Viewing County Bench & Bar Category (45) found:
The introduction to this chapter on the legal history of Brown County contains the following observation:
The first lawyer arrived in Morrison County, Minnesota, in 1854 and left in 1863. In 1876, there was one lawyer in the county, and by 1884, there were two. Lawyers came and went---a phenomena that was not uncommon in every county in this state, rural or urban. It took decades before Morrison County developed sufficiently to support a stable bar. By 1915, the county bar had ten members.
This article lists the names and terms of judges, clerks of court, county attorneys, sheriffs and probate judges who served in Winona County from the 1850s to 1883. It appeared first as a chapter in "History of Winona County" published in 1883.
This is a highly personalized history of the bench and bar of Kittson County written by Peter Henry Konzen, a prominent attorney. After devoting two pages to early terms of the district court, Konzen announces that he will avoid "the monotony of legal routine" by describing two amusing trials--the prosecution of Kate Rafferty before Ozora P. Stearns, a legendary judge of northern Minnesota, in 1883, and a civil suit for damages for the killing of a dog, in which he represented the plaintiff, in 1888. Konzen's client was awarded an amount somewhat less than he sought.
Big Stone County was established by the legislature on February 20, 1862. In 1981, Magdalene R. Sparrow published a history of the county. She included a short chapter on lawyers who had practiced in the county, several of whom practiced more than a half-century. She also related several anecdotes about law enforcement, the most entertaining being about the apprehension in the fall of 1879 of "two members of Doc Middleton's gang" who were wanted for bank robbery, horse stealing, and kidnapping.
In late 1935, the "Brown County Journal," a weekly newspaper, published a series of five articles on the history of the county court system written by Fred W. Johnson, a community leader and a founder of the county historical society.
Lycurgus R. Moyer, the author of this article, served as probate judge in Chippewa County for two decades. It is based on his review of court records as well as his personal recollections. He begins with a paragraph about himself, then describes early court sessions, before concluding with several pages of short sketches of lawyers who practiced in the county from the 1870s to 1916. This article appeared in the first volume of a two volume history of Chippewa and Lac qui Parle Counties published in 1916, and edited by Moyer and Ole G. Dale. In 1917, Moyer died. He was 68 years old.
Clay County was established by the legislature on March 8, 1862. The county bar had eight members in 1883 and nineteen in 1917. Many lawyers who practiced in the county during these decades had active business interests in addition to their law practice. The lives of several judges profiled in this history of the county, published in 1918, warrant further study: the influential Ira B. Mills, who served as a district court judge from 1887 to 1893, when he was appointed to the Minnesota Railroad and Warehouse Commission, where he served until his death on May 3, 1921 (any study of railroad rate regulation during the Populist and Progressive Eras in this state must include an examination of the thinking of Mills); the independent-minded Wallace B. Douglas, who served as attorney general from 1899 to 1904, and associate justice of the state supreme court for nine months in 1904, when he failed reelection due to "an unfortunate dissension within the Republican party," and the patriotic Carroll A. Nye, who held numerous county offices, was elected district court judge in 1910, and in 1917, at the age of 53, enlisted in the army.
This history of the legal community of Cottonwood County consists of two pages of biographical sketches of seven men who practiced law or served on the bench. It begins with the curious statement (not typical of the many hagiographic county "bench and bar" histories written in pre-World War One) that Cottonwood County "may not have had many illustrious legal lights." The county was established on May 23, 1857, and when this history was published almost sixty years later, there were only six lawyers practicing in the entire county, five in Windom, the sixth in Westbrook. If one has the patience and stamina to examine county legal histories such as this, it is possible to see changes in the profession in the latter half of the nineteenth century and first decade of the twentieth: the formation of small partnerships, which usually did not last long, the rise of law schools, the development of legal specialties, and so on.
Anecdotes about early court cases, accounts of early court sessions and profiles of the judges who served in Dakota County from territorial days to 1910 are included in this article, which appeared first in a two volume history of Dakota and Goodhue Counties. The longest profile is that of District Court Judge Francis M. Crosby. Though the author of this article is not listed, it almost certainly was written by or with the assistance of Judge Crosby, who is listed as one of the "contributors and revisers" on the title pages of the books.
A history of Dodge County, published in 1884, did not cover much ground because it had been established only twenty-nine years earlier. Nevertheless, during this brief period, the county's legal establishment underwent a great upheaval, becoming a casualty of the construction of the Winona & St. Peter Railroad.
According to Judge Ozora P. Stearns, holding court in the Eleventh Judicial District as late as the 1870s was a makeshift affair, resulting in "a rough kind of justice." There were no courthouses. Lawyers and judges had few law books, and there was not a complete set of the Minnesota Reports "west of Duluth." Lawyers in his district did not "know enough to take an appeal" to the state supreme court. These are a few of the reminiscences of Judge Stearns which were recorded by Consul Willshire Butterfield, author of this article.
This is a chapter on the bench and bar of Duluth and St. Louis County that appeared in the two volume "History of Duluth and St. Louis County" published in 1910. Though the author of the chapter is not listed, it undoubtedly was written by or with the assistance of Judge Josiah D. Ensign, who served as a district judge in the Eleventh Judicial District from 1889 to 1903.
A multi-volume history of Duluth and St. Louis County, published in 1921, chronicled year-by-year noteworthy events, including the "first" court session, the "first lawyer" in Duluth, the "first lawyer" in the county, the "first lawsuit," the "first" journal of the district court, and so on--hence the title of this article.
Jacob Armel Kiester arrived in Faribault County in 1857, and began a lifetime of public service. He was county surveyor, register of deeds, county attorney, court commissioner, state representative, state senator, and, for over twenty years, probate judge.
This legal history of Fillmore County begins in the spring of 1853, when the first grand jury was drawn in Winona. Like other county histories, it relates anecdotes about early trials and contains short profiles of early lawyers and judges. It names the twenty-two "leading members" of the county bar in 1880 as well as the seventeen lawyers who were practicing in the county in 1912, when this history was published. It concludes with two sentences on the formation of the Fillmore County Bar Association on November 13, 1860, but regrettably does not chronicle the activities of this organization through the following decades.
Henry A. Morgan made multiple contributions to a history of Freeborn County published in 1911. First, he wrote a chapter on the "Bench and Bar," which contains short biographical sketches of fifty-eight lawyers and judges who lived, practiced and served in the county beginning in the 1870s and continuing for the next forty years. Each of these men contributed, most slightly and a few deeply, to the growth of the legal profession in this state. Next, he wrote about four famous cases that were tried in county courts. And finally, he wrote a flattering self-portrait.
Grant County was established on March 6, 1868, by the legislature. The first lawyer arrived in the early 1870s; more arrived in the 1880s; but like many other lawyers in rural areas in this state in this period, they practiced only briefly in the county before moving elsewhere.
A history of Houston County published in 1882 repeated several anecdotes about cases tried or attempted to be tried in justice court in the 1850s.
Proceedings in Justice Court in Jackson County in the 1860s are retold in this article. They appeared first in a history of the county published in 1910.
Lac qui Parle County was established by the legislature on March 6, 1871. This article covers over fifty years of the bench and bar of the county in four pages. Four judges served the county from 1875 to 1916. In 1916 there were ten members of the county bar, one of whom was the clerk of court, another publisher of a newspaper. It appeared first as a chapter in a joint history of Chippewa and Lac qui Parle Counties published in 1916.
This history of the "bench and bar" of LeSueur County has short, informal and sometimes gossipy biographical sketches of lawyers and judges who practiced and worked in the county from the 1860s to 1916, when it was published. Among those profiled are the eccentric Judson James, who gave up law to try to introduce "the phonetic system of spelling" to the public, the revered Martin J. Severance, described as "the best lawyer and judge, in many ways, that Minnesota ever had," and the principled George D. Emery, who moved from LeSueur County to Minneapolis where he was appointed a municipal court judge, only to be forced to resign by the Republican Party because it was displeased with his rulings in labor disputes.
Thirty years after he first settled in Lincoln County, Gilbert Larson wrote "History of Lincoln County" that was comprised of his recollections of people and events in the early years of the county. It was later included in an anthology published in 1936. Three excerpts from Larson's "History" are included in this article: "First Person Admitted to Bar of Lincoln County," "Early Legal Litigation," and "First Term of District Court."
This article on the McLeod County bar appeared as a chapter in a history of that county published in 1917. It is typical of most histories of county bars in this state and elsewhere published during this era. It consists of twenty short profiles of judges and lawyers who served and practiced in McLeod County from territorial days to the eve of the First World War. Each profile states the date and place of the lawyer's birth, gives the date of his marriage and the name of his wife, describes his education and official positions he held, and notes when he came to the county. They do not reveal the character or idiosyncrasies of the lawyers, tell memorable stories about them, or describe changes in the profession.
In 1968, Patrick J. Casey published a history of Meeker County which contained a short chapter on its early courts and litigation. He also compiled lists of officials who served during the county's first 100 years. These chapters are reproduced in this article.
This two-part article covers the legal history of Mower County from the mid-1850s to the mid-1880s. The first part describes early court sessions and several criminal cases, the second gives short, generally positive, profiles of members of the bar. This period in the history of the county was punctuated by a cause célèbre: the impeachment trial of Judge Sherman Page in 1878 before the state senate. Several of the charges against Page are set forth in the first part of this article. This article appeared first as chapters in a history of Mower County published in 1884.
This chapter on the Mower County bench and bar appeared in a history of that county published in 1911. It contains short profiles of many lawyers and judges who practiced and served in the county from the 1870s to the time of publication. It also has short accounts of "notable cases," in which the author of the chapter, Lafayette French, a titan of the bar of southern Minnesota, frequently represented one party.
"The bar in Nicollet county has not had a large number connected with it." So begins this thumbnail sketch of the "bench and bar" of Nicollet County, published in 1916. Counting the names of the lawyers and judges listed in this history, it appears that less than thirty men practiced law in Nicollet County from the mid- 1850s to 1916, a period of sixty years. At the time of the publication of this history, there were only six lawyers residing in the county, and one of them, Charles R. Davis, was serving in congress in Washington, D.C. Despite its brevity, this history suggests that several lawyers warrant further scholarly attention: Sumner Ladd, who delved into politics, William Cowan, an associate of Charles Flandrau, and particularly C. S. Bryant, described as "the brainy attorney and brilliant writer of state and Indian history."
This history of the legal community of Norman County contains biographical sketches of lawyers and judges who worked there from the 1880s to the First World War. Two historic patterns emerge. First, almost all lawyers beginning practice in the county from the 1890s onward had attended a law school. The era of education by apprenticeship was over. Of the ten members of the Norman County bar in 1918, when this history was published, nine had attended a law school. The second pattern seems to be typical of rural counties in this state during this period: they had difficulty retaining young lawyers. Lawyers started a practice but after a few years moved to larger cities in Minnesota or to North Dakota, Montana, Oregon or Washington.
John W. Mason practiced law in Fergus Falls from 1871 to 1916 when he retired. He represented the Great Northern Railway from 1883 to 1910. During those decades he was reputed to have appeared before the state supreme court more than any other "country attorney." Like other pioneer lawyers, he was active in the life of his community. He held the posts of mayor, city attorney, school board member, and state legislator. He also edited a massive history of Otter Tail County that included his chapter on the county bar as well as the "reminiscences" of several pioneers, including his own.
Polk County was established by the legislature on July 20, 1858, but the first term of the district court was not held in that county until June, 1879, "in a new store building" in Crookston. "During the earlier seventies," according to this history, "there was not much need of legal services" in the county. Several lawyers are mentioned in this article, including a few who became judges, were elected to public office, or edited newspapers. The judicial history of Polk County occupies about two pages in a two volume history of the Red River Valley published in 1909.
Minnesota's legal community in the 1850s and early 1860s was the subject of a chapter written by Charles E. Flandrau for Edward D. Neill's "History of Ramsey County and the City of St. Paul, Including the Explorers and Pioneers of Minnesota," and J. Fletcher Williams's "Outlines of the History of Minnesota," published in one volume in 1881.
In early 1888, "Magazine of Western History" published a two-part article by Charles E. Flandrau on "The Bench and Bar of Ramsey County, Minnesota." The second part concluded with a profile of Gordon E. Cole, who served as attorney general from 1860 to 1866.
Charles E. Flandrau: "Lawyers and Courts of Minnesota Prior to and During its Territorial Period." (1897)
In January 1896, Charles E. Flandrau gave a nostalgic speech to the annual meeting of the Minnesota Historical Society in which he told stories and reminisced about lawyers and judges of the 1850s-a period he called "those light-hearted days." In March 1897, the monthly "Minnesota Law Journal" published Flandrau's address.
On Thursday, November 9, 1899, the "St. Paul Pioneer Press" celebrated its 50th anniversary by publishing a large commemorative edition that included a two-part section on the city's courts and lawyers. After a feeble overview of the territorial period and a few years after statehood, thirty-six judges, law firms and lawyers were profiled. They were a diverse lot: pioneers such as Thomas Wilson, Henry Moss and Henry Horn, established lawyers such as Greenleaf Clark, the O'Brien brothers, and Hiram Stevens, up-and-comers such as David Peebles and William Westfall, and sitting judges such as Walter Sanborn, Hascal Brill and George Bunn.
During a long and active life, Henry A. Castle (1841-1916) was a lawyer, merchant, newspaperman, real estate developer, postmaster and, in retirement, historian of St. Paul, Ramsey County and Minnesota. In 1912, he published the three volume "History of St. Paul and Vicinity." The first volume contained this chapter on the St. Paul legal community from the territorial period to 1912.
Many county histories were written during the progressive era and all contained a section on the bench and bar. Typically the names of lawyers and judges in the county were listed, accompanied occasionally by brief biographical data.
This article lists lawyers who practiced and judges who served in Renville County from the mid-1860s to 1916, when it appeared in a two volume history of that county. It also recounts early court sessions, several grisly murders, and cites all the appeals from the district court to the supreme court between 1871 and 1914. The last half of the article consists of profiles of individual lawyers and judges. The article was written by James McBride George (1888-1967).
The authors of this article wrote that they had "grouped together all that we could learn regarding courts, cases and the bar of Steele County" but they acknowledged omitting those cases on which "the memories of old settlers" differ or which "might give pain and cause dispute" because the interested parties "or their near friends" were still living. About two-thirds of the article is devoted to accounts of court cases, especially criminal prosecutions, from 1855 to 1887, when it appeared first as a chapter in a joint history of Steele and Waseca Counties. The remaining one-third contains profiles of judges who served and lawyers who practiced in the county during these thirty plus years. There were fourteen members of the county bar in 1887.
To a joint history of Rice and Steele Counties published in 1910, Wesley A. Sperry, a prominent Owatonna lawyer, contributed a chapter on the Steele County judiciary and bar. Consistent with the style of county histories of that period, he wrote short profiles of the three judges and dozens of lawyers who served and practiced in the county from the late 1850s to 1910. Sperry's sketches reveal the bar to be an itinerant lot -- many left Steele County after a brief stay to move West or to other parts of Minnesota, and many quit the profession for farming or business. Making a living solely through the practice of law was not easy in nineteenth century Steele County.
The first of the following two articles on the legal history of Wabasha County was published in 1884 in a history of the county. Entitled "Bench and Bar," it reviews early terms of the district courts, recounts amusing anecdotes about Alexis Bailly and J. A. Criswell, the county's first and second justices of the peace, describes the "Hicks, Sacks and Farrell" murder trial-"one of the most exciting trials ever held in the county"-and concludes with an account of the county-seat battle between Lake City and Wabasha. The second article is taken almost entirely from earlier county histories, including the chapter from the 1884 history reprinted below. Entitled "Early Courts and Lawyers," it appeared in a county history published in 1920.
The first lawsuit in Waseca County was the successful prosecution of a claim jumper for "willful trespass" in the summer of 1856. The first lawyer who resided in the county was admitted to practice in October of the following year. Three decades later, there were eleven lawyers practicing in Waseca County. This article contains descriptions of judges who served in Waseca County and lawyers who practiced there from the late 1850s to the mid 1880s. It appeared first as a chapter in a joint history of Steele and Waseca Counties published in 1887.
This history of the bar of Watonwan County begins with the observation that "the legal profession is no longer looked upon as one in which trickery and deception are practiced to gain a large retainer fee." This must have gratified the eight lawyers who composed the county bar in 1916, when this article was published. The "history" itself consists of biographical sketches of four lawyers, and mentions of several others. The most prominent member of the Watonwan bar was Winfield Scott Hammond, who served in congress from 1907 to 1915, and governor from his inauguration in January, 1915 to his sudden death on December 30, 1916.
In this article, Judge Arthur H. Snow describes early court proceedings in Winona, then part of Fillmore County, in the territorial period, profiles many territorial lawyers, provides brief accounts of the formation and membership of the Winona County Bar Association and the Winona Bar Association, and concludes by listing all lawyers who were admitted to the District Court in Winona County from 1859 to 1895.
Profiles of judges who served in Wright County and lawyers who practiced there beginning in the early 1850s and continuing for the next sixty years, are contained in this article, which appeared first as a chapter in a county history published in 1915. Typical of county legal histories published in this era, it names jurors who served (and even those who failed to appear for jury duty and were fined) in early trials as well as the lawyers who were admitted to practice in the county in the following decades. In 1915, there were eleven members of the county bar. The final one-third of this history contains colorful accounts of murder trials held in the county from 1857 to 1915. This history was edited and written by John T. Alley, who is described as a "man-of-affairs, statesman, and attorney at law."