History of Warren County, Chapter 31



Interesting Memoirs of the President Judges now Deceased - Full Mention of Those Who Survive - The Bar - A Complete Roll of Attorneys Admitted Since the Organization of the County - Remarks Concerning Some of the Earliest Resident Attorneys - Notes Relating to Present Attorneys in Active Practice.




IN his address delivered at the dedication of the new court-house, December 13, 1877, Hon. Samuel P. Johnson referred to the president judges who have presided over the courts of Warren county, particularly those deceased, in the following words. And we will add that none living were more competent to speak of the dead worthies than he, since he had been personally acquainted with all of them.

"During the fifty-eight years of its existence, twelve president or law judges have presided over the destinies of the people of Warren county in the administration of the laws, seven of whom have closed their records upon earth and been committed without bail or mainprize to the prison of the tomb, while five still remain to claim the benefit of the extension law.

"This county has been fortunate in the character of those intrusted with the great responsibilities of presiding judge during its early history. I speak but of the dead. Let posterity write the history of the living.

"The Hon. Jesse Moore was the first in the order of time, from 1819 to 1824. He was a gentleman of the old school, dignified but courteous, learned but not brilliant, characterized by stern integrity and freedom from all prejudice. He was a short, thick-set man, and some still remember his benignant countenance, partially bald head, well-powdered hair, and broad-brimmed, drab-colored hat. He died suddenly, when still in the prime of life and maturity of intellect, honored and lamented by all.

"Henry Shippen succeeded him from 1825 to 1835. His characteristics were common sense and sound judgment. Many here will remember his inflexible honesty, his fidelity to truth, and his contempt for trickery and fraud. A single instance will suffice to illustrate: In 1834 a notorious personage of a neighboring county by fraud and false interpretation had procured a judgment note from the venerable old Cornplanter for three thousand dollars, entered judgment, and issued execution on it. Application was made by counsel, in behalf of the old chief, to open the judgment and let him into a defense. As the evidence of the villainy was disclosed, the judge became very nervous. Anger flashed from his eye, and before the counsel got through his evidence the judge told him to stop, and, leaning over the bench, in a voice hoarse with indignation, said: ‘Mr. Clerk, set aside that writ and strike that judgment from the records of this court!’

"Next came, in 1835, Judge Nathaniel B. Eldred, the accomplished gentleman, brimful of honor, honesty, and sympathy. His quick perception, sound judgment, and stern impartiality guided him to the justice of a case, without the aid of much legal learning, so that his decisions were seldom appealed from and were seldom reversed. With but a year of interruption he remained with us until 1843, when he was removed by appointment to the Harrisburg district. His social qualities and public spirit, as well as official conduct, had greatly endeared him to the hearts of the people of this and other counties, who parted with him with much reluctance and regret.

"In 1839, after the death of Judge Shippen, Judge Eldred was appointed his successor in the sixth district, out of which this county had been taken in 1835 to form part of the eighteenth, and without our solicitation or knowledge Alexander McCalmont was appointed to fill his place in the eighteenth district, including Warren county. His administration was so short and unsatisfactory that I will be excused for passing it over in silence. The next year, by legislative act, this county was restored to the sixth district, and thus again came under the jurisdiction of Judge Eldred. He was the only judge of the first seven that ever resided in Warren.

"After Eldred came Judge Gaylord Church, in 1843, young, ardent, ambitious, industrious, painstaking and prompt. With much ability and no sympathy, he exacted a rigid enforcement of the criminal law, and a technical application of both law and practice in civil cases. He was a terror to evildoers. Withal, his head was a little dizzy by the elevation so suddenly thrust upon him, and he seemed jealous lest it should be supposed there was anything he did not know.

"He retired in 1851 under the operation of the amended constitution, and was succeeded by the Hon. John Galbraith, who was elected in the fall of that year. He brought with him age, learning, and experience. His prominent characteristics were honesty, frankness, charity for all, and an abounding sympathy for the erring and unfortunate. Mercy tempered all his judgments, and sometimes down to great dilution. He died in June, 1860, a year and a half before the expiration of his term.

"Last but not least of the dead worthies whose virtues linger in our memories is the Hon. James Thompson. The exigencies of the business in the sixth judicial district in 1839 required the creation of a special court of civil jurisdiction, and Judge Thompson was appointed its sole presiding officer for a term of five years. He brought to the discharge of its duties integrity, learning, and a large ability, flavored with a geniality of disposition, an urbanity of manner, and a judicial courtesy that made him a favorite with all, and especially with the members of the bar. In after years, these same qualities of mind and manners adorned his administration for a full term upon the bench of the Supreme Court of the State. He died at the age of three score and ten, honored and beloved, having spent the half of his adult life in the political and judicial service of his country.

"I said this county had been fortunate in the character of its early judges. During the entire time embraced in the official history of those I have named, covering a period of over forty years, no charge of corruption, dishonesty, or malfeasance was ever made with truth against any of the incumbents. The purity of the judicial ermine suffered no tarnish while worn by them."

Of Judge Galbraith’s successors on the bench as president judges - Hon. Rasselas Brown, appointed in 1860; Hon. Samuel P. Johnson, elected in 1860; Hon. Lansing D. Wetmore, elected in 1870, and Hon. William D. Brown, elected in 1880 - all are yet living in the town of Warren, esteemed and honored, and in the enjoyment of ample means justly earned. In other pages of this work memoirs relating to Judges R. Brown, Johnson, and Wetmore will be found.

Hon. William D. Brown was born at Sugar Grove, Warren county, Pa., September 6, 1823. After availing himself of such educational advantages as the public and private schools of Sugar Grove and the Warren Academy afforded, he studied law in the office of Johnson & Brown, and was admitted to practice December 8, 1847. In 1849 he was elected justice of the peace for the borough of Warren, but after a short time resigned. In the fall of 1850 he was elected district attorney for the county, and held the office for three years. In 1862 he served as commissioner for Warren county, to superintend the drafting of men for military service. He represented this county in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives during the years 1863-64-65, and in the fall of 1880 was elected president judge of the thirty-seventh judicial district (composed of Warren and Forest counties), for the term expiring January 1, 1891. Judge Brown has been a life-long resident of this his native county, his youthful days having been passed in Sugar Grove, and the remainder, since his admission to the bar, in the town of Warren. From 1851 to the time of his election as president judge he was actively and quite successfully engaged in the practice of his profession, and gained an enviable reputation as a jurist. He is of Scotch-Irish ancestry - a son of Hon. David Brown, who was the first to represent Warren county in the legislative halls of the State, after the organization of the county in 1819.



Since the organization of the county more than three hundred attorneys at law, a large majority of them non-residents of the county, have been admitted to practice in its various courts. Their names are found scattered through a dozen volumes or more of dusty records, some of them not indexed, and the work of compiling a list of admissions has required the expenditure of much time and patience - the scanning, in fact, of each volume, page by page. The following roll is the result of such researches. It is believed to be nearly perfect, and cannot be otherwise than valuable for reference, showing, as it does, the names, places of residence (so far as learned), and date of admission of the more than three hundred men referred to. Present resident attorneys in active practice are designated by italics.


Ralph Marlin, Meadville, Pa., Nov. 29, 1819

W.C. Lathey, Forest Co., Pa., June 4, 1867

Thomas H. Sill, Erie, Pa., " "

F.D. Reeves, Warren, Pa., June 5, 1867

John Galbraith, Franklin, Pa., " "

Hugh C. Graham, Oil City, Pa., June 10, 1867

Patrick Farrelly, Meadville, Pa., " "

Selden Marvin, Erie, Pa., July 1, 1867

Abner Hazeltine, Warren, Pa., March 6, 1820

Pearson Church, Meadville, Pa., Dec. 9, 1867

Robert Bostwick, " "

C.W. Gilfillian, Franklin, Pa., " "

John B. Wallace, Meadville, Pa., Mch. 8, 1820

Samuel A. Davenport, Erie, Pa., Feb. 21, 1868

Anslem Potter, May 30, 1820

Samuel T. Neill, Warren. Pa., June 2, 1868

Samuel B. Foster, Mercer, Pa., Sept. 4, 1820

Isaac Myer, jr., Franklin, Pa., June 4, 1868

Frank Bergher, Dec. 4, 1820

J.M. Bonham, Sept. 8, 1868

George Selden, Meadville, Pa., June 4, 1821

Joshua Douglass, Meadville, Pa., Sept. 15, 1868

Harmer Denny, Pittsburgh, Pa., June 5, 1821

J.B. Brawley, Meadville, Pa., Sept. 16, 1868

Robert L. Potter, Sept. 4, 1821

Robert Dennison, Warren, Pa., Oct. 6, 1868

Richard Bear, " "

A.B. Richmond, Meadville, Pa., Dec. 7, 1868

Horatio N. Waigley, Sept. 2, 1822

J.H. Lewis, Meadville, Pa., Dec. 9, 1868

Samuel Ladd, " "

M.C. Beebe, Crawford Co., Pa., March 8, 1869

Thomas R. Peters, Sept. 4, 1822

Warren Cowles, Corry, Pa., June 7, 1869

John J. Pearson, Franklin, Pa., Dec. 3, 1822

C.F. Eldred, Corry, Pa., " "

Josiah Hall, Warren, Pa., Sept. 3, 1823

Miles W. Tate, Forest Co., Pa., June 17, 1869

David Derrickson, Meadville, Pa., Mch. 3, 1824

Joshua Byles, Pleasantville, Pa., Sept. 10, 1869

Samuel Miles Green, " "

James M. Breden, Franklin, Pa., Sept. 11, 1869

Stephen Barlow, Meadville, Pa., " "

M. Crosby, Corry, Pa., Oct. 26, 1869

Henry Baldwin, Meadville, Pa., June 1, 1824

William Schnur, Warren, Pa., Nov. 23, 1869

William Ayres, Butler, Pa., " "

Rufus B. Smith, Warren, Pa., " "

John Banks, Mercer, Pa., " "

Wallace W. Brown, McKean Co., Pa., Dec. 7, 1869

George J. Elliott, Erie, Pa., " "

R. Mackwood, Tidioute, Pa., March 7, 1870

Andrew W. Morrison, Warren, Pa., Sept. 2, 1824

S.D. Irwin, Frankliu, Pa., " "

William McKean, May 30, 1825

Caleb C. Thompson, Warren, Pa., May 3, 1870

Moses McClane, jr., " "

L.S. Norton, Erie Co., Pa., June 6, 1870

Don Carlos Barrett, Erie, Pa., Sept. 4, 1826

Daniel D. Fassett, Tidioute, Pa., Sept. 6, 1870

Elijah Babbitt, Erie, Pa., " "

Charles R. Saunders, Erie Co., Pa., March 6, 1871

Gilman Merrill, Warren, Pa., March 5, 1827

W.P. Mercelliot, Forest Co., Pa., March 7, 1871

John S. Riddle, Meadville, Pa., April 3, 1827

M.G. Cushing, Tidioute, Pa., " "

Sylvester Dunham, Brookville, Pa., " "

H.C. Johns, Titusville, Pa., March 17, 1871

James L. Crary, May 5, 1828

James O. Parmlee, Warren, Pa., Sept, 23, 1871

John W. Farrelly, Meadville, Pa., " "

Henry E. Brown, Warren, Pa., Dec. 4, 1871

Abram D. Ditmars, Warren, Pa., May 8, 1828

C.H. Noyes, Warren, Pa., Dec. 12, 1871

Samuel A. Purviance, Warren, Pa., Sept. 1, 1828

W.M. Lindsey, Warren, Pa., March 4, 1872

Thomas Struthers, Warren, Pa., Sept. 8, 1828

Alfred S. Moore, Warren, Pa., May 7, 1872

Michael Gallagher, Warren, Pa., Dec. 1, 1828

Isaac Ash, Oil City, Pa., June 3, 1872

John W. Howe, Smethport, Pa., May 4, 1829

C.L. Baker, Tidioute, Pa., " "

John Wilson, " "

Fred. A. Hooker, Warren, Pa., Aug. 10, 1872

James Thompson, Franklin, Pa., Mch. 3, 1830

Anthony Wiedman, Meadville, Pa., Sept. 10, 1872

Lansing Wetmore, Warren, Pa., Dec. 2, 1830

James H Donly, Venango Co., Pa., Oct. 7, 1872

Orlo J. Hamlin, Smethport, Pa., Sept. 3, 1832

Samuel S. Smith, Titusville, Pa., Jan. 8, 1873

James Ross Snowden, Franklin, Pa., " "

S.E. Woodruff Erie Co., Pa., March 6, 1873

A.C. Ramsay, June 3, 1833

— - Mason, Tionesta, Pa., March 14, 1873

Carlton B. Curtis, Warren, Pa., March 3, 1834

A.W. Coville, Tidioute, Pa., April 28, 1873

Alexander McCalmont, Franklin, Pa., June 2, 1834

C.L. Coville, Corry, Pa., " "

Alfred Huidekoper, Meadville, Pa., June 2, 1834

D.C. McCoy, Meadville, Pa., June 9, 1873

Samuel P. Johnson, Warren, Pa., " "

Roger Sherman, Titusville, Pa., July 23, 1873

George T. Chester, Titusville, Pa., Sept. 1, 1873


B.J. Reed, Clarion, Pa., Sept. 6, 1873


William H. Dimmick, March 7, 1837

Rufus Lucore, Elk Co., Pa., March 3, 1874

James Mullett, Mayville, N.Y., " "

R.W. Mackey, Venango Co., Pa., March 3, 1874

Abner Lewis, Jamestown, N.Y., " "

F.S. Seely, Crawford Co., Pa., March 4, 1874

Gaylord Church, Meadville, Pa., June 5, 1837

W.B. Chapman, Bradford, Pa. " "

John W. Maynard, Wellsboro, Pa., Dec. 4, 1837

F.D. Kinnear, Franklin, Pa., Sept. 15, 1874

Hiram Payne, Smethport, Pa., " "

Charles B. Guthrie, Titusville, Pa., Sept. 16, 1874

Rasselas Brown, Warren, Pa., June 4, 1839

S.C.T. Dodd, Franklin, Pa., Nov. 10, 1874

Almon Virgil, Warren, Pa., July 29, 1839

Otis F. Hoffman, Warren, Pa., Dec. 7, 1874

Joseph Y. James, Warren, Pa., " "

Melancthon Miles, Warren Co., Pa., Jan. 13, 1875

Quincy A. Johnson, Warren, Pa., Sept. 2, 1839

David I. Ball, Warren, Pa., Feb. 10, 1875

Joshua Sweet, Oct. 23, 1839

John L. Butler, Aug. 5, 1875

Richard P. Marvin, Jamestown, N.Y., Oct. 23, 1839

Byron Sutherland, Warren, Pa., Nov. 12, 1875

Arthur Cullum, Meadville, Pa., June 3, 1840

Thomas A. Morrison, Dec. 10, 1875

Norris W. Goodrich, Warren, Pa., Oct. 20, 1840

James Cable, Warren, Pa., Jan. 20, 1876

Thomas S. Espy, Franklin, Pa., Dec. 29, 1840

F.M. Knapp, Warren, Pa., April 13, 1876

Darius Titus, Warren, Pa., March 2, 1841

William Swanson, Warren, Pa., July 10, 1877

Montgomery P. Young, March 3, 1841

E.L. Davis, Tionesta, Forest Co., Pa., Sept. 7, 1877

William H. Lamberton, Franklin, Pa., Dec. 8, 1841

J.V. Brown, Dec. 6, 1877

S.J. Goodrich, Warren, Pa., March 7, 1842


John P. Vincent, Erie, Pa., March 11, 1842


Edwin C. Stacy, Columbus, Pa., Sept. 9, 1842

C.G. Olmstead, Corry, Pa., April 1, 1878

Lothrop T. Parmlee, Warren, Pa., Dec. 1, 1842

James G. Marsh, Warren, Pa., Sept. 2, 1878

Glenni W. Scofield, Warren, Pa., Jan. 5, 1843

Perry D. Clark, Warren, Pa., " "

Josiah Hall, Warren. Pa., re-admitted Jan. 5, 1843

Samuel Minor, Titusville, Pa., Jan. 7, 1880

William H. Davis, Meadville, Pa., Dec. 5, 1843

W.E. Marsh, Corry, Pa., " "

C.H.S. Williams, Mayville, N.Y., Dec. 5, 1843

S.F. Hallock, Meadville, Pa., Jan. 9, 1880

Joseph D. James, Warren, Pa., March 5, 1844

R.C. Schnur, Warren, Pa., April 5, 1880

William A. Galbraith, Erie, Pa., June 3, 1844

A.C. Bowers, Warren Co., Pa., July 6, 1880

Lansing D. Wetmore, Warren, Pa., June 4, 1844

George H. Higgins, Warren, Pa., " "

Charles Knapp, Warren, Pa., " "

C.H. McCauley, Elk Co., Pa., Sept. 7, 1880

Theophilus T. Wilson, Warren, Pa., " "

J.W. Lee, Franklin, Pa., Dec. 9, 1880

John N. Miles, Warren, Pa., — - "

William M. Boggs, Clarion, Pa., Dec. 10, 1880

Isaac Benson, Warren, Pa., June 21, 1844

Samuel L. McGee, Jan. 6, 1881

E.P. Seely, Dec. 2, 1844

H.W. Wier, Pittsburgh, Pa., Feb. 11, 1881

Edwin C. Wilson, Franklin, Pa., Sept. 3, 1845

William D. Christy, Oil City, Pa., April 5, 1881

William D. Brown, Warren, Pa., Dec. 8, 1847

James D. Hancock, Franklin, Pa., " "

George B. Delamater, Meadville, Pa., Sept. 4, 1849

R.F. Glenn, . Jan. 20, 1882

Jerome W. Wetmore, Warren, Pa., Dec. 6, 1849

Frank McClintock, Feb. 6, 1882

Madison Burnell, Jamestown, N.Y., March 6, 1850

F.H. Davis, Meadville, Pa., March 9, 1882

Charles B. Curtis, Warren, Pa., Dec. 4, 1851

T.F. Ritchey, Tionesta, Pa., March 11, 1882

Henry Souther, Ridgway, Pa., Jan. 19, 1852

John W. Dunkle, Clarendon, Pa., May 1, 1882

George D. Woodin, Warren, Pa., June 9, 1852


James Karr, Franklin, Pa., Sept. 8, 1852


James Sill, Erie, Pa., Dec. 6, 1852

N.M. Orr, June 5, 1882

Theodore D. Edwards, Warren, Pa., June 7, 1853

Eugene Mullen, " "

T.C. Spencer, Warren, Pa., " "

H.J. Muse, Warren, Pa., June 6, 1882

S.W. Dana, Warren, Pa., " "

John A. Wilson, Venango, Pa., June 8, 1882

Isaac S. Alden, Warren, Pa., June 8, 1854

Charles Westcott, June 9, 1882

Barnett W. Lacy, Warren, Pa., Oct. 11, 1855

N.B. Smiley, McKean Co., Pa., " "

Oliver A. Dalrymple, Warren, Pa., Dec. 5, 1855

Watson D. Hinckley, Warren, Pa., July 12, 1882

O.N. Payne, March 3, 1856

A.F. Bole, Union City, Pa., " "

Byron D. Hamlin, Smethport, Pa., Feb. 4, 1857

William C.Brown, July 12, 1882

E.B. Eldred, Smethport, Pa., June 3, 1857

L.R. Freeman, Warren, Pa., " "

Samuel N. Dickinson, Warren, Pa., Aug. 17, 1857

Foster L. Snodgrass, Meadville, Pa., July 31, 1882

J.A. Chapin, Ridgeway, Pa., Sept. 8, 1857

F.D. Kinnear, Tidioute, Pa., Aug. 11, 1882

Junius R. Clark, Warren, Pa., Aug. 17, 1858

W.R. Bole, Meadville, Pa., Sept. 4, 1882

D.J. Hodges, Warren, Pa., " "

H.L. Richmond, jr., Meadville, Pa., Sept. 4, 1882

F.B. Guthrie, Warren, Pa., March 8, 1859

F.R. Blackmarr, Meadville, Pa., " "

William R. Scott, Aug. 17, 1859

Thomas Roddy, Meadville, Pa., " "

Charles Dinsmoor, Warren, Pa., Sept. 6, 1859

J.H. Osmar, Franklin, Pa., Sept. 5, 1882

T.R. Kennedy, Meadville, Pa., Dec. 7, 1859

Harvey N. Snyder, Sept. 6, 1882

J.B. Johnson, Erie, Pa., Sept. 6, 1860

William G. Trunkey, Warren, Pa., Sept. 7, 1882

William S. Lane, Erie, Pa., Dec. 4, 1860

S.M. Brainard, Erie, Pa.,, Oct. 3, 1882

William W. Wilbur, Warren, Pa., April 23, 1861

John McKissick,, Oct. 4, 1882

H.A. Jamieson, Warren, Pa., Aug. 19, 1861

J.M. McClure, Nov. 13, 1882

N.P. Fetterman, Pittsburgh, Pa., " "

Lewis F. Barger, Dec. 4, 1882

George W. De Camp, Erie Co., Pa., Aug. 22, 1861

H.D. Hancock,, Dec. 5, 1882

Charles Taylor, Franklin, Pa., Sept. 3, 1861

Samuel Grumbine, Jan. 19, 1883

J.A. Neill, Warren, Pa., Oct. 23, 1861

H.H. Goucher, Warren, Pa., " "

James L. Lott, Warren Co., Pa., Dec. 4, 1861

W.P. Weston, March 5, 1883

David McKelvy, Warren, Pa., Feb. 10, 1862

Cornelius Vanhorn, " "

Thomas M. Biddle, Phila., Pa., " "

Samuel P. Bingham, March 7, 1883

Charles E. Baldwin, June 6, 1862

George A. Allen, Erie, Pa., April 28, 1883

A.D. Wood, Warren, Pa., June 1, 1863

John M. Thompson, June 7, 1883

S.E. Woodruff; Erie, Pa., June 2, 1863

Lewis Rozenweig, Erie, Pa., July 10, 1883

Jacob Baker, Titusville, Pa., " "

George N. Frazine, Warren, Pa., Sept, 3, 1883

Samuel T. Allen, Warren, Pa., Feb. 9, 1864

A.B. Force, Pittsburgh, Pa., Jan. 29, 1884

Orrin C. Allen, Warren, Pa., " "

James W. Wiggins, Warren, Pa., March 3, 1884

Henry Crawford, New Albany, Ind., March 8, 1864

John C. Sturgeon, Erie, Pa., May 5, 1884

Joel F. Asper, Erie, Pa., " "

F.W. Hays, Venango Co., Pa., June 2, 1884

Waldron M. Dane, July 28, 1884


H.R. McCalmont, Sept. 29, 1884


O.O. Trantum, Warren, Pa., Sept. 4, 1865

A.E. Sisson, Erie, Pa., Oct. 9, 1884

Clark Ewing, Titusville, Pa., " "

James W. Sproul, Crawford Co., Pa., Feb. 5, 1885

Thomas McConnell, Pittsburgh, Pa., Sept. 6, 1865


William M. Biddle, Erie, Pa., Dec. 4, 1865


Joel Campbell, Corry, Pa., Dec. 6, 1865

William E. Rice. Warren, Pa., April 6, 1885

C.O. Bowman, Corry, Pa., " "

Edward S. Wetmore, Warren, Pa., " "

S.M. Davis, Meadville, Pa., March 5, 1866

George A. Jenks, Jefferson Co., Pa., April 8, 1885

Alfred B. McCalmont, Franklin, Pa., March 6, 1865

John G. Hall, Elk Co., Pa., " "

Henry McSweeney, " "


James W. Kinnear, Tidioute, Pa., April 16, 1885


H.T. Beardsley, Lock Haven, Pa., Nov. 17, 1866

Theodore A. Lamb, Erie Co., Pa., Sept. 8, 1885

Harrison Allen, Warren, Pa., Nov. 17, 1866

G.B. McCalmont, " "

Alvin W. Barry, Tidioute, Pa., " "

Isaac Ash, Venango Co., Pa., Oct. 7, 1885

L.W. Wilcox, Titusville, Pa., Sept. 3, 1866

A.C. Richards, Busti, N.Y., Dec. 15, 1885

C.W. Stone, Warren, Pa., " "

C. Heydrick, Venango Co., Pa., June 28, 1886

James Buchanan, Tidioute, Pa., Sept. 4, 1866

F. Elliott, Tioga Co., Pa., " "

C.D. Longfellow, Titusville, Pa., " "

W.V.N. Yates, Warren, Pa., " "

G.W. Allen, Warren, Pa., Dec. 3, 1866

John J. Henderson, Meadville, Pa., Sept. 6, 1886

James D. Mahon, Irvine, Pa., March 5, 1867

A.J. Foster, Erie, Pa., Oct. 4, 1886

Robert C. Beach, Tidioute, Pa., March 7, 1867

Charles L. Cooper, Warren, Pa., Oct. 5, 1886


Of some of the early resident practitioners mentioned in the foregoing list, Judge S.P. Johnson has kindly furnished for this chapter the following reminiscences:

"Abner Hazeltine, the first located lawyer in the county, came here in 1818, remained until 1825, then moved to Jamestown; but continued his practice in Warren until the infirmities of age compelled him to withdraw. He was a man of average ability, great industry, unpretentious, but a good lawyer and a man of sterling integrity; in moral character a model.

"Gilman Merrill came to Warren in 1826, bringing with him a certificate of admission to the bar in Ohio, which secured his admission here in 1827. He never made much pretension as a lawyer. Having been a cabinet-maker in life, he worked some at both trades. He was prosecuting attorney for the county, under the administration of Governor Wolf, in 1853-5, and afterwards one of the associate judges for some years.

"Samuel A. Purviance, who deserves notice as one of the pioneers of the profession in this county, came here in the summer of 1828; continued in active practice until 1832, when, wishing a larger field for the exercise of his abilities, he removed to Butler county. He continued there many years, practicing in that and adjoining counties with marked success, and finally removed to Pittsburgh, where he spent the remainder of his natural and professional life. Both as a man and a lawyer he occupied a high position in the estimation of the community and the profession, in whatever locality he lived and practiced.

"Carlton B. Curtis came to Warren as a young attorney from Chautauqua county, N.Y., in the spring of 1834. He came without prestige or friends, dependent on his own resources alone for success, and he succeeded. He was not naturally methodical or painstaking. Whatever he did he did well, without much regard to the manner of its doing. Naturally indolent, he took the shortest cut to his objective point. His legal documents were usually short, informal, and often slovenly, but clearly to the point. His mind was incisive and analytical. His conclusions were generally logical and correct; but they were the product of his instinct or good common sense, rather than of his ratiocination. His memory was good and his judgment first-rate; but the want of a thorough collegiate education had left his mind undisciplined in the close process of logical reasoning. Yet as a practitioner he was successful and popular. Personally he possessed many amiable qualities. In his domestic relations he was kind and indulgent even to excess. In his social intercourse he was interesting, agreeable, and facetious even to waggery sometimes. He had no malice in his composition, and never indulged in revenge or retaliation. He represented this county in the Legislature during the sessions of 1837-38, and in Congress in the years 1851-52 and 1873-74. He was an earnest and honest politician, and always took an active part in all political campaigns. He enlisted in the service of his country during the late "unpleasantness," as he termed it, and became colonel of the Fifty-eighth Regiment of the Pennsylvania Volunteers, and resigned in the summer of 1863. Within the next year or two he removed from Warren to Erie, where he continued to reside and practice his profession until he died, in 1885. The life and history of Colonel Curtis was so identified with the history of Warren county, for more than thirty years, as to justify a somewhat prolonged obituary notice.

"Benjamin Bartholomew came to Warren from Jefferson county in the spring of 1835, with a family, having already had some years’ practice. He soon acquired a fair practice. His education and abilities were such as to secure to him permanently a very respectable position at the bar, had his habits been such as to inspire public confidence. Unfortunately they were not, and the natural result followed. He was a zealous Whig politician and a good stumper. He was elected to the Legislature in 1846, and in the following year left Warren and moved to Pottsville, Schuylkill county.

"Josiah Hall was the first law student in the county of Warren; prosecuted his studies in the office of Abner Hazeltine, the only resident lawyer here in those days, and was admitted in September, 1823. The sparseness of the population and their poverty made the practice of the law far from remunerative even for two lawyers. Most of the good paying business was done by foreign lawyers from 1820 to ‘29. With all their economy, Haseltine and Hall both failed of financial success. In 1825 the former moved to Jamestown, and soon after the latter embarked in the lumber business, which he found much more to both his taste and profit. Still he kept his place in the profession until about 1834, when he devoted himself entirely to lumbering and politics. He was that year appointed one of the associate judges of the county, which office he resigned in the fall of 1835, upon his election to the Legislature. He was at this time the leader of the Democratic party in the county, but lost caste with it by voting for the charter, or recharter, of the United States Bank, in consideration of getting $— - of the bonus or bribe it paid for its charter, in the shape of appropriations for roads and bridges in the county. Anti-bankism was the Jacksonian shibboleth in those days. Hall never resumed the practice, for which he had but little of either taste or talent. The balance of his life was spent in the ups and downs of the lumber and oil business, alternately rich and poor, interspersed with several heavy and perplexing lawsuits.

"John N. Miles was a native of Warren county; received a collegiate education, studied law with Johnson & Brown, and was admitted to practice in the summer of 1844. He soon formed a copartnership with C.B. Curtis, which continued as Curtis & Miles until his death in 1855. He died young, unmarried, and without having fully developed his capacity as a lawyer, or indicating the position he would have attained in the profession had his life been spared. His prospects were fair, his acquirements and natural ability were good, and his personal qualities such as to render him a general favorite in the community.

"In the early judicial history of the county were certain gentlemen of the bar never residents therein, who for a number of years participated largely in the practice, whose names are still familiar to many of the older citizens. Among these, John Galbraith will be remembered as one of those admitted to this bar at the first court ever held in the county, in November, 1819. He resided in Franklin, but continued to attend the courts here regularly until his removal to Erie, about the year 1840, and occasionally afterwards, until his election as the president judge of this district in 1851. As a practitioner he was laborious and painstaking, not eloquent, but logical and convincing, fair and courteous, honest and sympathetic, persistent and apt to take his lost cases to the Supreme Court. His infinite good nature prevented his ever giving offense, and every one that knew him liked him. After being three or four times elected to Congress he was at last elected judge of the sixth judicial district, in which he presided from 1851 to the time of his decease, in June, 1860. Neither at the bar nor on the bench was a dishonest or dishonorable act ever attributed to the Hon. John Galbraith.

"John J. Pearson was admitted to the bar of Warren county in December, 1822. He was then a fair-complexioned, light-haired stripling, just of age; resided in Franklin, and had been about two years a lawyer. He was well read, professionally ambitious, a ready and rapid speaker, and indefatigably industrious. These elements of character brought him rapidly to the front ranks of the profession. He soon became, and for many years was, the leading practitioner of this, as he was of Venango county. About the year 1830 he moved from Franklin to Mercer, but continued his long horseback rides to the courts of this county periodically up to 1840, and occasionally thereafter. He was a model practitioner. Well posted in the law, possessed of a quick perception, a ready and discriminating mind and great resources, he was a most formidable antagonist to any opponent. He was first appointed, and afterwards three times elected, president judge in Dauphin and Lebanon counties, equally distinguished for his professional ability, his social virtues, and his untarnished integrity.

"James Thompson, having practiced some years in Venango county, entered the profession in Warren county in the spring of 1830. He soon made his mark, and entered largely into the practice of the county. This he kept up, except when absent as a member of the Legislature, until the year 1839, when he was appointed judge of the District Court, created that year for the sixth judicial district, when he removed to Erie and never resumed practice here. In 1857 he was promoted to a seat on the Supreme Bench of the State, the duties of which he discharged, with eminent ability and to the great satisfaction of the profession, for fifteen years. His retentive memory and sound judgment supplied the want of a collegiate education, and made him a safe and successful judge."

The attorneys now in active practice in the county are about thirty in number. All have been requested to contribute data concerning themselves as members of the bar. A majority have responded, and of these, not otherwise mentioned at length in other pages, we append the following remarks:

Samuel T. Neill was born at Neillsburg, Venango (now Forest) county, on the 16th of July, 1841, and was graduated from Jefferson College in August, 1865. He studied law one year with J.A. Neill, of Warren, and the rest of his term with Lewis C. Cassidy, of Philadelphia, after which, on the 2d of June, 1868, he was admitted to practice. In 1863 he was a high private in the rear rank of the Pennsylvania militia. From December, 1868, to January, 1883, he resided in Titusville, Pa. Besides a gratifying amount of practice in his profession, he has successfully engaged more or less in the oil business, the period of his greatest activity in this business being in 1868 and 1869. He did not begin to confine his energies to his professional duties, indeed, until 1870.

Caleb C. Thompson was born in Pine Grove on the 28th day of May, 1846. He was educated in the common schools of his native town, in the Normal School of Edinboro, Pa., at the Jamestown Union School and at the Collegiate Institute at the same place. He studied law with Brown & Stone, of Warren, and was admitted to practice in the courts of Warren county on the 3d of May, 1870. From that time to 1881 he resided at Tidioute, and at the last-named date came to Warren. He served one term as burgess of Tidioute borough from February, 1878, three years as district attorney of Warren county from November, 1878, school director for Warren borough for three years from February, 1885, and burgess of Warren borough for one year from February, 1885. He is eminently a self-made man. During the time that he attended school, and followed the study of law before admission, he taught school winters and labored on farms summers to obtain the money necessary to defray his expenses.

James O. Parmlee was born in Warren, Pa., on the 10th of July, 1845, and received his education at Allegheny College, in Meadville, Pa. His law studies as a clerk were pursued in the office of Hon. S.P. Johnson, of Warren, his present partner, and he was admitted to practice on the 23d of September, 1871. Mr. Parmlee served nine months in the last war in Company G, Two Hundred and Eleventh Regiment, and as captain of Company I, Sixteenth Regiment, N.G. Pa. (from November 5, 1878, to July 30, 1885). On the latter date he was commissioned lieutenant-colonel of the last-named regiment, a position which he still holds. He is also United States commissioner, having received the appointment on the 27th of May, 1880. He is now a resident of Warren, though in former years he has lived in Erie, Pa.

C.H. Noyes entered this life at Marshall, Mich., on the 28th of July, 1849. His educational advantages were limited, and he never attended other than the union school of his native town, nor that after he had reached his twelfth year. He began the study of law in the office of Hon. William D. Brown, of Warren, and afterward continued his researches in the office of Hon. Junius R. Clark. His admission to the bar is dated December 12, 1871. Mr. Noyes was elected burgess of Warren borough in February, 1877, and served one year. In 1886 he was appointed a member of the State Geological Survey Commission, a position which he still fills. Since his admission he has closely confined himself to his practice, not permitting his attention to be distracted from his chosen profession by any Circean avocation whatever. He is now the second partner in the prominent firm of Wetmore, Noyes & Hinckley.

Wilton M. Lindsey was born in the township of Pine Grove, this county, June 8, 1841. His literary studies were completed in the academy at Randolph, Cattaraugus county, N.Y., and the State Normal School at Edinboro, Pa. He studied law in the office of Hon. S.P. Johnson, of Warren, and was admitted on the 4th of March, 1872. He enlisted in Company F, One Hundred and Forty-fifth Regiment of Pennsylvania Volunteers, in the last war (August 13, 1862), served until January 27, 1863, when he was discharged on surgeon’s certificate of disability. On the 1st of October, 1865, he was appointed county superintendent of common schools for Warren county; was elected to the same office on the 4th of June, 1866, and was re-elected exactly three years later. On the 1st of December 1871, he resigned this office. In 1877 and 1878 he represented his native county in the State Legislature.

James Cable, son of Thomas Cable, was born in Pine Grove township on the 11th of March, 1848, and was educated at Randolph, N.Y., and at the Union School and Collegiate Institute at Jamestown, N.Y. He then studied law in the office of Dinsmoor & Reeves, and was admitted to the bar on the 20th of January, 1876. Although he now limits his avocations to his chosen profession, he occupied a portion of his time for the first three years of his practice in the service of the several most prominent insurance companies in this part of the country. He resided at Pine Grove until 1874, since which time he has been a resident of Warren.

Perry D. Clark was born on the 7th of June, 1851, in Ellery township, Chautauqua county, N.Y., and obtained a good education at Forestville, in the county of his birth, and at Cornell University. He studied law in the office of S.D. Halladay, at Ithaca, N.Y., and, before coming to Pennsylvania to live, was admitted to practice in the highest courts of that State. After coming to Warren from Ithaca he continued the study of law in the office of Brown & Stone for eight months, and was admitted to practice in the courts of this county on the 2d of September, 1878.

Homer J. Muse was born on the 26th day of November, 1855, at Brownsville (now Sandy Lake), Mercer county, Pa., and received his education at the New Lebanon Academy, New Lebanon, Pa. His preparatory law studies were pursued in the offices of Hon. Samuel C.T. Dodd and Hon. J.W. Lee, of Franklin, Pa. He was admitted to the bar of Venango county on the 21st of April, 1879, and at Warren June 6, 1882. On the 3d of March, 1884, by reason of the illness of the district attorney of Warren county, he was appointed by the court assistant district attorney for one term of court. Since attaining years of maturity he has resided successively at New Lebanon, Franklin, and Coleville, Pa., besides Warren, his present place of residence. From June, 1879, to April, 1882, he practiced at the bar of McKean county; was admitted to practice in the courts of Warren county in June, 1882, and in September following took up his residence in his adopted county.

George H. Higgins was born in Sparta township, Crawford county, Pa., and acquired his literary education in the common schools of his native place and in the High School in Watertown, N.Y. Preparatory to his career at the bar he studied law in the office of S.T. Allen, and was admitted to practice in Warren county on the 6th of July, 1880. On the 9th of May, 1884, he was appointed by the court district attorney, to fill the vacancy caused by the death of William Swanson, and in the following November was elected for a term of three years. His term therefore continues until November, 1887.

Watson D. Hinckley was born on the 17th day of March, 1854, in Fredonia, Chautauqua county, N.Y., and in the academic department of the State Normal School at that place prepared for college. He completed his scholastic training in the University of Michigan. He studied law with Nelson B. Smiley, and was admitted to practice in Warren county on the 12th day of July, 1882. At first he resided at Bradford, but for several years has lived in Warren. In February, 1880, he was elected one of the aldermen of Bradford city for a term of five years, but on the 1st of July, 1882, he resigned this office. He is the youngest member of the firm of Wetmore, Noyes & Hinckley.

John W. Dunkle was born on the 9th of November, 1856, at West Freedom, Clarion county, Pa. He attended the public schools of Perry township, Clarion county, until 1874, and then passed two years in the State Normal School at Edinboro, Pa., after which he took a thorough course in the law school at Ann Arbor, Mich., from which he was graduated in the spring of 1881. During the summer and fall of 1881 he read law in the office of Brown & Stone, and was admitted to practice in Warren county on the 1st of May, 1882. Since then he has resided at North Clarendon, in this county. He was elected burgess of Clarendon borough in February, 1883, and served his full term. From the spring of 1882 for three years he was notary public.

George N. Frazine was born on the 25th of August, 1860, at Sugar Grove, in this county. He attended a full course in the State Normal School of Fredonia, N.Y., from which he was graduated in the class of 1879. In 1884 he was graduated from Yale College with the degree of Bachelor of Laws, cum laude, an honor reserved for those alone who make an exceptionally brilliant record in that institution. He then removed to Warren, and after a course of study in the offices of Brown & Ball and Brown & Stone, was admitted to practice in the courts of Warren county on the 3d of September, 1883. He is the senior member of the firm of Frazine & Wiggins.

James W. Wiggins, junior member of the firm last above named, was born in Sugar Grove on the 17th of June, 1858, and was educated in the common schools of his native town and in Allegheny College. After a full course of study in the law offices of Johnson, Lindsey & Parmlee, he was admitted to the bar of this county on the 3d of March, 1884, since which time he has carried on a successful practice in Warren county, residing at Warren.

William E. Rice was born on the 19th of December, 1860, at Lottsville, in this county, and was educated at the Chamberlain Institute, at Randolph, N.Y., and at Allegheny College, at Meadville, Pa. His preliminary law studies were pursued under the direction of Wetmore, Noyes & Hinckley, of Warren, after which course, and on the 6th of April, 1885, he was admitted to practice.

J.W. Kinnear, of Tidioute, was born in that village on the 2d day of August, 1859, and was graduated from Allegheny College in 1882. He began the study of law in the office of Brown & Stone, at Warren, and was admitted to the bar of the county on the 16th of April, 1885.

W.V.N. Yates was born at Columbus, Warren county, on the 1st day of August, 1859. He attended the common schools of his native town and of Corry, and took a course in Allegheny College and in Buchtel College, at Akron, Ohio, from which he was graduated in the class of 1882. The first three years of his course as a law student were passed in the office of Brown & Stone, and the last year with Johnson, Lindsey & Parmlee. On the 28th of June, 1886, he was admitted to practice in the courts of this county. On the 11th of June, 1885, he was appointed by the governor of Pennsylvania to the office of notary public for a term of four years. He has obtained most of the means for his own education by his own efforts, having at one time been teacher in the High School at Corry and at another principal of the schools at Clymer, N.Y. His studies in Allegheny College extended from the fall of 1876 until (excepting one year) the end of the fall term of 1881, when he went to Buchtel College. From the latter institution he received the degree Ph.D.

Charles L. Cooper was born in Farmington township, in this county, on the 3d of September, 1860. His preparatory law studies were pursued in the office of Ball & Thompson. He was admitted to the bar on the 5th of October, 1886, and has begun the practice of his profession in Warren.


SOURCE: Page(s) 311-323, History of Warren County, J.S. Schenck & W.S. Rann, Syracuse, New York: D. Mason, 1887