired from the bench in 1863. He also retired from the



practice a good many years ago; his widow still resides in Princeton in very
comfortable circumstances. Milo Kendall came here in 1847 an ^ was a prac-
ticing attorney. He was the senior member of the firm of Kendall & Ide.
He is still in practice, though he is nearly seventy-nine years old, is in comfortable
circumstances. His wife is dead, and he makes his home with his son, William
Kendall, in Princeton. George O. Ide went to Chicago, where he became a suc-
cessful practitioner. He died several years ago. Mr. Kendall was a native of
Vermont, and Mr. Ide was born in Massachusetts. He was the son of a distin-
guished Baptist preacher, whose name was George B. Ide.

A lawyer by the name of John Porter was practicing in Princeton in 1857.
He was a fairly good lawyer, but too convivial in his habits for his own good. He
went into the army during the Rebellion, and is now practicing law in Nebraska.
He was a native of Pennsylvania. William Fraser, formerly a judge of the terri-
torial court in Wisconsin, was a practicing attorney in Princeton in the early '505,
but his love of whiskey prevented him from getting much practice. He died many
years ago. Harry Miller was a practicing attorney in 1857. He lived in the vil-
lage of Tiskilwa, but died a number of years ago. It is thought that he came from

In continuing the record, Mr. Eckles writes as follows: "The foregoing list
includes all the lawyers who were in practice when we came to Princeton. As
already stated, we came in May, 1857, and we opened office on the i6th of June of
that year. In September of 1857, G. Gilbert Gibons located here, he like Kyle
and myself, commenced his practice in this county. He was born in Allentown,
Pennsylvania; his father, John S. Gibons, was a distinguished lawyer of Allen-
town. He subsequently moved to Chicago, and died there several years ago; he
was a good lawyer.

"About the first of January, 1858, Charles Baldwin located in Princeton. He
was a native of Connecticut; had practiced a short time in Keokuk, Iowa, before
he came here; was a very nice gentleman, but never did much at the law. He
gave his attention to other matters, and became wealthy, married here, and
reared a family of four, three boys and a girl. He died about ten years ago.
He was a Republican in politics, and was elected two or three times to the
Illinois legislature. His family have all left here. George Sparling read law
with Judge Stipp and afterward became a partner of Stipp. He removed to
Chicago a good many years ago, and died there about eight years since. He
was a native of the state of New York.

"Of the lawyers who were practicing here when we came I omitted to men-
tion the name of John W. Grimes. He was not much of a lawyer, but one of
the best natured of men, always in a good humor, and one who enjoyed a joke
on himself as well as on any one else. He removed to Chicago, about 1865,
where he soon after died; he was a native of Ohio, I think; his family have
all removed from here, and some of them, I think, are living at Leadville,

"Milton T. Peters had a son Richard, who is practicing law in Iowa. Mrs.
George O. Ide lives in Evanston, Illinois, and her son William is in the First


National Bank, Chicago. H. M. Trimble, who was formerly a member of the
firm of Henderson & Trimble, is now one of the circuit judges of this, the thir-
teenth judicial district, having been elected to that position in June, 1897; he
is a native of Ohio, but has spent most of his life in or near Princeton, Illinois.
Prior to his election as circuit judge he had served a number of terms as
county judge. He has a son, Cairo A. Trimble, practicing law here. R. M.
Skinner was elected county judge to succeed Judge Trimble, and he is now the
judge of the county court. None of the members of our bar have held any im-
portant political office, except Baldwin, who, as already stated, was elected to
the state legislature. Politically, the members of the bar are about equally

"I find that I have omitted to mention the name of one of the attorneys
who was practicing here when we came to the place. His name was Charles
Falvey. He was an Irishman. He was a farmer as well as a lawyer, and lived
in the village of Ohio, in this county. He was admitted to the bar in the
spring of 1857. Falvey was a very eccentric old fellow, greatly given to the
use of big words. On one occasion he had a suit before a justice of the peace
in Princeton, and he asked me to assist him. I was cross-examining one of
the plaintiff's witnesses, Falvey appearing for the defendant. The wit-
ness claimed to be an inventor, told of a number of things he had invented,
and was rather shrewd in evading direct answers to some of the questions I
asked. Falvey objected to his style, and became rather excited. The witness
made another evasive answer, when Falvey gave vent to his feelings in the fol-
lowing style : 'Mr. Invintor, permit me to say to yez, that universality of
knowledge is not confined to individuality.' The witness was overwhelmed
with the eloquence of my associate, and the examination came to a sudden close.
Falvey was a native of Ireland; he died a few years ago."

The following anecdote is contributed and is certainly worthy of repro-
duction: "The older members of the bar tell a story about Judge Fraser, to
whom reference has been made. The Judge was a lover of the cup that cheers,
a little too much for his own good, and while he was holding the office of judge
in Wisconsin notice was sent to Washington to the effect that the Judge was
dead, and it was requested that a new incumbent of the office be appointed.
This was done, and the new judge came on to assume his duties. Upon his
arrival at his destination he found that Judge Fraser was alive, and demanding
an explanation the lawyers told him that they had not misrepresented the mat-
ter and that at the time they notified the department the Judge was dead dead
drunk! and they considered the office vacant. Judge Fraser took the matter
so much to heart that he quit Wisconsin and came to Bureau county, where
he entered upon the practice of his profession."

The following is a list of the members of the bar of the county. In the
connection it may be noted that James S. Eckles, to whom we are indebted for
much of the foregoing information, is the father of J. Herron Eckles, ex-comp-
troller of currency:

Princeton, Eckles & Kyle, Gibons & Gibons, Watts A. Johnson, Milo


Kendall, Owen G. Lovejoy (deceased), Ora H. Porter, R. L. Russell, Richard
M. Skinner, Scott & Davis, George S. Skinner, George M. Stipp, W. W. Stipp,
Jay L. Spaulding, Karl B. Seibel, Cairo A. Trimble, E. M. Young. Spring
Valley, A. R. Greenwood, William Hawthorne, Charles W. Knapp, John L.
Murphy. Ohio, Z. S. Hills, H. S. Pomeroy. Buda, Jesse Emerson. Ar-
lington, S. P. Prescott. Walnut, M. A. Stiver. La Moille, H. A. Standard.
Judge Richard M. Skinner, of Princeton, well deserves mention on the
pages of this work. Illinois has always been distinguished for the high rank
of her bench and bar. Perhaps none of the newer states can justly boast of
abler jurists or attorneys. Many of them have been men of national fame, and
among those whose lives have been passed on a quieter plane there is scarcely
a town or city in the state but can boast of one or more lawyers capable of
crossing swords in forensic combat with any of the distinguished legal lights
of the United States. While the growth and development of Illinois in the
last half century has been most marvelous, viewed from any standpoint, yet in
no one class of her citizenship has she greater reason for just pride than her
judges and attorneys.

In Judge Skinner we find united many of the rare qualities which go to
make up the successful lawyer and jurist. He possesses perhaps few of those
brilliant, dazzling, meteoric qualities which have sometimes flashed along the
legal horizon, riveting the gaze and blinding the vision for the moment, then
disappearing, leaving little or no trace behind, but rather has those solid and
more substantial qualities which shine with a constant luster, shedding light
in the dark places with steadiness and continuity. Judge Skinner makes no
pretensions to be an orator, but he has in an eminent degree that rare ability
of saying in a convincing way the right thing at the right time. With a thor-
ough and comprehensive knowledge of the fundamental principles of law, and a
sober, clear judgment, he is a formidable adversary in legal combat and a just
judge when on the bench.

Born in Morris county, New Jersey, April 13, 1847, the Judge is a son of
John C. and Mary (Stevens) Skinner, also natives of that state. When a lad
of six summers he accompanied his parents on their removal to Ohio, whence
they came to Bureau county, Illinois, in 1854, locating on a farm near Prince-
ton, where the father spent the remainder of his life, his death resulting from
accident in 1877, when he had attained the age of sixty-three years. His wife
passed away in 1893, a t the age of seventy-eight. During much of his youth
Judge Skinner resided on a farm and the work of the fields early became fa-
miliar to him. His elementary education, acquired in the district schools, was
supplemented by a regular course in the high school of Princeton, where he
was graduated with the first class sent out from that institution, the year being
1870. His education was further continued as a student in Cornell University,
of Ithaca, New York, where he took a partial course and then entered the Al-
bany Law School, of Union College, in which institution he was graduated in
1872. Subsequently he was admitted to practice in all the courts of the Empire


Returning to Bureau county, Illinois, Mr. Skinner then engaged in teach-
ing for two terms in the high school of Princeton, and in the fall of 1873 opened
a law office. He soon demonstrated his marked ability in the line of his pro-
fession and his clientage constantly increased and the business entrusted to his
care became of a more important nature. He has now long ranked among the
most able counselors and advocates of his section of the state and has been
connected with much of the most important litigation heard in his district. In
1876 he was elected state's attorney for a four-years term, and again in 1888
was chosen for that office, so that he has served in that capacity altogether
eight years. In 1897 he was elected county judge of' Bureau county to fill a
vacancy, and is now on the bench.

For many years Mr. Skinner has been considered one of the leading mem-
bers of the bar in the northern part of this state. His judgment on legal mat-
ters has always been considered good, and he has been professionally interested
in many of the important suits that have been brought in the Bureau county
circuit court and carried to higher tribunals. He is an honor to the bar of Bu-
reau county, a man of high attainments in his profession and a citizen of whom
the people of his county have reason to be justly proud.

In matters requiring business management the Judge has that rare dis-
crimination which is one of the strongest elements in success. He has served
as a director of the Farmers' National Bank, and is now a director of and general
attorney for the Citizens' National Bank of Princeton. To his business and exec-
utive ability the educational interests of the city are indebted in no small de-
gree. For more than twelve years he has been and still is a member of the
board of education of the Princeton high-school district, and was one of the
first alumni of the school to occupy the position of teacher therein. He has
always been deeply interested in the school, and largely to his efforts is due
the proud position which the Princeton school occupies in the state. It was
the first high school in Illinois to be organized under a special charter of the
state and its efficiency makes it one of the best institutions of the kind in the
commonwealth. He was for some time a member of the Matson Public Li-
brary Board, a position which he filled with signal ability until his election as
mayor, when he resigned this office. He is a man of literary tastes and an ex-
cellent judge of books. In politics he has always been a stalwart Republican
and has advocated the principles of the party on many a campaign platform.
In 1895 he was elected mayor of the city of Princeton, was re-elected to that
position in 1897 and now serves in that capacity, his administration being that
of a practical business man, who conducts the affairs of the city on business

On the 1 2th of June, 1878, Judge Skinner was united in marriage to Miss
Mary Ella Sharp, daughter of John N. and Nancy (McCracken) Sharp, of
Brooklyn, New York. They became the parents of five children, but the eldest,
De Witt, died in 1892, at the age of twelve years. The others are Walter R.,
Annie B., John S. and Richard M., Jr.



LOGAN COUNTY has had some lawyers of really high attainments, and
yet the position of the county politically, its small size, etc., have never
given an opportunity for any of them to attain either high judicial or
political distinction. The roster contains the names of many who were men
of distinct talent, namely: Lionel P. Lacey, Samuel C. Parks, William M.
Springer, William H. Young, Silas Beason, David T. Littler, William McGal-
liard, Edmund Lynch, Edward D. Blinn, Timothy T. Beach, Joseph Hodnett
and Oscar Allen. Mr. Littler and Mr. Springer long since achieved distinction
from Sangamon county.

Lionel P. Lacey was a finished lawyer of fine abilities and up to the time
of his death, in 1866, enjoyed and had, perhaps, the largest and best practice
in the county. Contemporaneous with Mr. Lacey was Judge Samuel C. Parks,
now a 'very old man, living in Cleveland, Ohio. Judge Parks was a member
of the constitutional convention of 1870 and, by appointment of Mr. Lincoln,
was one of the territorial judges in the territory of Wyoming. He enjoyed
the public confidence as long as he lived here and was a fluent and graceful

William H. Young served as a volunteer in the Mexican war and was a
brave soldier. After the close of that war he came to the bar in this county.
He also was a lawyer of fine attainments and had a large practice here. He
died in the year 1862, while yet a young man.

William McGalliard was associated with Judge Parks as a partner in 1860
and continued with him until Judge Parks went upon the federal bench. Mr.
McGalliard was a man of many accomplishments, always well dressed, a thor-
ough gentleman and a lawyer of high attainments. He had a lucrative prac-
tice and was regarded as the best paper pleader during his time at the Logan
county bar. He represented this county in the general assembly one term and
in the year 1867 he became the legal adviser, chief representative and confiden-
tial agent in this country of William Scully, the great Irish landlord. He died
respected and lamented by a large number of friends.

Mr. Lynch always thanked God that his father and mother had left the
dominions of the queen of Great Britain and Ireland in time so that he might
be born, as he was, in the United States. He was devoted and attached to the
fortunes of Ireland. He came to the bar in Lincoln in 1867. He was the most
eloquent political speaker who ever practiced at the Logan county bar. He
was a genial and companionable man and was an excellent lawyer. In 1872
he received the nomination of the Democratic state convention for the office of at-



torney general; he made a brilliant and active canvass, but went down with the
wreck of his party in 1872. He died, much lamented, in 1893.

Silas Beason came to the bar at Lincoln in 1859. He had a long struggle
with poverty and disappointment, but was a man of indefatigable industry and
courage. His efforts were finally rewarded with an ample practice and many
public honors. He was four times elected mayor of the city of Lincoln and
served one term in the general assembly. Becoming disgusted with politics, he
finally declared that an honest man might well aspire to a s^at in the legislature
for one term, but if he insisted on another election he ought to be judged either
a fool or a knave. He was for many years in delicate health and finally re-
tired with a comfortable fortune and went upon a farm in Audubon county,
Iowa, and was there accidentally killed. It is believed that no member of the
Logan county bar ever had a stronger hold upon the popular confidence and
esteem than Mr. Beason. He was a conscientious, able and extremely indus-
trious lawyer. His great qualities never appeared until all hope, to the casual
observer, seemed lost; Beason then became a dangerous antagonist. No man
ever better fulfilled the high duty of defending without fee or reward the un-
fortunate, weak and defenseless than Mr. Beason did. At the time of his death
he had been a non-resident of the state of Illinois for a number of years; upon
the return of his family to this city with his remains for interment his remains
were accompanied to the cemetery by the largest concourse of people ever as-
sembled on such an occasion.

In 1868 Edward D. Blinn became the law partner of Mr. Beason; since
that time Mr. Blinn has practiced his profession with great ability and success.
His early childhood was passed upon a farm in the state of Vermont. He re-
ceived an academical education and entered the law office of Henry Stanbury,
in Cincinnati, as a student and came to the bar in Ohio, but began practice at
Lincoln. Mr. Blinn has never sought public position, but was chief commis-
sioner of the court of claims of Illinois under Governor Fifer's administration.
He has been for a number of years recognized as one of the leading lawyers
of central Illinois. He possesses in a marked degree the analytical mind which
enables him to quickly perceive the turning point in the controversy. He
speaks well and fluently and argues a legal proposition with great clearness
and force. He also possesses the power in a marked degree of sifting the evi-
dence and presenting that in his argument which most strongly supports the
point of his contention. He is capable of coping with the ablest and best men
in the profession. He possesses much courage and never leaves the field as
long as there is a spark of hope left.

Timothy T. Beach came to the bar in 1868 in Lincoln, whilst the county
was yet largely Republican; even in the wreck of 1872 he was elected state's
attorney of this county. In this position he won his spurs as an indefatigable
worker and aggressive fighter. That he possesses the graces of finished ora-
tory no one who knows him will contend; what he lacks in point of elegance
of diction he makes up in aggressiveness and force. For six years he held the
office of master in chancery of the county and was regarded by the bar as pos-


sessing the qualities which make an active and first-class officer. His aggres-
siveness often leads him to the verge of rudeness, yet those who know him best
are of the opinion that he does not willfully wound the feelings of his brethren
at the bar. He is really an able, fearless and successful champion of those who
employ him, and he has won a position among the best lawyers of this part of
the state. Mr. Beach served in the civil war in a New York regiment.

Joseph Hodnett. his partner, is a younger practitioner. The highest ex-
pression of his talent is found in his industry and ability in the preparation of
briefs and written arguments. Mr. Hodnett also served in the United States
army on the frontier. His literary attainments are of a high order and he pos-
sesses a surprising familiarity with all the best written books in the English
language. He is an Irishman by birth and is devotedly attached to everything
pertaining to the "old sod."

Oscar Allen is a native of Massachusetts and served in the late war in a
regiment of his native state. At the conclusion of the war he came into Logan
county as a school-master and read law while teaching and while acting as
station agent of the Chicago & Alton Railroad at Broadwell, Illinois. He is a
man of the highest sense of honor and is entirely familiar with the great body
of the law. No one is better acquainted with all of the technical rules to be
invoked in the trial of a law suit. He is a master of the French and German
languages and finds great pleasure in reading from the best authors in these
tongues. If one should ask, "To whom should I apply for a learned review
upon Blackstone's Commentaries and Coke upon Littleton, and in fact upon all
of the 'black letter' law," those best acquainted with Mr. Allen would designate
Fiim as the proper person. An examination of his briefs in the higher courts
will show copious citations of authorities from these fathers of the common law.
Upon any perplexing question he is never satisfied until he can trace the rules
which he wishes to apply to the old common-law authors. In demeanor he
is as modest as a girl, and yet when he is put upon his mettle he exhibits the
consciousness of his learning and power.

It is consistent in this place to make special reference to those who belong
to the history of Mount Pulaski, the old county-seat, .though most of them have
been referred to above. During the period of 1847-56, when the seat of justice
was at Mount Pulaski, Horace H. Ballon was the senior member of the bar.
He followed the county-seat to Lincoln, died there, and is buried at Mount

One of the best remembered men in legal matters at Mount Pulaski was

Online LibraryJohn M. (John McAuley) PalmerThe bench and the bar of Illinois : Historical and reminiscent (Volume v.2) → online text (page 55 of 83)