John M. (John McAuley) Palmer.

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Judge William Hartzell, by his nature and career, deserves prominent men-
tion in this work. The inevitable law of destiny accords to tireless energy and
industry a successful career, and in no field of endeavor is there greater oppor-
tunity for advancement than in that of the law, a profession whose votaries
must, if successful, be endowed with native talent, sterling rectitude of character
and singleness of purpose, while equally important concomitants are close study,
careful application and broad general knowledge, in addition to that of a more
technical order. Judge Hartzell, possessing these essential attributes of the able
legist, is accorded high rank at the bar.

A native of Canton, Ohio, he was born in 1840, and the following year was
brought by his parents to Illinois, where the family remained until 1844, when
they removed to the republic of Texas. In 1853, when thirteen years of age, the
subject of this review accompanied his older brother to Randolph county, Illi-
nois, where he has since made his home. He early developed a strong desire
for learning and became a persistent and diligent seeker after knowledge. En-
tering upon a course of study in McKendree College, in Lebanon, St. Clair coun-
ty, Illinois, he was graduated in 1859 and immediately afterward secured a clerk-
ship in a dry-goods store, which position he filled until 1862, when he began the


study of law, being admitted to the bar in 1864. For more than a third of a con
tury he has been connected with the legal profession in Chester, and during his
practice he has conducted important litigation in the federal and state courts
with gratifying success, winning well earned fame and distinction. He has much
natural ability, but is withal a hard student and is never content until he has
mastered every detail of his case. He believes in the maxim that "there is no
excellence without labor" and follows it closely. He is never surprised by an
unexpected discovery by an opposing lawyer, for in his mind he weighs every
point and fortifies himself as well for defense as attack. He convinces by his
concise statements of law and facts rather than by word-painting, and so high is
the respect for his legal ability and integrity that his assertions in court are sel-
dom questioned seriously.

The ability and training which qualify one to practice law also enable him to
handle political questions with consummate skill, and thus it is that so many
members of the profession are found in political life. In 1870 Mr. Hartzell was
the candidate of the Democratic party for congress in the twelfth congressional
district, composed of Madison, St. Clair, Monroe, Randolph, Washington and
Clinton counties. The state was redistricted in 1872 and Randolph county was
placed in the eighteenth district, known as the Cairo district, where he was elected
to congress in 1874 and again in 1876; he was also nominated in 1880 and 1886,
but failed of election. In 1897 he was the candidate of his party for the office of
judge of the third judicial circuit and elected. He is a pleasant, refined gentle-
man, whose courteous deportment and kindliness bespeak Ms sterling worth,
and to know is to honor him.

In 1865 Judge Hartzell was united in marriage to Miss Mary I. Holmes,
daughter of Joseph B. Holmes and a granddaughter of ex-Governor Bond, and
the children by this marriage are Joseph H. and Mabel A.

Alexander Hood, attorney at law, Chester, Illinois, was born in Chester,
South Carolina, July 24, 1829, his parents being John and Sarah (Burns) Hood.
His father was a farmer and emigrated from South Carolina to Illinois in 1845.
In this state he secured a farm and in addition to its management gave his time
to carpentering through the winter season until 1850, after which he devoted his
energies exclusively to agricultural pursuits. The Hood family is of Irish origin,
the first American ancestors emigrating from the north of Ireland to Chester
district, in South Carolina, where lived Mary Hood, the grandmother of our
subject. Alexander Hood, the grandfather, died in Ireland. The maternal
grandparents of the subject of this sketch were Samuel and Nancy (Linton)
Burns, also of Chester, South Carolina.

Until sixteen years of age Alexander Hood attended the subscription schools
of his native state, and after coming to Illinois aided his father in the develop-
ment and cultivation of the new farm. After attaining his majority he worked as
a farm hand in the neighborhood until he had secured capital enough to enter
eighty acres of land. He then began to clear the new tract and continued the
work of clearing and cultivating until 1857. In that time, by close economy and
industry, he had managed to save some money which, together with the rent of


liis farm, he believed would enable him to continue his education. Accordingly
he entered the old Union Academy, of Sparta, Illinois, where he remained for
two years, pursuing some of the higher branches of study, and in 1859 he was
matriculated in the University of Michigan, at Ann Arbor. For two years he
pursued the law course in that institution and was then graduated in 1861.
Through the two succeeding years he taught school in the neighborhood of his
old home near Sparta, and also discharged the duties of justice of the peace. He
then sold his farm and removed to Chester, where he opened a law office and has
since engaged in practice. His business has constantly grown in extent and
importance and his work in the courts gives evidence of a thorough knowledge
of the law and of precision and care in the preparation of his cases. At various
times he has been called upon to discharge the duties of city attorney and is hold-
ing that office at the time of this writing in 1898. He also filled the position of
police magistrate one term ; was elected county judge on the Democratic ticket
in 1869, and by Governor John M. Palmer was commissioned to that office for a
four-years term. In March, 1886, he was appointed master in chancery by Judge
G. W. Wall, was re-appointed in 1888 and again in 1890, thus holding the office
for six consecutive years. In July, 1894, he was appointed public guardian of
Randolph county by Governor John P. Altgeld, serving in that capacity until
December, 1897.

On the 25th of May, 1854, Judge Hood was united in marriage, in Sparta,
Illinois, to Eliza Jane Hunter, a representative of one of the old families of North
Carolina. Her parents removed from that state to Kentucky and thence to Illi-
nois. Her father was a millwright and worked at his trade on both the Ohio
and Wabash rivers in Illinois. Mrs. Hood was born on the Indiana side of the
Wabash river, and at an early day removed to Illinois. She was with her husband
in both Sparta and Ann Arbor, while he was attending college. She became the
mother of twelve children. John Hunter, the eldest, born March 24, 1855, was
formerly a banker, but is now engaged in the marble business in Litchfield, Illi-
nois. He married Belle Craig, a granddaughter of Governor Bond, and they
have one son, Craig Alexander, who is now attending school in Chicago. Sarah
Catherine, born January 21, 1857, and Samuel B., born March 25, 1859, are now
deceased. Robert Burns, born October 26, 1860, is a bookkeeper, painter and
paper-hanger, of Sparta, Illinois. William Alexander, born March 7, 1864, was
an employe in the penitentiary and asylum in Chester, during Governor Altgeld's
administration, and is now employed in a box factory in Fisk, Missouri. Rosa-
bel, born January 20, 1867, is the wife of H. B. Snider, an insurance agent of St.
Louis, Missouri. Mary Luella, born January 26, 1869, is the wife of Curt J.
Balthasar, the patentee of a steam-heating apparatus and a resident of Brooklyn,
New York. Acldie Gordon, born February 27, 1871, is now deceased. Qua M.,
born January 3, 1877, is a painter and paper-hanger, residing with his father in
Chester. Lila J., born September 20, 1881, has also passed away, and two others
died in early infancy, unnamed. The mother of these children died in 1881, and
on the 5th of April, 1883, Judge Hood married Mrs. Mary J. Nixon, widow of
William E. Nixon, and a daughter of John H. McCarty, who was assessor and


treasurer of Randolph county, but is now deceased. By her first marriage Mrs.
Hood had two children who passed away before she married Judge Hood, and
two who are yet living. The elder, John Perry Nixon, is a practicing lawyer of
Chester and the public administrator of the county. He married Minnie Jones,
daughter of Saul Jones, deceased. The daughter of Mrs. Hood, Blanche Nixon,
is still with her mother.

Judge Hood is a member of the Methodist Episcopal church, but believes in
the mode of baptism as practiced by the Baptist church. He became an Odd
Fellow in Chester Lodge, No. 57, in 1866, and was initiated in Randolph En-
campment, No. 54, in 1880. His first wife and their daughters belonged to the
Rebekah degree of Chester Lodge, No. 57, and, with his present wife and daugh-
ter Blanche, he was initiated into Pride of Egypt Lodge, No. 509, of Chester, in
1897. At different times the Judge has belonged to three divisions of the Sons
of Temperance and to a lodge of Good Templars. For many years he has been
a total abstainer from all intoxicants and does all in his power to foster temper-
ance. His first presidential vote was cast for Franklin Pierce and ever since that
time he has been a stalwart advocate of Democratic principles.

Abram G. Gordon is prominent among the citizens of Randolph county, and
is a sterling member of the Illinois bar. While he is specially devoted to his
noble vocation his talents are not all directed to this one pursuit, his interests
being varied and comprehensive. Whatever tends to develop the country or to
hasten its progress in any manner is something which appeals strongly to his
sympathies and receives his earnest co-operation and support. Agriculture has
always been very interesting to him and he has proved himself a capable, suc-
cessful farmer and business man. Reared as a farmer's boy, he early learned the
different lines of agricultural work, and has taken a more or less active part in
the same for years. Life in the country possesses great charms for him, as he is
a genuine lover of Nature in all her moods, and he desires no better recreation
than a day or two occasionally spent in the woods and fields. He is a close stu-
dent of human nature as well, and much of his success as a lawyer is doubtless
owing to this fact. Science and art, and in fact all the manifestations of nature
and mankind's genius, are matters deeply appealing to him, and thus he may be
truly termed a broad-minded, many-sided man.

The birth of A. G. Gordon took place about half a century ago, November 6,
1849, m the vicinity of Steeleville, Randolph county. He is a son of Rev. H. S.
and Nancy Gordon, who were long numbered among the sturdy, honored old
pioneers of this county. His father was summoned to his reward in 1898, when
in his eighty-third year, and a host of his old friends and life-long acquaintances
mourn his loss as an irreparable one. His ancestors came to this country prior
to the war of the Revolution and were well represented in that notable conflict
with the mother country, and also fought in some of the early Indian wars. The
grandfather of our subject was a frontiersman of the best and strongest type.
He settled in the wilds of St. Louis county, Missouri, long before the city of St.
Louis was founded, and before his death he took up his abode in Randolph coun-


ty, Illinois, where some of his descendants have since dwelt. He was of Scotch
extraction, as his name indicates.

In his youth Abram G. Gordon received a liberal education for the period,
as, after leaving the district schools he entered McKendree College at Lebanon,
Illinois, and there pursued a scientific and Latin course of study, later taking a
special course of law. Graduating in 1871 he at once set diligently to work to
build up a practice, his first office being in the town of Mascoutah. He did not
like the location for several reasons and remained there only a month or so, after
which he settled in Steeleville, where he practiced law for a twelvemonth, be-
coming familiar with the fundamental duties of actual law in the courts and ac-
quiring valuable lessons in business tactics. Since 1873 he has been a resident
of Chester, and many years ago his success as a practitioner had become an as-
sured fact. He soon acquired an enviable reputation as a lawyer and his client-
age is very extended and remunerative. Nearly every important case which has
been tried in the county for years past has had Mr. Gordon on one side, for his
ability and thorough knowledge of the law, his clear, logical and convincing
pleadings and arguments rarely fail of their desired mark. He has never been
an aspirant to political honors and has kept strictly to his quiet business life,
leaving public positions to others. Moreover, he has not bound himself or his
allegiance to any political party, but uses his franchise as he deems best under
the circumstances which prevail at election time, his ballot being given to the
nominee and measures best suited, in his opinion, for a given position or result.

During a period of a score of years Mr. Gordon has been associated with the
Independent Order of Odd Fellows. He is also connected with the Knights of
Honor. He is an honored member of the Free Baptist church and is liberal in
his donations to all worthy religious and benevolent enterprises. He possesses
a large and varied library and has always spent much of his leisure time in the
study of the sciences, political economy, history, etc. Being of quite a mechani-
cal turn of mind, he has given some time to the construction of mechanical de-
vices and improvements of various kinds, and has been granted patents on
several valuable inventions. He owns several good farms and looks to their

The marriage of Mr. Gordon was celebrated November 6, 1872, Miss Clara
J. Short being the lady of his choice. They have three children, namely : Eu-
gene, born September 21, 1873; Clarice E., May 17, 1877; and Florence, April
19, 1886. Eugene Gordon is a most promising young man and is an expert elec-
trician. In 1898 the father, with his son Eugene and daughter Clarice, incor-
porated the Gordon Telephone Company of Chester and they have an extensive
system in the city and county. The father is president, the son is the manager,
attending to the construction, etc., while the daughter is secretary.

Robert B. Witcher, a native of the Lone Star state, was born in Upshur
county, Texas, April 15, 1855. His father, Benjamin Witcher, was born and
reared in Georgia and there married Sarah Bledsoe. He was a planter and con-
ducted agricultural pursuits throughout his business career. His death oc-
curred in 1860, and his wife passed away in 1858. Their son, Robert B., was


educated in Drury College, of Springfield, Missouri, where he remained five years,
being graduated in the class of 1876. On the completion of his college course
lie went to St. Joseph, Missouri, where he was employed in the office of the Ga-
zette, a newspaper of that city, having previously learned the printer's trade, so
that he there worked as a compositor. His residence in Olney, Illinois, dates
from April, 1877.

On his arrival in Richland county Mr. Witcher entered upon the study of
law under the direction of James P. Robinson, and in 1879 was admitted to the
bar by the supreme court to practice in Illinois. He has since been an active
member of the bar of this locality and has enjoyed a good practice. He served
as state's attorney from 1884 until 1888, is now master in chancery and previously
for eight years held that office, beginning in 1882. He was elected on the Demo-
cratic ticket and is deeply interested in the growth and success of his party. His
life has been spent in quiet devotion to the duties that devolve upon him in con-
nection with his chosen calling, and with a realization that labor and learning ac-
complish much he has mastered the principles of law and with conscientious pur-
pose prepares his cases. He also has a high standing in business circles and is
regarded as one of the leading and influential citizens of Olney.

On the 1 5th of September, 1886, Mr. Witcher was married in Pana, Illinois,
to Miss Bertha Kitchell, only daughter of Colonel Edward Kitchell, who was a
prominent factor in the history of Richland county at an early day. His death
occurred in 1869. Mr. and Mrs. Witcher are the parents of four children : Alice,
born August 10, 1888; Robert Kitchell, born May 21, 1891; Elizabeth, born
August 3, 1893; and Harriet, born November 4, 1896. Mr. Witcher belongs to
the Modern Woodmen fraternity, and to Marmion Lodge, No. 52, Knights of

Richard Newton McCauley, a member of the Olney bar, was born in Rich-
land county, Illinois, October 19, 1844, and is a son of Daniel and Mary A. (Jef-
fry) McCauley, the former of Winchester, Virginia, and the latter of Baltimore,
Maryland. They were married in Louisville, Kentucky, and in 1836 removed to
Richland county, Illinois, where the father engaged in school-teaching and farm-

In the common schools of his native county Mr. McCauley of this review
acquired his literary education and in the law department of the University of
Michigan pursued his professional course. He was graduated in 1880, and in
July of that year was admitted to the bar by the supreme court of Illinois. His
early days outside of the school-room were devoted to the work of the farm.
He assisted his father in the cultivation of the fields until after the breaking out
of the Civil war, when feeling that the country needed his services he responded
to the president's call for troops. On the nth of August, 1862, he "donned the
blue" as a member of Company H, Ninety-eighth Illinois Infantry, which regi-
ment was a part of the famous Wilder brigade. He remained continuously with
his command until January 2, 1863, when he was taken prisoner at Castilian
Springs, Tennessee. In the spring of that year he was honorably discharged
on account of physical disability and returned to the work of the farm.


After preparing for the legal profession Mr. McCauley opened an office in
Olney and has since successfully practiced in the state and federal courts. He
has been counsel in many murder trials and was attorney for the defendant in a
suit that awakened considerable interest, the trial of an Adventist who had
worked on Sunday. He lost the suit for his client in the lower court, but won
it in the appellate court. This was the first case of the kind ever tried in the
higher courts of Illinois. He served as city attorney of Olney from '1884 until
1886, and as a lawyer is learned, strong and resourceful, a diligent student who
prepares his cases with great care and precision and presents them to court or
jury in a most logical, clear and convincing way.

In Richmond county, in July, 1870, Mr. McCauley was united in marriage
to Miss Mary E. Mendenhall, and they have two daughters and a son. Mrs.
McCauley is a very cultured and intelligent lady and is a very prominent worker
in the Woman's Relief Corps. She has held almost every office from that of
treasurer of Eli Bowyer Corps, No. 25, to department president of the state, and
has delivered many public addresses in the interest of the society and before the
soldiers of Illinois, being a very strong and entertaining public speaker.

Mr. McCauley belongs to the Grand Army of the Republic and was a charter
member and elected the first commander of Noble Post, G. A. R., in 1881. In
politics he is a stalwart Republican and has advocated the principles of his party
from the platform in every campaign since 1880. During Governor Fifer's term
he served as a member of the board of live-stock commissioners. His time, how-
ever, is largely devoted to his professional duties and his large clientage indicates
his masterful ability in handling the intricate problems of jurisprudence.

John Lynch, Jr., one of the members of the bar of Olney, was born in the
city which is still his home, January 13, 1865, and is a son of John Lynch, a well
known farmer of Richland county, and one of its native sons. His birth oc-
curred November 8, 1831, and he is a representative of one of the pioneer families
of the state, his parents having come to Illinois at a very early day. The schools
of that period were very primitive and he acquired his education mostly through
his own efforts, unassisted by the guiding power of a well qualified teacher. He
married Margaret Nelson, who was born in Richland county, November 21, 1843,
the wedding being celebrated in Shawneetown, Illinois, January 20, 1862, when
Mr. Lynch was serving his country as a member of the Union army. When
the Civil war broke out he organized Company D, of the Eighth Illinois Volun-
teer Infantry, one of the first companies in the state offering its service to the
governor. Later Mr. Lynch organized Company E, Sixth Illinois Volunteer
Cavalry, and with that command served until the close of hostilities, being in
command of his regiment with the rank of colonel when it was mustered out. He
was a brave and fearless soldier, and by his own bravery inspired and encour-
aged his men to acts of valor. He was also a good disciplinarian ; and, while
never afraid to enter the thickest of the fight if that was where his duty lay, he
never needlessly exposed his men to death and in consequence won their confi-
dence and love. Mrs. Lynch also spent much of her time at the front, nursing
and caring for the sick and wounded who looked upon her as an angel of mercy.


Throughout her life it was always her greatest pleasure to administer to the needs
of the poor and the sick, and her memory is revered in many a home in Richland
county. She became the mother of three children : John ; Frank, a practicing
attorney of Chicago ; and Tinnie, who is keeping house for her father, Mrs.
Lynch having died in Olney, November 25, 1895. Mr. Lynch has followed
farming during the greater part of the time since the war, but is now living in
Olney. He has lived a life of independence, being fearless to condemn a wrong
or fight an enemy, yet charitable toward the frailties of human nature and true
and loyal to his friends.

Mr. Lynch, whose name begins this sketch, was educated in the common
schools and graduated at the high school of Olney in 1882. When not engaged
with his studies he worked on the farm and assisted in the cultivation and im-
provement of his father's land until January, 1883. From his early boyhood it
was his desire to study law, and he became a student in the law office of Wilson
& Hutchinson, and in February, 1886, was admitted to the bar, the youngest
lawyer in Illinois. He then opened an office and has since engaged in practice
in Olney. He has always been a close and earnest student of his profession and
knows the law thoroughly and well. His knowledge has been acquired through
diligent research and is comprehensive and accurate. He believes it is a lawyer's
duty to correctly advise his clients and to prevent the contests in the court-room
when differences can otherwise be settled. He is very careful to conform his
practice to a high standard of professional ethics and never seeks to lead the
court astray in a matter of law or fact, believing the counsel should aid the court
in the administration rather than the subversion of justice. His practice is
largely in the line of civil law and he is now local attorney for the Baltimore &
Ohio Southwestern Railroad and the Peoria, Decatur & Evansville Railroad and
is the attorney for the Olney Bank, the Richland County Bank, the Richland
County Telephone Company, the Olney Electric Light & Power Company and
the Olney Artificial Ice & Cold Storage Company. He also attends to considera-
ble litigation in southern Illinois for the German Insurance Company, of Free-
port, Illinois. He also enjoys a good general practice and has won a number
of important cases in the higher courts of the state, including the People versus
Gillespie et al, Illinois Appellate Reports, volume 47, page 522, fixing the
liability of a county treasurer on his bond ; and the People versus Moutray, Illi-
nois Reports, volume 166, page 630, being a disbarment for forging a bill of ex-

Online LibraryJohn M. (John McAuley) PalmerThe bench and the bar of Illinois : Historical and reminiscent (Volume v.2) → online text (page 63 of 83)