Taken from: "Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois, edited by Newton Bateman,
LL.D., and Paul Selby, A.M.; and History of Schuyler County", edited by Howard
F. Dyson, 1908, page 902; a reprinted by Stevens Publishing Company, Astoria,
Illinois, 1970, is sold by the Schuyler County Historical Society, Rushville,
Pemberton, Judge Ephraim John. (deceased). - From the time of his
admission to the Bar of Illinois in December 1861, Ephraim John Pemberton
was an increasingly important factor in law, politics, education and good
government in Rushville. In the life of this County Judge of more than
a decade and old time practitioner, are many lessons of vital worth for the
young man about to embark upon a legal career. Chief among these is
the necessity for an earnest and absorbing purpose, and a determination to
invest the calling with the best that work and brain can accomplish.
The habits of thrift, and the economy of time and labor and industry, which
rendered Judge Pemberton so useful a citizen, were fostered and developed
on a farm in Illinois to which he came with his parents when a year old from
Knox County, Ky., where he was born April 13, 1834. His father, Thomas
Pemberton, was a native of West Virginia, and his mother Deborah (Moore)
Pemberton, was born in North Carolina. The family settled on land in
Oakland Township, Schuyler County, where Ephraim gained his first knowledge
of books in the subscription schools, and which surroundings he eventually
outgrew, to embark upon the more strenuous business of legal procedure.
At an early stage in his professional career, Mr. Pemberton became
interested in politics, readily discerning that the most superior compensations
of his calling went hand in hand with party affairs. He began to practice
during the first year of the Civil War, and in September of the last year
of the war, he was elected County Judge of Schuyler County on the Democratic
ticket, and served continuously for seventeen years.
In addition to a general practice of law, he served as Justice of
the Peace, member of the Town or City Council, and member of the Board of
Trustees of the Rushville Union School for many years. His services
were characterized by conscientiousness, more than average insight and intelligence,
and faithfulness to whatsoever might contribute to the permanent well being
of the community. He had a thorough grasp of the technicalities and
intricacies of law, and of their application to the various complications
which come up for adjustment. As a judge his rulings were rarely contested,
and were invariably moderate, wide and according to the law.
The marriage of Judge Pemberton and Tennessee J. Hills was solemnized
April 2, 1862, Mrs. Pemberton being a native of Schuyler County, and educated
in its district schools. Mrs. Pemberton departed this life March 28,
1881, leaving three children: Henry T., Effie I., and Nora J., the latter
of whom is deceased. Judge Pemberton was one of the very familiar figures
upon the streets and in the courts of Rushville, and it is safe to say that
no professional man in the town was a more dignified or upright acquisition
to the calling. He invariably stood for conservative, thoughtful progress,
and was never known to let his enthusiasm or desire for publicity bias or
mislead his judgement. He died of pneumonia, February 27, 1907, after
an illness of five days, aged seventy-two years, ten months and fourteen
days. The surviving members of the family: Henry J., Effie I.
(Mrs. Dieterich), and a granddaughter, Nora J. Kerr.