THE COURT, BENCH, AND BAR OF DELAWARE COUNTY
[Please note that this chapter is heavely footnoted. The footnotes are indicated by an "*" and "(number*).]
Beyond the possibility of refutation, it can be asserted that at Tinicum, in the present county of Delaware, justice was first dispensed within the limits of the State of Pennsylvania, and in all probabilities this remark will hold good as to the entire Delaware River territory. Crude and capricious doubtless was the code of laws administered by Governor Printz, who was required, in obedience to the instructions given him, to "decide all controversies according to the laws, customs, and usages of Sweden," and in these matters he was expected to "adopt and follow all the laudable manners, customs, and usages of the Kingdom of Sweden."**This was certainly a task more difficult to perform than to require, for the codification of all the Swedish statutes, manners, and customs had then but recently been made,*hence it is no wonder that his Excellency the Governor of New Sweden, who, in 1647, reported "the whole number of men, women, boys and girls and children now living here is 138 souls,"***occasionally, even in the sparsely-settled colony, found himself face to face with nice points of law which his military education furnished him no precedents to meet, and particularly was his position embarrassing because he was expected to maintain a sharp outlook for the interest of the company, which would necessarily compel him to act in the dual capacity of plaintiff and judge in the same case. Under the circumstances we can understand why he says, "Again, I have several times solicited a learned and able man . . . to administer justice and attend to the law business, sometimes very intricate cases occurring, in which it is difficult, and never ought to be that one and the same person appear in the court as plaintiff as well as judge."(4*) The Governor was clothed with civil and criminal jurisdiction; he was especially directed to enforce obedience and order, and could punish great offenders not only with imprisonment but even with death, "according to the crime;" in the latter cases, however, execution could only be done "according to the ordinances and legal forms, and after having, sufficiently considered and examined the affair with the most noted persons, such as the most prudent assessors of justice that he can find and consult in this country."(5*)
Beyond the foregoing brief mention of the administration of justice on the Delaware under Swedish rule, I have been unable to find any further reference thereto. Truly is it, as a recent accomplished writer remarks, "A mere trace, fitful at best, and rendered more faint by the shadows of time."(6*)The Dutch records, unfortunately, are hardly more explicit than the Swedish on the subject of legal tribunals, among the early settlers on the Delaware before the conquest of the territory by the English. Jean Paul Jacquet, who was appointed vice-director Nov. 29, 1655, was instructed to "administer law and justice to citizens as well as soldiers," while Andrew Hudde, the secretary, was "to book all matters . . . complaints, defaults, arrests, with the reasons thereof, also all judgments, sentences, and decisions," while the vice-director was enjoined to "strictly observe and have observed the placards and ordinances made and published heretofore against the sale of brandy or strong drinks to the savages, regarding the robbing of gardens or plantations, the running about the country, drinking on the Sabbath, and profanation of the same." The court where breaches of these ordinances were to be tried was a meeting of Council, which was to be called only by the order of the vice-director, and all matters pending before that body were to be decided by "a majority of votes," and in case of a tie the vice-director was "to have a double vote." In cases of military or concerning the company's property, the vice-director, beside the members of Council, was instructed to add two sergeants, who were to sit as part of the court; but where the matter was purely a civil one, "between freemen and servants of the company, two suitable freemen were to be substituted instead of the sergeants."(7*)
This tribunal seems to have exercised legislative as well as judicial powers, for it is recorded that on Feb. 13, 1656, all persons at New Castle were required to inclose their lots before the 15th of March following, and, failing to do so, were punishable by a fine of six guilders. The owners of goats were also instructed to provide keepers for these animals. On May 22d Council directed that the swine at that place should be yoked within twenty-four hours, under the penalty of having the creatures killed by the soldiers.(8*)At the February court, before mentioned, Thomas Broen, who was charged with having beaten a servant so that he was rendered unable to labor, was ordered to provide for the latter until he was restored to health. The defendant, for having spoken disrespectfully of Vice-Director Jacquet, possibly because of the sentence, was placed under arrest. In July a Swede and Finn, charged with violating the law respecting the sale of liquor to Indians, in extenuation of their act pleaded ignorance of the law, which seems to have been regarded as a valid excuse, for they were discharged.
Early in 1657, Jacob Alrichs was appointed vice-director of the city's colony on the Delaware (part of the Delaware territory, for Christiana River to Bombay Hook had been transferred to the city of Amsterdam by the Dutch West India Company for moneys advanced), and in the latter part of April he arrived at New Castle. That there then was a court held on the river is established from the prayer of the Swedish inhabitants that a court-messenger and provost might be appointed for them. Sheriff Van Dyck proposed "one Jurgen, the Fin on the Crooked Kil," for the office, which suggestion received, June 12, 1657, the approval of Governor Stuyvesant. From this, however, the inference naturally is that the court was held at New Castle or Christiana, and was lacking in every essential the received ideas of a judicial tribunal, inasmuch that Alrichs, on March 30, 1658, in a letter to Stuyvesant, says, "I found the government here to consist and be attended to by the Vice-Director or Commander, sitting over military delinquents with military persons, and over citizens with citizens, as ordered by your Honor, to whom I, upon my arrival, represented and showed the charges which were to be taken in consideration afterwards."(9*) From the foregoing remark, Mr. Nead maintains that a regular set of laws or ordinances had been promulgated for the general government of the Delaware River settlement shortly after the conquest by the Dutch, and that Alrichs' instructions clearly contemplated the continuance and enforcement of these ordinances,(10*)a conclusion which is doubtless correct. Certain it is that an attorney practiced before the court, for March 30, 1658, Alrichs writes, "I have also to pay the attorney, Schelluyn, for salary earned by him in the suit against Dirck Cornelissen Heunich, skipper of the ship 'Prins Maurits,' but it seems that the expenses ought to be paid out of the deposited sum, the proceeds of the sale of the goods, unless your Honor understood that we should not consider this."(11*)This is the first recorded appearance of an attorney in our annals. On Oct. 10, 1658, Alrichs informed the authorities at Amsterdam that he had "received the police and law books which were sent out, consisting of 2 parts and a duplicate of each, and we shall make use of them; but (not) the by-laws of the city, at the end of which the customs of Antwerp are annexed and printed," whereof mention is frequently made in the dispatch.(12*)
On May 8, 1658, the Swedish magistrates at Tinicum presented a petition to Governor Stuyvesant, who was then visiting the settlements on the Delaware, requesting that they might be properly instructed respecting the discharge of their duties, and that a court messenger or officer should be appointed to serve summons, make arrests, and enforce the sentences of the courts.(13*)The meagre information we have seems to indicate that the Holland conquerors deemed it wise policy to continue the old Swedish magistrates in office, the latter nationality being largely that of the majority of the inhabitants; obedience would be more easily rendered to their former rulers than to new men, with whose language and person the people were generally unacquainted. The sitting of the court was at Fort Altena, for the company's colony, which included all this locality, and they were held "three or four times during the year according to demand or circumstances." The letter wherein the foregoing facts appear was written by William Beekman, vice-director, to Stuyvesant, April 28, 1660,(14*) and is particularly interesting to the annalist, for it furnishes a more comprehensive insight as to the manner in which judicial affairs were conducted, together with the scope of inquiry and the jurisdiction of the courts under the Dutch ascending on the Delaware, than any other paper of that time. From it we learn that Peter Rambo, a Swede, and one of the commissioners, had already grown weary of public cares and desired to resign the office; that at the court held the 19th of August in the preceding year twelve or fifteen of the "Swedish or Finnish Nation," who had been summoned to appear by Jager, the court messenger, failed to attend the session, and that thereupon Beekman made a rule that hereafter for any similar default "committed wantonly and intentionally, without the hindrance of sickness or God's weather and wind," the party so offending should be fined ten guilders, the reason for the rule being "that no one should be delayed in his claim" because of the voluntary absence of those persons who should be in attendance. It was difficult, however, to compel the rude settlers to recognize the law's power to correct wrong or the province of the court to meddle in personal affairs. In the same letter Beekman relates that Mr. Learsen, the Swedish priest at Upland, having been violently assaulted and "fearfully beaten" by Peter Mayer, complained to him, and that he had ordered both parties to the quarrel to be summoned, but before the day fixed for the hearing "the affair was settled between them, thus asserting that the judge had nothing to say about it." Peter Mayer, who it seemed was inclined to indulge in assaults and batteries, paid his fine for non-attendance. The judges, then as now, did not always agree in their conclusion as to the law or the jurisdiction of the court. Beekman complained that Oele Stille, one of the Swedish magistrates, had "made strong opposition to him" at the last court-day, because the former had suspected Stille of permitting the Swedish priest to perform a marriage in his presence without proclamation having been first made in church, and against the will of the parents of the contracting parties. Beekman, as president judge, imposed on the clergyman a fine of fifty guilders, to which decision Stille dissented, stating that the court had no jurisdiction to correct such affairs; that it was a matter for the Consistory of Sweden alone to inquire into. The priest seemed to be governed by the dissenting opinion, for when summoned to appear he informed the officer that he had nothing to do with the court of Christiana, and did not attend. Proceedings in divorce, it would appear, were not within the province of the tribunal, for the letter states that there was then "among the Fins at Opland" a married couple "who live very wretchedly together, and the wife is often fearfully beaten, and daily driven out of the house like a dog," which condition of matrimonial infelicity had continued for several years. The trouble was so generally known that at length a Swedish priest at Upland, the neighbors, the sheriff, and the commissioners, at the request of the man and wife, applied to Vice-Director Beekman, desiring that they might be divorced, and the few animals and personal property they owned be divided between them. The whole matter was referred to Stuyvesant, but whether the divorce was ever granted does not appear in any record now published. Dr. Smith was of the opinion that the parties to this unhappy marriage resided near Marcus Hook, the territory in that neighborhood then being known as Finland.
The matters thus set forth from Beekman's letters peculiarly relate to our history, and are exceedingly interesting, since all the persons mentioned resided within the limits of the present county of Delaware, and because it is conclusive of the fact that at that time no court existed within the territory belonging to the present State of Pennsylvania.
Notwithstanding the differences in opinion between Vice-Director Beekman and Stille, the latter still continued as one of the magistrates, for on the trial of Evert Hendrickson for a dastardly assault on Joran Kyn, at Upland, on the 6thand 16th of April, 1663, the court at Fort Altena, where the case was heard, consisted of Vice-Director Beekman, Oele Stille, Mats Hanson, and Peter Cock, commissioners.
The plaintiff in this proceeding had been worried by the defendant's hog running on his land, and he had pointed his gun at the animal, when the defendant assaulted him with a stick, endeavoring to break his head. The plaintiff in warding off the blows received a stroke on the elbow which disabled his arm for a month. Hendrickson not satisfied with this, went home and brought his gun, saying at the same time to Kyn, "I would like right well to shoot you down now, you scoundrel." The evidence established that the preceding autumn the defendant had threatened the life of the p1aintiff, at which time he put a knife to the plaintiff's throat, stating he had a mind to cut his head off. The first assault had been overlooked by Kyn, on condition that he would give him no further trouble. The witnesses united in the opinion that Hendrickson was a desperado "who troubled the place at Upland's Kil."(15*) The defendant was banished for his ill doings, and removed to the neighborhood of New Castle.
In the early fall of the following year Sir Robert Carr, in command of the English forces, subjugated the Dutch provinces on the Delaware, but in the articles of capitulation, dated Oct. 1, 1664, it was stipulated that "the Scout, the Burgomaster, Sheriffe, and other inferior magistrates shall use and exercise their customary Power in Admins'on of Justice within their precincts, for six months or until his Ma'ties pleasure is further known." (16*)
Under the terms of this agreement the Dutch magistrates continued in office until April 21, 1668, when Governor Lovelace commissioned Sir Robert Carre, scout, and Hans Block, Israel Helme, Peter Rambo, Peter Cock, Peter Alricks, or any two of them, as councilors, "to advise, hear, and determine by the major vote what is just, equitable, and necessary in the case or cases in question."(17*) Steadily but slowly Governor Lovelace from that time began bringing the judicial system of England into use, retiring that of the Dutch, which had prevailed, as speedily as circumstances permitted, but so gradually that the radical change would be made, and at the same time do no violence to the colony, by unsettling at one swoop the whole body of ordinances, manners, and customs with which the people had grown familiar by long usage. The attempted rebellion of the Long Finn, in the summer of 1669, afforded the Governor an opportunity to make some sweeping innovations in the criminal procedure, and that case will ever be memorable in our annals, inasmuch that for the first time we have undoubted record of a trial on the Delaware, wherein the defendant was formally indicted and a jury of twelve men impaneled, who were subject to challenge on the part of the prisoner, and charged, after the testimony was concluded, by the commissioners to find the matter of fact according to the evidence." (18*)
Governor Lovelace, knowing well the power which appearances lend in controlling the ignorant classes, early in our history, under English rule, hedged the bench about with all the pomp and circumstance necessary to impress the citizens of that day with the importance and dignity of the judicial office. In 1671, Governor Lovelace instructed Capt. Carr, on the Delaware, to set up the king's arms in the courthouse, and to have the same insignia of majesty borne on the staffs carried by the officers in attendance.(19*)
At that date in all probability there were inferior courts held on the Delaware at several designated places by the justices to determine controversies in trifling cases and petty infractions of criminal law, although the records do not absolutely establish the fact other than that on May 17, 1672, a town court was directed to be held at New Castle, to be presided over by the bailiff and six assistants, with jurisdiction to try all cases of debt or damage to the value of ten pounds, from whose decision there was no appeal; it inferentially appears that about that date a court was already established at Upland. On Aug. 8, 1672, on petition of Jan Cornelis, Mattys Mattyson, and Martin Martinson, of Calcoone Hooke, in the present township of Darby, which set forth that Iszael Holmes had obtained a patent to land "upon the island" (subsequently known as Smith's Island) "over against Calcoone Hooke," without ever having had possession or pretence thereunto before," Governor Lovelace, on the date given, made an order "to Authorize & Empower the Court at Upland with the Assistance of one or two of the High Court to examine unto the matter and make report of the Truth thereof," that he might make "some Order thereupon according to Equity and Good Conscience."(20*) Certain it is that when, on July 30, 1673, the English standard was supplanted by that of their High Mightinesses the Lord States-General, and the flag of the Netherlands again floated over this territory, the Dutch Council at New York, Sept. 12, 1673, established "one court of Justice for the inhabitents of Upland, to which provisionally shall resort the inhabitents both on the east and west banks of Kristina Kill and upwards unto the head of the river." At the same time Council instructed the inhabitants of the Delaware River territory, "for the maintenance of good order, police, and so forth," to nominate eight persons in each of the judicial districts as magistrates, and from the names thus submitted Council would select and appoint those officers.(21*)These courts were of very limited jurisdiction, for on the 26th of the same month Council issued instructions for the government of the Delaware River settlement, in which it was distinctly announced that all criminal offenders should be referred to the Governor-General and Council; the sheriff in those cases was directed to arrest, detain, and forward the prisoner, "under proper safeguard, to the Chief Magistrate, together with good and correct information for or against, the offenders. . . . Smaller offences, such as quarrels, abusive words, threats, fisticuffs, and such like, are left to the jurisdiction of the magistrates of each particular village." In civil cases where the amount in dispute was sixty forms (Beaver)(22*)or under, the decisions of the magistrates were final; and where the sum was over sixty, and amounting to two hundred and forty forms, the party aggrieved could appeal to the sheriff and councilors, one person to fill the latter office being annually appointed from each judicial district, whose decisions should be final. The courts also possessed restricted legislative powers, such as enacting laws providing for the laying out of highways, erecting churches, school-houses, or similar public works, observances of the Sabbath, and the manner of "setting off lands and gardens," and other matters appertaining to agricu1ture. They could also make ordinances against fighting, wrestling, and "such petty offenses," provided such regulations were as far as possible conformable to the laws of the "Fatherland and the statutes of that (this) Province," but all such enactments "of any importance" were required to be presented to the Governor for his approval before being promulgated. In the same document will be found instructions as to the manner of electing persons to fill the higher offices, a system which was adopted by the English authorities when the territory again passed into their possession, and maintained in a measure for many years after the State of Pennsylvania had in turn cast off the British yoke. It was that "towards the time of election the Sheriff and Schepens (magistrates) shall nominate as Schepens a double number of the best qualified, the honestest, most intelligent and wealthiest inhabitants . . . to be presented to the Governor, who shall make his selection therefrom." His Excellency, however, reserved the right to reappoint any of the old justices he might desire to continue in office.(23*) There was no stated time for holding these courts, but they were called in session as occasion required.
The Dutch authority, however, by the terms of the treaty between Great Britain and Holland, ceased on Feb. 9, 1674; but as Major Edmund Andross, the representative of the Duke of York, to whom the king had reconfirmed the province after it became an English dependency, did not take formal possession until the 31st of October following, it is to be presumed that judicial matters up to that date were conducted according to the Dutch form of procedure. Two days thereafter the Governor ordered that the old magistrates on the Delaware, excepting Peter Alricks, who were in office when the Dutch captured the province in July, 1673, should be established for the space of six months or further orders."(24*)On November 4th Capt. Edward Cantwell, who had been the former sheriff under the English rule, was reappointed to the same office. The magistrates thus reappointed were Peter Cock, Peter Rambo, Israel Helme, Lars Adrecksen, Woolle Swain; and William Tom was appointed clerk.
The jurisdiction of the courts on the Delaware River seems not to have been extended so as to give them cognizance of high grades of criminal offenses. Hence we find that on Feb. 21, 1675, Governor Andross issued a commission for holding a Court of Oyer and Terminer at New Castle, for the trial of several prisoners charged with rape, which commission was addressed to five justices of New Castle Court, and Justices Cock, Rambo, Holme, Andriesen, and Swain, of Upland Court, requiring any seven or more of them, as soon as conveniently may be, "to sitt one or more Times during the space of one whole week, if Occasions require, for the hearing, trying, giving Jugdement, & causing the same to be put in Execution, according to Law."(25*)
Early in the same year it was generally reported that James Sandelands, of Upland, in ejecting a drunken Indian from his house, had so roughly treated the latter that he had died from the injuries received. On April 23d of that year Governor Androsse wrote to Capt. Cantwell, that "as to James Sandyland (if you are not sure of him being criminally guilty) you ought to have had a court, that he might have a Legall Tryall and so either be justly detained, punished, or releast."(26*)In pursuance of these instructions, a special court was held at New Castle on May 13, 1675, Governor Sir Edmund Andross presiding in person, assisted by three commissioners, one from New Castle, from Upland, and Whore Kill. "The bench," old documents tell us, was "called over and placed on the Governor's left hand. Governor Philip Carteret of New Jersey, on the right with Mr. Samuel Edsall, Mr. Thomas Wandall, Mr. Joseph Smith, Mr. John Jackson, Mr. William Osburne." The jury, as provided by the Duke of York's laws, which, however, had not been extended to the Delaware River settlements, consisted of seven freemen. The court being in session, James Sandelands was "brought to answer a presentment by the Sheriff for suspicion of being the cause of the death of an Indyan." The presentment was read, and the defendant "pleads to it not guilty." Sandelands thereupon related "the whole story of the Indyan being at his house and him putting him out of doors." The aboriginal witnesses did not relate a consistent story; one stated the deceased had died in five days after his fall, while others made the interval of life after being ejected from the tavern six and eight weeks. It should, however, be remembered that while the Indians were giving their testimony, Sandelands, by leave of the court, went to them "and had a talk with them." The jury, after being charged, withdrew to deliberate, and finally rendered a verdict: "They find the prisoner not to be Guilty, Hee is ordered to be cleared by Proclamacon."
On Sept. 22, 1676, Governor Andross promulgated an ordinance introducing the Duke of York's laws, and establishing courts of justice on the Delaware in conformity therewith. One of the tribunals was located at Upland, and was to consist of justices of the peace, three of whom would constitute a quorum, the oldest justice presiding, having the powers of a Court of Sessions, with jurisdiction over all matters under twenty pounds in civil causes and in criminal cases, excepting those where the punishment extended to life imprisonment or banishment, when appeals were to be allowed to the Court of Assizes. In proceedings in equity and suits where the claims were less than five pounds, judgment could be given by the court without a jury, unless the latter was claimed by the parties litigant. The sessions were to be held quarterly, beginning on the second Tuesday of the month, and rules governing practice, unless repugnant to the laws of the government, could be made by the court, and were to continue for one year. A record of all proceedings was to be kept in the English language, to which every person should have free access "at due or seasonable times," and for that purpose a clerk was to be appointed by the Governor, on the recommendation of the court.(27*)
In pursuance of this ordinance, on Nov. 14, 1676, the first court under the new code of laws convened at Upland, when Capt. John Colier and Capt. Edmund Cantwell, specially authorized by Governor Andross, administered the oath of office to the newly-commissioned justices, Peter Cock, Peter Rambo, Israel Helme, Lace Andriesen, Woole Sweinsen, and Otto Ernest Cook.(28*)Ephraim Herman(29*)was appointed clerk. The first order made by the court was "that Mr. William Tom, the former clarke, should deliver unto the present clark, Eph. Herman, the Records and other publicq bookes and wrytings belonging to the court,"(30*) while the first case called was that of Thomas Spry against the estate of Hendrick Johnson, deceased, and the plaintiff not appearing in person or by attorney, the court ordered a non-suit, with costs.(31*)Executions were also ordered against all the persons who had refused to pay William Tom, the former clerk, the costs of court, and the clerk was likewise directed to write to the Governor respecting compensation claimed by Justice Helme for services rendered as interpreter with the Indians. Jan Jansen and Morten Mortensen were appointed guardians for the heirs of Hendrick Johnson, deceased, it being represented to the court that the estate of the minors was being wasted. This is the first instance of record in this State of such appointment, and while the guardians were instructed to prepare an inventory of the estate, they do not seem to have been required to give bond for the faithful performance of the trust.
Ephraim Herman appears to have kept a full record of all matters coming before the tribunal, for he not only gives a brief statement of the evidence in many of the cases, but he spread in full on the minutes the commissions of the justices and his own, as well as the correspondence he was instructed by the court to have with the Governor. He particularly invites the latter's attention to "how the Charges of this Court when they sitt may bee found, Conciederiug that wee all Live att a Great distance from our Court place and the Amercemts (by Reason of the small number of actions) amounting to Little."
The court, when it adjourned until the second Tuesday in March next, was emphatic, for it adds, "and no sooner by Reason of the Ceason, and so it is to Continue and be kept quarterly;" an order which, so far as it related to the Quarter Sessions, continued in practice for about a quarter of a century.
The next court convened on the 13th of March, 1676/7, when the tendency to the continuance of a cause, when called, exhibited itself as decidedly as it does now, after the lapse of two centuries. In one case where Morton Mortensen, of Ridley, sued Mouns Staecke for the value of an ox, which the defendant and his servant had killed, the plaintiff's witnesses "being supened," but failed to appear, the case was continued, the court stating that if the witnesses did not appear at the next term "they to be fined." At this session we find the first mention in our annals of a deed being acknowledged in open court, a practice which still prevails respecting sheriffs' deeds.
The next Quarter Sessions was held June 13, 1677, and the proceeding shows us that at that time redemptive servitude was a recognized system, for at this court John Test, in the presence of the bench, made acknowledgment that he had sold William Sill, a tailor by trade, to Capt. Edmond Cantwell, for nearly four years, the unexpired term of his servitude. Many suits were pressed to judgment at this session against John Ashman, who, appearing to have purchased a number of articles on credit, and then left the province and his creditors, the latter, then as now, scrambled for the insolvent's estates, and no less than five judgments were entered and two attach merits allowed that day. The court appointed Lace Cock and Mathias Holsteyn to appraise the goods and chattels of John Ashman, and they were sworn to the performance of the trust. It also appeared that there was a dispute respecting "the fly (meadow) of those of Carkoen's Hock"(32*)and Lace Dalbo; "the court taking into consideration the fact that before the next court "itt will bee too Late to mow the Hay, doe order that hans Peterse and the Reste of Carkoens hoeck doe mow the hay of the sd fly for the present and untill their case bee heard." An interesting fact in this term was that the first rules of court respecting pleadings and attorneys we have record of were announced. "That all declarations must be Entered at Least the day before the cort at which the clarke is to attend att Upplands," and "That no persons bee admitted to plead for any other person as an attorney. In Cort without hee first have his admittance of the Cort or have a warrynt of Attorney for his so doing from his Clyant." It was hardly necessary for the court to have made any rule in relation to attorneys, for on the 19th of May the Governor and Council adopted an ordinance "that pleading attorneys bee no Longer allowed to practize in ye government, but for ye depending cases." At the November session we find record that this ordinance was for the second term "openly Read in full Cort."
The most important case tried at this session was an action for assault and battery committed on Justice Helme by Oele Oelsen. The justice in his evidence stated that the defendant "first with Evil words abused" and afterwards beat him "and his shirt all tome In peeces by the sd deft.," and as he, the plaintiff, was one of the members of the court, he desired that "hee may bee so maintained." The defendant testified that he was first struck by the plaintiff, but Sheriff Cantwell "desires that the court will take the Case in Consiederacon and not suffer that a Justice of the Peace shall be so abused." After other witnesses had been examined by the court "and heard the debates of both parties," the defendant was fined two hundred and ten guilders, sixty to the poor or church, the remainder to the sheriff, and "doe further order yt the sd Oele Oelsen doe humbly aske forgiveness of Justice Israeli helm and the Cort for his sd offence." The defendant having publicly asked pardon for his act, "The Cort and High Sherife Conciedering that the Sd ode was a poore man with great Charge of Childeren; uppon his humble submission did Remit and foregive him the one hundred and fifty Gilders fyne."
At the subsequent court, Sept. 11, 1677, the difficulty respecting the meadow-land at Calcon's Hook was heard, and it was ordered that the plaintiffs should select "indifferent men," who should view the land and ascertain whether they had not their quantity, after which, if the parties could not agree, the case was referred to the Governor for adjudication. Many applications were presented at the court by parties desiring to have certain lands surveyed and set apart to them, while the clerk was allowed two hundred guilders for his "last year's service, trouble and expenses," to be paid out of the tax to be laid.
In the olden times, as now, litigation arising from absurd disputes was occasionally brought before the court, hence at the November session of 1677, Neeles Laersen, the innkeeper, brought an action, against John Test, in which he complained that the defendant had "been troublesome to his son about a knyf" (knife), and he "desires to know the Reason of the same. The Court haveing heard the debates of both parties; and finding the businesse and difference of noe vallue, did order the partees to be friends and forgive one the other, to which the parties agreed Neeles Laersen Ingaging to pay the Olercq and sherrefs fees."
On April 3, 1678, the first meeting of the justices of Upland in private session, as such assemblages afterwards were called, is noted as being held at the house of Justice Peter Cook, "in ye Schuylkill," where the public accounts were audited and approved.
At the court held on the second Tuesday of June, 1678, for the first time is mentioned proceedings for the foreclosure of a mortgage. In that case Christopher Barnes had mortgaged his plantation and crops of corn and tobacco for fourteen hundred and ninety-four guilders and six styvers. The court appointed James Sanderlands, Albert Hendricks, and Oele Franssen to appraise the farm and crops of wheat and tobacco, and the mortgageor, then in court, "Ingaged to make a good Tytle of ye Land & plantation to ye Plt. if not fully paid otherwise." So also at the same session is presented the first application of an indentured servant to be discharged (freed) at the expiration of the term of servitude, where the master illegally held him beyond the period specified in the agreement. The court ordered Oele Swensen, at the next court, to produce the indenture of Benjamin Goodman, his servant, or bring "witnesses that can Testify about ye business." This Swensen failing to do at the November term, Goodman was discharged. At the same term an application was made to the court by Jan Conelisson, of Amesland, for the protection and maintenance of his son, Erik, who was "bereft of his natural Sences, and is turned quyt madd," the father pleading that his poverty prevented him supporting his son. The unfortunate maniac must have been dangerous to be at large, for the court ordered "that three or 4 persons be hired to build a little Blockhouse at Amesland for to put in the sd madman, and att the next Court, order will bee taken yt a small Levy bee Laid for to pay for the building of ye house." Dr. Smith believed that this "little blockhouse," built under this order, may properly be regarded as the first lunatic asylum in Pennsylvania.(33*)
To provide for the maintenance of the tribunal, at this term was ordered a "Levy or small Tacx of fyve gilders pr head on every Tydable person for defraying of the Courts setting Charges, as heretofore, the Levy to bee paid by Every person upon (at) Trimeconck (Tinicum) Island between this & the 6th of October next Ensuing."
There seems to have been corporal "punishment in a case at this court, of which no record appears other than that James Sandelands was ordered to be paid one hundred and one guilder "for payment of the Indians that whip, &c.," which sum Sandelands seems to have advanced out of his private purse; and at the same session, in a cross-action between William Orian and Jan Jansen, each, alleging that the other threatened his life, the court ordered both parties to be bound "to their good behavior & order Each to pay halfe Costs."
The most important order made at this court was that which required that "Every person should within the spaces of twoo months, as far as his Land Reaches make good and passable ways, from neighbour to neighbour, with bridges when itt needs, To the End that neighbours on occasion may come together. Those neglecting to forfeit 25 gilders." This is the first record of any action respecting highways made by a court acting in the territory now Pennsylvania, although nearly four years previous to this date, at a special court held at New Castle, on the 13th and 14th of May, 1666, Governor Andross presiding, it was "ordered that Highways shall be cleared from place to place within the precincts of this government." (34*)
At the court held on the 12th of March, 1678-79, James Sandelands, as attorney of Marmaduke Randall, presented a claim against the estate of Walter Wharton, deceased, for eighty guilders, which was for rent due for a house in Upland, and prayed that he might be ordered payment out of the estate, with costs, as also a personal claim of Sandelands against the estate for four hundred and twenty-eight guilders. In both cases judgment was awarded.
Wharton was the surveyor for the Delaware River settlement. From a letter from Justice Moll, of New Castle Court, to Secretary Nicolls, of New York, under date of Jan. 20, 1680, we learn that Ralph Hudgjson had buried Wharton, and had charged about twelve hundred (guilders) for the funeral expenses, and that the court had promised to grant an order on Capt. Cantwell at the next session for that sum. The amount was so exorbitant that Justice Moll hesitated, for he says, "Others have been buried as handsome for one-third of ye money. . . . The Chancellor of Maryland, I know, allows all administrators alyke for funeral charges. If they will be astravigand they must doo itt upon their owne meanes not upon ye creditor's account." (35*)
Edmund Draufton brought suit against Dunck Williams, demanding two hundred guilders as compensation forservices rendered in "teaching the deft. Children to Read one Year." Richard Ducket, a witness for the plaintiff testified "that bee was present at ye makeing of ye bargaine, & did hear that ye agreem't was that Edmund draufton should Teach Dunkes Children to Read in ye bybell, & if hee could doe itt in a yeare or a halfe yeare or a quart then hee was to have 200 gilders." The court awarded "Judgment in favor of the plaintiff for the amount claims and costs of suit." This is the first record in our annals of children being in anywise educated, other than the clause in the Duke's Book of Laws admonishing the people to care for the instruction of children and servants in matters of religion and the laws of the country, while at the same time parents and masters were strictly enjoined "to bring up their Children and Apprintices in some honest Lawfull Calling, Labor or Employment," one of the few regulations of the olden times which the present age might readopt with advantage to the State.
At the November court was heard a matter which it seems strange to our modern ideas could have occupied the attention of the most potent, grave, and reverend judges whose duty it was to hold aloft the balance of justice in our early colonial days. The church-wardens of Tinicum and Wicaco Churches brought to the notice of the bench "that the fences about ye Church Yards and other Church buildings are much out of Repair, and that some of the People members of ye sd churches are neglective to make the same up." The court, after due consideration, determined "to order authorize & Impower the Respective church wardens of ye sd Twoo Churches. . . .do order & summons the Repective members of ye sd churches from tyme to tyme and att all tymes when it shall be found necessary, to build make good and Keepe in Repair the sd Churchyard fences as also, the Church and all other the appurtenances thereof and if any of the sd members upon warning doe prove neglective In the doing of their Proportion to the same, They and Each of them to forfeit fifty gilders for Each such neglect to be Levyed out of their goods and Chattles Lands and Tennements."
This intermeddling of the court in purely church matters was in accordance with the spirit of the Duke of York's laws, wherein much attention was devoted to ecclesiastical topics. The church-wardens were, under its provisions, required twice in each year, on the second day of the June and December sessions, in open court, to deliver a written "true presentment" of all misdemeanors, such as swearing, profane Sabbath-breaking, drunkenness, fornication, and adultery, "and all such abominable sinnes," which to their knowledge had been committed and the guilty parties remain unpunished. Their powers were so extended that they could compel the attendance of any person whom they believed had knowledge of such misdemeanors to testify respecting such charges, and if the latter failed to attend they were liable to be fined by the court.
At the same court Francis Steevens sued Claes Jansen on balance of an account for goods sold and delivered. The defendant pleaded in defense that "hee proffered & paid ye Plf. in pompkiens according to agreement." The plaintiff in rebuttal called Thomas Stroud, who testified that "hee being sent by frank stevens to fetch ye pompkiens did demand them, but Claes Jansen did refuse to bring them down to ye water syde." After a summing up of the evidence on both sides the court ordered "that ye deft., Claes Jansen, pay unto ye plt. Twenty gilders in wheat and Twenty-six in pumpkiens, after ye rate of sixteen gilders pr. hundred. Together with costs of suite."
Sometimes then, as now, the patience of the court gave way; but in one case the majority of the bench managed to thrust the tedious matter upon one of their fellow-justices. Hans Petersen had sued Henry Colman for an account of forty-three guilders, and when the case was called the defendant was absent. Thereupon the court said "the matter in dispute being so Inconsiderable that itt is not worth ye Longer Continuance. The Court therefore Impowered Justice Otto Earnest Cook to hear & Examine the act. & Case and to make a Final End & determination thereof as he shal find Just and Equitable."
Courts cannot be maintained without expense to the public, particularly to suitors, a view of political economy which soon dawned on the understanding of the justices. Early in the record, Nov. 13, 1677, the court made an order that "the Levy or Pole money for defraying the publicq charges" amounted to twenty-six guilders for every taxable person, and that payments would be received in the following species wheat at five, rye and barley at four, and Indian corn at three guilders per bushel; tobacco at eight stivers per pound; pork at eight, and bacon at sixteen slivers per pound. Skins were to be received at current prices, as was also wampum. Sheriff Cantwell was instructed to collect the tax, and if necessary to levy on the delinquent's goods, which he was to have appraised by two of the neighbors of the party whose articles were seized. For collecting the tax, the sheriff was to receive at the rate of five shillings to the pound.
The litigants soon began to learn that lawsuits were luxuries which must be paid for, for at the March term, 1679-80, the bench took action on the matter of unpaid costs, and entered the following order on the quaint old record:
"Whereas the Law allowes to ye cort for Every Judgment Given by the cort 2s. Gd., and the same being hitherto not Collected or paid, and the cort being in great want of some meanes to pay and defray their necessary Charges of meat & drinke, etc. It is therefore this day Resolved and the undersherriffe William Warner, is hereby Impoured to Collect & Receive from ye following persons for Each action, that is to say Judgment accord: to ye annexed List the smite of 2s. 6d., and that hee bee accountable & give a Just and Exact account of his Receipt to ye Court att next Court day."
Then fOllowed a list of forty suits, criminal and civil, wherein the costs were still unpaid. Possibly the justices soon learned, as lawyers do, that of all hard collections the hardest is to gather in the cost of a lawsuit where the party to pay
"Expects a reversion and gets a reverse."
Hence it occasioned no surprise to find at the next term, on June 8th, the judges striving to meet the courtal expenses of the tribunal by the following modes:
"Itt was this day by the Cort taken Into Consideracon & ordered that
for ye defraying of ye charges of this Cort's sitting Each person shall
pay Yearly one scipple of wheat or 5 gilders according to former order
& Practice, and also That all the arrier of ye former Jears bee delivered
& brought into Justice Otto Earnest (Cock) att Tinoragceng Island, such
as prove neglective to be fetched by ye Constable by way of restraynt."
Even this order did not altogether satisfy the court, "being in want of monneyes for ye defraying of ye publicq Charges of their sitting;" but just before the adjournment the justices ordered the clerk to prepare a list of those persons who were in arrears, and particularly a fine of two hundred guilders, which list was directed should be delivered to "ye high sheriffe, whoe is hereby ordered to collect ye same. . . and to be accompatible att ye next Court, with further power that In case any should refuse ye payment of ye sd Just Cort fees that in such a Case hee should use ye uttmost extreamity by ye Lawe allowed."
On the 8th of June, 1680, the commissions of the new justices appointed by Governor And rosse "was Read publicqly att Upland." The newly-commissioned magistrates, however, did not fully comprehend the responsibilities connected with the office, for the court at the June term, 1680, finding that Upland Creek, where the court hitherto had held its sessions, was at the lower end of the county, for the benefit of the majority of the people "thought fitt for ye future to sitt & meet att ye towne of Kingsesse on ye Schuylkill;"(36*) and at the June sessions of 1681, Justices Henry Browne and George Brown failing to be present, they "were boath fyned for not attending ye Court to supply their places Each ten pounds according to ye Law books." These fines, however, were in all probability never collected, for, before the next court assembled, the territory had been transferred by the king's charter to William Penn, and under the new power a thorough reorganization of the provincial authority was made.
It is necessary, however, to retrace our narrative in order of time, so as to notice a few important cases which were tried before that event took place.
At the October sessions, 1680, Claves Craw sued Hans Peters for slander. The defendant had called the plaintiff a thief and on the trial, the defendant not being able to prove the truth of his assertion, the court ordered that "ye deft openly declared him selfe a Lyar, & that he shall further declare ye Plt to bee an honest man & pay 20 gilders to ye Plt for his Losse of tyme, together with Costs of suite." At the same court a case was continued on the application of the plaintiff, who alleged that four of the material witnesses had been subpoenaed but did not attend. This session was prolific of suits for defamation. Justice Otto Earnest Cock brought an action against Moens Peterson Staecket for having called his honor a hog-thief, and the justice indignantly demanded that the defendant, "if he or any other can, will prove ye same or otherwise that hee may bee punisht according to Lawe." The defendant protested that he had no recollection of ever having made such an assertion, and if he had, "that itt must have been in his drink." The court, however, after the witnesses were examined, that the high character of a judge should not be lightly assailed, ordered the defendant to pay one thousand guilders, and to acknowledge that he had "wrongfully, falsly & malisiously slandered & blamed" the plaintiff. The defendant, in order to escape the dire wrath of the bench, "did willingly in open court declare as above & humbly desires forgiveness & prayes that ye fyne may bee remitted. Upon ye Intercession of Justice Otto Earnest the cort did remit ye fyne abovesd."
During the whole period covered by the record of Upland Court, there are but two cases in which juries were impaneled to try questions of fact, and that this was so was doubtless owing to the provision in the Duke's laws that where a plaintiff desired the issue tried by a jury he was required to give bonds, when he entered suit, that he would pay "One Day's Cost of a jury."(37*) The first case wherein a trial by jury is set out on the record was Nov. 12, 1678, and was had in an action brought by William Orian against JOh. D'Haes on a disputed account. The plaintiff had craved a jury, and twelve men were impaneled, who returned a verdict for the plaintiff for an amount somewhat less than his demand. "The court thought fitt to suspend the verdict of the Jury and the determinacon of this case till next court day, att wch tyme both plt and deft are to bring their bookes In court." That is the reason given in the record for setting aside the verdict, but it is very likely that this was an easy way the bench took of getting out of acknowledging that they had made a mistake. Perhaps a suggestion was received at side bar that the law explicitly directed that "no jury shall exceed the number of seven, nor be under six, unless in special causes upon Life and death the justices shall thinke fitt to appoint twelve."(38*)
Two years thereafter, on Oct. 13, 1680, the next jury trial took place. The jury in this case, as in the former one, consisted of twelve men, and their finding was sustained, for we are informed "the court doe allow of ye jury's verdict & passe judgment accordingly." Doubtless the finding was just, yet as the jury numbered twelve, and it being a civil suit, it was a body clearly unknown to the law, and on appeal, if pressed, the verdict must have been set aside. But in those early times, the magistrates being unlearned in legal matters, firmly believed and acted on the doctrine announced in latter years in Philadelphia by a well-known lay judge, that "natural equity abhors sharp points of law." As we progress in our narrative an instance will be cited in our judicial history sustaining this declaration. It is, however, not uninteresting to note that at the last session of court, before the province passed into the ownership of Penn, a technical point was raised by Jonas Neatson, who had been apprehended on the suit of Andries Peters, Esq. The defendant appeared, alleging that he was not timely "arrested." This was a knotty point the judges desired to think over, for the record informs us that "the Case is referred til next court." The term fixed upon at the adjournment for holding the next session was Sept. 13, 1681, but although a court did convene on that date, it was with new justices and at the ancient town of Upland, where Deputy Governor William Markham had located the capital of the province of Pennsylvania. The new justices were William Clayton, William Warner, Robert Wade, Otto Earnest Cock, Lassey Cock. All of the foregoing were also members of the Governor's Council, while William Byles, Robert Lucas, Swan Swanson, and Andrew Baukson were not in such intimate relationship with his Excellency. All the bench were new to that office, save two Swedes, who were formerly justices, but the English element now outnumbered the former nationality. The first act of moment at this session was the proclamation by Markham that the duke's laws were abrogated, and all legal proceedings thereafter were ordered to be conducted "according to the good laws of England." A most admirable change if there had been any one in commission on the bench having any extensive knowledge of these laws, but as there was not, criminal actions were entertained by the court and tried by petit juries without the intervention of a grand inquest.(39*)
Every controversy of fact was now submitted to the conclusion of a petit jury's verdict, but the old manner of computing values by the Dutch guilders could not be so quickly set aside, for the last verdict at that session was for sixty-two guilders. If the court records are of any value in showing how quickly the new system of computation was adopted, it demonstrates that the people of that day more speedily accepted the new order of things than did our Revolutionary sires in discarding the pounds, shillings, and pence to substitute in their stead the American standard of money.
On Nov. 30, 1681, the next session of the court began. It was presided over by Markham, and at that term we learn in the olden days, as at the present, the calendar sometimes melted away, for only four cases were tried, one was withdrawn, and one continued. At the next court, March 14, 1682, Markham also presided, and before the bar Henry Reynolds was arraigned for "selling strong drinks by small measure in his house contrary to the Governor's and Council's order." The defendant pled guilty to the charge, but on his submission to this court was discharged. The indiscriminate sale of liquors early demanded the attention of the authorities; the Dutch records frequently mention the desire of the government to prevent abuses in that respect, while, under the Duke of York, the sale was hedged about with many restrictions. Not only were these provisions spread on the statute-book, but Governor Androsse, under date of Aug. 14, 1677, in his letter to the magistrates respecting the administration of justice, directed the special attention of the courts to these enactments. "Pray take care and fitting Orders for Ordinaryes," he says, "that they bee fitt persons duly Lycenced, and well provided according to Lawe, and that none else be admitted to retaile."(40*)
The clear, good sense which was conspicuously exhibited by William Penn on many occasions was perhaps never better illustrated than when in coming to his province in 1682, he determined to continue the courts already established therein, with whose manner of administering justice the people had grown familiar. Certain it is that he advocated radical changes in the civil and criminal code, removing much of the severity of the latter, while he enlarged the responsibilities of individuals to the community; but these innovations were made by legislative, bodies, drawn from the people, and the means he employed to effect the end in view was conducive to the public weal, the discussion of measures of government resulting in enlarging the intelligence of the masses. The law enacted Dec. 7, 1682, requiring all persons who were not by birth subjects of Great Britain within three months thereafter to make declarations of their intentions to become "freemen," resulted in retiring, for the time being, all the Swedish justices. Hence, at the February session, 1682-83, John Simcock, a newly-appointed justice, acted as president of the tribunal, which then consisted only of five magistrates. But Otto Earnest Cock must have declared his intentions soon afterwards, for at the June term, 1683, when Penn personally presided, the familiar figure of Justice Cock once more appeared on the bench.
To this court, held June 27, 1683, the first grand jury of record in Pennsylvania was summoned.(41*)That grand inquest consisted of seventeen persons, James Kennerly, James Sandelands, George Foreman, Neal Lawson, John Corncleus, Richard Buffington, Thomas Minshall, John Harding, Mans. Stankitt, Oele Rawson, George Wood, Albert Hendrickson, Herman Johnson, Nathaniel Evans, Robert Robinson, William Woodmanson, Richard Few. The jury, as the old docket emphatically records the lesser body, was composed of twelve persons, and it seems at that time the traverse jury was sworn at the beginning of the court, to "justly try & deliver in your verdict in all cases depending that shall be brought before you during this session of court."(42*)
One of these cases was brought by John Day against Henry Reynolds for £4 9s. 2d., the balance of an account which the defendant was to discharge by delivery of a cow and calf at a designated time. This the latter failed to do, hence the litigation. The jury rendered the following curious verdict: "The jury find for ye Plaint'd give him a cow & calf, ye same to be deliv'd with in 7 dayes, or £4, 19s, 2d, at ye choyce of ye Plaint, or ye value thereof in Porke, Beefe or come in ye 8 mo next, & 40s down. and costs of Suite."
The first clause of the duke's laws imposed a fine of ten pounds on justices and high constables for each and every day's absence from the sessions of the court. Twenty years thereafter, on May 20, 1685, the General Assembly enacted a law making a justice who should not attend court finable in any sum not exceeding thirty shillings. The custom of acknowledging deeds openly in court, so that a record might be spread on the minutes, which had prevailed under the duke, continued in practice, as did the registration of the brand-marks of the owners of cattle running at large in the woods.
The court exercised the power of laying out roads, excepting the King's Highway, which was the duty of Council, of protecting indentured servants from their masters' exactions or abuse, settling disputes as to term of servitude, and compelling the bondsmen to perform their duties by corporal punishment, or when they attempted to escape, adding on their detection, as the law directed, additional, time to serve, where the latter by their misdeeds occasioned a loss to their owners. Some of the peculiar duties then devolving on the court were contracting for county building, bridges, levying the taxes and similar matters now discharged by the county commissioners, as also auditing the public accounts, a work now incumbent on the county auditors, and many other matters became the subject of the court's consideration. It had jurisdiction of all breaches of the peace, misdemeanors and other offenses, excepting in cases of heinous or enormous crimes. In this the scope of inquiry had been enlarged after Penn's coming, but burglary and arson, which were punishable with death on a third conviction, under the duke's law, now made the party liable to imprisonment, and in the latter crime, whipping. The jurisdiction of the county courts was restricted so far as the high grade of crimes were concerned, until the Constitution of 1790 gave the judges of the Court of Common Pleas in each county the right to act as justice of oyer and terminer and general jail delivery for the trial of capital and other offenses.
A peculiar adjunct of the county courts provided by the act of March 10, 1683, were the peacemakers, three persons in every precinct chosen yearly,(43*) to whom the parties litigant could refer their difficulties by agreement in writing, and the decision of these peacemakers was as conclusive as that of the court, and the judgment so rendered was registered as "other judgments are.(44*)One of the awards, made by the peacemakers at Chester, at the court held 3d day 1st week Eighth month, 1687, in a suit for assault and battery brought by Samuel Baker against Samuel Rowland, is worthy of notice. It was that "Samuel Rowland shall pay the lawful charges of this court and give the said Samuel Baker a Hatt, and so Discharge each other of all manner of Differences from the Beginning of the world to this Present day."
Although the Assembly on May 11, 1692, declared that the law relative to peacemakers was inoperative, the remnants of that system linger still in our practice, in arbitration, the modern form of the ancient peacemakers.
The provisions for summoning jurors, under the Duke of York's laws, instructed the constables "to warn so many of the overseers to attend as juryman" as the pending causes might seem to require, and in the event of the panel being exhausted, the jury could be supplied "with so many able and discreet men as shall attend the court, . . - or shall happen to be inhabitants of the Towne where the court shall be held."(45*) In cases where the law was obscure, "as the jury cannot be satisfied therein," they could return an alternative verdict, viz., "If the law be so on such a point we find for the plaintiff; but if the law be otherwise we find for the defendant," in which case the court must determine, as a matter of law, in whose behalf the verdict was to be recorded. A majority of the jury could find a verdict. By the law of March 10, 1683, under Penn's government, it was provided that a grand inquest should attend in every county court, and bring in their presentments(46*)twice a year, when, on that presentment, an indictment was regularly framed and the prisoner admitted to bail to the next court, so as to give him an opportunity to make a proper defense. The traverse jury was drawn in the following manner: "The names of the freemen shall be writ in small pieces of paper and put into a hat and shaken, forty-eight of whom shall be drawn by a child, and those so drawn shall stand for the Sheriff's return. And the first twelve, not reasonably excepted against shall stand and serve for the tryal."(47*)
A remarkable jury was summoned at Chester on the 27th of Sixth month, 1689, which for nearly two hundred years was the only instance on record in the United States until 1878, when a similar jury was impaneled at Cheyenne, Wyoming Territory. At the date first given, a servant girl pleaded guilty to the charge of fornication, and being sentenced to be whipped, she alleged that she was enceinte and could not undergo corporal punishment. The man had also pled guilty to the charge. The record states, "Upon which they were both called to the bar, where they made their appearance, and upon her further confession and submission a jury of women, whose names are underwritten, ordered to inspect the said Mary Taberfield's condition." The jury consisted of Lydia Wade, Sarah Usher, Hester Rawlence, Mary Carter, Jane Hawkes, Mary Hoskins, Elizabeth Musgrove, Mary Bayless, Elizabeth Hastings, Mary Little, Jane Moulder, and Ann Sanderlands. "They make return that they cannot find that she is 'enceinte,' neither be they sure she is not." At the court held 3d day 1st week Eighth month, 1689, the female defendant was called to the bar and further examined, when she declared that, notwithstanding her testimony "she doe now freely declare to ye contrary and submitts to ye mercy of ye King and Governor." Whereupon she was sentenced to "receive 10 strips upon her bear backe well laid on at ye Common Whipping Post att Chester." John Eldridge was discharged on paying a fine of three pounds and all the court charges.
This, however, is not the first record of corporal punishment being inflicted, for at the June court, four years previous thereto, Abraham Effingall was convicted of "abusing and menacing the majestracy of this county," and was sentenced to receive "twenty-one lashes att the Publicke Whipping-Post on his bear Backe, well laid on and 14 dayes Imprisonment at hard labour in ye House of Correction."
By the provisions of the act of March 10, 1683, the justices of each county court were directed to sit twice in every year "to inspect and take care of the estates, usage and employment of orphans, which shall be called the Orphans' Court," which was to be held the first 3d day of the week in the First and Eighth months annually, the reason of the law being stated "that care may be taken of those that are not able to take care of themselves."(48*) The records of the county of Chester show that the first court, under the title "Orphans' Court," was held on the "3d day in ye 1st week of ye 8th month, 1687." Under the act of May 10, 1688, the jurisdiction of the court was extended to the control of decedents' estate, with power to order sales of real property for the payment of debt, or the maintenance or education of children, the support of the widow, or the disposition of a part of the land, to raise funds to improve the remainder. These powers, however, were exercisable only "withthe approbation of the Governor or Council."(49*)Although this law distinctly stated it was to be in force for one year and "no longer," the Orphans' Court had come to stay, and although it subsequently was the object of many statutes defining its powers and proceedings, it became so entirely a part of the machinery of government that it could not be done away with.
Previous to the act of May 10, 1684, there was no high Appellants' Court in the province other than the Governor and Council, but at the time designated a Provincial Court consisting of five judges was created, which was to sit twice a year in Philadelphia, and two members of the court at least, every fall and spring annually, were directed to "goe their circuits into everie respective county in the Province," to hold a court of appeals, as well as to try all criminal causes of a high grade, questions of title to land and other cases(50*)of which the county courts had no jurisdiction.
The following year the inconvenience of this court only having cognizance of cases involving the title of real estate, was the subject of much complaint, and the Assembly abolished that part of its jurisdiction, while at the same time it defined more explicitly its appellant's powers and the criminal cases, which were to be in the first instance the subject-matter of its inquiry. The number of judges was to be reduced to three, but subsequently they were restored to five.
Under the colonial government and under that of the commonwealth until a change was made by the Constitution of 1790, all criminal cases punishable with death were tried before the judges of the Provincial or Supreme Court, and for that reason a search among the old county court records to find mention of criminal cases of a high grade is always attended with little or no success. That much of the records of the Provincial Court must be lost beyond hope of recovery is evident from the reply of David Lloyd to Governor Blackwell, for on the 25th of Twelfth month, 1688-89, when ordered to produce the records of the courts, he stated that "they were not recorded otherwise than on a quire of paper."(51*)
A little over a year after Penn first came to his province- no Provincial Court had been then established- he was called upon to preside in a case of more than ordinary interest, it being nothing less than the trial of an alleged witch. This proceeding was had eight years before the stupid excitement at Salem, Mass., ran its course. At that period, in all the British American colonies the statute of England passed in 1603 was in force, which punished the impossible crime of witchcraft in some of the provinces with death. Indeed, in the commission and instructions to the justices of Chester County from Governor Keith, dated Nov. 24, 1719, they were directed to inquire of all "Witchcrafts, Inchantinents, sorceries, Magic Arts, &c."(52*) and this absurd law continued in force in Pennsylvania until the act of Sept. 23, 1794, by which it was repealed.(53*)The case mentioned was that of Margaret Mattson and Yetho Hendrickson, the former the wife of Neels Mattson, a Swedish settler who owned and resided on a plantation on the river on the west side of Crum Creek, in Ridley township, while the latter was the spouse of Jacob Hendrickson, who, it is believed, also resided in that neighborhood.
On Feb. 7, 1683/4, they were brought before Penn and the Council at Philadelphia, and "examined and about to be proved witches," when it was ordered that Mattson and Hendrickson should enter bonds in fifty pounds each for the appearance of their wives to answer the charge on the 27th of the same month. At the time designated the trial was had, Attorney-General John White being present. Penn charged the grand jury, and that body found a true bill against Margaret Mattson. The defendant being unable to speak English, Lasse Cock was qualified as interpreter. The traverse jury was impaneled, on which appeared Robert Wade, John Gibbons, Jeremiah Collet, Walter Martin, and others, from this county. The first witness produced was Henry Drystreet, who testified that for twenty years he had heard that the prisoner was a witch, and had cast spells on several cows. James Sandelands' mother had told him that Mrs. Mattson had bewitched one of her cows, but that Mrs. Sandelands had afterwards said that she had been mistaken, it was not her cow, but that of another persons which would die. Charles Ashcom testified that the defendant's daughter-in-law, her son Anthony's wife, had told him that she had sold her cows because her mother-in-law had bewitched them, and that afterwards, having taken the spell off of Hendrickson's cattle, she had put it on their oxen. He also stated that the defendant's daughter-in-law one night had called him up hastily, and when he came to her she told him that she had seen a great light and that the old woman, with a knife in her hand, stood at the foot of her bed crying out, desiring "John Symcock to take away his calves, or else she would send them to hell." Annakey Coolin stated that her husband took the heart of a calf which had died, as they thought, by witchcraft, and boiled it, whereupon the prisoner came into their house and inquired what they were doing? They answered they were boiling the flesh, when she replied that it would have been better had they "boiled the bones," with several other unseemly expressions. Margaret Mattson, in her defense, asserted that she did not care anything for the evidence given by Drystreet, but had "Sandelands mother come, she would have answered her;" as for Charles Ashcom's testimony on "her soul" she denied it, and demanded where was her daughter? "Let her come and say so."
As to Annakey Coolin's attestatioh concerning the geese, she denied it. The notes of evidence do not show what this assertion was. She declared she was at the time never out of her canoe, and as respected the calf's heart, she denied ever having said anything concerning it. The prisoner at its conclusion again denied everything, declaring that the witnesses had all spoken "by hearsay." Penn thereupon charged the jury, who retired, and brought in a verdict of "guilty of having the common fame of a witch, but not guilty in manner and form as she stands indicted." Neal Mattson and Anthony Neelson gave bonds in fifty pounds each for her good behavior for six months, as did also Jacob Hendrickson for Yethro Henderson, and the prisoners were discharged.(54*)
The foregoing, however, is not the only instance of the hidden art in our annals. In 1695, John Roman and his two sons, residing in Chichester, were reported to be students of astrology and other forbidden mysteries. The public tongue had so discussed the matter that on the 9th of Tenth month, 1695, Concord Monthly Meeting gravely announced that "the study of these sciences bring a vaile over the understanding and a death upon the life." John Kingsman and William Hughes were ordered to speak to the parties, and have them attend at next monthly meeting. The offenders were seen, and stated that if it could be shown wherein it was wrong, they would desist from further investigation in those arts. For several months the matter was before Concord Meeting, without resulting in suppressing the dreaded evil, and early in 1695, Chester Quarterly Meeting had the case of the Romans before that body for having practiced Rhabdomancy, or consulting with a staff and such like things. In other words, the Romans had faith in the efficacy of the divining-rod, a belief which has not entirely died away. The grand jury, however, learning of the matter, presented Robert Roman for the dire offense, and, in order to eradicate the wickedness, they presented the following books: "Hidons Temple of Wisdom, which teaches Geomancy, and Scot's discovery of Witchcraft, and Come has Agrippas teach Necromancy." Whereupon the justices ordered "as many of these book as can be found," should be brought to the court. We have no information whether the books were brought, but Robert Rowan was, when, on submission to the court, he was fined five pounds and costs, promising that he would never more practice the art, but behave himself well for the future. He was discharged. Since which time our records show no further allusion to witchcraft.
In the case of David Lloyd vs. James Sandelands, called at the court held 3d day of Fourth month, 1690, John White appeared as attorney for plaintiff, and doubtless at the suggestion of Lloyd, who was a well-read and shrewd lawyer, the former interposed a technical challenge to the array of the jury, or as the quaint record states it, "alleged that ye jury was not Lawfully summoned soe would not com to tryall." The defendant, who appeared in person, therefore craved a nonsuit on the refusal of the plaintiff to proceed with the case. The justices, as previously stated, abhorring sharp points of law, summarily disposed of the legal difficulty, for it "being referred to ye court ye court granted the same." This decision may have been just; but surely there was no occasion for the justice at the court held on the 10th day of Tenth month, 1700, when complaint had been lodged before that tribunal, stating that liquor was sold by a particular individual without having received the approval of the session, to have tantalizingly told George Oldfield, when called before the bar to produce his license, "but he having none, the court ordered him to get one if he can forthwith."
The reasons assigned by William and Mary, when, on Oct. 20, 1693, they superseded Penn's authority by appointing Col. Benjamin Fletcher Governor of Pennsylvania, were doubtless not the true motives prompting the act, but certain it is, that in the end their Majesties' bad faith resulted beneficially for the people. The difficulties which had occurred between the legislative body and the executives of Penn's selecting, showed that the popular mind was determined to adhere to constitutional rights and forms under the charter, but the natural feeling of respect for the proprietary personally softened the bitterness of the struggle. When, however, a stranger, a usurper in a measure, and an overbearing man with whom the people were not in sympathy, was placed in authority, nothing but the naked possession of power remained to hold the public in obedience. But when that man undisguisedly informed the General Assembly that the laws and model of the government were disallowed and at an end, and threatened the province with annexation to New York or Maryland, it awakened the open resistance of David Lloyd, the mastermind in the colony, whose courage was of that unflinching kind which never hesitates in the defense of honest opinion, and whose address in debate and knowledge of law peculiarly fitted him to lead at that juncture the party advocating the rights of the people. To this day the citizens of Pennsylvania and the Union are reaping the benefits resulting from the sturdy battle made by that brave Quaker lawyer for popular liberty nearly two centuries ago, for be it understood, David Lloyd dared even to stand between Penn and the accomplishment of the purposes of the latter when he believed that the object could only be obtained by interfering with the general welfare of the province. David Lloyd was the first lawyer we have knowledge of residing within the county. His first appearance in the Assembly was as a Representative from Chester County in 1693. The following year he was Speaker of that body, and in that capacity bore the full blunt of Governor Fletcher's wrath. He was the father of the bar of Pennsylvania, and to him, above all others, is due the credit of assimilating the crude legislation of that early period into a system of jurisprudence, while the acts which moulded our tribunals of justice into form, and invested them with clearly-defined powers and jurisdiction, were in the majority of instances either drafted in whole or revised by that eminent lawyer, whose learning and integrity lent lustre to the Supreme Court, wherein for fourteen years he presided as the chief justice of the province. David Lloyd should ever be held in grateful remembrance by the people of the State, for whose lasting welfare he did so much.
By the act of Oct. 27, 1701, county courts were required to be held at the town of Chester on the third day of the last week in February, May, August, and November. Three justices constituted a quorum, and they were empowered to deliver the gaols, award process, and hold all manner of pleas of the crown, exempting felonies punishable with death. The civil jurisdiction covered all classes of actions, and the practice was to conform as nearly as possible to that of the Common Pleas of England, while in declaration and pleas brevity, plainness, and verity were required, and "all fictions and color in pleadings" to be avoided. They had equity powers, and all matters of maritime disputes not cognizable in the Court of Admiralty were to be heard and determined at the county courts. Appeals were allowed from the final judgment of these tribunals, the party appellant entering security as at present.
The judges of the Supreme Provincial Court were to go on circuit twice in each year, the act requiring such court to be held in Chester on the 2d day of Eighth month and on the 18th day of Second month, for the trial of all felonies and to hear appeals in civil cases. By the act of Feb. 10, 1710, the Supreme justices were not required to go semi-annual circuits in the counties outside of Philadelphia unless cases were pending there for trial, and commissions of oyer and terminer were issued by the Governor. The act of 1710 was in 1713 repealed by Queen Anne, and on the 20th of July, 1714, Lieutenant-Governor Gookins, following the precedent of Governor Evans, published an ordinance of like tenor establishing the several courts in the province. One of the three Supreme justices could hold circuit court under the act of May 22, 1722, but by the act of May 20, 1767, although the Supreme bench was increased to four members, it would seem that all the judges were required to ride circuit twice a year if occasion demanded, and the expenses of the judges and clerk of the Supreme Court, with their servants, in the event of there being court held in any of the counties, were to be paid by that county during the session therein. The judges and their attendants were to be conveyed over any ferry in the province "without paying any ferriage, fee, or reward for the same."
The Courts of Common Pleas in the several counties continued to exercise in main the jurisdiction conferred on the county courts by the act of Oct. 27, 1701. During our colonial history all the courts were frequently subject-matter of legislative enactments. When Governor Evans and the Assembly could not agree on a law relative to the courts, for the act of Oct. 27, 1701, had been repealed by the order of Queen Anne's Council, Feb. 7, 1705, and his Excellency had on two several occasions ordered all the courts in the province to adjourn because of her majesty's action, on the Eleventh month 2, 1707, the Governor published an ordinance establishing courts of justice. This authority he claimed he could exercise under the charter to Penn when the welfare of the province required it. The particulars of the protracted struggle between the Assembly and Governor Evans belong to the history of the State as a whole, hence do not come within the scope of this work. In this ordinance, however, the Governor provided for special sessions of the County Court of Common Pleas every six weeks, which should be held by two justices for the return of process. It also provided that a special Court of Common Pleas could be held in cases where the defendants were about to remove out of the province, such defendant or defendants making request for such court to sit. In these extraordinary courts the costs were double those at ordinary sessions. The Courts of Quarter Sessions, as distinctive from the County Court, first appear in Governor Evans' ordinance in 1707, and were directed to be held in Chester on the last Tuesdays of February, May, August, and November, the Common Pleas beginning on Wednesday following. By act of Feb. 28, 1710, the Court of Quarter Sessions could not be held in Chester "above the space of two day," which provision was incorporated into the act of 1715 and May, 1722. On Aug. 26, 1727, the term of the sessions was extended to three days. By the act of May 28, 1715, the justices of the Court of Quarter Sessions were directed "to set such reasonable price on all Liquors Retailed in publick houses and provender for horses in publick stables, from time to time, as they shall see fit, under the like penalties as in such cases are enacted by the laws and statutes of Great Britain." The records show that this act, and a subsequent one providing for regulating the sale of these articles, was not a dead letter on the statute-book.
By the act of 1710, already mentioned, the judges of the county courts were authorized, in case of disputed accounts between copartners and joint tenants, to appoint an auditor or auditors, who "for their pains in awarding such accounts to be paid by the party on whose side the balance appears." This provision was taken from the English statute passed two years before the colonial act was approved, and is the first appearance in our jurisprudence, of the appointment of auditors by the court. In the act of Feb. 28, 1710, we find the title prothonotary used for the first time in reference to the county courts, and on May 28, 1715, those officers were directed, after issue joined to prepare a trial list, "which sd Lists shall be publickly set up in the court house during the sitting of the court."
By the act of Sept. 29, 1759, the justices of the Court of Quarter Session were interdicted from being commissioned justices of the Common Pleas. The salary of the justices of the County Courts in colonial days was twenty shillings each for every day so employed. Notwithstanding the meagre pay, the justices held their office in high esteem, and were quick to resent anything which appeared to be contempt of the person or process of the court. The early records furnish many instances in support of this assertion. On 26th of Sixth month, 1702, "John Worrelow, being one of the petty jury for contempt of court by departing from his fellow-jurors and going into another province before they gave in their verdict is fined fifty shillings," and on the "1st day of the 7th. mo., 1702," Edward Prichett "for his contempt of court in spitting in the face of Walter Faucett in open court is fined twenty shillings."
JUSTICES PREVIOUS TO THE ERECTION OF DELAWARE COUNTY.
1657.- Magistrates for the South River: Oloff Stille, Mathys Hanson, Peter Rambo, Peter Cock.
November, 1674.- Justices for Upland: Peter Cock, Peter Rambo, Israel Helm, Lace Andries, Oelle Swenson.
Oct. 3, 1676.- Peter Cock, Peter Rambo, Israel Helm, Lace Andries, Oelle Swenson, Otto Ernest Cock.
May 28, 1680.- commissioned by Sir Edmund Andros: Otto Ernest Cock, Israel Helm, Lasse Cock, Jienry James, George Browne.
1681.- commissioned by Governor Markham: William Clayton, William Warner, Robert Wade, William Byler, Robert Lucus, Hendrias Bankson, Thomas Fairman, James Sandelands, Swen Swenson, Andries Bankson, Otto Ernest Cock, Lassey Cock.
1682.- commissioned by Penn: John Simcock, Thomas Brassey, William Clayton, Robert Wade, John Bezer, Otto Ernest Cock, Ralph Withers.
1682.- Christopher Taylor, William Wood, Robert Wade, John Blunston, Nicholas Newlin, George Maris, James Saunderlaine, John Harding, Thomas Usher.
April 6, 1685.- John Simcock, William Wood, Nicholas Newlin. Robert Wade, George Maris, Thomas Usher, Robert Piles, John Blunston.
1686.- Bartholomew Coppock, Samuel Levis, Francis Harrison.
1687.- John Bristow, Edward Bezer.
March 19, 1689.- John Simcock, John Bristow, Bartholomew Coppock, Jr., John Blunston, George Maris, Francis Harrison, and Nicholas Newlin.
May 4, 1689.- William Howell.
Jan. 2, 1689-90.- John Bristow, John Bevan, John Blunston, Nicholas Newlin, Francis Harrison, Samuel Levis, James Sandelands, William Howell, Joshua Fearne.
Seventh, 6, 1690.- John Simcock.
Tenth, 8, 1691.- William Jenkins, present at court.
May 13, 1693.- George Foreman, Jeremiah Collet, Thomas Smith, Thomas Withers.
Sept. 11, 1694.- At Court: Jasper Yeates.
1698.- Caleb Pusey, Philip Roman.
1700.- Ralph Fishbourne.
Sept. 25, 1703.- Commissioned: John Gwest, Jasper Yeates, Caleb Pusey, Philip Roman, Jonathan Hayes, Ralph Fishbourne, Jeremiah Collett, Walter Martin, Nathaniel Newlin.
1704.- Commissioned by Governor, Evans before May 30th: Jasper Yeates, Caleb Pusey, Jeremiah Collett, Philip Roman, Jonathan Hayes.
1709.- Thomas Powell, Nicholas Pyle, Henry Pierce.
Nov. 24, 1711.- Jasper Yeates, Robert Pyle, Caleb Pusey, Nicholas Pile, Jonathan Hayes, William Hayes, William Davis, Henry Nayle, Richard Webb.
May 13, 1713.- Caleb Pusey, Nicholas Pile, William Davis, Henry Nayle, Richard Webb, Nicholas Fairlamb, John Blunston. Jr, Thomas Edwards.
May 30 and June 11, 1715.- Caleb Pusey, Nicholas Pyle, Richard Webb, Henry Pierce, Henry Nayle, Nicholas Fairlamb, John Blunston, Jr., Richard Hayes.
Aug. 26, 1717.- Jasper Yeates, Caleb Pusey, Richard Webb, Henry Nayle, Richard Hayes, Henry Pierce, John Wright, John Wood, David Harry, John Worrall, Joseph Coeburn, Henry Hayes, Joseph Pennock.
July 4, 1718.- John Wright (to be next to Jasper Yeates, Nicholas Newlin, Andrew Job, Elisha Gatchell, John Cartledge, Francis Worley.
Aug. 19, 1718.- Same commission, with Andrew Hamilton.
Nov. 24, 1718.- Jasper Yeates, John Wright, Caleb Pusey, Richard Webb, Henry Nayle, Richard Hayes, Henry Pierce, Nathaniel Newlin, John Wood, Joseph Coebourne, Henry Hayes, James Gibbons, Andrew Job, Elisha Gatchell, John Cartledge, Francis Worley.
Nov. 24, 1719.- Isaac Taylor.
May 22, 1722.- John Wright, Caleb Pusey, Henry Nayle, Richard Hayes, Henry Pierce, Nathaniel Newlin, John Wood, Joseph Coebourn, Henry Hayes, James Gibbons, Andrew Job, Elisha Gatchell, Francis Worley, Isaac Taylor, James Mitchell.
November 22d.- Same justices (except Andrew Job), and James Smith, Thomas Reid.
Feb. 18, 1723.- John Wright, Caleb Pusey, Henry Nayle, Richard Hayes, Henry Pierce, Nathaniel Newlin, John Wood, Henry Hayes, James Gibbons, Elisha Gatchell, Francis Worley, Isaac Taylor, James Mitchell, John Crosby, Thomas Reid, Abraham Emmit, Jr., James Roddy.
1724.- John Wood, Samuel Nutt, John Crosby, Abraham Emmit, Jr., Thomas Reid, George Aston, Tobias Hendricks, Andrew Cornish, Mercer Brown, Evan Lewis, William Pyle.
May 12, 1725.- John Wright, Henry Nayle, Henry Pierce, Nathaniel Newlin, John Wood, Henry Hayes, Isaac Taylor, Samuel Nutt, John Crosby, Thomas Reid, George Aston, James Roddy, Tobias Hendricks, George Stewart, Andrew Cornish, Mercer Brown.
Aug. 25, 1726.- John Wright, Richard Hayes, Henry Pierce, Nathaniel Newlin, John Wood, Henry Hayes, Isaac Taylor, Elisha Gatchell, Samuel Nutt, John Crosby, Abraham Emmitt, Jr., Thomas Reid, George Aston, Tobias Hendricks, Andrew Cornish, Mercer Brown, Evan Lewis, William Pyle.
Oct. 10, 1727.- James James.
Aug. 25,1729.- Richard Hayes, John Wood, Henry Hayes, Elisha Gatchell, Samuel Nutt, John Crosby, Abm. Emmet, Jr., George Aston, Mercer Brown, Evan Lewis, William Pyle, James James, John Parry, James Gibbons.
Feb 19, 1729-30.- Richard Hayes, Henry Pierce, Henry Hayes, Elisha Gatchell, John Crosby, Abraham Emmit, Jr., Mercer Brown, James James, John Perry, James Gibbons, Joseph Pennock, Samuel Hollingsworth, Joseph Brinton, Nicholas Pyle, and the chief burgess of the borough of Bristol (Chester).
Dec. 1, 1733.- All acting justices recommissioned, and Caleb Cowpland.
May 25, 1734.- Joseph Haines.
Dec. 2, 1737.- John Evans.
Nov. 22, 1738- Caleb Cowpland, Joseph Haines, John Evans, Richard Hayes, Henry Pierce, Henry Hayes, Elisha Gatchell, John Crosby, Caleb Cowpland, Abraham Emmit, James James, John Parry, Joseph Pennock, Samuel Hollingsworth, Joseph Brinton, Joseph Haines, William Pim, Joseph Bonsall; the chief burgess of the town for the time being, Joseph Parker.
April 4, 1741.- Henry Pierce, Henry Hayes, Elisha Gatchell, John Crosby, Caleb Cowpland, William Moore, Abraham Emmit, Joseph Pennock, Joseph Brinton, William Pim, Joseph Bonsall, Joseph Parker, William Webb, John Mather, Ralph Pyle, John Taylor, Job Ruston, Charles Grant, the chief burgess of Chester for the time being.
Dec. 17, 1745.- John Crosby, Elisha Gatchell, Caleb Cowpland, William Moore, Abraham Emmit, Joseph Pennock, Joseph Brinton, William Pim, Joseph Bonsall, William Webb, John Mather, Job Ruston, Charles Grant, Samuel Flower, Thomas Cummings, John Parry, Andrew McDowell; the chief burgess of Chester for the time being, Joseph Parker.
May 19, 1749.- Caleb Cowpland, Elisha Gatchell, William Moore, Joseph Pennock, Joseph Brinton, William Pim, Joseph Bonsall, John Mather, Charles Grant, Samuel Flower, Thomas Cummings, Thomas Worth, Aaron Ashbridge, John Churchman, John Miller, Richard Richison, Isaac Davis, John Scott, William Read, the chief burgess of Chester for the time being.
Aug. 21, 1751.- Joshua Pusey and Samuel Lightfoot.
May 25, 1732.- William Moore, Elisha Gatchell, Joseph Bonsall, John Mather, Charles Grant, Samuel Flower, Thomas Cummings, Thomas Worth, Aaron Ashbridge, John Churchman, John Miller, Isaac Davis, John Scott, Joshua Pusey, Samuel Lightfoot, Edward Brinton, Mordecai Moore, Mordecai James, the chief burgess of Chester for the time being.
Feb. 22, 1757.- William Moore, John Mather, Samuel Flower, Thomas Worth, Aaron Ashbridge, John Miller, Isaac Davis, John Scott, Samuel Lightfoot, Edward Brinton, Mordecai Moore, the chief burgess of Chester, Alexander Johnston, John Morton, John Culbertson, William Clingan, John Paschall, William Parker, Timothy Kirk.
Feb. 23, 1761.- Thomas Worth, Samuel Flower, John Miller, Isaac Davis, Edward Brinton, the chief burgess of Chester, Alexander Johnston, John Morton, John Culbertson, William Clingan, William Parker, Timothy Kirk, John Hannum, John Price, Roger Hunt, John Fairlamb, George Currie, Henry Hale Graham.
The Governor issued a supersedeas to Samuel Lightfoot, Edward Brinton, Thomas Worth, and John Morton, forbidding them to act as judges of the Common Pleas, the law under which they had been appointed having been abrogated by the king.
Nov. 19, 1764.- Members of Council: William Moore, Thomas Worth, Samuel Flower, John Miller, Isaac Davis, Edward Brinton, Alexander Johnston, John Culbertson, William Clingan, William Parker, John Hannum, John Price, Henry Hale Graham, Richard Riley, Charles Cruikshanks, Richard Baker, James Gibbons, James Moore, William Swaffer, Evan Evans, Thomas Hockley, Joseph Pyle, Thomas Temple, Warwick Miller.
At court, May,1771, and after.- Joshua Cowpland.
At court, May 28, 1776.- Nicholas Fairlamb. (No court was held in Chester County from this date until Aug. 26, 1777.)
April 4, 1777.- Isaac Davis, Evan Evans, James Moore, Benjamin Bartholomew, John Mackey, William Gibbons, Joshua Evans, Isaac Pearson, Daniel Griffith, Patterson Bell, John Hannum, Robert Smith, Philip Scott, Thomas Taylor, Thomas Cheyney.
July 25,1777.- Thomas Levis, Thomas Boyd, Robert Ralston, John Hart, and Richard Reiley, who had been elected, were commissioned.
Aug. 22, 1777.- Caleb Davis, Esq., qualified as one of the justices of the Court of Common Pleas, he being the prothonotary of Chester County at that date.
July 30, 1778.- William Evans appointed one of the justices of the peace for the county of Chester.
The following is a list of the justices of Chester County from the Revolution to May 28, 1779, as gathered from a letter of Caleb Davis to Council: (55*)
Isaac Davis, Evan Evans, James Moore, Benjamin Bartholomew, Daniel Griffith, Patterson Bell, John Hannum, Robert Smith, Philip Scott, Thomas Taylor, Thomas Cheyney, Thomas Levis, Thomas Boyd, William Evans, William Clingan.
From the same letter we learn that at that date there were no justices in the First District, Chester, Upper and Lower Chichester, Aston, Bethel, and Middletown; and in the Second District, Darby, Radnor, and Haverford; or in the Third, Newtown, East Town, Willistown, and Goshen. Hence almost the whole territory now comprising Delaware County was unrepresented in the bench of justices.
June 4, 1779; Alexander Johnston; Sept. 15, 1779, David Mackey, vice Johnson, declined; March 21, 1780, John Pearson; Nov. 18, 1780, William Clingan. appointed presiding justice of the court; Dec. 7, 1781, William Haslet; March 9, 1782, David Mackey; June 26, 1782, James Beaton, Common Pleas and Orphans' Court; July 31, 1783, John Bartholomew; June 5, 1784, George Pierce, Daniel Griffith, Common Pleas; Sept. 24, 1784, Thomas Levis, Common Pleas; Oct. 1, 1784, John Ralston; Oct. 9, 1784, Thomas Cheyney; Oct. 13, 1784, Cheyney commissioned justice of Common Pleas; Jan. 21, 1785, Philip Scott, Common Pleas; June 16, 1786, Persifor Frazer, Common Pleas; June 22, 1786, William Clingan, president Court of Common Pleas, Quarter Sessions, and Orphans' Court Oct. 9, 1786, Adam Grubb, Richard Hill Morris, Common Pleas; Dec. 22, 1787, John Pearson, Common Pleas; Sept. 16, 1788, Charles Dilworth, John Hannum, Common Pleas; Feb. 16, 1789, William Haslet, Common Pleas; April 11, 1789, John Worth, Common Pleas; June 5, 1789, David Mackey, Common Pleas; June 16, 1789, Walter Finney.
The last court held at the borough of Chester before the division of Chester County was on Aug. 29, 1786, and continued by adjournment from day to day to August 31st, when the session ended.
The first court held after the erection of Delaware County was on the 9th of November, 1789, when it was discovered that the commission of Henry Hale Graham, as president judge of the Court of Common Pleas, was irregular, inasmuch that he was not a justice of the peace at the time of his appointment. However, the justices held the court, Justice John Pearson presiding. There being no bar, William Tilghman, who, seventeen years thereafter, was appointed by Governor McKean chief justice of Pennsylvania, addressed the court and finally moved his own admission. After Mr. Tilghman had been sworn, he moved the admission of William L. Blair and other lawyers. That day eight gentlemen were qualified as members of the bar of Delaware County.
Henry Hale Graham, the first president judge, was born in London, July 1, 1731. His father, William Graham, emigrated to the colony of Pennsylvania in 1733, first settling in Philadelphia, subsequently at Darby, and, finally, at Chester. His son entered the office of Joseph Parker, then deputy register of Pennsylvania for the county of Chester, and on the former's death, in 1766, was appointed to the vacant position, which included that of prothonotary, register, and recorder. He had been commissioned one of the justices of the county in 1761, and again in 1775. When the Revolutionary struggle was at hand Graham's feelings leaned toward the support of the mother-country, his wife teaching him to yield obedience to constituted authorities. Hence, in March, 1777, Thomas Taylor was appointed to succeed him, and seems to have entered into the discharge of the duties of the office, for Taylor's name appears on some of the documents on file in the Orphans' Court at West Chester. For some reason now unknown, on April of the same year Benjamin Jacobs was appointed, but refused to serve, when Caleb Davis was appointed in his place. The latter accepted, but it appears from the proceedings of the Supreme Executive Council, under date of July 28, 1777, "that Henry Hale Graham, Esq., late Prothonotary, had, under divers pretences, neglected to deliver up to him, the said Davis, the Books, Records, Papers & Seals belonging to the said office," whereupon Council issued a warrant directing Davis "to enter in the day time, with proper assistants, the dwelling House & Out Houses of the said Henry Hale Graham, Esq., & search for and take possession of & secure in some safe place the Books, Records, Papers & Seals belonging to the said Office."(56*)
After the Revolution, November, 1783, Henry Hale Graham was a practicing attorney in the courts of Chester County. On Nov. 7, 1789, he was appointed by Governor Mifflin president judge of the courts of Delaware County; but it appearing that, not being a justice of the peace at the time, he could not act as president of the Quarter Sessions and Orphans' Court, on Nov. 9, 1789, Governor Mifflin requested the return of the former commission, and the same day Graham was commissioned a justice of the peace.(57*) On the next day, November 10th, he was appointed president judge of the court. At the fall election in that year Henry Hale Graham was chosen one of the delegates to the Constitutional Convention of 1789-90, and while attending the meeting of that body in Philadelphia he died, Jan. 23, 1790. John Pearson, the first named in the commission to the associate justice, became the president judge of the courts, ad interim.
Under the judicial districting, on the adoption of the Constitution of 1790, the First Judicial District comprised the counties of Philadelphia, Bucks, Montgomery, and Delaware, and in pursuance of that division James Biddle, who was commissioned by Governor Mifflin, Sept. 13, 1791, president judge of the Common Pleas of Philadelphia, became president judge of the First Judicial District, and continued in the discharge of that office until June 1, 1797, when John D. Coxe was commissioned president judge. I have little or no information respecting either of these judges, but on July 31, 1805, Governor McKean appointed William Tilghman president justice. The latter, a conspicuous figure in a line of distinguished jurists, was a native of Talbot County, Md., and early in 1772, when sixteen years of age, began reading law under the direction of Benjamin Chew, of Philadelphia. In 1783, after eleven years' study of law, Tilghman was admitted to the bar of his native State. Before 1789 he removed to Philadelphia, where he rose rapidly to the front rank of the profession. In 1801 he was appointed chief judge of the Circuit Court of the United States. The organization of this court was stoutly opposed, and from the fact that the appointments were made on March 3, 1801, and that night sent to the Senate and confirmed before President Adams vacated to make room for Thomas Jefferson, the judges were facetiously termed "the midnight judges." The act creating this court was repealed at the next session of Congress, April 29, 1802, and Tilghman resumed the practice of the profession. However, as previously stated, he was appointed president judge of the Court of Common Pleas of the First District in 1805, a position he held less than seven months, for the death of Chief Justice Shippen making a vacancy, on Feb. 25, 1806, Tilghman was appointed chief justice of Pennsylvania. He died in 1827.
On Feb. 24, 1806, the State was redistricted, the counties of Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, and Bucks becoming the Seventh District, and in April, 1806, Governor McKean appointed Bird Wilson president judge. The new judge was then in his thirtieth year, having been born early in 1777. He was the son of Hon. James Wilson, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, who, it will be remembered, successfully defended some Tories charged with treason in Philadelphia, which so enraged the populace of that city, that a riot resulted on the 4th of October, 1779.(58*) Bird Wilson, at fifteen years of age, graduated from the University of Pennsylvania, whereupon he began reading law with Joseph Thomas, of Philadelphia, and after being admitted was employed in the office of the commissioner of bankruptcy. For eleven years he presided over the courts of this county, sitting for the last time at the October sessions, 1817, when he resigned to become a clergyman of the Episcopal Church. In 1821 he was appointed a professor in the Theological Seminary of that denomination in New York, retaining the chair for almost three decades. Out of respect to his distinguished worth, he was appointed, June 25,1850, emeritus professor in his department. Judge Wilson edited an edition of Bacon's "Abridgment of the Law," in seven volumes, afterwards enlarged by Bouvier to ten. Bird Wilson died April 14, 1859, at New York. He reached the advanced age of eighty-two.
Governor Findlay, on Jan. 28, 1818, appointed John Ross, of Easton, to the vacant judgeship of the Seventh District. At the time of his appointment Mr. Ross was a member of Congress from the district comprising Northampton, Bucks, Lehigh, Wayne, and Pike Counties, having served in that body in the Eleventh, Fourteenth, and Fifteenth Congresses, resigning during the latter term to accept the appointment of judge. He presided in our courts for the first time on April 13, 1818, at which term Craig was tried and convicted of murder. By the act of March 12, 1821, the Fifteenth Judicial District was erected, comprising the counties of Delaware and Chester, and Ross remained judge of the Seventh District, Bucks and Montgomery. Hon. John Ross, in April, 1830, was appointed an associate judge of the Supreme Court, to the seat made vacant by the death of Judge Todd. On May 22, 1821, Governor Heister appointed Isaac Darlington, of the borough of West Chester, president judge of the Fifteenth District, and the latter sat as such for the first time at the old court-house in Chester, Oct. 23, 1821.
Isaac Darlington was in his fortieth year when appointed to the bench, his birth having occurred Dec. 13, 1781. He was by trade a blacksmith, having worked at the forge with his father, but disliking that occupation, he taught school a short time, and finally, when in his eighteenth year, entered the office of Joseph Hemphill, at West Chester. At the November term, 1801, he was admitted to the bar, although lacking two or three weeks being of age, his examiners remarking that a few days more or less was of little consequence when the student had passed an examination so creditable to him. He rose rapidly at the bar, and having served a term in the Legislature in 1807-8, declined further election, believing that it was a hindrance in his profession. During the latter part of the war of 1812 he served with the militia of Pennsylvania, encamped at Marcus Hook for the defense of Philadelphia. In 1816 he was elected a member of the Fifteenth Congress, again declining renomination. At the time of his appointment as judge he was deputy attorney-general of Chester County. By the Constitution of 1838, his term of office would have expired on Feb. 27, 1839, and to avoid the operation of that clause the bar suggested that the judge should resign before the provisions of the Constitution went into effect, it being the unanimous desire of the profession that he should continue on the bench. In accordance with this request he tendered his resignation, it was accepted, and shortly thereafter he was reappointed judge of the district by Governor Ritner. On Jan. 15, 1839, Governor Porter was inaugurated, and, he knowing that the object was to give Judge Darlington a further term of ten years, instructed Attorney-General Douglass to sue out a quo warranto. On Monday, April 29, 1839, the matter was to have been heard by the Supreme Court, but the Saturday previous Judge Isaac Darlington died at his home in West Chester of gout, to which he had been subject for years. When his death was announced in the Supreme Court, Chief Justice Gibson dismissed the proceedings, at the same time paying a high tribute to the character and learning of the dead justice.
The judges of the Supreme Court in their circuits occasionally held sessions in the old court-room at Chester. On Thursday, Aug. 1, 1828, Chief Justice Gibson presided at the trial of a feigned issue upon an appeal from the Orphans' Court, in a suit by the executor of the estate of John Crosby, the late judge, against John F. Hill. The case occupied three days, and was ably tried, Benjamin Tilghman and Samuel Edwards representing the plaintiff, and Joseph R. Ingersoll and Archibald T. Pick the defendant. The jury retired on Saturday evening, and returned a verdict for the plaintiff on Monday morning. The Weekly Visitor, published at Chester, for Aug. 8, 1828, stated:
"To show the unwearied industry and perseverance of Judge Gibson in his official duties, it is worthy of remark that, on Monday morning at six o'clock, he left Philadelphia for this place, where he arrived at about eight, received the verdict of the jury, and at nine was on board the boat returning to the city."
On May 16, 1839, Governor Porter appointed Thomas S. Bell to the judgeship made vacant by Darlington's death. He was a Philadelphian by birth, and, like his predecessor, was admitted to the bar six months before he attained his majority. In May, 1821, he located at West Chester, and in two years thereafter was deputy attorney-general of Chester County, continuing in that office for six years. He was a member of the Constitutional Convention of 1837, and was returned as elected to the State Senate in 1838, and took a prominent part in the difficulties characterizing the beginning of the legislative proceedings in January following, known as the "Buckshot War." His seat in that body was contested by and awarded to his competitor. Judge Bell was in his fortieth year when he was appointed to the bench, which he certainly adorned by his learning and his courteous bearing to the bar and public alike, although, on one occasion, in Delaware County, he aroused considerable feeling in sentencing a child ten years of age to a protracted term of imprisonment for stealing a small sum of money.
On Dec. 18, 1846, Governor Shunk appointed him one of the puisne judges of the Supreme Court, a position he filled until Dec. 1, 1851, when the office became elective. Judge Bell died June 6, 1861, in his sixty-first year, a cancer with which he had long been troubled finally terminating his life.
The vacancy occasioned in this district by the removal of Judge Bell to the Supreme bench was attempted to be filled by Governor Shunk, who, in December, 1846, appointed John M. Forster, of Harrisburg, to the office. His bearing on the bench was excessively polite, but he did not create a favorable impression; and, although his appointment, when first presented in the Senate, had been confirmed, the objection from the district was so unanimous that it was reconsidered and finally rejected. Governor Shunk thereupon appointed James Nill, of Chambersburg, early in February, 1847, to the vacant seat on the bench. Judge Nill had a fair knowledge of law, but the feeling that the appointment was not one which should have been made was strong enough to secure Judge Nill's rejection by a tie vote in the Senate when the name was presented to that body for confirmation.
The courts of Delaware County being without a president at the March term, 1848, the session was held by Associate Judges Engle and Leiper, the former charging the grand jury. Although the criminal side of the court had been conducted as well as usual, the civil cases (many of them involving questions of nice distinctions of law) were continued, and the bar of Delaware as well as Chester County was anxious that the vacant place on the bench should be filled. To that end the lawyers in the district united in the request to Governor Shunk that he would appoint his son-in-law, Henry Chapman, of Doylestown, president judge. The Governor assented to the petition, but he was named too late to take part at the March term in Delaware County, as just stated. Perhaps a more acceptable selection could not have been made, for in all respects Judge Chapman filled the measure demanded by the bar and people.
It was during his incumbency that the county-seat was removed to Media, the last court being held in the old building at Chester May 26, 1851, and when it adjourned, on Friday, the 30th, the ancient structure was dismantled of its furniture.
Under the provisions of the amendments to the Constitution changing the judicial office from an appointive to an elective one, the term of Judge Chapman, as also those of the associate judges (Leiper and Engle), expired by limitation at the close of the year 1851. So acceptably had the former presided in the district that both parties signalized their willingness to continue him on the bench if he would allow his name to be presented to the people, but as the Constitution positively required the judges should be residents of the district during the period in which they served, which he could not do without serious inconvenience, he was compelled to decline the nomination. On Monday, Nov. 24, 1851, for the last time Judges Chapman, Leiper, and Engle held court, the session continuing until Wednesday, the 26th of that month. All business having been disposed of, the court was about to adjourn, when Hon. Edward Darlington rose and with a brief and appropriate address presented the following resolutions:
At a meeting of the bar of Delaware County, held at the Charter House, in the borough of Media, Monday, Nov. 24, 1851, on motion, Edward Darlington, Esq., was appointed chairman, and Joseph R. Morris, secretary.
"The object of the meeting was stated by the chair, whereupon John M. Broomall, Esq., offered the following resolutions, which being seconded by Robert McCay, Jr., Esq., were unanimously adopted:
"Resolved, That we look with profound regret upon the approaching period which will terminate the judicial career of the Hon. Henry Chapman as president judge of the court of this county.
"Resolved, That his well-tried legal abilities and his strict integrity and impartiality have entitled him to the respect and confidence, as well of ourselves as of the people of the county, who have not willingly parted with his services.
"Resolved, That the judges of the court carry with them in their voluntary retirement from the bench our best wishes for their future happiness and prosperity, and we tender to them our sincere thanks for the uniform kindness and courtesy which has always characterized their intercourse with the bar.
"On motion of Charles D. Manly, Esq., the chair was instructed to present a copy of the foregoing resolutions to the bench in open court."
The judges were entirely unprepared for this testimonial of good feeling from the bar, but Judge Chapman rose, thanked the bar and the people of the county for the forbearance they had ever shown toward his failings, and the uniform kindness and respect which had been extended him while on the bench. Remarks of a similar tenor then followed from Judges Leiper and Engle. The proceeding was not an empty form or ceremony, but was prompted on the part of the bar and responded to by the bench by the mutual esteem entertained by the one for the other.
Judge Chapman having declined nomination, at the election held in October, 1851, Townsend Haines, of West Chester, was chosen president judge of the courts. Judge flames, when elevated to the bench, was sixty years of age, his birth occurring Jan. 7, 1792. His early life was passed on his father's farm, but during the intervals of labor he applied himself diligently in acquiring information which was useful to him in after-years. In 1815, in his twenty-third year, previous to which time he had taught school, he entered the office of Isaac Darlington (afterwards judge), and was called to the bar in 1818. His practice the first year was very meagre; indeed, it never was extensive, although he was very able in criminal cases, but in heavy civil litigation he was rarely engaged. His brilliant powers of advocacy were recognized, and when a jury was the tribunal to decide a controversy, Mr. Haines was often employed to make the address to that body; but when questions involving great principles of law were being discussed he never appeared to advantage. He was an adroit cross-examiner, but he relied on his natural talent in debate, and was averse to the laborious study which always characterizes a great lawyer. Mr. Haines drifted naturally into politics. In 1826-27 he was a member of the Legislature, and the following year was nominated for Congress, but was unexpectedly defeated, the popularity of Andrew Jackson carrying the Democratic ticket in a strong Federal district onward to victory. On the resignation and death of Governor Shunk, William F. Johnson, the Whig Speaker of the Senate, by virtue of that office, assumed the gubernatorial office under the Constitution, and in July, 1848, he appointed Mr. Haines Secretary of the Commonwealth, which position he retained under Johnson, who was re-elected in the fall of the year 1848. After serving the full term as secretary, in February, 1850, Mr. flames was appointed treasurer of the United States by President Taylor. While discharging the duties of that office he was nominated to the judgeship of the Fifteenth Judicial District, to which position he was elected, defeating Judge Thomas S. Bell, whose term on the Supreme bench under the Constitution ended in December of that year. Haines thereupon resigned the treasurership of the United States and returned to West Chester. He was commissioned by Governor Johnson Nov. 6, 1881.
On the bench he was respected as a lawyer, and his social qualities ever rendered him a favorite with the bar and public. He was a noted conversationalist, and it is said no man could relate an anecdote better than he. While holding court at Media the judge, on one occasion, desired to consult the Digest, and asked Reuben Litzenberg, then a newly-appointed tipstaff, to bring "Purdon" to him. The name was new to Litzenberg, but off he started to hunt the man, whom he supposed he was directed to straight-way carry before the court. He searched through the building without success, and at length returning, he went to the judge at side bar, and stated in a low voice, "Judge, I guess the man's gone; I can't find him anywhere." "Man! man!" wrathfully exclaimed the judge, "you're a stupid ass. I don't want any man. I sent you for a book." It is also told of the judge that on one occasion, as he was entering the court-house, a hardened offender, who at almost every Quarter Session was present, charged with selling liquor without license, and who had recently undergone a sentence for that misdemeanor, accosted him. "Well, judge," he said, "I'm out now." "Yes, yes, I see," was the reply, "but it's no fault of mine. I gave you all I had in my pocket that I could give you."
Judge Haines presided for the last term at November court, 1861, and on the 28th of that month the bar of Delaware County presented resolutions of esteem to him on retiring from the bench.
At the expiration of his term of office Judge Haines declined to be a candidate for re-election, but returned to practice in West Chester, continuing therein until his death, in October, 1865, in his seventy-fourth year. He possessed rare talent for versification, his ballad of" Bob Fletcher" being a rustic picture which still deservedly maintains its popularity.
At the October election, in 1861, Hon. William Butler was chosen to succeed to the judicial office vacated by Judge flames. Mr. Butler had at the time of his election been sixteen years in practice at the Chester County bar, having been admitted in 1843. In the fall of 1856 he was elected district attorney of Chester County, continuing in that office until the fall of 1859. Judge Butler was commissioned by Governor Curtin Nov. 20, 1861, entering upon the duties of the office in the following December, presiding for the first time in Delaware County at the February court, 1862. He soon rose to high rank among the judges of the State. His mind was analytical, and with such rapidity in the trial of a case he grasped and understood the point at issue, that the lawyers engaged often stood amazed in finding how soon the case, under his judicial sifting, was divested of all redundant circumstances or immaterial pleading. As a nisi prius judge he had few equals and never a superior. He presided at the trial of Udderzook for the murder of Gross at the Oyer and Terminer of Chester County, October, 1873. The case was one which attracted much attention throughout the country, and the charge of Judge Butler was a model for its clearness and comprehensiveness. On Feb. 12, 1879, he was appointed to the United States district judgeship made vacant by the death of Judge Cadwalader, an office which he still fills.
The vacancy on the bench occasioned by the erection of the Thirty-second Judicial District was filled in April, 1874, by Governor Hartranft, who appointed Hon. John M. Broomall president judge. The latter was born in Upper Chichester township, and his family had taken a prominent part in the history of Delaware County for nearly two centuries. In early life, while still a student at Friends' Academy, at Wilmington, he taught in that institution with much success. In 1837 he began reading law under Judge Bouvier, of Philadelphia, and on Aug. 24, 1840, was admitted to the bar of Delaware County. At first he was inclined to devote himself to agricultural pursuits on the homestead farm in Chichester, but by degrees, and apparently without effort on his part, it began to be noised about that he was a bright, smart fellow, and knew as much law as any of the attorneys. So, imperceptibly, he drifted into practice, and soon found pleasure in the clash of argument and excitement of a sharply-contested trial. Politics and law usually go hand-in-hand; hence in 1851 and 1852, very naturally, Mr. Broomall was a representative of Delaware County in the Legislature, and in 1854 a member of' the State Revenue Board. He was a member of the Thirty-eighth, Thirty-ninth, and Fortieth Congresses, being first elected thereto in 1862.
In the fall of 1862, when Washington City was threatened, as also the invasion of Pennsylvania, by Lee's army, John M. Broomall commanded Company C,Sixteenth Regiment Pennsylvania militia. In the summer of 1863, previous to the battle of Gettysburg, Mr. Broomall was mustered in as captain of Company C, Twenty-ninth Regiment, emergency men, being in service from June 19th to August 1st of that year.
Twice Mr. Broomall has been a member of the Electoral College of Pennsylvania, first, in 1860, at Abraham Lincoln's first election, and in 1872, when Gen. Grant was chosen President for the second term. In 1873 he was a delegate to the Constitutional Convention, and on the floor of that assemblage his remarks were always listened to with attention and consideration, and he was recognized as among the leaders in thought in that body. When that Constitution was adopted, under its provisions the county of Delaware became the Thirty-second Judicial District, and as before stated, in April, 1874, Mr. Broomall was appointed the first president judge, and was qualified on May 2d. At the Republican County Convention of the same year Judge Broomall was nominated for the office for the term of ten years, but at the ensuing election he was not successful.
Judge Broomall has been a busy man throughout his whole career. Far-sighted, and possessed of comprehensive views and remarkable executive abilities, shortly after being called to the bar he became impressed with the belief that Chester was peculiarly advantageously located for a manufacturing centre, and with that purpose in view he and several others labored to give the ancient hamlet a direction to that end, and how well that object was obtained the thriving city of Chester and its growing suburban districts fully attests. As an orator Judge Broomall will be recalled by his "Remarks on the Life and Character of Thaddeus Stevens," delivered in the House of Representatives, at Washington, Dec. 17, 1868, and his oration at the Bi-Centenary of the Landing of William Penn at Chester, Oct. 23, 1882. Judge Broomall, notwithstanding his active, useful life, had kept abreast with modern thought in science and literature. As a writer he is vigorous and comprehensive, remembering Lord Coke's reference to "apt words." In 1876, on the appointment of the Delaware County Institute of Science, he wrote the "History of Delaware County for the Past Century," an admirable rêsumê of the happenings in this locality during the first hundred years of the nation's life, and in 1872 wrote a highly creditable "History of Chester" for Moran's "Delaware River and West Jersey Railroad Commercial Directory."
Judge Broomall was succeeded on the bench by the present incumbent, Judge Clayton, who, on Jan. 4, 1875, assumed the duties of the office. Thomas J. Clayton was also to the manor born, his ancestry having settled at Marcus Hook previous to the royal charter to Penn.
The future judge was born in Bethel township, Jan. 20, 1826, and in early life proposed studying medicine, but changing his intentions he read law in Wilmington, and was admitted to the bar of Delaware County, Nov. 24, 1851, this being the second time court was held at Media, and the last time Judge Chapman presided in the district. Mr. Clayton removed to Philadelphia in 1852, where he entered the ranks of the profession and rapidly acquired a large and remunerative practice, in jury cases his forensic powers soon bringing him into prominence. In 1856, Governor Pollock appointed him on his staff with the rank of colonel, the only office he ever held of a political character outside the line of his profession. In 1868 he made a tour of Europe, and while abroad contributed a series of letters to the Delaware County Republican descriptive of his travels, which were subsequently published in book form. In 1873 he again passed the summer vacation in the Old World, and, as on his former visit, he furnished from time to time an account of his journeying to the county press. In the fall of 1874 he was nominated by the Independent Republicans for the office of president judge of this district, the Democrats making no nomination, and at the election on October 3d of thesame year he was chosen to that office, the duties of which he is still discharging. Judge Clayton is social in his disposition, an agreeable conversationalist, and speaks French with fluency. As a lawyer he stands well with the profession throughout the State, many of his opinions, as published in the Delaware County Reporter, being frequently cited in other districts with approval. In January, 1880, the bar of Chester County tendered a complimentary banquet to Judge Clayton at West Chester, he having been called to preside in the courts there in cases with which Judge Futhey had been connected as counsel previous to the latter's being raised to the bench. The printed bill of fare on that occasion was a rare specimen of legal wit, which the bar of Chester County may well recall as creditable to those who prepared it.
The act of Sept. 26, 1789, creating the county of Delaware provided that "the justices of the Courts of Quarter Session and Common Pleas now commissioned within the limits of the county of Delaware and those that may hereafter be commissioned or any three of them, shall and may hold courts," and the act conferred on-those justices all the powers, rights, jurisdiction, and authorities of justices of the county courts of other counties.(59*) Some doubts having been suggested as to the validity of this clause in the act, the Supreme Executive Council on Oct. 9, 1789, determined to be advised on the constitutionality of that section, hence it was
"Resolved, That the opinion of the attorney-general be taken upon the following question, viz., 'Whether justices of the peace and pleas who have been commissioned for a certain county, and a part of that county erected into a separate county, can continue to exercise the powers of the peace and pleas in that part erected into a new county and separated from the old one?'"
The same day Attorney-General Bradford wrote his opinion, which was submitted to Council the following morning. He states,
"I have considered the clause in the act of Assembly for erecting Delaware County. . . . As the Constitution vests the appointment of all judges in the Supreme Executive Council, and a new court is here erected, I am of the opinion that no act of the Legislature can appoint the judges of that court, or give any persons authority to act as such without being commissioned for that purpose by the President and Council; that part of the act, therefore, must be merely void. As to justices of the peace, they having been already elected by the people and residing in their proper districts, I am of opinion that such authority may be continued by an act of the Legislature, and that such an act would not infringe upon the Constitution."(60*)
The Supreme Executive Council, acting on this opinion, appointed the judges of the courts two days' thereafter, excepting in the case of William Richardson Atlee, whose commission being subsequently to the act of Sept. 26, 1786, was valid. Following is a list of all the associate justices and judges of the courts of Delaware County from its erection until the Constitution of 1874 abolished the office:
|William Richardson Atlee||Sept. 28, 1789|
|Richard Hill Morris||Oct. 12, 1789|
|Thomas Levis||Oct. 12, 1789|
|John Pearson||Oct. 12, 1789|
|George Pearce||Oct. 12, 1789|
|Elisha Price||March 16, 1790|
|Joel Willis||July 15, 1790|
|Under Constitution of 1790:|
|John Sellers||Sept. 17, 1791|
|Richard Riley||Sept. 17, 1791|
|Mark Willcox||Sept. 17, 1791|
|Hugh Lloyd||April 24, 1792|
|Benjamin Brannon||June 5, 1794|
|John Crosby||April 26, 1799|
|John Pierce||Jan. 5, 1823|
|William Anderson||Jan. 5, 1826|
|Joseph Engle (61*)||Jan. 5, 1827|
|Henry Myer||Dec. 27, 1833|
|George Smith||Dec. 28, 1836|
|Under Constitution of 1838:|
|Joseph Engle||Jan. 26, 1842|
|Joseph Engle||March 11, 1847|
|George G. Leiper||Feb. 25, 1843|
|George G. Leiper||Feb. 16, 1848|
|James Andrews||Nov. 10, 1851|
|Sketchley Morton||Nov. 10, 1851|
|Frederick J.Hinkson||Nov. 12, 1856|
|James Andrews||Nov. 12, 1856|
|Charles R. Williamson||Jan. 10, 1660|
|George Smith||Nov. 23, 1861|
|James Andrews||Nov. 23, 1861|
|Thomas Reese||Nov. 8, 1866|
|Bartine Smith||Nov. 8, 1866|
|Thomas Reese||Nov. 17, 1871|
|Bartine Smith||Nov. 17, 1871|
William Richardson Atlee was commissioned one of the justices of the Court of Common Pleas of Delaware County Sept. 28, 1789, two days after the act erecting the county of Delaware became a law. The bounty of the Supreme Executive Council did not stop at this, but they showered on Atlee that day the offices of prothonotary, clerk of the Quarter Sessions and Orphans' Court. Under the resolution of Council, June 11, 1777, prothonotaries sat as judges of the Court of Common Pleas. In November, 1790, he was married to Margaret, only daughter of Gen. Wayne, settled at Chester,(62*)and on May 9, 1791, purchased a greater part of the triangular lot between Market Street and Edgmont Avenue, and from Fifth Street to the railroad. There he lived in a stone dwelling, which was torn down to make place for the house of the late Mrs. Gray. On Sept. 4, 1791, he was reappointed by Governor Mifflin to the offices of prothonotary, etc., and again on March 16, 1792. At the next court following, April term, 1792, the grand jury made this presentment:
"To the Honorable Court of Quarter Sessions now sitting:- TheGrand Inquest for the Court of Delaware, Present William Richardson Atlee, Prothonotary and Register for the Probate of Wills, &c., for said county for extortion in the following instances, viz.:
"For charging of his fees on the several writs of Partition hereinafter mentioned, three pounds, viz.: First, For issuing a writ for the division of the estate of Jacob Richards. Second, For issuing a writ for the division of the estate of Margaret Smith and the heirs of Rebecca Garrett. Third, For issuing a writ for the division of the estate of John McIlvain. Fourth, For issuing a writ for the division of the estate of David Gibson. Fifth, For issuing a writ for the division of the estate of William and Reese Peters.
"For charging John Travis his fees on an action brought against him and ended the first court, thirteen shillings and sixpence. For charging Peter Defield, on an action brought against Charles Lindsay ended before the court, fourteen shillings and sixpence. For charging Joseph Lewis fourteen shillings and sixpence, ended in like manner.
"As Register for charging and receiving from the executors of the estate of John Hunt two pounds, eleven shillings and sixpence for probate and granting Letters of Administration.
"Also for charging and receiving from the executors of the estate of Joseph Davis, two pounds, eleven shillings and six pence for Probate and Granting Letters of Administration and also for charging and receiving a fee of one pound, two shillings and sixpence for answering the simple question whether a bond was real or personal estate, which we are of the opinion is illegal, he not been an attorney or counsellor of record in this county.
"Also for charging and receiving of Alice Spear, a poor woman, one pound, five shillings and sixpence for two guardianship orders, altho' she has paid Miles McCarty three shillings for drawing petitions to present to the Court to obtain the same.
"By order of the Grand Jury,
"DAVID BEVAN, Foreman."
At the July session the grand jury found true bills of indictment against Atlee on all the charges; the cases were called on trial at the October term, and on all the prosecutions the defendant was acquitted. Atlee understood the fee bill, and notwithstanding the assaults thus made upon him, held his office with a tenacious grasp, until, desiring to enter the list of attorneys, he yielded the place to Davis Bevan April 6, 1796, and on the 26th of July following was admitted to practice in the courts of Delaware County, after which date he passed out of our annals so far as I have information.
On Oct. 12, 1789, Richard Hill Morris was commissioned by President Mifflin justice of the Court of Common Pleas. He was appointed a justice of the Court of Quarter Sessions of Chester County in 1786, but beyond that fact I have no knowledge of Judge Morris. The same day George Pearce, of Aston, was commissioned Justice of the Common Pleas. He was a justice of Chester County in 1784, and during the Revolutionary war was lieutenant-colonel of the Third Battalion of militia. Other than these facts, I know nothing of Judge Pearce's career. John Pearson was also commissioned the same day. He was a resident of Darby and a Revolutionary soldier. He was first lieutenant in the Eleventh Pennsylvania Line, and was promoted captain Sept. 7, 1777. The regiment suffered so severely at Brandywine that on July 1, 1778, it was consolidated with the Tenth Regiment, in which organization Capt. Pearson was still retained in command of a company. On Jan. 17, 1781, he was transferred to the Second Pennsylvania, and on Jan. 1, 1783, held a commission on the 3d, but appears to have resigned about that time. In October, 1778, he was on recruiting service in Philadelphia, and on the 6th of that month addressed a letter to the Supreme Executive Council, complaining that Timothy Matlack, secretary of that body, had spoken discouragingly to him respecting the money required to pay recruits, and he had then on his personal credit borrowed one hundred pounds to pay "five fine fellows," and could not "get a farthing of it." At the January sessions, 1793, while he was on the bench, an indictment was sent before the grand jury, in which he was charged with having written a libelous article against Nathaniel Newlin, which appeared in Bradford's Pennsylvania Journal in October, 1792, but the bill was ignored. In the fall of 1793, Judge Pearson was active in soliciting funds in Delaware County, to be applied to the relief of the sufferers in Philadelphia during the yellow fever scourge in that city, after which date I have no further information respecting him.
On Oct. 12, 1789, Thomas Levis was appointed one of the justices of the Court of Common Pleas of Delaware County. My impression is that he resided in Springfield. The first record I find of Judge Levis is in 1770, when he appears as one of the assessors of Chester County, a board of six persons performed the duty at that time in the entire county, and continued in the office until 1773, when he became one of the county commissioners. At the selection held in Chester County, July 8, 1776, to choose delegates to the Constitutional Convention of 1776, he was one of the judges at Chester borough. During the war he was a captain of a militia company, and Oct. 1, 1777, was directed, with six other militia officers, to seize arms, blankets, shoes and stockings, etc., in that district for the use of the Continental army, the levy to be made on persons believed to entertain feelings not in accord with American independence. On May 6, 1778, he was appointed one of the commissioners of confiscated estates, and in a letter dated July 18th of that year, he complained that the printer had made a mistake by misplacing a letter so that a Whig was transposed by the proclamation into a Tory, and he was not pleased with the change. He was one of the sub-lieutenants of Chester County, and Sept. 24, 1784, was commissioned one of the justices of the Common Pleas for Ridley, Springfield, Marple, Upper and Nether Providence, a position which was not new to him, for he was appointed to the like office in July 25, 1777. He was county treasurer in 1778, and probably in 1782-84. No record appears at West Chester for those years, which is the only break for a number of years, and we learn from the minutes of the Supreme Executive Council that on Feb. 21, 1788, a certificate was filed from Edward Burd, "that Thomas Levis, Esquire, hath entered sufficient security to prosecute with effect an appeal from the settlement of his accounts as late Treasurer of the county of Chester by the Comptroller General was read, and the said appeal allowed." He was appointed a justice of the Court of Common Pleas in 1789. In 1799 he was lieutenant-colonel of the Sixty-fifth Regiment Pennsylvania militia, after which date I lose all record of Col. Levis.
Elisha Price was commissioned justice of the Court of Common Pleas and Quarter Sessions, March 16, 1790, but as I have given the main particulars of his life in a note to the ballad "Lament over Chester's Mother," it is unnecessary to reproduce it here; and of Joel Willis, who was commissioned justice of the Common Pleas July 15, 1790, I know nothing other than that fact.
On Sept. 17, 1791, Governor Mifflin appointed John Sellers one of the associate judges of the courts of Delaware County. A sketch of Judge Sellers will be found in the history of the township of Darby.
Sept. 17, 1791, Governor Mifflin appointed Richard Riley an associate judge of Delaware County, in which office he continued to serve until 1808, sitting for the last time at the October court of that year. He was of English parentage, and was born at Marcus Hook, Dec. 14, 1735. At twenty-nine years of age, in 1764, he was one of the county assessors, and the same year he was appointed one of the justices of the county, whose Commission then required that they should hold court. In 1770 he was one of the justices commissioned to hold a special court in Chester County for the trial of negroes; and on the 3d day of March, in that year, he, with William Parker, held such a court in Chester, at which was tried "Negro Martin," the slave of Thomas Smith, of Tinicum, on a charge of rape. Riley was an earnest Whig during the Revolution, and was one of the thirteen members of the Committee of Correspondence of Chester County appointed at the meeting held at Chester, July 13, 1774, and was one of the eight delegates to the Provincial Conference at Philadelphia, July 15th, of that year, which took decided action advocating resistance to the encroachments of Great Britain on the rights of the colony, and requesting the Assembly to appoint delegates to the Continental Congress, which met in Philadelphia, September 3d following. He was one of the delegates to the second Provincial Convention, which met in Philadelphia, Jan. 23, 1775, when he advocated instructing the delegates from Pennsylvania, appointed by that convention to Congress, which assembled May 10, 1775, to vote for independence. On June 30th of that year he was appointed by the Assembly one of the Committee of Safety, representing Chester County; and on Jan. 17, 1776, was, with Cols. Wayne and Johnson and Mr. Bartholomew, appointed an inspector of arms provided by the Committee of Safety for Chester County. That he was earnest in his efforts to render an attack on Philadelphia almost impossible, by extending the fortifications below Marcus Hook, is shown in his letter of Feb. 15, 1776, to the committee. In 1777, Riley was again commissioned a justice of the county. After the erection of Delaware County, he was elected a member of the Legislature for the year 1790-91, and, as before mentioned, in 1792 was commissioned associate judge. It is related that he was a nervous man and easily irritated. One cold night, in the early part of this century, an Irishman, knowing this peculiarity, knocked at the door of his residence in Marcus Hook, after the judge was in bed. His honor, putting his head out of the window, inquired who it was, and what was wanted. The stranger replied that he had an important matter, respecting which he wanted his opinion. The judge hastily dressed and came down. "What is it, my man, you want to see me about?" "I was awanting to know, your honor, which side of the river this is." "This side, you infernal fool!" roared the judge, as he slammed the door to with a bang. Judge Riley died Aug. 27, 1820, in his eighty-fifth year.
On Sept. 17, 1791, Governor Mifflin commissioned Mark Wilcox one of the associate judges of Delaware County, an office he retained until about 1822. Mark Wilcox was the son of Thomas Wilcox, who settled in Concord in 1727, on the west branch of Chester Creek, where about that date he built the second paper-mill in the United States, now known as Ivy Mills. The settler died in 1779, leaving the business to his son, Mark, who was born on the estate in 1743. During the Revolutionary war much of the paper used in printing the Continental money, as well as the official blanks required by Congress and the State authorities, was made at the old mill on Chester Creek. He was judge of the election held to select delegates to the Constitutional Convention of 1776. In 1777 the Executive Council impressed forty-eight reams of writing-paper at his mills for the use of that body, and it was not paid for until March 19, 1783, when an order for sixty-eight pounds in specie was given to Mark Wilcox in settlement of the claim. In 1777 he was one of the county assessors, and in 1780, under the Jaw requiring registration of slaves, he reported six slaves for life as his property. On April 3, 1788, the Supreme Executive Council appointed five commissioners, under the act of March 28th, of that year, to open certain roads in the counties of Northampton and Luzerne, in which commission Mark Wilcox was included. The work confided to the committee was performed satisfactorily, for on April 28th, of the same year, Council decided that one thousand pounds should be paid to the committee for their trouble. In 1788, Mark Wilcox was a member of the General Assembly from Chester County, in 1799 he was lieutenant-colonel of the One Hundred and Tenth Regiment, and, after the erection of Delaware, was for nearly thirty years one of the associate judges. He died in 1827, aged eighty-four years.
Governor Mifflin, April 24, 1792, commissioned Hugh Lloyd, of Darby, one of the associate judges of the courts of Delaware County, and he continued on the bench a third of a century, the longest term in our judicial history. He was born in 1742, and when the difficulties preceding the Revolutionary war were dividing the populace, he took active sides with the colonists. He was one of the committee of thirteen appointed at the county convention, held at Chester; July 13, 1774, as delegates to the convention of similar committees from the other counties in the province, which assembled in Philadelphia July 15th, of that year, and from whose action the Continental Congress, which met in the same city on the 5th of September following, had its origin. He was one of the committee appointed at the county convention, Dec. 20, 1774, to carry into execution the association of the late Continental Congress, and he was also one of the ten delegates from Chester County to the Provincial Convention which met in Philadelphia, Jan. 23, 1775. Just previous to the Declaration of Independence he was one of the thirteen delegates from the county to the Convention in Philadelphia on June 18, 1776, which declared that all authority of Great Britain should be suppressed in the province, and called a convention to meet on the 15th of July following to frame a constitutional government. Strange as it now seems, he was one of the judges of election in the borough of Chester on July 8th, when delegates to that convention- he being a candidate- were voted for. Early in the war he was appointed colonel of the Third Battalion of Chester County militia, and his command was frequently called into service during the latter part of 1777 and the first six months of the year following. After peace was declared Col. Lloyd pursued the even tenor of his way, but when Delaware County was erected, in 1789, he was one of the representatives in the General Assembly, and was re-elected to the same office in 1791. In 1792 he was appointed one of the associate judges of the county of Delaware in the place of Joel Willis, serving faithfully on the bench until finding the weight of years pressing upon him he tendered his resignation to Governor Shulze as follows:
"I, the within named Associate Judge of Delaware County, aged 83 years 10 months and 9 days, by attending every court for 33 years- one Orphans' Court only excepted- having performed the duties of the within commission to the best of my judgment and ability, do by these presents resign and surrender up my said commission to his Excellency, the Governor, with the hope that a successor may be appointed to the satisfaction of the majority of said county. In testimony whereof I have hereunto set my hand this 31st day of December, A.D. 1825. With sentiment of regard, &c.,
Tradition relates that Judge Lloyd, who, on one occasion, being asked if the duties devolving on an associate judge were not onerous, replied, "Yes, very. I sat five years on the same bench in the old court-house at Chester without opening my mouth. One day, however, towards night, after listening to the details of a long and tedious trial, the president leaning over towards. Me and putting his arms across my shoulders, asked me a question: 'Judge,' said he, 'don't you think this bench is infernally hard?' To this important question I replied, 'I thought it were.' And that's the only opinion I ever gave during my long judicial career."
At the advanced age of ninety-three, Judge Lloyd died of paralysis. "The old machine had broken down and can't be repaired," he remarked to those who, hearing him fall to the floor, ran to his assistance. Two days thereafter he died.
Benjamin Brannon was appointed by Governor Mifflin, June 5, 1794, one of the judges of the courts of Delaware County. I have gathered very little information respecting Judge Brannon. He resided in Upper Darby, was an earnest Whig, and during the year 1776 was appointed to instruct the people of Chester County in the mode of making saltpetre for the State powder-mills. In 1777 he was one of the sub-lieutenants of the county, and on June 11th of that year applied for cannon to arm several artillery companies formed in his jurisdiction, and on July 29th five hundred pounds was given him to pay bounty to substitutes. He was county commissioner in 1779, and in 1782 he was a representative in the Assembly from Chester County. Other than the facts stated I have no record of Judge Brannon.
John Crosby, of Ridley, was appointed by Governor Mifflin, April 26, 1799, one of the associate judges of Delaware County. He, like his fellow-associate, Hugh Lloyd, was a descendant of the early English settlers who emigrated to Pennsylvania when Penn acquired title to the province. He was born at the family homestead, on Ridley Creek, March 11, 1747/8. In 1776, in his twenty-ninth year, he entered the service as first lieutenant in a company of the First Battalion of Pennsylvania militia, attached to the Flying Camp, which had been recruited by his brother-in-law, Capt. Culin. It is related that on the day the organization was mustered in at the White Horse Tavern, one of the privates, enraged at something said by, Capt. Culin, shot that officer, inflicting a wound of which he died. Crosby thereupon succeeded to the command, and as such marched the company to the encampment at Perth Amboy. After the capture of Philadelphia by the British, in the fall of 1777, Crosby (a militia officer and not in the Pennsylvania troops enlisted for the war) was with Governor Porter, intercepting the foraging parties of the enemy.
One night in the winter of 1777-78 he was at his home in Ridley when a boat's crew from a British man-of-war, lying off Chester, ascended the creek and took him prisoner. Crosby was in the act of washing his face at the pump, near the house, when he was captured. He was taken to New York and confined on the British ship "Falmouth." During his imprisonment, which lasted six months, his hair turned white, consequent on the harsh treatment received and insufficient food then furnished to the American prisoners of war. He was finally released on parole, his wife going to New York, at great personal risk, to intercede with the English authorities in his behalf. John Crosby, as stated, was commissioned, in 1799, associate judge of Delaware County, and continued on the bench until 1826. He died about the date given as the conclusion of his judicial career.
On Jan. 5, 1823, John Peirce was appointed associate judge of the Court of Common Pleas. He died in Nether Providence in December, 1833, aged seventy-nine years, but beyond his appointment and death I have no further information respecting Judge Pierce. Henry Myers was appointed to the place on the bench made vacant by his death.
William Anderson was born in Virginia(64*)in 1762, and although only fifteen years of age, joined the Continental army, serving therein five years, and was present at the siege of Yorktown and the surrender of Lord Cornwallis. After the war he settled in Chester, and became the landlord of the Columbia House, which hostelry he purchased in 1796. In 1803 he erected the Anderson mansion, at Fifth and Welsh Streets, Chester. He was a member of the Eleventh and Twelfth Congresses of the United States, and served for a third term in the Fifteenth. In 1824 he was chairman of the committee of Delaware County(65*) on the reception of Lafayette. When the committees from Delaware, Chester, and Montgomery Counties, together with a committee from the immediate vicinity of Valley Forge, met the marquis at the State-House, in Philadelphia, September 29th of that year, Maj. Anderson, being a Revolutionary soldier, was selected to make the address, on behalf of all the committees, to the "Nation's Guest," and when the latter came to the borough of Chester he accepted the major's hospitality. On Jan. 5, 1826, Governor Shulze appointed Maj. Anderson one of the judges of the county courts, which position he resigned to accept an office in the custom-house in Philadelphia. His daughter, Evelina, became the wife of Commodore David Porter. Maj. Anderson died Dec. 16, 1829, aged sixty-seven years.
Joseph Engle, of Nether Providence, was born Jan. 10, 1770. He was thirty-six years of age before he attained any office of prominence in the county, being elected in 1806 one of the commissioners, and on May 24, 1809, was commissioned prothonotary, recorder, register, and clerk of the courts, to which office he was recommissioned on Jan. 14, 1812, and again on Dec. 20, 1814. In 1824 he was one of the committee of five appointed by Delaware County to receive Lafayette, and in the fall of that year he was again elected one of the commissioners. In 1826-27 he was a member of the Legislature, and in the latter year was appointed by Governor Shulze to the associate judgeship made vacant by the resignation of Maj. Anderson. His long association with the courts as clerk gave him considerable knowledge of the manner in which legal matters were therein conducted, and frequently during Judge Darlington's term as president judge- the latter was subject to severe attacks of gout- Associate Judge Engle was compelled to preside, charging the grand jury and trying the cases. Jan. 26, 1842, he was recommissioned, although on that occasion his nomination had been sent to the Senate over a year before the date given, and was not confirmed, owing to the fact that at the December court, 1840, Judge Engle had been presented by the grand inquest for an alleged disturbance at the preceding Presidential election at Chester, the complaint being made by William Eves, Sr., Isaac Lloyd, and James McClarum. The proceedings failed, in court at the February sessions, but the quarrel was carried to Harrisburg, and prevented for a time the confirmation by the Senate of the appointment of Judge Engle. In 1851, his term having expired, and being advanced in years, he retired from public life. Judge Engle died Oct. 18, 1857, aged eighty-seven years and nine months.
Henry Myers was prothonotary, recorder, register of wills, and clerk of the courts of Delaware County for three terms, being commissioned Jan. 17, 1824, Dec. 21, 1826, and Jan. 18, 1830. In 1824 he was one of the committee from Delaware County appointed to receive Gen. Lafayette. On Dec. 27, 1833, he was commissioned one of the associate judges, and while discharging the duties of that office was elected, in 1836, senator from this district, then comprising Delaware, Chester, and Lancaster Counties, serving in that capacity for four years. At the expiration of the term he retired from public life. On Feb. 23, 1855, Judge Myers died. He left his home, in Upper Darby, on the morning of that day, and when night came, not having returned, his family immediately instituted a search for him, but without success until the following day, when his body was discovered near Cobb's Creek. The intense cold had benumbed him so that he sank to the earth and perished.
Dr. George Smith was appointed by Governor Ritner, Dec. 8, 1836, one of the associate judges, and subsequently elected by the people to the same position in 1861. I present a sketch of the useful life-work of this eminent native of Delaware County in the article on physicians, and it is unnecessary to repeat it here.
On Feb. 25, 1843, George Gray Leiper was appointed by Governor Porter an associate judge of the courts of Delaware County. He was a son of Col. Thomas Leiper, of Ridley, and was born in Philadelphia, Feb. 3, 1786. He graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 1803, when in his seventeenth year, and after his marriage made his home permanent on the Leiper estates, in Ridley township. Here in 1811 he established the first Sunday-school in the annals of the county. During the war of 1812 he was first lieutenant in Capt. James Serrill's company, the Delaware County Fencibles, which organization was mustered into service Sept. 21, 1814, and December 6th, of the same year, was discharged. In 1818 he built, at his own cost, the Ridley (Leiper) Presbyterian Church. In 1822-23 he was a Representative in the Legislature, and while there he so strongly and successfully urged State appropriation for the maintenance of the Deaf and Dumb Asylum, in Philadelphia, that in recognition of his services he was chosen a director of that institution, and continued until his death. In the fall of 1824 he was one of the committee from Delaware County appointed to receive Gen. Lafayette. In 1828 he was elected a member of the Twenty-first Congress, and although strongly pressed to be a candidate for re-election, refused, even when President. Jackson, a warm personal friend of Mr. Leiper, personally requested him to allow his name to go before the people for a second term. In 1843, as above stated, Governor Porter appointed Mr. Leiper one of the associate judges, to which position he was reappointed by Governor Shunk, Feb. 16, 1848, and continued on the bench until the office was made elective. Judge Leiper retired from active public life, devoting his attention to the care of his large estate. He died at Lapidea, his residence on Crum Creek, Nov. 18, 1868, in his eighty-third year.
At the October election of 1851, James Andrew, of Darby, was chosen to the office of associate judge, and was commissioned Nov. 10, 1851. He and Sketchley Morton were the first associate judges elected by the votes of the people. James Andrew held no other county office than that of judge, but so acceptably did he discharge the duties of the position that he was reelected in 1856, his commission being dated November 12th of that year, and in 1861 he was again called to a seat on the bench. At the expiration of his term, having attained threescore and ten, he retired from public service.
Sketchley Morton was born in Springfield, Oct. 12, 1810, his father's (John S. Morton) farm constituting much of the present village of Morton, on the West Chester and Philadelphia Railroad. From his early manhood he devoted himself mainly to merchandising and other business enterprises in which he was engaged, declining to take any very active part in political movements. He was, however, elected a member of the Legislature, serving during the session of 1847-48, at a time when the question of removing the seat of justice had divided the people of the county into removalists and anti-removalists, and although he was adverse to the change, his action in the House in pressing a bill to carry out that purpose, after the question had been submitted to a popular vote, was highly commendatory. In the fall of 1851 he was elected one of the associate judges of the courts, his commission dating Nov. 10, 1851, and he served one term on the bench. In 1852 he was chosen president of the Delaware County Mutual Insurance Company, and was continued in that position until October, 1878, when he resigned. Sketchley Morton died Feb. 9, 1878, aged sixty-seven years.
Frederick J. Hinkson, Sr., was elected one of the associate judges of Delaware County courts in 1856. An account of Judge Hinkson will be found elsewhere in this volume.
Only two of all the persons who have been associate judges of the county of Delaware are living. The oldest, in point of commission, is Charles B. Williamson, he having been commissioned by Governor Packer, Jan. 10, 1860, to fill the position on the bench made vacant by Judge Hinkson's resignation. The other is Judge Thomas Reese. In the succeeding October, Dr. George Smith was elected to the office. Mr. Williamson had also been county treasurer. He resides in the borough of Media.
Bartine Smith was chosen one of the associate judges of the courts of Delaware County at the October election in 1866, his commission bearing date November 8th of that year. He was born in 1803, and was for many years a merchant in Haverford. On April 14, 1840, he was appointed a justice of the peace, was reappointed April 15, 1845, and elected to the same position in the spring of 1862. In 1861 he was clerk to the county commissioners, continuing as such until he was elected to the bench. In 1871 he was re-elected to the judicial office, and continued therein until the expiration of his term, when the provisions of the Constitution abolishing the office became operative. Judge Smith died Dec. 12, 1877, aged seventy-four years.
Judge Thomas Reece was born in Middletown township, Delaware County. He was elected associate judge in 1866, and served a continuous period of ten years. A further sketch of Judge Reece will be found in the history of Media.
On Nov. 23, 1876, just previous to the termination of the official career of Associate Judges Smith and Reece by the limitation of the Constitution of 1874, a banquet was given at Media to the retiring judges by the members of the bar and county officers. Highly complimentary resolutions were adopted, handsomely engrossed, and presented to Judges Smith and Reece, and speeches appropriate to the occasion were made. On Dec. 1, 1876, the associate judges retired from the bench and the time-honored office ceased to be, and henceforth became simply a part of the annals of the county.
As a rule it may be accepted that from the establishment of the colonial government until 1790, criminal cases, excepting those of trivial character, were prosecuted on the part of the government by the attorney-general in person. This statement, however, is not without exception, for at the court held at Chester on the 3d day of 1st week Tenth month, 1684, on the trial of Edward Hulbert Taylor, who was indicted for larceny, the records state that Charles Pickering "pleads as attorney to ye King," which is the first case in which it is directly asserted that counsel appeared on behalf of the government, although it is evident that Attorney-General John White was present in that capacity at the trial of Magaret Mattson, at Philadelphia, before Penn and the Council, 27th of the Twelfth month, 1683. In Taylor's case, as in that of Mattson, the appearance of an attorney for the prosecution was of slight effect, for the prisoner was acquitted by the jury. At the Court of Quarter Sessions at Chester, May 25, 1708, Thomas Clark, who was commissioned attorney-general on the 8th of that month, "appeared in open court and was qualified attorney-general for the county of Chester, according to law." The county records on the subject furnish us with but meagre information, and that not of much general interest. By the act of Feb. 28, 1710, the justices of the county courts, and the mayor and recorder of Philadelphia, respectively were empowered to admit attorneys to plead in these courts, and on misbehavior could suspend or prohibit attorneys from practicing before their tribunal. The act of May 31, 1748, provided that "in trials of all capital crimes, learned counsel shall be assigned the prisoner." On May 22, 1722, the Assembly passed a law providing for the admission of attorneys in any of the county courts, "which said attornies so admitted may practice in all the courts of this province without, any further or other license or admittance." A note in 1st Dallas' "Laws of Pennsylvania," on this section of the act of 1722,(66*) conveys the impression there were no other statutory enactments respecting attorneys until that of Sept. 25, 1786, but such impression is erroneous; the act of Aug. 26, 1727, provided "that there may be a competent number of persons, of an honest disposition and learned in the law, admitted by the justices of the said respective courts to practice as attornies there, who shall behave themselves justly and faithfully in their practice." That this act was generally observed is evident from the fact that the oath administered to attorneys at the present day is almost identical with that set forth in the enactment. It was: "And before they are so admitted shall take the following qualification, viz., 'Thou shalt behave thyself in the office of Attorney within the Court according to the best of thy learning and ability, and with all good Fidelity as well to the Court as to the Client; thou shalt use no Falsehood, nor Delay any Persons Caused for Lucre or Malice."(67*)The admission in any of the county courts was as before an admission to all in this province, and attorneys in all civil cases were compelled to file their warrant of attorney, or failing to do so no statutory fee could be taxed in the bill of costs to the party so in default. The act of Sept. 25, 1786, gave to the courts in the several counties power to make rules governing their own practice, after which date the admission of attorneys appear constantly on the minutes of our courts, although previous to that time on the record a number of lawyers were required to be regularly qualified before they were permitted to practice.
The following is a complete list of deputy attorneys-general and district attorneys from the erection of the county to the present time:
February session, 1790.- William Bradford, Jr., attorney-general in person.
July session, 1790.- Thomas Ross, under William Bradford, Jr.
August session, 1790.- Joseph Thomas, under William Bradford, Jr.
October session, 1791.- Joseph Thomas, under Jared Ingersoll.
October session, 1795.- William Sergeant, under Jared Ingersoll.
January session, 1796.- Thomas Ross, under Jared Ingersoll.
October session, 1797.- William Sergeant, under Jared Ingersoll.
January session, 1799.- Thomas Ross, under Jared Ingersoll.
April session, 1809.- Richard Bache, Jr., under Walter Franklin.
January session, 1811- John Edwards, under Joseph Reed.
January session, 1812.- Edward Ingersoll, under Jared Ingersoll.
January session, 1813.- Benjamin Tilghman, under Jared Ingersoll.
April session, 1813.- Edward Ingersoll, under Jared Ingersoll.
January session, 1814.- John Edwards, under Jared Ingersoll.
April session, 1814 - Edward Ingersoll, under Jared Ingersoll.
January session, 1815.- Robert H. Smith, under Jared Ingersoll.
April session, 1815.- William H. Dillingham, under Jared Ingersoll.
January session, 1817.- Henry G. Freeman, under Amos Ellmaker.
October session, 1818.- Samuel Rush, under Thomas Sergeant.
January session, 1821.- Archibald T. Dick, under Thomas Elder.
April session, 1824.- Edward Darlington, under Frederick Smith.
April session, 1830.- John Zeilin, under Samuel Douglass.
August session, 1833.- Robert E. Hannum, under Ellis Lewis.
March session, 1836.- John P. Griffith, under William B. Reed.
February session, 1839.- P. Frazer Smith, under Ovid F. Johnston.
February session, 1845.- Robert Frazer, under John K. Kane.
November session, 1845.- Joseph J. Lewis, under John K. Kane.
November session, 1848.- John M. Broomall,(68*)under James Cooper.
February session, 1850.- Charles B. Manley, by appointment of court.
May session, 1850.- Thomas H. Speakman, under Cornelius Darragh.
By act of Assembly May 1, 1850, the office of deputy attorney-general in the several counties was abolished, and district attorneys were directed to be elected, of persons learned in the law, at the ensuing election in October, to serve for a period of three years.
At the October election in 1850, Thomas H. Speakman was chosen by the popular vote, and at the November court he presented his certificate asking to be qualified. A petition was also presented to the court, signed by a number of citizens (sworn to by Charles D. Manley and Joseph Weaver, Jr.), stating that Speakman was not a resident of Delaware County, and not eligible for that reason to the office. It also set forth that Robert McCay, Jr., was elected, inasmuch as the votes cast for Speakman were illegal. The matter was continued under advisement, and at the May court, 1851, it was decided that "in consequence of the inability of Thomas H. Speakman, Esq., to serve the office of District Attorney, Robert McCay, Jr., Esq., be appointed to discharge the duties of the office for the remainder of the year."
1851.- Robert McCay.
Nov. 24, 1861.- Edward Darlington.
1854.- Jesse Bishop.(69*)
1857.- Edward A. Price.
1860.- John Hibbard.
1863.- Francis M. Brooke.(70*)
1866.- Charles D.M. Broomhall.
1869.- George E. Darlington.
1872.- David M. Johnson.
1876.- Vincent Gilpin Robinson.
1879.- Vincent Gilpin Robinson.
1882.- Jesse M. Baker.
The early records are confused respecting attorneys, for in many cases where that word is used it refers to attorneys-in-fact and not attorneys-at-law, while in many of the cases persons not learned in the law appeared on behalf of the parties litigant. As early as 1683, John White and Abraham Mann, known to be attorneys-at-law; appeared on the court records. At the court held first Third day of first week, Seventh month, 1690, in the case of Thomas Holmes vs. Charles Aston, Charles Pickering and Patrick Robinson appeared as attorneys for plaintiff, and, John White and Caleb Pusey for the defendant. The jury finding in favor of the defendant, the attorneys for the plaintiff "craved an appeal to ye next Provinciall Court in law," and his attorneys, Charles Pickering and Robert Longshore, became surety in one hundred pounds that the plaintiff would prosecute "ye appeal now Granted to ye next provinciall Court in Law against a judgment now obtained & to pay all costs and damage if ye appellant be again cast." All the persons herein mentioned as attorneys were laymen, excepting John White.
In 1698, John Moore and David Lloyd were practicing attorneys.
That there were but four lawyers in the province as late as 1709 we learn from two petitions presented to the Provincial Council. The first was that of James Heaton, read April 2, 1708, in which he set forth that he had been sued in an action of trover and conversion, in Bucks County, by Joseph Growden, and that he had obtained a writ of error to the Supreme Provincial Court, that in the mean while the plaintiff had arrested him on the same cause of action by process of the court in Philadelphia; that the cases were likely to be heard nearly at the same time, and that the plaintiff was a judge of the Provincial Court, "and further, that he has retained all the lawyers in the county (that have leave to plead) against him." The petitioner then asked that an impartial judge should be appointed to hear the case, assign him counsel, or "set the day for trial," so that, "if he be at the charge of procuring some from New York he may not be disappointed." Growden was present, and verbally replied that the actions were not for the like cause, and that he had only employed one attorney, John Moore, but that he was not able to attend, and therefore had a brother lawyer to appear for him, "by which means, without any design of his (Growden's), two became Concerned in it." Counsel decided that the petitioner "himself be left to procure his own Counsel," and directed Jasper Yeates, the second judge of the province, "without fail to attend the Provincial Court at Bucks to prevent any Disappointment." (71*) On March 1, 1708/9, Francis Daniel Pastorius presented his petition to Council in respect to a suit in ejectment, brought by one Sprogel, against the Frankford Company, in the courts of Philadelphia, in which he stated that the plaintiff had "fee'd or retained the four known Lawyers of the Province," to prevent the defendant from obtaining any advice in law, "wch sufficiently argues his cause to be none of the best." (72*)
The following persons, known to be attorneys learned in the law, appear on the record in the courts of Chester County at the dates given:
1726.- Ralph Assheton, John Kinsey, Peter Evans, Francis Sherrard, Joseph Growden, Jr.
1730.- Alexander Keith (admitted February 23d).
1734.- William Rawle.
1735.- John Ross (admitted August 27th), James Hamilton, John Robinson, Thomas Hopkinson.
1736.- Alexander Piercey (admitted December 1st), James Keating, Andrew Hamilton.
1738.- William Assheton (admitted November 28th).
1739.- William Peters.
1740.- John Webb.
1741.- Trench Francis, Edmund Acworth (February 23d), Nell Harris.
1742.- Robert Hartshorne, Richard Peters, John Mather, James Read (admitted September 1st).
1743.- John Moland, Townsend White.
1744.- David Edwards.
1745.- Benjamin Price.
1747.- John Lawrence.
1748.- Edward Shippen, Jr.
1749.- Joseph Galloway, John Evans.
The foregoing list is doubtless far from being perfect, but it is all that was found by Judge Futhey and Gilbert Cope, and in my researches I have not discovered any names omitted by them.
In the early days of the province it was the custom for students-at-law to make application for admission by petition, and the following one, on file at West Chester, presented by John Ross, was generally the form used:
"To the Worshipful, the Justices of the County Court of Common Pleas at Chester:
"The humble Petition of John Ross. Gent. showeth:-
"That Your Petitr. has served as an apprentice to an attorney at law in the province of Pennsylvania for the space of five years last past. Therefore Your petitr. prays to be admitted as an attorney of this Court.
"CHESTER, Aug. 27th, 1735."
The following is a list of attorneys admitted previous to July 4, 1776:
William Morris, Jr.
Richard Peters, Jr.
Peter Zachary Lloyd
William L. Blair
William Prince Gibbs
Admitted after July 4, 1776:
|John Morris||August, 1777.|
|Andrew Robeson||August, 1777.|
|William Lewis||August, 1777.|
|William L. Blair||August, 1777.|
|John Kaley||August, 1777.|
|George Ross||August, 1778.|
|Jonathan D. Sergeant||August, 1778.|
|Jacob Rush||August, 1778.|
|Elisha Price||August, 1778.|
|Alexander Wilcocks||August, 1778.|
|Gunning Bedford||August, 1778.|
|John Pancost||August, 1778.|
|Edward Burd||February, 1779.|
|Francis Johnston||February, 1779.|
|Henry Osborne||May, 1779.|
|George Campbell||August, 1779.|
|Jacob Bankson||August, 1779.|
|Jared Ingersoll||November, 1779.|
|William Bradford, Jr.||November, 1779.|
|Moses Levy||November, 1780.|
|Nicholas Vandyke||February, 1791.|
|John Coxe||February, 1791.|
|William Moore Smith||August, 1781.|
|John Lawrence||August, 1781.|
|Nathaniel Potts||November, 1781.|
|Joseph Reed||February, 1782.|
|John F. Mifflin||May, 1782.|
|Daniel Clymer||August, 1782.|
|John Vining||August, 1782.|
|John Wilkes Kitter||May, 1783.|
|Henry Hale Graham||November, 1783.|
|William, Rawle||November, 1783.|
|Samuel Sitgrave||Feb. 24, 1784.|
|William Ewing||November, 1784.|
|Peter Zachary Lloyd||May, 1785.|
|Jacob R. Howell||May, 1785.|
|Thomas Ross||May, 1785.|
|Joseph B. McKean||August, 1785.|
|John Todd||November, 1785.|
|Robert Hodson||May, 1786.|
|Charles Smith||May, 1786.|
|John Young||May, 1786.|
|Benjamin Chew, Jr.||August, 1788.|
|B.R. Morgan, Jr.||August, 1786.|
|Richard Wharton||August, 1786.|
|Thomas Memminger||August, 1786.|
|James Hanna||Aug. 13, 1786.|
|David Smith||February, 1787.|
|James Wade||February, 1787.|
|John Joseph Henry||February, 1787.|
|William Richardson Atlee||February, 1787.|
|William Montgomery||August, 1787.|
|Sampson Levy||August, 1787.|
|James Hopkins||August, 1787.|
|Samuel Roberts||August, 1787.|
|Samuel Bayard||November, 1787.|
|Matthias Baldwin||November, 1787.|
|James A. Bayard||November, 1787.|
|Thomas Armstrong||February, 1788.|
|Peter S. Duponceau||May, 1788.|
|Jasper Yeates||August, 1788.|
|Peter Hoofnagle||August, 1788.|
|Joseph Hubley||August, 1788.|
|William Graham||November, 1788.|
|John Hallowell||February, 1789.|
|Joseph Thomas||May, 1789.|
|Robert Porter||May, 1789.|
|Charles Healty||May, 1789.|
|Anthony Morris||May, 1789.|
|John Craig Wells||August, 1789.|
|John Cadwallader||August, 1789.|
|John Moore||August, 1789.|
As heretofore stated, when the county of Delaware was erected, as a matter of course, there was no attorney of record. The difficulty was met by William Tilghman, who addressed the court, and finally in his own behalf moved his admission to the bar of Delaware County, which motion received the approval of the bench. The record, therefore, shows:
|William Tilghman||Nov. 9, 1789.|
|William L. Blair (on Tilghman's motion)||" 1789.|
|Joseph Thomas||" 1789.|
|Thomas Ross||" 1789.|
|William Graham||" 1789.|
William Graham, the only son of Judge Graham, was born in Chester in 1767, and, studying law, was admitted to the bar at the date given. During the Whiskey Insurrection in Western Pennsylvania, in 1794, at which time he was chief burgess of Chester, he commanded a troop of cavalry from Delaware County, and while in that command the exposure brought on a disease of the throat, which affected his voice at times so that he could not speak above a whisper. This vocal difficulty became permanent a few years afterwards, owing to the fact that in company with several gentlemen, he went gunning to Chester Island, and became separated from his companions. When darkness came he could not be found, and his friends returned to Chester, determining at early dawn to resume their search for him. All that night he remained on the bar, and as he was short in stature, the tide rose until his head and shoulders were alone out of the water. When rescued next morning his voice was entirely gone, and he never again recovered it so as to be able to speak in public, and even in conversation he was often almost inaudible. He died Dec. 19, 1821.
|Benjamin Morgan||Nov. 9, 1789.|
|Anthony Morris||- - 1789.|
|John Todd||- - 1789.|
|Alexander Wilcox||Feb. 9, 1790.|
|William Bradford, Jr.||Feb. 9, 1790.|
|Jacob Bankson||Feb. 9, 1790.|
|Elisha Price||Feb. 9, 1790.|
|Robert Porter||Feb. 9, 1790.|
|Thomas B. Dick||Feb. 9, 1790.|
Thomas B. Dick as born near Marcus Hook, March 12, 1766, read law with Thomas Ross, Esq., and admitted to the bar of Delaware County at the date mentioned. In 1794 he removed to Eastern Pennsylvania, but returned to Chester in 1798, where he acquired a large practice, owing to his reputation as an able advocate. He was commissioned prothonotary, recorder, register, and clerk of the courts of Delaware County, Feb. 22, 1806, retaining that office until Jan. 2, 1809. On April 21, 1811, he was gunning in a row-boat on the Delaware, and a severe snow-storm coming on, he was drowned. How the accident occurred is not known, he being alone at the time. His body was not recovered until eight days thereafter.
|Moses Levy||Feb. 9, 1790.|
|William Rawle||Feb. 9, 1790.|
|Benjamin Morgan||Feb. 9, 1790.|
|Anthony Morris||Feb. 9, 1790.|
|Sampson Levy||May 11, 1790.|
|Matthias Baldwin||May 11, 1790.|
|Jonathan D. Sergeant||Nov. 9, 1790.|
|George Campbell||Nov. 9, 1790.|
|John Thompson||Nov. 9, 1790.|
|Nicholas Diehl||May 10, 1791.|
|Robert H. Dunkin||May 10, 1791.|
|John C. Willis||May 10, 1791.|
|Isaac Telfall||Aug. 10, 1791.|
|Seth Chapman||Nov. 7, 1791.|
|Thomas Armstrong||Dec. 2, 1791.|
|Robert Frazer||July 30, 1792.|
Robert Frazer was, we are told by Dr. Smith, a resident of the upper part of the county, and he it was who drew the petition to the Legislature in 1820 for the removal of the county-seat from Chester to a more central location. Martin relates the following anecdote of Mr. Frazer: "A client, a well-known close-fisted old miller, called on him one day for some advice in reference to a difficulty about his milldam and water-power privileges. He found Mr. Frazer in his office, legs in comfortable position higher than his head, taking his ease and smoking. The miller, taking a seat, proceeded to relate his grievance at length, and then asked what he should do. Frazer, still leaning back and puffing his cigar, paid no attention to the question. At last the impatient client burst out with 'D--n it, Mr. Frazer! Did you hear what I said?' With a humorous twinkle of his eye, Frazer replied: 'Oh, yes; but do you expect a mill to run without water?'"(73*)
|John Ross||July 31, 1792.|
|Thomas W. Tallman||Jan. 29, 1793.|
|John D. Cox||April 30, 1793.|
|Joseph Hemphill||October , 1793.|
|John Horn(74*)||Jan. 29, 1795.|
|Caleb Pierce(74*)||Jan. 29, 1795.|
|William Sergeant||April 27, 1795.|
|James Hunter||October , 1795.|
|David Moore||Jan. 23, 1796.|
|William Martin||April , 1796.|
A sketch of Dr. Martin appears in the chapter on physicians of Delaware County, for in that calling- he was a member of both professions- he was most prominent.
|William Richardson Atlee||July 26, 1796.|
|Michael Kepple||July 26, 1796.|
|Alex.James Dallas||Nov. 1, 1796.|
|Bird Wilson||April 7, 1797.|
|William Ewing||Oct. 30, 1797.|
|Wash. Lee Hannum||April, 1798.|
|Joseph Reed||May 2, 1798.|
|Jonathan T. Haight||Jan. 28, 1799.|
|Charles Chauncey||Jan. 28, 1799.|
|John Sergeant||July 30, 1799.|
|John Taylor||April, 1800.|
|William Hemphill||July, 1800.|
|Nicholas G. Williamson||January, 1801.|
|Jona. W, Condey (75*)||April, 1801.|
|Rich. Peters, Jr. (75*)||April, 1801.|
|Richard Rush (75*)||April, 1801.|
|John Ewing, Jr||July 29, 1801.|
|William Robinson, Jr.||Jan. 25, 1802.|
|Isaac Darlington||Jan. 25, 1802.|
|Thomas Bradford||July 29, 1803.|
|James Day Barnard||April 30, 1804.|
|Peter Arrell Brown||May 3, 1804.|
|Charles Fisher Frazer||Oct. 30, 1804.|
|Charles Kisselman||Oct. 30, 1804.|
|Richard Bache, Jr.||May 3, 1805.|
|Samuel Edwards||April 30, 1806.|
Samuel Edwards was born in Chester township March 12, 1785. He was a descendant of William Edwards, who, coming from Wales early in 1682, settled in Middletown. He read law with William Graham, and was admitted to the bar April 30, 1806. He was at that time a Federalist, and as such, with his party, was opposed to the second war with Great Britain. Hence we find him actiiig as chairman of the meeting of the youngmen of that political faith held in the court-house at Chester. Aug. 22, 1812. But the war actually begun, he threw aside all fealty to party, and when Admiral Cockburn was threatening the borders of Pennsylvania and had applied the torch to all the property he could not steal at the head of the Chesapeake, Samuel Edwards was one of the first to advocate arming the militia and marching against the invaders. In April, 1813, he and Thomas D. Anderson made application to the State for muskets to arm the Chester company of infantry, giving their personal bonds to the commonwealth for the arms, and that body marched to Elkton to resist the British forces at that place. In the fall of the year 1814 he was in active service as a private in the Mifflin Guards, commanded by Capt. Samuel Anderson. This organization was a company of the First Regiment, Pennsylvania Volunteers, under Col. Clement C. Biddle. Mr. Edwards acted as secretary of the company, and the orderly book, the greater part in his writing, is like copper-plate in beauty of chirography. While in the military service he was elected a member of the Legislature, and during the session of 1814-15 he represented Delaware County in that body, and was re-elected to the session of 1815-16. In 1819, Mr. Edwards, then a Democrat, was elected to the Sixteenth, and again in 1825 to the Nineteenth Congress, serving therein as a colleague of James Buchanan, towards whom he was during the remainder of his life a warm personal friend. Although Mr. Edwards served no other term in Congress, yet during Jackson's and Van Buren's administration, it was charged throughout the country that five persons-Samuel Edwards, George G. and Samuel M. Leiper, Levi Reynolds, and James Buchanan- were the powers behind the throne. In 1824, Mr. Edwards was one of the committee appointed by Delaware County to receive Gen. Lafayette. In 1832 he was chief burgess of Chester, and from 1838 to 1842 was inspector of customs at that port. For many years he was a leader of the bar, and he and Benjamin Tilghman were counsel for John H. Craig, convicted of the murder of Squire Hunter, in 1818. Never was a case better tried on the part of the defense than this was. For many years he was a director of the Delaware County Bank and Delaware Mutual Insurance Company. He was also counsel for the Philadelphia, Wilmington and Baltimore Railroad.
Mr. Edwards died at Chester Nov. 25, 1850, aged sixty-five years. A meeting of the bar was held on the 26th, at which Judge Chapman presided, and J.R. Morris acted as secretary. Associate Judge Leiper announced the death of Mr. Edwards, and an address was made by Judge Thomas S. Bell, then on the Supreme bench, who came to Chester that he might take part in the memorial services of his deceased friend. Speeches were also made by Hon. Edward Darlington and Hon. Joseph J. Lewis.
|Joseph Barnes||Oct. 23, 1806.|
|Benjamin Shober||Jan. 21, 1807.|
|John Edwards, Jr.||Oct. 19, 1807.|
He was the. great-grandson of William Edwards, the Welsh settler at Middletown, and was born July 15, 1786, at the Black Horse Tavern, in that township, his father, Nathan Edwards, being then the landlord and owner of the inn. John Edwards studied law, and was admitted to the bar of Delaware County at the date stated. In 1811 he was deputy attorney-general for Delaware County, and in 1824 was one of the counsel for the defense in the trial of Wellington for murder of Bonsall. After that date he seems to have devoted his attention to the iron business at the rolling-mills, near Glen Mills, which he owned, and to politics, a pursuit in which he was unusually successful. In the fall of 1838 he was elected a member of Congress from the Fourth District, then comprising the counties of Delaware, Chester, and Lancaster, serving in the Twenty-fifth and Twenty-sixth Congresses, for he was re-elected a second term. He died in October, 1845, aged fifty-nine years, and was buried at Middletown meeting-house.
|Bayse Newcomb, Jr.||Oct. 19, 1807.|
|William H. Todd||April 17, 1809.|
|Thomas R. Ross||April 17, 1809.|
|Ziba Pyle||July 17, 1809.|
|Samuel H. Jacobs||Jan. 21, 1811.|
|Jonathan Dunker||July 24, 1811.|
|Edward Ingersoll||Jan. 20, 1812.|
|Randall Hutchinson||Jan. 20, 1812.|
|Thomas D. Anderson||Jan. 23, 1812.|
Thomas Dixon Anderson, the only son of Maj. William Anderson, was born in Virginia, in 1790, just previous to the removal of his father to Chester. He was admitted to the bar at the above date. When the British fleet under Admiral Cockburn had taken Frenchtown, in April, 1813, and destroyed it, the alarm was extreme in Southern Pennsylvania and Delaware. Mr. Anderson and Samuel Edwards, Esq., made immediate application to the State authorities for arms to equip an infantry company at Chester, and sixty muskets and equipments were forwarded to that place in compliance with this demand.
In the official rolls of the militia called into service in the fall of the year 1814, I do not find Thomas D. Anderson's name. Perhaps he had removed to Tennessee, of which State he was attorney-general. He was subsequently appointed United States consul at Tunis and Tripoli, where he continued a number of years. As he advanced in life his eyesight became so much impaired that he retired from public life and returned to Chester, residing in the old Anderson house at Fifth and Welsh Streets, where he died.
|Clymer Ross||April 13, 1812.|
|Charles Harland||April 13, 1812.|
|James Madison Porter||July 26, 1813.|
|Michael W. Ash||July 26, 1813.|
|Charles J. Cox||July 26, 1813.|
|Charles Catlin||Jan. 17, 1814.|
|William Bowen||April 12, 1814.|
|William A. Dillingham||April 12, 1814.|
|Thomas F. Peasants||April 12, 1814.|
|James Henderson||July 28, 1814.|
|Jonathan Hampden||July 28, 1814.|
|John Kerlin||July 28, 1814.|
John Kerlin was prominent in politics and business in the county. He was the fourth president of the Bank of Delaware County. In 1824 he served four years in the State Senate from the Sixth District, then including Chester County, and in 1828 was re-elected to the same office for a like period. He died in Philadelphia, May 21, 1847, aged fifty-four years.
|Robert H. Smith||Jan. 16, 1815.|
|Benjamin Chew||April 10, 1815.|
|Isaac D. Barnard||Jan. 16, 1816.|
Isaac D. Barnard was born in Aston township, March 22, 1791. When thirteen years old he was placed as a clerk in the prothonotary's office at Chester, then held by Thomas B. Dick, and subsequently for two years was in the prothonotary's office at Philadelphia. In 1811 he began reading law with William Graham, and was admitted to the Delaware County bar at the date given, and on May 17th of the same year was admitted to the bar of Chester County. During the war with England he was commissioned captain of the Fourteenth United States Infantry, and took part in the battle at Fort George, where his signal bravery and ability earned for him promotion to the rank of major. He served faithfully in the campaign of the Northeastern border, and at the battle of Plattsburg, owing to the death and disability of his superior officers, the command of the corps devolved on him. He also so distinguished himself at the battle of Lyon's Creek that he was honorably mentioned in the official reports of the generals commanding. At the close of the war the government desired Barnard to remain in the army permanently; but he declined, and located in West Chester, where he soon attained a large practice, and a year after his admission was appointed deputy attorney-general for Chester County. In 1820 he was elected from the district comprising Chester and Delaware Counties State senator, and in 1824 he was tendered the president judgeship of Lancaster and Dauphin Counties, which he declined. In 1826 he was appointed by Governor Shulze, Secretary of the Commonwealth, and the same year was elected by the Legislature senator of the United States, a position he acceptably filled until 1831, when he resigned on account of failing health. He died Feb. 18, 1834.
|Archibald T. Dick||Jan. 16, 1816.|
He was born Dec. 21, 1794, in all probability at Eaton, at which place his father, Thomas B. Dick, then resided. He studied Law at Chester, and was called to the bar at the date stated. During the fall of 1814 he was one of the emergency men at Fort Du Pont. He had considerable practice for tnose days, was an active politician, and in 1834 was the Democratic candidate for Congress. He died Aug. 13, 1837.
|Samuel I. Withy||April 8, 1816.|
|Matthias Richards Sayres||July 22, 1816.|
|Henry C. Byrne||Aug. 26, 1816.|
|Edward D. Cox||Oct. 22, 1816.|
|Thomas Kittera||Jan. 20, 1817.|
|Henry G. Freeman||Jan. 20, 1217.|
|Matthew Morris||April 14, 1817.|
|John Kentzing Kane||April 14, 1817.|
|James C. Biddle||April 14, 1817.|
|Samuel Rush||Oct. 19, 1818.|
|Charles Sidney Cox||Oct. 19, 1818.|
|John J. Richards||Jan. 19, 1819.|
|Joseph P. Norburry||July 16, 1819.|
|Nathan R. Potts||July 16, 1819.|
|David Paul Brown||July 16, 1819.|
|William Milnor, Jr.||July 16, 1819.|
|John Duer||Aug. 18, 1819.|
|Arthur Middleton||Aug. 18, 1819.|
|Richard C. Wood||Aug. 15, 1819.|
|Robert R. Beale||Oct. 17, 1820.|
|William Williamson||Jan. 17, 1821.|
|Edward Darlington||April 9, 1821.|
|William Martin||July 27, 1821.|
|Townsend Haines||Jan. 21, 1822.|
|Aquilla A. Brown||Jan. 21, 1822.|
|John P. Owens||April 8, 1822.|
|John M. Reed||June 19, 1822.|
|William S. Haines||July 22, 1822.|
|Thomas S. Bell||April 14, 1823.|
|Thomas F. Gordon||April 14, 1823.|
|Bond Valentine||April 14, 1823.|
|Edward Richards||July 28, 1823.|
|Thomas A. Budd||July 28,1823.|
|Abraham Marshall, Jr.||July 28, 1823.|
|Thomas Dunlap||Oct. 23, 1823.|
|Francis B. Brewster||Oct. 28, 1823.|
|Nathaniel Vernon||April 13, 1824.|
|William Kimber||April 11, 1825.|
|John P. Griffiths||April 13, 1825.|
|Mordecai Taylor||July 27, 1825.|
|Daniel Buckwalter||Jan. 26, 1826.|
|John S. Newbold||Jan. 26, 1826.|
|William Darlington||July 24, 1826.|
|Samuel Chew||July 24, 1826.|
|Henry H. Van Amringe||July 24, 1826|
|William T. Smith||July 24, 1826.|
|Lewis G. Pierce||Oct. 16, 1826.|
|John Cadwalader||Jan. 16, 1827.|
|Joseph J. Lewis||April 9, 1827.|
|Joseph S. Cohen||April 9, 1827.|
|John K. Zeilin||Aug. 10, 1827.|
John K. Zeilin was born in Philadelphia in 1803. On attaining his majority he came to Chester and was appointed Oct. 25, 1824, deputy prothonotary and clerk of the courts under Henry Myers. While so employed he read law with Hon. Edward Darlington, and was admitted to practice at the time stated. A pleasing, ready speaker, he was prominent in political and military movements of the day. In 1830, Attorney-General Douglass appointed him deputy attorney-general for Delaware County, and he prosecuted for the State until Dec. 20, 1832, when he was commissioned by Governor Wolf prothonotary, etc., for the county, retaining the office until Aug. 20, 1834, when John Hinkson superseded him. Under John Richards he was appointed deputy register of wills. In 1837-38 he was a member of the Legislature, and was re-elected to the session of 1839. In 1842, Judge Randall, of the United States District Court, appointed Mr. Zeilin commissioner of bankruptcy in Delaware County. At the Whig Convention, Sept. 18, 1846, he received the nomination to Congress, it being understood that the term was to be eoncede4 to Delaware County. The convention in Montgomery County had named John Freedley, and the confreres from the two counties had twice, met without adjusting the ticket, each county demanding the representative. In the mean while the Democrats had nominated Samuel M. Leiper, whose popularity was such that it was generally believed he would defeat Zeilin at the polls. This impression was so strong that at length Zeilin was induced to withdraw, yielding the nomination to Freedley, who was elected,. Col. Zeilin was active in all military affairs in the county during his residence therein. On May 15, 1833, he was elected captain of the Pennsylvania Artillery, and colonel of the Forty-seventh Regiment on Aug. 3, 1835, a position he held until 1849. During the riots in Philadelphia in 1844 he had charge of the Delaware County militia companies on duty in that city, and at the outbreak of the Mexican war tendered the Delaware County military companies to the President, but the quota of Pennsylvania was full, hence the offer was not accepted. In 1852 he removed to Philadelphia, where he died Aug. 6, 1876, in his seventy-third year.
|Owen Stoever||Oct. 15, 1816.|
|Davis H. Hoopes||Oct. 16, 1816.|
|Frederick A. Reybold||Jan. 22, 1828.|
|John Wayne Ashmead||April 14, 1823.|
|John H. Bradley||Oct. 20, 1828.|
|William C. Brown||Oct. 20, 1828.|
|David J. Desmond||Jan. 22, 1859.|
|James A. Donath||April 15, 1829.|
|Levi Hollingsworth||April 15, 1829.|
|Robert E. Hannum||July 27, 1829.|
|P. Frazer Smith||Nov. 23, 1829.|
|John C. Daniel||Jan. 18, 1830.|
|Peter Hill Engle||April 13, 1830.|
Peter Hill Engle was a son of Judge Joseph Engle. In 1836 he removed to Wisconsin Territory, where he filled several offices of distinction, being at one time Secretary of State. He afterwards returned to his native county, and resumed practice. He died Feb. 17, 1844.
|Andrew T. Smith||April 14, 1830.|
|John C. Nippes||March 2, 1831.|
|George L. Ashmead||April 11, 1831.|
|Charles C. Rawn||April 11, 1831.|
|John Rutter||Nov. 28, 1831.|
|Thomas W. Morris||Nov. 30, 1831.|
|Robert B. Dodson||Nov. 30, 1831.|
|Thomas R. Newbold||Aug. 27, 1832.|
|John Swift||April 22, 1833.|
|David H. Mulvany||Feb. 25, 1834.|
|Joseph Hemphill, Jr.||May 30, 1834.|
|Horatio Hubbell||Aug. 23, 1835.|
|Samuel F. Reed||Nov. 24, 1835.|
|Daniel McLaughlin||Aug. 22, 1836.|
|Joseph Williams||Aug. 27, 1831.|
|Horatio G. Worrall||Feb. 27. 1837.|
|William M. Tilghman||Feb. 28, 1837.|
|James Hanna||May 22, 1837.|
|William H. Keating||Aug. 28, 1837.|
|William M. Meredith||Aug. 28, 1837.|
|Henry J.Williams||Aug. 28, 1837.|
|John Freedley||Aug. 30, 1837.|
|Thomas M. Jolly||Aug. 30, 1837.|
|John B. Sterigere||June 4, 1838.|
|William E. Whitman||June 7, 1838.|
|John D. Pierce||Nov. 27, 1838.|
|Saunder Lewis||Nov. 27, 1538.|
|Frederick E. Hayes||May 25, 1840.|
|Elihu D. Farr||May 26, 1840.|
|John M. Broomall||Aug. 24, 1840.|
|Uriah V. Pennypacker||Aug. 26, 1840.|
|Christopher Fallon||Nov. 24, 1840.|
|B. Franklin Pyle||Aug. 23, 1841.|
|Charles B. Heacock||Aug. 24, 1841.|
|Isaac S. Serrill||Aug. 25, 1841.|
|Addison May||Aug. 26, 1841.|
|Garrick Mallery||Nov 25, 1841.|
|Paul Beck Carter||May 23. 1842.|
|William D. Kelley||May 23, 1842.|
|James Mason||Aug. 23, 1842.|
|Lewis Allain Scott||Nov. 30, 1842.|
|Mortimer R. Talbot||Nov. 30, 1842.|
|William P. Foulke||May 22, 1843.|
|John M. Simmes||May 22, 1843.|
|Benjamin C. Tilghman||May 21, 1843.|
|Henry Chester||May 27, 1843.|
|William R. Dickerson||Aug. 28, 1843.|
|Matthew A. Sanley||Nov. 27, 1843.|
|John Smith Futhey||Nov. 27, 1843.|
|Edward Hopper||Nov. 30, 1843.|
|Samuel Hood||March 1, 1844.|
|Thomas H. Speakman||Aug. 26, 1844.|
|Jesse M. Griffith||Nov. 5, 1845.|
|Ashbel Green||Feb. 24, 1845.|
|Constant Guillou||Feb. 24, 1845.|
|Robert Fraser||Feb. 24, 1845.|
|William Wheeler Hubbell||May 6, 1845.|
|R. Rundel Smith||Aug. 25, 1845.|
|James B. Everhart||Aug. 25, 1845.|
|Joseph P. Wilson||Nov. 24, 1845.|
|Samuel B. Thomas||Feb. 26, 1846.|
Samuel Baldwin Thomas was born in Chester County, and was admitted to that bar June 18, 1844, and on the date given in the list became a member of that of Delaware County. On Nov. 28, 1848, he was commissioned prothonotary of Chester County, and in 1851 was secretary of the West Chester and Philadelphia Railroad. In 1854 he went to Philadelphia, where he practiced his profession. In August, 1857, he removed to Media, and opened an office in the courthouse. In 1860 he "stumped" the State in the interest of Andrew G. Curtin, and after the latter was inaugurated Governor he commissioned Mr. Thomas, Jan. 16, 1861, Deputy Secretary of the Commonwealth. In 1863, Col. Thomas was placed at the head of the military department of the State. At the expiration of his term of service he returned to Media, and was appointed a commissioner of the Revenue Board, and subsequently commissioner of bankruptcy. Samuel B. Thomas died Dec. 2, 1872.
|John A. Gilmore||Feb. 26, 1846.|
|Nathaniel B. Brown||May 25, 1846.|
|Richard C. McMurtrie||May 25, 1846.|
|William F. Boon||May 25, 1846.|
|Robert M. Lea||Aug. 24, 1846.|
|Nathaniel B. Holland||Aug. 24, 1846.|
|Marshall Sprogell||Aug. 24, 1846.|
|Samuel A. Black||Nov. 23, 1846.|
|Robert McCay||Feb. 22, 1847.|
|George Palmer||Feb. 22, l847.|
|Washington Townsend||Aug. 23, 1847.|
|James H. Hackleton||Aug. 23, 1847.|
|Henry B. Edwards||Nov. 22, 1847.|
|George W. Ormsby||Feb. 22, 1848.|
|John Banks||May 22, 1848.|
|Joseph R. Morris||Aug. 28, 1848.|
Joseph R. Morris was a promising member of the bar, and although but thirty-five years of age, had acquired an excellent practice. On Sunday, Dec. 4, 1859, while talking to a friend in Media, he dropped dead.
|William Butler||Aug. 28, 1848.|
|Gilbert R. Fox||Aug. 28, 1848.|
|Henry Freedley||Aug. 28, 1848,|
|Enoch Taylor||Aug. 28, 1848.|
|Harlan Ingram||Nov. 27, 1848.|
|Thomas H. Maddock||Nov. 27, 1848.|
|Charles D. Manley||Feb. 26,1849.|
|Ezra Levis||May 28, 1849.|
Ezra Levis was thirty years in full practice at the bar of Delaware County when he died, Jan. 23, 1879. During his career he never sought office, but in the line of his profession was earnest, conscientious, and well read. He was an abolitionist from conviction, when to entertain those sentiments was certainly destructive of all political aspirations; but Ezra Levis gave expression to his opinion then as at all times during his life when he believed he was in the right.
|Paschall Woodward||May 28, 1849.|
|William Hollingshead||May 28, 1849.|
|John Markland||Aug. 27, 1849.|
|Robert Alsop||Feb. 25, 1850.|
|John Fairlamb Roberts||Feb. 25, 1860.|
|Thomas Greenback||May 27, 1850.|
|Jesse Bishop||May 27, 1860.|
|John H. Robb||May 27, 1850.|
|John Titus||Aug. 26, 1850.|
|Joseph R. Dickinson||Nov. 25, 1860.|
|Thomas Leiper||May 26, 1851.|
|George Norton||May 28, 1851.|
|Thomas J. Clayton||Nov. 24, 1851.|
|Francis Darlington||Feb. 23, 1852.|
|James M. Goodman||Feb. 26, 1852.|
|William B. Waddell||May 24, 1852.|
|Benjamin A. Mitchel||Aug. 23, 1852.|
|Abraham L. Smith||Nov. 28, 1853.|
|Edward Olmstead||March 6, 1854.|
|J. Williams Biddle||March 6, 1854.|
|William Vogdes||May 22, 1854.|
|Robert S. Paschall||May 22, 1854.|
|Edward A. Price||March l7,1856.|
|William Nicholson||June 6, 1856.|
|Robert D. Chalfant||June 6, 1856.|
|John W. Stokes||Nov. 24, 1856.|
|James Otterson||Aug. 24, 1857.|
|Andrew Zane||Feb. 22, 1857.|
|Peter Wychoff||May 24, 1857.|
|John Hibberd||- - 1857.|
John Hibberd was born near where Media now stands, in Delaware County, Pa., May 31, 1821. He is the only son of Thomas and Margaret Hibberd, whose only daughter, Hannah, died in Chester, Oct. 19, 1870. His ancestors were members of the society of Friends, and his earlier ancestry was Saxon, Norman, and Welsh. His mother, born in 1790, the daughter of John and Amelia Powell, was a woman of remarkable qualities. His paternal grandfather,Jacob Hibberd, died in 1827. Mr. Hibberd was mathematically educated, his last instructor having been the late Enoch Lewis, a well-known scholar and scientist, then residing in Chester County, Pa. After leaving school, he was engaged for some time in teaching, and in April, 1845, removed with his parents to Belmont County, Ohio, where he devoted himself assiduously to the study of the law, and in October, 1847, was admitted to practice at the bar of Belmont County. His most interesting and notable case there was one in which a bill in equity had been filed, praying for a perpetual injunction against process on a judgment. It was a case of long standing, resolutely contested; the greatest vigilance was employed in the securing of testimony, with strong efforts to impeach and sustain witnesses. The ability and patience with which the numerous facts were brought out excited much comment, and the case afforded an excellent opportunity for the exercise of the power of logical argument.
He formed the acquaintance of literary, scientific, and distinguished professional men, and from 1848 to near the end of 1852 took an active and prominent part in the political contests of his adopted State. As he became a champion of the free-soil and antislavery movement when the cause was unpopular in that part of the State and there were few to defend its principles, much labor devolved upon him in those early conflicts. He was a member of the Republican party from its organization, and has ever taken a decided interest in the leading political questions of the times. He was a firm supporter of President Lincoln, and in a speech delivered in Philadelphia, in October, 1864, pronounced a "glowing eulogium" on the character of that eminent man and wise ruler. While a citizen of Ohio, in 1849, he began to lecture on temperance, and he has since been identified with that cause; many years ago he occasionally lectured on the subject of education. After the decease of his parents, he located permanently in his native county, and since the beginning of 1857 has been engaged in desirable legal business in Chester, and has continued to reside in that growing city, or in its vicinity. He was elected district attorney of Delaware County by a large majority in the fall of 1860, and, during his term of three years, exercised the functions of that office with marked ability and acceptance. Having declined a re-election in 1863, he has since, in addition to his professional duties, devoted much time to a fuller investigation of equity, constitutional and international law, as well as other branches of jurisprudence. He has ever recommended an honorable course in the profession, and condemned the practice of defeating the ends of justice by vexatious litigation; he has continued to cultivate the languages which contribute to successful legal research and confer a more extended general culture, continuing also a diligent student of the English classics, history, biography, oratory, and political economy.
In 1878, deprecating the continuance of sectional strife, being convinced that the Republican party had become very corrupt, believing that the system of currency and finance, which was sustained by such men as Sherman and Garfield, was affecting and would continue most seriously to injure the real interests of the American people, prompted by a philanthropic feeling on behalf of the toiling masses, he took an active part in the national greenback labor movement. In his addresses before the people he labored to show them that the law alone must determine what is money; that the leading elements of society, the moral and spiritual, the social and political, depend in great measure on the proper solution of the monetary questions, which were and would continue to be of immense importance. As a man of strong convictions he still has an earnest sympathy for those principles, which of late years have been so much discussed and ably defended by a body of patriotic men, who have made great sacrifices for the welfare of their common country in opposing the misrepresentations and arrogant demands of a despotic money-power. He regards the legal-tender decision lately rendered by the Supreme Court of the United States as being of more actual value than anything ever before enunciated by any legal tribunal, either of ancient or modern times, and as reflecting, the highest credit on those learned jurists, who agreed almost unanimously, after long and careful examination, in reaching a wise, constitutional, and just conclusion, which virtually settles the matter forever. He contends, too, that the decision has come opportunely, as vast multitudes are in a condition of enforced idleness, many of whom may be profitably employed, in constructing defenses along our extensive line of sea-coast, liable as we are at any time to be annoyed by the smallest naval power, and in making internal public improvements of great extent and utility; the expense of such undertakings to be defrayed by fiat paper money, to be issued by the general government, and made a full, absolute, legal tender for all purposes, public and private; thus tending in every way toward enlarging, building up, and rendering perpetual the republic of North America with a grand industrial civilization; at the same time doing much by the light of our example to promote liberty and establish republics in other parts of the world. Mr. Hibberd has thus become liberally educated, and has participated in most of the great progressive movements of his age and country. In relation to all the principal offices, he advocates a large reduction of salaries, and is the steadfast opponent of currency, telegraph, railroad, land, and other great monopolies.
|Samuel Simpson||May 24, 1857.|
|M.J. Mitcheson||Aug. 28, 1857.|
|Francis C. Hooton||Nov. 23, 1857.|
|Aaron Thomson||May 23, 1859.|
|John K. Valentine||May 23, 1859.|
|Jacob F. Byrnes||May 23, 1859.|
|John P. O'Neal||May 23, 1859.|
|William Ward||Aug. 22, 1859.|
|Joseph R.T. Coates||Aug. 22, 1859.|
|0. Flagg Bullard||Aug. 22, 1859.|
|Frank M. Brooke||Oct. 17, 1859.|
|H. Ryland Warriner||Dec. 29, 1859.|
|John S. Newlin||June 4, 1860.|
|Richard P. White||Aug. 25, 1860.|
|Nathan S. Sharpless||Sept. 3, 1860.|
|John Charles Laycock||Oct. 15, 1860.|
|J. Alexander Simpson||Nov. 26. 1860.|
|John H. Brinton||Nov. 27, 1860.|
|John Eyre Shaw||Jan. 25, 1861.|
|A.V. Parsons||Sept. 23, 1861.|
|T. Passmore Handbest||Sept. 23, 1861.|
|William T. Haines||March 30, 1862.|
|David M. Johnson||June 23, 1862.|
|M.J. Nicheson||Aug. 27, 1862.|
|William O'Neil||Nov. 26, 1862.|
|James Doyle||Nov. 26, 1562.|
|Wayne Mcveagh||May 26, 1863.|
|John B. Hinkson||Aug. 24, 1863.|
|James Barton, Jr.||Nov. 23, 1863.|
|James H. Lyttle||Dec. 28, 1863.|
|William Booth Broomall||Dec. 28, 1863.|
|John Dolman||July 11, 1864.|
|John O'Byrne||Nov. 28, 1864.|
|William Henry Sutton||Feb. 27, 1865.|
|George F. Smith||Aug. 30. 1865.|
|Eldridge McKonkey||Nov. 27, 1865.|
|Theodore H. Oehleschlager||May 28, 1866.|
|William F. Johnson||May 28, 1866.|
|William M. Bull||May 25, 1866.|
|Jesse Cox, Jr.||Aug. 27, 1866.|
|William H. Yerkes||Aug. 27, 1866.|
|J. Howard Gendell||March 2, 1867.|
|George Hasty||March 2, 1867.|
|William F. Judson||May 27,1867.|
|Wencel Hartman||Feb. 25, 1868.|
|George M. Pardoe||March 24, 1868.|
|Albert S. Letchworth||Sept. 28, 1868.|
|James Parsons||Sept. 28, 1868.|
|A.P. Reid||Sept. 28, 1868.|
|John C. Bullitt||Sept. 25, 1868.|
|Alexander Reed||Sept. ~28, 1868.|
|Orlando Harvey||Nov. 25, 1868.|
|William H. Dickinson||Nov. 28, 1868.|
Mr. Dickinson was one of the most promising members of the bar. In 1878 he was elected the first recorder of the city of Chester. By reason of ill health he was compelled to resign the office, and finally to relinquish practice entirely. He died March 24, 1883.
|James Ross Snowden||Feb. 22, 1869.|
|George H. Armstrong||Feb. 22, 1869.|
|Thomas J.Diehl||Feb. 22, 1869.|
|William J.Harvey||Sept. 27, 1869.|
|Henry C. Howard||Nov. 23, 1869.|
|Perry M. Wasbabaugh||Nov. 23, 1869.|
|Charles Eyre||Nov. 24, 1869.|
|Christian Kneass||Feb. 28, 1870.|
|Samuel Emlen||Nov. 28, 1870.|
|W.W. Montgomery||March 2, 1870.|
|W.W. Wistar||March 2, 1870.|
|William McGeorge, Jr.||Feb. 27, 1871.|
|Edward C. Diehl||May 25, 1871.|
|J.L. Farrien||Feb. 29, 1872.|
|Rees Davis||March 4, 1772.|
|Morton P. Henry||March 26, 1872.|
|Carroll S. Tyson||March 26, 1872.|
|V. Gilpin Robinson||Aug. 29, 1872.|
|James 0. Bowman||Aug. 29, 1872.|
|James Vincent McGinn||Sept. 23, 1872.|
|Wesley Talbot||Nov. 25, 1872.|
|Abram H. Jones||Nov. 25, 1872.|
|John B. Thayer||Nov. 25, 1872.|
|John R. Reed||Nov. 25, 1872.|
|George M. Rupert||Dec. 23, 1872.|
|Paul M. Elsasser||Dec. 23, 1872.|
|John V. McGeoghegan||June 23, 1873.|
|I. Newton Brown||Aug. 24, 1873.|
|Edward H. Hall||Nov. 24, 1873.|
|David F. Rose||Nov. 24, 1873.|
|George M. Booth||Feb. 23, 1874.|
|H.A.L. Pyle||June -, 1874.|
|Hutchinson Sprogel||Aug. 27, 1874.|
|Charles W. Beresford||Sept. 28, 1874.|
|Thomas H. Foreman||Oct. 26, 1874.|
|William H. Caley||Nov. 24, 1874.|
|George B. Lindsay||Feb. 23, 1875.|
|Wilber F. Calloway||Feb. 23, 1875.|
|Theodore F. Jenkins||March 22, 1875.|
|S. Davis Page||March 22,1775.|
|William McMichael||May 22, 1875.|
|R. Jones Monaghan||May 22. 1875.|
|Joseph F. Purdue||June 29, 1875.|
|George W. Bliss||Sept. 20, 1875.|
|John F. Reynolds||Sept. 22, 1875.|
|Walter S. Pearce||Nov. 1, 1875.|
|John V. Rice||Dec. 13, 1875.|
|Alfred Driver||Dec. 13, 1875.|
|Alfred Tyson||Jan. 3, 1876.|
|Henry M. Fussell||Jan. 17, 1876.|
|James McKinlay||June 8, 1876.|
|A.S. Biddle||June 13, 1876.|
|A.C. Fulton||Sept. 19, 1876.|
|D. Smith Talbot||Sept. 19, 1876.|
|Joseph W. Barnard||Oct. 9, 1876.|
|John F. Young||Oct. 9, 1876.|
|Weldon B. Heyburn||Nov. 6, 1876.|
|William M. Thompson||Nov. 6, 1876.|
|Harry L. Kingston||Dec. 7, 1876.|
|Henry Pleasant, Jr.||Jan. 8, 1877.|
|Henry C. Townsend||Jan. 8, 1877.|
|William B. Huston||Feb. 5, 1877.|
|John B. Hannum||Feb. 5, 1877.|
|William S. Windle||March 5, 1877.|
|Benjamin F. Fisher||March 12, 1877.|
|Albert T. Goldbeck||March 12, 1877.|
|Frederick C. Cleenann||April 2, 1877.|
|J.B. Dickinson||June 4, 1877.|
|John M. Broomall. Jr.||Sept. 17, 1877.|
|Benjamin L. Temple||Sept. 20, 1877.|
|Edmund .Jones||Dec. 3, 1877.|
|Townsend E. Levis||March 4, 1878.|
|Patrick Bradley||April 7, 1878.|
|William S. Sykes||April 7, 1878.|
|J. Newton Shanafelt||March 6, 1878.|
|S. Grafton David||June 3, 1878.|
|John A. Groff||June 6, 1878.|
|Truxton Beale||Sept. 16, 1878.|
|Rowland Evans||Sept. 29, 1878.|
|Charles A. Logan||Oct. 14, 1878.|
|David Garrett||Dec. 2, 1878.|
David Garrett, in March, 1881, was elected recorder of the city of Chester. He died the following August.
|Oliver B. Dickinson||Dec. 3, 1878.|
|Ward R. Bliss||Dec. 3, 1878.|
|George T. Bispham||Feb. 3, 1879.|
|Oliver C. McClure||March 5,1879.|
|Curtis H. Hannum||March 14, 1879.|
|William H. Littleton||June 3, 1879.|
|Edward C. Quinn||June 9, 1879.|
|Horace P. Green||June 9, 1879.|
|Garrett Pendleton||July 7, 1879.|
|W. Ross Brown||July 7, 1879.|
|Edward H. Weil||Sept. 22, 1879.|
|Abraham Wanger||Nov. 3, 1879.|
|N.H. Strong||Dec. 3, 1879.|
|Joseph M. Pile||Dec. 4, 1879.|
|H.F. Fairlamb||June 16, 1880.|
|James S. Cummins||Sept. 20, 1880.|
|Jesse N. Baker||Sept. 22, 1880.|
|William A. Porter||Sept. 25, 1880.|
|Henry J. McCarthy||Sept. 2,1880.|
|Ellwood Wilson, Jr.||Sept. 27, 1880.|
|Edward W. Magill||Sept. 27, 1880.|
|John B. Booth||Dec. 6, 1880.|
|Samuel S Cornog||Dec. 6, 1880.|
|Benjamin N. Lehman||Dec. 6, 1880.|
|David W Sellers||Dec. 21, 1880.|
|John B. Robinson||March 7, 1881.|
|William Herbert||March 14, 1881.|
|R. Gordon Bromley||March 14,1881.|
|Garrett H. Smedley||Sept. 22, 1881.|
|George Caldwell Johnson||Dec. 5. 1881.|
|Edward S. Campbell||Dec. 20, 1881.|
|Henry L. Broomall||Feb. 6, 1882.|
|Harwell A. Cloud||Feb. 6, 1882.|
|Isaac Chism||Feb. 16, 1882.|
|Joseph L. Caven||March 4, 1882.|
|Alfred Frank Curtis||June 5, 1882.|
|John W. Shortlidge||Nov. 6, 1882.|
|Wilmer W. Lamborn||Dec. 19. 1882.|
|Joseph T. Bunting||April 2, 1883.|
|William B. Thomas||Sept. 24, 1883.|
|Isaac Johnson||Dec. 17, 1883.|
|William A. Manderson||March 17,1884.|
|Edmund Randall||April 7, 1884.|
|Damon Y. Kilgore||April 7, 1884.|
|Mrs. Carrie Burnham Kilgore||June 2, 1884.|
|Samuel Lyons||June 9, 1884.|
Criers.- As far as I have ascertained the following persons have been appointed criers of the court: Aug. 28, 1843, William Thompson; May 24, 1852, William Beeby; Nov. 22, 1858, Samuel Otty.
On Dec. 4, 1871, the Law Library Association of the members of the Delaware County bar was formed, and Hon. John M. Broomall was elected the first president and Charles D. Manley secretary. The association was incorporated by the court May 30, 1872.
* Penna. Archives, 2d series, vol. v. p. 773.
** Record of Upland Court, p. 30.
*** Penna. Mag. of Hist, vol. vii. p. 273.
(4*) lb., p. 278.
(5*) Instructions to Governor Printz, Penna. Archives, 2d series, vol. v. p. 773.
(6*) Duke's Book of Laws, Historical Notes of Benjamin M. Nead, p.427.
(7*) Penna. Archives, 2d series, vol. vii. pp. 490-491.
(8*) Acrelius, "New Sweden," p. 92.
(9*) Penna. Archives, 2d series, vol. vii. p. 526.
(10*) Duke's Book of Laws, p. 435.
(11*) Penna. Archives, 2d series, vol. vii. p. 528.
(12*) lb., vol. v. p. 304.
(13*) lb., vol. vii. p. 531.
(14*) Penna. Archives, 2d series, vol. vii. p. 635.
(15*) Documents Relating to the Colonial History of New York, vol. xii. pp. 424-26.
(16*) Penna. Archives, 2d series, vol. v. p. 545.
(17*) lb., vol. vii. p. 722.
(18*) lb., p. 728.
(19*) lb., p. 757.
(20*) lb., vol. v. p. 621; Hazard's Annals, p. 398.
(21*) Penna. Archives, 2d series, vol. v. p.631.
(22*) Then the standard of value.
(23*) Penna. Archives, 2d series, vol. v. pp. 637, 638.
(24*) lb., p. 649.
(25*) lb., p. 667.
(26*) lb., vol. vii. p. 737.
(27*) Penna. Archives, 2d series, vol. vii. pp. 783, 784.
(28*) From this date to the second Tuesday of September, 1681, the original records of the Upland court are in possession of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania. In 1860 these valuable documents were published by the society, with copious notes and an introduction by Edward Armstrong. The original records were found by Deborah Logan in an old bookcase, which had formerly belonged to her grandfather, Joseph Parker, deputy register for Chester County, which had stood for years in the Logan house, in Chester. The existence of the document was unknown almost for a century, until accidentally discovered in a secret drawer in this old book-case.
(29*) Ephraim Herman resided in New Castle, and held the appointment or the same office in the court at that place.
(30*) This order was obeyed, for on Aug. 14, 1677, Governor Andross wrote to justices in New Castle: "I have al8o by Mr. Ephraim Herman returned you the old Records, the Confusedness or ill Order of which I can no other wayes remedy, butt thatt Mr. Tom, the then Clerke, do forthwith putt ye same in Order, and write or cause them to bee fairly coppyed in a fitt booke, and attested by him and answer for any defects." Penna. Archives, 2d series, vol. vii. p. 789.) This appears never to have been done, for, under date of Feb. 25, 1677-78, it is related that Tom, who had been thrown in prison for debt, had died therein. (Documents relating to the Colonial History of New York, vol. xii.)
(31*) For the next five years, until nearly the end of the year 1681, the references being to "The Records of Upland Court," it is unnecesary to furnish the citation of the authority relied on for statements made in the text.
(32*) Mr. Armstrong states that this was the point formed by the junction of Cobb's Creek with Darby Creek, and had for its western boundary Darby, and for its northern Cobb's Creek. (Records of Upland Court, p. 58, note.)
(33*) Provision was made under the Duke of York's laws (pages 58-64) for the manner in which the charge for the support of "distracted persons" was to be levied.
(34*) Dr. Smith~s "History of Delaware County," pp. 101, 102. That author, who had inspected this record, states that the manner of making the roads was left to the respective inferior courts. That order, of course, was binding in this jurisdiction.
(35*) Documents relating to the Colonial History of New York, vol. xii. pp. 643.
(36*) The site of the town of Kingsesse Dr. Smith has fully established was located below the old Philadelphia, Wilmington and Baltimore Railroad (now Reading Railroad extension to Chester), and east of the Island road, in late township of Kingsessing, county of Philadelphia. (Smith's "History of Delaware County," p. 123, note.) Armstrong, in a note to "Record of Upland Court" (p. 171), had located it in the immediate vicinity of the Swedish mill erected by Governor Printz near the Blue Bell Tavern on the Darby road.
(37*) Duke of York's Book of Laws, p. 67.
(38*) lb., p. 33.
(39*) Dr. Smith says ("History of Delaware County," p. 136), "The first Grand Jury that ever sat in Pennsylvania, of which there is record, was summoned to attend at this Court" (that of Sept. 12, 1682, a year subsequent to the time mentioned in the text). "Their names, as given in the minutes of the Court, are William Clayton, Thomas Brassey, John Symcock, Tho. Sary, Robert Wade, Laurence Cock, John Hart, Nath'll Allen, William Woodmanson, Thos. Coebourne, John Otter, and Joshua Hastings, being one-half the usual number. These jurors were summoned in the case of Lassey alias Laurence Dalboe, and are called his 'Grand Jury.'" It was merely a petit jury, as we now understand the term, the word "grand" doubtless being used by the clerk without comprehending the import of that term, for the record shows that the jury passed upon the fact of the person's guilt, and did not present him for another jury to finally acquit or convict him of the charge. However, the first grand jury did sit in Chester at the June term, 1683.
(40*) Penna. Archives, 2d series, vol. vii. p. 790.
(41*) Proud states ("History of Pennsylvania," vol. i. p. 240) that "the first Grand Jury in Pennsylvania was summoned on the 2d of Third month of the year (1683) upon some persons accused of using counterfeit silver money. . . They convicted a person whose name was Pickering and two others, his accomplices." On the 25th of Eighth month, 1683 (October), Council ordered, "That an Indictment be Drawne against Chs. Pickering & Samll Buckley, grounded upon evidence taken before that board." In the afternoon, "A Grand Inquest were Impaneled and Attested whose names are as follows:" (Here is given the names of twenty-four men, and Council adjourned until the next morning, October 26th, when the following record was made: "The Grand Jury being called Over went forth to find the Bill against Charles Pickering and returned and found ye Bill as being a Heynous and Grevious Crime. A Petty Jury were Impannelled and Attested," which consisted of twelve men. (See Colonial Records, vol. i. pp. 86 to 88.)
(42*) Forms of attestation for juries adopted by Penn. Records at New Castle, quoted in Futhey and Cope's "History of Chester County," p. 25.
(43*) Lawrence Lewis, Jr., in his learned sketch of "Courts of Pennsylvania in the Seventeenth Century" (Penna. Mag. of Hist., vol. v. p. 153), says, "These peacemakers were not elected by the people, but appointed annually by the county courts," citing as his authority the address of Hon. James T. Mitchell on adjournment of District Court of Philadelphia, 1875, pp. 4 and 5.
(44*) Duke of York's Book of Laws, p. 128.
(45*) lb., p. 33.
(46*) lb., p. 129.
(47*) lb., p. 129.
(48*) Duke of York's Book of Laws, p. 131.
(49*) lb., p. 180.
(50*) lb., p. 168.
(51*) Colonial Records, vol. i. p. 245.
(52*) Duke of York's Book of Laws, p. 383.
(53*) Dallas' "Laws of Pennsylvania," vol. iii. p. 119, sect. 4.
(54*) Colonial Records, vol. i. pp. 94-96; Hazard's Register, vol. i. p. 108.
(55*) Penna. Archives, vol. vii. p. 444.
(56*) Colonial Records, vol. xi. p. 254.
(57*) Penna. Archives, 1st series, vol. xi. p. 638
(58*) In Frederick D. Stone's "Philadelphia Society One Hundred Years Ago," Penna. Mag. of Hist., vol. iii. pp. 389-392, will be found a graphic account of this riot. Col. Thomas Leiper, of Ridley, was among the number of prominent men who voluntarily entered Wilson's house and defended it and him from the fury of the mob.
(59*) Smith's "Laws of Pennsylvania," p. 499; Bliss' "Delaware County Digest," pp. 2 and 39.
(60*) Colonial Records, vol. xvi. pp. 186-88.
(61*) Judge Engle was appointed in 1827, but the date of the commission I have not learned. Either it is not of record or I have overlooked it in my researches.
(62*) Martin's " History of Chester," p. 252.
(63*) Martin's "History of Chester," p. 195.
(64*) Lanman's "Dictionary of Congress" asserts that Maj. Anderson was born in Chester County, a statement which conflicts with family traditions, and, besides, his name does not appear among the Revolutionary officers from Pennsylvania.
(65*) The committee from Delaware County consisted of the following gentlemen: William Anderson, Dr. Samuel Anderson, Joseph Engle, George Leiper, Samuel Edwards, Esq., Archibald T. Dick, Esq., Wil11am Martin, and Henry Myers.
(66*) 1st Dallas, p. 185.
(67*) Duke of York's Book of Laws, p. 403.
(68*) John M. Broomall resigned.
(69*) Jesse Bishop resigned, and on Nov. 24, 1856, Edward A. Price was appointed by the court in his place. Mr. Price was the youngest man ever holding the office, having been admitted the preceding March of that year.
(70*) Francis M. Brooke resigned, and the court appointed C.D.M. Broomhall to fill the unexpired term, and the latter was elected at the ensuing election.
(71*) Colonial Records, vol. ii. p. 407.
(72*) lb., p. 430.
(73*) History of Chester, p. 475.
(74*) Admission moved by Samuel Price, Esq., whose admission I do not find on record.
(75*) Admission moved by Thomas B. Adams, Esq., whose admission I do not find on record.
Source: Page(s) 217-253, History of Delaware County, Pennsylvania, by Henry Graham Ashmead, Philadelphia: L.H. Everts & Co. 1884