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COURTS AND BAR.
First Courts, Where Held—First Record Of Courts In Elk CountyBusiness Transacted In The Courts Of 1844—Early Admissions To The Bar — Crimes — Licenses-- Appointments — Names Of Attorneys Who Practiced Here From 1868 To 1879, And Subsequently—New CourtHouse And Jail—Law Libraries.
THE first courts of this county were held in the old school-house at Caledonia. The walls on three sides were standing until recently in a fair state of preservation. A recent measurement of the walls made by Erasmus Morey and Squire Dixon showed the building to have been 20x24 feet in size.
The first record of the courts of Elk county is dated December 19, 1843. James L. Gillis and Isaac Horton, associate judges, were present, and before them William J. B. Andrews qualified for the office of prothonotary; Uriah Rogers was appointed crier; Vine S. Brockway, Eusebius Einkaid and Joseph Rogers, court constables; B. Rush Petrikin, George R. Barrett and Lewis W. Smith were present, and permitted to practice in the courts of Elk county. This completed the round of business, and court adjourned to February 19. 1844. Judge Alex McCalmont was present in February, and at this time N. W. Goodrich, D. B. Jenks, Jesse G. Clark and L. T. Parmelee were admitted to the county bar. Eusebius Kinkaid was appointed sheriff, and N. W. Goodrich, prosecutor, pending the issue of commissions to them or others. In March the court assembled, but adjourned till May 20, when a petition for a new township was presented and the original county seat commissioners asked to show cause why they should not report their proceedings to the constituted authorities of Elk county. All that part of Shippen township south of Jones, and north of Fox and Jay, was attached to Fox township for administrative purposes. On September 16 licenses were granted to the Boston Lumber Company and Dickinson & Co. to deal in foreign merchandise; and the first grand jury of the county was impaneled. The names of such jurors are given as follows: Rasselas W. Brown, John Gardner, Jacob Kriger, Selah Morey, William McComber, Henry Mason, David Meredith, James Malone, Robert McIntosh, William Shepard, George Smith, Henry Stutler, William Taylor, Joel Taylor, Abijah B. Wood, Eben. C. Winslow, Reuben C. Winslow, David Wheeler, all farmers; Jacob Coleman, merchant, Gibson; James Gallagher, hotel, Ridgway; Joshua Iddles, carpenter; John Collins and Samuel Stone back, laborers; Hezekiah Warner, merchant, Jay; Alanson Viall, hotel, Fox: Caleb Dill, blacksmith.
The report of the statute commissioners was made at this time, as given in the transactions of the commissioners; S. J. Goodrich, S. P. Johnson, I. Y. James, George W. Carskadden and William A. Williams were admitted to to the bar, and David Thayer was indicted for keeping a tippling house. In December C. B. Knapp and Robert Wallace were admitted, and John Rothrock and Robert Wise were licensed to deal in foreign goods, as well as the Boston and Dickinson companies. Commissioners Brockway, Winslow and Brooks were indicted for misdemeanor in office, on the oath of Edward Derby. A jury returned a verdict of not guilty. The grand jury declared that the Milesburg and Smethport turnpike was abandoned by the turnpike company, and suggested its repair by the county. Hiram Payne and John S. McCain- mont were permitted to practice here in September, 1845. Martha Worden was indicted for murder, but a jury found that she was not guilty as charged, and in December C. B. Curtis and L. B. Wetmore were admitted. Licenses for stores were issued to Gillis & Clover, Dickinson & Co., Cobb, Gallagher & Co., W. A. Simpson, George Weis and John Rothrock in February, 1846, and to C. Fisher, of Benzinger township. In May tavern licenses were granted to Caspar Burbagher and Anthony Fotchman, of Benzinger; N. Hyatt and Mary Viall, of Fox; Henry Thayer and Pierce J. Brooks, of Ridgway, on condition that neither drunkenness nor disorder should bo tolerated. Lewis M. Burson, James Campbell, George W. Teigler and W. Hecker were admitted to the bar in September, 1846.
Patrick Malone and Gerhard Schoening, of Fox and Benzinger, respectively, were licensed to keep general stores. In February, 1847, Alfred Pearsail was granted license to keep a temperance house in Jay, and Joseph Luhr a liquor house at St. Mary's in Benzinger township, and in May, Kasper Ditch wished to compete with Luhr, and was permitted to carry out his wish. Truman Weaver was indicted for forging county orders, George Rhines for keeping a disorderly house, and Isaac Nichols and Milton Johnson for cutting timber. In 1848 the grand jury presented the fact that the county stove-pipes were going to waste for want of care. William P. Jenks was admitted to the bar, also B. D. Hamlin and Mr. Bishop. In 1849 William A. Stokes was permitted to practice here, and in September Joseph Buflington took his seat as president judge. In May, 1850, Aaron Harrington petitioned for license to keep a tavern at Centreville, and J. T. 'Wells at Highland, numerous petitions came from St. Mary's, at which place the German element was determined to have beer. The grand jury condemned the Thayer & Winslow mill-dam across Bennett's Branch in September, 1851. In February, 1852, Judge White presided; illegitimacy was presented in a few forms about this time, and some cases of forgery, counterfeiting and perjury are recorded. Andrew G. Curtin, Dave Boal and John L. Cuttle were permitted to practice at this bar. In June. 1853, H. A. Pattison and Charles Horton were admitted in October previous, and Keuben Mickle in October following. In March, 1854, E. B. Eldred and John G. Freez were admitted, and in May James G. Gordon and T. J. McCullough. In October, 1855, E. S. Dandee was admitted; in January, 1856. Joseph B. McEnally, and in December, J. A. Boyle. The examining committee, in re Boyle, comprised B. F. Lucas, W. A. Wallace and Albert Willis. A. A. McKnight was admitted in 1858, Samuel Lynn and Edward Blanchard in 1859. and Warren Cowles in 1860. From this period until June. 1860, when George A. Kathbun was admitted, there is no record of additions to the bar of Elk county. The motion to appoint an examining committee on his petition was made by Justus C. Chapin, when Henry Souther, W. P. Jenks and R. Brown were appointed such committee. In October John G. Hall was admitted, and in January, 1864, Louis Grander. In March, 1864, the first inquest on the body of an unknown person was held at Ridgway. It is supposed he worked on the railroad. In January, 1865, an inquest on the body of Peter McQuirk was held. The back of his head was torn away. In January, 1867, P. W. Jenks, O. T. Noble and W. W. Brown were permitted to practice here, and in August, H. C. Parsons. C. Luhr was appointed court interpreter at this term, and in November, C. O. Bowman, S. E. Woodruff, W. H. Armstrong and C. W. Huntington were enrolled as members of the bar. In 1808 John
B. Newton and C. H. Gross were admitted members of the bar, also Elijah H. Clark, V. O. Smith and A. V. Parsons. In April of this year, President Judge H. W. Williams took his seat on the bench. The trial of Mrs. J. S. Scott for poisoning her husband on June 7, 1873, took place in January, 1874. J. K. P. Hall represented the State. The woman was found not guilty. The murder of old William Falen by William Bromley took place in Horton township, July 19, 1873. In May, 1879, M. Ohearn, of St. Mary's, was sentenced to a fine of $100, and eight years solitary confinement in prison for manslaughter. In September, 1880, the trial of Harry English for the murder of Frank War with, of Caledonia, on April 17, took place before Judge Wetmore. Messrs. Wurzell, G. A. Jinks, J. G. Hall and C. H. McCauley prosecuted, and P. R. Cotter, A. B. Richmond, Eugene Mullin and W. W. Ames defended. The jury acquitted the prisoner. In May, 1886, William C. Bush, who was charged with the murder of Philip P. Bush, near Wilcox, was captured; on September 24 he was sentenced to death by Judge Mayer, but this sentence was commuted to imprisonment for life.
The attorneys who practiced here from August, 1808, to May, 1879, exelu sive of the above mentioned are named in the following list: 1868, M. W. Acheson, Frank Barrett, Luraan Stovens; 1869, Samuel A. Purviance, Wil son C. Kness, Charles Albright; 1871, F. O. Bailey, W. W. Ames; 1872, J.
C. Johnson, E. S. Goulden, John H. Orvis, C. H. McCauley; 1873, W. P. Mercelliott, Robert P. Allen; 1874, W. M. Lindsey, D. S. Herron, Charles Dinsmore, B. W. Green; 1875, J. Ross Thompson, C. S. Cary, B. S. Bent ley, F. D. Leet, A. L. Gordon; 1870, C. W. Stone, Henry W. Watson, Charles Bartles, Jr., R. M. Chamberlain, W. S. Hamblen, Charles Geddes: 1878, George R. Dixon, J. M. Schram. M. S. Kline, W. M. Rightmyer; 1879. C. H. Noyes, George W. Wurzell, L. J. Blakely.
In 1880 P. R. Cotter, Eugene Mullin, Schnurr and Metzgar were permitted to practice here, and also A. B. Richmond, Rufus Lucore and George P. Griffith. Harry English was indicted in May for murder, with A. J. and Phoebe Rummer, but the latter were discharged. English was charged with the murder of Frank Warnith, on April 17, 1880, at Caledonia, as shown in the evidence before the coroner's jury. In September, English was charged with the murder of Philip Vollmer, but found not guilty, and was tried for forg ery. He was sentenced to pay ?500 and costs for the latter crime. An inquisition held on the body of John Johnson, killed July 15, at Centreville. was approved. The village of Ridgway was incorporated. In January, 1881. the name of M. S. Kline appears on the roll of attorneys; in May, resolutions on the death of Matthew L. Ross, the old court crier, were adopted. In September an inquisition was hold on the bodies of Engineer Wm. Kepperly and Fireman Charles M. Parks, killed in the wreck at Silver Creek bridge near St. Mary's, September 8. In January, 1882, George W. Clinton was appointed surveyor, vice J. L. Brown who was appointed in December, 1881, on account of failure to elect a surveyor. Charles B. Earley was admitted to the bar in May, and Isaiah H. Brown and H. H. Hall in September. In January, 1883, Ernest J. Wimmer was enrolled as a member of the bar. At this time a number of inquests on men killed on railroads were held, the records filling several pages, the premature explosion of a blast on the Rochester & Pittsburgh line killing several workmen. George A. Allen, S. W. Pettit and J. P. McNarney were enrolled as attorneys in May. In July, 1883, a number of fatal railroad accidents find reference on the court records. In November, 1884, George W. Boyer was appointed deputy treasurer of the county. In May, 1885, J. Bayard