History of Pike County
Chapter II
The Bench and Bar




THE legal profession has had comparatively few notaries resident in the county, a large portion of the court business having been attended to by attorneys from Easton, Stroudsburg, Honesdale and other places in the region. Nevertheless, Milford has been (and is now) the home of some lawyers of prominence and ability.

Most active and well-known among the early attorneys was Edward Mott, progenitor of all of that name now in Milford.

EDWARD MOTT was born in the parish of St. James, Westminster, London, on October 31, 1780, and came to this country in 1798, with his father, Edward Mott, his mother, Sarah (Beckett) Mott, and brother, William B. Mott. His father-in-law, Jarvis Beckett, at that time about seventy-five years of age, was also of the party. This old gentleman, born July 19, 1723, had enlisted in 1744 in the "Second Troop of Life Guards," then commanded by Lord Amherst, and had remained in the service forty-four years, having been discharged on a pension in 1788, as being "unfit for duty and entirely worn out," as his discharge, now in the hands of his descendants, will attest. He died December 23, 1806, and was buried at Easton, Pa.

Edward Mott, the elder, born May 3, 1752, was indentured, January 24, 1763, as an apprentice in the grocer and chandlery trade to one Wm. Horons, of Coventry, England, to which place his widowed mother, Jane (Stiles) Mott, had removed from London a short time before. At the age of twenty-one years he also enlisted in the "Second Troop of Life Guards," and served as a "private gentleman" for seven years and five months. He married Sarah Beckett, October 20, 1776, and had issue but two children,- Edward, the subject of our sketch, and William B., who settled in Philadelphia and left almost as numerous a progeny as his brother. He came to this country possessed of means, and with the intention of forming an agency for the sale of English hardware and cutlery. Remaining in New York until 1803, he moved to Philadelphia, and after a short stay settled in Easton, Pa., purchasing a house at the northeast corner of Second and Northampton Streets. His ancestors can be traced in a direct line from 1622, from entries in an old family Bible which lie brought from England and which still remains in a good state of preservation in the possession of Mrs. Henry K. Fox, of Philadelphia, one of his descendants.

Edward Mott studied law in Easton, Pa., and in 1805 married Faithful Slaymaker, of Easton, Pa., and moved to Milford. She died shortly after their child, Jarvis Beckett Mott, was born, March 26, 1806.

About 1810 he married, second, Elizabeth Spering, daughter of Henry Spering, who, from the rank of fifer in the Revolutionary army, rose to the rank of general in the War of 1812, besides holding the offices of sheriff and prothonotary of Northampton County.

By his second marriage he had issue- Sarah Markrina Mott, who died young; Henry Spering Mott, born November 11, 1811, at Easton, Pa., who eventually became one of the most prominent Democratic politicians in the northeastern section of Pennsylvania;* Edward Mott, born 1814; William Pitt Mott, died voting, born June 28, 1818; Charles Fox Mott, born June 28, 1818; Oscar Harold Mott, born October 8, 1821.

Edward Mott died January 13, 1834, at Milford, Pa. His wife, Elizabeth, survived him until November 25, 1857.

Jarvis Beckett Mott married Isabella Jane Henderson, May 31, 1831, and had
issue,- Eliza H. Mott, Fidelia H. Mott, Barton H. Mott (married Sallie Shepherd), Amos Mott, Henry Mott, Harriet A. Mott, Estelle S. Mott, Oscar Mott, Charles S. Mott. He died January 26, 1863, at Jersey City, N.J.

Henry Spering Mott, married, first, Hannah R. Bull, daughter of Crissy and Catharine Bull, of Orange County, N.Y. and had issue,- Sarah Jane Mott (died young), Jarvis Crissy Mott, John Clarence Mott (married Lizzie Ridgway), Mary Eliza Mott (married Jacob Kleinhaus). His wife, Hannah R. Mott, died April 23, 1842, and he married as his second wife, in 1842, Delinda Peters, of Bushkill, Pike County, Pa., and had issue,- Andrew Jackson Mott (died young), Charles Peters Mott (married Marie J. Schimnel), Henry L. Mott (who died young), Samuel Dimmick Mott. Henry S. Mott died June 7, 1877, at Milford, Pa.

Edward Mott married Letitia Ink, daughter of George and Elizabeth Ink, of Northampton County, Pa., and had issue, - Elizabeth Mott (married Levi Smith), Susan Mott (married Alonzo G. Drum), Sarah Mott (died young), Mary Mott (married Thomas McHugh), Edward Mott (died young). He died April 3, 1877, at East Stroudsburg, Pa.

Oscar Harold Mott, married Theodosia Clark, daughter of John and Ann Clark, and granddaughter of James Barton, of Milford, and had issue,- Ann Barton Mott (married Daniel A. Wells), Sarah A. Mott, Milton Dimmick Mott, Edward Charles Mott, Henry Spering Mott, Elizabeth Speriug Mott. O.H. Mott was a captain in the One Hundred and Fifty-first Pennsylvania Regiment during the Civil War, and died January 4, 1864, from disease contracted during his service in the field.

Charles Fox Mott married, first, Eliza Smith, daughter of Ludwig Smith and Mary Mechalls, of Bushkill, and had issue,- Amzi S. Mott (married Callie Landis), Agnes M. Mott (married M.S. Smith), Edward Harold Mott (married Mattie N. Valentine), Alice C. Mott (died young), Hannah E. Mott (married John M. Baldwin), William L. Mott, Bessie Mott (died young), Jessie Mott (died young). His wife, Eliza, died January 11, 1857. He married, second, 1859, Deborah A. Hall, of Philadelphia, and died September 20, 1862, at Philadelphia.

HUGH ROSS was one of the first members of the Pike County bar and was a Methodist preacher. If his legal ability had been equal to his eccentricity, he would have been a very able man.

JOHN THOMPSON CROSS was an early member of the bar. He was also a land speculator. His wife was Julia Ann Smith, daughter of old Francis J. Smith or De Aerts. His son, John Thomson Cross, was married to Helen M. Wallace, and his daughter was the second wife of C.C.P. Pinchot.

RICHARD ELDRED came to Milford about 1818, and was admitted to the bar in 1820. He married Harriet Baldwin, who is still living, aged ninety. He built a large farm-house near the Vandemark bridge in 1828, which was the finest house in Milford at that time. He continued to practice law in Milford until 1863, when he removed to Warren County, Pa., where he died in 1865. During his practice, if any poor person that could not pay had a case, they brought it to him. He was also a major in the militia. Their children were E.B. Eldred, a lumberman in Warren County; Edwin Eldred, who was admitted to the bar in Milford, and practiced law in the western part of the State; Everett Eldred, who died in the army; Captain John Eldred, who organized the Bucktail Rangers in Cameron County (he was the first man that put a buck-tail in his hat; the Bucktail Rangers gained considerable celebrity during the War of the Rebellion; he is now a lumberman in Wisconsin); Henry Eldred is in the Treasury Department at Washington; Miranda was the wife of Dr. John Schunmel.

DAN DIMMICK, one of the first attorneys at the Pike County bar, was a son of Deacon Oliver Dimock** and Sarah (Gurley) Dimock, of Mansfield, Conn., and was horn March 1, 1775. He came to Pennsylvania in 1800, and studied law at Milford, where he practiced the profession, after his admission as an attorney, until his death, in February, 1825. He was a man of unusual strength of character and large ability. During the whole course of his professional life he maintained a high position among the lawyers of his day. Men like Mallery and Woodward, and others of their caliber, admitted his power and ability. Judge Mallery said of him, that he never knew a man so well calculated to impress a jury, and Judge Woodward spoke in the highest terms of his success as an advocate. He was a leading politician, and represented his district many years in the Legislature of the State. He was devotedly attached to the principles of the Democratic party,- a faith, by the way, in which all of his children, and his children's children, remained steadfast. His brother Alpheus thus wrote of him in 1825:

"His calling in life was that of an attorney and advocate, in which character he had served the public about twenty years, and held, during that period, many places and offices of trust and responsibility under the State government of Pennsylvania. He was bold and forward in youth, and took and maintained his station among the young men of his native place while unusually young in stature he was tall and of large frame. In the latter part of his life he was corpulent and fleshy. His frame was well-proportioned throughout. Being not as successful in his first exertions for himself as he wished, and probably expected, he left his native State when about eighteen years of age, and went, first, to reside in the State of New York, near the Pennsylvania line. He soon turned his attention to the study of law, for the practice of which he soon qualified himself and commenced his professional labors at Milford. . . . He appeared to entertain feelings hostile to the regimen and discipline of his native place. This was probably owing to the checks and restraints laid before him when his youthful ardor could not well brook them. He, however, entertained much regard for the habits of industry and the means of education in his native State. He was liberal and generous, perhaps to a fault. He enjoyed the most explicit confidence in his integrity from all, and was at the head of the bar where he practiced. Not being particularly acquainted with his forensic talents, I can only observe that his manner and mien were well calculated to command attention and respect. He never leaned upon quibbles and hair-breadth distinctions. He generally prepared his causes with much attention, and showed, while discharging his duties as an advocate, that he viewed the whole ground."

He married Jane, daughter of Josephus Jacobus Aerts, better known as Dr. Francis J. Smith,*** of Stroudsburg. She survived her husband many years, dying in March, 1842. Their children were Lucinda, who was the first wife of Judge Nathaniel B. Eldred; Sally, who married C.C.D. Pinchot; Oliver S., of whom a sketch appears in this chapter; Dan; Milo Melancthon, of whom a sketch appears in the Monroe County bar chapter; Milan; William H., of whom an extended biography is given in the chapter on Bench and Bar of Wayne County; Milton; and Lavinia E.

OLIVER S. DIMMICK, for many years a leading attorney at this bar and those of the neighboring counties, was the third child and first son of Dan and Jane (Aerts or Smith (4*)) Dimmick, and was born in Milford June 11, 1804.
He read law with his uncle, Alpheus Dimmick, at Bloomingburg, N.Y., and entered practice at Milford. In 1836 he was elected to the State Legislature, and served in that position for two terms. He was afterwards chosen as associate judge of Pike County, which office he held for several years. He was the founder of the flourishing village of Matamoras, and through his efforts the fine bridge across the Delaware at that place was erected.

He married Maria, daughter of Jacob Hornbeck, February 19, 1826. He died at Port Jervis, N.Y., in October, 1877, his wife surviving him. Their children were Lucinda, wife of S.O. Dimmick, of Port Jervis; Milo H.; Mary, who married Lucien F. Barnes, a lawyer of Milford, deceased (they were the parents of Edward Barnes, who is now an attorney-at-law); Priscilla, deceased; Jacob H., of Port Jervis; and William H., an attorney, living at

MILTON DIMMICK was born in Milford June 26, 1816, and was the eighth child and sixth son of Dan and Jane (Aerts or Smith) Dimmick. After receiving an excellent education he read law and was admitted to the bar of his native county at the age of twenty-one (1837). He continued in active practice up to the time of his death, April 3, 1851. He was a good lawyer and much-loved man. The Doylestown Democrat, shortly after his death, said of him "We shall long remember the happy and agreeable hours passed in Mr. Dimmick's society.
He was a ripe scholar, a profound lawyer and a kind and affectionate husband and father. He has not left behind him one living soul that recalls his memory with unkind feelings."

Mr. Dimmick married, in 1842, Sarah Elizabeth, daughter of the Rev. Edward Allen, a Presbyterian clergyman. Their children were Edward C., who removed to Honesdale and later (1862) to Mauch Chunk, where he became an attorney; Alice, who married J.S. Carpenter, of Newark, N.J.; and Kate.


NATHANIEL B. ELDRED was admitted November 16, 1816. He moved to Bethany and became presiding judge of the courts.

JESSE OLMSTEAD came from Connecticut and was admitted November 19, 1816.
After practicing law a few years in Milford he left the place.

HON. BENJAMIN A. BIDLACK came from Wilkes-Barre to Milford, where he practiced a few years. He was twice a member of Congress and died in New Grenada, while United States minister to that republic.

DANIEL MIFFLIN BRODHEAD was a well-known and successful practitioner at the Pike County bar, and one of the best-known citizens of Milford of his time.
He was horn in 1796, probably at Kittanning, Pa. He went to school at Morristown, N.J., then studied law and began its practice at Mi1ford. He remained there until 1832, and then removed to Philadelphia, and engaged in the lumber trade and real estate business. At one time he owned the American Sentinel, a Democratic newspaper of Philadelphia. In 1842 he removed to Forestburg, Sullivan County, N.Y., and engaged in the manufacture of lumber.
He was there offered the nomination as district judge by both parties, but declined office. He was a Douglas Democrat and earnest supporter of the Union cause during the war. From Forestburg he removed to Port Jervis, N.Y., in 1848, and from there he removed to Black Lake; Sullivan County, N.Y., where he had purchased an extensive tract of lumber land. In October, 1864, he died while on a visit to his son-in-law, Col. Samuel Fowler, at Franklin Furnace, Sussex County, N.J. He was buried at Port Jervis, N.Y.

Mr. Brodhead was an able lawyer and a strong man in general intellect. He was both a safe counselor and effective pleader. He was noted for his courtesy and affability. He was a shrewd politician of decided influences and a patriotic citizen. He was a hospitable man, and, particularly while living in Philadelphia, entertained many distinguished men. He held intimate relations with James Buchanan, Governor D.R. Porter, Simon Cameron, Commodore Charles Stewart, of the United States navy, and other prominent Pennsylvanians.

He was twice married. His first wife, to whom he was united just after coming to Milford, was Eliza, daughter of James Barton, Esq., of that place, she being sixteen years of age, and he only about twenty. They were the parents of nine children. These were Catharine Elizabeth; John, a lawyer of Philadelphia; Barton; Henrietta Laura, who married Col. Samuel Fowler, of Sussex County, N.J.; Edgar, who served through the Mexican War and the Rebellion; George, of Port Jervis; Thomas, of Philadelphia; Henry, an attorney of New York City; and Daniel Mifflin, Jr., who was first lieutenant of the Fourteenth Regiment United States Infantry, and mortally wounded at the battle of the Wilderness. All of these children were born at Milford.

Mrs. Brodhead died at Port Jervis in the spring of 1852, and Mr. Brodhead was married again, in 1854, to Mrs. Margaret E. Clinton, widow of Hon. James Clinton, of Orange County, N.Y. She died about a year previous to her husband, in 1863.

WILLIAM C. SALMON was born in Montrose, and read law in his native village with Colonel Lusk, where he was admitted to the bar. Shortly after September 13, 1842, he was admitted to the Pike County bar, and immediately entered the active practice of his profession, which he continued until his death, in 1856. During the time covered by his practice he was one of the ablest lawyers in the place, and he was so regarded by the public generally, as he had a good practice. His wife was S. Augusta Clark, a granddaughter of James Barton, who lived adjoining the Sawkill House. Mr. Salmon lived on the homestead, which is occupied by his widow now.

JOHN STROUSE, a lumberman from Wilsonville, was admitted to the Pike bar, and was associate judge one term. He subsequently moved to Easton, where he became interested in iron-works and banking, to his pecuniary loss. He died in Easton, and his widow, who was a daughter of Judge Halsey, lives with her brother-in-law, Colonel John Nyce, of Hawley.

LUCIEN F. BARNES studied law with William C. Salmon, in Milford, and was admitted to the Pike County bar about 1860, and practiced his profession successfully until he died, August 4, 1868. He was considered the most brilliant member of the Milford bar during his practice.

HONORABLE DANIEL M. VAN AUKEN was born in New Jersey January 15, 1826, was graduated at Union College in 1852, and studied law with John B. La Forge, and was admitted to the bar in 1855, and the same fall was elected district attorney, he was elected a member of the Fortieth Congress in 1868, and re-elected to the Forty-first Congress, receiving seventeen thousand nine hundred and twenty-eight votes against ten thousand three hundred and twenty-three votes for John Torrey, Republican. In 1874 he was a candidate from Pike County for presiding judge of the Twenty-second Judicial District of Pennsylvania. The conferees, after balloting several thousand times, finally nominated Van Auken, William H. Dimmick permitting him to be nominated after the Wayne County Herald and the leading Democrats of Wayne County had hoisted the name of Honorable Frederick M. Crane for that office.
This action produced a split in the Democratic vote, and insured the election of Charles P. Waller, the Republican candidate, by a small majority over Crane. Judge Waller died after about seven years of his term had expired, and, in 1882, Van Auken again received the indorsement of Pike County Democracy for the judgeship. George S. Purdy, after a severe contest with W.H. Dimmick, received the indorsement of the Wayne County Democracy for the same office. The conferees representing the two contestants, after balloting a great many times, finally disagreed, and, as a result of this division, Henry M. Seely was elected presiding judge by a small majority over Purdy. Mr. Van Auken is the oldest member of the Milford bar now living.

JOHN D. BIDDIS, son of Chas. R. Biddis, read law with Lucien Barnes and was admitted to the Pike County bar in 1867. He was elected to the office of district attorney and held that position by re-elections for thirteen years.
He was elected State Senator in 1882 for a term of four years. After serving in the two regular biennial sessions he resigned in order to accept a position in the International Revenue Department at Washington.

CORNELIUS W. BULL is a native of Pike County and was born in Westfall township January 5, 1845. His inclinations in boyhood were toward a professional rather than a business life, and, although most of his minority was spent on his father's farm, and attending the district school, both proved in his ease, as in the case of many others, a sure foundation for practical ideas and a successful professional and business life. He completed his preliminary education at the "Eclectic Hall," at Milford, and at "Mount Retirement Academy," in Sussex County, N.J. In 1863 he began teaching school and for two terms taught the school in Milford. In the same year he began reading law with the Hon. D.M. Van Auken, of Milford, and, after prosecuting his studies for four years, in connection with his school-work, he was admitted to the bar of Pike County in 1867, and at once entered upon a partnership with his preceptor, which continued until 1871.
Mr. Bull then opened a law-office in Milford for himself, where he has since practiced his profession. He has taken an active part in the political arena of his county, has several times been elected a delegate to the State Convention and was once chosen a member of the State Democratic Committee.

His first wife, Julia A., a daughter of John T. Cross, whom he married in 1870, died in 1871. In 1877 he married Anna R., a daughter of George Nyce, by which union he had children- George R. and Jemima Bull.

His father, Rosencranse C. Bull, of Holland origin, was born in Pike County June 10, 1816, and resides in Westfall township. His mother, Jemima Westfall, of French Huguenot extraction, was born June 21, 1817, and is a daughter of Cornelius Westfall.

COLONEL JOHN NYCE was born in Sandyston township, Sussex County, N.J., July 22, 1831. His father, Major John W. Nyce, followed the occupation of a farmer, and in early training-days was connected with the militia organizations of the State, where he earned his title. The son followed the routine of farm-life, attending the public schools of the day, where the foundation of his education was laid. He was united in marriage, December 28, 1853, to Martha Allen. He moved to Monroe County, and at Stroudsburg studied law with the Hon. Chariton Burnett. War having been declared, he was active in organizing men to put down the Rebellion, and went into service June 11, 1861, as second lieutenant of Company F, Thirty-third Regiment Pennsylvania Reserves. His first promotion was adjutant of the regiment; June 1, 1862, promoted major; November 9th of the same, for meritorious service, was appointed colonel of the One Hundred and Seventy-fourth Regiment Pennsylvania Militia. Mustered out with regiment August 7, 1863, at Philadelphia. The war record of Colonel Nyce was most honorable, and he carried the scars of many battles to his death. At Charles City Cross-Roads he received a sabre stroke across his right arm; at Malvern Hill was shot through right arm and received a shell wound in the knee; at the battle of Antietam was shot through the right lung, and injured his hip by falling from his horse when shot. The soldiers appreciated the worth of their gallant commander and presented him with a valuable chronometer, which he highly prized and always carried.

Colonel Nyce returned to Stroudsburg for a few months, and, in April, 1864, came to Milford with his family and entered the profession of law, having been admitted to practice in the Monroe County courts in February of the above year. He was successful, and enjoyed a large and growing business. In politics he was a Democrat, but accepted the Greenback nomination for State Senator against Hon. Allen Craig, of Carbon County, in 1878. Although defeated in the district, he polled a flattering vote in this county. He was elected chief burgess of Milford a year ago (February), and was re-elected at the last local election without opposition. In the Methodist Church, of which lie was a member, he was an active worker, and was superintendent of the Sunday-school until failing health prevented his attending to the duties. He died several years ago.

JOHN H. VAN ETTEN was admitted to the Pike County bar in September, 1870. He came from an old Pike County family. His wife is a daughter of Rev. Peter Kanouse.

J. AUGUSTUS PAGE was admitted December 20, 1876, and died in Milford in 1883.

HARRY T. BAKER read law with his brother-in-law, J. Sergeant Price, in Philadelphia, and Hon. D.M. Van Auken, in Milford, and was admitted to the bar at May Term, 1876. He has resided in Milford since 1871, where he has a fine residence and office at Third and Ann Streets.

JOHN W. NYCE and HAMILTON ARMSTRONG were admitted to the bar September 24, 1877.

M.M. VAN ETTEN was admitted February 25, 1878. C.A. NEWMAN was admitted to the bar in September, 1880, and is now district attorney for Pike County.

* See Milford history.

** For genealogy and original form of name, see chapter on the Wayne County

*** For a sketch of this eccentric, but distinguished character, see the
chapter upon Stroudsburg.

(4*) See sketch of Dan Dimmick in this chapter and of J.J. Aerts or Dr.
Francis J. Smith, in chapter on Stroudsburg.

(5*) See Wayne County Bench and Bar.

Page(s) 840-846; History of Wayne, Pike and Monroe counties, Pennsylvania, Mathews, Alfred, Philadelphia, R. T. Peck & Co., 1886