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Hox. Walteb T. Mebeick, a son of Jacob B. Merrick, a grandson of Isaac
Merrick and great grandson of Israel Merrick, Sr., was bom in Charieston township,
Tioga county, June 12, 1859. During the residence of his parents in the various
places where his father practiced dentistry, Walter T. attended the public schools.
He graduated from Grammar school, No. 2, Elmira, New York, in 1876, and subse-
quently took a course at the Elmira Free Academy, and the State Normal School at
Mansfield. After his father's death he adopted dentistry as his profession, removing
to Blossburg and practicing there with his brother, D. 0. Merrick. In 1881 he went
to Tioga and began reading law in the office of Charles H. Seymour, but his studies
were interrupted by the death of his perceptor, and he embarked in the real estate
business, in which he continued until 1885. From February, 1884, to October, 188.'),
he filled the secretaryship of Tioga borough. In the latter vear he went to Wellsboro
and there resumed the reading of law in the office of Merrick & Young. He was
admitted to the bar in 1886, and immediately returned to IMcjssburg and began the
practice of his profession. In 1892 he received the Republican nomination for the
legislature, and was elected to that position, leading the ticket, and was re-elected in
1894. During the last session of the legislature, he served on the following im-
portant committees: Appropriations, agriculture, congressional apportionment,
corporations, and education, and was reco;,'iuze(] as an able and etlicicnt number in
the committee room, and one of the leaders on the floor of the House. Mr. Merrick
served in the Republican State Convention of 1894, voted for Hastin^'s for governor,
and seconded the nomination of Jack Robinson for lieutenant governor. Though a
comparatively young man, Mr. Merrick is recognized as one of the leading spirits of
the Republican party in Tioga county. Believing in the principles of his party, he
has worked earnestly to secure their success at tiie polls. .\s a legislator he has en-
deavored to serve not only the people of his county, but of the entire State, and that
the popularity he enjoys is not confined to Tioga county was manifested in April,
1896, when he received the nomination for state senator without opposition in his
native county. The following August, at the fourth meeting of the senatorial con-
ference, at Coudersport, he was unanimously nominated, and on November 3d was
elected by a gratifying majority.

Hkn'ry a. Ashton was born in Livingston county, New York, August 27,
18G0, and is the youngest son of Norman A. Ashton. He was four years old when
his parents came to Tioga county, and he obtained his education in the common
district school of Chatham township, graded school of Elkland, and public school of
Wellsboro. He taught a term of school and then entered the store of Justus Dear-
man, of Knoxville, Pennsylvania, after wliose death he clerked for Albert Dearman
until April, 1883, when he opened a store at Little Marsh, in partnership with C. E.
Philbrick, which continued until the following September. His partner's interest
was then purchased by Joseph II. Ferris, and the firm of Ashton & Ferris continued
until 188.">, when Jlr. Ferris was elected sheriff of Tioga county. The store was then
sold and our subject began the study of law with Peek & Scovill, of Couders[>ort.
He was admitted to tlie bar in Sejitemljer, 188T, and to the Tioga county bar in De-
cember following, since which time ho has been located at Knoxville. Mr. Ashton
was married May 22, ]8S;i. to ^liniiie L. Ilo|>kins, a daughter of Clicster and Mary K.
(Blackinan) Hopkins, of Knoxville, and has one son, Chester H. Hi is one of the


leading Democrats of his locality, and in 1889 -was the nominee of his party for dis-
trict attorney, and received a full party vote. On October 31, 1893, he was ap-
pointed by President Cleveland postmaster of Knoxville, which office he still holds,
but also continues the practice of law. He has served as assessor of Knoxville for
six years, auditor three years, and town clerk and borough counsel for eight years.
Mr. Ashton has been a member of the Democratic county committee for several years,
was chairman of that body in 1895 and 1896, and still holds the position.

W. L. Sheaeek, the editor of the Bepublican Advocate, "Wellsboro, was admitted
to practice in 1886. After practicing a few months he engaged in the newspaper
busiaess to which he has since devoted his entire attention.

James H. Matson, a son of Edwin Matson, Sr., of Delmar, was admitted to the
bar May, 4, 1880, practiced in Wellsboro for a period, and was district attorney three
years. He was also associated with W. L. Shearer in the publication of the Bepub-
lican Advocate, of which he was editor from 1886 to 1891. He died in New Haven,
Connecticut, March 14, 1897.

D. C. Haehowee, a son of Hon. G. T. Harrower, of Lawrenceville, was admitted
November 30, 1887, and practiced in Lawrenceville until 1894, when he removed to
Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania.

Edwaed Howland Owlett, youngest son of Gilbert B. Owlett, Sr., was born
in Chatham township, Tioga county, November 23, 1859. His early life was passed
upon his father's farm, and his primary education was obtained in the neighboring
district school. Later he spent a year at the State Normal School, Mansfield, and
was graduated from the Central State Normal School, at Lock Haven, in 1883. The
three succeeding years were spent in teaching, after which he went to Wellsboro and
entered the ofiice of Hon. Henry Sherwood & Son, as a law student. He was admitted
to the bar of Tioga county in April, 1888, and in December, of the same year, formed
the present partnership of Sherwood & Owlett. Mr. Owlett was married Septem-
ber 8, 1891, to Miss Ida Wells, a daughter of Charles E. Wells, of Ulster, Pennsyl-
vania, and has two children, Gilbert M. and Cora. In politics, he is a Eepublican,
was elected to the office of district attorney in 1893, and filled the position a fuU
term of three years. Pie is one of the well-known and popular members of the bar,
and the firm of Sherwood & Owlett enjoys a good practice and an honorable place
among the legal fraternity.

Peedbeick Bigelow Smith was born in Tioga borough, Tioga county, Penn-
sylvania, April 3, 1863. He was educated in the High School, Tioga; Kinney and
Cascidilla preparatory schools, Ithaca, New York, and Cornell University. He
studied law in Tioga under his father, Frederick E. Smith, entered the law depart-
ment of Columbia College, New York City, in 1886, and graduated in 1888, with the
degree of A. B. He was admitted to the bar of Tioga county in 1888, and the State
Supreme Court in 1893. In October, 1889, he began the practice of his profession
in Tioga, where he still resides. Mr. Smith is a Eepublican in politics and is popular
with the people of the county. In November, 1896, he was elected one of the rep-
resentatives of the county in the state legislature.

Andeevt B. Dunsmgee was born in Morris Eun, Tioga county, Pennsylvania,
January 4, 1866, and is the seventh in a family of thirteen children, eight of whom
are living. His father, John Dunsmore, a native of Carnbrae, Lanarkshire, Scot-


land, came to Tioga county, Pennsylvania, in 1852, where he married Janet Baird.
He followed his previous occupation of a coal miner, and was superintendent of mines
at Amot, Tioga county, for the Blossburg Coal Company, from its organization
until 1876, when he purchased a farm in Covington township and followed agricul-
ture four years. He then accepted his former position with the Blossburg Coal
Company, which he held until 1885, when he returned to his farm in Covington.
Two years later he accepted the position of general superintendent for the Bloom-
ington Mining Company, at Glen Richey, Pennsylvania, where he died ilarch 30,
1895. Andrew B. was educated in the common schools of Blossljiirg, later attended
the State Normal School at ilansfield, and graduated in the class of 1884. The
following year he took a scientific course in the same institution. He next served
eighteen months as principal of the Amot public schools, and then s]>ent two years
on his father's farm. In the winter of 1887 he entered the law office of Mitchell &
Cameron, of Wellsboro, where he applied himself diligently to the study of law, and
was admitted to the bar of Tioga county in November, 18S0. He practiced with
David Cameron until the fall of 1893, when he opened his present office. Mr.
Dunsmore was married May 17, 1891, to Miss Sadie E. Ball, of Ilonesdale, Pennsyl-
vania. Politically, he is a Republican, and was a delegate to the Republican State
Convention in 1893, and the State Republican League the same year. In 1894 he
was chairman of the Republican county ((uniiiittee, and is one of the most active
workers in the party. In November, 18!)."), Mr. Dunsmore was elected district
attorney without opposition, and is now filling that office.

Frank H. Rockwell was bom at Cherry Flats, Tiopi county, March 3, 1865,
and is the only son of Silas S. Rockwell. lie was educated in the public schools
of his native township and the Wcllsbon^ High ScIkio], and later taught fnr several
terms in Tioga county. In the fall of 1889 he entered the law otlin' of Elli(jtt &
Watrous, was admitted to jinictice in January, 1891, and opened an oiBce in Wells-
boro, where he has since devoted his attention to his professional duties. On
November 18, 1891, he was appointed a notary public, and still acts in that capacity.
Mr. Rockwell married Lucy B. Bailey, a daughter of J. il. Bailey, of Charleston
township, Tioga county, and has two children, Emory P>. and Lora M. Mr. and
Mrs. Rockwell are members of the Jlethodist Episcopal church, and in politics, he
is a Republican.

Alfred J. Niles, second son of Gen. Jerome B. Niles, is a native of Wellsboro,
and was born November 27, 1866. After receiving his preparatory education in
the schools of his native town, he commenced reading law in his father's office. He
waa ^niiiluated from Harvard Ijaw School in 1891, and admitted tn the bar in '[s'.t2.
Receiving the appointment of assistant state bank examiner under Cnloncl Gilkeson,
he located in Pittsburg in 1894. In November, 1895, he was appointed assistant
solicitor for Pittsburg, and is now a resident of that city.

John II. Pi'tnam, son of Jonas G. and Sophia Putnam, was bom in Essex
county. New York, November 28, 1817. and was two years old when his parents
settled in Tioga. Here he grew to maturity and received a good English education,
studied law under Hon. John W. Cuernsey, of Tioga, and was admitted to the bar
of Tioga county in 1802. Ho at once commenced practice, openinj: an office in Tioga


borough, and has since built up a lucrative business. In 1871 Mr. Putnam married
Sophia Guernsey, a daughter of Hon. John W. and Susan Marriott (Morris) Guern-
sey. Her father was a well-known citizen of Tioga, and her mother was a daughter
of Judge Samuel Wells Morris, a pioneer of Wellsboro. They are the parents of
two children, viz: Morris Havens and Wistar Guernsey. In politics Mr. Putnam is
a staunch Eepublican, and has served as secretary of the borough of Tioga, and also
as a justice ol the peace from 1885 to 1890. He is a member of Tioga River Lodge,
No. 797, 1. 0. 0. F. Both he and his wife are adherents of St. Andrew's Protestant
Episcopal church, and he is recognized as one of the representative citizens of the

Chaeles N. Kimball was born September 20, 1872, in Parkville, Platte
county, Missouri. He received his education in the common schools, when he com-
menced reading law under the direction of Elliott & Watrous, Wellsboro, in August,
1891, and was admitted to the bar March 30, 1893. Mr. Kimball was twenty years
and six months old when he was admitted to practice, and so far as known is the
youngest man ever admitted to the bar of Tioga county. He has temporarily
given up practice and is now attending college.

H. F. Maesh, a previous member of the bar, has recently given up journalism
and returned to Wellsboro, where he is associated with Elliott & Watrous in the prac-
tice of law.

Leon Sevtbll Channell was born in Canton, Pennsylvania, May 23, .1868.
He graduated from the Canton High School in 1890, came to Wellsboro, read law
with his brother, S. F. Channell, and was admitted to practice in June, 1893. In
February, 1895, he located in Mansfield, where he has since practiced his pro-

Douglas H. Geiffin came from Canton in April, 1895, and formed a partner-
ship with Leon S. Channell, at Mansfield, which continued until Mr. Griffin's death,
from accidental shooting, in October of the same year. He was a bright and prom-
ising young lawyer.

Leon B. Feeet was born in Middlebury township, Tioga county, Pennsyl-
vania, August 3, 1867, and was educated in the common schools and the State Normal
School at Mansfield. In 1893 he began studying law under Elliott & Watrous, and
was admitted to practice in June, 1895. His office is with S. F. Channell, Wellsboro.

Ernest W. Gleckler, who was admitted in April, 1895, practiced for about six
months. Assuming the duties of cashier of the Wellsborough National Bank, he
has given his entire time to them, to the exclusion of the law.

Haeet N. Sheewood, son of Walter Sherwood, and grandson of the late Hon.
Henry Sherwood, was bom in Wellsboro, January 1, 1871, and was educated in the
Wellsboro High School. In 1890 he entered the office of Sherwood & Owlett as a
clerk, and in 1894 became a law student in the same office. In May, 1896, he was
admitted to practice, thus giving, until the death of his grandfather, three' genera-
tions of the Sherwood family living representatives in the Tioga county bar.

William M. Kehlee was born in L9ck Haven, Pennsylvania, October 7, 1864,
and -was educated at Williamsport Commercial College, graduating in 1882, and the
State Normal School at Mansfield, from which he graduated in June, 1893. In


April, 1894, he became a law student in the office of Sherwood & Owlett, Wellsboro,
and was admitted to the bar in June, 1896.

Chakles L. Fellows was bom June 14, 1871, in Canton, Pennsylvania, and
vras educated in the common and in the high schools of his native town. He also took
a course in the commercial college at Elmira. After reading law with J. \\. Stone, of
Canton, he was admitted to the Bradford county bar February 10, 1896. On No-
vember 7, 1896, he formed a partnership with the Hon. Walter T. Merrick, of Bloss-
burg, and on the 24th of the same month was admitted to the Tioga county bar.

Charles H. Cornelius, who was admitted to practice December 24, 1896, is
the youngest member of the Tioga county bar. He is a son of the late Joseph
Cornelius, of Elkland, and prepared himself for admissinn in the office of Merrick
& Young, making an excellent record as a student.

In addition to the foregoing, the following named persons have been admitted
to practice in Tioga county: Newell F. Higgin.s, who came from L'henango county,
New York, practiced in Lawrenceville from 1x29 to 1831, and then removed to
Williamsport. Norman H. Purple, a student of Iliggins, practiced in Lawrenceville
until 1837, removed to Peoria, Illinois, and was afterward elected to the circuit court
bench. E. W. Hazard, the first lawyer to locate in ilansfield, was there before 1840,
and remained several years. Victor A. Elliott began practice in Mansfield, but
removed to Denver, Colorado, where he has since served on the circuit court bench
and on the bench of the Supreme Court. A. J. Webster practiced in Mansfield from
1870 to 1873, and B. J. Coskey from 1890 to 1S!)4. Daniel W. Baldwin, a ri.'^ing
young lawyer, wns admitted to the bar April "i, IH.sc, and practices his profession at
Westfield, as does John T. McNeil, who is also a justice of tlie peace in that borough.
W. IT. Smith, a former member of the bar, is a practicing attorney in Hastings,
Nebraska. J. C. Strang, who served as judge at Lamed, Kansas, and is now a resi-
dent of Takoma, Washington, and James H. Shaw, now a resident of Canton,
Bradford county, Pennsylvania, were formerly raemliers of the Tioga county bar.

The following named persons, though admitted to the bar, did not engage in
active jiractice: Robert C. Simpson, deceased, of Wellsboro; Charles L. Pattison,
deceased, of Elkland; Simon B. Elliott, formerly of Mansfield, and Hugh Young,
the veteran bank examiner.

The following are the names of the present members of the Tioga county Imr:
J. W. Adams, Thomas Allen, Henry A. Ashton, John N. Baehe, D. W. Baldwin, H.
L. Baldwin, Clark W. Beach, A. S. Brewster, Da\'id Cameron, Leon S. Channell,
S. F. Channell, F. W. Clark, Charles H. Comelius, D. L. Deane, A. B. Dunsmore,
Mortimer V. Elliott. Charles L. Fellows, Leon B. Ferry, H. M. Foote, Ernest W.
Gleckler, John T. Gear, Jefferson Harrison, Charles X. Kimball, S. E. Kirkendall,
William M. Kchler, Harvey B. Leach, H. F. :Marsh, J. W. Mather, John T. ileXeil,
George W. Merrick, Walter T. Memck, Jerome B. Xilcs, Aaron R. Xiles, Alfred J.
Xiles, iMlwani 11. Owictt, Ilomec B. Packer, Burt M. Potter. John H. Putnam, A.
Rcdfield, Frank H. Rockwell, Xorman II. Ryan, John S. Kyon. Wallace P. Kyon,
Frank I>. Stl]ili, Alfred J. Shattiick, W. Jj. Shearer, Walter Sherwood, Harry X.
Sherwood, !■'. B. Smiih, Charles Tiilibs. Stephen 1' Wilson, R. T. Wood, Ezra B.
Young and Hugh Young.



During the early part of the January term, 1883, a movement was inaugurated
among the members of the bar having for its outcome the organization and incor-
poration of an association to embrace within its membership the practicing attorneys
of the county. A committee, consisting of Hon. Henry Sherwood, Frederick E.
Smith, and Eobert C. Simpson, was appointed to consider and report upon the mat-
ter. The report, which in due time was submitted, is, except the formal intro-
duction, as follows:

It would bring the members of the court and bar into closer and more intimate per-
sonal relations, and thereby soften down the asperities of practice and create a kinder
and more courteous bearing and consideration of each toward the others. Greater at-
tainments in legal knowledge and a higher standard of professional ethics should be the
primary object, but incidentally there might be the promotion of social enjoyment. We
assume that the lawyer who is faithful to his clients, attentive to his practice, and
diligent in season and out of season, has the right to a day for himself occasionally,
when he may throw off the harness, kick off his clients, and let himself loose, if he
chooses. The members of the bar, if they work together in the court room, have the
right to play together, if they desire to.

The association was organized, and on February 6, 1883, duly incorporated,
with the following officers and members: Henry Sherwood, president; Mortimer F.
Elliott, vice-president; Frederick E. Smith, secretary; Horace B. Packer, treasurer,
and Henry Allen, E. C. Simpson and A. S. Brewster, directors. The meetings of
the association are held in the library room at the court house. The annual dues
are $3.00, the fund thus derived being used to defray expenses and purchase books.
The library is well supplied with standard legal works and court reports, and is being
added to constantly.


The history of the bench and bar of Tioga county would be incomplete without
appropriate mention of John F. Donaldson, so long connected with the courts in an
official capacity. He was born in Danville, Pennsylvania, in 1805; learned the
printer's trade there; came to Wellsboro in 1837, and worked in the office of the
Phoenix and other papers for several years. He was sent to Wellsboro by Tunison
Coryell, of Williamsport (who was then publishing the Lycoming Gazette), in re-
sponse to a request of Judge Morris, Benjamin B. Smith, and others, who, having
purchased a press and materials, were about to start a paper in the place of the
Pioneer, and wanted a competent man to take charge of it. He proved a faithful and
valuable man.

Joseph Eitner was elected governor in 1835, and in January, 1836, he ap-
pointed Mr. Donaldson prothonotary and clerk of the several courts. When Gov-
ernor Porter came into office he removed Donaldson and appointed A. S. Brewster
to succeed him. But under the Constitution of 1838 the office had been made
elective, and at the October election of 1839 Mr. Donaldson was elected, and on
the first of December he entered upon hSs duties, and continued to hold the office
by re-election every three years till the general election in 1873, when he was beaten
by Gen. Eobert C. Cox.


Mr. Donaldson, it will be seen, held the office one term by appointment, and
was elected eleven times, making thirty-six years of service, thirtj'-three of which
were in one unbroken chain. He held office, therefore, longer than any other man
in the county since its organization. Counting his services as a subordinate clerk,
he was for more than fifty years identified with the legal history of the county, and
on account of his obliging and genial disposition, his memory is still fondly cher-
ished by those who were brought into contact with him.

Josiah Emery, who knew him throughout his entire official career, informs us
that almost every other man holding so good an office so long would have become
rich. But he succeeded in making a living, and that was all. It is no discredit to
his memory to say that he went out of office poor. He ought to have become rich.
Let us see if we can tell why he did not.

He never refused to enter a judgment or issue a process, except in some few
extreme cases, because the fees were not paid. His office was an office of general
credit. Any man could have credit for fees if lie asked for it. It was the same with
regard to state taxes on writs, or entry of judgments — taxes that became a charge
against him personally as soon as the entry was made. Tluse fifty-cent taxes and
these bills for fees were individually small, and individuals who were accommodated
by the credit did not deem them ui much account, and many of them forgot to pay
— forgot, may be, that they owed tax or fee. "They are not much, if I do not pay.
I have done him a good many favors, have electioneered for him, have helped to Lluct
him, and I don't think he ex])oct8 me to pay,'' they would reason with themselves.
He had thousands of such fiiends; and it is true they did electioneer for him, helped
elect him, and it may be that it was by an interchange of these little favors he was
kept so long in office.

But it was not wholly by these small indindual sums that he lust. There were
instances where fees and taxes accumulated until they became large in amount, with
the tacit if not express agreement that they were to balance certain claims against
him, which understanding was repudiated when too late to collect on his part.
Mr. Donaldson was always ready to accommodate by the loan of small sums of
money which he could never reasonably expect to be paid. It is believed that no man
ever aaked him to go his bail or to endorse for him that was refused. The fact is, he
waa always everybody's friend, and had almost everybody's friendship in the county,
and the result was he was just the man in those last thirty-three years no other man
in the county could beat, either by a nominating convention or at an election.

If any man vnW examine the docket for the many years he was prothonotary
and take an account of unpaid fees and taxes, he will find still enough unpaid to
have made the voti'ian comparativoly rich in his old age had they been paid up. A
lawyer once had occasion to look them up and was surprised at the amount. The
auditor jjt'iioral had stated his account and found a considerable sum due from him
to the State. Mr. Donaldson claimed that it was wrong and asked for a re-state-
ment. This the auditor general refused, though Mr. Donaldson produced a receipt
for some $700 that had not been credited; but as this amount had been paid to the
attorney general of the State, and not paid over by him to the treasurer, the
auditor general refused to allow it, though admitting that it was rightfully chargeable
to the State, alleging that to credit it would be charging it to the treasurer, who

Online LibraryEmanuel SwedenborgHistory of Tioga County, Pennsylvania → online text (page 24 of 163)