John M. (John McAuley) Palmer.

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and mother, with a brother and sister, fell victims to that dreadful scourge. At
the time of the death of his parents he was nine years old, and one of a family of
six children, two sons and four daughters, left without a home, and dependent
upon the kindness of relatives and friends for protection and care. Richard was
taken by his uncle, Mr. Willis Oglesby, who, in 1836, moved to Decatur, Illinois ;
but at the age of fourteen his uncle sent him to live with his two sisters, Mrs.
Prather and Mrs. Peddicord, in Decatur, Illinois, and in that village, town and
city, with its growth and development, he steadily advanced from the obscurity
of childhood to a distinction of manhood worthy of the ambition of the greatest
and best. Farming was the only resource for the needy and industrious, and
into that vocation he entered with zeal and alacrity. Three years of his life were
spent in the promiscuous business of farming, and at the end of that time he
concluded to return to his "native heath" and learn the trade of carpenter. For
that purpose he stayed in Kentucky more than a year, and returned for the third
time to the home of his choice. Before going to Kentucky for the purpose of
learning a trade he had attended school in Decatur, and availed himself of the
limited means then within reach for obtaining an education in a new country.
Although Governor Oglesby was not blessed with the facilities of acquiring
classical and exact learning, he has educated himself in the higher and better
functions of mental equipment. The campaign of 1840 was the first political
contest which seriously attracted his attention, having heard Lincoln and Doug-
las in joint debate in that year. Being of a Whig family he naturally coincided
with Mr. Lincoln. At the time of their first acquaintance the disparity in their
years prevented a very intimate association ; but as Mr. Oglesby matured to
manhood the influence of that difference disappeared, until he and Mr. Lincoln
became, in public and private life, as cordial and confidential as possible. At the
time of Mr. Lincoln's death the Governor was at the city of Washington and was
among the first who stood at the bedside of the distinguished martyr. In 1844
he commenced the study of the law with Silas W. Robbins, of Springfield. Al-
though Mr. Oglesby's intellect had not been directed by the discipline of hard
study in the schools, he had a studious and thoughtful mind, which, being influ-
enced by his desire for success, enabled him to acquire the usual range of in-
formation before his admission to practice. Upon his admission he located in
Moultrie county, where he practiced with success until the breaking out of the
Mexican war, in 1846.

He was among the first to volunteer in the defense of his country. At the
time he volunteered he was twenty-one years old, and was elected first lieutenant
of Company C, Fourth Illinois, commanded by Colonel E. D. Baker. The regi-
ment marched more than seven hundred miles through the interior of Mexico,
participating in the battles of Vera Cruz and Cerro Gordo. In the latter battle
he commanded the company, Captain Pugh having been assigned to the com-
mand of the left wing of the regiment. On his return he settled at Decatur, and
commenced what he supposed would be an uninterrupted career of professional
labor; but he was again induced to quit the practice, by the glowing accounts
of gold-mining in California. In the summer of 1849 ne went by the overland



route to Sacramento City. During his stay in California he worked hard and
diligently, and at the end of two years returned home with a considerable sum of
money. He again sought the peaceful ways of a country lawyer. In the cam-
paigns of 1848 and 1852 he excited the admiration of the Whig party by his
ability as a stump orator, and no young man of his age in the state had such a

In April, 1856, he left this country for a journey to Europe, Egypt, Arabia,
Palestine and other points in the east. In the prosecution of his travels he was
most diligent in study and observation ; and when he returned to this country he
was one of the best informed travelers of any of the Americans who had then
visited the east.

The winter of 1857-8 was the formative period of the elements which marked
with such peculiar significance the campaign of 1858, in which Mr. Lincoln and
Senator Douglas discussed with such marked ability the political issues centering
in, and dependent upon, the question of slavery. Although Governor Oglesby
was anti-slavery in sentiment, he was conservatively so, being a "Henry Clay
Whig." At the time he went abroad in April, 1856, the Republican party as a
distinct political party had not been formally organized in Illinois. In the con-
gressional district running from Logan and Macon counties on the northwest to
Clark on the southeast the Democracy was largely in the majority, and this dis-
trict the Republicans sought to carry by nominating Governor Oglesby against
Mr. James C. Robinson, who was one of the most popular men of the state. The
district was made strongly Democratic and the infusion of a large pro-slavery
element from the Whig party increased the ascendency of Democratic sentiment.
The Governor was at that time thirty-four years old, with the culture of some
years' practice at the bar, an active participation' in two national canvasses and
the thought and reflection incident to nearly two years of study and travel abroad.
His speeches in campaigns in which he had participated captivated the attention
of the crowd and excited their admiration for the man, if not for the principles
which he advocated. Those elements combining made him most formidable as
a political antagonist ; and although he largely diminished the majority, he was,
by the result of the election^ permitted to pursue the even tenor of his way in the
practice of the law. Mr. Lincoln shared the same fate as his friend Oglesby,
and they both had to wait until 1860 for a personal triumph. The canvass
which Governor Oglesby made against Mr. Robinson, made him one of the
most popular Republicans of the state, so that in 1860 he was placed in nomina-
tion by the Republicans for the state senate, in a district composed of eight coun-
ties. This, too, was a Democratic district, but this campaign showed that the
Governor combined in an eminent degree the elements of a popular leader, as
not only was he elected but he received more votes in the district than Mr. Lin-
coln. This was the first political office ever held by him, and the breaking out
of the war brought its incumbency to a sudden termination. The legislature to
which he was elected convened on the 7th of January, and terminated on the
2ist of February. After the bombardment of Fort Sumter the legislature was
called in extra session by Governor Yates, and met on the 21 st of April, 1861.


After a brief session of a few days the legislation incident to the war was com-
pleted and the general assembly adjourned.

Under the call of the president, made on the 151)1 of April, Illinois was re-
quired to furnish six regiments. The troops were rendezvoused at Springfield,
and were formed in regiments during the brief session of the legislature. On
the last day of the session, the Eighth Regiment held an election and unani-
mously chose him for colonel. In the fall of 1861 he was placed in command
of Cairo and Bird's Point, then the most southern positions occupied by the fed-
eral army. Governor Oglesby was in command at Cairo when General Grant
was ordered to Cairo to take command at that point. He served about a year as
colonel, and led the right of General Grant's army in his advance upon Fort
Donelson, upon the field of battle for three days in attacking that rebel strong-
hold, which finally yielded with its fourteen thousand prisoners, after a severe
struggle, on the 141)1 of February, 1862. This was the first substantial Union
victory up to that time. In 1862 Colonel Oglesby was appointed brigadier
general by President Lincoln, for gallantry at the battle of Fort Donelson, taking
rank as such from April i, 1862. In the autumn of 1862 the great battle of
Corinth was fought, on the 3d and 4th of October. General Oglesby com-
manded a brigade in that fight, and on the afternoon of the first day fell upon
the field, as was then thought, mortally wounded. He passed six months of in-
tense suffering and danger before he was able to leave his home, and still carries
in his body the enemy's ball which brought him so near the gates of death. In
consideration of his meritorious services, in 1863 he was promoted to the rank
of major general of volunteers by appointment of President Lincoln, to rank as
such from the 2Qth of November, 1862. Though still suffering from his wound,
he returned to active duty in April, but was compelled, because of his physical
condition, to tender his resignation in July, 1863, which was not accepted; but
he was granted a leave of absence and returned home. After a short time he was
detailed as president of a general court martial, which sat in Washington from
December, 1863, to May, 1864, trying some of the most important cases then
pending in the military service.

In the early spring of 1864 the question of who should be the Republican
candidate for governor became the absorbing topic of conversation, thought and
publication. On the 25th of May the convention met and he was nominated on
the first ballot by an overwhelming majority. The Democrats nominated his
old competitor, Mr. Robinson, and it became the contest of 1858 over again, so
far as the men were concerned, but not as to the issues and results. He made a
most vigorous and effective campaign, speaking in every county in the state.
Although the state had gone Democratic in 1862, he was elected by a majority
of more than thirty thousand. He succeeded Governor Yates in January, 1865,
to perform the responsible duties of governor at the most critical period in the
history of the state and nation.

Governor Oglesby performed the duties of governor from January, 1865,
to January, 1869, with the most admirable skill and ability. At the end of his
term all united in the general eulogium that he had given the state a wise, just


and honest administration of its executive branch of the government. He was
made president of 'the National Lincoln Monument Association, organized May
ii, 1865, which labored assiduously until it secured the means to erect to the
martyred president an enduring memorial worthy to mark his last resting place
and to hold the ashes of the illustrious dead. This stately monument was so far
completed that it was formally dedicated and the beautiful statue of Lincoln
unveiled October 15, 1874, the Governor delivering the dedicatory address.

At the end of his first term he retired to private life, but the disturbed con-
dition of politics required that the Republican party should put at the head of its
column a man who would not only command the respect and confidence of the
people but excite the enthusiasm of the masses ; so in 1872 he was nominated for
governor the second time. He was again elected, by over forty thousand ma-
jority. At the ensuing meeting of the legislature he was the unanimous choice
of the Republican members, and was elected to the senate of the United States
for a full term of six years. He served in the senate until the 4th of March,
1879, and in that position, as in all others, he was faithful and earnest. He was
on several important committees of the senate, and participated in the general
business of congress, voting on all and discussing such measures as required his
immediate attention.

His retirement to private life was not of long duration. In 1884 an election
for governor was to be held in Illinois, and for the third time the public eye was
set in the direction of Governor Oglesby. To be a candidate three times was
something phenomenal in the politics of a state where the term lasted four years,
and some complaint was made against a "third term ;" but the constituency in
the rural precincts, which had listened with admiration to his matchless oratory
on the stump, came to his rescue, and for the third time he was unanimously
nominated for governor. He was again elected governor, and entered upon his
third term in January, 1885.

His third term of service as governor closed in January, 1889, Governor
Fifer having been elected his successor. He now determined to quit public life
forever, and to that end he moved to a beautiful farm near Elkhart, Logan
county. In the election of 1888 he was again most efficient on the stump, making
speeches during the entire campaign in the principal cities and towns of the
state. At the election which was held in Illinois in the fall of 1890 a legislature
was elected whose duty it was to elect a United States senator for the term com-
mencing on the 4th of March, 1891. Neither of the great political parties had
a majority, and the result was a protracted struggle extending to near the close
of the session. Governor Oglesby received the Republican nomination and was
supported most cordially by every member of the party as long as there was any
hope of his election. It was a distinguished compliment to a long life of honest,
patient and efficient discharge of public duty. Upon his retirement at the end of
his third term as governor he had no desire or purpose to again enter public life,
and the fact that he was nominated and supported by the Republicans of the
legislature without his solicitation makes the compliment the more gratifying.

Although he has spent much of his time in official duty, the hearthstone and


home of private life are to him the cherished spot of human existence. He was
married in 1859 to Miss Anna E., daughter of Joseph White, of Decatur. Mrs.
Oglesby was of feeble constitution, and in May, 1868, while the Governor was
serving his first term, she died, leaving two children, Robert Oglesby, of Decatur,
and Olive, now Mrs. Snyder, of Kansas City. In 1873, after his election to the
senate, he was married to Mrs. Keyes, eldest daughter of the late John D. Gillett,
of Elkhart. Upon the death of her father Mrs. Oglesby inherited a portion of
his estate, and, in connection with the lands owned by the Governor, they now
have "Oglehurst," which is one .of the most valuable and delightful possessions
of central Illinois. They have one daughter and three sons.

In the connection the following extracts from a letter written by Governor
Oglesby to the editor of this work will be peculiarly interesting :

Elkhart, Illinois, July 8. 1898.
My Dear Governor:

It is a pleasure to hear from you once more; it would be a greater pleasure to see yon.

So you are writing, or editing, a book. I mean to have it and read it. Now you
know very well I was never very much of a lawyer, hardly enough of one to get in your
book; still I was a lawyer, and practiced on and off for fifteen years.

The last case I tried was in November. 1860. at Decatur, Illinois, my home for nearly
fifty years. After my services as a soldier in our civil war I did not return to the prac-
tice of the law.

I was born in Oldham county, Kentucky, July 25, 1824, and am now nearly seventy-
seven; am alive yet, but I have quit "kicking." I was admitted to the bar in November,
1845, at Decatur, after reading law for eighteen months (I never studied law), went at
once over to Sullivan, Moultrie county, and put up my sign; remained there until the
close of the spring term in May, 1846; returned to Decatur, and at once volunteered for
the Mexican war; served a year, and returned to Decatur again, and at once went back to
the practice of the law, and stuck to it until the spring of 1849, when I went to California.
From California, I again returned to Decatur, in 1851 (October), with more money than I
made practicing law up to that time. I went to the practice again, and stuck to it until
the spring of 1856, when I went to Europe and the Holy Land. On my return from
Europe in December, 1857, I again went to the practice, and stuck to it until the war of
1861. Then I went to war, and when I returned from it, in 1864, before I got started
into the practice of the law, I slipped in to be a governor, and that finished my fooling with
the law, a noble profession, but one that will not be trifled with.

My experience at the bar was not sufficiently interesting to deserve special notice.
I believe that I had only two fights during, the whole time; I demurred, but was over-
ruled, and in neither did I have any costs to pay.

And now, in old age, I look back and wonder if I ever was a lawyer. What a strange
thing, anyway, this whole matter of life is. I wish some good lawyer would explain it to
the world, to the profession, and to me. I congratulate you upon your long and buoyant
years; I, alas, am too feeble for my years. Very truly your friend,




GRANVILLE W. BROWNING, first assistant corporation counsel of the
city of Chicago, whose qualifications as a lawyer entitle him to high rank
at the Illinois bar, was born in Indianapolis, Indiana, on the I4th of March,
1856. His parents were George T. and Elizabeth (McClung) Browning, the
former a native of Virginia and the latter of Kentucky. Both the Browning and
McClung families have numbered among their representatives men distinguished
in the affairs of the nation. His father, a wholesale grocer, was a cousin of Hon.
Orville H. Browning, of Quincy, Illinois, who served in the United States sen-
ate, filled the office of attorney general under President Lincoln for a short time
and was secretary of the interior under President Johnson. He was also a close
personal friend of John M. Palmer and on the policy of state and nation through
the period of the Civil war and of reconstruction he left the impress of his strong-
individuality. Mrs. Browning, mother of Chicago's well known lawyer, was a
daughter of John A. McClung, one of the eminent jurists of Kentucky and a
granddaughter of Judge William McClung, the first judge of the United States
circuit court of the Northwest Territory, holding the session of his court in the
old town of Washington, Kentucky. His wife was Susan Marshall, a sister of
Chief Justice Marshall, of the United States supreme court.

Granville W. Browning was reared in the states of Kentucky, Maryland and
New York, and from St. Paul, Minnesota, went to college, enrolling his name
as a student of the University of Michigan, at Ann Arbor. He was graduated
in the class of 1877 and had the honor of being one of the orators at the com-
mencement exercises of his class. Immediately thereafter Mr. Browning came
to Chicago, having determined upon the practice of law as a life work, and began
preparation for the legal profession as a student in the law office of the Hon.
William H. King. By close and diligent preparation he ably prepared for his
chosen calling and was admitted to the bar in 1880, in which year he also en-
tered into partnership with Hon. Samuel M. Moore, the well known chancellor
of the superior court. Later he aided in the organization of the firm of Wool-
folk & Browning, and is now the head of the firm of Browning & Shepard, his
partner being Stuart G. Shepard, son of Judge Henry M. Shepard.

Throughout his professional career Mr. Browning has engaged in general
practice and his legal lore embraces a thorough knowledge of the principles of
jurisprudence in all departments. His practice has ever been of an important
character, and he has won the laurel in many forensic combats over old and tried
competitors. He was attorney for the West Town of Chicago for several years,
during which time he settled the long continued litigation known as the two-per-



cent, cases, in which the town collectors claimed that the two-per-cent. commis-
sion provided in the statutes belonged to them individually. Mr. Browning es-
tablished the contrary, that the two per cent, belonged to the town and that the
collectors could only retain the sum of fifteen hundred dollars each, their sal-
ary. Mr. Browning has also been connected with a number of other very im-
portant suits, including the case of Pary versus Burton, establishing the law that
a repeated deed, given by a mortgagor to the mortgagee, through a term of years,
without consideration, did not change the status of the parties and vest the fee
on the mortgagor (Illinois Reports, volume in, page 138; volume 126, page
599 ; volume 146, page 85). In the case of Pool versus Phillips Mr. Browning
established the law that a deed of land, running to a man's wife when the con-
sideration proceeds from him, and it is all the property he has, does not constitute
the wife the owner, but only the trustee, the land belonging to the husband and
his heirs (Illinois Reports, volume 167, page 432). In the case of M. M. Bodie
versus the Tudor Boiler Manufacturing Company, Illinois Appellate Court Re-
ports, page 302, final judgment had been entered against appellant for four
months, his attorneys having forgotten the case. Mr. Browning was retained,
took out a writ of error and reversed the judgment on purely technical grounds.

Mr. Browning held no other public position than that of attorney for the
west town until appointed first assistant corporation counsel to the Hon. Charles
S. Thornton, corporation counsel under Mayor Harrison. In this position Mr.
Browning has handled the chancery work, conducting among others the Illinois
Central case, whereby the railroad company was prevented from filling in Lake
Michigan ; the Union Loop case, where the elevated roads were prevented from
building bridges into private stores and buildings ; the garbage-contract cases,
in which the city is establishing its right to make a continuing contract ; and
others of much importance.

In 1893 and again in 1897, Mr. Browning was nominated by the Democratic
party for the position of judge of the circuit court, but the landslide into the
Republican party in both years caused the defeat of his party ticket. On the
2Oth of December, 1897, he was appointed master in chancery of the superior
court. He belongs to the Law Club and the Bar Association and is very popular
in the profession. The importance of the litigations with which he has been
connected well indicates his ability, and his power as advocate and counsel has
steadily advanced him on the road to fame and fortune until he stands to-day
among those who form the vanguard of the profession in Chicago. Socially he
is connected with the University, Iroquois and Onwentsia Clubs, and is a member
of the Presbyterian church.

David Quigg. A native of New Hampshire, David Quigg was born in the
town of Litchfield, December 17, 1834, and, having attended the public schools,
prepared for college in the Gilmanton Academy, of Gilmanton, that state. He
entered Dartmouth College in 1851 and was graduated in 1855. The same year
he removed to Bloomington, Illinois, where he entered upon the study of law
in the office of Swett & Orme, and was admitted to the bar in 1857.

He immediately entered upon the practice of his chosen profession and con-


tinued his labors along that line until the early part of the war, when he joined
the Union army, serving as second lieutenant of the Fourth Illinois Cavalry
until the summer of 1862. In February, 1863, he was mustered in as a major of
the Fourteenth Illinois Cavalry, and in May, 1865, became lieutenant colonel of
the same regiment. The greater part of his service was with the Army of the
Tennessee. In August, 1864, during the Stoneman raid, he was captured and
was incarcerated in the prisons of Charleston, South Carolina, arid Columbia,
that state, until March, 1865, when he was exchanged. In July of the same
year, the war having been brought to a successful issue, he was discharged.

Upon his return to the north Mr. Quigg immediately entered the office of
Higgins & Swett, of Chicago, and the following year became the third member
of the firm. That partnership was continued until 1873, when Judge Higgins
withdrew and the firm was dissolved. Mr. Quigg then became associated with
Cyrus Bentley, Sr., in a partnership which was maintained until 1877, and in
1878 he entered into partnership with Judge Richard S. Tuthill, this connection

Online LibraryJohn M. (John McAuley) PalmerThe bench and the bar of Illinois : Historical and reminiscent (Volume v.2) → online text (page 75 of 83)