Ephraim John Pemberton


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, Illinois.
  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.

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