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"History of Eau Claire County Wisconsin, 1914, Past and Present"


Chapter  16
- Courts and Legal Profession

Backgrounds of the Circuit Judges

(-as transcribed from pages 264 - 271 )

The following background materials have been alphabetized per judges' surnames for easier searching.

BAILEY, William F. FULLER, S. S. N. O'NEILL, James
BARRON, Henry Danforth HUMPHREY, Herman L. WETHERBY, Lucien P.
BUNDY, Egbert B. NEWMAN, Alfred William WICKHAM, James

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William F. Bailey served for six years as judge of the seventeenth circuit.  He enlisted at the beginning of the war in the Thirty-eighth New York Infantry, but in the early spring of 1862 became captain of Company K, Ninety-fifth New York Volunteers, serving with McDowell until after the battle of Antietam.  Some time after the close of the ward - that is, in 1867 - he came to Eau Claire, where he has served in a number of important positions.

During his term of service in the seventeenth, Judge Bailey sat in several important trials, most notable among which was that of the State vs. Elizabeth Russell.  In this case the jury rendered a verdict of guilty, but judgment was arrested by direction of the Supreme Court.

The foregoing was not written by Mr. Bailey.

As the Russell trial is mentioned, he deserves to correct a false impression pervading a considerable portion of the public, with respect to the outcome of that trial.  At the suggestion of Mr. Frawley and the request of the county board, he appointed William Irwin, a celebrated criminal lawyer of St. Paul, to assist the district attorney in the prosecution of Mrs. Russell.  A statute of Wisconsin provided and still provides that in criminal cases the trial court may obtain the opinion of the Supreme Court as to its duty in cases of doubt as to the law.  It requires that the trial court submit questions to be answered by the Supreme Court certifying the evidence relating thereto.  During the trial it appeared from the testimony of the district attorney, that he had sought to entrap Mrs. Russell, then confined in the county jail, and to this end he sent Russ Whipple to the jail to represent to her that he was sent by Mr. James, her counsel, to obtain the facts within her knowledge; that Mr. James could not come in person; that he was going to Chicago on a late train that evening, and in order to assure her that he was sent by Mr. James, he was to tell her, and did tell her, to call up Mr. James by telephone.  She called up Mr. James, but instead of Mr. James answering, Mr. Frawley was at the other end and answered, not disclosing he was not Mr. James, and advised her to tell everything to Mr. Whipple.  The judge was in doubt as to the legal effect of the appointment of Mr. Irwin, he being a non-resident of the state and not a member of the Wisconsin bar, and also as to the conduct of the district attorney, and hence, in order to save further delay and the expense of a writ of error to the Supreme Court, he certified the following questions in substance:

First.  With reference to the appointment of Mr. Irwin to assist the persecution:  Shall the court proceed to judgment and sentence upon the verdict?  To which question the Supreme Court answered "No."

Second.  The testimony of Mr. Frawley being certified, shall the court proceed to judgment and sentence upon the verdict in view of such conduct?  To which question the Supreme Court answered "No."  That court delivered an opinion severely censuring the district attorney for his conduct.  Thus the trial court was instructed not to proceed to judgment and sentence.  The Supreme Court arrested the judgment and not Judge Bailey.  Persons who want otherwise than here to satisfy themselves of the facts as here given, are referred to the published opinion of the Supreme Court found in the Wisconsin reports.

In spite of the exceedingly arduous duties pertaining to his office, the judge found time to make some valuable contributions to professional literature in his works entitled "Masters' Liabilities for Injuries to Servants," and Bailey's "Personal Injuries," both of which have met with general approval and large sales.

The judge was born in Carmel, Putnam county, New York, June 20, 1842, the son of Benjamin Bailey, a lawyer who attained much prominence during a quarter century of practice at the New York bar.  Judge Bailey received his early education at Clavereck Academy in Columbia county, New York, and his legal education was obtained in New York.  He was admitted to the bar at Brooklyn in 1863.  His service to the public included three terms as mayor of Eau Claire, one term as district attorney of Eau Claire county, and as judge of the seventeenth circuit, the latter covering the years of 1892-97.

-Transcribed from the "History of Eau Claire County Wisconsin, 1914," pages 268 - 270

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Henry Danforth Barron was a native of New York, was born at Wilton, Saratoga county, April 10, 1833.  After obtaining a common school education, he entered the law school at Ballston Spa, New York, and graduated therefrom.  In 1851 he became a resident of Waukesha, Wis., and conducted a newspaper there for some time; the newspaper being known as the Waukesha Democrat until its name was changed to the "Chronotype."  In 1853 Mr. Barron was postmaster at Waukesha.  In 1857 he removed to Pepin, Pepin county, and practiced law there until 1860, when he became by appointment of Governor Randall, judge of the eighth circuit.  His service in that capacity was brief, lasting only until the vacancy he was appointed to fill could be filled by an election.  In a short time he removed to St. Croix Falls, Polk county.  In 1862 he was unanimously elected a member of the assembly from                                       t he district comprising the counties of Ashland, Bayfield, Burnett, Douglas, Barron and Polk.  He served as a member of the assembly in 1864, 1866, 1867, 1868, 1872 and 1873.  In 1868 and 1872 he was chosen one of the presidential electors on the republican ticket; from 1863 till 1876 he was a regent of the State University.  In March, 1869, President Grant nominated Judge Barron for chief justice of the territory of Dakota, which office he declined.  In 1869, the President appointed him fifth auditor of the treasury, and he discharged the duties of that office till January 1, 1872, when he resigned to take a seat in the assembly.  In May, 1871, he was appointed by Governor Fairchild Wisconsin's trustee of the Antietam Cemetery Association.  In 1874-5-6 Mr. Barron was a member of the State Senate and president pro tem of that body in 1876.  In the spring of that year he was elected judge of the eleventh circuit.  His death occurred before the expiration of his term at St. Croix Falls, January 23, 1882.

-Transcribed from the "History of Eau Claire County Wisconsin, 1914," pages 265 - 266

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Egbert B. Bundy was born at Windsor, N. Y., February 8, 1833.  He received his general education there at the academy, and his legal education in law office at Windsor and Depoint, in his native state.  He became a member of the bar at Cortland, N. Y., in January, 1856.  On coming to Wisconsin he began his law practice at Dunnville, the then county seat of Dunn county, thereafter removing to Menomonie.  He served as county judge, and April, 1877, was appointed judge of the eighth circuit, then composed of the counties of Eau Claire, Dunn, Pepin, Pierce and St. Croix, to fill out the unexpired term of Judge Humphrey.  In April, 1878, he was re-elected and at the expiration of the term was again re-elected.

As a lawyer, Judge Bundy was highly valued.  Making no claims to oratorical gifts, he was nevertheless forcible, impressive and strong as an advocate.  Never "ingenious" in discussing legal propositions to the court, he went straight to the core of the questions, and never burdened or blurred a brief with cases not in point.  In the counsel room he was eminently frank, practical, able, safe.  It was, however, on the bench that Judge Bundy did the major part of his life work.

-Transcribed from the "History of Eau Claire County Wisconsin, 1914," pages 266 - 267

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S. S. N. Fuller was born at Montrose, Susquehanna county, Pennsylvania.  He came to Wisconsin and resided for a time at Fond du Lac, where his name is enrolled as an attorney under date of February 3, 1851.  His stay there was brief.  After his removal to Hudson, St. Croix county, he was elected county judge and later circuit judge.  His service did not cover the full term for which he had been elected.  Soon after resigning he removed to Kansas and died there in about 1876.

-Transcribed from the "History of Eau Claire County Wisconsin, 1914," pages 264 - 265

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Herman L. Humphrey was born at Candor, Tioga county, New York, March 14, 1830.  His education, except one year spent in the Cortland academy, was limited to the public schools.  At the age of sixteen he engaged as clerk in a store at Ithaca, New York, and so continued for several years; later he read law in that city and was admitted to the bar in July, 1854.  In January, 1855, he located at Hudson, Wis., and began the practice of law.  Soon after he was appointed district attorney to fill a vacancy; in 1860 he became judge of the county by appointment, and in 1861 was elected to that office for a full term.  He resigned in February, 1862, having been elected State Senator.  In 1865 he was mayor of Hudson and in April, 1866, was elected judge of the eighth circuit, and re-elected in 1872.  That office was resigned in March, 1877, when Judge Humphrey's term as a member of Congress began, he having been elected as the Republican candidate in November, 1876; he was twice re-elected, having served from 1877 to 1883.  On completing his congressional service, Judge Humphrey resumed the practice of law at Hudson.

-Transcribed from the "History of Eau Claire County Wisconsin, 1914," page 266

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Alfred William Newman, an associate justice of the Supreme Court of Wisconsin, departed this life at the city of Madison, January 12, 1898, his death resulting from accidental injury received the day before.  Justice Newman was born April 5, 1834, at Durham, Greene county, New York.  He was of English descent, his ancestors being found among the early puritan settlers of New England.  He was born upon a farm and grew up as a farmer's boy, receiving such education as the neighborhood schools afforded, and subjected at home and at school to the strict discipline and religious instruction and observances required by the Presbyterian church, of which both his parents were devout members.

When thirteen years of age he accompanied his father to Albany and was present in court when his father was examined as a witness, and it is said that he then and there determined to become a lawyer, and that thereafter all his efforts to obtain an education had that in view.  When about eighteen years of age he entered an academy at Ithaca and after two terms there he entered the Delaware Literary Institute at Franklin, N. Y., where he also remained two terms.  He then entered Hamilton College, at Clinton,N. Y., joining the class of 1857, with which he graduated, receiving the degree of A. B.  While at college he diligently pursued extra law studies under Professor Theodore W. Dwight, and after graduation he continued the study of law int he office of John Olney, Esq., at Windham Center, in Greene county, until admitted to the bar at the general term of the Supreme Court at Albany, December 8, 1857.

In January, 1858, he started for the west.  Stopping first at Alnapee, in Kewaunee county, he removed in March, 1858, to Trempealeau county, which ever after remained his home until his removal to Madison in 1894.

He held the office of county judge of Trempealeau county from April, 1860, until January, 1867, when he assumed the office of district attorney, to which he had been elected in the fall of 1866.  He was re-elected district attorney in 1868, 1872 and 1874, thus holding that position for eight years.

He was twice elected to the State Legislature, serving as a member of the assembly in 1863 and senator from the thirty-second district in 1868 and 1869.

While he was holding the office of district attorney the legislature, in 1876, formed a new judicial circuit - the thirteenth - consisting of the counties of Eau Claire, Buffalo and Trempealeau.  In April of that year Mr. Newman was elected judge of this new circuit, and discharged the duties of that position until 1878.  As a result of legislative action, he was transferred to and became judge of the sixth circuit.  He was re-elected, without opposition, in 1882, 1888.  The third term for which he was elected expired January 1, 1895.

In the spring of 1893, Hon. William Penn Lyon, chief justice of the Supreme Court, having expressed his intention not to be a candidate for re-election, Judge Newman was called out as a nonpartisan candidate and was elected to the position of associate justice.  His services began at the opening of the January term, 1894.  He had compete four years of his term and about beginning of the fifth year with the opening of the January term, 1898, on the day - January 11 - when he met with an accident which terminated his life.

-Transcribed from the "History of Eau Claire County Wisconsin, 1914," pages 267 - 268

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James O'Neill was born in Lisbon, St. Lawrence county, New York, September 3, 1847.  His parents were Andrew and Mary (Holliston) O'Neill, his father being a farmer by occupation.  Tracing his ancestors to an early date, it is found that his paternal grandfather, Andrew O'Neill, was born in Shanes Castle, Ireland, September 23, 1766.  Emigrating to America about 1790, he settled at Edwardsburg, Canada, where on February 18, 1798, he married Jane Armstrong.  During October of the next year they located at Lisbon, New York, Mr. O'Neill being the first settler of that town.  Here as a farmer he lived and died.

The maternal ancestry was Scotch, Andrew Holliston and Mary Lees, the grandparents, coming from the banks of the Leader, a branch of the historic Tweed in Berwickshire, Scotland.  In the early forties they left their native land, locating in Oswegatchie, St. Lawrence county, New York.

In the district schools of this native state James O'Neill prepared for the higher branches of learning, entering St. Lawrence University in the fall of 1863.  Here he spent three years, then entered Cornell University where, after spending three years, he was graduated in 1871 with the degree of A. B.  He obtained his legal education in the office of John McNaughton, of Ogdensburg, and at the Albany Law School, graduating from the latter institution in 1873.

After his admission to the bar at Albany, Mr. O'Neill came to Neillsville on a visit to his uncle James.  This was in 1873.  So favorably impressed was he that he decided to locate there for the practice of his profession.  Opening an office, he continued alone for four years, after which, in August, 1877, he formed a partnership with H. W. Sheldon, which was terminated with the death of Mr. Sheldon in February, 1879.  For one year he was associated with Mr. Joseph Morley, and in 1890 formed a partnership with Spencer M. Marsh, which continued until Mr. O'Neill left the profession for the bench, in January, 1898.

-Transcribed from the "History of Eau Claire County Wisconsin, 1914," page 270

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Lucien P. Wetherby, one of the early judges, was born at Eagle, Onondago (sic) county, New York, October 12, 1822.  He was educated in the public schools and at an advance academy at Baldensville; he studied law in the office of Angel & Grover in Allegany county, and was admitted to the bar in 1840.  Was district attorney and surrogate of that county, in which he began practice of the law at Angelica.  He came to Wisconsin in 1856, and located at Hudson, where he resided all his subsequent life.  In 1860 he was elected judge of the Eighth circuit and served the full term.  He died December 11, 1889.

Judge Wetherby was a lawyer both by instinct and education.  He was a conspicuous figure at the bar and on the bench.  He was thoroughly informed in the fundamental principles of law, and well versed in the statutes.  His comprehension of legal propositions, the accuracy of his discrimination and his ability to apply principles to stated cases were remarkable.  He gave dignity to his profession by his ability, knowledge and fairnesss.  He despised the tricks of the pettifogger and pleaded for law and justice.

-Transcribed from the "History of Eau Claire County Wisconsin, 1914,"  page 265

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James Wickham, judge of the circuit court for the nineteenth district, is a native son of Wisconsin, having been born in Richland county, this state, January 31, 1862, the son of Patrick and Catherine (Quigley) Wickham, natives of Ireland.  The parents of Judge Wickham emigrated to the United States in early life, and first located in New York.  They removed to Cleveland, Ohio, where they remained four years, then came west to Wisconsin, stopping first at Whitewater, thence to Richland county, where they arrived in 1859 and engaged in agricultural pursuits.  Both parents died in 1894.  They were progressive citizens and held a place of prominence in the community, and many times Mr. Wickham was called upon to fill offices of trust.

Judge Wickham received his preliminary education in the public schools of Richland county and the Richland Center high school, which was supplemented by a thorough course in the law department of the University of Wisconsin, from which he was graduated with the class of 1886 and began practice in August of that year at Eau Claire.  Prior to his graduating from the law department he was engaged for a time in school teaching.  After his arrival in Eau Claire he was appointed city attorney in 1897 and from 1899 to 1906.  From 1889 to 1910 he was engaged in the practice of law with Frank R. Farr, under the firm name of Wickham & Farr.  He was elected judge of the circuit court in 1909, assuming the duties of that office January 1, 1910.

In 1891 he was married to Miss Ida Haskin, daughter of Wright Haskin, of Eau Claire.  She passed away in 1904.  In 1908 the judge married for his second wife Helen Koppelberger, daughter of H. B. Koppelberger.  His children are James Arthur, William E., Catherine Ida and Walter Leo.

-Transcribed from the "History of Eau Claire County Wisconsin, 1914," pages 270 - 271


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