pub Chas. C. Chapman & Co..

History of Tazewell county, Illinois ; together with sketches of its cities, villages and townships, educational, religious, civil, military, and political history; portraits of prominent persons and biographies of representative citizens. History of Illinois ... Digest of state laws online

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Online Librarypub Chas. C. Chapman & Co.History of Tazewell county, Illinois ; together with sketches of its cities, villages and townships, educational, religious, civil, military, and political history; portraits of prominent persons and biographies of representative citizens. History of Illinois ... Digest of state laws → online text (page 37 of 79)
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retired from active life. He was one of the ablest lawyers in the
State, and one whose ability and legal knowledge placed him in the
front rank of his profession. The Judge had a mania for whittling,
and Court never moved smoothly until the Sheriff had placed a
number of white pine shingles beside the wool-sack, when the
evolution of law and pine shavings proceeded Avith equal dignity
and composure.

John Pearson. — The Hon. John Pearson succeeded Judge Logan.
He is spoken of as a man of good ability and a good Judge, but
was not popular with the people on account of his inability to
accommodate himself to their ways and primitive civilization. The
court-houses were rude buildings with but few of the conveniences
considered necessary at the present time, and Judge Pearson, not
content with the chair provided for the Court, refused to sit until
a rocking-chair was procured for his use, which desire for personal
comfort led to a great deal of unfavorable comment among the

Jesse B. Thomas. — The Hon. Jesse B. Thomas was the next


Judge and presided for several years. He was one of the most
active men ever upon the bench. He allowed no delays, and his
executive ability is highly praised. At one term of Court in this
couutv he cleared the docket of some 500 cases and did much to
avoid the delays so tedious to litigants. Judge Thomas was Presi-
dent of the first Constitutional Convention of the State, and in
whatever position called served with distinction.

William Thomas. — The Hon. William Thomas served as Judge
but few terms owing to some change in the judicial circuit, and was
scarcely identified with the legal interests of this county.

Samuel H. Treat. — The Hon. Samuel H. Treat next came on
this Circuit and served until 1848, when the Judges were elected in
accordance with the provisions of the new constitution then adopted.
Judge Treat was afterwards appointed to the bench of the United
States Court, at Springfield, which position he still holds. He is a
close observer of men and times, and is considered one of the ablest
and most upright judges in our entire judiciary.

David Davis. — The Hon. David Davis was elected Judge of
this Circuit in 1848, and so remained until 1857. On first coming to
Illinois Judge Davis settled in Pekin, but shortly afterwards re-
moved to Bloomington. Early in Lincoln's administration he was
appointed to the United States Supreme Court from which he re-
signed in 1877, being elected in that year to the United States
Senate from Illinois. He was much inclined to indolence while
Judge of this Circuit, and required a great stimulus to exertion, but
he discharged very acceptably the onerous duties of his office.

James Harriott. — The Hon. James Harriott was elected to suc-
ceed Judge Davis in 1857. He came to this county in 1849, having
previously served a term in the State Legislature from the district
surrounding Jerseyville. He was the first Judge of the old 21st
Circuit, including the counties of Tazewell, Mason, Menard and
Cass. He filled the office for over 10 years and was highly respected
for his sterling good sense and discernment, and was well liked by
the Bar and the people. He died at his home in Pekin in the year

Charles Turner. — The Hon. Charles Turner was elected over
Judge Harriott in 1867. Judge Turner came to this State from
Ohio, 1851, and practiced law until 1862, when he entered the army,
serving three years and attaining the rank of Brev. Brig. General.
On his return he again pursued the practice of law, and was elected


CountyTrcasurer in 1865, when he resigned to accept the Judgeship
in 1867, and served until 1873, when the circuit was changed from
the 21st to the 12th.

John Burns. — Hon. John Burns in 1873 was elected over Judge
Turner, and is now one of the three Judges of what is known as
the 8th Circuit, being composed of the counties of Tazewell, Peoria,
Woodford, Marshall, Putnam and Stark. His term expires in June
of this year, and he is now (April, 1879) a candidate for re-election.
He is an able lawyer, an upright judge, and has proven very accept-
able to the people of this circuit.

Among the lawyers who were prominently known at this Bar
during and previous to the time when Judge Treat held Court at
Tremont were, Lincoln and Douglas, whose names and history have
become a part of that of our country ; George Farquhar, at one
time Secretary of State ; John T. Stewart, now of the firm of
Stewart, Edwards & Brown, Springfield, Illinois, and for many years
in Congress ; Daniel Stone and Thomas Nealc ; A. F. Hubbard,
during 1826 ad interim Governor of the State, and who precipitated
the celebrated case of Ewing vs. Farquhar, which called into ques-
tion the construction of Art. 3 of Sec. 18 of the then Constitution;
Edward Baker, Senator from Oregon, who was killed at Ball's Bluff
during the war for the Union ; Col. John J. Hardin, killed during
the Mexican War at Buena Vista ; Wm. A. McDougal, afterwards
United States Senator from California; Judge Dunmur, David Pick-
ett, Alexander Herring, A. L. Davidson, W. H. Purple, O. H.
Merryman and others whose history is coeval with that of the early
days of the county.

Among those of a later day who have either died or removed from
the county are the following :

Echcard Jones, who came to this county about 1830 and was
among the first Circuit Clerks. He was a captain in the Mexican
War, a man of fine education, a natural lawyer, and in the days of
the strict common law pleadings was without a peer at the local
Bar. He died at an early age, the victim of those habits which are
too frequently the accompaniment of brilliant and distinguishing
qualities of mind.

B. F. James, who was County Judge in 1850, in 1852 moved to
Chicago, but now lives in Washington, D. C.

W. D. Briggs, who was among the first County Judges, was a fine
business lawyer and a man well liked. He died in 1854.


Wm. Furguerson, a very able and talented man, but was unfortu-
nately killed in a duel in California.

Ashiel Gridley and Wm. Holmes, who moved to Bloomington,
some years since.

A. H. Saltonstall, who practiced several years in Tremont, and
died in 1855.

William B. Parker and his son Edward Parker, men of fine edu-
cation and good abilities, but who lacked the perseverance so neces-
sary to the success of a lawyer. They died respectively in the years
1873 and 1874.

Samuel W. Fuller, who came from the East in 1851, and was
elected to the State Senate in 1856. In 1858 he removed to Chicago,
where he resided up to the time of his death, in 1873. Mr. Fuller
was an able and accomplished lawyer, and at the time of his death
had a reputation second to none in the State.

Samuel P. Bailey settled in Pekin about 1830 and practiced law
up to the time of his death in 1869. Mr. Bailey was an omnivorous
reader, and was probably the most widely read lawyer at the Bar,
but he lacked practical application and could in no way utilize the
immense stores of his knowledge ; and the learning which would
have given him the highest place as an advocate, was rendered val-
ueless because it availed him but little in the practical discharge of
the duties of his profession.

Richard W. Ireland came to Pekin about 1848 or 9 and was Clerk
of the County Court. At different times in his life he was associated
with prominent attorneys as a partner and was a very successful
office lawyer. He removed to Tremont a short time previous to his
death, in 'l 869.

James Roberts was admitted to the Bar in Missouri, in 1849, but
removed to Pekin in June, 1852. He was a man of fine abilities, to
which he united the most studious habits. He prepared his cases
with the most painstaking accuracy, and his knowledge of the law
was such as could only be gained by the severest application. He
built up one of the largest and most lucrative practices ever con-
trolled by any one lawyer, but his career was cut short at the early
age of 33 years by his death from overwork. He practiced in the
Supreme Court of the United States, being engaged in the cases
concerning the patents of the Illinois Harvesters, which at that
time attracted great attention.

Hon. Sabill J), Puterbaugh wag admitted to the bar in Pekin, and


in 1857 formed a partnership with Samuel W. Fuller, and after its
dissolution he removed to Peoria where he still resides. He was
elected Judge in that circuit for one term of six years. He is the
author of Puterbaugh's Pleadings and Practice, a work of merit
and which is in general use throughout the State.

Joseph Hanna came to this county from McLean about 1859 as
a partner of Hon. J. B. Cohrs, under the name of Cohrs &
Hanna. Mr. Hanna was a young lawyer of great promise, but on
the breaking out of the war he enlisted in the army and was killed
at Fort Donelson.

Richard W. Williams, one of the finest educated men, and one of
the best speakers at the Bar, came from the South to Pekin in 1866,
He died suddenly in the summer of 1873.

Abram Bergen came to Pekin in 1862, and shortly afterwards was
appointed States Attorney to fill the vacancy caused by the absence
of Major Fullerton in the army. In 1865 he moved to Minnesota,
and was there elected to the State Senate. He again moved, going
to Kansas, and from there was appointed to a judgeship in New
Mexico, but finding the position distasteful he resigned and returned
to Kansas, where he now resides. Mr. Bergen is an excellent law-
yer, and the various distinguished offices he has filled mark him as a
man of no ordinary ability.

Cassius G. Whitney was admitted to the Bar in 1869, and was
elected States Attorney of the 21st Circuit in 1868. In 1872 he
removed to Cass county, taking a very prominent part in the county-
seat contest between Virginia and Beardstown, which was finally
decided in favor of Virginia, where Mr. Whitney now resides. He
is a young man of talent and a leading lawyer in his county.

Charles Tinney was admitted to the Bar in 1870, practiced in
this county awhile and then removed to Virginia, and is now the
junior partner in the firm of Whitney & Tinney.

Frank Purple read with Messrs. Roberts & Green and after his
admission to the Bar, in 1869, became a partner in the firm. He
finally removed to Peoria and has since forsaken the law for other

Thomas W. Mehan was admitted to the Bar in 1868; was elected
to the office of City Attorney for one term and remained here until
1876, when he removed to Mason, and is now States Attorney for
that county.

William A. Mehan v^as admitted in 1870. He still resides in this
county though not engaged in active practice.


JSIias C. Brearley was admitted to the Bar in 1861 in the State of
New Jersey. He practiced in Pekin several years in the firm of
Brearley & Henry, then at Jacksonville and Washington City.
He is now located in Leadville, Colorado.

M. 31. Bassett was admitted in 1870, and removed to Peoria
where he is still engaged in the practice.

Henry P. Finnigan was admitted to the Bar in 1868. He had
served as Circuit Clerk in this county. He removed to Lincoln,
Nebraska, about 1870, where he resided up to the time of his death,
in 1878.

Albert J. Ware came to this Bar in 1868, and was for some time
associated as a member of the firm of Prettyman & Ware. He
practiced here until the spring of this year when he removed to
Leadville, Colorado, his present home.

George B. Foster was admitted to the Bar in 1869, and practiced
in Pekin until 1877, when he moved to Peoria and became a mem-
ber of the firm of Johnson & Foster.

The Bar of the county has always maintained a high standard of
legal excellence, and that it has not diminished will be seen by the
present able representation.

Hon. B. S. Prettyman came from New Castle, Delaware, in 1831,
and commenced the practice of law in 1845. Mr Prettyman's inter-
ests have always been identified with those of Pekin, which has been
his home since coming to this county. He is an able lawyer and in
the matter of real estate law has scarcely an equal in the State.

Wm. A. Tinney came to this State from Kentucky in 1833, and in
1834 he was elected to the office of sheriff, which he held until 1840,
but was beaten in "the coon-skin campaign." He then removed to
Washington where he opened a country store. In 1846 he enlisted
for the Mexican war. On his return he opened the Eagle House,
and at one time owned and conducted the Bcmis House. In 1861
he was elected Justice of the Peace and also Police Magistrate,
which he still retains. In 1865 he was admitted to the Bar but has
practiced but little, being principally occupied in the discharge of
the duties of his office.

Judge David Kyes was Sheriff of the county in 1852. At the
expiration of his terra he moved to Washington where he carried on
a grocery store until 1857, when he was admitted to the Bar. In
1860 he was elected to the State Legislature, and in 1865 to the
office of County Judge, which he hel4 for 12 years. He is now en-


gaged in the practice of the law, having discharged the duties of his
various offices to the entire satisfaction of his constituents.

Hon. Ccesar A. Roberts came to Tazewell county from Missouri
in 1850, and practiced medicine up to 1858. In 1859 Mr. Roberts,
in company with a large number of the citizens of Tazewell, was
attracted to Colorado by the promising mining prospects. At a
convention on the 11th of July the same year, and of which Mr.
Priscoif, the present Mayor of Denver, was president, he was ap-
pointed to and drafted a code of mining laws, many of which are
still in force, and was then elected Recorder of Claims in the district
surrounding Central City. Later in the same year he returned to
Illinois, and in 1860 was admitted to the Bar. In 1864 he was
States Attorney for the 21st Circuit, and in 1870 became a member
of the State Legislature and served through the long session of the
27th General Assembly, engaged in revising the statutes in accord-
ance with the new constitution of 1870.

Judge Wm. Don Maus came to Illinois from Pennsylvania and
was admitted to the Bar in 1857. He was appointed Master in
Chancery by Judge Harriott, and filled that office for ten years, or
during the entire term of that Judge on the bench. In 1863 he
was elected County Judge, to fill the unexpired term of Wm.
Tackaberry, then recently deceased.

Nathaniel W. Green came to Illinois from New Jersey and was
admitted to the Bar in 1856. He practiced in Delavan, in this coun-
ty, until 1865, when he removed to Pckin and became a member of
the firm of Roberts & Green. Although frequently solicited, Mr.
Green has refused to accept any official position, and has confined
himself exclusively to the practice of the law.

Hon. John B. Cohrs was born in South Carolina, and at an early
age removed to New York where he received a collegiate education.
He then came to McLean county where he engaged in farming, but
shortly afterwards sold his farm, read law in Bloomington, Illinois,
and was admitted in 1859, when he came to this county as a mem-
ber of the firm of Cohrs & Hanna. In 1864 he was elected to the
State Senate. He is now a prominent candidate for the Judgeship
in this Circuit.

Hon. Abial B. Sawyer was admitted to the Bar in 1861. He has
made a specialty of Real Estate and Collection law. In 1877 he was
elected Mayor of Pekin, which he held one term.

Capt. Wilbur F. Henry came from Ohio to Illinois, and was ad-


mltted to the Bar in 1866; is a graduate of the Ohio State and
Union Law College. He served three years in the Army and was
Captain of Company "B," 108th Illinois volunteers; was Master
in Chancery from September 1867 to 1873, and was States Attorney
for this county from 1872 to 1876.

William S. Kellogg was admitted to the Bar in this county in 1869
and practiced until 1876, when he was appointed Deputy Circuit
Clerk, in which capacity he now acts.

Collins J. Elliott was admitted to the Bar in 1862. He has sever-
al times filled the office of City Attorney, and is still engaged in the
law practice in Pekin.

Henry T. Spoonhoff was born in Amsterdam, Holland, in 1834.
He came to America and was admitted to the Bar of this county in

Gurdon T. Saltonstall was admitted to the Bar in 1866, and in
1877 was appointed Master in Chancery for this County by Judge
Burns, which position he still holds.

Judge A. W. JRodecker was admitted to the Bar in 1868, and in
1877 was elected County Judge as successor of Judge Kyes. Judge
Rodecker was a member of the Board of School Inspectors for 7
years, and to his energy and ability may be attributed much of the
excellence of the public schools of Pekin'

John H. Pirkey was born in Virginia and came to Illinois at an
early age. In 1862 he enlisted in the Army under the " 600,000
call," and served three years. In 1875 he was admitted to the Bar
in the State of Missouri. Shortly afterwards he came to Illinois
and engaged in school teaching, and in 1879 he was admitted to the
Bar in this county. Mr. Pirkey has been principal of the public
schools for several years, but contemplates soon to engage in the
active practice of his profession.

James Haines, Sr., came to Pekin about 1849 and was admitted to
the Bar in 1850. He practiced several years when he engaged in
the Banking and Insurance business, and since then he has not
resumed the practice of the law.

William T. Stansberry came to this State from Ohio, in 1848, and
was admitted to the Bar in 1849. He has engaged but little in
the practice, having turned his attention to mercantile pursuits.

Cornelius Mihigan was admitted to the Bar in 1876.

Hon. William R. Hall was first admitted to the Bar in this State
in 1871, and went to Missouri but returned to the Bar of this county


in 1871. He was elected City Attorney for one term, and is a
member at present of the House of Representatives from this district.

W. L. Preityman was admitted to the Bar in 1871, and was elect-
ed to the office of States Attorney for this County in 1876.

George C. Rider came from New York to Illinois in 1870, and
was admitted to the Bar in 1873. He was first elected to the office
of City Attorney in 1873, which office he has filled for 5 years, and
has now entered upon his fourth term.

Chsar A. Roberts, Jr., was admitted to the Bar of this State in
June, 1878.

The Bar at Delavan is represented by Mr. M. D. Beecher, who
was admitted to the Bar in 1869 ; by W. R. Curran, who came to
this county from Livingston county in 1876, and by Edward
Reardon, who was admitted to the Bar in 1876, and associated with
Mr. W. R. Curran under the name of Curran & Reardon. And at
Washington, Illinois, by Matthew Craig, who was admitted to the
Bar in 1870; by J. W. Dougherty, who was admitted in 1875 and
acted as Master in Chancery in this county for four years, and by
Mr. William Dougherty, who was admitted in 1877, but who is now
engaged in teaching in the College at Quincy, Illinois,

Thus closes the complete roll, as we believe, of judges and attor-
neys who have presided at the courts of Tazewell county or pleaded
at its Bar. *


Among the notable days in the early history of the county, was
court day. The convening of Court was one of the events of the
year. On that day nearly everybody gathered at the county-seat.
If a settler happened not to be on a jury, or a witness, or a suitor,
he felt it his bounden duty to " go to Court," to see and hear what
was going on. It answered the place of the shows and circuses of a
later day, and perhaps was as instructive if not as entertaining.
When Court was over, in the evening the Judge, lawyers and citi-
zens congregated in the bar-rooms of the taverns, where stories
were told and the evening spent in conversation. These seasons
were accounted the most enjoyable of pioneer life, and when we
consider the men who were there to edify and please the crowd, with
their stories and anecdotes, we may well consider court days as pos-
sessing an interest of no little merit. There was Lincoln and
Douglas, two of the greatest statesmen the world has ever known.


and both of whom possessed an inexhaustible fountain of anecdotes.
It is said the immense fund of anecdotes possessed by the late Pres-
ident Lincoln was largely derived from collections made while " on
the circuit." Then there was Baker, Stewart, Lockwood, Farquhar,
the comical Hubbard, Hardin, Treat, Logan and Davis, and
others who could relate as good a story as ever was heard. Who
would not love to sit at the feet of such men and listen to their
arguments, their general conversation and their stories. Abraham
Lincoln was attending Court at Tremont, in 1842, when Gen. Shields
sent him the challenge to fight their famous duel. Many of the
older citizens remember this exciting: occurrence.

In speaking of the Circuit Courts in the very earliest settlement
of this part of the State, before Tazewell county was organized,
Nathan Dillon said: "In those days (1824) when we could not get
the store room of Hamlin or Allen, or the dwelling house of John
Dixon, we held our courts on the river bank ; not being as wealthy
or strong handed as in Sangamon, we had to do without a court-
house. Judge Sawyer was our circuit Judge, and it was some time
before we could scare up a jury. At that date there was not a
cabin on the site of the city of Pekin, and perogues were the only
crafts we had to freight our whisky, salt and iron from the State to

Nathan Dillon was a Justice of the Peace for many years in the
early history of the county, and in an action for debt always ren-
dered decision in favor of the plaintiff. He did so on the grounds,
as he would say, " that if the defendent had never owed the plaintiff
he certainly would not have sued him." That was his logic, which
overruled good evidence to the contrary.

'squire tinney as an instructor.

At the June term of the County Commissioners' Court the Judges
placed 'into the hands of a young aspirant of the legal profession
the following commendation :

" Whereas, J. Farnham is a gentlemen of respectability, honest,
and of good repute ; and, whereas, he is desirous of practicing in
Court, therefore, he is recommended to the Justices of the Supreme
Court as a man worthy to be admitted to practice in said Court."

Armed with this document Farnham was admitted. No doubt
he was a promising young sprig of the law, or else we believe the
Commissioners had refused to grant him a recommend. But he


had some practical knowledge to gain, and this essential part of his
education 'Squire Wni. A. Tinney undertook to supply. It is true
he received but one lesson from the 'Squire, but let us hope that it
was so eifective, and made so strong an impression upon his mind,
that he never needed another.

It was in a suit for debt that Farnham received this lesson.
'Squire Tinney was at the time Sheriff of the county, and had levied
upon a fine team and carriage belonging to the defendant in the
suit. He proceeded to call a jury of disinterested persons to decide
the matter. The defendant had secured the services of Farnham
to defend his interests. The latter, being but just admitted to the
bar, endeavored to show off his legal knowledge, and consequently
was a great stickler to red tape. As might have been expected, he
used the privilege of objecting to one of the jurymen. This, of
course, delayed the case for several days, for it must be remembered
a petit jurv could not be gathered so quickly as at the present time.
The Sheriff was put to considerable trouble in impaneling another
jury, but finally the case was again opened when Farnham objected,
as usual. Of course, this was mere pettifogging, and merely done
to provoke and harass. A third jury w^as called, and Farnham
began, "I object" — but forbearance could endure no more, and
Sheriff Tinney gathered up a chair and laid the legal gentlemen
sprawling upon the floor. That trial was ended. Farnham soon
thereafter sought the exhilerating atmosphere of Oregon, and was
never heard of afterwards by any of the Tazewell county Bar.



THIS township is situated in the southern portion of Tazewell
county. In point of acres under cultivation it is not surpassed

Online Librarypub Chas. C. Chapman & Co.History of Tazewell county, Illinois ; together with sketches of its cities, villages and townships, educational, religious, civil, military, and political history; portraits of prominent persons and biographies of representative citizens. History of Illinois ... Digest of state laws → online text (page 37 of 79)