COURTS AND BAR
FIRST RECORD OF CAMERON COUNTY COURTS - APPOINTMENTS AND REMOVALS - ADMISSIONS TO THE BAR IN 1862 AND SUBSEQUENTLY - PRESIDING LAW JUDGES, ASSISTANT LAW JUDGES, PRESIDENT JUDGES AND ASSOCIATE JUDGES - LAW CIRCLE OF THE COUNTY - CRIMES.
THE first record book of Cameron county courts is dated January 8, 1861, when Judge R.G. White, with Associate Housler presided in the schoolhouse. S.S. Hacket was crier, and, along with D.J. Morrison, acted as tipstaff. E. Boughton Eldred was appointed district attorney, E. Vosburg qualified as surveyor, and John A. Eldred as sheriff. The attorneys present were Henry Souther, James Boyle, J.S. Mann, F.W. Knox, A.G. Olmsted, B.D. Hamlin, W.A. Williams, J.C. Backus, Warren Cowles, E.B. Eldred, Joseph E. Almon, F.B. Hacket, A.B. Armstrong and S.C. Hyde. A number of civil cases were presented; C.J. Moore was appointed commissioner vice George Vosburg on January 9. On March 14 James Shaffer, Jr., was removed - James Bailey being one of the associate judges at this time- and on July 10 Levi Williams was appointed commissioner vice Shaffer.
In July, 1862, John W. Ryan, C.H. Lemore, H.T. Beardsley, H. McClain, W.W. Wilber, J.C. Chapin and Albert Willis were admitted to the bar of this county. John Jackson was admitted to citizenship, July 16, 1862, being the first admission by the court. In October, 1862, John B. Newton was admitted an attorney; in July, 1863, H.G. Rogers; in January, 1864, C.A. Mayer, James Chatham, Julius Sherwood and N.T. Hambly; in January, 1865, L.B. Ball, of Clinton, and S.P. Wolverton, of Northumberland county, and in July, 1865, G.O. Bowman and Saul F. Gwinner. On the last given date H.W. Williams was presiding law judge; but in October R.G. White, the senior presiding judge, reappears, and at this time Cline G. Farit was admitted to practice. In January, 1866, Judge White, with Associate Judges A.H. Boynton and L.T. More (successors of Bailey and Housler) presided; but in March, 1866, H.W. Williams was president. In March, 1866, F.P. Leet was admitted to practice here, and in July J.H. Vosburg and C.A. Lyman. In August, 1867, John G. Hall, of Elk county, was admitted to the bar, and also George A. Rathbun, of the same county. In January, 1868, Judge White presided vice Judge Williams, Messrs. Boynton and More being still associate judges; but in August H.W. Williams was president judge, followed in 1869 by B.G. White.
In August, 1869, James R. Clark, of Warren, was permitted to practice in the courts of Cameron county, and in January, 1870, G.V. Dewits, of Wyoming county, and William A. Mann were granted a similar privilege. In December of this year N.S. Minard and Samuel Smith were associate judges, R.G. White being president. In April, 1871, the following named lawyers were admitted to the bar of this county: R.P. Allen and H.W. Watson, of Lycoming county, and H.W. Patrick, of Bradford county. In January, 1872, S.F. Wilson presided as assistant law judge, but before his time Attorneys C.B. Curtis, B. Brown, N.C. Hollahan, J.C. Johnson, C.A. Lyman, Messrs. McCormick, Backus, H.T. Beardsley and W.A. Williams were members of this bar. In August, 1872, E.Q.D. Cross, of Baltimore, and John J. Metzger, of Lycoming, were permitted to practice here, and in November B.W. Green. A year later E.B. Parsons, of Troy, Penn., was permitted to plead in the courts of this county. In August, 1874, L.F. Williston, F.J. Chadworth and Mr. Ames attended court, and in November R.R. Powers was appointed stenographer. S.W. Smith was admitted to the law circle in January, 1875, and in August J.S. Mann pleaded, here with H.L. Parsons and William Sport. In April, 1876, the names of Henry King and G.A. Berry were added to the list of lawyers. At this time S.T. Wilson was still holding the position of assistant law judge with H.W. Williams president judge, and G.W. Warner and S. Ross, associate judges, vice Minard and Smith, who had served since 1870. In August, 1876, Robert M. Chamberlain, of Ridgway, was enrolled as a member of Cameron county bar, and in 1877 the names of D.C. Larrabee, T.T. Abrams, E.R. Mayo and J.M. Judd, S.C. Hyde being still the district attorney. In August, 1878, O.O. Hotchkiss and W.B. Chapman were, admitted; in April, 1879, R.B. Stone, of Bradford, and in November, 1880, S.D. Ball and Joseph Douglass. In January, 1881, S.T. Wilson was president judge with J.W. Cochran and Milo Bull, associate judges, G.W. Huntley succeeding the last named in 1882. In August, 1882, J.P. McNarney was admitted, and in November Michael Brennan, W.P. Jenks and Frank Hacket.
In November, 1883, T.C. Hipple's name appears as a member of the bar, and C.A. Mayer's as president judge. In September, 1884, W.C. Kress was admitted to the bar; also H.C. Dornan and J.C. Backus; while John Ormerod was admitted in January, 1885, and Harry A. Hall in September. In 1886 Clark Harrington took Judge Cochran's place as associate judge, and in May of that year Jesse Merrill and S.W. Smith were enrolled as attorneys, C.H. McCauley's name not appearing until September. In January, 1887, John S. Wiley was associate judge vice Huntley; Charles Early and M.F. Elliott were admitted to the bar in September, and later George L. Roberts. In November C.L. Peck was permitted to practice here, and, later, H.T. Ames. In May, 1888, Sheridan Gorton was permitted to enroll his name, and J.E. Rounseville, of Potter county, and H.J. Colcord were admitted to the law circle of Cameron county. Hagerman, appointed official stenographer in 1883, is the present incumbent.
The law circle of the county comprises J.C. Johnson; S.C. Hyde, who practiced in the first court held here, but did not remove from Smethport until after Mr. Johnson's coming; B.W. Green, the first law student of the county, admitted in November, 1872, the examiners being Messrs. Newton & Johnson; J.C. Metzger, who studied in Newton & Green's office, admitted in 1879; J.P. McNarney, admitted in 1882, partner of Mr. Johnson; M. Brennan, admitted in 1882, has his office here.
The trial of the murderers of Frank Welton in 1877 is the only heavy criminal case presented to the courts here. F.J. Chadwick, in his history of this murder states that Welton was stage driver between Sinnemahoning and Coudersport. At night, on September 27, he met two men a little below the mouth of Bailey run. They walked directly up in front of his horses as if they intended to stop him. The, horses shied off; he reined up sharply, and the fellows jumped quickly out of the way. Their appearance and movement convinced him that they were the robbers described in the papers. He went home (about a mile) and rallied the neighbors, a half dozen of whom accompanied him in search of them. They were about giving up the search, when Welton saw a man's feet without boots, about two rods from the road, in the woods, near where he had met them, on the land of Charles and William Heirs. There were three men, and they were asleep with their boots off. The large man jumped up with his boots, in his hand and ran. The men fired at him, he dropped his boots and made good his escape, leaving his hat and overcoat also. The one who was jailed was awed into compliance by presenting a revolver at him. The other one struggled hard with Welton, but he overpowered him, and held him without threats or presenting weapons. The robbers were then searched and their arms taken from them, and the stolen goods gathered up. A proposition was made to tie them, but they plead so hard not to be tied, saying that they would come along quietly, and show that they got those goods honestly, that Welton was inclined to fetch them without tying them. He took them home with him and gave them some supper, and about 11 o'clock started through the woods to Cameron with them, accompanied by James L. Barclay, John Mahon and George Mahon. The robber who shot Mr. Welton said he was chilly, and put on the overcoat aforesaid, which must have had a revolver in it which had been overlooked in their search, for when they came within sight of Emporium, a little below the water tank, the, robber fired a pistol to scare the horses and jumped from the wagon. Welton jumped immediately after him, also James Barclay and John Mahon. The robber fired twice at Welton who was very close to him, the second shot taking effect over the right eye and killing him.
In November, 1889, two men, Volt and Spaulding, discovered a dead body near the West Creek bridge, one mile from Emporium. It was learned that the victim of the murderer was Christian Drum, of Cogan Station, Lycoming county. Albert Miller of Harrisburg was arrested in January, 1890, on the charge of being the murderer, and taken to the Emporium jail. The arrest is largely due to the zeal of one of Emporium's citizens who pushed the enquiry to the limit.
Source: Page(s) 838-843, History of Counties of McKean, Elk and Forest, Pennsylvania. Chicago, J.H. Beers & Co., 1890.
Transcribed January 2006 by Nathan Zipfel for the Cameron County Genealogy Project
Published 2006 by the Cameron County Pennsylvania Genealogy Project
Return to Cameron County Home Page
© Cameron County Genealogy Project