The Bench and Bar
The Circuit Court
The Probate Court
The Common Court
C. ADAMS, Attorney at law in
Vincennes, Ind., was born on a farm, eleven miles from Torre
Haute, Ind., April 30, 1850. He is a son of J. P. and Frances
(Ivey) Adams. John C. was a bound boy from six to thirteen years
of ago. He continued farm work until about nineteen years old,
and then entered the Ascension Seminary at Farmersburg, Sullivan
Co., Ind, and remained there three years, when he went to
Pittsburgh. Penn., and took a business course in the Iron City
Commercial College, during the winter of 1872-73, and later
taught school in the Sullivan public schools. In the summer of
1873 he began reading law in the office of Buff & Buff, of
Sullivan, but taught school more or less until 1877. In the
spring of that year he was admitted to the Knox County, bar. In
1881 ho took charge of the Vincennes Commercial, but is now
engaged in the practice of his profession. He was married, in
1875, to Sarah, daughter of CoL J. L. Culbertson. She was born
in Knox County in 1853, and has borne her husband these four
children: Eloise, Reily,Emily and George. Mr. Adams is a
Republican in politics, and is a worthy citizen of this town and
Cyrus M. Allen was a native of Clarke County, Ky., and came to Indiana about 1838, and first located at Paoli, and afterward at Petersburg, but in 1843 removed here and commenced the practice and continued until his death. He was not a first-class lawyer, so far as reading and learning were concerned, and his main forte was as an advocate. Whilst not an orator or even a pleasing or agreeable speaker, he possessed a certain suave and familiar address, which gained him favor with juries and rendered him a formidable opponent at the bar. He did not confine himself to his profession, but was largely interested in contracts in building the Ohio & Mississippi Railroad and the Indianapolis & Vincennes Railroad and other roads. He represented this county twice in the State Legislature, and during the regular and special sessions of 1861 was speaker of the House. He was secretary of the Knox Insurance Company when it failed, and it required all his tact and skill to pacify the creditors of the concern who came to collect their claims. He was the Republican candidate for Congress in this district in 1864, and ran against Judge Niblack. They made a joint canvass of the district . He was only defeated by a majority of about 1,500 in a strong Democratic district and always claimed he would have been elected had not a "rebel raid" in Kentucky, just before the election, assisted Judge Niblack by preventing soldier friends from leaving the front and coming home to vote. He died in this city November 2, 1883.
John Baker was elected by the people in 1864, and served one full term of six years. He was born in Woodford County, Ky., near Versailles, October 12, 1812, and came to Indiana in 1815. He had, in youth, but limited educational advantages. He first learned the stone-mason trade and followed that occupation until after he arrived at full age. He commenced the study of law after his marriage. He then resided in Orange County,this State. But he studied hard, and possessing a strong mind, sound judgment and a good memory, he made rapid progress and soon took rank as an able lawyer and managed his cases with skill. As a judge he gave very general satisfaction, and was prompt in the discharge of his duties and disposed of business rapidly and satisfactorily. He resided and practiced law for many years in Bedford, Lawrence Co., Ind. He removed to Vincennes in 1859 and resided here until about three years ago, when he removed to Washington, where he now resides engaged in the practice of his profession.
Orlan F. Baker was born in Paoli, Orange County, Ind., August 4, 1843. He was admitted to the bar August 18,1863, and with the exception of a few years' residence in Indianapolis, has continued in the practice of law in Vincennes. He possesses a quick and active mind, and can without much study or reflection form his opinion and theory of a case. He has gained his greatest reputation as an advocate. He is a fluent and graceful speaker and commands the choicest language to express his ideas. His fine delivery has gained for him the appellation of "the silver tongue." He represented this county in the House of the State Legislature, in 1867. He was also city attorney of Vincennes.
Thomas H. Blake came to this place from Washington City, where his father was at one time mayor. He was admitted to the bar in our circuit court May 27, 1816. He afterward removed to Terre Haute. He was an educated and accomplished man, and ambitious to a fault. He was of splendid personal appearance, fully six feet high and straight as an arrow. He was a perfect gentleman and honorable in all his dealings. He soon showed a decided preference for political distinction, and, after several unsuccessful efforts, was returned to the Twentieth Congress, in 1827, from this district. He was afterward appointed commissioner of the general land office. He died when yet comparatively a young man.
Isaac Blackford, the first one of the line, was a native of New Jersey, and a graduate of Princeton College. He located at Vincennes and began the practice of law while Indiana was a territory. He was small of stature and thin in person, and as void of surplus flesh as his decisions of surplus verbiage. He was not a speaker in any respect, and was a man of few words and to the point. He held many official positions. He represented thecounty in the Legislature, and was speaker of the House at the first session under the State government. He was appointed a judge of the supreme court of the State, to fill the vacancy caused by the death of John Johnson, September 10, 1817, and was continued by successive elections on the supreme bench until January 3, 1853. He was subsequently appointed a judge of the Federal court of claims, and died while still a member of that court. He was very economical in his habits and always wore a black suit glossy from long use, and a black silk hat well worn from frequent brushings. As a consequence he amassed a large fortune. He married a Miss Johnson of this county, but their marital relations were not pleasant and they ceased to live together before her death. His wife and only child, George, died in this county long before he died. He was thought by many, at the time he was appointed supreme judge, as too young for that high judicial station, but he fully realized the expectations of his friends, and his enduring reputation will rest upon the decisions delivered by him while a judge of that court, and the eight volumes of reports of its decisions which he published.
William P. Bryant was judge of our circuit court for two years. During his occupation of the bench but little business of any exciting or important nature occupied the attention of the court.* That he discharged his duties acceptably is attested by the fact that his official course never provoked criticism or censure. We do not know where he resided when he was judge of this circuit, but have always been of the impression that he resided in Rockville, Parke County.
John M. Boyle was born in the city, in March, 1837. He was educated in Danville, Ky. He is a grandson of John Boyle, the first chief justice of the court of appeals of Kentucky. He graduated at the law department of the State University. He was admitted to this bar August 7, 1866. He has always been a student and has mastered the legal science by diligent application. He is generally regarded by the profession as a good judge of legal questions. He was elected city attorney of Vincennes in 1871, and has been re-elected successively to the present. When first elected he at once applied himself to the study of the particular branches of the law most likely to require his official attention, and is now the best posted of any member of the bar on corporation law.
Alexander Buckner came from Louisville, Ky. He was connected with the wealthy and influential families of Buckner and Sullivan of that State. He remained here but a short time, and went West, and on the admission of Missouri into the Union was elected one of her first senators in Congress. He was an able and eloquent man, but died in the bloom of early manhood.
Michael F. Burke was also young when he became circuit judge. He was born in Limerick, Ireland, March 10, 1829, and came to this country in 1848. He had a thorough classical education. He commenced the study of law and graduated at the law department of the State University in 1851. He commenced the practice at Washington. He was a hard student, and prepared his cases for trial with much care. He was energetic and labored for success in whatever he undertook. He was a forcible speaker, and relied more upon fact and reason than the flowers of eloquence. Before he became judge he prosecuted the pleas of the State one term in our county, by court appointment, in the absence of the regular prosecutor. He made his mark by the vigor and ability he displayed in managing the State cases and materially advanced his chances to be elected judge the same year. He was elected in 1858. He had a judicial mind and disposed of business rapidly. He was very popular with the bar. He was an active and influential Democrat, and was regarded as the leader of his party in Daviess County, and, during his life, through his tact and management, his party was invariably successful. He had bright prospects of being distinguished in his profession, and would undoubtedly have reaped a harvest of honors in any field he may have sought to cultivate, had not death claimed him in the very dawn of his public career. He died in the summer of 1864, during his first term on the bench. He was a warm and devoted friend, and many a tear was shed over his early death.
Jacob Call was a native of Kentucky. He presided in the circuit court for two years. During his term Thomas McKinney was indicted and tried for the murder of James Boyd, and convicted and sentenced by this judge to suffer death, and was accordingly executed October 15, 1822. William Cox, a colored man, was also indicted and tried for committing a rape on Miss Smith, and was convicted and also sentenced by this judge to suffer death, and was executed April 9, 1824. These are the only persons who have suffered the death penalty in this county, in accordance with a judicial decree. Judge Call was elected to Congress from this district, to fill the vacancy caused by the death of Judge Prince, over Thomas H. Blake, in November, 1824. He committed suicide by hanging himself with a silk handkerchief at Frankfort, Ky., April 20, 1826.
William W. Carr was admitted to the bar of this court October 2,1843. He formed a partnership with Cyrus M. Allen and practiced several years with brilliant success. He was just of age when he came to the bar. He was well educated, having pursued both a classical and legal course of studies. He was a stepson of Judge John Moore, the first mayor of Vincennes. He was appointed by the court prosecuting attorney for the September term, 1845. During the exciting political election of 1844 he took a leading and prominent part on the Democratic side, and was a favorite speaker at all the mass meetings of that party in this section. He was a fluent and eloquent speaker and of fine personal appearance, with white flaxen hair that added to his looks. He was appointed by President Polk secretary of Oregon Territory, but held the position for only a short time and was compelled to resign in consequence of failing health. He died at the residence of Judge Moore of consumption in 1847.
Thomas R. Cobb was born in Lawrence County, Ind., July 2, 1828. He studied law and commenced the practice at Bedford in 1853. In 1867 he removed from there to Vincennes, where he has since resided. He was actively engaged, in the practice here and other portions of the circuit until 1876, whep he was elected to Congress from this district. Mr. Cobb has manifested a decided preference for political work and has been a very successful candidate for popular favor. He was a member of the State Senate for eight years, the Democratic candidate for presidential elector in 1868, and president of the Democratic State Convention in 1876. He has been re-elected to Congress four times, and at the expiration of his present term will have served in the House for ten consecutive years. He is chairman of the Committee on Public Lands and has made a reputation throughout the country by his efforts in Congress to forfeit to the Government unearned grants of lands to railroad corporations. He has a fine personal appearance and is still active and vigorous.
James C. Denny was appointed by Gov. Morton to fill the vacancy caused by the death of Judge Burke, and presided at the August term of our circuit court. He was born we think in this county, and is in a great measure a self-made man. He is energetic in looking after his professional business and seems never to realize when he is beaten in a law suit or is willing to say "hold, it is enough," until the last ditch has been reached. He was elected attorney-general of Indiana in 1872, and removed from here to Indianapolis where he now resides and practices law.
Charles Dewey was a leading lawyer of the State from its organization until he was elected a supreme judge of the State. We do not know where he was born, and have never seen it stated, but suppose he came from New England, as the old Kentucky and Tennessee settlers of this countyused to refer to him as a good lawyer, but a dangerous politician, as "he had Federal notions and hated slavery." He was engaged in many important cases in our court. In conjunction with David Hart he defended Thomas McKinney on his trial for murder, one of the two men who have been executed, in accordance with judicial decree, in this county. He had the reputation of being one of the best special pleaders at the bar. At the Clarke Circuit Court he argued a demurrer a whole day before the court. He was elected a member of the supreme court in 1836, and remained on the bench until 1847. It was thought he could not on the bench sustain the reputation gained at the bar, but he developed splendid powers, and left an enduring reputation as a jurist.
William H. DeWolf was born in Middleboro, Mass., September 30, 1832, and when he came to Indiana, located at Petersburg, but removed to Vincennes in 1863, and commenced the practice of law in partnership with Judge Niblack. He is a safe and reliable lawyer and has a good practice. He is a pleasant speaker and is impressive in manner, never indulges in displays of fancy but deals in facta He is uniformly polite and courteous to opposing counsel and court, and is never rude or harsh with witnesses. He has confined himself strictly and closely to his profession and has not sought honors outside of its legitimate pursuits. He was appointed prosecuting attorney of the court for the October term 1866. He is a prominent Odd Fellow and has been Grand Master of the State.
Jonathan Doty was a native of Somerville, N. J., and a graduate of Princeton College. He was quite young when he came to Vincennes, but must have displayed superior legal talent, as he was soon elevated to the bench as president judge of the circuit court. He died the incumbent of that office February 22, 1822.
Delana R. Eckles lived at Greencastle when he was our circuit judge. The business of our court had been suffered to lag, and many cases undisposed of had accumulated, until the docket, when he took the bench in our county, was very large. By his energy, promptness and strict enforcement of rules, he soon cleared his docket, and acquired a reputation as a jurist in dispatching business which is yet remembered and spoken of by old residents of the county. Yet he discharged his duties well and all cases were fairly tried, and no complaint was ever made that he sacrificed the interest of any litigant in order to expedite business. He was afterward appointed chief justice of Utah, and held that position until 1861. The judge, in addition to being a well read lawyer and able jurist, is an agreeable companion. As a pastime he has been partial to fox hunting. According to his own relation, one morning he mounted his charger and called his hounds, and soon "raised" a fox near his premises in PutnamCounty. His trained perceptions in such matters soon convinced him he had "roused a veteran." It was just sunrise, and he determined to give chase, and succeeded in capturing the fugitive, about sunset, on the banks of the Ohio River. Judge Mack, of Terre Haute, informs me he is living in retirement on his farm, as Blackstone expresses it "otium cum dignitate." Long may he live.
Samuel B. Goodkins lived at Terre Haute when he was our circuit judge. He comes of an old Puritan family that immigrated to this country among the first who came. He was born in Bennington County, Vt., May 30, 1809. In 1823 he came to Indiana, and located at Terre Haute. In 1830, after finishing his apprenticeship as a printer, he came to Vincennes and commenced the publication of the Vincennes Gazette, a political newspaper, which was continued for many years by R. Y. Coddington after he left. He returned, after a residence of a year or two, to Terre Haute, and there commenced the study of law, and was admitted to the bar in 1834. He had received in his youth but a limited education, and may be called a self-made and self-educated man. He was elected one of the judges of the supreme court of Indiana, and continued on the bench in that court for three years, when he resigned on account of the smallness of the salary. He removed to Chicago and commenced the practice of law, and secured a lucrative business. He is still living, and has returned to Terre Haute, where he resides.
Edward A. Hannegan first located at Vincennes, and was married here by Samuel R. Alexander, April 4, 1829, to Miss Margaret C. Duncan. He practiced at our bar for several years. He removed from here to Covington, Ind., and was elected from the Seventh District to the Twenty-third and Twenty-fourth Congresses. In 1843 he was elected United States senator, and served in that body until 1849. He was regarded (distinguished as the senate was during that period), as one of its most eloquent members. The death of Henry Clay was announced to the Senate by the prearranged signal of the tolling of all the bells in the city, while Mr. Hannegan was addressing the Senate, who instantly left the subject he was discussing and referred to the death of the "great commander" in a speech that attracted the attention and praise of the entire country. After the expiration of his senatorial term he left the State and located at St. Louis to practice law, but soon after died broken-hearted, occasioned by the homicide of his brother-in-law under an insane impulse.
David Hart was a native of North Carolina, and a graduate of the university of that State. He came to Indiana in 1816, and located at Princeton. His legal abilities were soon discovered, and he was elected judge of that judicial circuit, and remained on the bench for three years. His active mind longed for a more exciting field for the display of his abilities, and he resigned the judgeship to make his fame at the bar. He removed to this place in 1820, and at once took a leading position at our bar among the many able members then composing it. His career was cut short by death December 22, 1822.
Alvin P. Hovey was quite young when he presided as judge in our circuit court. He has a quick and penetrating mind, and being well versed in the science of law could easily and readily grasp the salient points of a case, and consequently dispatched business rapidly. He was as a general rule courteous and urbane, but impulsive and excitable, and sometimes, for a moment, manifested irritation in dealing with attorneys. But such feelings passed away as quickly as they appeared, and he gave general satisfaction as a judge, and was held in high esteem by attorneys and litigants. He was afterward district attorney for Indiana, and also a judge of the supreme court of the State. During the Rebellion he entered the army and gained an enviable reputation for skill and bravery as a general in the Federal service. He ran for Congress in this district, and was defeated by Judge Niblack, but by a reduced majority. He still lives and is engaged in the practice of law at Mount Vernon, Ind.
Elisha Mills Huntington was born in Otsego County, N. ¥., March 26, 1806. He came to Indiana in 1822, and was admitted to the bar in this countyMarch 27, 1827. He was elected president judge of this circuit in 1837, and acquired considerable reputation as a learned and conscientious judge. In 1841 he was appointed commissioner of the general land office by President Tyler, which he held only for a short time, as, upon the death of Judge Holman, he was appointed judge of the United States Circuit Court for the district of Indiana, and discharged the duties of that important position for a number of years, with credit to himself and the satisfaction of the public. He died the incumbent of that position, at St. Paul, Minn., October 26, 1862.
Gen. Washington Johnson was a native of Culpepper County, Va., and came to Vincennes in 1793, and was the first attorney at law admitted to the bar in this county of which there is any record. He was a prominent member of the bar in his day, and filled many places of trust in the borough of Vincennes and under the Territorial government. He represented the county several times in the Legislature, and was speaker of the House during the second sessions of the second and third Territorial Legislatures. In conjunction with John Rice Jones he prepared in 1808, by authority, the first revision of the laws of the Territory. He died in this place on October 26, 1833.
John Rice Jones was a young man when he came to this place. He was an educated man and something of a linguist, as he was employed by the common pleas court in 1791, to translate the laws of the Territory into French for the use of the court. He was also appointed clerk of the court at October term, 1791, as well as prosecuting attorney of the pleas of the United States and was the first prosecutor in the county after the acquisition of the Northwest by the Federal Government. He was an able and active man from all accounts we have of him, and took a prominent part in the controversy that arose upon the proposition to have the ordinance of 1787 suspended in the Territory as to the tenure of slave property. He was challenged to fight a duel on account of his prominence in that controversy, and his friends claimed the object was to compass his death to get rid of his influence. He removed from here to St. Clair County, in the Illinois Territory. He was the father of George W. Jones, for many years a United States senator from Iowa.
John Johnson came to this place in territorial days and commenced the practice of law. He was a hard student, but nothing of a public speaker. He was of the same order of talent as Judge Blackford. He removed from Vincennes to Princeton, and represented that county in the first Legislature under the State government. He was elected one of the first judges of the supreme court of the State, but died the following year, before he had opportunity to prove his fitness and qualifications for the position by his official acts.
Samuel Judah was born in the city of New York in 1798. He came to Indiana and located at Merom, in Sullivan County. He very soon came to this place and commenced the law practice, and continued until his death. He was regarded as one of the best lawyers in the country, and was often consulted in important cases outside of this State. He was engaged in almost every important case that arose in this county during his long practice at our bar. He consequently accumulated documents and memoranda relating to causes that were disposed of in our court, which he received in his professional capacity and preserved, many of which in all probability contain evidences which the parties concerned would not desire made public, and he made provision in his will that no Vincennes lawyer should be permitted to examine them. He was the chief counsel employed by the Vincennes University in the long and tedious litigation to recover the township of land in Gibson County granted by the United States for its use. He first instituted a number of ejectment suits in Gibson County to dispossess the grantees of the State who had purchased at the sales authorized by an act of the State Legislature for the benefit of the State University at Bloomington. These suits caused great excitement in Gibson County, and the attorneys of defendants stimulated it and advised mob violence as the easiest way of getting rid of them. Mr. Judah was in great personal danger while in the county to attend to them. The excitement increased, and so many persons were involved that bloodshed would have resulted had not the State wisely prevented it by passing an act authorizing a suit to be brought against the State in the Marion County Circuit Court to try the title, and pledging the honor and faith of the State to abide the result. Mr. Judah brought the suit so authorized against the State, and dismissed the GibsonCounty suits. After a long and tedious litigation in the Marion Circuit Court, the Supreme Court of the State and the United States with varying results Mr. Judah was finally successful, and recovered the value of the land sold by the State. The State should, in accordance with her plighted faith and honor, have appropriated the money or issued her bonds to liquidate the amount recovered. But this was not done until some of the leading and influential members of the Legislature had tarnished their reputations by accepting a "quid pro quo" to cease their opposition, and support the bill authorizing the issue of State bonds to cancel the claim. Mr. Judah, as attorney for the university, received the bonds so issued by the State in satisfaction of the claim. He retained one-third of the amount he so received for his legal services and expenses incurred in procuring the passage of the bill through the Legislature. The trustees of the university then brought suit against him to recover these bonds. This suit was almost as long and notorious as the suit brought against the State. The ablest legal talent was employed. David McDonald and Asher F. Linder for the trustees, and John P. Asher and Mr. DeBruler for Mr. Judah. It developed in its progress through court legislative corruption and bribery. Mr. Judah was United States attorney for Indiana under President Jackson, and served several times as a member of the Legislature from this county and was once speaker of the House. He died in this city April 24, 1869. Noble Judah, of Chicago; John M. Judah, of Indianapolis; and Samuel B. Judah, of this city, are his sons. The two former are leading and prominent attorneys in their respective cities.
Amory Kinney resided at Terre Haute while he presided in our circuit court. He was a learned and able lawyer and noted for the encouragement and advice he gave young men. He was a good judge of human nature, and his appreciation and discernment of the capabilities of men was excellent. He discovered in Samuel B. Gookins (who had learned the printer's trade, and was about to leave Terre Haute for Washington City to seek employment at his trade under government patronage) a legal mind that needed only training and development. After much persuasion he finally induced him, at an advanced age, to commence the study of law, and while he was yet on the bench he gave him the use of his office and library, and trained him until he was called to the bar, with what result is well known.
John Law was a native of New London, Conn., where he was born October 2, 1796. He came to Vincennes in 1817, and commenced his professional career. His talents and eloquence soon advanced him in public estimation, and for nearly half a century he was regarded as a leading citizen of this county. He filled many positions of public trust. He was prosecuting attorney of the circuit, receiver of public moneys for this land district, commissioner of the United States to adjust land titles in the Vincennes land district, and was twice elected to represent the district in Congress. He was one of the original owners of Lamasco, now part of Evansville, the said town deriving its name from taking the first letters of the names of the three proprietors— Law, McCall and Scott—and combining them together. In consequence of this interest he removed to Evansville and resided a few years, where he died, October 17, 1873, but his remains, in accordance with his often expressed desire while living, were brought and buried in the public cemetery near this city.
Newton F. Malott was born in Lawrence County, Ind., in 1831, and practiced law for many years at Bedford in partnership with Thomas R. Cobb. He graduated at the law department of the State University. He removed to Vincennes in 1867 and commenced the practice here. He was first elected judge in 1870 and has remained on the bench until the present, having been re-elected in 1876 and again in 1882. He has continued in service as circuit judge much longer than any of his predecessors and on the expiration of his present term, will have served continuously in that capacity for eighteen years. He is yet, comparatively speaking, a young man, and comes of a healthy and long lived ancestry. The parents of his wife celebrated their golden wedding February 9, 1886, a very remarkable event very rarely occurring, and to no more than one couple out of every 20,000 marriages actually solemnized. When he was first elected six counties, Knox, Daviess, Martin, Gibson, Pike and Dubois, composed this circuit. When the common pleas was abolished in 1873, and its business and jurisdiction transferred to the circuit court, it was reduced to comprise the first three named counties, and in 1879 Martin County was transferred to another circuit, and in 1885 Knox County was constituted a circuit of itself. Judge Malott is a very cautious and prudent judge, and carefully examines every matter requiring his decision. He is particularly careful in the examination of the accounts of guardians and administrators under his jurisdiction, and has saved much to widows and orphans interested in estates passing through his court. He is generally regarded as a thoroughly read and educated lawyer. He takes time to consider and investigate all legal questions that arise in the progress of a cause on trial before him which require his judicial decision. He devotes more time, perhaps, in the trial of causes than a speedy dispatch of business in a nisi prius court will allow. But the business when done is more maturely considered and less liable to be tainted with error. As a judge he has given general satisfaction and enjoys a reputation at home and abroad as an able and safe judge. He is frequently called upon to preside at the trial of important causes in place of the regular judge in other circuits. He has tried to redeem the pledge he made to the convention which first nominated him in Princeton in 1870 "that every man in his court should have justice done him."
William E. Niblack was born in Dubois County, Ind., May 19, 1823. He commenced his public career in Martin County. He was elected to the House and Senate of the State Legislature while he resided there. He was appointed judge of this judicial circuit in 1854. While still circuit judge he was elected, in 1858, to Congress from this district to fill the vacancy caused by the death of James Lockhart, and was re-elected at different times, until he served in Congress altogether fourteen years. He served in Congress during the trying period of the civil war, and by his wise and conservative course was esteemed a prudent and safe legislator. During this period he came in possession of a curious gun, and called a few friends to his house to inspect the weapon. The peculiarity about it was that it "kicked," and without great care was liable to hurt the person using it. He was elected to represent Knox County in the House of the State Legislature in 1862, and from his long service in legislative bodies and his experience should have been elected speaker, but his modesty caused him to yield to the claims of a friend. In 1876 he was elected a supreme judge of the State and re-elected in 1882. He has increased his reputation as a judge during his service on the supreme bench. He removed to this place about the commencement of his congressional service, and has resided here ever since.
Benjamin Parke, another judge in this court, was born in New Jersey, September 2,1777. He came West on the organization of Indiana Territory, and located in Vincennes in January, 1801. He was a pure, upright and gifted man, and his worth was soon perceived and recognized by his fellow citizens. He was called to fill many offices of trust and honor under the Territorial government. He was delegate to Congress for the Territory, and was appointed the first judge of the Circuit Court of the United States for the district of Indiana, and died the incumbent of this office at Salem, Ind., on the 12th of August, 1835. His residence here was on the John Wise property, now known as "Parke Place." Parke County, Ind., was named in honor of this just and conscientious judge.
John R. Porter resided in this State in Orange County. He was admitted to the bar in Martin County at the first term of the circuit court held in that county in 1820. He had in all probability been admitted before that in some other court and county, and had been in the practice of the profession for some time. One of his relatives was one of the first associate judges of Martin County, and he was prosecuting attorney of the circuit. Por tersville, the first county seat of Dubois County, was named in honor of this judge.
William Prince came to Vincennes and located under the Territorial government and commenced his career here. He was a young man when he came, and he married Miss Theresa Puryea, a daughter of one of the old resident French families of Vincennes. His wife's parents resided on the lot on Main Street, now occupied by the Presbyterian Church and parsonage. They lived to a very advanced age, and the old man took delight in keeping his lot clean and nice, which he did when over ninety years of age. Judge Prince on the organization of Gibson County, removed there and the county seat was named for him. He was elected to Congress from this district in 1824 and died that year during his term. He left surviving him two daughters, one of whom marriefl Judge Samuel Hall, the projector and first president of the Evansville & Terre Haute Railroad. Many of his descendants yet reside in Gibson County.
James S. Pritchett was born in Warrenton, Gibson Co., Ind., August 16, 1844. He was admitted to the bar February 17,1862, and has practiced here ever since. He was elected city attorney of Vincennes for one year, and also a member of the common council of the city, and in 1873 was elected mayor of Vincennes. He has devoted most of his time to the study of criminal law and has acquired an extensive reputation as a criminal lawyer. He does not study a case or attempt to solve it from text books or adjudicated cases, but relies upon his knowledge of human nature and in its presentation in the best possible light to the comprehension of a jury. He has been very successful in the defense of criminal cases and seems to be pleased when engaged in the defense of a criminal, prosecuted for homicide or other felony.
Thomas Randolph was a native of Virginia, a relative of the celebrated John Randolph, of Roanoke, and also of President Jefferson. He was attorney for the United States for Indiana Territory. He soon entered the political arena. He was a friend to Gov. Harrison, and was charged with being in sympathy with him in his efforts to have the ordinance of 1787 suspended in regard to slavery. He was a candidate for congressional delegate in 1809, but was defeated by Jonathan Jennings by only forty-three votes. He attributed his defeat to the charge made of his having slavery proclivities, which he denied in circulars and in his public speeches during the canvass. After the election he challenged one of the reputed authors of the charge, which was not accepted. He was the father of Mrs. William Sheets, of Indianapolis.
David Raymond presided as president judge in the circuit court of this county in 1816, during all terms held that year. But little is known concerning him, whence he came or whither he went. His signature to the recoids of court disclose a fair, regular and uniform hand writing, indicative of culture and refinement. His commission as judge of the circuit was not spread on record according to the usage in this county. We think, however, he was from one of the Southern States, with slavery predilections. While he presided as judge in this county, Ma-sou-pe-con-gar, or the Owl, an Indian, who owned and lived on the survey in the upper prairie, of which Judah's addition to Vincennes is a part, brought an action of detinue against Thomas Jones, for a black or mulatto girl and a cross-cut saw. The case was tried by jury, October 5, 1816, who returned a verdict that the Indian was entitled to recover the black girl and the saw. A new trial was granted. The wonder is that such a cause of action could travel along so far as an issue and trial in a court proceeding according to the course of the common law and under the operation of the ordinance of 1787.
George G. Reily was born in Martin County, Ind., March 30, 1841 He came to Vincennes after the close of the war and commenced the practice in partnership with James C. Denny. He has from the first controlled a full share of the practice and has been successful in the management of his cases. His strength at the bar lie- in his grasping the true state of the case and in his appreciating and measuring the weight and effect of evidence> and in the cross-examination of witnesses. He is a fluent, graceful and interesting speaker. He was a captain in the Fourteenth Regiment of IndianaVolunteers during the civil war, and served with honor until its close. He was the Republican candidate for Congress in this district in 1884, and received a very flattering vote. He has realized from his practice more than a competency and is in good financial circumstances—the fruit of his labors at the bar.
Ballard Smith was a young man when he became judge of the circuit court, and served but a brief period. He had previously been a member of the House of Representatives of the State Legislature, and was speaker thereof. He resided at Cannelton, in Perry County. He was a brother of Hamilton Smith, who was so largely interested in the manufacturing interests of Cannelton. Judge Smith died young, before his mental powers were fully developed, and before he had opportunity for the display of his capabilities.
George R. C. Sullivan was also from Kentucky, and a relative of Mr. Buckner and Elihu Stout, the founder of the Western Sun. He came whenIndiana was a territory, and held many official positions. He was secretary of the legislative council at both sessions of the Fifth General Assembly of the Territory. He represented the county several times in the Legislature, and served for many years as postmaster at Vincennes. He was prosecuting attorney for this circuit, and acquired the reputation of being one of the most eloquent advocates at the bar. He removed from here to Quincy, Ill., where he died. He married a daughter of Judge Vanderburgh, and left several children. Henry Sullivan, one of his sons, founded the Quincy Whig, one of the most influential political papers in that State, through the financial success of which he accumulated a large fortune, which he still lives to enjoy.
Moses Tabbs was admitted to the bar here in 1818. He was a native of Maryland, and married one of the daughters of Charles Carroll, the last survivor of the signers of the Declaration of Independence. He was a learned man, an able lawyer and an eloquent speaker. He was noted for his probity and uprightness, and was an exemplary member of the Catholic Church. He was popular, and would have left a splendid official reputation behind him, and ranked as one of the first men of his day, had he remained. After a residence of a few years he returned to his native State.
Walter Taylor, another of the judges of the general court, was born in Lunenburg County, Va., and came to Vincennes upon the organization of the Territory. He was an able man, and justly regarded as one of the first men of the Territory. Upon the admission of the State into the Union he was elected one of the United States senators, and was again elected for a second term. He died at his mother's house in Virginia, August 26, 1826. Thomas T. Davis, John Johnson and James Scott were also judges in the general court. This court ceased to exist with the Territorial government
Benjamin M. Thomas was a native of the city of Philadelphia, and came here with his brother, Frederick A., and in part nership they commenced the practice. Benjamin M. was admitted to this bar March 25, 1839. He was thoroughly educated in common law learning, and was as well versed in the principles and science of law as any one who ever practiced at this bar. He was not a fluent or eloquent speaker, but his strength lay in his knowledge of the law, and the plain and forcible manner in which he presented bis points. He was, like Mr. Judah, engaged in all cases of importance in our court while he practiced here. He had a very extensive and lucrative practice, and may be said to have had a monopoly-of the collection business, which at that time was the cream of the lawyer's profits, all such business passing through their hands instead of the banks. In 1853 he was appointed district attorney for Indiana. He became a convert while here to the Catholic Church, and was a faithful and strict member thereof until his death. He removed in 1856 to Chicago and in partnership with Judge Gookins practiced law. His abilities secured him a lucrative practice. He came back here completely broken in health, and died in 1863.
Henry Vanderburg, one of the first judges in this court, was an old citizen of Vincennes, and had been an officer in the Revolutionary war. He acquired large landed possessions in this city and county. He died, being yet on the bench of this court, April 5, 1812. He was very generally esteemed by his neighbors and was regarded as a just and able judge. He was buried with the honors of war at his country seat, one mile east of the city. He left a widow and a number of children, one of whom married the late Dr. Somes. He left a very large estate in lands. His widow survived him nearly forty years, and up to her death drew a pension from the Government as his widow. Vanderburg County in this State is named in remembrance of him.
Frederick W. Viehe was born in Westphalia (Prussia), September 2,1832. He came to this country with his father's family in 1845, his father having procured for himself and family expatriation papers from the Prussian Government. He has resided in this country so long that he discovers nothing of a foreign accent in his speech. He was admitted to this bar September 2, 1859. He is regarded as one of the ablest counselors in the State, and his opinion upon important questions of law is often sought by persons at a distance. He cannot be said to possess oratorical powers and rarely attempts anything like forensic display. In speech he is brief and concise, and presents his cases to gourt or jury in a forcible and convincing manner. He was appointed by the court prosecuting attorney at February term, 1870. He was city attorney of Vincennes from 1869 to 1871. He has represented this county in the Senate and House of the State Legislature and was elected by the Senate president pro tempore. He has a large and lucrative practice.