Bench and Bar
The Early Bench and Bar. 1773-1790
The leading features in the lives of some of the judges and more eminent lawyers from 1773 to 1850 have been partially preserved by the reminiscences of Mr. James Johnston, late of "Kingston House," and by the writings of Mr. George Dallas Albert, late of Latrobe, Pennsylvania. To these authorities and to newspaper files generally the writer has had access, and has drawn material from them freely, which he has treated as authentic.
Westmoreland county was erected during the proprietary government of the Penns and under the reign of the English law, though the latter was somewhat modified by the constitution of 1776. The act of May 2, 1722, authorized the appointment of a "competent number of justices of the peace" for each county, and any three of them had power to hold the ordinary quarter sessions court and common pleas court. The act of September 9, 1759, provided that "five persons of the best discretion, capacity, judgment and integrity" should be commissioned for the common pleas and orphans' court, any three of whom were empowered to act. All were appointed for life on good behavior. By the constitution of 1776 the term was limited to seven years, but the constitution of 1790 restored the former tenure. The act of 1722 also provided for the appointment of a supreme court of three judges (afterwards increased to four), before whom the proceedings of the county court could be reviewed. This supreme court had further jurisdiction over all capital cases, and for this purpose they were compelled to sit in each county twice a year. Treason, murder, manslaughter, robbery, horse stealing, arson, burglary, witchcraft, etc., were all punishable by death.
On February 27, the day following the passage of the act creating Westmoreland county, William Crawford, among others, was appointed a justice of the new county. The place of holding court was fixed at Hannastown and on April 6, 1773, the first court of the county was convened with judge William Crawford on the bench. The first business transacted was to divide the county into townships. Then a grand jury was called, with John Carnahan as foreman. This court was held in the log house of Robert Hanna, as were practically all of the courts of the county for the next thirteen years.
The judges who sat on the bench during this period of Westmoreland's history were not learned in the law. They, were men of high standing in the community, but were generally little more than justices of the peace. This was the case all over the province at that time, and yet a writer of no less distinction than Henry Cabot Lodge, in his "History of the English Colonies in America," page 232, speaks of the judicial system of Pennsylvania as "far above the colonial standard both as to the bench and the bar."
All of the judges and justices of the province were appointed by the president of the supreme executive council under the act of May 22, 1722, With the above modifications. Their powers were very similar to those of the present common pleas and orphans' court judges. They were not only the highest judicial officers of the county, but were men of distinction in social life. Their houses, it is true, were the ordinary log houses, with perhaps a few supplementary articles of furniture. but there was undoubtedly a higher standard of sociability and a finer polish among them than among the pioneers generally. There was a vestige of the old world manners about them.
The distinction between the title "justice" and "judge" seems to have been that when they sat on the bench of the county court the were called "judges," and otherwise they were known as "justices." All were commissioned as justices.
Very early in the Pennsylvania province it became the custom to distinguish one of the justices as president judge, and this honor fell first to William Crawford when he was present, but the records sometimes show instances in which Lochry, Gist, Hanna, Foreman, Jack and Moore were named as president or “precedent" judges. When they met to hold court, if the regular president was not present, they selected one of their number to preside in his absence, but he did not hold the office of president by legislative authority prior to the act of January 28, 1777. This act has the following:
“The president and council shall appoint one of the justices in each county to preside in the respective courts, and in his absence the justices who shall attend the court shall choose one of themselves president for the time being.”
Crawford was a man who, even in his younger years, stood very high among the pioneers of both Pennsylvania and Virginia. He came west on the Braddock road shortly after the memorable defeat and took up land in 1767 near Connellsville, where he resided. He is described as a gentleman of the old school. He was personally visited by Washington before the latter was appointed commander of the American armies (1775). He served under Washington in the Braddock campaign, and is mentioned in many places in Washington's letters. He was born in Virginia in 1733. In order to fully understand his surroundings and his retirement from the Westmoreland bench the reader should acquaint himself with the causes of "Dunmore's War," which perplexed our courts a great deal during this period. It arose from a dispute as to the boundary line between Virginia and Pennsylvania, and has been treated of at length in this volume.
In this matter Judge Crawford sided with Lord Dunmore and took the oath of allegiance to Virginia in 1775. He was at once removed from office by the president of the supreme executive council, and the order removing him recognized him as the presiding justice. But his memory has not suffered in history because of his leaning towards Virginia. When the war of the Revolution came he raised a regiment in western Virginia and Westmoreland county, was made its colonel, and with it did great service in the Continental army. Toward the close of the war he was sent to guard the frontier against Indian incursions. To this end he built Fort Crawford, on the Allegheny river, near the present town of Arnold. In 1782 he was appointed to command an expedition against the Indians on the Sandusky. It is known as Crawford's expedition, and is the basis of one of the most heart rending chapters of border history. His army was outnumbered, and he himself was captured by the Indians under the leadership of the notorious Simon Girty. After much torture he was tied hand and foot and, amid fiendish, yells of joy, the Indians thinking they were avenging the red men who had fallen before his command put the bold and intrepid frontiersman to a most cruel death by burning him at the stake. Thus died the first of Westmoreland's provincial judges. He will ever be remembered as an honest and upright judge, a true patriot and a brave soldier.
Judge Crawford, being retired from the bench prior to the passage of the act (1777) authorizing the appointment of a president judge, therefore the judicial distinction by legislative authority came first in reality to John Moore. At the commencement of the colonial rebellion he was engaged in clearing out and cultivating a farm of four hundred and fifty acres, on the Crabtree Run, a branch of the Loyalhanna, two miles southeast of New Alexandria. A comfortable stone dwelling, still in pretty good condition, marked the place of his residence. and indicated a man in advance of the rude civilization of that day. His wife was a daughter of Isaac Parr, of New Jersey. They had one child when the Revolution opened. These, together with several colored servants, constituted his household. He was at that time about thirty-seven years of age.
His first appearance in public life was as a delegate from the county of Westmoreland to the convention which met at Philadelphia. July 15, 1776, to form a costitution and frame a Government for the state of Pennsylvania. A committee of conference, of eminent citizens of the state, met at Carpenter's Hall, in Philadelphia, June 15, 1776, to make arrangements for calling a convention to form a constitution and frame of government upon the separation of the colonies from England. The people were invoked by the committee of conference "to choose such persons only to act for them in the ensuing convention as are distinguished for wisdom, integrity, and a firm attachment to the liberties of this province." In pursuance of this recommendation, delegates were chosen July 5, 1776, and the eight delegates to the convention elected for Westmoreland county were John Moore, Edward Cook, James Perry, James Barr, James Smith, John Carmichael, John McClellan, and Christopher Lobingier. In the convention John Moore was placed on the committee to draw up a declaration or bill of rights, and also on the committee to report a plan or constitution of government. The convention selected "a Council of Safety to exercise the whole of the executive powers of government, so far as relates to the military defense and safety of the province." which consisted of David Rittenhouse, John Moore, Owen Biddle, James Cannon, Joseph Blewor, Frederick Kuhl, Col. John Bull, Timothy Matlack, Samuel Morris. B. Bartholomew, Thomas Wharton, Henry Kepples, John Weitzel. John Hubly, Henry Wyncoop, George Gray, John Bayard, Francis Gurney, Joseph Donaldson, and William Lyon.
JUDGE MOORE'S HOUSE.
September 30th John Moore returned to Westmoreland. During the time he was in session with the Council of Safety he procured for the defense of Westmoreland county about four hundred pounds sterling, half a ton of rifle powder, one ton of lead, and four thousand flints. In 1777 he was commissioned a justice of the peace, and about the same time was appointed surveyor of public lands in Westmoreland county. In 1779 he was commissioned one of the judges of the several courts of Westmoreland county, and in 1785 appointed president judge of the same county. No appointment was made for Westmoreland county until October 24th of that year (Col. Rec. vol. xiv, p. 516). His commission bore date on the day following, and is recorded in the register's office, in Book A, p. 544. He was succeeded in the fall of 1791 by the Hon. Alexander Addison. After Judge Moore retired from the bench he was elected for two terms to the state senate from the senatorial district of Allegheny and Westmoreland.
He was born in Lancaster county. His father, William Moore died when he was but a boy; and afterwards his mother, Jeannette Moore, and her son, in company with her brothers, Charles Wilson, Esq., and John Wilson, removed to the district of Westmoreland county. What his opportunities for an education were are not known. He wrote a good hand, and in language and orthography his composition indicated a man of strong, vigorous, and clear intellect. After his mother had removed to Westmoreland county, she was again married, to James Guthrie, of Greensburg, by whom she had several children, one of whom, James, was afterwards sheriff of Westmoreland county. John B. Guthrie, once mayor of Pittsburgh, was a descendant.
John Moore had four daughters and two sons. One of his sons was afterwards county surveyor. The other died in Kentucky while engaged as principal civil engineer in the location of a railroad. His daughters, who were all women of fine personal appearance and intelligence, respectively married to Major John Kirkpatrick, a merchant of Greensburg; John M. Snowden, editor of the Farmers' Register in Greensburg, afterwards editor of the Pittsburgh Mercury, and later life mayor of Pittsburgh, one of the associate judges of Allegheny county, and at one time the nominee of the Democratic party for congress in the Allegheny district; another was married to the Rev. Francis Laird, D. D., and the last to James McJunkin, a prominent farmer. All these women lived until they were over eighty years old, in the enjoyment of perfect health and sound constitutions. and were, throughout a long life, worthy examples of the highest standard of female propriety.
In personal appearance John Moore was a man full six feet high, very straight and erect; had large brown eyes, brown hair and nose rather aquiline. A gentleman who met him in his own house for the first time in 1798 has left the following description of his appearance and the impression he made on his mind at, first sight and afterwards: "A tall gentleman. of erect and manly form, whose intelligent countenance and strikingly expressive eye indicated a man of more than ordinary ability. He was then about sixty years old and the rough buffeting of a frontier life had left a slight shade of sternness over a countenance at all times dignified. He was extremely correct in his habits, unbending in his course, stern in his commands, but remarkable for his affection to his children: and although, generally mild was notwithstanding possessed of a great deal of temper, being deeply sensitive. and having a high sense of honor." John Moore died in 1811, in the seventy-third year of his age, honored and respected by all good men who knew him, and his body was buried at Congruity church. His widow survived him many years. For many years he was an elder in the Presbyterian church at Congruity, and was acting in such capacity when chosen a delegate to the convention which framed the first constitution. By his will he set free the older of his colored servants, and allowed the younger ones to serve an apprenticeship with any of his children they might chose.
Judge Robert Hanna for whom Hannastown was named, was one of the trustees appointed to locate the public buildings for the new county. The other trustees were Erwin, Cavett, Sloan and Wilson. Hanna was the most powerful of these, for he succeeded in locating the county seat and its buildings on his lands.
He was born in the northern part of Ireland, and on reaching western Pennsylvania, settled on the Forbes road. He took up lands about midway between Fort Ligonier and Fort Pitt, and on them erected a log house for a residence. There being a good deal of travel on the road, his house was soon leased to a neighbor and converted into a tavern. Near him he rapidly induced other emigrants to settle. and BV 1773, when the county was formed, there was quite a colony of houses around Hanna’s. It was, moreover, the chief stopping place between Pittsburgh and Ligonier. On the formation of the county Robert Hanna was appointed a justice. The court at Hannastown being held at his house, he was on the bench very regularly, but nevertheless little is known of his work as a judge.
Judge William Jack was born near the town of Strabane, county Tyrone Ireland, in 1751. But little is known of his life prior to his arrival in America. Tradition has it, however, that the family was of Huguenot descent. having been driven from France by the revocation of the Edict of Nantes. In 1772 William Jack and his brother Matthew, aged twenty-one and seventeen respectively, settled near the present town of Greensburg. William married Margaret, a daughter of Charles Wilson, July 7, 1774, and Matthew married her sister Nancy some years later.
In the preliminary steps taken to form the new county in 1773, in Dunmore's war and the various Indian wars and in the Revolution, William and Matthew Jack both took active parts. William was commissary officer of Colonel Mackey’s regiment, a lieutenant of Captain Samuel Moorhead’s independent company, and was commissioned a brigadier-general of militia by Governor Thomas Mifflin on April 19. 1793. In 1784 he was commissioned by John Dickinson, president of the supreme executive council, as one of the county justices. and was therefore ex officio a county judge. Christopher Truby and John Moore were on the bench with him, and his commission ran seven years. The court minutes show that he was in more constant exercise of his functions on the bench at Greensburg than any other judge. John Moore was designated president judge, but frequently in Moore’s absence William Jack is noted as presiding. Upon the accession of Judge Addison (1791) Jack became an associate judge. Up to the close of the century he was on the bench at almost every term of court.
There is in possession of the descendants of General Jack, the children of Mrs. Nancy Jack Wentling, late of Greensburg, a very laudatory letter given to General Jack on the eve of his departure for Europe. The letter indicates that he was a man of many high and noble qualities and is signed by John Moore, president judge; Christopher Truby, Michael Rugh, judges, and attested by Michael Huffnagle, prothonotary. The letter is dated November 4, 1788. General Jack lived many years after this, dying February 18, 1821.
There were other justices who sat on the bench during this provincial period, but these of whom we have written are fairly representative men of their day, and, we believe, will enable the reader to form a correct estimate of the men who presided over our courts during the years between 1773 and 1790.
THE EARLY BAR.
For some years after the formation of the county the Westmoreland bar scarcely had a name as a bar. There were no resident lawyers in Hannastown. Lawyers came from other counties to try cases regularly, before judges and jurymen, but sessions of court were short and far between. The first lawyer who was regularly admitted to the bar, so far as the records show, was Francis Dade, who was sworn August 3, 1773. The old records show the names of Espy, Irwin, Smiley, Galbraith, Megraw, Sample, Ross, Scott, Wilson and others.
Hugh Henry Brackenridge, noted for his learning, eloquence and wit, afterwards justice of the supreme court of Pennsylvania, was admitted at Hannastown, April 2nd, 1781, and for many years practiced a great deal at this bar. Upon his motion David Bradford was admitted in 1782. Bradford came to this county from Maryland, became the head and front of the Whisky Insurrection. and was forced to flee the country. He settled finally in Mississippi, where he became a wealthy planter. These attorneys and some others were the first, and they practiced while the courts were held at Hannastown, and before the removal of the county seat to Greensburg. Brackenridge was the most noted of them all, and an extended sketch of him would be in keeping in these pages were it not that he belonged to the Allegheny county bar.
It must not be supposed that the early courts were of an inferior character because the justices were not learned in the law. It will be remembered that Ebenezer Webster, the father of Daniel Webster, though not a lawyer, sat for many years as a judge of the common pleas court of New Hampshire. The justices were selected with great care, and were well suited and equipped to carry on the litigation of the primitive age in which they lived. They brought order out of chaos, and steadily advanced the pioneer standards of jurisprudence until 1790, when the community was intellectually ready for the more exacting principles of the new constitution. After the constitution of 1790 went into force, there were still three judges on the bench, the President judge alone being learned in law, the other two being associate judges. The associate judges remained on the bench in Westmoreland county, until after the adoption of the constitution of 1873.
Those who sat on the bench in Westmoreland county since the adoption of the constitution in 1790, that is, those who were "learned in the law," as was provided for in that constitution are as follows:
Alexander Addison, from 1791 to 1803; Samuel Roberts, from 1803 to 1805; John Young, from 1806 to 1836, a period of thirty and a half years which was longer than that of any other judge on this bench; Thomas White, of Indiana county from 1836 to 1847; Jeremiah M. Burrell, from 1847 to 1848, and again, he being a second time on the bench, as in his biography later on will appear, from 1851 to 1855; John C. Knox, from 1848 to 1850; Joseph Buffington, from 1855 to 1871; James A. Logan, from 1871 to 1879; James A. Hunter from 1879 to 1890.
Judges Lucian W. Doty, Alexander D. McConnell and John B. Steel are the present occupants of the bench.
Judge Alexander Addison, like many prominent men of his day, was born in a foreign land--in Ireland, in 1759. He received a thorough education at Edinburgh, and was for many years a clergy man in the Presbyterian church in Scotland. He arrived in Pennsylvania, December 20, 1785, and applied to the old renowned Redstone Presbytery for license to preach in Southwestern Pennsylvania. From some unknown cause the examination proved very unsatisfactory, but permission was granted to him to preach, his application having been made from the town of Washington. Not long after this, being perhaps disgruntled because of the difficulty in his examination, he abandoned the ministry and took up the study of law. He finally settled in Pittsburgh, where he practiced law for many years and with great success.
He was president judge of this district, which included the four western counties which became so notorious in 1795 in the Whiskey Insurrection. During this period, and for decisions growing out of the Whiskey Insurrection, he became very unpopular, with the anti-Federalists. There was at that time an associate judge on the bench named Lucas, who though not a lawyer, frequently differed from the judge and tried to overrule him. He finally tried to charge the grand jury contrary to the custom, and to set forth views opposite those expressed by Judge Addison. On this Judge Addison stopped him, which was probably what he desired. He applied to the legislature, which tried judge Addison by impeachment, and removed him from office in January, 1803, on the flimsiest of charges. "No person can read the report of the trial," says judge J. W. F. White, "without feeling that it was a legal farce: that gross injustice was done Judge Addison from the beginning to the end, and that the whole proceeding was a disgrace to the state. The trial took place at Lancaster, where the legislature sat. The house and senate refused to give him copies of certain papers, or to give assistance in procuring witnesses from Pittsburgh for his defense. The speakers of the counsel against him, and the rulings of the senate on all questions raised in the progress of the trial, were characterized by intense partisan feeling. It was not a judicial trial, but a partisan scheme to turn out a political opponent. It resulted in deposing one of the purest, best and ablest judges that ever sat on the bench in Pennsylvania." Judge Addison was a scholar and learned writer. He published "Observations on Gallatin's Speech," 1798; "Analysis of the Report of the Virginia Assembly, 1800; and "Pennsylvania Reports," 1800. A great writer of that day has spoken of him as "an intelligent, learned, upright and fearless judge; one whose equal was not to be found in Pennsylvania." His charge to the grand jury during the Whisky insurrection is a monument to his talents and worth, and one who remembers the political surroundings of that day cannot read it without being impressed with the fact that Judge Addison had fully his share of moral courage and stamina.
Judge Addison was succeeded on the bench by Hon. Samuel Roberts, who came from Allegheny county, and therefore little is known of him in Westmoreland. He was president judge of the Fifth judicial district, and held the position from 1803 to 1805. He presided in Greensburg at June term, 1803, beginning June 20, and for the last time at December term, 1805. At that time the judicial system of the state was remodeled by an act of the legislature of that year. The new district of the counties of Allegheny, Beaver, Washington, Fayette and Greene, was constituted the Fifth district, in which Judge Roberts continued to preside. Westmoreland was, for the first time, in the Tenth judicial district, a position which it has held ever since. With this change, therefore, Judge Roberts' connection with Westmoreland county ceased, and since he belongs to another county we do not deem it necessary to write further of him in these pages. He came originally from Sunbury.
Judge John Young was born in a foreign land-in Glasgow, Scotland, July 12, 1762. He was a shining member of a very prominent Scottish family which was voted in Scotland for its learnings its aristocratic standing and nobility, and one branch of it was knighted before the reign of unfortunate Mary, Queen of Scots. He took the name John from his father and grandfather. He had three brothers respectively named Thomas, Douglass and William, and one sister named Mary, all of whom were highly educated. The father of Judge Young was a well-to-do merchant in Glasgow; and few men of his day lived in greater affluence. He also gained a reputation for liberality and kind qualities, which, if tradition is to be depended upon, were inherited by his son, the subject of this sketch. Perhaps from undue liberality he became financially involved in his later years. Still later he bailed his brother William for a large sum of money, for which debt his property was sold, and he died shortly after this from anxiety, superinduced by his financial reverses.
At the time of his father's death Judge Young was a student at law in the office of the father of the renowned novelist, Sir Walter Scott. He relinquished the study of law, and, first procuring places under the crown for his brothers, he emigrated to this country, reaching Philadelphia in 1780. It is said that he arrived with but one English shilling in his pocket. In Philadelphia he attracted notice by his fine bearing. He entered the office of Duponceau, who was an interpreter for the Philadelphia courts. In this office he became very useful, not only because of his rapidly increasing knowledge of the law, but because of his eminent talents as a French scholar. Afterwards he entered the office of Judge Wilson and read law diligently with him until his admission to the bar, which was January 8, 1786. After his admission he remained for some years practicing in the eastern counties, mainly in Philadelphia.
It must be remembered that Eastern Pennsylvania was settled largely by Germans and that the western part of the state was settled largely by Scotch-Irish. This induced Mr. Young to remove to Westmoreland county, which he did in 1789. Greensburg had recently been made a county seat and he settled here and in a short time gained a large practice in this and adjoining counties. because of his ability and his high character for integrity. For many years after this, however, he was frequently called to Philadelphia and Baltimore.
He was a member of the Swendenborg church. and this belief often brought him into association with Mr. Francis Bailey and his cultured family, where he became acquainted with Miss Maria Barclay, who, we believe, was an orphan, and to whom he was married in 1794. With her he lived for many years and they had a family of three sons and five daughters. After his wife's death he contracted a second marriage with Satira Barclay, a cousin of his former wife, and by her he had two children-a son and a daughter.
He was always known as a man of fine ability and great force of character. In 1791 he, in company with an old Revolutionary soldier named Stokely, was appointed a delegate to the first meeting in Pittsburgh called to consider troubles 'then rife, concerning an act of Congress which had been passed in 'March of that year, imposing a duty upon spirits distilled within the United States. This law was called the "Excise Act," but the difficulties arising from it have been written of here as the Whisky Insurrection. His participation in these negotiations added largely to his popularity and greatly increased his clientage.
In 1790, 1792 and 1793 the Indians were very troublesome in the western part of Pennsylvania and Mr. Young is known to have served two or three terms of two or three months each in a military capacity in defending the early settlers against incursions. He had, however, no military predilections, his enlisting being only a question of duty.
He continued in the practice of law with great success until the year 1805. In that year a vacancy occurred in the president judgeship of the Tenth judicial district, then composed of the counties of Westmoreland, Armstrong, Somerset, Cambria and Indiana. Thomas McKean was then governor of Pennsylvania. There were, of course, many applicants from these counties for the position of judge, but John Young because of his integrity, firmness and erudition, was appointed, though the governor said, with what was perhaps at that time pardonable dislike, that he did not like his religion, but had the utmost confidence in the man. Judge Young's commission was dated at Lancaster on the first of March, 1806, and he held office until the latter part of 1836, a period of thirty and one-half years, when having reached the age of life when most men wish to retire from its active duties he resigned his commission and retired to private life.
When he was appointed to the bench his learning and ability as a lawyer were so great that even in that age, when money was extremely scarce, it is said that his income from his practice was usually over $5,000 a year, and as a matter of course he was slow to relinquish it for the judgeship, which then paid but a few hundred. At that time he was generally employed in all the larger cases tried in the several courts in this and adjoining counties. There is one case of which we have knowledge where his superior education was greatly displayed and stood him in good stead. It was a case involving the right of land upon which the Roman Catholic church and monastery near Beatty’s station now stands, the dispute being between the secular and the regular clergy. H. H. Brackenridge, Esq., afterwards Justice Brackenridge, was employed on the other side. He had been educated for the ministry and on the trial there was a great display of ecclesiastical learning. The bulls of the Pope and the decrees of the council were read in the Original Latin and explained with ease and accuracy, and the exact extent to which canon law was acknowledged by the common law and the statute law was thoroughly discussed. Judge Young was at this time regarded as the best special pleader at the Western Pennsylvania bar. In criminal court it is said that he nearly always leaned towards the prisoner on account of a kindness of heart which has been referred to heretofore. In all cases he tempered justice with leniency.
Judge Young survived his resignation a few years, dying in Greensburg, October 6, 1840. His remains are now lying near Greensburg in a burying ground known as the old St. Clair cemetery.
It is said that Judge Young was a master of seven languages, and one or two of these at least were acquired when he was quite advanced in years. He wrote and translated Latin with perfect fluency and was equally proficient in the French language. At one time while he was on the bench a Frenchman named Victor Noel was arrested and confined in jail in Somerset count for the murder of a man named Pollock, from Ligonier Valley. Pollock was a merchant and had been going east with a large amount of money to buy goods when he was waylaid by the Frenchman and murdered for his money. Judge Young explained the indictment and the whole process of trial to the prisoner in French, and, after his conviction, sentenced him to be hanged in "the polite and polished language of his native land."
The residence of Judge Young in Greensburg was on Main street, opposite the present location of the Methodist church building. From this place he dispensed charity with a lavish hand and there received his friends and indeed all travelers who came. with the most kindly and amiable disposition. An excellent portrait of Judge Young was painted by the renowned artist Gilbert Stuart, who also painted the famous portrait of Washington known as the "Stuart Picture."
After the resignation of Judge Young, Thomas White, Esq., an Indiana county lawyer, was commissioned judge of this district, it then being composed of the counties of Westmoreland, Indiana, Armstrong and Cambria. His commission was dated December 13, 1836. Early in 1837 it was read in the Westmoreland county courts and he began his work on the bench. He presided at practically all the courts held in Westmoreland county until 1847, when Jeremiah M. Burrell was appointed and commissioned his successor.
Judge White had read law with the celebrated William Rawle, of Philadelphia, a gentleman well known in the legal annals of our state, and commenced the practice of the law in Indiana in 1820 Or 1821, when he was but twenty-one years of age. He rapidly obtained a good practice. He was also engaged extensively in business, being among other things the agent of George Clymer, who owned great tracts of land in Indiana county. Judge White lived many years after retiring from the bench, and served during the war of the rebellion as one of the commissioners of the well-known "Peace Convention," which met at Washington.
On the expiration of Judge White's commission, Francis R. Shunk, governor of Pennsylvania, appointed Jeremiah Murray Burrell, of Greensburg, to the vacancy. He was born near Murryville, in Westmoreland county, his father being Dr. Benjamin Burrell, who removed to Westmoreland from Dauphin county. His mother was a daughter of the renowned Jeremiah Murray, Esq. He was the only son, and his parents being wealthy, gave him a thorough education. He was graduated at Jefferson College, at Cannonsburg, Pennsylvania, and read law with Richard Coulter, who afterwards went on the supreme bench of the state. and is mentioned in another part of this work. Mr. Burrell was admitted to the bar July 14, 1835. Some years after that he became the owner and editor of the Pennsylvania Argus, an avocation not uncommon for active, energetic members of the bar in that day. He was a staunch Democrat, and made his paper bristle with the doctrines of his party. In the great campaign of 1840, the "Log Cabin campaign," the hottest in the history of national politics, he established a great name as a writer. He not only made a state reputation, but some of his articles on political topics were answered by Horace Greeley in the New York Tribune, this giving him a still wider fame. In the campaign of 1844 he was one of the most eloquent speakers and writers in Pennsylvania in behalf of James K. Polk, and in debate was pitted against Thomas Williams and other great orators of that day. He was after this elected to the state legislature, where he distinguished himself as a leader of the house. It is said that no man in the state in his day could speak more eloquently than he.
The late Major William H. Hackey, who was contemporaneous with Judge Burrell, delighted to tell a story illustrative of the latter's splendid oratory. A large outdoor Democratic convention was being held in Pittsburgh in 1844. The addresses were made from the portico of the Monongahela house, but the crowd was so dense and enthusiastic that the speakers could not be heard. Finally Burrell, then twenty-nine years old, was introduced and in loud clear tones readily made himself heard by all the surging multitude. Some one, caught by his eloquence, inquired of those around him who the speaker was. "I told him," said the major, "with all the home pride I could muster that the eloquent speaker was J. A. Burrell, of Greensburg, the most gifted young orator in Pennsylvania." Very soon, as the major said, the audience was quieted down and listened to his address with enraptured admiration till he had finished speaking.
At that time in Pennsylvania judges were appointed by the governor and confirmed by the senate. When the chief executive sent Mr. Burrell's name to the senate, so bitter had been many of his contests in the legislature, that the senate refused, doubtless on political grounds, to confirm the nomination. After the legislature adjourned Governor Shunk commissioned him and he immediately assumed the duties of the office. The question as to whether the governor had this power was widely discussed in Pennsylvania. There had been several legal expositions of parallel cases under the constitution of the United States, which in its method of filling certain vacancies was identical in language with that of the Pennsylvania constitution of 1838. These expositions of opinion had been given by William Wirt and Roger B. Taney, both attorney generals, and the latter afterwards chief justice of the United States. Upon these opinions Governor Shunk based his right to make the appointment. The record of the court of common pleas has this minute: "Monday Morning 24th May 1847, Jeremiah A. Burrell appeared upon the bench and presented his commission from the Governor of Pennsylvania, dated 27th March 1847, appointing him President- Judge of the Tenth Judicial District of Pennsylvania, composed of the counties of Cambria. Indiana. Armstrong and Westmoreland."
After carefully weighing the different opinions, it was deemed advisable to vacate this appointment, and the governor nominated Hon. John C. Knox, of Tioga county, for the position. His nomination was promptly confirmed by the senate. Judge Knox thereupon began his work on the bench May 22, 1848, Judge Burrell becoming a practicing lawyer in the bar. In 1850, the constitution of the state was so amended that the judgeship became an elective office. It is highly creditable to Judge Burrell that when this new law went into effect he was the one man in the district who, in the popular opinion, was preeminently above all others fitted for the position. His nomination followed and resulted in his election in 1851.
His new commission was presented in Westmoreland county and read on February 16, 1852. He filled the office in this district until 1855, when President Franklin Pierce appointed him judge of the District Court of the United States for Kansas. Shortly after assuming the duties of this office he came to Greensburg on a visit, apparently in good health, but was suddenly afflicted with laryngitis, from which he died on October 21, 1856, after but a few days' illness. Judge Burrell's early training was in the old school Presbyterian faith. When quite a young man he married Miss Anna Elizabeth Richardson, a woman of unusual beauty and accomplishments, who is yet living (1905). A few years after his marriage he built a handsome residence in Greensburg, which was surrounded by large grounds, most tastefully laid out. He was a man gifted with high social qualities, rare tastes and refinement, and was of a generous nature, passionately fond of his library and of music. Like the eminent Chief Justice Gibson, he played with singular skill upon both the flute and violin. As a judge, he lent dignity to and created a good impression in all the courts in which he presided. He was a full cousin to the mother of Judge Samuel A. and W. H. McClung, of Pittsburgh.
That he was a lawyer of large practice before going on the bench is evidenced by our court records, which show that Judge Kimmell, of Somerset county, and Judge Agnew, afterwards chief justice of Pennsylvania, frequently came to Greensburg to try cases in which Judge Burrell had been engaged as counsel while a practicing lawyer, and was therefore disqualified to try. His early death was deeply regretted by both the bench and the bar.
When court met on the morning of May 22, 1848, John C. Knox, of Tioga county, appeared and was conducted to the bench by Judge Burrell, when a commission appointing Knox to the office of judgeship of the Tenth judicial district was read in open court. A perusal of the sketch of Judge Burrell, immediately preceding this, will explain his elevation to the bench.,
Judge Knox was easily one of the most eminent lawyers who ever sat on the bench in the Tenth judicial district, then composed of the counties of Cambria, Indiana. Armstrong and Westmoreland. He presided but a short time in Westmoreland, for the new law of 1850 vacated his position, and the election of Judge Burrell, as above indicated, followed. In 1851 he therefore left the district, returned to his home in Tioga county and was at once elected judge of his district over Judge Buffington. In 1853 he was appointed to the supreme bench to fill the vacancy caused by the death of the most eminent lawyer and jurist ever produced in Pennsylvania, Chief Justice John Bannister Gibson. That the governor should select him to fill this position is of itself a sufficient eulogy of his character and legal attainments. He filled the position with ability, until 1857, when he resigned to become attorney general of the commonwealth under Governor Pollock. In 1861 he removed to Philadelphia to practice law. Unfortunately very shortly after this he was afflicted with softening of the brain, from which he never recovered, but spent the remainder of his days in the state asylum at Norristown, where he died about a quarter of a century after. More would be said of him in these pages were it not that he belongs properly to Tioga county.
Judge Joseph Buffington presided for many years in what was and is now termed the “old Tenth" district. He was born in the town of West Chester, Pennsylvania. on November 27, 1803. He was of Quaker extraction, his ancestors coming from the Friends or Quakers in Middlesex, England. His grandfather, Jonathan Buffington, was a miller near Chad's Ford, in Chester county, during the Revolution. His father, Ephraim Buffington, kept an inn or tavern stand known as the "Whitehall" at West Chester, which in its day was a celebrated hostelry. When Joseph Buffington was ten years of old, his father, in hopes of improving his fortune, moved west and settled on the Allegheny river, near Pittsburgh. During this journey, which, of course, was made in wagons, as Judge Buffington often related, he passed through Greensburg and stopped at the old Rohrer house, now the Null house. He also said that it was here for the first time that he saw a soft coal fire. A few years afterwards he entered the University of Pittsburgh, and though he was not graduated, he was well educated. Afterwards Young Buffington settled in Butler, Pennsylvania, and before studying law was an editor of a weekly paper called the Butler Repository, and in this he was associated with Samuel A. Purviance, who afterwards became eminent in the Allegheny county bar and was attorney general of the commonwealth under Governor Curtin in 1861. Buffington read law with Samuel Ayers, of Butler, and while a student was married to Catharine Mechling, daughter of Jacob Mechling, who, about that time. was in the Pennsylvania senate. In July, 1826, he was admitted to the bar and began to practice in Butler county. He only remained there about a year and then removed to Armstrong county, locating in Kittanning, where he resided continuously until his death. His industry, integrity, and close application brought him the highest fruit of his profession. Like most lawyers of his day, he took an active part in politics. He was a member of the Anti-Masonic party in 1831,. and served as a delegate to the national convention of that body in 1832, which met in Baltimore and nominated William Wirt for the presidency. He was several times nominated for offices, but his party being in the minority, he was not elected. In 1840 he became identified with the Whig party and took an active interest in the election of General Harrison, being a presidential elector.
During these years when he was engaged in the practice of the law, his work was not confined to Armstrong county. but spread over Clarion, Jefferson and Indiana, and sometimes he appeared in the Westmoreland county courts. In these counties he was connected with nearly all of the important land trials, and it is said that his knowledge of the law regulating this then very prominent branch of litigation was most accurate. In 1842 he was elected a member of Congress as a Whig in the district composed of the counties of Armstrong, Butler, Clearfield and Indiana. He was re-elected in 1844. Shortly after his retirement from Congress, his friend and fellow townsman, William F. Johnston, having been elected governor, appointed him judge of the Eighteenth judicial district, composed of the counties of Clarion, Elk, Jefferson and Venango. This position he held until the office became elective in 1851, when he was defeated by Hon. John C. Knox, of whom we have previously spoken. In 1852 he was nominated by the Whig party for a place on the supreme bench of Pennsylvania. But the Whig party that year was defeated, the candidate for president being Gen. Winfield Scott, and Buffington went down with his party, the late justice Woodward, of Luzerne county, being elected. During the same year President Filmore nominated him to be chief justice of Utah territory. The great distance of Utah territory, from his home led him to decline the proffered honor, though he was greatly pressed to accept it.
On the resignation of Judge Burrell as judge of the Tenth judicial district he was appointed to that position in 1855 by Governor Pollock, with whom he had served in Congress, and then began his connection with Westmoreland county. The year following he was elected for a term of ten years. In this contest he had no opponent, the opposition declining to nominate through the advice of James Buchanan, who was a personal friend of Buffington’s and who was himself a candidate for President of the United States. In 1866 Judge Buffington was re-elected for another term of ten years. In 1871 he resigned from the bench, when declining health admonished him that his days of labor were nearly ended. Judge Buffington was undoubtedly one of the ablest lawyers who ever sat on the Westmoreland bench. He died in Kittaning on Saturday, February 3, 1872.
Judge James Addison Logan descended from Scotch-Irish ancestry and was born in Westmoreland county, Pennsylvania, on the Allegheny river, December 3, 1839. His boyhood days were spent on the farm, on the river and at the country school in the neighborhood of his birthplace. After reaching the proper age he began an academic course at Elders Ridge academy, from which he was graduated in due course of time with the honors of his class. Upon completing his academic course he began the study of law in the office of Major W. A. Stokes, then a celebrated lawyer and counsel for the Pennsylvania Railroad company at Greensburg, Pennsylvania. Soon afterwards Major Stokes went into the army, and Mr. Logan entered the office of Hon. Harrison. P. Laird. Under this preceptorship he finished his studies, and was admitted to the bar in May, 1863. With such lawyers as Henry D. Foster and Edgar Cowan in active practice in the courts in a rural county, the field for young effort was not inviting. Mr. Logan, however, immediately gained a prominent place at the bar. In 1868, when Henry D. Foster contested the seat of Hon. John Covode in the national house of representatives, Mr. Logan was counsel for the respondent, and conducted the defence with such skill as to greatly extend his reputation. In 1870 he was appointed local solicitor for the Pennsylvania Railroad company at Greensburg. That corporation was at that time involved in some important litigation, of which the new solicitor assumed charge. Among the suits was the celebrated case of John Snodgrass and Israel Painter, contractors for furnishing the Union army with beeves, who claimed that the railroad company had overcharged them a large amount on their shipments of cattle. The case was referred to arbitration. The arbitrators appointed were Judge Buffington, of Armstrong county; Judge J. K. Ewing, Hon. James Veach and Hon. Daniel Kane, of Fayette county; Hon. Hugh Weir, of Indiana county, representing the best legal talent in Western Pennsylvania. Eminent lawyers were retained by the plaintiffs, and a stubborn fight was made. Mr. Logan substantially won the case.
In 1871 Judge Buffington resigned, leaving a vacancy on the bench. The governor selected Mr. Logan for the position. He was at that time thirty-one years of age, and was perhaps the youngest judge on the common pleas bench, and presided over the largest judicial district, both in population and area, in the state. The following year he was unanimously nominated b his party for the full term of ten years. The Democratic candidate was Hon. Silas M. Clark, a resident of Indiana county, who subsequently became one of the justices of the supreme court of the state. Judge Clark was very popular and widely known in the district, but Judge Logan was elected by the usual majority. His judicial career was eminently successful. When he came upon the bench a lawless class had for some time infested the coal regions of Armstrong county, and was growing dominant. By vigorous and fearless administration of the criminal law Judge Logan restored authority, and brought the county back to quiet and good order.
In 1875 occurred what were known as the Italian riots in Westmoreland county. A large number of persons, some of them prominent in the county. were concerned in fomenting disturbance, which resulted in the daylight slaughter of four Italian miners. The judge did not halt or wait for others to move in the enforcement of the law. He called the grand jury together and submitted the facts to them. A number of indictments were immediately found. The moral effect of this energetic course was long felt in the county.
He served on the benefit until 1879, when he resigned to accept the position with the Pennsylvania Railroad company, as their assistant general solicitor and was shortly afterwards promoted to the office of general solicitor.
During his service on the bench Judge Logan won all enviable reputation as a judge. Prompt and rigorous in the dispatch of business, the work of the court was pressed forward and the interest of the people promoted. He was courteous but firm, severe but dignified, and enjoyed the fullest confidence of the bar, and the respect and esteem of the public. His judicial opinions, when orally delivered, were clear, concise and to the point, and when written, forceful, lucid and admirable in every respect. Upon his retirement the people were unanimous in expressions of regret at the loss of his valuable services on the bench.
An adequate sketch of his career as a railroad lawyer is not possible without considering with more detail than is here practicable the functions of the legal department of a great and growing railroad corporation. Railroad and corporation law demands for its successful prosecution, from the practical side today, the same high order of talent in the lawyer that the law of real property demanded of its successful practitioners during its formative period, and which constitutional law as a branch of jurisprudence has required in all times. And, indeed, railroad law has so much to do with constitutional law that, to be a great railroad lawyer, a man must also be a great constitutional lawyer.
Judge Logan's connection with the litigation of the Pennsylvania Railroad Company and its more than one hundred associated corporations has been intimate and direct, and much of the success with which it has met has been also his success. In the famous suit which Attorney General Cassidy brought against the Pennsylvania Railroad Company and other lines a few years ago, known as the South Penn Equity Proceedings, he took a prominent part. The cases of the Pennsylvania Railroad Company vs. Lippincott, and the Pennsylvania Railroad Company vs. Marchant, known as the Filbert Street Extension cases, were argued by counsel and decided by the court upon grounds which he suggested. Those cases which were decided in 1887 and 1888, and are already leading cases in the law, established that the property of a railroad corporation is governed by the same rules as to liabilities in its user as that of individuals. It declared that the Pennsylvania Railroad Company was not liable for the depreciation of real estate values on the north side of Filbert street incidentally caused by the lawful operation of its trains on its own property on the south side. The declaration of this principle, it is needless to say, was worth a great deal to corporations throughout the state. At least fifty suits for damages against the Pennsylvania Railroad Company fell with the decisions in which it was announced.
Since the formation of the Inter-State Commerce Commission, Judge Logan largely represented the corporation in the contested cases before the commission, as well as in many conferences with the commission. In the line of official duty he has been brought in contact with the most distinguished lawyers from all sections of the country and his reputation as a lawyer has not suffered by the contact. Judge Logan’s duties required general supervision of all the litigation of the company and the lines it leased or controlled east of Pittsburgh, and immediate advice and conference with the chief executive and department officers in connection with the important administrative conduct of corporate affairs. He had, therefore, use for all the legal attainments of his lifetime, as well as the habits of industry which he early acquired.
He was married April 13, 1871, to a daughter of Hon. A. G. Marchand, who is written of elsewhere in these pages. With his wife and children, he lived comfortably at Bala, on the Schuylkill valley branch of the Pennsylvania railroad, just beyond the limits of Fairmount Park.
In 1888 the faculty of Washington and Jefferson College, at Washington, Pennsylvania, one of the most noted and conservative educational institutions of the country, conferred on him the honorary degree of doctor of laws. He died October 29, 1902.
Immediately upon the resignation of Judge Logan, in 1879, Governor Henry M. Hoyt appointed Hon. James A. Hunter to the Westmoreland county bench, his commission being dated July 12, 1879. At that time Westmoreland county was strongly Democratic, and even Judge Hunter's most ardent friends scarcely entertained any hope of his election. He, however, accepted the commission and assumed the duties of the office at once. Later on in the year he was nominated by the Republican party as their candidate for judge against Archibald A. Stewart, who had been previously nominated by the Democrats. The election came on and proved to be a very bitter one. Many old line Democrats were dissatisfied with the nomination of Mr. Stewart. The Republicans took advantage of this disaffection in the Democratic party, with the result that in the November election Judge Hunter was victorious, having more than a thousand majority over Mr. Stewart, and therefore filled the office by virtue of his appointment and his election from July 12, 1879 to January 1, 1890.
Judge Hunter was born in Lancaster county, Pennsylvania, April 18, 1835, his father having been a native of Londonderry, Ireland. He received a common school education, was afterwards a school teacher, read law with James Todd, of the Westmoreland bar, who had been formerly a Philadelphia lawyer and attorney general of the commonwealth under Governor Rittner. Judge Hunter was admitted to the bar in 1858 and practiced law almost continuously until he went on the bench. He was register in bankruptcy under the United States bankrupt law in 1867, which position he resigned to become a member of the legislature for the session of 1869. Very early after his admission to the bar he made for himself a reputation as a public speaker second to no one at the bar, and he was always greatly sought for to address all kinds of meetings, particularly. Republican meetings, where, as a stump speaker, he had few equals.
After Judge Hunter's retirement from the bench he resumed the practice of the law. He was never a man of strong constitution, and in 1893 was taken sick with pneumonia, and died June 13, after a few davs' illness, and was buried at Greensburg.
Judge Hunter's term of office finished up exactly one hundred years of courts with judges learned in the law, as was provided for in the constitution of 1790. He was the ninth judge in a century, though Judges Roberts and Knox served short terms, and Burrell and Logan both resigned.
A desultory glance at the advancements made in the administration of justice will show the most casual observer that they have done their work faithfully and well. A century has wrought great changes in the county. As has been seen, the early judges presided over a number of counties, never less than three. During these years the judges journeyed on horseback from one county to another, and the more prominent lawyers rode the circuit with them. It was not infrequent in those davs that litigants stood at the court house steps and employed their attorneys perhaps but a few minutes before their cause was called for trial.
For long years in Greensburg the sheriff of the county, after the ancient English custom, collected a body of mounted men who rode out to meet the coming judge and escort him into the village. This custom was kept up until the early fifties, passing away with railroad building, after which the judges no longer arrived on horseback.
By the constitution of 1790 the judges were appointed for life. This provision obtained until 1838, when a new constitution changed the term only, making it for ten years instead of for life. In 1850 the constitution was amended so as to make the office an elective one, the term remaining the same. This amendment was ingrafted in the constitution of 1873 and still prevails.
Since 1874 Westmoreland county has been a separate judicial district, gaining this by virtue of the new constitution adopted in 1873. Since then we have had no associate judges on the bench.
EMINENT LAWYERS OF THE PAST
There is but one name, leading all others, with which to head this list, and that is John D. Alexander. He was born in Carlisle, Cumberland county. Pennsylvania, and was admitted to the Westmoreland bar in December, 1804. After that, during his long lifetime, he was always one of its most prominent and active members, and in his later years there is little doubt but that he stood at the very head of the profession in Western Pennsylvania.
Mr. Alexander was highly educated. having received a thorough collegiate education in the early days of the last century, when classical attainments were regarded at their true value and had not been proscribed by the modern so-called educational reformers. He was, moreover, a lifelong student, confining himself to the law, the Greek and Latin languages and to Shakespeare, to the exclusion of nearly everything else. With the writings of the great dramatist he was so familiar that he quoted them almost unconsciously when addressing a court or a jury. From this source he undoubtedly gathered much of his renowned strength as an advocate.
On only two occasions did he allow his mind to be drawn from his chosen profession. The first was in the war of 1812, during which he collected a company of volunteers, was elected its captain and served with credit under General William Henry Harrison. The company was named the "Greensburg Rifles." When his company entered the service a battalion was formed by uniting it with several other companies, and Alexander was elected major.
Thus he received the military title by which he was known during the rest of his life. This was, of course in his younger davs, when he had not yet risen to the highest place in his profession. He had been brought up in the town of Carlisle, where the United States had long maintained a barracks, and though evincing no special military predilections, he always commanded his company in a rich and gaudy uniform, which was made none the less showy by his majestic person. He expended large sums of money from his own purse on equipments and horses.
His military services were largely in the Northwestern territory. His battalion captured a six-pound cannon of great weight, made, as its inscription indicates, by the Spaniards in the eighteenth century. At the close of the war Major Alexander brought this prize to Greensburg, and it is yet a valued possession of his nephew, General Richard Coulter. In 1824 the major and his company turned out to do honors to Lafayette on the occasion of the patriotic Frenchman's visit to Westmoreland county.
It is said that his fondness for military display, acquired in his youth, became a weakness in his old age, and that as he grew older he was easily flattered on that point. His military reputation, however, had a substantial foundation. Some years after the war, when Sanford was acting in Pittsburgh in the role of "Jim Crow," it was discovered by the actor that Alexander was in the audience, he being there in attendance upon the supreme court. The ready actor drew the attention of the audience to Alexander by improvising the following:
"Old General Harrison,
He was a big commander;
And the next big hero there
Was Major Alexander."
Of course a compliment of this kind was received with uproarious applause by the Pittsburgh people, and the major was highly gratified.
At one time he fought a duel with a man named Mason, of Uniontown, Fayette county, but neither combatant was wounded. Both desired a second fire, but the seconds interfered and prevented it.
The second occasion which drew him from the practice of the law was his election to the general assembly. In 1834 this county was represented in the general assembly by James Findlay, who was appointed secretary of the commonwealth by Governor Wolf. Findlay himself was a very brilliant man, and the people, with one accord, wishing to send a man to fill his place who would not discredit his high standing, selected Alexander. He was not a successful representative. As may be supposed, so eminent a lawyer as he was entirely out of his element when in the state legislature. There he had to measure swords with men in small matters who were much beneath him. His great powers were not called into requisition, and before the session was over he left the legislature in disgust, mounted his horse, "Somerset." which he had ridden from Westmoreland county to Harrisburg, and came home. He characterized the legislature in language more emphatic than elegant. After that he took no part whatever in politics until 1840, when his "Old Commander" was a can- didate for the presidency. He presided that year at a Harrison meeting in Greensburg, but was infirm with age, and died but a short time after Harrison’s election. Alexander was always an uncompromising old line Whig in politics.
It is doubtless fair to say that prior to 1850 he had no equal at the West- moreland bar. Richard Coulter, it is true, though a younger man, was superior in eloquence to Alexander, and in his exhaustive reading and in his general knowledge, Alexander W. Foster may have been quite his equal, but in the give and take of the trials at the bar, in the preparation of papers and in all that goes to make a truly great lawyer, Alexander had at all events no superior. Once when complimented upon his legal knowledge as having come naturally to him, he replied: "Oh, no; I owe it all to hard study; I arise early in the morning and study while others are in bed;" a habit which he retained even in his old age. There is a tradition of him that he read Blackstone once a year. At one time he was counsel in a very heavy land title case which was to be tried in the United States supreme court, and against him was employed the celebrated William Wirt, of Baltimore. In his argument before this high court the Westmoreland lawyer showed such knowledge of the law and such general ability that he astonished the bar and the court. At the conclusion of his argument he was complimented by Wirt, and by Daniel Webster, also, who was present, and who expressed in his grandest way his admiration of the manner in which Alexander had handled the case and of his exposition of the law. This must not appear remarkable, for perhaps in the abstruse land law of Pennsylvania Alexander was superior to either Wirt or Webster.
A few years ago an old gentleman, now dead, told the writer that when a boy in the early "thirties" he saw Major Alexander take a drink in the present Fisher house, which those with him said was to stimulate him for an address he was to deliver that afternoon in a very important trial. Holding up the glass, showing the liquid scarcely concealed by his hand, he said, "Four fingers, gentlemen, and for every finger the old judge gets an hour this afternoon." Shortly before that, when Webster replied to Hayne, as he was passing down the senate chamber, Clayton said to him: "Are you loaded, Mr. Webster?" Glancing angrily at Vice-President Calhoun and holding up his hand, he said. "Four fingers.” It was a pioneer hunter's expression, meaning a heavy charge of powder, a load for big game.
John B. Alexander was a son of John Alexander, who was of Scotch-Irish extraction and who was born in Cumberland county. His wife was a Miss Smith, also of Cumberland county. They had no children. Two of his sisters, however, were married in Westmoreland county, the one to Hon. Joseph H. Kuhns, the other to Eli Coulter, the father of General Richard Coulter.
In personal appearance Mr. Alexander was about five feet ten inches tall and weighed about two hundred and forty pounds. His residence in Greensburg was a large brick house on Main street, diagonally across the street from the Methodist church, where the Zimmerman house now stands. Indeed, the Zimmerman house is but an enlargement of his old residence, the main front and side walls of the present structure being those of Alexander's home. In the latter years of his life he lived south of Greensburg on a farm, where he greatly amused himself by agriculture and horticulture and by raising superior breeds of cattle and poultry.. The engraving of Major Alexander given in these pages is from an oil painting made about the close of the war of 1812, and now in possession of General Coulter.
Alexander W. Foster was the son of William Foster, of Chester county, and was born in 1771. He was admitted to the Philadelphia bar, having read law with Edward Bird, Esq., in 1793. In 1796 his family moved from Chester county to Meadville, Crawford county. Here he practiced law for a number of years and achieved an enviable reputation in his profession. So wide was his fame that his practice frequently took him to most of the counties between Pittsburgh and Erie. In 1812 he was retained in a Westmoreland case and he so favorably impressed some of his clients and was so favorable impressed with the town and the community that he removed to Greensburg, thereafter becoming a citizen of Westmoreland county and a member of the Westmore- land bar. He very rapidly attained a large practice and was undoubtedly one of the best lawyers in the profession. The trio, Alexander, Foster and Coulter, had no superiors in Western Pennsylvania. He did not possess the impassioned and florid eloquence of Richard Coulter nor the great legal erudition of Alexander, but his professional attainments were said to have been more extensive than those of the former, and as a trial lawyer, particularly in the cross-examination of witnesses, he had more ability than the latter. Although inferior to Alexander in an argument before the court. he was superior to him before a jury, where he was nearly, if not quite, equal to Coulter.
Foster had a kind, genial disposition and his office was for many years said to be the best place in Greensburg to read law. He often conferred with his students, put questions to them, argued with them, examined them and held in his office a sort of "moot" court. Several of his students who arose to distinction in the law in after years attributed a great part of their success to him, and one at least has said that he learned more law orally from Foster than he learned by reading his books. Of course he excelled in any branch of the profession, but in the cross-examination of witnesses he was probably seen at his best. It is said that he could, better than any member of the bar of his day, expose the falsehood or fraud of an evily disposed witness, and that he could do this in a mild, genteel way which nevertheless forced attention or moved to laughter. His kindly nature precluded the possibility of his being genuinely sarcastic, yet when necessary he could be extremely severe. He excelled also in his command of Ianguage and in the marshalling of his ideas. He could most suitably express his thoughts without halting, without error, and apparently without effort. Most of his arguments were copiously illustrated with amusing anecdotes, some of which he seemed, like Lincoln, to have invented for the occasion. Many of these stories are fresh and interesting when read or repeated even today. Socially he was always a leader, being very fond of company. and he moreover had great conversational powers.
Mr. Foster, like Alexander, delighted in agriculture. He wrote articles on the practical application of chemistry to farming and delivered many orations at public gatherings and at county fairs in Greensburg, a practice that was then in vogue throughout all the counties of the state.
In 1820 and 1822 he was the Federalist candidate for Congress in the district which was then composed of Westmoreland, Indiana, Armstrong and Jefferson counties, but he was defeated in each case because he was on the unpopular side, though in 1820, in the strong Democratic county of Westmoreland, he obtained a small majority. After the breaking up of the Federalist party he became an Anti--Mason, and when that political party collapsed he became a Whig, and so remained until his death.
In person he was of medium size and weight, rather inclined to leanness than to corpulency, was of the nervo-bilious temperament and his complexion sallow, with a tendency to pallor. He was greatly addicted to smoking, a cigar being his constant companion, and for his own use he had hot houses built and grew Spanish tobacco. He was the uncle of Henry D. Foster, who will be spoken of hereafter and who later arose to great eminence at this bar.
James Findlay was born, in 1801, in Franklin county. He was educated at Princeton College and read law in Harrisburg with Francis R. Shunk, his father having in the meantime removed from Franklin county to Dauphin county. For the first year or two after being admitted to the bar he practiced in York county, but without great success, and in 1824 removed to Greensburg and was admitted to the bar August 23 of that year. This was a good location for him. The legal business of Westmoreland county in that day was abundant. Lawyers from Pittsburgh and other counties frequently attended the courts in Westmoreland county. His natural talents, fine education and thorough training in the law soon placed him at the head of his profession. Very soon after he came to Westmoreland county he was made prosecuting attorney and was filling that office when James Evans was tried for murder in 1830. This murder case is perhaps, all things being considered, the most noted one ever tried in Westmoreland county. Findlay was a Democrat. General Jackson was president of the United States, and Wolf, a Democrat, was governor of Pennsylvania. Thus his party was in power both in the state and nation, and perhaps the political side of life looked more rosy to him than the more rugged life of a practicing lawyer. At all events he entered politics and in 1831, 1832 and 1833 he was elected to the legislature. In the latter year Samuel McLean, who was secretary of the commonwealth, was elected to the United States Senate. Such was the reputation of James Findlay, though only thirty-two years old, that Governor Wolf at once tendered him the place of secretary of the commonwealth. This place he filled for a number of years, and in 1836 he removed to Pittsburgh, where he achieved a still greater eminence in his profession.
The strove of the life and professional services of John F. Beaver is well told in an article which appeared about the time of his death, which was written by a fellow member of this bar, now dead, and we depend on it largely concerning this notable man. He died in Newton Falls, Ohio, on June 12, 1877. Sixty-two years have passed away since he left Greensburg, yet his name and fame are still fresh in the recollection of the older people of the county. His genial character and his exuberant flow of animal spirits rendered him conspicuous in every company, so much so, indeed, that it was difficult to forget him.
He was born near Stoystown, in Somerset county, his maternal grandfather, Daniel M. Stoy, having given his name to the village. His father, Henry Beaver, removed some years afterwards to Grapeville, and here John F. Beaver continued to live until 1844, when he removed to Ohio. His physical organization was remarkable, and he excelled in all athletic sports which required strength and precision of muscular action. He was a large heavy man. With a rifle he was unerring and, like Natty Bumpo, nothing but the center "piercing the bull's eye" would satisfy him.
Hearing upon one occasion of a match to shoot for a bear in a remote part of the county, he dropped in and was solicited to take a stake to make up the match, which he could not decline. No one, of course, knew, Beaver, who was apparently without a gun, but a boy was standing near with a ponderous, rather rusty looking rifle, and Beaver suggested that he might borrow this from the boy. The affair then commenced and when Beaver's turn came some one kindly volunteered to show him how to hold his weapon and so on. He was very unsteady, his rifle shaking, but somehow the nail was driven. This was rare sport and the luck of the lawyer was marvelous. But each round was followed by the same result. Finally he won the bear and then a chain was seen hanging from the pocket of the boy who had brought the rusty gun. This was Beaver's son, who had come prepared to take the bear home. To. finish up the affair he then disclosed his identity and gave a good dinner to the whole party and, of course, made them ever afterwards his friends.
At about the age of twenty-one he cut himself with an ax and was confined to bed for some weeks. At that time he was illiterate, barely able to read, but seeing a copy of Smith's Laws, which had belonged to his Grandfather Story when a justice of the peace in Somerset county, he determined to read them, dry as they were. This he did, and with so much zeal and vigor that by the time his wound was healed he was regarded as quite a lawyer in the community. At all events this reading gave him a taste for the law, and with this purpose in view he placed himself under the direction of Alexander W. Foster, Esq., and read law with him. Foster thought he saw in this rugged young Hercules something better than muscle, and he encouraged him to persevere.
He read law for five years, boarding all the while in Grapeville, four miles from Greensburg, walking in and out every day-. He was admitted to the bar in February, 1833, and soon gained a large practice. He was an Anti-Mason in politics and afterwards a Whig, and then belonged to the Free-Soil party. He ran for congress in 1840 as a Whig and was defeated by Hon. A. G. Marchand, who will be mentioned hereafter. The well-known late editor of the Argus, John M. Laird. Esq., was, during this campaign, chairman of the Democratic county committee. On the day of a large convention in Greensburg he and Beaver stopped at the same hotel. Mr. Laird was on a committee to frame resolutions against the election of Beaver.
Mr. Laird had a very large head, so had Beaver: and when Mr. Laird went to dinner he mistook his hat and put his resolutions in Beaver's hat. Immediately after dinner Beaver discovered the mistake and taking his hat with Mr. Laird's resolutions went over to the courthouse and presented them in open court. These resolutions denounced him (Beaver) as a scamp and unworthy of any respectable citizen's support. Judge White was on the bench. No one relished a joke more than he, but he gravely decided that he had no jurisdiction in the matter. The resolutions were returned to Mr. Laird. Such was the good humor and fun of the old men of the bar more than sixty years ago.
Beaver, however, had a great deal of professional business, not only in this, but in Allegheny county. In 1842 he sold his office and furniture to Edgar Cowan, then a young member of the bar. His success at the bar in the Supreme Court was very marked,he being a great favorite with the judges on account of his fair and candid bearing toward them, as well as because of his ability and native wit.
In Ohio he was elected to the state senate as soon as he had resided there long enough to be qualified, and attracted attention and consideration by his immense size, his dress and his singular intellectual ability. The senate was a tie without him and he was looked for with great anxiety when that body met. He drove all the way from Mahoning county to Columbus, as there were no railroads in those days. His wagon broke down when he was twelve miles distant from the state capital. He completed the journey on foot and reached the senate just as they were about to take an important vote. He was a stranger of immense build, covered with mud, and as he strode into the chamber he was greeted with cheers, and "his boots" became famous in song and story for years afterwards. He was a leader in politics for some time. and at one time came within one or two votes of being nominated for governor of Ohio. All his life he was a student, and enlarged year by year the boundaries of his knowledge in every direction. His memory was astonishing, extending even to the minutest details. He was without vanity or pride or conceit, and if his clothes had been indestructible he would have worn the same suit all his life. Mr. Cowan, once having in various ways got his measure, procured for him a new suit of fashionable clothes, including a pair of polished boots and a “stovepipe" hat. There was some coaxing necessary to get him to don the rig, but once on and in the street, the town turned out and gave him an ovation. He was a unique character, a great lawyer and a thoroughly representative man of his day.
Justice Richard Coulter was in all probability the most eloquent member of the Westmoreland county bar in the nineteenth century. He was the son of Eli and Priscilla (Small) Coulter, and was of Scotch-Irish descent. He was born in Westmoreland county, in what is now Versailles township, Allegheny county, Pennsylvania, in March, 1788. In 1793 his family moved to Greensburg. He was educated at Jefferson College, but did not remain for graduation. He read law, in the office of his brother-in-law, John Lyon, of Uniontown, Fayette county, and was admitted to practice in that county November 19, 1810. On February 18, 1811, on motion of John B. Alexander, he was admitted to the Westmoreland county bar. Soon after his admission he entered the field of politics, induced to do so doubtless by his friends, because of his natural talent as a public speaker. It was the age of oratory, both in legislative halls and at the bar, and a young man of forceful powers of public speech was naturally pushed out into political life.
He began at the bottom. being elected to the Pennsylvania legislature its 1816 and was returned in 1817, 1818, 1819 and 1820. He was nominated in 1826 as an independent candidate for congress against James Clark, the Democratic nominee, and was elected. In 1828 he was re-elected without opposition, and was also elected in 1830 and 1832, latterly as the regular Democratic nominee, the parties having been reorganized since he first entered congressional life. He went to congress as the leader of his party in his county and because of his forensic talents and pronounced ability, very soon gained an enviable standing in that body. he great question in congress then was the re-charter of the United States Bank. Andrew Jackson was president and brought all the power of his administration to bear to defeat its re-charter. Coulter had the courage to oppose the president and to support the United States Bank. This position lost him many friends in his district who were stanch adherents of "Old Hickory." In i134, therefore, John Klingensmith, a plain man of German descent, was nominated for congress. He was regarded as a strong man in his district. Many of the voters were of German extraction. and a man of their dialect and nationality, particularly if they imagined him to, in some degree, resemble their idea of President Jackson, as was the case with Klingensmith, would receive almost their solid vote,. Coulter was the opposing candidate, and it was hoped that by his eloquence and personal popularity he could overcome this united opposition. But, though he made a gallant fight, he was defeated by Klingensmith. A leading newspaper at this time lamented his defeat in the following language:
"Poor Pennsylvania! She is the Boeotia of the Union: where else could such a man as Richard Coulter leave been defeated by such an unknown and illiterate person as his antagonist?"
At the close of his last term in congress, in 1835, he resumed the practice of the law in Greensburg, which had been somewhat neglected during the years he was in political life. He was then forty-seven years old, and for eleven years was engaged exclusively in his profession. The bar was not, by any means, a weak one in his day. John B. Alexander, the elder Foster and Beaver were men who could give any bar a high standing. Coulter easily took rank with these men. Alexander perhaps excelled him in his knowledge of the law, and Foster was doubtless greater than he in the management of a case, but in his address before a jury he easily surpassed either of them.
Mr. Cowan was then a young man, but in his latter years he said he regarded Coulter as the most eloquent and impressive jury lawyer who ever practiced at the Westmoreland bar. His practice during these years was one of the largest, if not the largest, at the bar, and if the reader imagines that he was an advocate alone he is sadly in error. He was the best educated man of his day at the bar, and in his knowledge of the law he was excelled only by the elder Foster and Alexander, and this is not by any means a discredit to Coulter.
In 1846 a vacancy occurred on the supreme bench of the state, occasioned by the death of justice John Kennedy. The governor was urged by a petition to appoint Richard Coulter to the position, the Westmoreland bar signing the petition without regard to party. He was accordingly appointed justice of the supreme court of Pennsylvania by Governor Francis R. Shunk, and took his seat September 16th of that year. By virtue of this appointment, he filled the office until the organic law was so changed in 1850 that all positions on the bench were vacated and thereafter were to be filled by popular election. The first election under the new law was in the fall of 1851. The Democratic nominees were John Bannister Gibson, Jeremiah S. Black, Ellis Lewis, Walter H. Lowrie and James Campbell. Richard Coulter and four others were nomi- nated by the Whigs. In the Democratic convention in 1851 Coulter received support and the nomination by the Whig party was tendered him without solicitation. At the fall election all of the Whig candidates were defeated except Coulter, he defeating James Campbell by several thousand votes. Campbell shortly afterwards became attorney general of Pennsylvania. and later postmaster general under Franklin Pierce. Under a constitutional provision lots were drawn for length of term. Justice Black drew the short term of three years, and thereby became chief justice of Pennsylvania. Lewis drew the six, Gibson the nine, Lowrie the twelve and Coulter the fifteen year term.
Justice Coulter very early distinguished himself on the bench by an elaborate opinion in the case of Hummell vs Brown (6th Bar, p. 86), in which he, with peculiar erudition, outlined the legislative power of the state in the coercion and control of corporations. When this opinion was delivered, in 1847, it was regarded by lawyers as one of the ablest and most eloquent opinions ever delivered from the supreme bench. He did not live long to fill the office to which he had been chosen, but died in Greensburg April 20, 1852, his death being announced from the supreme bench on May 11 following.
Justice Coulter was the only member of the Westmoreland bar who ever reached the supreme bench. As a lawyer he took high rank on the bench, and his decisions are yet valued and quoted by the profession. No man could take first place on a bench that was adorned by John Bannister Gibson, but Coulter was undoubtedly entitled to rank high after Gibson. and in one respect, viz.: as a scholar outside of the law, he was superior to Gibson or any other man on the bench.
His addresses in congress and elsewhere were not only eloquent, but charm- ing in literary style and grace. His poetic temperament lent a richness and beauty to his speech, while his logic and marshaling of facts made his arguments almost irresistible. Though over fifty years have passed away since his death, his fame as an orator still lives.
He was never married, but lived most of his life with his widowed mother and a maiden sister.
We insert the inscription he wrote about 1826, as an epitaph for his mother's tombstone, which loses nothing by being compared with Lord Macauley’s well-known tribute to his mother:
"The tears which sorrow sheds, the flowers that affection plants, and the monument gratitude rears over the grave of a beloved parent soon pass away, but the deep memory of maternal kindness, piety and virtue, survives over death and time, and will last while the soul itself endures."
The Drum family was a very noted one in this county in the last century. Augustus Drum was a grandson of Simon and a son of Simon Drum. Jr., the latter being well remembered in the early history of Greensburg as its old-time postmaster, a position from which he was retired with the election of William Henry Harrison in 1840, after almost a lifetime of service. Among other prominent men, he was on the funeral committee of Gen. Arthur St. Clair in 1818.
Three of his sons became prominent. Simon H. Drum was a graduate from West Point in the class of 1830 and was killed at Garita De Belen, in the Mexican war, September 13, 1847. Richard Coulter Drum, his youngest son, was also in the Mexican war, and afterwards, by gradual promotions, reached the position of adjutant general of the United States army. He was the only man in our country’s history who filled that position who had not been educated at West Point.
Augustus Drum was the sixth son, born in Greensburg November 26, 1815, and was educated at Jefferson College. He read law With Alexander W. Foster and was admitted to the bar in 1836. He was a man of medium height and build, with brown hair and blue eyes. Not long after his admission to the bar he was married to Isabel, a daughter of Daniel Stannard, of Indiana, Pennsylvania, and for many years, after the prevalent custom of that day, practiced in both Indiana and Westmoreland counties. In Indiana he was a politician and leader of the Democratic party, but in Greensburg was mostly renowned as a lawyer and excelled in his addresses before a jury. He was the same age as Cowan and Burrell, and in his profession advanced so rapidly that at the age of forty he easily ranked with the first lawyers of the bar.
Late in the forties he represented his district in the state senate of Penn- sylvania. In 1852 he was the candidate of the Democratic party for congress and was elected after a spirited contest over a number of opponents. A song was improvised and sung widely by his friends, with a stanza for each opponent. The last of each division was: “He'll be left at home because he can't beat a Drum."
Mr. Drum made himself heard in congress, but unfortunately he introduced an amendment relative to the questions involved in the Wilmot Proviso, and this made him many enemies among the rapidly increasing Abolition element of his district. In 1854 he was a candidate for re-election, but the Know-Nothing party had already gained great strength, and when they united with the Whigs they accomplished his defeat. John Covode was elected over him and commenced his long and notable career in congress.
At the close of his term in congress, in 1855, he returned to Greensburg and devoted himself exclusively to the practice of the law. In 1857 he built a residence on South Main street, now owned by the heirs of James C. Clark, but he had scarcely completed it until he was taken ill and died in 1858, in the forty-third year of his age.
John Young Barclay, a nephew and namesake of Judge John Young, was born in Bedford county on November 29, 1798. About 1817 he came to Greensburg to read law with his uncle, and was admitted to the bar in the November term, 1819. He was a man of large frame, being about six feet high, strongly built and of a fair complexion. He devoted himself entirely to the practice of his profession. He rode from one county to another in company with the judge and the more prominent lawyers, after the fashion of the olden time, and soon acquired a good practice in each county of the Tenth judicial district. He was a member of the constitutional convention which framed the Pennsylvania constitution of 1838, but further than this he never sought or obtained office. He was a Mason in Anti-Masonic times, a Democrat and a stanch supporter of Andrew Jackson; yet, notwithstanding this, he supported Thaddeus Stevens and Governor George Wolf in their heroic efforts to establish the common-school system of Pennsylvania, a measure with which their names must ever be closely connected. For this Mr. Barclay was violently opposed, the opposition even threatening to mob him, but nothing daunted, he still advocated the cause of the common schools and lived to see his ideas triumph.
T. J. Barclay
He was married to Isabella, a daughter of Alexander Johnston of "Kingston House," a sister of Governor William F. Johnston. All his life he was fond of athletic sports, outdoor life and horseback riding, and this fondness perhaps led him to his early death. In 1841, when he was but forty-three years of age, he was thrown from a horse and received an injury from which he died the day following, February 18. He left a large family, one of his daughters, Elizabeth, being married to Gen. James Keenan; his son, Thomas J., became eminent in the financial circles of the county.
Thomas Johnston Barclay was the eldest son of John Y. Barclay. He was much more widely known in his latter years as a financier than as a member of the bar. though before he became a banker he won his spurs in the legal profession. He was born in Greensburg on January 23, 1826, and was educated at Jefferson College. He read law with his uncle, Governor William F. Johnston, and with Henry D. Foster. He was admitted to the bar in August, 1844, in his nineteenth year, and for eight years devoted himself exclusively to the practice of the law, barring the time spent in the Mexican war. In November following his admission he was appointed district attorney by Governor David R. Porter and held this position for some years. He, like his father, was a man of six feet three inches high, with a rugged constitution.
When the war with Mexico came he enlisted as second sergeant under Captain, afterwards Colonel, John W. Johnston, late of "Kingston House." in the Second Pennsylvania regiment, and was promoted to the first lieutenancy December 31, 1847. He participated in the battles of Molino del Rey, Chapultepec, Vera Cruz, the storming of Mexico, etc. At the close of the war he returned to Westmoreland county and resumed the practice of the law.
In 1852 he was elected treasurer of Westmoreland county for two years, and this practically closed his professional life. In 1854 he began the banking business in Greensburg, and was closely engaged in it for the rest of his life. In this he achieved great success. He is easily entitled to rank as the first financier of his day in the county, and indeed as one of the leading bankers of Western Pennsylvania. He was a man of deep thought, words and little display or public demonstration. So unerring was his judgment that his advice on all manner of business propositions was sought and followed more than that of any other man of his day in the county. Even in politics, to which, like his father, he apparently paid but little attention, his counsel was always sought and he was always a potent factor in the Democratic campaigns. In 1854 he was married to Rebecca, a daughter of Hon. Joseph H. Kuhns. He died suddenly after a few days' illness, on August 25, 1881. He was the father of Thomas Barclay, of the present bar.
It is difficult in the narrow limits of an article of this kind to do justice to the man who attained the eminence of Henry D. Foster. He was born in Mercer county, Pennsylvania, December 19, 1808, and was descended from a Scotch, English and Dutch ancestry. He was a grandson of Rev. William Foster and a son of Samuel B. Foster, who was married to Elizabeth Donnell, a daughter of Judge Donnell, of Northumberland county. Their son, Henry Donnell Foster, received his early education in Allegheny College, Meadville, Pennsylvania, and came to Greensburg in 1826 to study law in the office of Alexander W. Foster, his uncle, who has been herein previously written of.
He pursued his studies under his uncle's instruction and was admitted to practice law in Westmoreland county on August 26, 1829. Before his admission to the bar he was examined by John B. Alexander, R. B. McCabe and Joseph H. Kuhns. Mr. Foster's ability' as a lawyer was recognized even in his youth. He was thoroughly devoted to his profession. Nature gave him eminently a legal mind, and this combined with his unerring judgment on the trial of a suit made him a most formidable opponent. From his early years at the bar he was without taste for criminal business, and when so engaged he invariably took the side of the defense. His power over a jury was considered phenomenal, and there were but few who could successfully oppose him. He had all his life an extensive practice and might have died independently wealthy but for his extreme liberality to the needy and to his friends.
Many stories are told concerning this characteristic in the life of Mr. Foster, and it may not be out of place to give one or two of them:
One day a political friend, a tailor, went hastily into his office and asked him for the loan of ten dollars. Mr. Foster handed it to him without more than looking at him. A few days afterwards the tailor called and said: "General, I want to pay you the money I owe you." "Why," said the General, "you don't owe me anything." "Oh, yes," said he, "I borrowed money from you here one day and I wish to repay it." "Oh, yes," said the General, "I believe you did borrow a hundred dollars from me. “No,” said the tailor, “it was not a hundred, but only ten, and here it is.” The General took it and thanked him kindly.
At another time a young member of the bar was burned out by a fire and lost his library. Thinking that assistance would stand him in good stead a number of Greensburg people circulated a subscription paper to purchase him a new library. In the morning two young men called on General Foster and explained to him the nature of their mission, when Mr. Foster very kindly subscribed and paid ten dollars. In the afternoon two other members of the committee, not knowing that the first members had called on the General, visited him. The General said they were doing exactly right and that the young man should be helped, whereupon he subscribed and paid fifteen dollars. Later, when it became known that General Foster had twice subscribed in this way, one of the subscriptions was returned to him.
When Judge Buffington was ready to retire from the bench because his life's work was done, he said that Henry D. Foster was the strongest and consequently the most dangerous man when, on the wrong side of a case, who ever appeared before him. Justice Gibson and Henry D. Foster and Judge Thompson were for many years regarded as three of the strongest men at the Pennsylvania bar, and Justice Gibson himself has been heard to say frequently that he regarded Mr. Foster as the greatest land lawyer in Pennsylvania.
He was a Jacksonian Democrat even as far back as 1828. He was three times elected to congress and twice defeated, being elected in 1842 and 1844 and for the last time in 1870. He was defeated in 1866 and again in 1868, when the returns showed a majority in his favor, but the seat was contested by Covode, his opponent, which contest was decided against Mr. Foster. In 1860, when he was paving no attention whatever to politics, the Democratic state convention met in Lancaster. After balloting several times without nominating any one, the name of Foster was sprung on the convention and he was nominated for governor. It was during this contest that he had his celebrated controversy with Stephen A. Douglas, who pressed Foster, against his own views to take sides against Breckinridge, which Foster refused to do. He was defeated for the governorship, for Pennsylvania went Republican in that year and later cast her vote for Abraham Lincoln. Andrew Curtin was elected governor.
Concerning Foster's unlooked-for nomination for governor in 1860, Mr. Bales McColley, of Ligonier, relates a remarkable incident, all the more remarkable it is when it is remembered that our politicians were very careful in those davs of small majorities to select strong candidates for governor, and that the Democratic party had been in the ascendancy for many years in Pennsylvania. Mr. McColley, who was then, prothonotary of the county, was closeted with General Foster in the back room of the prothonotary’s office in the old court house, engaged in a private conversation, neither of them thinking about the governorship. Some boys passed down Main street yelling, "Hurray for Foster." Little attention was paid to this until again and again the cry "Foster for Governor" was repeated. By this time Mr. McColley’s suspicions were aroused. and he asked the General what it meant. Foster replied unconcernedly that it was merely the foolishness of some thoughtless boys. But the cry became general, and when, much against Foster's desire, an investigation was made, they found hundreds of citizens in the street hunting for Foster to congratulate him, for the news of his nomination for the governorship had just reached Greensburg. Everyone in his home town was delighted with the nomination, save Foster himself; he had no ambition to be governor.
While in congress he made some very remarkable speeches. In 1846 he was warmly congratulated by a no less distinguished man than John Quincy Adams, "The Old Man Eloquent." who made the remark that Foster was the coming man. In the tariff debates of the day, if one will search the Congressional Globe, he will find that Mr. Foster left a very enviable record. In one bold and convincing argument made against Holmes of South Carolina, where the duty on railroad iron was at stake, he has left us a masterpiece both of close reasoning and logical deduction: and he demonstrated that he himself was thoroughly alive to the great importance of the iron industries of Penn- syIvania. The tariff of 1842, which was a very highly protective one, it will be remembered, was then under discussion.
Mr. Foster was frequently offered positions on the supreme bench of Pennsylvania, but always declined them. His only ambition, if indeed he had an ambition outside of professional life, was to become United States senator. He was supported for this office by his wing of the Democracy, but was defeated in the end by Simon Cameron, who was, however, always one of his greatest admirers.
Mr. Foster was a man universally loved and respected. His manners were gentle and attractive and this made him a host of friends wherever he went. In personal appearance he was of medium height. In his youth he had dark hair, but this turned gray and white in his declining years. His nose was aquiline, his eyes were a light blue, his forehead high and commanding, and though comparatively a small man, he had a "high and lofty mien."
If any one at the Westmoreland bar now competent to give an opinion on the question, were asked who was the greatest lawyer in the second half of the century just passed, he would doubtless hesitate whether he should name Henry D. Foster or Edgar Cowan. Both of them for many years stood not only at the head of the Westmoreland bar, but were ranked throughout the commonwealth as the very leading lawyers in the state. As may be supposed, they were nearly always pitted against each other in the important trials of their day. Foster was undoubtedly more resourceful than Cowan in the trial of a weak case, but, on the other hand, the latter possessed some elements of strength which the former lacked. Take them all in all they were marvelously equally matched, and since their death there have been no rivals to their fame in the Westmoreland bar. Foster cross-examined very little, paving apparently no attention to the testimony unless he thought the witness mistaken or wilfully perverting or concealing the truth. Usually he sat with his head down during a trial, until the vital point, or mayhap, a weak place of his case, which he saw with unerring certainty from the beginning, was touched by his opponent. Then it was that his fiery nature was aroused, and the spectator saw him come like a warring eagle to the rescue of his endangered position.
Mr. Foster died on October 16, 1880, in the seventy-second year of his age. No man's death for many years in this part of the state called forth such unstinted expressions of sorrow. He was not only a great lawyer, but was singularly fortunate in the possession of the esteem love of the entire community.
Senator Edgar Cowan was the most distinguished lawyer Westmoreland county ever produced. He was the only member of the bar who ever succeeded in being elected to the United States senate. It is peculiar, too, that he filled during his long, and eventful life, but two offices; one was that of school director in Greensburg and the other was that of United States senator.
He was descended from a Scotch-Irish stock of intellectually and physically strong men. Hugh Cowan settled in Chester county in 1720. His son, William Cowan, grandfather of Edgar Cowan, was born in 1749, and was a captain in the Revolutionary war. He was a very large man in stature, vigorous in intellectual power and an acknowledged leader in his community. Both Edgar Cowan's paternal and maternal ancestors were prominent in their day and both his grandfathers were in the Revolutionary War.
Mr. Cowan was born in Sewickley township, September 19, 1815. He was brought up by his grandfather. At an early age he taught school, worked on the Youghiogheny river as a keel boatman and for a time worked at the carpenter trade. In 1838 he entered Franklin College at New Athens, Ohio, where he was graduated in 1839, being the valedictorian of his class. He returned to Westmoreland county and read law with Henry D. Foster. Shortly after his admission in February, 1842, he became associated with John F. Beaver, whose office fixtures and practice were purchased by Mr. Cowan when the former moved to Ohio.
Nature had indeed been kind to him. She gave him a magnificent form, he being six feet four inches high. With most classically chiseled features, an intellect perhaps more acute than that of any other man who ever belonged to the Westmoreland bar, and a voice that could roll and thunder like the peat of a great organ; and in addition to this she endowed him with a ready wit which alone was sufficient to render him noted among his fellows. With all these marvelous powers one need not be surprised that he very rapidly attained a foremost rank at the bar. His practice for years was the largest in Greensburg. If one will take the pains to examine the continuance dockets between 1850 and 1860, he will see that Mr. Cowan either tried or was connected with two-thirds of the cases, both great and small, in all these years. During this period he did not purchase property, but books, and read them.
It may be well to state here that he was scarcely more scholarly in the law than in science, history, philosophy, poetry, and the classics. He was a great reader all his life; he had a most retentive memory and could at any moment recall and give utterance to any thought which he had mastered in former years. In 1861 he was elected to the United States Senate by the legislature of Pennsylvania. It will hardly be understood at this day how a man without the influences which wealth can bring, without the power of political leadership and coming from a backwoods county, could be elected to this high position over the Pittsburgh and Philadelphia candidates. Before this he had been little known in politics except as a stump speaker. He was originally a Jacksonian Democrat, in 1840 became a Whig, and in 1856 was strong in his advocacy of the election of John C. Fremont. He had also been a presidential elector in 1860 on the Republican ticket.
When he entered the United States senate, secession, the great question which had been bubbling and bursting forth in congress for thirty years, had now fully exploded and was before the American people for settlement. It could not be otherwise than that a man of Mr. Cowan's attainments, strength of character and native ability would take a high rank even in so learned a body as the United States senate. Very early after his entry upon the duties of his office he laid down certain rules which were to govern him in all his actions in the senate. One of the rules was as follows:
That the war being made to suppress the rebellion and not to make a conquest of the Confederate states, therefore as soon as the southern states submitted they should resume their former functions in the Union.
With this principle in view he voted against the confiscation bill and opposed the policy of the Republican party as to reconstruction. And there is little doubt now that his policy of reconstruction much more nearly resembled the ideas of President Lincoln than the one adopted by the ruling party. Lincoln's talk with Stephens and Toombs at the Hampton Roads conference and his letter to Governor Vance, both prove this. Both Lincoln and Cowan undoubtedly wanted to "bury the hatchet" at once when the war was closed.
It had been usual for new senators to remain quiet for a session or two and learn something of the methods of conducting business before taking part in debate. Not so with Mr. Cowan. He dashed into debate on legal questions in the very first session. As a lawyer he took high rank at once with such men as Collamer, Browning, the elder Bayard, Trumbull and Fessenden. He measured swords with the ablest lawyers of the senate, and there is no reliance to be put in human opinion if he did not hold his own in every contest.
Governor Hendricks said of him in his second year in the senate that "he was a dashing debater; came into any controversy when it was at its highest, and was able to maintain himself against much odds." A very good description of Mr. Cowan is given by the poet, Nathaniel P. Willis, in the Home Journal, from which we quote: "The drive to Hall's Hill was exceedingly beautiful, like an excursion in early October, but made mainly interesting to me, however, by the company of the elegant senator who shared our carriage, Mr. Cowan, of Pennsylvania. He is the finest specimen of humanity I have ever seen for brilliancy and learning. * * * Of his powerfully proportioned frame and fine chiseled face, the senator seemed as naturally unconscious as of his singular readiness and universal erudition. He comes from the western part of Pennsylvania and passed his early life as half huntsman, half schoolmaster and later became a lawyer. His speech on this occasion for the flags, very flowing and fine, has been reported at length in the papers. It was most stirring to watch the faces of the men as they looked on and listened to him. I realized what eloquence might do in the inspiring of pluck for the battle."
From the "Dobbs Family in America," a novel published in 1864 by Maxwell & Company in London, written by Albert Rhodes, page 197, is found this description: "That tall, fine looking gentleman with keen gray eves and aquiline nose is Edgar Cowan, of Pennsylvania. It is generally conceded, even among his enemies, that he is the most talented man who ever came to Congress from that state. He came up from the common people. At an early age he was thrown upon his own resources and by his indomitable will and talents mounted to his present position. He is the fullest man in this chamber. Although his specialty is the Law, it would be difficult to name a science that he is not more or less acquainted with. Nothing delights him more than to tackle with men of science who are able to throw the ball with him; then the riches of his well-stored mind are displayed in profusion. Let the subject be what it may, he always touches the bottom. In speaking, as soon as he is fully aroused, his words roll out in well rounded sentences. His voice is full and deep, and when he chooses to employ it, has more volume than that of any other senator here. His style in one point, that of classic illustrations, is not unlike Senator Sumner’s of Boston. Cowan is practical and argumentative in his speeches, a wrangler by profession, and is as brave as Julius Caesar. Both Cowan and Sumner are fond of tradition and classic lore and here they meet on common ground."
George Augusta Sala wrote of him in the London Times, as "the ablest Shakespearian scholar in the United States Congress." Daniel Daugherty spoke of him in 1880 as "the most scholarly and learned man among living Pennsylvanians." All this induced Senator Trumbull to say that Cowan knew more useless things than any man he ever met.
It may be supposed that the public utterances of a man of such varied intel- lectual accomplishments would be beyond the mind of the ordinary hearer. The fact was exactly the opposite. Mr. Cowan was, above all things, essentially a trained lawyer, and as such he surpassed himself in everything else in his ability to state the principles of his case and in doing so to adapt his language and reasoning to the mind of the hearer. This power of statement he had in such a marked degree that the hearer could not misunderstand if he tried, and therein lay his greatest strength as a lawyer. As an illustration of his Anglo-Saxon language the following incident is remembered:
In the early eighties he delivered one afternoon an address to a jury, occupying-- about an hour and a half. In the evening one of the jurors, a level-headed, hard working, rugged minded man, of but little education, came to the writer and said to him: "Who was that big man who addressed us this afternoon?” When told that it was Senator Cowan he said: "I suppose he is a very ignorant man." Not wishing to disabuse his mind too suddenly, he was told that Mr. Cowan was regarded as rather bright and asked him why he doubted his education. "Because." said he, "he talked all afternoon to us and did not use any big words and I supposed that, being ignorant, he did not know any to use." Mr. Cowan regarded this as one of the highest compliments which could be paid to him.
Mr. Cowan’s rural nativity colored his whole life. He loved nature, the singing birds, the trees and the wild flowers. By nature he was a philosopher. His examination of law students generally developed into a delightful talk on the causes and effects of the natural phenomena surrounding them. He invested his money in lands rather than in stocks, bonds, etc.
In his law practice his natural predilection was to favor the weak rather than the strong, and he generally appeared for the individual as against the corporation. In the senate he raised his strong arm against syndicates, rings and combinations.
One morning when quite infirm with age he was pressing before Judge Hunter the case of a poor widow, convicted of selling a few glasses of beer without a license. She had a large family and he asked the court to suspend sentence, to send her home to her children with the admonition that she sell no more liquor. The judge, with a quizzical smile, said: "Have you any cases, anything to cite to sustain your position, Senator?" "Oh, yes, your honor, I have," said Mr. Cowan. "I refer you to a judge whose opinions are clearer than Gibson's, whose law is more enduring than that of Lycurgus, and from whose judgment no one to this day has successfully appealed: a judge who, when he had before him a woman charged with a serious offense, and guilty, too, like this woman, had the courage and the kindness to send her forth with the injunction 'Go thy way and sin no more.'”
On one occasion a client was paying him a fee for services rendered and, by a good deal of haggling, beat him down from one hundred to fifty dollars. In writing the receipt he wrote it without capital letters, using small letters in beginning each part of the client's name. When remonstrated with by the client he said that a man who was small enough to beat a lawyer down to such a fee for such services should always have his name written in that way, and that this was the best he could write for so small a fee.
At another time a wealthy but very economical client called to have him draw his will, devising many thousands to different relatives, etc., and asked him what he would charge. Mr. Cowan told him he would charge one hundred dollars. The client thought this very excessive and said he could get a will written by a justice of the peace for one dollar. "Very well," said Mr. Cowan. "but remember if you get a will written by a justice of the peace, and I live longer than you do. I will make a good deal more than a hundred dollars out of your estate.” The record shows that a cheap, defective will was written, that Mr. Cowan sustained it in a long contest and received a fee of nearly a thousand dollars.
Not being in accord with the predominant party in Pennsylvania, he was not returned to the senate. In 1867, therefore, he returned to Greensburg and for many years again divided with General Foster the honors of leadership of the bar, appearing in nearly all the important trials and seemingly as forceful as in his former years. Early in the eighties, his eyesight failing, he retired gradually from the duties of his profession. This he did willingly, too, for he realized that his life as a lawyer had been a success, that he had grasped its greatest honors, and that there might yet remain for him a few years of ease which a life of unusual industry had warranted and made possible. In 1883 and 1884 his days were spent mostly in hearing his son read to him, in looking after his estate and in a quasi social life, well becoming an elderly gentleman of his disposition and attainments. His natural strength was such that his days should have been prolonged to fourscore years and more. But late in 1884 a most malignant cancer developed in his mouth. It grew rapidly and was attended with excruciating pain. Gradually he wasted away and on August 31, 1885, his last battle was fought, his race was run, his eyes were closed and his eloquent tongue was stilled in death.
Edward Johnston Keenan was a son of James Keenan and a younger brother of General James Keenan. He was born in Youngstown, Pennsylvania, April 3, 1834, and was educated at Greensburg. 'He read law with H. C. Marchand, Esq., and was admitted to the Westmoreland bar in 1863. Prior to this, when about sixteen years of age, he accompanied his older brother, Thomas J. Keenan, late of Pittsburgh, to Europe and spent nearly a year in England. Of his foreign experiences and observations he furnished many interesting and amusing sketches, for his mind was peculiarly acute in noticing and depicting the incongruous and humorous side of life. At the age of eighteen he was editor of the Greensburg Democrat and afterwards served a term as register and recorder of his county, having previously conducted the Office while his brother James was the incumbent. When the Civil war came he entered as first lieutenant of infantry in the Eleventh Pennsylvania Reserves, from which he was transferred to the Signal Corps and afterward promoted to higher positions.
When he returned from the war he began the practice of the law and very soon stood foremost among the younger members of the profession in Greensburg. His strong points as a lawyer were his wide information and culture, his ingenuity in escaping impending disaster and his unrivaled humor. These qualities enabled him to build up a large practice. "Admit nothing and demand proof" was his oft quoted maxim in the trial of a case.
From the first he stood high in the councils of Democracy and was several times county chairman of his party. Later he was deputy state chairman of Western Pennsylvania, embracing some twenty counties. Mr. Keenan waged many fierce political battles with Hon. John Covode, then a member of congress, but aside from politics, they were on intimate terms. His political articles are even today fresh and pungent.
In the early seventies he was editing the Greensburg Democrat in addition to practicing law. Each week he was publishing a chapter of a serial the scene of which was laid in England. The story had a great many characters and as the fall campaign advanced he found that but half of it had been published, and that he very greatly needed the room in his paper for political matter. So the ingenious lawyer wrote a chapter or two of his own and substituted them as part of the real story. In these he implanted the colony idea among the characters, all of whom were easily induced by his magic mind to emigrate to America. They, strange to say, all sailed from Liverpool in a single vessel, and when in mid-ocean he made them encounter a severe storm which sunk the ship and all on board were lost. Thus the story ended and the resourceful editor had abundant space in his paper for political news. He died June 1, 1877, aged forty-three years.
Andrew M. Fulton, born September 9, 1828, was admitted to the bar in 1860. He was a descendant of an old and noted line of Seceders, or United Presbyterians, being a son of Andrew and a grandson of John Fulton. Though he did not live to become an eminent lawyer, he had a few qualities which a sketch of the Westmoreland bar would be incomplete without. Probably his most remarkable quality was his ready wit. He had been an intimate friend and companion of Judge Logan before the judge was elected to the bench. On one occasion during local option times, when good liquor was ex- tremely rare and difficult to procure, Mr. Fulton was supplying his friends with a choice brand which he had in his office. and among his friends was Judge Logan. After sampling the liquor and all praising it, Judge Logan inadvertently asked: "Where did you get this, Mr. Fulton"' Fulton did not reply, but when questioned a second time as to where he had gotten it, he turned his grave face towards the judge and said: "Judge, if any one asks you where I got this just tell them that you don't know." At another time he was pressing a matter before Judge Logan on the bench, which had not been properly brought forth by the testimony and which the judge held was not therefore before him for consideration. Though he told the lawyer this, Mr. Fulton still persisted in arguing his favorite point, whereupon the judge said to him very emphatically: "Mr. Fulton, the court knows nothing--" but before he could finish the sentence the ready wit replied: "I know, your honor, that the court knows nothing, but I am about to tell it something." This joke on the judge has been long remembered and was highly appreciated by all who heard it, and by none more than by Judge Logan himself. Neither Mr. Fulton nor Judge Logan must, however, be considered as men who were intemperate, though both, we doubt not, like many other prominent members of the Westmoreland bar, appreciated a taste of fine liquor. Mr. Fulton was a member of the legislature in 1870-71, and was also the representative of Westmoreland county in the constitutional convention which met in 1873 to formulate the constitution by which Pennsylvania has since been governed. He was, moreover, one of the ablest members of that convention. Unfortunately for him he was taken sick in the spring of 1878 and died after a brief illness, on April 3.
The Marchand family was indeed a very noted family in the bar of Westmoreland county. They were of Huguenot descent and were sons, and the latter a grandson, of Dr. David Marchand, who represented this district in congress in 1816 and 1818.
Albert G. Marchand was the first one of the family who became a member of the bar. When he was quite a young man his father, Dr. David Marchand, was elected prothonotary of Westmoreland county, and while he was assisting his father in conducting this office he read law with John B. Alexander and was admitted to the bar in 1833. He was a man of stout build, dark complexion, dark hair and eyes, and in his day was an advocate of marked ability before a jury or court. He devoted himself entirely to the legal profession until 1838. That year, when he was but twenty-seven years of age, he was elected to congress, representing the counties of Westmoreland and Indiana. When he took his seat in the Twenty-sixth congress he was the youngest member of that body, except one. He was re-elected in 1840 and then declined to serve his constituents further in this capacity. He was born February 26, 1811.
In the latter part of 1847 he was afflicted with a disease which rapidly undermined his constitution, but did not make itself known until a few months before his death. He died on February 5, 1848, aged thirty-seven years. His loss was deeply felt because of his ability, his high character and his promising life.
Henry Clay Marchand was a brother of Albert G. Marchand and was born March 9, 1819. He read law with his brother, was admitted to the bar in May 1840, and at once became a partner of his brother. This partnership continued until his brother's death in 1848. Henry C. Marchand practiced law in Greensburg for forty-one years. He was a man of high character, thoroughly devoted to his profession, and for many years before his death was easily ranked among the foremost men of the bar. He was not a man of outward show, but a man of solid worth. The leading characteristics of Mr. Marchand were the soundness of his judgment, his sincerity, his caution and his industry. "Let us examine it again out of abundant caution." was one of his oft-repeated suggestions.
He made no claim to forensic display, but argued cases well before a jury and very well before the court. His chief power lay in a special ability to prepare and arrange to the best advantage all the details useful in the trial of a case, and to select with skill and discretion the authorities bearing upon the question at hand. In this sphere of professional life he had no superior in Westmoreland County, and it will be remembered that he came in contact with men like Foster, Cowan and Laird almost daily, in his practice of the law, and that the weightiest matters were entrusted to him.
For many years he was chief solicitor for the Pennsylvania Railroad Company, in Westmoreland county and had a large corporation business in addition. He practiced law alone from 1848, when his partner and brother died, until 1864, when his nephew, John A. Marchand, was admitted to the bar and became his junior partner. He was a Presbyterian in religion and lived a most exemplary life. He died March 9, 1882.
John A. Marchand was the son of Albert Gallatin Marchand, and was born in Greensburg June 8, 1842. He was educated in Washington College, and in 1862 began to read law with his uncle, Henry C. Marchand, and was admitted to the bar in May, 1864. He was a thorough-going, painstaking lawyer like his uncle and father had been before him. He was essentially an office lawyer, caring little for the business of the courts. He excelled in the preparation of papers and in directing the management of business affairs. He was a man of high social qualities.
In 1869 he was appointed a register in bankruptcy by Chief justice Chase for the counties of Westmoreland, Indiana and Fayette, a position which he filled with grace and dignity until the repeal of the bankrupt law in 1878. He assisted his uncle and partner as solicitor for the Pennsylvania Railroad Company, and was closely associated with him in all of the business of the firm. He, too, was almost painstaking and exact lawyer.
He was married October 5, 1868, to Mary Todd, a daughter of David Todd and granddaughter of Judge James Todd, who was attorney general of the commonwealth under Governor Ritner, and a native of Philadelphia.
Like his uncle, he paid very little attention to politics, but gave his closest attention to professional business. He had, however, been chief burgess of his native town and was president of the Merchants' and Farmers' Bank. He was an Episcopalian in religion and one of the highest Masons in the United States. He died August 5, 1896.
Archibald A. Stewart was born in Indiana county on March 3, 1833, and died suddenly in Greensburg on July 3, 1881. He was of Irish ancestry, and was graduated from Jefferson College in 1854, after which he came to Westmoreland county to read law with Hon. Henry D. Foster. In 1856 he was admitted to the bar, and continued to practice his profession until his death. He was twice elected to the office of district attorney, and filled the position with good ability.
Mr. Stewart was a generous-hearted man, generous even to a fault. It mattered little to him whether his client had money to pay for his services or not. He took their cases and gave in return his best efforts. There is no doubt whatever but that between the years of 1865 and 1880 he tried more cases, particularly in the quarter sessions, than any other member of the bar. This alone was sufficient to make him very popular in the county, but in addition to this he was a man of an open, friendly disposition. He was an uncompromising Democrat. In 1879 he won the nomination for judgeship easily over competitors, any one of whom was much better fitted for the position than he. His following in Westmoreland was immense, but he was defeated in the fall by Judge Hunter and we believe, unfortunately, never recovered from this backset. He was a man of strong build, strong constitution and strong personality.
But few men have brought with them to the bar as much native legal intellect as William M. Given. He was the son of Robert Given, better known as Judge Given, one of the old time associate judges of Westmoreland county. He began life as a school teacher, and with but little preliminary education read law with Henry D. Foster, and was admitted to the bar in May, 1862, when twenty-two years old.
He was a man of very fine physique. had bright, dark piercing eyes, a clear musical voice, and a very marked command of language. Indeed, his style of expression was at once so elegant and forceful that his every utterance apparently bore the weight of a judicial decree. These qualities enabled him to take a high rank even in his first years at the bar. As all advocate he had few equals.
Associated with Governor Latta, he was engaged to prosecute in the celebrated Drum case, in which a young man of good family named William Drum was tried for the murder in a street fight of a youth of meager intellect named David Mohigan. Judge Buffington certified disqualification in the case, because of the relationship between his family, and that of the defendant. The supreme court of the state appointed one of their number, Justice Agnew, to sit specially in the regular session of the oyer and terminer court of Westmoreland county to hear the case. The trial took place in November, 1868, when Mr. Given was but twenty-eight years old. Arrayed against him in defense of Drum was the flower of the Westmoreland bar, namely, Keenan, Hunter, Cowan and Foster. The management of the case was superior throughout, and Mr. Given's address to the jury was one of the finest ever delivered in our courts. No one who was fortunate enough to hear it ever forgot its magnetic effect upon the jury and the audience. The case became a ruling one in Pennsylvania criminal law, and is reported at length in No. 58. Pa., St., p. I.
Later he acquitted himself with equal credit as defendant's counsel in the trial of Hull, who was indicted for the murder of a railroad conductor named Parker. His strength did not lie, by any means, however, in the criminal courts. He was a lawyer of broad mind and great strength in every matter which engaged his attention. Unfortunately, he did not live to be old, but died suddenly of heart disease in 1882.
William A. Stokes, born in 1814, was one of the ablest members of the bar between 1850 and 1870. He came to Greensburg from Philadelphia when about forty years of age, having won a prominent place at the bar in that city before coming here. He was sent here by the Pennsylvania Railroad Company to look after its interests, which railroad was completed to Greensburg in 1852. He purchased a fine farm north of Greensburg, now known as Seton Hill, and there lived in affluence.
From the very first he took his place at the bar side by side with men like Foster and Cowan, and whilst he was not as great a lawyer as either of these men, in one respect, that is in the strength of his oratory, he was a man of wonderful power. He was a tall, slender man, with dark piercing eves, and one upon whom nature had bestowed many gifts. In public addresses, of which he made a great many, he had scarcely an equal in Western Pennsylvania. He was also an editor of the Greensburg Republican for some time. Shortly after the breaking out of the rebellion he enlisted in the service, taking out a company. Later he was promoted to the office of major. Sometime after the war was over he returned to Philadelphia, where he lived in retirement and died April 3, 1877.
James J. Hazlett was born in Indiana county and read law with Henry D. Foster, being admitted to the bar in 1864. For many years he practiced law in the Cowan building, he having been married to Senator Cowan's only daughter Elizabeth. Afterwards a partnership was formed with Mr. V. E. Williams, and the firm became a leading one at the bar. Hazlett was a man of much energy, and a graduate of Washington and Jefferson College in the class of 1860. Had he lived to round out his full measure of years, he would undoubtedly have become a shining light at the bar. He died after a brief illness, in 1887, aged forty-eight years.
James R. McAfee, editor and lawyer, was born in Allegheny county on March 10, 1822, and was a son of John and Mary Thompson McAfee, who were of Irish extraction. Mr. McAfee was a school teacher in the fifties, and from 1857 until 1860 was superintendent of the common schools of Westmoreland county. After filling the duties of this office he studied law with Hon. James A. Hunter and was admitted to the bar in 1866. He filled various offices-assistant revenue assessor, deputy secretary of the commonwealth, from 1879 to 1883, etc. In 1870 he founded the Greensburg Tribune, and two years later consolidated it with the Greensburg Herald, making what is now known as the Tribune-Herald. He gave most of his attention to these vocations rather than to the practice of the law. He died April 29, 1890.
Joseph H. Kuhns was born in September, 1800, and was graduated from Washington college in 1820. He read law with Major John B. Alexander, to whose sister he was afterward married, and was admitted to the bar in 1823. In 1850 he was elected by the Whig party to congress from the district composed of Westmoreland, Somerset, Indiana and Fulton counties. He did not like congressional life, but preferred the practice of the law. He was a jovial, polished gentleman and was the author of one bon mot which always lived: At a dinner given by a prominent member of the bar when Mr. Kuhns was quite old, when the guests were sitting around the table, they began to make remarks upon the appearance of the remnants of a large turkey which had been almost entirely eaten. This noble bird had been garnished with fern leaves. Many of the lawyers were remarking as to what the bird then resembled, when Mr. Kuhns said that it reminded him of "Fern on Remainder." It may be well, to state for the benefit of those who are not members of the bar, that this was the name of an English law book in common use many years ago. He died November 16, 1883.
H. Byers Kuhns, born in Greensburg, was graduated from Jefferson College and admitted to the bar in 1849, having read law with his father, Joseph H. Kuhns. He practiced law with a great deal of success all his life, except that he spent four years in the Civil war in the Eleventh Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteers, which was commanded by General Richard Coulter. He died October 9, 1889.
W. H. H. Markle was a lawyer of much prominence in his day. He was born near Millgrove, in Westmoreland county, February 3. 1823. He read law with Senator Cowan, was admitted to the bar in 1847, and was in partnership at different times with James C. Clark, James A. Logan and his son-in- law. Welty McCullough. He was district attorney. and collector of internal revenue, and was a man of high character and integrity. He died of paralysis. in Philadelphia, December 18, 1883.
John Armstrong, son of John Armstrong, Sr., was born in Greensburg, August 11, 1816. His father was a lawyer of much distinction and his son doubtless received great advantages in his early student days. At all events the son became one of the most thorough lawyers of his day in our county. He was not an advocate, but in the preparation of papers. in the settlement of estates and in giving wise counsel to his clients, he stood at the very head of his profession. He was, furthermore, a most complete gentleman, one of retiring disposition, and extremely kind and polite to all with whom he came in contact. No lawyer of the past is more kindly remembered than he.
Mr. Armstrong’s ability as a lawyer cannot be told in any better way than by a current anecdote of the bar. When Judge Buffington was on the bench Mr. Armstrong was appointed an auditor to distribute a large and important estate. When his report was completed exceptions were filed to some of his allowances. These exceptions finally came before the judge and were heard by him without knowing, perhaps, who the auditor was. They did not seem, however, to impress him very favorably, and he therefore inquired who had been the auditor. When told that it was Mr. Armstrong he remarked: "Oh! well, gentlemen, that will do: these exceptions are dismissed and the distribution of the auditor confirmed."
He was an old line Presbyterian and lived an exemplary Christian life. He died August 3, 1889.
Welty McCullough was born in Greensburg in 1847 and was graduated from Princeton College in the class of 1870. He read law with his father-in- law, Harry Markle, Esq.,. in Greensburg,. and was admitted to practice in 1872. He did not confine his practice entirely to this county, else we would doubtless hove more to say of him. Very early in his professional life he became a corporation lawyer and gave most of his attention to railroad law, and, whilst he always resided in Greensburg, he continuously kept an office in Pittsburgh. He was renowned both there and in Greensburg as a railroad and corporation lawyer, and in the preparation of papers and in all of the varied work of an all-round lawyer, he took anything but second place.
In 1886 he was elected to congress as a Republican, representing Westmoreland, Fayette and Greene counties. The district was strongly Democratic, but there were two Democrats in the field, which divided the vote of that party, and Mr. McCullough was elected. Unfortunately, shortly after the close of his first and only term in congress, he was taken sick and died August 31, 1889.
James C. Clark was born in Laughlintown, a little village in the eastern part of Westmoreland county, February 2, 1823. His father, James Clark,. was an extensive iron producer, and was engaged in the iron industry at Washington furnace, near Laughlintown. James Clark, Sr., was one of the prominent men of his day. He was canal commissioner and state senator, and came within one vote of being elected to the United States Senate in 1833, when James Buchanan was the successful candidate. His son received the best of preliminary training, and was graduated from Jefferson College in 1843.
Mr. Clark read law with Justice Coulter and was admitted to the bar in Westmoreland county in 1846. He was known as an office lawyer and in this he took high standing. He had a large corporation business, particularly for that day, when corporations were not so plentiful as now. For many years he was solicitor for the Pennsylvania Railroad Company in Westmoreland county. In 1874 he was elected to the state senate, and again in 1876, serving till 1881, and this, we believe, was the only office to which he ever aspired. In his later years he retired from the practice of the law and devoted his time assiduously to the coal business and to banking, he being one of the founders of the Greensburg Banking Company and also of the First National Bank.
He was for many years a school director in Greensburg and gave this his most thorough attention, as much so as though the office had paid him thousands. He was regarded as one of the most progressive school directors in the county, a reputation of which any man may be proud. He was a man of the highest integrity and a very substantial pillar in the United Presbyterian church. He died on April 23, 1893, and was buried in the St. Clair cemetery.
William H. Young was born in 1853 in Salem township, read law with James A. Hunter and was admitted to the bar in November, 1877. Mr. Young did not have the benefit of a college education, at least not one obtained within the walls of a college, but he had spent years in the stud of mathematics, science, history, language and literature--indeed, in all the branches that are usually pursued by a student in college. It must further be said that he was most thorough in these, and in whatever he attempted. Particularly was he strong in Latin and Greek. Nature had bestowed her gifts on Mr. Young with a lavish hand. She had endowed him essentially with the mind of a lawyer, and in all his mental qualities he approximated genius.
He was a tall, slender man with black hair and dark, flashing eves. Very soon after his admission to the bar in, 1877, he began to try cases and rapidly attained a high rank in the profession. His command of language was simply marvelous. When wrought up in argument to the court he was a man of unrivaled power, and seemed to have at his tongue’s end the accumulated thoughts and wisdom of a life's work. There was also a poetic temperament which ran through all his life, and bubbled forth in every sentence he uttered. These qualities were supplemented by an earnest manner, a voice with every note of music in its tones, and a magnetism which charmed his hearers and held them spellbound while he spoke.
Mr. Young was without conceit, egotism or vanity, and apparently, without even a knowledge of his superior powers. He frequently admired and praised qualities in others which he possessed in a much more eminent degree himself. His peculiar ability, to throw himself into the breach and work with unrivaled might and skill in the face of defeat, with little time for immediate preparation, often brought him at the last hour into cases that were, from their very nature, almost hopeless. Sometimes he was able thus to grasp victory from despair. When, as frequently happened, he drew by his splendid effort the heartiest congratulations from those who heard him, he always mod- estly shunning all compliments or words of praise, invariably replied, "No matter about the address, but how about the verdict.”
But all these rare intellectual powers were marred by ill health, he being an invalid almost from the time he came to the bar. In 1891 he was suddenly afflicted with softening of the brain, from which he died in a few months.
Harrison Perry Laird was the youngest son of Rev. Francis and Mary Moore Laird, and was of Scotch-Irish descent. He was a descendant, moreover, of Hon. John Moore, who is referred to elsewhere in these sketches as an early president judge. Mr. Laird was born in Franklin township, this county, in 1814. From his youth he was a cripple, and this, doubtless, by preventing him from engaging in many athletic pursuits. made him essentially a student, which quality he kept throughout his long life. He was graduated from Jefferson College and for a time taught school in Madison Academy, Kentucky, after which he took a course in the Transylvania University; still later he re- turned to Pennsylvania and read law with Hon. Charles Schaler, in Pittsburgh. Shortly after his admission to the bar he moved to Greensburg, where he practiced law the rest of his life.
He was little given to politics, but was a member of the legislature in 1848, 1849 and 1850, and a member of the state senate of Pennsylvania from 1880 to 1884, representing Westmoreland county. As chairman of the bank committee he drafted the Banking Law of 1850, some parts of which have been preserved in the present National Bank act of the United States.
Mr. Laird was, as we have stated, not a politician, but strictly a lawyer. No one would think of giving him second place at the bar after Cowan and Foster, who were eminent in a degree beyond what might be expected from a country county. He was, moreover, a deeply learned scholar, conversant with the English and German languages, and with Hebrew, Greek and Latin. He was a friend and suitable companion of the most learned college men of his day, and contributed more or less to the literature of southwestern Pennsylvania. In the trial of a case he was most persistent, and in the preparation of his cases and of all legal documents he was extremely painstaking.
He was never married, and in his latter years became something of a cynic. A few illustrations of this may not be out of place. He had a marked contempt to the medical profession. A few years before his death a woman, a neighbor of his was taken violently ill, and called in a physician contrary to Mr. Laird's advice. Mr. Laird, in speaking of the matter the next morning, said: "She was taken suddenly ill and called a physician, who gave her medicine late last night, and in one hour she was dead." "Asa in his disease sought not to the Lord but to the physician. And Asa slept with his fathers."
In describing the eminent judge Trunkey to the writer he spoke of him as a large man with a deep voice and strong constitution, ravenous appetite, etc. "Indeed," said he, "Judge Trunkey is very much such a man as our present candidate for judge, except that Judge Trunkev is a good lawyer."
Mr. Laird was a member of and attended the German Reformed church regularly. One morning as he was leaving church he was accosted by the minister who asked him, rather pointedly, "How did you like my discourse this morning, senator?" Quick as thought the caustic wit replied, "It was a most excellent text, sir, a most excellent one indeed."
In his later years he had a partner who paid considerable attention to politics, and was consequently visited frequently by politicians. One morning a place hunter entered the office and said hurriedly., "Is Mr. ---- in the office, senator?” The old gentleman sized him up at once, and looking hurriedly to each corner of the office and then under the desk and table, he said, "I do not see him anywhere."
The students of Franklin and Marshall College, of which Mr. Laird was a trustee, wrote him some years ago asking for a subscription to equip and support their football team, Mr. Laird being a man of large estate. He replied to their letter as follows:
"Gentlemen: "Your letter soliciting a contribution to the Athletic Association of Franklin and Marshall College is received. "There can be no objection to students playing ball for an hour at noon, but to make a business of athletics is detrimental, not only to the students, but to the institution that permits it. "You cannot co-ordinate beef and brains, the one man in Rome whom the great Caesar most feared, Cassius, had a lean and hungry look.
"Yours very truly,
"H. P. LAIRD."
When on his death bed, a former pastor asked him if there was anything he could do for him or anything which he wanted. His laconic reply was: "You can do nothing for me; all I desire is a speedy entrance into rest.”
Mr. Laird died October 16, 1897, possessed of a large estate. and in his will he remembered his nephews and nieces, his church, the poor widows of Greensburg, and lastly he manifested his affection for his profession by a legacy to the Westmoreland Law Association, of which he had been president since its organization.
Jacob Turney was a grandson of Jacob Turney and the son of Jacob Turney, Jr., and Margaret Singer Turney, and was born in Greensburg on February 18, 1825. He receive his education in the common schools in Greensburg. During his early years he learned the printer's trade, and after engaging in that business a short time he entered the register's office of Westmoreland county, and while so engaged read law with Hon. A. G. Marchand. Mr. Marchand died before Mr. Turney. had completed his studies and he finished his law reading under Henry C. Marchand, and was admitted to the bar in May, 1849. In 1850 he was elected district attorney of Westmoreland county being the first district attorney elected under the new law. He was also elected in 1853 and served until January 1, 1857.
During his incumbency of this office the Pennsylvania railroad was in process of construction in this county, and this gave rise to a great amount of criminal business for that age. Murder trials were frequent, and Mr. Turney attained great prominence as a lawyer in their prosecution. It was he who prosecuted Ward and Gibson in 1854, who were charged with the murder of Lucinda Sechrist. He was also the prosecutor in the case of the Commonwealth vs. Hugh Corrigan (1858), which was so important a case that Edgar Cowan was called into it, and the result was a conviction of murder in the first degree. This was by far the most remarkable murder case that took place in the history of Westmoreland county in the latter half of the last century.
In 1856 Mr. Turney was a presidential elector and cast his vote for James Buchanan for president. In 1857 he was nominated by acclamation for the office of state senator, and he filled the position, as he did all others to which he was called, with signal ability. In the senate he was a friend and companion of Samuel J. Randall and of other men who afterwards became noted in Pennsylvania and national history. In 1859, at the close of his term, he was elected president of the senate. In 1874 he was a candidate in the Twenty-first Congressional district, composed of the counties of Westmoreland, Fayette and Greene, for Congress and was elected to the Forty-fourth Congress and again to the Forty-fifth Congress. Mr. Turney while in Congress served upon very, important committees. After leaving Congress he resumed the practice of his profession in Greensburg and was again rewarded with much success. He has left it on record, however, that he regarded it as a great error for a professional man even to temporarily abandon his practice for the blandishments of political honor. It is probably not possible for any one man to excel in all of the mental attainments which contribute to make a great lawyer. Mr. Turney, whilst he had his full share of all of them, in one particular was most noted, and that was in his use of the English language. He had an inexhaustible fund of splendid English, which flowed from him as though from a never failing fountain. This perhaps came to him by nature, but more likely was the fruit of his being very widely read in standard literature, he being an omnivorous reader all his life. Unfortunately he did not live to fill out the full measure of his life, but died, aged sixty-six years, on October 4, 1891.
George Dallas Albert was born in Youngstown, Westmoreland county, PennsyIvania, in 1846, and was admitted to the bar in 1869. He had a superior intellect and was perhaps the most literary member of the bar in his day. He was always a polite, retiring gentleman of the old school, if one born so late as he can justly so be called. He was rarely ever engaged in the trial of cases, and had no taste whatever for business done in open court except such as related to the preparation of papers. His strong point was the amicable adjustment of difficulties which arose between business men. In the settlement of cases, the harmonizing of discordant elements, and in the happy faculty of making friends, he certainly had no superiors. His mind naturally led him into historical researches, and we believe that, aside from his work at the bar, he has done more to unearth and perpetuate the history of Western Pennsylvania, and particularly of Westmoreland county, than any other man living or dead. The writer is free to say that without the researches which Mr. Albert made years ago, many of these pages could not be written. He was the author of Volume I of "Frontier Forts of Pennsylvania," and of the "History of Westmoreland County," published in 1882. Aside from these works, which are of untold value, he contributed a great deal as the result of his historical researches, to the newspapers, and to "Notes and Queries," of Harrisburg. He was a careful and most painstaking writer, and every article which he produced was the result of the most thorough investigation. They are entitled to the highest credence, and the reader may rest assured that, when he examined a subject, there remained but little undiscovered testimony concerning it. His writings wherever found, are characterized by a grace of expression and a beauty of thought which have been but seldom equaled, even by men who devoted their lives to letters.
In 1898 he was afflicted with a cancer and soon succumbed to the ravages of the dread disease. He died in October and was buried near Latrobe.
John M. Peoples was born in West Fairfield, Westmoreland county, in 1849, and was the son of William and Margaret Moorhead Peoples. Attending college at Wooster, Ohio, he was graduated in 1875. He then entered the Albany Law School and was graduated there in 1877 and came to Greensburg to read law with Mr. D. S. Atkinson. He was admitted to the bar in 1878. During his law reading and for some years after he was admitted to the bar he served as court stenographer under both Judge Logan and Judge Hunter. Later he formed a partnership with D. S. Atkinson. and after that gave his entire time to his profession. In this he was indeed very successful. No client ever suffered from want of attention on his part. He was not an advocate, but could talk very well to a court and to a jury, when necessary,. He was for many years one of the owners of the Tribune-Herald, a leading paper of the county.
He was married in 1887 to Miss Rebecca Doty, a sister of Judge Doty, and soon took up his residence in an apparently typical southern home of colonial style east of Greensburg, built in the early years of last century by General William Jack. He did not live to fill out the span of life accorded to man by the Psalmist, but died in July, 1901.
Jacob R. Spiegel was born near Stuttgart, Germany, in 1847. After having graduated from -a college in Ohio he became a teacher and principal of the Greensburg schools, after which he was elected county superintendent of the schools of Westmoreland county, and was re-elected, filling the position from 1878 until 1884. After retiring from this office he engaged in business for some time, and afterwards read law and was admitted to the bar, and immediately began to practice.
He was energetic and industrious in his professional life, and as he had a large acquaintance throughout the county, he soon assisted in gathering for the firm a large and paying clientage. Connected as he had been with the schools and the school system of PennsyIvania, he always took all active part in educational matters, and in this line he accomplished a great deal of good. In 1900 he was the candidate of his party for representative in Congress from this district, but the district being overwhelmingly Republican, he was not elected.
Early in the year of 1902 he was taken sick, and though he struggled manfully and bore up resolutely under his affliction, he was unable to recover and died on January 3, 1903.
Joseph J. Johnston was a son of William Johnston and Julia Ann (Gorgas) Johnston, and was born near Pleasant ]Unity, July 12, 1838. He began to teach school in 1855, taught in the public schools for some years and was assistant teacher in the Sewickley academy in 1859 and 1860.
Mr. Johnston began to read law with the late E. J. Keenan. Esq., at Greens- burg, and afterward finished his course of reading with Mr. James S. Moor head, with whom, upon his admission to the bar, he formed a partnership which lasted many years. For the last twelve or fifteen years he had been practicing alone. His practice was almost exclusively an office practice; very rarely if ever did he appear in jury trials, but confined his work largely to the orphans' court, etc., in which branch of the profession he indeed made for himself a name that any one might be proud of. In addition to this, he having been a school teacher himself, took great interest in the public schools of Pennsylvania. On March 20, 1870, he became a school director in Greensburg, and filled the position by election continuously until 1899, a term of about thirty years. He died suddenly on October 22, 1903.
Dr. Frank Cowan was born on December 11, 1844, and was a son of Senator Edgar Cowan, who has been written of elsewhere. He was educated in part at Washington and Jefferson College and shortly after his father was elected to the United States senate in 1861, he went to Washington as his secretary. While there he read medicine and was graduated from the Washington Medical College. In 1865 he was admitted to the bar in Westmoreland county, and for a time practiced law in Washington City, being admitted while there, to the supreme court of the United States. During the latter part of President Johnson's administration he was one of his private secretaries, and did a great deal of work in the celebrated impeachment trial of that day.
Dr. Cowan was essentially a student and scholar, there being no science, philosophy, poetry, history or literature with which he was not in some degree at least familiar. He was a complete master of several languages and in his life found more pleasure in contributing to the literature of southwestern Pennsylvania than in the practice of either of his professions. His law practice was therefore not extensive, but any one who will examine his pleadings will find that they were the work of a master mind. He was more than all this, a world traveler, having gone around the world twice. On these long trips he broke bread with the rich and poor of every nation on the globe and studied their habits, their history and their languages as few other men have done. He had been in every important city in the world except Boston. No one could enjoy his entertaining conversation for an hour without concluding that he had been greatly benefited, and that, while traveling throughout the world, he had his eyes open. He died in the early part of 1906.
WESTMORELAND LAW ASSOCIATION.
The Westmoreland Law Association was organized and incorporated in 1886. Many of the founders are now dead. With not over forty members in the beginning it has grown to embrace almost the entire bar. Hon. H. P. Laird was its first president and was annually re-elected until his death in 1897.
The Association is managed by an executive committee of three members, who have very general powers of control. After the payment of its running expenses, its funds are used for the sole purpose of maintaining its library which has grown to large proportions. Its funds are derived from membership fees and annual dues paid by the members. It has commodious quarters in the courthouse, adjacent to the courtrooms, and has on hand for further enlargement a neat sum of money at interest. The Association takes an active interest in promoting salutary legislation. A social feature is its annual banquet, which has become so enjoyable that it is anticipated each year with great interest. The death of one of its members is made the occasion of a memorial meeting at which fitting tributes are said to the deceased and a record of its action is spread upon the minutes.
The Association has been promotive of closer social relations among the members of the bar. It also enables the profession in an organized capacity to impress itself upon current legislation, while its library has subserved the convenience of its members.
It is not our province to write of the members of the bar who are now in active practice. Quite a number of these are in the bar who, by professional industry and natural ability, have won places far beyond what might reasonably be expected from men of their age.
The Association has been promotive of closer social relations among the ter sessions court record is as nearly perfect as the crude minutes of the early courts will warrant. In some instances years elapsed without a record of the admission of a single attorney. The names of some prominent attorneys do not appear in the court list at all. Those given are known to have been admitted to practice at the Westmoreland bar. Those who are living and now in active practice are marked with a star, and comprise indeed a very promising list of attorneys. Particularly is this true of the younger members of the bar. If, as we hope, in the dim future some abler pen shall take up this work again, it will doubtless be found that among them are men who are not surpassed by the ablest and brightest of those of whom we have written:
Francis Dade, admitted August 3, 1773; Michael Huffnagle, January 5, 1779; Samuel Edwin, January 5, 1779; Andrew Scott, October 1779. H. H. Brackenridge, April, 1781; James Berwick, April, 1781; David Bradford, April, 1782; Thomas Duncan, January, 1783; George Thompson, January, 1783; John Woods, January, 1784; John Young, January, 1789; Daniel St. Clair, January, 1789; David Reddick, July 6, 1700; Jacob Nagle. October 4. 1790; Steel Sample, October 6. 1791; Henry Woods, June, 1792; David McKeehan, December, 1792; Hugh Ross. December, 1792; George Armstrong, March 11, 1793; Joseph Pentecost, March 12, 1793; Henry Purviance, March, 1794; Arthur St. Clair, June, 1794; Paul Morrow, March, 1795; Thomas Collins, June, 1795; Thomas Headon, December, 1795; James Morrison, December, 1795; Thomas Creigh, March, 1796; Abraham Morrison, June, 1796; Samuel Mehon, June, 1796; James Montgomery, December, 1796; John Lyon, June, 1797; Thomas Nesbitt, September, 1797; John Siminson, March, 1798; William Bannells, June, 1798; Parker Campbell, June, 1798; Thomas Meason, September, 1798; David Hays, September, 1798; John Kennedy, September, 1798; C. S. Semple, December, 1798; Samuel Deemer, March, 1799; William Ayers, March, 1799; Robert Callender, March, 1799; Robert Allison, September, 1800; Ralph Martin, March, 1801; Samuel Harrison, June, 1801; Joseph Park, September, 1801; Joseph Weigley, December, 1801; Alex Foster, December, 1801; William N. Irwine, June, 1802; Jonath R. Reddick, March, 1804; Othro Srader, March, 1804; Henry Haslet, March, 1804; Meshack Sexton, June, 1804; Henry Baldwin, September, 1804; William Ward, Jr.. September, 1804; J. B. Alexander, December, 1804; Samuel Guthrie, December. 1804; Samuel Selby, March, 1806; James M. Biddle, December, 1806; Walter Forward, December, 1806; Charles Wilkins, March, 1808; Samuel Massey, March, 1808; John Reed, November, 1808; H. H. Brackenridge, May, 1809; James Wells, September, 1809; John L Farr, September, 1809; Magnus M. Murray, December, 1809; Daniel Stannard, February, 1810; James M. Kelly, February, 1810; Richard William Lain, May, 1810; Robert Findlay, May, 1810; Neville B. Craig, August, 1810; Guy Hicox August, 1810; John H. Chaplain, August, 1810; John M. Austin, August, 1810; Richard Coulter, March, 1811; James Carson, August, 1811; Samuel Douglass, February, 1812; John McDonald, May, 1812; John Dawson, February, 1814; Joseph Beckett, May, 1814; Samuel Kingston, May, 1814; Charles Shaler, December, 1814; John A. T. Kilgore, February, 1815; John Carpenter, February, 1815; Obadiah Jennings, August, 1815; Calvin Mason, October, 1815; Samuel Alexander, May. 1816; Edward J. Roberts, November, 1816; Jacob M. Wise, February, 1817; S. V. R. Forward, February, 1817; H. M. Campbell, May, 1818; James Hall, May, 1818; Andrew Stewart, May, 1818; Josiah E. Barclay, August, 1818; W. H. Brackenridge, August, 1818; Ephraim Carpenter, August, 1818; A. Brackenridge, August, 1819; John Bouvier, August. 1819; John S. Brady, September, 1819; John Y. Barclay, November, 1819; Thomas Blair, February, 1820; Sylvester Dunham, May, 1820; James McGee, May, 1820; Chauncey Forward, August, 1820; Gasper Hill, Jr., August, 1820; H. G. Herron, April, 1822; Charles Ogle, April, 1822; Joseph Williams, April, 1822; H. N. Weigley, April, 1822; W. W. Fetterman, May, 1822; John Riddell, August, 1822; Thomas White, November, 1822; Thomas R. Peters, February, 1823; A. S. T. Mountain, February, 1823; John H. Hopkins, May, 1823; Joseph H. Kuhns, August, 1823; Richard Biddle, May, 1824; James S. Craft, May, 1824; James Findlay, August, 1824; William Snowden, February, 1825; John Armstrong, February, 1825; John J. Henderson, May, 1825; Michael Gallagher, May, 1825; Hugh Gallagher, August, 1825; Richard Bard, November, 1825; William Postlethwaite, November, 1826; John Glenn, February, 1827; Thomas Struthers, August, 1827; R. B. McCabe, May, 1827: Daniel C. Morris, November, 1827; John H. Wells, February, 1828; Thomas Williams, August, 1828; Alfred Patterson, November, 1828; James Nichols, May, 1828; George Shaw, May, 1828; William F. Johnston, May, 1829; H. D. Foster, August, 1829, M. D. Magehan, May, 1830; Robert Burk, August, 1830; Joseph J. Young, November, 1830; William P. Wells, November, 1831; Thomas L. Shields, November, 1832; A. G. Marchand, February, 1833; John F. Beaver, February, 1833; A. W. Foster, Jr., November, 1833; John H. Deford, May, 1834; William B. ConWay, May, 1835; J. M. Burrell, May, 1835; Augustus Drum, May, 1836; J. Armstrong, jr. February, 1840; H. C. Marchand, May, 1840; J. F. Woods, May, 1840; Casper Harrold, February 1842; Edgar Cowan, February, 1842; James Armstrong, February , 1842; H. P. Laird, May, 1842; John Creswell, May, 1842; C. S. Eyster, May, 1842; Andrew Ross, November, 1842; Daniel Wyandt, May, 1843; Amos Steck, May, 1843; Alex L. Hamilton, August, 1843; Alex H. Miller, August, 1843; J. Sewell Stewart, August, 1843; John C. Gilchrist, August. 1843; Wilson Riley, November, 1843; J. N. Nesbit, May, 1844; Edward Scull, May, 1844; Alex McKinny, August, 1844; Thomas J. Barclay, 1844; Francis Flanagen, May, 1844; Bernard Connyn, May, 1844; J. M. Carpenter, May, August, 1844; James Donnelly, November, 1844; John Kerr, November, 1844; William J. Williams, February, 1845; Thomas Donnelly, May, 1845; John Potter, August, 1845; Thomas J. Keenan, August, 1845; P. C. Shannon, August, 1845; George W. Bonnin, February, 1846; John Alexander Coulter. February, 1846; James C. Clarke, February, 1846; S. B. McCormick. August, 1846; William A. Campbell, August, 1846; William H. Markle, August, 1847; William A. Cook, August, 1847; L. T. Cantwell, November, 1847; Francis Egan, May, 1848; John Campbell, August, 1848; John C. P. Smith, August, 1848; *Richard Coulter, Jr., February, 1849: H. Evers Kuhns, February, 1849, George W. Clark, February, 1849; Samuel Sherwell, May, 1849; Jacob Turney, May, 1849; John Penny, November, 1849; S. P. Ross, February, 1850; W. J. Sutton, November, 1850; James Trees, August. 1851; H. S. Magraw, August. 1851; John E. Fleming, August, 1852; Thomas G. Taylor, August, 1852; J. Freetly, August, 1853; Thomas Armstrong, August., 1853; James Todd, August, 1853; J. M. Underwood, May, 1853; A. A. Stewart, May, 1857; *James C. Snodgrass, May, 1857; John H. Hoopes, August, 1857; Thomas Fenlon, August, 1858; James A. Hunter, August, 1858; Judge Kelly, November, 1858; John D. McClarren, November, 1858; *John Latta, November, 1859; John I. Case, November, 1860; Andrew M. Fulton, November, 1860; M. A. Canders, November, 1860; W. R. Bover, May, 1861; Jacob Beaumont, November, 1861; W. H. Stewart, February, 1862; W. M. Given, May, 1862; R. B. Patterson, May, 1862; Albert Daun, November, 1862; J. H. Hampton, November, 1862; John V. Painter, February, 1863; James A. Logan, May, 1863; James A. Blair, May, 1863; J. H. Calhoun, August, 1865; E. J. Keenan, November, 1863; Michael Sarver, November, 1863; B. G. Childs, November, 1863; B. H. Lucas, November, 1863; W. C. Moreland, November, 1863; T. R. Dulley, May, 1864; John A. Marchand, May, 1864; J. J. Hazlett, May, 1864; J. M. Brown, November, 1864; W. G. L. Totten, November, 1864; W. M. Moffett, May, 1865; W. H. Lowrie, May, 1865; A. Weidman, August, 1865; *Cyrus P. Long, August, 1865; Frank Cowan, August., 1865; S. P. Fulton, February, 1866; Samuel Palmer, February, 1866; H. H. McCormick, February, 1866; William D. Moore, February, 1866; James R. McAfee, August, 1866; Alex J. Walker, August, 1866; Henry U. Brumer, August, 1866; J. Trainor King, August, 1866; George R. Cochran, August, 1866; J. B. Sampson, November, 1866; John Blair, November, 1866; George E. Wallace, February, 1867; Thomas P. Dick, November, 1867; William M. Blackburn, May, 1868; John Y. Woods, May, 1868; Silas McCormick, May, 1868; *John F. Wentling, 1868; George D. Budd, May, 1868; Daniel McLaughlin, November, 1868; John W. Rohrer, February, 1869; *D. S. Atkinson, February, 1869; T. J. Weddell, February, 1869; *David T. Harvey, February, 1869; G. D. Albert, February, 1869; Samuel Singleton, May, 1869; W. D. Todd, May, 1869; William T. Haines, May, 1870; D. F. Tyranny, May, 1870; G. W. Minor, May, 1870; *Silas A. Kline, May, 1870; Frederick S. Rock, May, 1870; *James S. Moorhead, May, 1870; James F. Gildea, November, 1870; W. H. Klingensmith, November, 1870; *John D. Gill, August, 1871; Irwin W. Tarr, August, 1871; M. H. Todd, February, 1872; Samuel Lyon, February, 1872; James G. Francis, February, 1872; Welty McCullough, May, 1872; D. Porter, August, 1872; Joseph J. Johnson, February, 1873; John H. McCullough, May, 1873; *George Shiras, February, 1874; *W. H. Walkinshaw, February, 1877; *A. D. McConnell, May, 1877; W. H. Young, August, 1877; *V. E. Williams, May, 1878; John M. Peoples, May, 1878; *Alex M. Sloan, November, 1879; *Alex. Eicher, May, 1880; *J. T. Marchand, August, 1880; *John B. Head, August, 1880; *Lucien W. Doty, May, 1881i; *J. A. C. Ruffner, May 15, 1873; *P. H. Geither, 1875; *J. W. Taylor, September 29, 1879; *Jno. N. Boucher, September 29, 1879; *D. C. Ogden, October 1, 1880; J. H. Ryckman, September 30, 1882; Giffen Culbertson, January 19, 1884; *Jas. S. Beacon, January 19, 1884; *A. H. Bell, April 8, 1884; *E. E. Robbins. April 8, 1884; *J. B. Keenan, June 6, 1885; I. E. Lauffer, August 31, 1885; M. L. Baer, August 31, 1885; *Wm. C. Peoples, August 31, 1885; *D. A. 'Miller, August 31, 1885; *O. R. Snyder, August 31, 1885; *G. E. Kuhns, August 31, 1885; *J. A. McCurdy, August 31, 1885; Jno. G. Ogle, February 25, 1886; *J. R. Smith, April 24, 1886; *J. W. Sarver, July 31, 1886; *C. H. Hunter, May 9, 1887; *W. S. Evers, May 9, 1887; *E. E. Allshouse, December 17, 1887; *J. E. Keenan, December 17, 1887; *N. M. McGeary, December 17, 1887; *Jno. E. Kunkle, December 17, 1887; Jno. C. Robinson, December 17, 1887; J. R. Spiegel, Dec. 17, 1887; *Jno. B. Steel, August 4, 1888; *Jno. M. Jamison, August 4, 1888; *Curtis H. Gregg, August 4, 1888; *David L. Newill, August 4, 1888; *Sidney J. Potts, February 2, 1889; *Edward B. McCormick, December 13, 1889; *George W. Flowers, December 14, 1889; Joseph E. Kinney, November 13, 1890; *George S. Rumbaugh, November 13, 1890; *George B. Ferguson, September 8, 1891; J. F. McNaul, September 8, 1891; Walter J. Guthrie. November 12, 1891; *J. S. Whiteworth, February 1, 1892;2; *J. B. Owens, February 4, 1893; *W. T. Cline, November 28, 1885; * C. E. Allshouse, September 26, 1893; F. H. Guffey; G. D. Hamor: *H. C. Durbin, January 30, 1892; *E. F. Nipple, January 30, 1892; *Frank B. Hargrave, February 1, 1892; *J. P. Pinkerton, January 30, 1892; *J. L. Kennedy, January 30. 1892; *W. F. Wegley, January 30, 1892; *G. B. Shaw, March 3, 1893; *N. A. Cort, February 20, 1893; *Chas. C. Crowell, February 20, 1893; *J. E. B. Cunningham, September 26, 1893; *Richard Coulter, Jr., 'May 7, 1894; *C. M. Jamison, February 2, 1895; *J. C. Shields, September 26, 1893; *C. K. McCreary, September 26, 1893; *Thomas Barclay, February 2, 1893; *H. H. Dinsmore, May 7, 1894; *J. R. Silvis, September 26, 1893; *C. E. Whitten, November 4, 1893; *C. E. Woods, May 11, 1895; *Luke Lonergan, May 7, 1894; *H. H. Fisher, February 4, 1895; *G. H. Hugus, May 7, 1894; *T. M. O'Halloran, January 30, 1897; E. C. Given, April 18, 1896; John Q. Cochran, October 24, 1896; *J. S. Kimmel, May 7, 1894; *W. L. Ulery, May 11, 1895; *Frank Good, May 11,1895; *S. W. Bierer, May 11, 1895; Andrew Banks, November 13, 1895; B. F. Scanlon, May 11, 1895; *A. C. Snively, January 25, 1896; Charles Rugh, January 25, 1896: *B. A. Wirtner, January 25, 1896; *C. D. Copeland, April 18, 1896; D. J. Snyder, October 24, 1896; *H. N. Yont, October 24, 1896; *H, E. Marker, October 24, 1896; *J. C. Silsley, October 24, 1896; *C. B. Hollingsworth, October 24, 1896; *W. T. Dom, Jr., October 24, 1896; *C. W. Eicher, October 24, 1896; *B. R. Kline, January 30, 1897; M. J. Hosack, June 26, 1897; *Jno. S. Lightcap, June 26, 1897; *R. K. Portser, June 26, 1897; *Z. T. Silvis, November 15, 1997; *Jno. F. Wentling, Jr. April 23, 1898; *R. D. Laird, April 23, 1898; *Eugene Warden. April 30, 1898; F. B. Folk, April 30, 1898; *P. K. Shaner, April 29, 1899; *H. C. Beistel, June 24, 1899; *J. C. Blackburn, April 28, 1900; *John McFayden, November 3, 1900; *Robt. W. Smith, November 3, 1900; *J. C. Lauffer, November 3, 1900; *R. D. Hurst, November 3, 1900; *Rabe F. Marsh, November 3, 1900; *L. C. Walkinshaw, November 3, 1900; *H. E. Blank, November 3, 1900; *Wm. S. Rial, May 12, 1901; *C. L. Kerr, May 19, 1901; *Henry S. Gill, December 21, 1901; *Lawrence Monahan, November 18, 1901; *A. M. Wyant, May 5, 1902; *John T. Moore, November 18, 1901; *C. E. Heller, May 5, 1902; Edw. P. Doran, November 9, 1901; *John McC. Kennedy, May 5, 1902; *James B. Weaver, May 5, 1902; *.Alex. Eicher. Jr., May 5, 1902;; *George E. Barron, November 9, 1901; *Jos. J. Knappenberger, *Paul J. Head, *Jay R. Spiegel, Harry E. Cope, *Clarence E. Hugus, *Jno. B. Brunot, Wm. A. Kunkle, *Geo. P. Kline, *Walter S. Wible, *J. Q. Cochran, *Walter J. Guthrie, *Coulter Wigins, *E. R. Shirey, R. K McConnell, *H. V. Rowan, *Wade T. Kline, *Hugh A. Boale.
Source: Page(s) 320-375, History of Westmoreland County, Volume 1, Pennsylvania by John N Boucher. New York, The Lewis Publishing Company, 1906.
Transcribed Michael L. Pahel-Wayne October 2000 by Marilyn Brown for the Westmoreland County History Project
Contributed by Michael L. Pahel-Wayne for use by the Westmoreland County Genealogy Project (http://www.pa-roots.com/westmoreland/)
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