John M. (John McAuley) Palmer.

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

. (page 82 of 83)
Online LibraryJohn M. (John McAuley) PalmerThe bench and the bar of Illinois : Historical and reminiscent (Volume v.2) → online text (page 82 of 83)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


Illinois, and entered upon the practice of his chosen profession.

In 1861 he was elected city attorney for the city of Freeport, and in 1872 was
elected state's attorney for Stephenson county. In the latter capacity Mr. Coch-
ran served most acceptably for a period of twelve years, until 1884, when he was
elected state senator for the twelfth senatorial district, comprising the counties
of Jo Daviess, Carroll and Stephenson. Of his work in the thirty-fifth general
assembly it is said that the journal of the legislature will exhibit the fact that more
of his public measures pertaining to general subjects became law than those of
any other member of either branch of the legislature.

Mr. Cochran was chairman of several important committees. He took an
active interest in the reform of the revenue laws of the state, and examined with
care the nature of all bills for which he voted.

Mr. Cochran has always been a Republican in politics and has labored
zealously for the promulgation of that party's interests. He took part in the
memorable struggle for the election of a United States senator before the thirty-
fourth general assembly of Illinois, in 1885, which resulted in the election of
John A. Logan on May 9, 1885.

In 1863 Mr. Cochran married Miss Eva Tarbox, daughter of Horace Tar-
box, one of the early settlers of Stephenson county. Mrs. Cochran died in April,

1877-

Mr. Cochran is a member of the Masonic fraternity, and has also taken a
conspicuous part in the interest of education in the public schools of Freeport,
and served twelve years as a member of the board of education.

Judge John Coates for a half century was an honored member of the bar of
Freeport, and as lawyer, jurist and citizen he commanded the respect and con-
fidence of the entire community. His life was characterized by good and useful
deeds on behalf of his fellow men, and his record is therefore one which should
find a leading place on the pages of Illinois' history. He was a man of quiet,
reserved manner, to whom ostentation and display were distasteful ; but the
life history of a good, noble and brave-hearted man has its lessons tor the young,
and truth should have its witnesses and chronicles. The rising generation can
find few better examples of difficulties to overcome, of obstacles surmounted, of
painstaking energy and honest endeavor than appears in the life of the subject of
this biography.

Born in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, on the 23d of June, 1819, Judge Coates
was a son of John and Jane (Eason) Coates, the former a native of Scotland. His
earlier education was obtained, for the most part, in the schools of his native
place, and later he was a student in Clinton Academy, near Lock Haven, Penn-
sylvania. In 1846 he came to Illinois and began the study of law with Judge
Wilson, of Mount Carroll. Afterward he continued his legal work under the
tutelage of Thomas J. Turner, and was admitted to the bar in the spring of



1204 THE BENCH AND BAR OF ILLINOIS.

1848. Success came to him in his private practice almost from the start, and so
well founded was his popularity and recognized talent that the people with whom
his lot had been cast early called him to public service. In 1853 he was elected
to the responsible position of county judge, which office he virtually filled for
eight years. Here the analytical power of his mind had full play, not in the
advocacy of one side of a question but in the impartial weighing and measuring
of all sides of the truth. Necessarily exposed to the scrutiny and criticism of
the public, as well as to the keen judgment of able members of the bar, his
decisions were almost invariably approved by all, and his judicial integrity was
never questioned. No better test of character and mental quickness and ability
to cope with subtle evasion of right and justice can be afforded the young prac-
titioner than to place him on the bench, and few would have acquitted them-
selves more nobly than did Judge Coates. Thus the opening years of a well
rounded professional career were but an index to those which were to follow,
and the confidence and trust of the entire community were his from that time
until his death.

In 1856 Judge Coates married Ellen Yeighte Carroll, of Princeton, New
Jersey, who died in 1871, leaving one daughter. The family has long been
connected with the Presbyterian church, being among its most valued members.
From his earlier manhood the Judge was a grand exponent of the higher Jef-
fersonian Democracy, standing for its principles and rendering the party loyal
service. Death came to him on the I3th of July, 1898, after he had passed the
Psalmist's span of three-score years and ten. His last days were spent in peace-
ful rest from his labors in his beautiful home in Freeport, where he was sur-
rounded by the love and friendship of the associates of a life-time. He was a
Scotchman of the old-school type, widely known and loved for his fine mind
and noble heart. In many quiet ways he counseled and aided those who sought
his guidance, and they were not few. Many a man now prosperous and stand-
ing on some lofty pinnacle of fame or importance, gratefully remembers Judge
Coates as a friend whose assistance, material or otherwise, in his time of need,
caused his fortunes to be in the ascendant. His life was upright and his memory
remains as a grateful benediction to all who knew him.

Henry C. Hyde has been a member of the bar of Freeport for over thirty-
seven years. He was born in Springfield, Massachusetts, July 19, 1836, but when
a child was brought to Winnebago county, Illinois, where his early boyhood was
spent on his father's farm. Mr. Hyde graduated in 1856 at Beloit College, Wis-
consin. He had previously decided to adopt the legal profession and immediately
after graduating began the study of law. In 1859 he was admitted to the bar and
at once opened an office in Freeport, in the room which he has ever since con-
tinued to occupy.

In 1860 he was elected city attorney and discharged the duties connected
with the office in a manner creditable to both himself and the city. In 1883 he
was elected county' judge and held the office for a period of thirteen years.

In 1865 Mr. Hyde was united in marriage to Miss Mary C. Morrow, daugh-
ter of Judge Morrow, of Missouri. A daughter, who died in early life, and two



THE BENCH AND BAR OF ILLINOIS, 1205

sons have resulted from the union. One son has entered the profession which
his father has so successfully practiced.

Judge Hyde has always been regarded as a man of excellent judgment, deep
erudition and splendid legal capacity. He has secured a reputation for safe
counsel and rare foresight in all matters involving litigation, and as a clear and
lucid expounder of the law he stands eminent among the local members of the
profession.

William N. Cronkrite's life has been spent in his native city, Freeport, where
he was born July 8, 1863. The education acquired in our public schools was
supplemented by a full course in Knox College, where he graduated among the
first in his class. Before he was twenty-one years of age he had read law and
was ready to begin practice. His preceptor was J. S. Cochran.

As he could not be admitted to the bar until he had reached the age of
maturity, Mr. Cronkrite spent the next three years in reading law, attending
court, and acquiring a more thorough and practical working knowledge of his
chosen profession. In August, 1884, he was admitted to the bar and attained a
most gratifying success. In the following year he was appointed bill clerk in the
house of representatives, and remained throughout the session, discharging the
duties devolving upon him in a creditable manner. In 1886 he was appointed
deputy county clerk and continued in office eight years. On the ist of December,
1894, he opened a law office for general legal business, although while deputy
county clerk he had found some time to devote to practice, and has enjoyed an
enviable degree of patronage and popularity.

In 1895 he was appointed corporation counsel. He has never sought office,
preferring the actual practice of pure law. Mr. Cronkrite's ability as an ex-
pounder of law in its clearest interpretation led to his appointment as teacher
of commercial law in the Commercial College of Freeport, with which he has
been associated since its organization.

He is prominent in the various bodies of Masonry, and in both social and
business circles is esteemed by all who know him.

Michael Stoskopf, of Freeport, was born in Stephenson county, Illinois, on
the 7th of June, 1845. His parents, both natives of Alsace, France, crossed the
Atlantic to America and took up their residence in Stephenson county in July,
1841. His father was a blacksmith by trade, and after locating in Freeport fol-
lowed that pursuit for many years in partnership with Mr. Hettinger. He in-
vested his earnings in real estate and farm lands surrounding Freeport, the town
in which he made his home, and ultimately became the owner of some very val-
uable property. He also followed milling for a time, but at length abandoned
all trades and devoted his energies to the development and improvement of his
realty, erecting many substantial buildings on his real estate.

Michael Stoskopf was graduated in the schools of Freeport, and through his
school life showed splendid powers of concentration, deep thought and excellent
mental capacity. Later he entered the office of Bailey & Neff as a law student,
and was admitted to the bar on the nth of January, 1873. He at once began
practice in the city of Freeport, and was soon afterward elected justice of the



1206 THE BENCH AND BAR OF ILLINOIS.

peace, which position he filled for four years. In 1874 he was appointed master
in chancery and during twelve years discharged the duties of that office with
marked promptness and fidelity, winning high commendation. He has buiit
up an extensive practice and his ability has made him widely known throughout
the northern part of the state. He has been connected with much of the im-
portant litigation heard in his district, a fact which indicates the possession of
superior ability.

Mr. Stoskopf is a recognized leader in the ranks of the Democracy in Free-
port, and in 1889, in 1893 and again in 1895 was elected to the state legislature.
At the 1889 session the celebrated library bill, authorizing a tax for library pur-
poses, was introduced, and Mr. Stoskopf, recognizing its merits, gave it his strong
support. His policy concerning this and other measures of importance won
commendation, and made his services most acceptable to his constituents. He
never acted from personal motives, but was actuated by a deep interest in the
general welfare. He always opposed measures calculated to enhance political
power or private or corporate wealth, and labored earnestly for the majority as
against the interests of the minority. In 1895 he was one of the leaders in the
fight against the Humphrey and Allen street-railway bills.

Mr. Stoskopf is also a very prominent Mason, having attained the thirty-
third degree of the Scottish rite, an honor accorded only a select few in each
state. He is also a member of the K. G. M. B. A., and is attorney and counselor
for that organization. He holds a high place in the public confidence and es-
teem, by reason of his business integrity, his legal ability, his fidelity to duty
and his courteous, modest and frank deportment.

Oscar E. Heard is a native of Stephenson county and was born in Harlem
township in 1856. His early education was received in the district schools of that
township and he afterward attended the Freeport high school, where he gradu-
ated in 1874. He completed his education at the Northwestern University, at
Evanston. He then entered the law office of James S. Cochran, and applied him-
self diligently to the study of the law. He was admitted to the bar in 1878.

After his admission to the bar Mr. Heard opened a law office in Freeport
and was successful from the start. Soon after his admission he was elected justice
of the peace. In 1884 he was nominated for state's attorney by the Republicans
of Stephenson county and was elected by a handsome majority. He gave such
good satisfaction as prosecuting attorney that his party renominated him and he
was re-elected by an increased majority. In 1892 he was again renominated and
was the only candidate on the Republican county ticket who escaped the great
landslide of that year. He is an expert in examining witnesses and never over-
looks a point. While he makes no pretense at oratory, he has a convincing way
of addressing a jury which is very effective, and he gains the good will of a
jury from the start.

Mr. Heard takes a deep interest in educational matters and has served as a
member of the board of education and is also a member of the public library
board.

Douglas Pattison was born in Freeport December n, 1870. His father,



THE BENCH AND BAR OF ILLINOIS. 1207

Jeremiah Pattison, was one of the most prominent business men of the city, and
was for many years actively associated with its manufacturing interests. Douglas
was graduated from the Freeport high school in 1889. He thereafter spent a
year in the office of M. and L. Stoskopf, after which he entered the University
of Michigan, where he graduated with honor in both the literary and law de-
partments.

After receiving his diploma, Mr. Pattison returned to Freeport, and entered
upon the practice of his profession. In December, 1892, he was appointed deputy
circuit clerk, and served for two years. In politics he is a Democrat, and he has
taken a lively interest as well as an active part in campaigns and elections for the
past ten years.

Hon. Matthew Marvin cast his fortunes with those of the flourishing town of
Freeport over a quarter of a century ago, and he has never seen reason to regret
his choice of a home and place of business. His reputation as a lawyer and
public man are not limited to this county or state ; and wherever his name is
known his reputation for honor and absolute integrity for thoroughness and
unusual ability in his chosen field of endeavor brings to him fresh laurels of
fame.

Born in Avon, Livingston county, New York, June 17, 1828, our subject
is a descendant of a long line of sturdy, honorable New England ancestors, whose
characteristics are marked in his own disposition. He is a lineal descendant of
Matthew Marvin, who emigrated from England in 1635 and settled in the his-
toric town of Deerfield, Massachusetts. His grandfather, also named Matthew
Marvin, served as a soldier in the Revolutionary war, as did also his great-grand-
father, David Blakeslee, and his grandfather, James Blakeslee. His father, also
named Matthew Marvin, was an officer, with the rank of colonel, in the last war
with Great Britain. His mother's maiden name was Elizabeth Blakeslee, and his
maternal ancestors emigrated from Scotland in 1720 and settled in Dutchess
county, New York. It is a singular fact that our subject, and also his father,
his paternal grandfather, great-grandfather and great-great-grandfather were all
named Matthew ; and he continues the family custom, by naming his eldest son
the same. Both his parents were natives of New York state, and he was but two
years old when his father died, soon after which event his mother moved with her
children to Keene, Ohio, where they remained four years, then came to Illinois,
taking up their residence in Fulton county.

For the most part the early education of Judge Marvin was such as was
afforded by the country schools, but the last years of his school life were spent
in Jacksonville, this state. About the time he arrived at his majority he went to
Warren, Jo Daviess county, which town he assisted in founding, placing it on a
sound basis, so that it later became prosperous, as it is to-day. There he served
as postmaster, under the administrations of Presidents Pierce and Buchanan ;
and, having studied the science of medicine, at Rush Medical College at Chi-
cago and under Dr. C. H. Ray, afterward editor of the Chicago Tribune, he
engaged in practice in Warren for several years, with considerable success.
Though he was a very busy man, the hours of leisure which he enjoyed were



1208 THE BENCH AND BAR OF ILLINOIS.

spent with profit, as, instead of idling them away, he devoted them to law studies.
Becoming more and more convinced that the legal profession is one for which
he is best adapted, we now find him bending all his energies in this direction,
and in 1857 he took the examinations necessary to his admission to the bar.
Soon afterward he entered into partnership with Hugh B. McGinnis, in Galena,
but this business association was not of long duration, as Mr. McGinnis died
two years later.

In 1861 Mr. Marvin was singled out for public honor, as he was elected that
year to the judgeship of Jo Daviess county, which office he filled to the entire
satisfaction of all concerned for some eight years. In the meantime he formed
the acquaintanceship of that grand figure in American history, Ulysses S. Grant,
and was an intimate friend of his chief of staff, General John A. Rawlins, and also
of Stephen A. Douglas. After the termination of the war Galena failed to grow
as a live city should, or so at least Mr. Marvin thought, and he came to Free-
port, which was promising well and rapidly forging ahead. This move on his
part was made in 1872 and he has remained faithful in his allegiance to this place.
His sterling worth as a man and his ability as a lawyer won recognition, and he
was twice elected city attorney, his term of office running from 1891 to 1895.
In 1885 he was elected justice of the peace, and has been chosen as his own
successor, time after time, up to the present. Though he is now identified with
the Democratic party, the judge has always been remarkably liberal in the matter
of politics, and casts his ballot for the nominee or principle which he deems right
and best and for the good of the public in general.

On Easter Sunday, March 31, 1861, Judge Marvin was married in the
Episcopal church, in Galena, to Miss Martha J. Jones, of Warren. Their union
has been blessed with eight children, five sons and four daughters. The eldest,
Matthew, is engaged in the insurance business and shares his father's office.
The judge is a man of decided domestic tastes, and is never so happy as when
in the midst of his family circle. There his noblest qualities shine forth un-
dimmed, and are an inspiration to all who come within the radius of his in-
fluence.

Robert P. Eckert, of Freeport, was born in Woodstock, McHenry county,
Illinois, May 8, 1869, and is a son of Henry W. and Christina Eckert. His
father served his country in the Union army during the Civil war. In the public
schools of Woodstock Robert Eckert acquired his literary education, and then
entered upon his business career as a salesman in one of the stores of his native
town. He was employed in that capacity in several establishments, but wishing
to enter a broader field of labor and usefulness he resolved to adopt the law as
a life vocation, and began study with C. P. Barnes and F. W. Spitzer, of Wood-
stock. In the spring of 1893 he came to Freeport, where he completed his studies
under the preceptorship of O. E. Heard, being admitted to the bar June 15,

1894.

Mr. Eckert at' once entered upon the practice of his profession and since
that time has been connected with a number of important litigated interests,
notably the Beverly murder case, in which he acted as assistant to the state's



THE BENCH AND BAR OF ILLINOIS. 1209

attorney. Though yet a young man he has shown that the foundation for his
work has been laid broad and deep, and the advancement he has already made
toward a place in the front rank among his professional brethren is very cred-
itable. He was appointed master in chancery at the September term of court, of
1895, receiving the unanimous endorsement of the bar, and so well were his
duties discharged that he was reappointed at the September term of 1897.

Mr. Eckert gives his political support to the Republican party, and though
not an office seeker is always loyal to the principles of his party, which, he be-
lieves, contains the strongest elements of good government and a wise national
policy. In his profession he has already won an enviable success and his determi-
nation and ability point to still brighter things in the future. He is genial and
kindly and every caller receives his most courteous attention.

In Freeport, October 23, 1896, Mr. Eckert married Elizabeth A. Ryan, and
in social circles thev are widely and favorably known.



CHAPTER LXVI.

THE BENCH AND BAR OF POPE COUNTY.

THE first term of court held in Pope county was held in April, 1818, at which
time Illinois was still a territory, said court being held pursuant to an act
of the legislature approved on January I2th of the same year. The session
of the court was held at the court-house in Golconda, on April 6th, Hon. Jeptha
Hardin being the presiding judge. The grand jurors who appeared and were
duly sworn were as follows : Francis Moore, Hezekiah Haile, Isaac Smith,
Francis Glass, William Belford, John Calvert, James Cowsert, John Henley,
Ezekiel Clay, Samuel Langdon, James Steel, Robert Scott, Isom Clay, Jacob
Shelby, Robert Penney, David Glass, John Reed, John Morris, James Crotchet,
James King and George Jackson. James Alcorn, who subsequently became
governor of Mississippi and United States senator, was sheriff, and at this session
of court John J. Williamson was sworn as deputy sheriff.

It appears that the only case on the docket was that of Robert Hays versus
Abraham Robertson, and the order of the court in the connection was as fol-
lows : "This cause is ordered to be dismissed ; therefore it is considered by the
court that the defendant recover against the plaintiff his cost about this defense,
expended in this behalf, and the plaintiff in money, etc."

The first lawyer to settle at Golconda, the county-seat of Pope county, was
Charles Dunn, who resided there as early as 1832. He was captain of a com-
pany in the Black Hawk war, in which conflict he was wounded. He removed
from Golconda, probably in 1839, to Wisconsin, in which state he eventually
became a judge of the supreme court. The history of the early bar of the county
principally centers about Judge Wesley Sloan, since, with the exception of
Captain Dunn, there was no other resident lawyer in the county from the time
of the holding of the first court, as previously noted, until May, 1839, when Judge
Sloan took up his abode in the county-seat. He continued to be the only resi-
dent lawyer of the county until he was elected judge, in 1857. Wesley Sloan
was a native of Maryland, and in Somerset county, that state, was admitted to
the bar in November, 1831. He came to Golconda and became a permanent
resident, as will be noted later on in his own words. He was a well read and
able lawyer, served several terms in the state legislature, and was finally elected
circuit judge, serving as such with great credit. He presided at the famous mur-
der trial, at Shawneetown, of the People versus Sloo. The accused was acquitted
upon the plea of insanity. Some of the notable lawyers of Illinois and Kentucky
appeared in the case. Thomas H. Smith, John A. Logan and W. J. Allen prose-
cuted ; Leonard Swett, Thomas G. C. Davis and others defended.

Among those who attended court in Pope county in the '305 were Henry

1210



THE BENCH AND BAR OF ILLINOIS. 1211

Eddy, Jeptha Hardin, Edward Jones, David J. Baker and Colonel Don Morri-
son; in the '405, General John A. McClernand, Hon. Thomas G. C. Davis and
Judge S. S. Marshall; and in the '505, General John A. Logan, Judge Willis
Allen and Robert G. Ingersoll. Other notable lawyers who regularly attended
the court of the county in the early days were Alexander P. Field, Henry Eddy
and Jefferson Gatewood. The old tavern at Golconda, kept by Philip Vineyard
from 1835 to 1860, was the stopping-place of these brilliant men, and one may
well imagine the wit and wisdom with which they regaled the idle hours in the
old inn.

Major John Raum, father of the present Green B. Raum, was clerk of the
circuit court from 1835 until 1868. His wife, Mrs. Juliet C. Raum, was a bril-
liant woman, and her home was a favorite resort of the able men of the old time.
She entertained them in conversation by the hour, and was one of the graceful
and notable figures in the social affairs of the pioneer epoch.

Thomas G. C. Davis, a native of South Carolina, settled in Golconda about



Online LibraryJohn M. (John McAuley) PalmerThe bench and the bar of Illinois : Historical and reminiscent (Volume v.2) → online text (page 82 of 83)