DAVID SHAW ATKINSON is descended from Scotch-Irish ancestry. His grandfather came to America and settled in Maryland more that a century ago. He is a son of Thomas Atkinson, who resided in Mount Pleasant, and who was married to Elizabeth Shaw. Of his ancestry on his mother's side, David Shaw was in the Revolutionary war and was engaged at Hannastown in 1782, and in the Indian conflicts of that age. From this ancestry Mr. Atkinson took his name. He was educated in Mount Pleasant College, where he spent four years, read law with Hon. James A. Hunter and was admitted to the bar in 1868. Shortly after his admission he was associated in business with T. J. Weddell, Esq., and afterward with Hon. J.R. McAfee, and still later with John M. Peoples, Esq. At present he is in partnership with William C. Peoples, Esq.. He has also, almost since his admission to the bar, been one of the owners and editors of the Tribune-Herald, and daily and weekly paper still published in Greensburg. He has not, however, allowed the newspaper business to in any way conflict with the practice of the law, to which he has given his steady and undivided attention for thirty-five years, and in which he has achieved abundant success. No better indication of his standing at the bar can be given than this: "That when upon the death of Hon. H.P. Laird a few years ago, it became the duty of the Westmoreland Law Association to elect a new president, there were not two opinions in the association as to whom this honor should be given," Mr. Atkinson was unanimously elected and has since been re-elected each year.
His firm has always conducted a large general legal business, the court business falling mainly upon him. While not by any means a weak man in any branch of his profession, he is doubtless at his best in the trial of a case or in an argument before a jury; his flow of language, his quick perception of the strong points of a case, and his majestic delivery which almost approximates that of the old-time orator make him a most formidable opponent in any case. He has in the last twenty years been senior counsel in more that forty homicide cases in this and other counties, and has always conducted them with great skill. He has also been concerned in and has successfully conducted a very large number of the most important cases, involving the payment of large sums of money, tried in the civil courts of Westmoreland county. Aside from his law practice he has been engaged somewhat in banking and other business, but not so as to interfere with his profession. He has been a Republican and has made stump speeches in every section of the county , in other parts of Pennsylvania and in the western states, yet, like few lawyers, he has steadily refused political preferment. Time and again has a nomination which was almost equivalent to an electron declined. There is no doubt that he could have been in congress or on the bench years ago, had he consented to become a candidate. His friends have reason to believe and hope that he has yet before him many years of Professional usefulness.
Source Pages 76 and 77 History of Westmoreland County, Volume II, Pennsylvania by John N. Boucher. New York, The Lewis Publishing Company, 1906
Transcribed March 24, 2001 by Marilynn Wienke for the Westmoreland County History Project
Contributed for use by the Westmoreland County Genealogy Project (http://www.pa-roots.com/westmoreland/)
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