John M. (John McAuley) Palmer.

The bench and the bar of Illinois : Historical and reminiscent (Volume v.2) online

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large clientage indicates the high place he has won in professional circles. His
study of the political situation of the country and of the policies and principles
of political organizations has led him to give his support to the Republican party.
Socially he is connected with the Illinois and Oak Park Clubs and his pleasant
manner and genial companionship render him a popular representative thereof.
He was married in 1892 to Miss Jane Clarke, of Chicago.

Frederick A. Smith. If prominence and fame were purchasable commodi-



THE BENCH AND BAR OF ILLINOIS. 1173

ties, many a man whom fortune has favored, who has inherited from wealthy
ancestors a handsome competence, would stand as leader in that most exacting
of all the learned professions, the law, but prominence at the bar results only from
strong mentality, from comprehensive knowledge, acquired through long and
earnest effort, and from close and unfaltering application to the requirements of
the litigation which is entrusted to him. "Earn thy reward; the gods give
naught to sloth," said the sage Epicharmus, and the truth of the admonition has
been verified in human affairs in all ages which have rolled their course since his
day. The ceaseless toil and endeavor, the splendid intellectual endowments and
persistent purpose of Mr. Smith are the factors which have gained him prestige
among Chicago's lawyers, and to-day he is numbered among the distinctively rep-
resentative citizens of northern Illinois.

Frederick Augustus Smith was born in Norwood Park, Cook county, Illi-
nois, February II, 1844, and is a son of Israel G. and Susan P. (Pennoyer) Smith,
both of whom were born in 1816, the former in the Empire state, the latter in
Connecticut. In 1835 the father came to Cook county, Illinois, and entered from
the government a tract of land, which he still owns. His wife died in Norwood
Park, in 1894. Born and reared in Cook county, the subject of this review at-
tended the public schools of Chicago and then entered the preparatory depart-
ment of the Chicago University, in 1860. After two years there passed he be-
came a student in the university, where he remained until 1863, when he laid
aside his text-books in order to enter his country's service. As a private oi
Company G, One Hundred and Thirty-fourth Illinois Infantry, he went to the
front and participated in the campaigns in Kentucky and Missouri until the
regiment was mustered out, in 1864. He then resumed his studies in the
University of Chicago, in which institution he was graduated as a member of the
class of 1866. Soon afterward he became a student in the Union College of
Law, now the law department of the Northwestern University, and after his
graduation, in 1867, was admitted to the bar, and has since been in active practice.
Entering upon his professional career, he became a member of the firm of Smith
& Kohlsaat, which connection was continued until 1873, after which he prac-
ticed alone until 1885, in which year the firm of Millard & Smith was organized,
the senior member being S. M. Millard. That partnership continued until 1889,
and the following year Mr. Smith became the senior member of the firm of Smith,
Helmer & Moulton. Since that time but one change in the firm has occurred,
that being in 1895, when H. W. Price became a partner. Mr. Smith engages in
the general practice of law and is well versed in all departments of jurisprudence.
His keen perception and analytical powers enable him to quickly determine the
salient points of a case, and in the presentation of his cause he is logical, earnest,
forceful and convincing. His high standing in professional circles is indicated
by the fact that in 1887 he was chosen president of the Law Club, of Chicago,
and in 1890 was made president of the Chicago Bar Association.

In politics Mr. Smith has always been a loyal Republican, unvarying in sup-
port of the principles of that party, and in June, 1898, he received the nomination
for the position of one of the judges of the superior court. He is a man of



1 1 74 THE BENCH AND BAR OF ILLINOIS.

scholarly attainments and broad general culture, and is deeply interested in edu-
cation, his service being very effective as a member of the board of trustees of
the new Chicago University, which position he has occupied since the organiza-
tion of the institution. He is also a member of the board of trustees of Rush
Medical College, and is a valued member of the Union League, Hamilton and
Marquette Clubs, three of the leading political organizations of the city. He was
married in 1871 to Miss Frances B. Morey, of Chicago. He is not only a prom-
inent and successful lawyer, but is also a man of pleasing personality, one whose
genuine worth of character insures him the respect of all who have appreciation
for the nobler traits in life.

Arthur Burr Pease, a son of Lyman W. and Maria (Bingham) Pease, was
born in Shoreham, Vermont, on the 25th of February, 1866, and pursued his
education in the Sherman Collegiate Institute of Moriah, New York, and at
Middlebury College, of Middlebury, Vermont, being graduated at the latter insti-
tution in the class of 1890, with the degree of A. B., and two years later the degree
of A. M. was conferred upon him. Ambitious to prepare himself thoroughly for
life's duties by a liberal education he then went abroad, entering Kaiser Wilhelm's
University at Strausburg, Germany, where he pursued a special course in ethics,
political economy and ancient history.

The following year Mr. Pease came to Chicago, where he matriculated in
the law department of the Northwestern University, pursuing the studies of the
junior year. He next attended the Kent College of Law and was graduated in
1893. The same year he was admitted to the bar and through the two succeed-
ing years he practiced law, in connection with Walter M. Howland. In 1895 he
became the senior member of the firm of Pease & Allen, which to-day occupies
an enviable position at the Chicago bar, its members enjoying a large and lucra-
tive practice. Although Mr. Pease is one of the younger members of the bar,
his splendid educational advantages thoroughly equipped him for practice, and
now his careful preparation of cases enables him to win many a suit where the
opposing counsel has had the benefit of many more years of experience. The
poet Longfellow has said, "We judge ourselves by what we are capable of doing :
the world judges us by what we have done ;" and, viewed from the latter stand-
point, the public renders its tribute of respect and admiration to Mr. Pease for
what he has already accomplished, and predicts that still 'greater successes lie be-
fore him.

Mr. Pease is an esteemed member of the Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity, is
vice president of the Northwestern Alumni Association of that fraternity, and be-
longs to the Booth Chapter of the Phi Delta Phi, a law fraternity. He is also a
popular member of the Kenwood Country and Oakland Clubs, and is highly
esteemed in social circles.

Justus Chancellor, the subject of this sketch, was born near the town of
Oxford, Benton county, Indiana, on the 12th day of October, 1863. His father,
John Cooper Chancellor, of Scotch and Irish parentage, was a native of Virginia,
and at an early date removed to Indiana, where he engaged in agricultural pur-



THE BENCH AND BAR OF ILLINOIS. 1175

suits. His mother was Elizabeth Jennie Justus, a lady of German and Welsh
parentage.

Mr. Chancellor acquired his literary education in the public schools of Vin-
cennes, Indiana, where he graduated from the high school with a degree en-
titling him to admission to college without examination. He afterward attended
the Northwestern University, but never entered college, having sought means of
earning a livelihood and taking steps, which he thought best to qualify him for
entering upon a professional career, which he had already resolved to do. He
knew, however, that this could not be secured until he had acquired sufficient
capital to meet the necessary expense. He accordingly began to work upon the
farm and also at carpentering and building and used these means as stepping-
stones to something better. During the time that he was laboring and earning
money with which to enter the law school, he took up a course of study under
Messrs. De Wolf & Chambers, prominent attorneys 'at Vincennes, and in Octo-
ber, 1883, he came to the city of Chicago and entered the Union College of Law.
While at home the same year, on a vacation during the holiday season, he was
stricken with typhoid fever and confined to his bed for seven months. At the
end of this time, the college season being far advanced, he did not deem it ad-
visable to return until the following October, when he resumed his studies and
afterward graduated, in 1886, being selected by his class as one of the orators of
the occasion.

In the fall of 1884, when he returned to complete his law course, he accepted
a clerkship in the office of Charles S. Thornton in order to familiarize himself
with the practical workings of the law and the methods and routine of the court-
room, and he continued in this capacity until 1888, when the firm of Thornton &
Chancellor was organized.

Mr. Chancellor as a real-estate and corporation lawyer has won distinguished
preferment, and his connection with some of the most prominent lawsuits that
have been heard in the civil courts has given him a reputation that places him
high above the average lawyer. In no profession is there a career more open to
talent than that of the law, and in no field of endeavor is there demanded a more
careful preparation and a more thorough appreciation of the absolute ethics of
life, or of the underlying principles which form the basis of all human rights and
privileges. Unflagging application and intuitive wisdom and a determination to
fully utilize the means at hand, are the concomitants which insure personal suc-
cess and prestige in this great profession, which stands as the stern conservator of
justice; and it is one into which none should enter without a recognition of the
obstacles to be overcome and the battles to be won, for success does not come
to every one who takes his place at the bar, but is the direct result of capacity and
unmistakable ability.

Mr. Chancellor and his partners have been connected with some of the most
important litigations in the Chicago courts, and their success has gained them an
enviable prestige. He is well versed in the various branches of the law and his
comprehensive knowledge enables him to so fortify his position as to render it
almost unassailable. His arguments are always logical, clear and convincing,



u;6 THE BENCH AND BAR OF ILLINOIS.

and the thorough preparation which he gives to each litigated interest is shown
by the masterful manner in which he handles the points of law.

The firm of which he is a member was retained as counsel in the celebrated
embezzlement and forgery cases of Rand, McNally & Company against Charles
R. Williams, where nineteen indictments had been found against their client.
The case when tried occupied six weeks, and the verdict of "not guilty," which
was rendered at the end of that time in favor of their client, is convincing proof
that Mr. Williams made no mistake in securing the services of this firm. The
well known Ayer controversy was another case of note in which Mr. Chancel-
lor displayed much skill in management and demonstrated his ability to marshal
all the facts in a case, making each bear with due weight upon his decision.
The estate of James C. Ayer against the bondholders of Riverside Improvement
Company had been in litigation for many years, and the firm of Thornton &
Chancellor, as counsel for the estate, succeeded in securing a first judgment, in
which the bondholders were defeated.

Mr. Chancellor, owing to his knowledge of corporation law, is constantly
in charge of very important interests in that line. He is an indefatigable worker
and is never known to cease his labors in behalf of his clients so long as there re-
mains anything that can be done to further their interests. Being of Scotch-
Irish ancestors and having inherited in a large degree the traits of character be-
longing to both, when he is once enlisted in a cause he is in to the finish and
always eloquently, artfully and tenaciously contending for the rights of those
he represents.

Mr. Chancellor gives his support to the Republican party, and is thoroughly
conversant with the history, accomplishments and aims of his party. During
the fall of 1884, when Hon. James G. Elaine was the Republican nominee for the
presidency, Mr. Chancellor, an ardent admirer of the Maine statesman, de-
voted his time and ability to advancing the Republican cause as far as possible,
and made speeches throughout the campaign in behalf of his favorite. He is an
enthusiastic Republican and firm in his belief in the justice and ultimate triumph
of the principles of his party.

He was married in May, 1889, to Miss Hattie Theodosia Lincoln Harper,
Virginian by birth. They have a son and daughter. Their home, on Wellington
avenue, Lake View, is noted for the comfort and good taste of its appointments,
and the hospitality of its occupants. Mr. Chancellor has a very large and well
selected library in his home and spends many hours with these treasures.

He is a member of the Marquette Club, the Chicago Hussars, and belongs to
the order of the Knights of Pythias, is a Knight Templar, a thirty-second degree
Mason and a Noble of the Mystic Shrine. He is a man of pleasing personality,
being over six feet in height and weighing in the neighborhood of one hundred
and eighty pounds. He is of commanding appearance, an eloquent talker, a
pleasant, companionable gentleman, and in social circles is very popular.

Newton F. Gordon. The junior member of the well known law firm of Ash-
craft & Gordon, of Chicago, is Newton F. Gordon, a native of Massachusetts,
born in Methuen, in 1861, his parents being J. H. and Lydia F. Gordon. He



THE BENCH AND BAR OP ILLINOIS. 1177

acquired his elementary education in' the public schools and later was a student in
Phillips Academy, at Andover, Massachusetts. In 1880 he matriculated in Will-
iams College, and after a year's study in that institution engaged in teaching
school for a year. He then resumed his collegiate work and was graduated in
the class of 1885 with the degree of Bachelor of Arts. In the fall of the same
year he entered the law department of the University of Michigan, where he re-
mained for a year, and in the autumn of 1886 he came to Chicago to continue his
legal reading in the office of Cratty Brothers & Aldrich. In 1889 he was ad-
mitted to the bar, but continued in that office until 1891, when he formed a
partnership with E. M. Ashcraft, an association that has since been continued.
They are now engaged in a general law business with offices in the First National
Bank Building, and the ability of the partners has secured them a large
clientage.

Though the life of Mr. Gordon has been one rather of modest reserve than
of ambitious self-seeking, he has proven himself a good lawyer. His practice
has been general in character and has demonstrated his ability to successfully
handle the litigated interests which have to do both with civil and corporation
law. His masterful manipulation of the points in a case indicates his thorough
familiarity with the law applicable to them, and his powers of argument are im-
portant factors in his success. Politically he is a pronounced "gold" Democrat,
and though warmly interested in the success of those principles has never been an
aspirant for office.

In 1893 Mr. Gordon was united in marriage to Miss Mary Rough, a daugh-
ter of Francis Kough, of Chicago, and with their two interesting little daughters,
Dorothy and Pvitth, they occupy a pleasant home in Glen Ellyn.

William Vocke, who is a man of broad literary culture and of almost un-
equaled prominence among the German-American representatives of the Chicago
bar, has successfully engaged in practice in the western metropolis for more than
thirty years. He was born in Minden, Westphalia, Germany, in 1839. His
father, who was a government secretary in the Prussian service, died during the
early youth of his son William, and when only seventeen years of age the latter
resolved to try his fortune in America. He knew that he must provide for his
own maintenance through life, and hearing of the splendid opportunities offered
to young men in the New World he resolved to test the truth of these reports for
himself, and if possible gain a comfortable home and competence for himself
beyond the Atlantic. His hopes have been realized and to-day he stands as one
of the foremost sons of the fatherland who have identified their interests with
those of the United States.

He sailed in 1856, and after a short time spent in New York made his way to
Chicago, where he sought and obtained employment with the publisher of the
Staats Zeitung, acting as carrier of the paper in the western portion of the
north side. His industry and determination to succeed were most commendable.
He began work at two o'clock A. M. and did not complete his labors until six
hours later. He spent his days in the study of law and gave the hours between
twilight and two in the morning to sleep. It was his great desire to perfect



1 1 78 THE BENCH AND BAR OF ILLINOIS.

himself in the law and enter upon practice, but the work he was enabled to per-
form was not enough to meet his expenses and enable him to pursue his studies.
At this juncture, however, he found a true friend in Professor Henry Booth,
who, noting the ambition, willingness and talent of Mr. Vocke, offered to in-
struct him and allow him to use his books, permitting him to repay him at some
future period. The day on which he was eventually enabled to pay his kind
friend in full was one of the proudest and happiest days of his life.

In 1860 Mr. Vocke left the Staats Zeitung and accepted the position of
collector for Ogden, Fleetwood & Company, then a leading real-estate firm of
the city. Capably did he discharge the duties of that position until April, 1861,
when, feeling that his adopted country needed his services at the front, he
responded to the call of duty and joined the Union army with a three-months
regiment. His company was soon attached to the Twenty-fourth Illinois In-
fantry, and Mr. Vocke was present at every engagement of the Army of the
Cumberland until his regiment was mustered out. His loyalty and bravery won
recognition and for his meritorious services he was made captain of Company D.

During his military service Captain Vocke devoted all his leisure time to
literary pursuits, and upon his return to the north became city editor of the Staats
Zeitung, where his merit as an editorial writer soon won him honored recog-
nition in journalistic circles. From April, 1865, until November, 1869, he was
clerk of the police court of Chicago, and in the meantime resumed the study of
law and was admitted to the bar in 1867. He had also made frequent contri-
butions to both the German and English press, and gained a high reputation as
an able and polished writer. In 1869 he produced a volume of poems, excellent-
translations of the lyrics of Julius Roclenberg.

Since his retirement from the clerkship of the police court, he has devoted
his energies largely to the practice of law, and stands to-day almost without a
peer among the German-American lawyers of Chicago. His clientage has al-
ways been extensive and the legal interests entrusted to his care of a very im-
portant character. He has a thorough understanding of the law as a science, and
is peculiarly talented in the presentation of a cause to judge or jury or in the
preparation of briefs and arguments. His power of analysis, his cogent reason-
ing and his logical conclusions, these are the strong elements in his success.
Of late years his writings have been more in the line of the law than on general
literary topics, and one of his most able productions is a volume entitled "The
Administration of Justice in the United States, and a Synopsis of the Mode of
Procedure of our Federal and State Courts and All Federal and State Laws Re-
lating to Subjects of Interest to Aliens," which was published in the German
language at Cologne, and has not only received the praise of German jurists but
has also proven of much benefit to German lawyers and business men.

Hardly had Captain Vocke taken his place among the lawyers of Illinois
until he was called to be one of the lawmakers, being elected to the state legis-
lature in 1870'. While a member of the house he was instrumental in framing,
at the extra session held shortly after the great fire of 1871, what is known as
the '"burnt-record" act ; and among his other noteworthy achievements he formu-



THE BENCH AND BAR OF ILLINOIS. 1179

lated and introduced a life-insurance bill, which at the time was indorsed by the
editor of the Chicago Tribune as "the soundest and most judicious measure ever
proposed to a legislative body on that subject."

In the affairs of the city Mr. Vocke has ever taken a deep interest, with-
holding his support from no measure which he believed would prove of public
benefit. He served as a member of the board of education from 1877 until 1880,
and the public-school system found in him a warm friend. For a number of
years past he has been attorney for the imperial German consulate at Chicago,
and among other offices of honor he has held the presidency of the German
Society of Chicago for the Aid of Emigrants. He is a man of scholarly attain-
ments, of broad general information and ripe classical knowledge, and the study
of history and the science of government is one of his chief sources of pleasure
and recreation.

He was married in 1867 to Miss Eliza Wahl, and they have two sons and four
daughters.

John W. Showalter came of an old American family derived chiefly from
German, English and Scotch-Irish sources. He was the eldest of the three sons
of Professor Benoni Showalter, long a prominent educator in Kentucky.

John W. Showalter was born in Mason county, Kentucky, February 8, 1844,
and gained his primary education in the public and private schools near his
home. His recollections of "war times" were somewhat vivid, as many of his
relatives fought on either side of the internecine struggle. He was graduated at
Yale in 1867, and soon afterward began the study of law. In 1869 he entered
the law office of Moore & Copefield, in Chicago, and in 1871 was admitted to
practice at the bar of Illinois.

For some years after his admission to the bar Mr. Showalter was connected
with the office of Moore & Copefield, as clerk and practicing assistant. He
ended that connection to form a law partnership, which, upon the death of one
of the original partners, developed into the firm of Oliver & Showalter (John M.
Oliver and John W. Showalter).

Mr. Showalter from the beginning of his professional career devoted himself
to general practice, though he made somewhat of a specialty of corporation law.
In 1895 he received the appointment as judge of the United States circuit court
of appeals, and acted in that capacity until his death, December 10, 1898. He was
a member of the Chicago Bar Association and of the Illinois Club.

While adhering to the political principles of the Democratic party and active
in work for the causes it represents, Judge Showalter was never an office-seeker,
though without his solicitation he was appointed to the position which he held
at the time of his death and in which he served with signal honor and ability.
Judge Showalter held the uniform esteem and confidence of the members of the
bar and of the people who knew of him and his labors, and his death deprived
Chicago of a noble man, an upright judge and an able lawyer.

Judge Frank Baker, one of the judges of the circuit court of Cook county,
was born in Melmore, Seneca county, Ohio, May n, 1840. The Baker family
of which he is a representative was founded in America by Thomas Baker, who,



n8o THE BENCH AND BAR OF ILLINOIS.

in 1639, left England and became a resident of Milford, Connecticut, whence, in
1650, he removed to East Hampton, Long Island, where his death occurred in
1700. He served as assistant of the general court of Connecticut from 1658 until
1664, was a member of the Hempstead convention in February, 1665, and in
October of the same year was foreman of the first grand jury of the colony of
New York. The paternal grandfather of Judge Frank Baker was Judge Samuel



Online LibraryJohn M. (John McAuley) PalmerThe bench and the bar of Illinois : Historical and reminiscent (Volume v.2) → online text (page 78 of 83)