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History of Darke County, Ohio, from its earliest settlement to the present time .. (Volume 1) online

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in the winter, until eighteen years of age, he pursued such
studies as formed the curriculum in the district school o- the
neighborhood.. Early becoming imbued with a desire to make
the practice of law his life work, he began reading law with
Judge A. R. Calderwood and H. M. Cole in October 1875.
At the time Mr. Clark was a student, Ed. Breaden was also
reading law in the same office, and in 1878 these two young
men commenced the practice of law together, under the firm
name of Breaden & Clark. The partnership was dissolved
three years later and in 1885 Mr. Clark formed a law partner-
ship with General Anderson and Mr. Chenoweth and their
practice was very remunerative. From January, 1881, for a
period of five years. Judge Clark served Darke county as
prosecuting attorney.

On the bench Judge Clark was most fair and impartial in
his rulings and his decisions were models of judicial sound-
ness. /\t a bar banquet held at the Turpen house on January
9, 1909, Judge Clark delivered an interesting toast "Reminis-
censes,'' wherein he spoke O'' the many attorneys with and
against whom he had practiced law during a period of thirty-
five years. Judge Clark died June 23, 1912, commanding that
uniform regard which is evervwhere given to true worth of

The judicial district having been changed and there now be-
ing a republican majority, Henry M. Cole was elected in 1897
for a term of five years and began his service in May, 1898.
Henr}- M. Cole was born upon a farm in this county in March.
1845, a son of Samuel Cole, who was born in Washington
township, Darke county on the old family homestead, in 1821.
Not content to follow the plow, his preference being for pro-
fessional life, he read law under the direction of the firm of


Knox & Sater of Greenville and later attended the law school
in Cincinnati, Ohio, from which he was graduated in the class
of 1869. During the first eleven years in the profession, he
practiced in partnership with Judge A. R. Calderwood.
During the war of the Rebellion he had manifested his loyalty
to his country by enlisting in an Ohio regiment, in which he
served faithfully and well until the close of hostilities when
he was honorably discharged.

While practicing at the bar Judge Cole applied himself dil-
igently to the preparation and trial of cases and to the hand-
ling of the legal matters entrusted to his care. Judge Cole
attended to his judicial duties with careful attention to de-
tails and a disregard for self, seeming to be animated only by
a desire to discharge his duty with fairness and impartiality.
Judge Cole died February 16. 1909, universally esteemed.

Judge Cole was succeeded in 1903 by James I. Allread who
has long figured prominently in connection with political and
professional interests in Darke county and whose reputation
and acquaintance are by no means limited to the confines of
the county. He was born upon his father's farm in Twin
township in September. 18.^8: his paternal great-grandfather
being one ot' the heroes of the Revolutionary war, who under
command of General Wayne aided the colonists in their strug-
gle for independence. James I. Allread spent his boyhood
days upon the home farm in Twin township and continued his
education in Greenville under the instruction of Prof. J. T.
Alartz and Professor Seitz. At nineteen years of age he
began reading law in the ffice and under the direction cf ^^'il-
liam Allen of Greenville, being admitted to the bar before the
supreme court in October, 1880. He then established an office
in Greenville, where he practiced for a period of over twenty
consecutive years with the exception of a short inter^-al dur-
ing which he served as judge of the circuit court, having Ijeen
appointed by Governor McKinley in 1894 to fill out the unex-
pired term of Judge Shauck, who was advanced to a seat on
the supreme bench of this state.

When the term was ended Mr. Allread resumed the private
practice of the law as a member of the firm of Allread, Tee-
garden it Harrison and was connected with important litiga-
tion in all of the courts, local, state and federal. In 1898 he
was a member of the republican state executive committee
and his labors were effective in promoting the success of his


party, and in 1901 he was chief clerk in the department of
state of Columbus.

Judge Allread occupied the bench .'or five years until 1909
and was generally recognized as one of the ablest judges in
the second district being elected in 1908 to the circuit bench
for a period of six years, and was a republican nominee for
election to the supreme court of Ohio in 1912.

The judge of the common pleas court since January 1, 1909,
is William W. Teegarden, who was born in July, 1862 and is
a representative of one of the oldest pioneer families of Darke
county. The family history in this country antedates the
period of the American Revolution, the place of original set-
tlement being in southwestern Pennsylvania. Judge Tee-
garden was born in Brown township, where he remained un-
til he was eighteen years of age and assisted in the work of
the farm. After acquiring sufficient education to obtain a
county teachers" certificate, he gained his first experience as
a teacher in his home district at W'oodington. \\'orking his
way rapidly to the front of the profession, he acquired suffi-
cient means to enable him to spend part of two years as a stu-
dent in the Northwestern Ohio Normal University at Ada,
Ohio. While teaching he began the study of law under the
direction of the firm of Knox, Martz & Rupe, of Greenville,
Ohio, and in June, 1893, passed a successful examination be-
fore the supreme court at Columbus and was admitted to the
bar. He removed to Greenville in the autumn of that year
and began to practice at his chosen profession in partnership
with D. \\'. Younker. This business connection continued
until Februar}-. 1896, when it was dissolved and Mr. Teegar-
den associated himself with Judge J. I. Allread. He was a
member of the city board of school examiners and as a repub-
lican has always been activel}' identified wtih the interests ot
his party, which he has served in various capacities. Since
his elevation to the bench in 1909, Judge Teegarden has ably
upheld the dignity of the bench and has been painstaking and
conscientious in the discharge of his duty to the state. He
has been careful and accurate in his application of law prin-
ciples to the points in litigation and his efforts have met with
the. approval of the bar and the people.

Under the new constitution of 1912 the judges of the courl
of common pleas shall, while in office, reside in the couuntv
for which they are elected: and their term of office shall be
for six vears.


It is said that popular electiuns, short terms, and small sal-
aries are sufficient to lower the character of the judiciary.
Popular elections throw the choice into the hands of political
parties, that is to say of knots of wire-pullers inclined to use
every office as a means of rewarding political service, while
short terms oblige the judge to remember in whose hands his
fortunes lie, thus inducing timidity and discouraging inde-
pendence. Small salaries prevent able men from oiteriug
themselves for places, whose income is less than a leading
lawyer can make by private practice.

In fairness to the men who have so ably occupied the bench
in Darke county, it must be said that none of these causes
have operated to lower the bench of this county and that the
judiciary of Darke county compares favorably with any in the

Quoting attorney D. W. Bowman from a toast at a bar
banquet in Union City : "It is possible to achieve the ideal,
but to do so, the most commanding abilities and the most un-
sullied private and public character should be demanded of
every man who aspires to be a judge. Wisdom, learning, in-
tegrity, independence and firmness should be the cardinal vir-
tues, and the politician, the trickster, the demagogue, the nar-
row minded practitioner, wise in his own conceit, should have
no place on the bench. Men of strength, of unspotted lives,
whom power can not corrupt, or influence intimate or affec-
tion swerve : men of exalted ideas of duty and honor, and who
do not run after but whom the office seeks, are alone fit to be
entrusted with the tremendous power of sitting in judgment
upon the rights of sovereign states, and the rights and liber-
ties of the inhabitants thereof."

Probate Judges.

Many people never find it necessary to appear in the com-
mon pleas court either as plaintiff or defendant but there are
few people who do not at some time in life enter into close
relation with the probate court. Licenses to enter into matri-
mony are issued by this court, and in the settlement of
estates this court comes very. near to the people. Under the
constitution of the state of Ohio of 1802, article 3, section 5,
the court of common pleas, had jurisdiction of all probate and
testamentary matters, granting administration and the ap-
pointment of guardians but under the constitution of 1851 the


probate court was created and given jurisdiction in probate
and testamentary naatters, the appointment of administrators
and guardians, the settlement of the accounts of executors and
guardians and such jurisdiction in habeas corpus, the issuing
of marriage licenses and for the sale of land by executors, ad-
ministrators and guardians as may be provided by law.

The revised constitution of Ohio with amendments ap-
proved by the people September 3, 1912, provides for the con-
tinuance in each county of a probate court, which shall be a
court of record, open at all times, and holden by one judge,
elected by the electors of the county, who shall hold his office
for the term of four years.

The first probate judge of Darke county was John W'harry,
born in Pennsylvania, 1809, and coming to Greenville at the
age of fifteen years. After clerking for several years in a store
he assisted at the work of surveying and by personal applica-
tion, he obtained sufficient knowledge to become a practical
surveyor. He engaged in this business from 1831 to 1831
during most of which time he filled the position of county
surveyor. In the fall of 1851, he was elected probate judge of
Darke county and served three years, being subsequently ad-
mitted to the practice of law. He was one of the best drafts-
men in the county and an excellent penman, and contributed
about forty pages of valuable historical matter to the first his-
tory of Darke county printed in 1880, some of which is being
used in this article.

He was succeeded in 1854 bv Andrew Robeson Calderwood,
born in Montgomerv county, November 14, 1818. He was
employed in early life upon a farm, digging ditches, mauling
rails, etc. His early education was meagre, but being called
upon to serve as juror, he was so inspired by the eloquence
of some of the attorneys in the case, that he resolved to be-
come a lawyer, and was admitted to the bar in 1851. .After
serving three years as probate judge, he resumed the prac-
tice of law and later entered the union army as second lieu-
tenant, being later promoted to captain of Company I. For-
tieth Ohio Volunteer Infantry. At the close of the war, he
resumed the practice of law and December, 1876, he assumed
editorial control of the Sunday Courier, a leading organ of
the Republican party of Darke county. He was three times
elected mayor of Greenville, and in 1868, the republicans of
Darke county presented his name in the fourth congressional
district of Ohio, but his competitor was nominated for con-


gress by a small majorit}-. He had a liberal share of the prac-
tice in this county and enjoyed somewhat more than a local
reputation as a criminal lawyer.

The third Probate Judge of Darke county was D. H. R.
Jobes, born in Montgomery county, September 14, 1829. His
parents being poor, he was early thrown upon his own re-
sources, but by faithful improvement of limited privileges
obtained a good education and for a number of years followed
the occupation of a teacher. In October, 1857, he was elected
probate judge of Darke county and ^served until February,
1867, during which time he devoted his spare time to reading
law under the direction of D. L. Meeker and was admitted to
practice in January, 1867. He formed a partnership with his
preceptor and so continuued until 1872. On January 1, 1875,
he formed a law partnership with C. M. Anderson, oi Green-
ville, which was dissolved by the death of ]\Ir. Jobes, Janu-
ary 13, 1877. On the occasion of his funeral, among other
remarks by members of the bar, J. R. Knox, Esq., said: "Dur-
ing the nine years of service as probate judge, I had frequent
occasion to appear before him and obser\'e his conduct in that
capacity and I take pleasure in this solemn hour as 1 have
always done, to say, that as by law recognized next friend of
the widow and guardian of the orphan the highest and most
sacred trust, which the law imposes upon that officer, and in
the various duties of his position, he was a careful, impartial
and vigilant accountant, and deserving the honored name of
a just and upright judge."

From. 1867 to 1868 John C. McKemy was probate judge,
serving until April, 1868 when he resigned to take his seat on
the common pleas bencli. A fuller account of him can be
found on preceding pages under my account of the common
pleas judges.

A. T. Bodle was appointed to serve fmrn April. 1868 to No-
vember of that 3'ear. Judge Bodle came to Darke county in
1845 and taught school for some years afterwards. He was a
man of strong mind, a ripe scholar, and a good reasoner. His
knowledge of the law was fair and his pleadings generally pre-
cise. He removed to Kansas in 1884 and died there recently.

The next probate judge was James T. Meeker, who was
born in Darke county in 1831 and was a school teacher in his
younger days. He read law, but made no application for ad-
mission to the bar until 1873, at which time he held the office
of probate judge. After filling a part of the term in 1868 he


was elected iOr a term of three years and then re-elected,
serving until 1876 or about seven years altogether. At the
completion of his term he formed a partnership with J. K.
Riffle, and engaged in the active practice of law. He was an
officer in the Greenville bank, a stockholder in the gas com-
pany and was for some years a member of the school board.
He died September 19, 1881.

In 1875 Dr. John A. Jobes, a republican, a brother of D. H.
R. Jobes was elected probate judge. He was born in Union,
Montgomery county, Ohio, April 28, 1828. He studied medi-
cine in his youth under Dr. Curtis Otwell and also taught
school. He was a graduate of a Cincinnati commercial col-
lege, and was a graduate from the Cleveland Medical College,
the Ohio Medical College of Cincinnati, and Bellevue Hospital
Medical College of New York, completing his course at the
later college in 1871. He was a physician and a surgeon in
the One Hundred and Fifty-second Ohio Volunteer Infantry
and was mustered out with the regiment in 1864, whereupon
he resumed the practice of medicine, which he continued until
February, 1876, when he was sworn in as probate judge. He
was re-elected in 1878 for an additional term of three years,
serving until 1882, after which he retired and later was dep-
uty probate judge 1900-1903, under his son, George A. Jobes.
He died in 1903, aged seventy-five years.

Hereupon a democrat was again elected. Judge Samuel L.
Kolp beginning his term in February, 1882, and serving for a
period of six years. Judge Kolp was born in Pennsylvania in
1832, of German parentage and while a young man emigrated
to Ohio and came to Yellow Sprint';s, Greene county, where
he followed his occupation of tailor. He removed later to
Miami county, thence to Darke, following the occupation of
farming. Later he removed to Greenville and resumed tailor-
ing until he entered the office of deputy probate judge under
James T. Meeker, in which capacity he also served until Dr.
J. A. Jobes until he succeeded him in 1882. During this time
he was a member of this city school board and later removed
to Union City, where he died.

In 1887 Dr. Lewis C. Anderson was elected probate judge
and served for a period of six years. He was born on a farm
in Montgomery county, moved to Ansonia at the age of twen-
ty-seven, after having attended National Normal University
at Lebanon, Ohio. He taught school several winters, then
took up the study of medicine and graduated from the Miami


Medical College in the spring of 1874 and pursued the prac-
tice of medicnie at his home in Ansonia for fourteen years.
Judge Anderson served his party as central committeeman
and on the county executive committee during several cam-
paigns. At the expiration of his term of office in 1894 he took
up the practice of medicine in the city of Greenville, enjoying
a lucrative practice until his death in July, 1908.

The next incumbent of the office of probate judge was
Joseph AI. Bickel, who was born in Darke county, December
2, 1852. His grandfather, Andrew Bickel, was a native of
Germany, whence he crossed the Atlantic to the new world,
and the father of Judge Bickel, Tobias Bickel, was born in
Pennsylvania in 1811. Joseph M. Bickel spent his early days
on the home farm, later attending the normal school at Ada,
where he prepared for teaching. From his eighteenth to his
thirtieth year, he taught school in Darke county and later
came to Greenville, reading law in the office of Hon. David L.
Meeker, being admitted to the bar in June, 1885. He entered
into partnership with Hon. M. T. Allen and Judge James I.
Allread, which connection was continued until Mr. Allen's re-
moval to California, when tlie firm name was changed to All-
read & Bickel : that partnership was continued until the junior
member was elected probate judge. He proved a very com-
petent and reliable official and at the expiration of his term he
resumed the practice of law and entered into a partnership
with Guy C. Baker, under the firm name of Bickel and Baker.

The record of Democratic successes in Darke county was
again broken in the fall election of 1899 when George A. Jobes
was elected to succeed Judge Bickel. George A. Jobes was
born at Palestine, Darke county, Ohio, and was a son of Dr.
John A. Jobes, who had been probate judge from 1876 to 1882.
He graduated from the Greenville high school in June, 1882,
and attended the Cincinnati Law School graduating from that
institution in 1887 and being admitted to the bar of Ohio in
the same year. Judge Jobes served only three vears, being
defeated in 1902 by his former opponent, D. Robeson. After
his retirement. Judge Jobes resumed the practice of law for a
number of years, but is now traveling immigration agent of
the Northern Pacific Railway Co.

For a period of six years from February, 1903 to 1909. Dr.
Donavan Robeson served as probate judge of Darke county to
the satisfaction of the people. His parents were Andrew
Robeson and Elizabeth (Reed) Robeson, who were both


reared in Darke county. Donavan Robeson's boyhood days
were occupied with limited schooling and unlimited hard
work, but he made the most of the opportunity at hand. After
teaching school several years alternating as was the custom
with farm work in summer, he took up the study of medicine,
completing a course at the Ohio Medical College and later a
year's study at Bellevue Medical College, New York City. In
May, 1895, he removed his office from Arcanum to Green-
ville and continued the practice of medicine with Dr. L. C.
Anderson. Always an active worker in the democratic party,
Dr. Robeson was recognized for his party service by election
to the office of probate judge for two full terms. His service
in this office were marked by firmness and courage to admin-
ister the law for the public interest and welfare.

The present probate judge is James B. Kolp, who was born
in Greene county, Ohio, September 3, 1857, removing a few
years later with his parents to Butler township, Darke county.
At the age of seventeen he was a school teacher, which occu-
pation he pursued until he entered the office of his father, the
late Judge Samuel L. Kolp, who had, as hereinbe'ore stated,
been elected probate judge in 1881. He served as a deputy
under his father for six years and later served one year with
Judge Anderson and six years with Judge Robeson, thus hav-
ing thirteen years' practical experience in the office before his
election as probate judge in 1908. Judge Kolp was elected by
seventeen hundred and seventy-six majority, the largest ever
given a candidate for that or any other office in Darke county.
He was re-elected to succeed himself in 1912 and has always
administered his office in a fair and impartial manner. His
term will expire February 8, 1917.

In concluding this review of the successive judges iif the
probate court in Darke county, we have no hesitancy in say-
ing that not only has the law governing decedents estates and
minors thrown every possible safeguard about their interests,
but the judges of Darke county have in addition faithfully and
impartially endeavored to discharge their duties, "\^'hile it
seems to be human nature for heirs and distributees to believe
and sometimes to assert that someone else has obtained a
greater share or been undulv favored, it is nevertheless true
that such charges are rarelv. if ever, well founded.


Federal Judges.

One of the most important branches of our judiciary is
the bankrupt court. Laws passed with a view to distributing
the property of an insolvent equitably among his creditors and
free the debtor from further obligation have been in force in
England for more than three centuries. They had their origin
in the Roman law. In England before 1841 only a tradesman
could be a bankrupt. This distinction was abolished in the
United States in 1869. Bankrupt laws were passed by our
congress in 1800, 1841 and in 1867, but repealed after a com-
paratively short operation.

The most recent act to establish a uniform system of bank-
ruptcy throughout the United States was passed by Isoth
houses of the fifty-fifth congress and by the approval of Pres-
ident McKinley became a law in 1898.

The oath of this office is historic and similar to that taken
by other officers of the federal judiciary and is as follows:

"I, , do solemnly swear that I will administer

justice without respect to persons, and do equal justice to the
poor and to the rich, and that I will faithfully and impartially
discharge and perform all the duties incumbent on me as ref-
eree in bankruptcy according to the best of my abilities and
understanding, agreeably to the constitution and laws of the
United States. So help me God."

Under an earlier law, John Devor was registrar in bank-
ruptcy from March, 1867 to September, 1878 and Elijah Devor
was his clerk. The incumbent of the position of referee in
Ijankruptcy in this county since 1898 is Elijah Devor, who
was born in Darke county, October 16, 1849. His father was
James Devor, one of our early pioneers and his grandfather
John Devor, was born in Pennsylvania and came to Darke
county in 1808. Elijah Devor obtained a common school edu-
cation, and at nineteen years of age commenced the study of
law with Allen and Devor. He attended the Cincinnati law
school one term, was graduated from the same and was ad-
mitted to the bar in April, 1871. The next year he was asso-
ciated with M. T. Allen as a partner and later practiced wnth
.■\. T. Bodle. He was treasurer of the Greenville gas company,
1880-1896 and United tSates commissioner, 1880 to 1896.


Prosecuting Attorneys.

One of the most important officers under our system of ad-
ministering justice is the prosecuting attorney, whose duty it
is to prosecute on behalf of the state all complaints, suits and
controversies in which the state is a party. There are other
suits, matters and controversies which he is directed by law to
prosecute within or without the coimty in the probate court,
common pleas court and circuit court. Xo one is eligible as
, a candidate for this office, who is not an attorney and coun-
selor at law, duty licensed to practice in this state and he shall
not be a member of the general assembly or mayor of any city
or village. The chief interest of the people in this officer is

Online LibraryThe Hobart publishing CompanyHistory of Darke County, Ohio, from its earliest settlement to the present time .. (Volume 1) → online text (page 43 of 57)