As Printed in the Connecticut Reports, volume 81, pages 726 - 727
CLARENCE EVERETT BACON was born in Middletown, Connecticut, November 11th, 1856, and died there March 27th, 1909.
Mr. Bacon was an example, somewhat unusual in these days, of a successful man who lived and died in his native town. He prepared for college at the Middletown High School, and attended the Wesleyan University in Middletown from 1874 to 1878. From 1878 to 1882 he studied law in the office of Judge Silas A. Robinson, being clerk of the Court of Probate under Judge Robinson during a portion of that time, was admitted to the bar in Middlesex County in 1882, and thereafter continued in active practice until a few months before his death. He married, March 28th, 1883, Catharine Sedgwick Whiting of Hartford, who, with three children, one daughter and two sons, are now living.
His life was a striking example of the exception to the Biblical statement that "A prophet is not without honor save in his own Country."
He succeeded in the practice of law by his close application to that exacting profession. He also had a good business mind, and an aptness for mastering details, as was shown by the fact that at the time of his death he was a director in two banks and an insurance company, all located in Middletown, and was attorney for all three. He was also a director of, and attorney for, the Connecticut Industrial School for Girls, and for several years was its treasurer. Mr. Bacon was attorney for the City of Middletown for a number of years, but of all the positions of trust and confidence which he held, I am informed by a member of his family that he took the greatest pleasure and pride in attending the meetings of State Board of Examiners for admission to the bar.
Besides being so closely identified with the business interests of the city in which he lived, he was a strong churchman, having been a member and vestryman of the Church of the Holy Trinity for a number of years.
Mr. Bacon also kept in close touch with Wesleyan University, of which he was a trustee, but with all his intense interest in his profession, and the exacting calls which the numerous corporations with which he was so closely identified made upon his time, he was distinctively a family man. He cheered the declining years of his aged mother, who still survives him: he was a faithful husband, and a loving father. He was pre-eminently clean and pure in his life and speech, and has left behind him a name of which his wife and children may well be proud, and his clean, industrious life his children may well emulate.
He died in the maturity of his manhood, -to our mortal judgments an apparently untimely ending of an exceedingly active and useful life.
During the last weeks of his painful illness he bore himself with remarkable Christian fortitude. No word of complaint escaped his lips, and he died only when nature could no longer resist the inroads of disease.
May we all live and die as bravely as he did. The serene high courage with which he faced the crossing over into Eternity well exemplified the thought of Tennyson when he said: "May there be no moaning of the bar when I put out to sea."
*Prepared by M. Eugene Culver, Esq., of the Middlesex County Bar, at the request of the Reporter.
As Printed in the Connecticut Reports, volume 19, pages 509 - 510
He was the youngest son of Asa Bacon, Esq., an eminent lawyer, whose name often appears as counsel in the earlier volumes of these reports, and is one of the few counsellors of that day, who are still living. FRANCIS, the subject of this notice, was born at Litchfield, Conn., in January 1820, and graduated at Yale-College, in 1838. His legal studies, preparatory to his admission to the bar, he pursued, in his native village, under the direction of Origen S. Seymour, Esq. In 1840, he was admitted to the bar. Two years afterwards, he removed to Lancaster, Penn., and there established himself in the practice of the law, in partnership with Thaddeus Steven, Esq., a distinguished advocate of that place. There, a fair prospect of success in his profession, opened upon him at once, which was regularly widening and brightening, when, in 1844, the lamented death of his elder brother, Epaphroditus C. Bacon, Esq., at Seville, in Spain, induced him to return to his native place, that he might more advantageously aid in solacing the grief of his bereaved parents. Here he renewed, with increased success, the practice of his profession. "His highly honourable deportment," says Ch. J. Church, "his amiable and courteous manners and promising talents at the bar, soon bore him on toward the highest rank in his profession, and made him a favourite with his professional brethren, with the courts and with the public."
In 1847, and again in 1848, he was first clerk of the house of representatives in the General Assembly of this state. On the reorganization of the military system, in 1847, he was placed at the head of the militia, with the rank and title of major-general; -an office which he sustained with great credit to himself and to the state. In the spring of 1849, he was elected a senator in the legislature of this state, from the 15th district. The duties which devolved upon him in this situation, inexperienced as he was, he discharged with promptness, tact and ability. Firm in the principles he professed, he was courteous to his opponents, and enjoyed the respect and kind regards of all.
He died, at Litchfield, September 16th, 1849, in the 30th year of his age, after a sickness of about three weeks. The severity of his disorder, during its progress, occasioned some mental alienation; but his last hours were unclouded and calm; and he departed this life a professing christian.
Here, at the close of this brief sketch, the inquisitive reader may inquire, what were the peculiar traits of his mind and character, which gave him such distinction, at so early an age? Was he profoundly learned; was he imaginative and brilliant; was he sententious and forcible; was he perspicacious and acute; was he vehement and overpowering; was he, indeed, conspicuous for any particular characteristic of mind or manner? His best friend will answer-Not so, in any remarkable degree; and yet it may be safely added, that he possessed what was of more value-a well balanced mind. This gave him entire self-possession, and secured the confidence of others. His moral qualities, also were symmetrical. His manliness, frankness, social feeling and high sense of honour, harmonized with his intellectual endowments, and, all combined, made him what he was.
As Printed in the Connecticut Reports, volume 144, pages 749 - 750
Alfred C. Baldwin came from a typical, rugged Connecticut family whose philosophy of life led them to take a vigorous part in the community where they lived. This often led to service in the legislature. So it was with Judge Baldwin's father. He served his country in the great war of secession and later served his town, Beacon Falls, in many terms of the legislature. From the same family tree is Justice Raymond E. Baldwin of the Supreme Court of Errors, the former governor.
It was in Beacon Falls, on a hilly, rocky farm, that Alfred C. Baldwin was born on December 5, 1872. His parents' frugality enabled him to obtain a high school and law school education. He attended Seymour High School, six miles from his home. In those days there were no school busses. From there he entered Yale Law School, where he was graduated in 1894. Thus, unlike most lawyers coming to the bar in later years, he never had the advantages of a college education. Neither was he handicapped by inherited riches.
As a young lawyer he started the practice of law the hard way, on his own in a small community. Soon he became prosecuting attorney in the Borough Court of Shelton and later he became prosecutor and judge of the City Court of Derby, where he also served as corporation counsel. It was in this work, through actual experience, meeting all kinds of men and gaining knowledge of their ways, that he acquired his real education. This broadening experience, plus his early training and his capacity for hard work, made him a most successful trial judge. He found out early in life that analytical thinking is hard work, but he was ever willing to work, and did so throughout his life.
Like his father, he took part in public affairs and worked effectively as a loyal Republican. He was assistant clerk of the House of Representatives, clerk of the senate, clerk of bills and, later, engrossing clerk of the legislature. He became affiliated with various Masonic organizations: King Hiram Lodge No. 12, Hamilton Commandery No. 5, Knights Templar, and Pyramid Temple, Ancient Arabic Order of the Nobles of the Mystic Shrine. Golf and trout fishing furnished him his principle recreation. He was a member of Race Brook Country Club and several fishing clubs.
He was married three times and left six children surviving: Harriet Evans, Alfred C. Baldwin, Jr., Ralph V. Baldwin and Herbert E. Baldwin, children of his first marriage, and Harlan R. Baldwin and Gail T. Baldwin, children of his surviving wife, the former Emma Lou Reeves.
When he took office as a Superior Court judge on October 18, 1925, he did not affect mastery of the theoretical side of the law or presume to intellectual superiority over others in his profession. However, superficial brilliance is easily come by, but trustworthiness and evenness of judgment are not be had in every market place. Thus, he brought to his new undertaking two things which only the best trial judges have, a keen insight into the ways of men and an extraordinary willingness to work. Because of these attributes he became one of our most successful trial judges. He was one to whom study of details of evidence far into the night was all in the day's work, and night after night he gladly did it as a part of his contribution to the welfare of society.
On December 5, 1942, he reached retirement age and became a state referee. Nevertheless, retirement was not to him a giving up of activity. His vigor and willingness to work carried him on for many years. He rendered valuable services to the state in hearing, listening, questioning and deciding differences between men, as is always necessary in a civilized society. In that way he became the most active state referee of recent years, continuing into his eighties. He died December 20, 1957, at the age of eight-five.
Because of all these things, those who came to know him could readily join in saying, "Well done, thou good and faithful servant."
*Prepared by Harold E. Drew, of the New Haven County bar.
As Printed in the Connecticut Reports, volume 201, pages 819 - 820
REMARKS BY CHIEF JUSTICE ELLEN A. PETERS IN MEMORY OF THE HONORABLE RAYMOND E. BALDWIN
October 8, 1986
On behalf of the justices of the Supreme Court, I want to pause for a moment to join all of the people of the state of Connecticut in mourning the death of former Governor, United States Senator, and Chief Justice Raymond E. Baldwin.
Raymond E. Baldwin compiled a record of public service that made him a giant of our generation. He fulfilled the duties and responsibilities of the highest of state offices with the firm dedication and determination that characterized his entire career.
Raymond E. Baldwin was 20th century Connecticut. His vision saw the coming tide for equality and, as governor, he established the first civil rights commission. He anticipated the need to create a state industrial training plan to prepare workers for jobs and subsequently for defense industries. His program established a statewide inventory of available workers and was so successful that it later became the model for a federal project. Under his leadership, Connecticut became know as the "arsenal of democracy" for its role in the production of armaments during World War II. He chaired the 1965 constitutional convention which rewrote the document that is the very foundation of our state government. He served on numerous state boards and commissions and epitomized the dedicated public official.
Raymond E. Baldwin was the only individual to have been honored to hold the three highest titles a state can confer: Governor, United States Senator, and Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. Many people may find it surprising, given the fame and reputation he enjoyed, the powerful and influential people he knew, and the historic events he witnessed, that he would one day reflect on his career in public service by stating that his happiest years were those that he spent as a member of this court. However, to anyone who knew Ray Baldwin, this should not be surprising. His life was committed to serving the needs and interests of his state. He knew that to hold public office was an honor; that in directing the course of government he was able to have an influence on bringing to the people of his state the services which they deserved. He recognized that as a judge, on each and every day and in each and every case, he was able to touch people's lives and bring government to each citizen in his courtroom. He understood, furthermore, that writing an opinion in many ways resembles telling a story - and he was a superb storyteller.
Raymond E. Baldwin never stopped serving his state. His involvement in government lasted until past his 90th birthday, when he stepped down as an active state trial referee. Those of us who succeed him, in the judicial department, and throughout the state government, look to Raymond Baldwin's record of service as a standard to commitment and excellence that all of us should strive to emulate.
I hereby charge the Reporter of Judicial Decisions with taking whatever steps are necessary to make these remarks a part of the official record of the proceedings of this court and to see that these remarks are printed in the Connecticut Law Journal.
As Printed in the Connecticut Reports, volume 136, page iii
Appointed June 1, 1949, to take effect December 17, 1949.
As Printed in the Connecticut Reports, volume 146, page iii
Appointed Chief Justice by the Governor July 24, 1959.
As Printed in the Connecticut Reports, volume 151, page iii
Retired August 31, 1963, under constitutional limitation as to age.
As Printed in the Connecticut Reports, volume 30, pages 609 - 613
Roger S. Baldwin died in New Haven, his native town, on the 19th day of February, 1863.
There are especial reasons why the members of the profession, as well as the public at large, in this state, should accord to his memory unusual honors. He had been for many years one of the brightest ornaments of our bar, and had also been, in various capacities, a most able, upright and faithful servant of our commonwealth.
He was of the best Connecticut stock on both sides, and was worthy of his pedigree. His father, Simeon Baldwin, who died about twelve years ago, universally respected and beloved, had been a representative of this state in Congress, and, for many years, a judge of the Superior Court and of the Supreme Court of Errors; and was a lineal descendant of John Baldwin, a Puritan emigrant from England, who came hither with Davenport, Prudden, Whitfield, and the other original settlers of New Haven, Milford and Guilford, and who was himself of the thirty-five original proprietors by whom the town of Norwich was afterwards settled.
His mother was a daughter of Roger Sherman, the statesman so justly renowned as one of the committee which reported the Declaration of Independence, as one of the signers of that instrument, as one of the ablest members of the convention which formed the constitution of the United States, and as a distinguished Representative and Senator from this state in the Congress of the United States.
Roger Sherman Baldwin was born January 4th, 1793. He entered Yale College in 1807; graduated with honor at the age of eighteen; then studied law in his father's office, and afterwards, under the able instruction of Judge Reeve and Judge Gould, in the law school at Litchfield; and was admitted to the bar in 1814. He then commenced practice in New Haven; and from that time until the close of his life, except during those periods when his attention was engaged by official duties in the public service, devoted himself with unremitting energy to the pursuit of his profession.
In 1826 he was a member of the common council of New Haven, and in 1828 was one of the aldermen of that city. In 1837 he was a member of the senate of this state; and in 1838 was re-elected, and was chosen president pro tempore of that body. In 1840 and in 1841 he was a Representative of New Haven in the General Assembly. In 1844 he was chosen Governor of Connecticut, and in 1845 was re-elected to that office. In 1847 he was temporarily appointed by the Governor to fill that vacancy in the senate of the United States occasioned by the death of Senator Huntington; and in May, 1818, he was elected by the General Assembly as senator of the United States for the unexpired portion of Senator Huntington's term, which ended in 1851. In 1860 he was chosen as one of the Electors of President for the state at large; and was afterwards, by appointment of Governor Buckingham, a member of the celebrated "Peace Congress", in which he occupies a prominent and influential position.
Probably no lawyer ever attained in Connecticut a higher rank at the bar than that which was generally conceded to Governor Baldwin by his professional brethren. He possessed every one of the characteristics and faculties of a great lawyer. All of those characteristics and faculties he possessed in a high degree, and many of them in a pre-eminent degree. In any forum, anywhere - in the Supreme Court at Washington, or in Westminster Hall, or at any other bar where our system of jurisprudence is understood and practiced - Governor Baldwin would have been regarded, not merely as a skillful practitioner, but as a man entitled to rank among the great lawyers of his day.
He possessed a comprehensive and thorough acquaintance with the science of his profession. He was master of its learning. He understood it in its great doctrines and in it details. In short he had that legal scholarship, that legal acumen, that legal knowledge, which no intellect but a high one can attain at all, and which even a great intellect can not fully acquire without long, thorough and conscientious labor.
Although Governor Baldwin was powerful before the jury, he was more truly in his proper element before the court. A strong antagonist in trying questions of fact, he was especially formidable in the argument of nice and difficult questions of law.
His discourse, whether addressed to the court or the jury, was marked by uniform purity and transparency of style. His English was perfect. He was always able to say, - guarding with proper qualifications, exceptions and limitations, when necessary, every sentence and phrase, so that his idea, when expressed, stood forth sharply defined, exactly in the form in which he wished it to appear. Rarely, if ever, has he been known to construct an entangled or imperfect sentence. His steady and clear intellect so controlled his tongue, that with him every sentence spontaneously assumed its fit beginning, its appropriately arranged contents, and its accurate and graceful termination.
His oratory was not often impassioned. It was dignified, logical, clear and convincing, addressed to the intellect rather than to the feelings. Yet, having in himself a large reserve of feeling, he possessed the power of appealing in terms of impressive earnestness to the higher sentiments and sympathies of men. Personal pride, the sense of honor, contempt for meanness and fraud, indignation at corruption and injustice - these and such like sentiments of the human heart he knew how, on proper occasions, to touch and to inflame.
In guarding the interests of his clients his watchfulness was incessant. No circumstance, which might affect those interests favorably or unfavorably, escaped his notice or failed to receive his full attention. He never abandoned, without a vigorous contest, any claim, great or small, which he thought that his client could rightfully make, and which it was important in the slightest degree for him to maintain.
In his relations to his clients, to the court, and to his professional brethren, he was always courteous sincere, upright and honorable. His professional character, like his personal character, in whatever light it may be viewed, stands forth without one solitary stain upon it.
Such, in short, was the lawyer whom one of his most distinguished professional brethren - the late General Kimberly - pronounced to be "the ablest lawyer that Connecticut has ever produced in any part of her history."
Governor Baldwin, although an earnest Whig and Republican, was not by any means, in the popular sense of the term, a politician. The arts of politicians he did not understand; and if he had understood them he would have scorned to use them. Therefore while he firmly held, and on all proper occasions energetically vindicated, his political opinions, he was, always treated with sincere respect by his political opponents. He never sought office. He never would consent to do any thing for the purpose of securing to himself a nomination or an election. Indeed his friends were sometimes disposed to complain of his excessive punctiliousness in this respect. Undoubtedly he desired to be returned to the United States Senate at the close of his term of service in that body. He did not say so; but his friends were conscious that such was his desire. He had ambition, - such ambition as was worthy of such a man. He had enjoyed his senatorial life. Its duties suited his style of mind and character; and it was impossible for him not to feel that he was able to discharge those duties with honor to himself and to his native state. When the question of his re-election came up in the General Assembly there was in the House of Representatives only as bare majority of Whigs, some two or three of whom declined to vote for him (although he was the nominee of their party) because they were under an impression that his opinions on some points did not exactly accord with the policy of their party as they understood it. His intimate friends knew that this impression had so little foundation that they could easily remove the obstacles in the way of his re-election if they could procure from him for their use, a written statement of his opinions upon the points in question. Such a statement he firmly and persistently refused to give; -declaring that he would not put himself into the position of a seeker of office; that such a written statement of his opinions would be regarded, under the circumstances, as a pledge: and that, in his judgment, a member of the senate ought to occupy in that body a position not trammeled by pledges of any sort whatsoever. The result was that he was not re-elected; -a result which he knew to be probable, if not certain, but which he was willing to accept rather than swerve from a principle of action which he considered sound.
If, however, rigor of his principles constituted, to no small extent, a barrier to his political success, he did not fail to distinguish himself in those official positions to which he was sometimes called. His administration as Governor of Connecticut was dignified and able. Chancellor Kent said of his annual address to the General Assembly, that they recalled "the bright days of the Trumbulls, Ellsworths and Shermans, who threw such a lustre on the golden annals of the state." He took a high rank in the senate of the United States when it contained some of the ablest men who ever sat within its hall-Webster, Clay, Benton, Calhoun, Seward, and their contemporaries. He devoted himself with characteristic fidelity to his duties in that high place; and during the four years of his service there, few if any, of the members of the senate took a more active part in its debates and other proceedings than he. His principle speeches were upon the Mexican war, and the extension of slavery as connected with it; the admission of California into the Union; the Compromise Measures of 1850, especially the Fugitive Slave Law; and the Oregon bill. His speech against the Fugitive Slave Law was regarded by the opponents of that measure as an overwhelming and unanswerable argument against it, while the advocates of the law, however they might dissent from his conclusions, did not withhold from him the respect due to the power which he displayed in the discussion of his subject. His most spirited speech however was an impromptu one in reply to Mr. Manson, of Virginia, who had ventured to institute offensive comparisons between Virginia and Connecticut in regard to the Revolutionary history of the two states. Mr. Baldwin was the last man to shrink from a contest with any antagonist on such a subject. Mason's attack upon Connecticut was unprovoked, insolent and confident. No sooner had he taken his seat than Mr. Baldwin sprang to his feet. By a few words full of dignity, force and fire, he completely overwhelmed his adversary; and not only overwhelmed him but drove him into ignominious silence. At the conclusion of Mr. Baldwin's speech, Senator Underwood, of Kentucky, rose and suggested that his "friend from Virginia" had "in this contest" manifested "much more valor than discretion," and advised him to not pursue the matter farther. The Virginian was wise enough to act upon his advise, and the debate thereupon ended. It was not safe for any man, as Mr. Mason on this occasion discovered to disparage Connecticut in the hearing of her senator. He was well acquainted with the history of his country. He knew too (what citizens of other states seldom care to remember, and perhaps seldom know, and, what we ourselves do not seem always to properly appreciate,) that the state which he represented had a history, civil, military, which enabled her to compare favorably, not only with Virginia, or with any other state in this Union, but with any commonwealth that ever existed upon earth; and with that history, especially dear to him for many reasons, he was perfectly familiar. Proud therefore of his native state, and abundantly able to defend her against all attacks, from whatever quarter they might come, he was always, while in her service, the vigilant guardian of her interests and her honor.
No part of Governor Baldwin's public life was more anxious, arduous and exhausting to him than the brief period during which he was a member of the "Peace Congress." In that body, as a member of a committee of one from each state therein represented, he made a minority report in his own name, which he presented to the convention, with an accompanying resolution recommending the several states "to unite with Kentucky in her application to Congress to call a convention for proposing amendments the constitution of the United States." This report and this resolution be supported, in a powerful speech, which was the last great effort of his public life.
The reserve and resistance which were marked characteristics of Governor Baldwin, made him appear, to those who did not know him, somewhat distant and formal; while, in fact, as those who were better acquainted with him knew perfectly well, kindness of heart, sensitiveness to the sufferings of others, and forwardness to give pleasure and confer happiness upon all within his reach, were fundamental traits in his character.
This sketch, necessarily short and imperfect, accomplishes its purpose and does justice to the subject of it only so far as it depicts the character, and partly discloses the life, of a great lawyer, whose own virtues secluded him in a measure from those opportunities distinction in public life to which his abilities entitled him, - and of an incorruptible, sensitive, honorable man, who did his duty in this life well and faithfully in those stations whereunto it pleased God to call him, and who died at last, lamented most by those who knew him best, and respected by everybody who knew him, leaving behind him, for the honor and comfort of his children, a noble and unsullied reputation.
*Prepared, at the request of the reporter, by Henry B. Harrison, Esq., of the New Haven County bar.
As Printed in the Connecticut Reports, volume 13, appendix pages 4 - 5
Born in Norwich, December 14th, 1761; educated at Yale-College where he graduated in 1781; was preceptor of the Academy in Albany, in 1782, and in 1783 become a Tutor in Yale-College, and held that situation three years; read law with Judge Chauncey, and was admitted to the Bar, in New Haven county, in 1786, and settled in the city of New-Haven, in the practice of the law. In 1790, he was appointed clerk of the District and Circuit Courts of the United States, for Connecticut, and held that office until the fall of 1803, when having been elected a representative in the eighth Congress of the United States, he resigned his office of clerk; attended the two sessions of that Congress, and declining a re-election, he was, in 1805, again appointed clerk of the district and circuit courts by Judge Law, and was, in 1806 removed by his successor, Judge Edwards. In the fall of the same year, he was appointed an Associate Judge of the Superior Court, and of the Supreme Court of Errors, and continued in office until superseded, in May 1817.
He then returned to the Bar, for a short period, until his son became established in practice in the same county. In 1802, he was appointed, by the General Assembly, one of the commissioners of the Farmington Canal, and was made President of that board. In 1826, he was chosen Mayor of the city of New-Haven. Having seen the canal located, made and extended to Connecticut river in Northampton, he resigned his office of commissioner in 1830, and has not since sustained any public office.
As Printed in the Connecticut Reports, volume 20, introductory note page 20
The Hon. Simeon Baldwin...died, on the morning of the 26th of May 1851, in the ninetieth year of his age.
As Printed in the Connecticut Reports, volume 106, pages 735 - 738
SIMEON EBEN BALDWIN was born February 5th, 1840, and died January 30th, 1927. His father, Roger Sherman Baldwin, a distinguished lawyer, was Governor of Connecticut, 1844-1846, and United States Senator, 1847-1849. His grandfather, Simeon Baldwin, who married a daughter of Roger Sherman, signer of the Declaration of Independence, was Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of Errors from 1808-1818, when the downfall of the Federalist party in Connecticut brought about the appointment of a Democrat in his place.
Simeon E. Baldwin graduated from Yale College in 1861, and after studying law in Yale and Harvard was admitted to the New Haven County bar in 1863.
His brilliant intellect, inherited legal instinct, and his ceaseless industry, supplemented by a retentive and ready memory, soon brought him to the front rank of a State bar distinguished for its ability. As his practice increased in importance he became more widely known as lawyer and author, especially in the then comparatively undeveloped domain of railroad law, and at his death Mr. Chief Justice Taft characterized him as one of the great lawyers and great judges of the nation. He was also a lawyer of an uncommon type in this respect, that although immersed in a practice which might well have absorbed all his energy, he found time to acquire an international reputation as scholar and author in the outlying fields of jurisprudence, comparative law, social science and colonial history, as well as in the field of substantive law.
Very few of our great American lawyers have achieved a like distinction for broad scholarship. Besides all this, his profound sense of civic and professional obligation—which was perhaps the dominating motive of his life—led him into a practically continuous career of public service.
His activities were so varied that a brief and necessarily incomplete outline of his career will picture him better than in any other way.
In 1869, the death of its last surviving professor had left the Yale Law School without a faculty, and with but few students.The tradition is that the Yale Corporation desired to close the School. However that may be, Mr. Baldwin aided by his brethren, William C. Robinson and Johnston T. Platt, and with the cordial support of President Woolsey, undertook to carry it on without financial aid from the College. These three men were appointed instructors in 1869, and in 1872 they, with Mr. Francis Wayland, who had been appointed Dean, were made professors of law. Thus was the Yale Law School reborn, and so began the history of its steady progress and development.
Unquestionably, Professor Baldwin was, and continued to be, the leading spirit in this undertaking. For fifty years, he taught unremittingly in the School, and his own fame as teacher, scholar, jurist and judge added luster to that of the School. The University and the profession owe him for that inestimable service a debt which they cannot repay, but can only gratefully acknowledge.
Mr. Baldwin again put the bar under deep and lasting obligation by the publication of Baldwin’s Digest, one volume issued in 1871 and the second in 1882. In 1873, he became a member of the Commission to revise the Connecticut statutes, and was Chief Editor of the Revision of 1875. He was one of the founders of the American Bar Association, a member of its executive committee from 1878-1888, its president in 1890, and for twelve years director of its Bureau of Comparative Law. In 1877, he was appointed a member of the Commission for Simplifying Legal Procedure, and in form and substance our present Practice Act, as well as the first edition of our Connecticut Practice Book, was his work more than that of any other. In 1885, he drew the report for a better system of taxation, and was later appointed chairman of the commission which recommended the statutory revision of our State taxation system in 1915-1917.
In 1893, he was appointed Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of Errors, coming to that court directly from the bar, and was its Chief Justice from 1907-1910, when he reached the constitutional age limit.
As judge and chief justice he was courteous, patient, alert and wise in administering the rules of court. His opinions are marked for learning, brevity, clarity, accuracy of thought and diction, literary finish and finality of decision. They justly won for him the title of a great judge.
In 1911, he was elected Governor of Connecticut on the Democratic ticket, and he was re-elected in 1913. In that position also he served the State with distinction, exhibiting an accurate knowledge of the affairs of every department of the State government and of the institutions under its control and management, a just appreciation of their administration and necessities, and a capacity for practical statesmanship. With the pomp and ceremony of the office, he had little patience.
In his private life also Governor Baldwin was dominated by a sense of civic responsibility. He was for many years a trustee of the Hopkins Grammar School, president of the New Haven Colony Historical Society, the Connecticut Academy of Arts and Sciences, and of the New Haven Hospital, whose first president was his grandfather, Simeon Baldwin. To these and other institutions with which he was associated, Governor Baldwin gave both leadership and service. It was characteristic that although tenacious of his convictions in the performance of his individual duties, he accepted the decision of the majority where the responsibility was divided and assisted in carrying into effect, as if they were his own, the policies and measures which he had opposed.
Intellectually he was unemotional, but in feeling and conduct, kindly and sympathetic. His reputation for austerity was belied by his works.
In religious matters, he was tolerant and liberal. Though devoted to Congregationalism because he saw in it the historical seeds of our religious and political freedom, he quarreled with no man’s creed. He disapproved of the dogmatic theology of the Puritans, but he appreciated and practiced the stern sense of personal duty which it imposed.
The range of his scholarship was wide. He was president of many national and international societies. Incidentally, he could preside over a meeting held in Paris where the proceedings were conducted in the French language. As an author he published two works on Railroad Law, a History of the American Judiciary, the introduction to and several chapters of Two Centuries Growth of American Law, Modern Political Institutions, The Life and Letters of Simeon Baldwin, and contributed very many leading articles to legal and scientific publications. His last important work entitled Colonial Period forms the first volume of Osborn’s History of Connecticut.
In all of his activities, Mr. Baldwin was a forward-looking man. As lawyer he was a leader in the development of railroad law, and in the simplification of legal procedure; as legal educator in the establishment of post-graduate courses of study; as judge in the adaptation of our common law to the necessities of modern civilization. No member of the Connecticut bar has rendered greater service to the profession, to the public and to the law; and to him the law was not a jealous mistress, for none has attained wider recognition as author, scholar and jurist.
*Prepared by Hon. John K. Beach, of New Haven, at the request of the Reporter.
As Printed in the Connecticut Reports, volume 62, page iii
Appointed [to the Supreme Court of Errors] February 2, 1893.
As Printed in the Connecticut Reports, volume 79, page iii
Appointed Chief Justice, January 31st, 1907.
As Printed in the Connecticut Reports, volume 83, page iii
Retired [as Chief Justice] February 5th, 1910, under constitutional limitation as to age.
As Printed in the Connecticut Reports, volume 145, pages 739 - 740
John Wallace Banks was well prepared when he entered upon his judicial career. He was a sound and experienced lawyer and possessed an unusual number of personal qualifications, one of which was a judicial temperament, difficult to define, but of vital importance in the making of a successful judge.
He was born on September 22, 1867, in Bethlehem in Litchfield County, Connecticut, the son of George W. and Eliza Frances Banks. His ancestry has been traced to John Banks, a graduate of Oxford University and a lawyer, who settled in Wethersfield in 1643. Our John Banks was graduated from Yale in 1889, Phi Beta Kappa, with high honors in political science, history and law, and from the Yale Law School in 1893, having been associate editor of the Yale Law Journal for a brief period. He was admitted to the Connecticut bar in 1893 and in that year established a law partnership in Bridgeport with William T. Hincks, his Yale classmate. In 1896 he was married to Mary Cowles Gay, of Farmington.
In October, 1898, Judge Banks was appointed referee in bankruptcy, the first in Fairfield County after the passage of the federal Bankruptcy Act, and served for twenty-two years, during which period he continued in the active practice of law in other than bankruptcy matters. In 1902 Allan W. Paige joined the law firm of Banks and Hincks, but the firm was dissolved in October, 1905, when Mr. Hincks went into the investment banking business. In July, 1912, John W. Banks and Edward K. Nicholson joined forces. They continued their association until Judge Banks began his judicial career on January 10, 1920, after appointment to the Superior Court upon nomination by Governor Marcus H. Holcomb.
Judge Banks served on our highest trial court until his elevation to the Supreme Court of Errors on April 21, 1927. He was pretty nearly the ideal trial judge. His patience was remarkable, but there was always an unobtrusive admixture of firmness. He skillfully shortened the proceedings by defining the relevant issues and insisting that the irrelevant ones be discarded. Were there a degree "Master of Relevancy," it should have been awarded to John Banks. Courteous, serene and unruffled, he appeared to get more so during the wear and tear of difficult trials, but in fact he was very much in command of any situation that arose. His charges to juries were legal masterpieces, concisely reviewing the relevant facts and the applicable law, in clear, easily understandable language.
The transition from the very active life of the trial judge to the somewhat solitary and secluded existence of a justice of the Supreme Court is always a difficult one. It was so with Judge Banks. He liked the excitement attending the trial of cases. He enjoyed studying the witnesses, their testimony, their personal characteristics. He knew human nature and was adept in the art of "sizing up" witnesses. The lawyers liked and admired him. Soon, however, he became accustomed to the arduous work of the Supreme Court, and his ability to write concise opinions which revealed his mastery of the law and his penchant for relevancy was notable. He served as an associate justice of the Supreme Court until his retirement at the age of seventy.
John Banks was a delightful and interesting companion. He and his lovely wife entertained extensively in the fine home which, perhaps to an unusual extent, was the heart and center of their lives. John was an ardent fisherman, a lover of the outdoors. A fine woodsman, he maintained an active membership in the Metabetchouan Club in Canada. Slight of build and wiry, he was exceedingly hardy. Golf was a favorite pastime. It was a joy to play with him, for his companionship was extremely rewarding. When he made on good drive his only ejaculation was "Pshaw," and when he made a good one, he exclaimed "There."
John Banks died on March 8, 1958, at the ages of ninety, following an illness of considerable length.
*Prepared by Hon. Arthur F. Ellis, of Litchfield.
As Printed in the Connecticut Reports, volume 123, page iii
Retired September 22d, 1937, under constitutional limitation as to age.
As Printed in the Connecticut Reports, volume 169, page iii
Appointed to the Supreme Court effective August 31, 1975.
As Printed in the Connecticut Reports, volume 173, page iii
Retired May 6, 1977, under constitutional limitation as to age.
As Printed in the Connecticut Reports volume 43, pages 601 - 602
HEMAN HUMPHREY BARBOUR was born in Canton, Conn., July 19th, 1820. His early years were spent in working upon his father's farm and in attending and afterwards teaching school. His mother was a sister of. the Rev. Dr. Heman Humphrey, late president of Amherst College, after whom he was named. She was a woman of rare mental endowments, of an earnest religious nature, and of great force of character, taking always great interest in the philanthropic and reformatory enterprises of the day, and in all political matters, and was especially noted for her intense hatred of the system of slavery. From his parents Mr. Barbour received careful religious training, and from the schools of his native town and the academy at Amherst, Mass., a good academical education. At the age of twenty he left his home for Indianapolis, Ind., and there commenced reading law in the office of his cousin, Hon. Lucien Barbour, since then a member of Congress from Indiana. After his admission to the bar he commenced practice in Columbus, Indiana, where he remained nine years, and was more than usually successful in his calling. He was, for three years, a member of the Senate of that state, serving on its most important committees, and representing his district acceptably to his constituents of all parties. In 1846, at the commencement of the war with Mexico, he enlisted in the United States army, and was made adjutant of one of the Indiana regiments of volunteers, and received at the expiration of his term of service an honorable discharge. In 1850, in consequence of impaired health from climatic causes, he removed to Hartford, Conn., and resumed the practice of law, and soon enjoyed a lucrative and increasing business. In 1858 he was elected Judge of the Probate Court for the district of Hartford, and held the office for four years. Declining a re-nomination in 1863 he returned to the duties of his profession, and actively continued in the practice of law until his death, which occurred on the 29th day of June 1875.
As a lawyer Judge Barbour brought into the service of his clients a clear and logical mind, reasoning powers of a high order, an active, energetic temperament, and remarkable powers of physical endurance. Among the marked traits of his character was a perfect confidence in the justice of the cause he represented, and unlimited confidence in his client. He first satisfied himself that his client and cause were in the right, and thereafter nothing could change his opinion, and no labor nor sacrifice of personal ease on his part was ever wanting to carry. his cause to a successful result. The intensity of his convictions made defeat exceedingly hard for him to bear. He had no patience with trickery in law. To try a case on its merits solely, with every fact fully and clearly shown, was for him to try a case well. All the duties of his profession were to him solemn obligations, and he was never satisfied until he had done his utmost to discharge them well.
He was a member of the Baptist Church, and earnest and constant in Christian work. He started and organized the Good Samaritan Society in the interest of temperance reform, and was for several years its president, and the most efficient laborer in the organization. He was also deeply interested in the Prisoners' Friend Association, and the year prior to his death was chosen president of the association. As a director of the state prison he was brought in contact with the convicts, and he spared no labor nor sacrifice of time and means in the attempt to assist them to reform and lead a life of honesty and sobriety. It may well be said of him that he was faithful to all his obligations as a citizen; conscientious in the discharge of official duty, true always to the interests of his clients, and in the midst of all furnished in his general life a conspicuous example of Christian benevolence and philanthropy.
*Prepared at the request of the Reporter, by J.H. White, Esq., of the Hartford County Bar.
As Printed in the Connecticut Reports, volume 60, pages 609 - 611
HENRY STILES BARBOUR, a greatly respected member of the Hartford County bar, died at Hartford, where he had lived for the last twenty years, on the 21st of September, 1891. He was born in Canton of this state August 2d, 1822, and his childhood and youth were spent there upon his father's farm. His mother was the sister of Rev. Dr. Heman Humphrey, an early president of Amherst College in Massachusetts, and was first cousin of the famous John Brown. The atmosphere in which he grew up was one of more than usual intelligence, while the best religious influences, operating on a responsive nature, made him from early life conscientious and dutiful and prepared him for a manhood characterized by high moral purpose. He took a course of study, helping himself by teaching at Amherst Academy and at Williston Seminary in Easthampton, Mass., and afterwards studied law in the Yale Law School and with the late Roger H. Mills, Esq., then a member of the Litchfield County bar and residing at New Hartford. He was admitted to the bar in 1849, and immediately commenced practice in Torrington in Litchfield County, where he remained for twenty-one years, holding, during fifteen years of that time, the office of judge of probate, and for twenty years those of town clerk and town treasurer. In 1850 he represented the town in the lower house of the General Assembly and in 1870 the Fifteenth District in the upper house. While in the senate he was chairman of the judiciary committee of the two houses. In 1879 he was appointed by the General Assembly upon a committee for the revision of our joint stock law, and in 1885 upon another for the revision of our probate laws, and in each case took a prominent part in the work undertaken.
In 1870 Mr. Barbour removed to Hartford and entered into partnership with his older brother, the late Heman H. Barbour, who had for several years been in the practice of law there. On the death of the latter in 1875 he formed a partnership with another brother, Sylvester Barbour, who had just removed to Hartford. This partnership was dissolved a few years later, and he entered into no other. On coming to Hartford he soon received the public confidence as a lawyer of great fidelity to business intrusted to him and of sterling integrity. His appointment upon the two commissions named was made after he went there. His mind was quite judicial in its character; with none of the brilliancy that might have enabled him to succeed as an advocate, and with no rhetorical faculty or ambition, he had excellent judgment, a habit of patient investigation, and a strong sense of justice, and discharged most creditably those minor judicial duties to which he was often called. His familiarity with the administration of town business, acquired in his long occupancy of town offices in Torrington, made his services valuable as the adviser for several years of the town officers of Hartford. He was also one of the best probate lawyers in the state.
Mr. Barbour was in the highest degree honorable in all his dealings, always fair and courteous in the trying of cases, painstaking and accurate in all his legal work, patient in investigation, kindly sympathetic in his treatment of others, modest and unassuming, and preeminently conscientious and just. He was governed everywhere by the law of kindness.
In the latter part of his life he became seriously involved through obligations assumed for others and his later years were years of professional toil, patiently borne under failing health, in the hope, never fully realized, of meeting and discharging the obligations which overloaded him, and of which he felt the pressure even upon his dying bed.
He had from early life been a man of decided religious convictions and character, and a valued member of the Congregational denomination, and was for several years a deacon in the Asylum Hill Congregational church.
In 1857 he married Pamelia J. Bartholomew, of Sheffield, Mass., who, with a son and daughter, survive him. His son is Rev. John Humphrey Barbour, a most esteemed professor in the Berkeley Divinity School at Middletown in this state.
At a meeting of the Hartford County bar, on the occasion of Mr. Barbour's death, Mr. F. L. Hungerford spoke of him as follows: "I have known Judge Barbour since my earliest childhood, as I was born in Torrington where he had practised law for many years, and during my minority he was my guardian. He was the man of the town and prominent in church matters. Every one looked up to him and thought when they had his opinion on any matter they had all that could be gotten anywhere. He may not have been a man who could be called great, judged from the point of public greatness, but judged from the good his life has done society he has been a great success. He was not only a very kindly man, but one of great knowledge and excellent judgment."
Judge W. J. McConville spoke as follows: "Judge Barbour's death has been a personal loss to me. In his office I studied law, and with him have been associated for several years. No one outside of his family has in the last twelve years seen him as much. Between us there were no differences and neither appeared to be conscious of an unpleasant thought towards the other. No one could have such thoughts of him; he was so gentle, sympathetic and considerate of others. I have said of him many times, and can say truly now, as I can of no other I have known as well, that he never had an unkind word to say of any one. He loved his fellow men and delighted to help them. He practised law for the good he might do. He affected nothing, he had no arts, he deceived no one, he scorned meanness and indirection. He was just he seemed to be. If he ever made a friend or won a case he deserved them. In his declining years he had his full share of trials, but he bore them without a murmur. You would never know from anything he said that he ever had them. He died as he had lived, a patient, upright Christian gentleman."
Further eulogistic remarks were made by other members of the bar, and resolutions of respect to his memory were passed.
As Printed in the Connecticut Reports, volume 89, pages 721 - 722
JOSEPH LANE BARBOUR was born at Barkhamsted, Connecticut, December 18th, 1846, the son of Heman Humphrey and Frances E. (Merrill) Barbour, and was educated at the Hartford High School and Williston Seminary. He began his business life as a journalist, and was for several years employed in that capacity by the Hartford Evening Post. During this period he applied himself to the study of law and upon his admission to the bar began practice in New Britain, but soon removed to Hartford. He was clerk of the Common Council Board of Hartford, 1872-1874, Prosecuting Attorney of the City 1876-1883, clerk of the House of Representatives, 1877-1878, and of the Senate in 1879, Speaker of the House in 1897.
Mr. Barbour was admitted to the bar at Hartford on the third day of November, 1874, and soon acquired an extensive practice. From that time he was actively engaged in the practice of his profession, and met his death on February 3d, 1915, while he was trying a case in the Superior Court in Hartford County.
As a lawyer a most striking characteristic of Mr. Barbour’s career was his industry. This was illustrated by the number and variety of the cases he tried, which led him into all the courts and into all manner of causes, civil and criminal. His work in preparation and trial was conscientious and painstaking, and his rare oratorical gifts made his presentation of a case persuasive with the court and convincing with the jury.
Aside from his legal practice his life was full of activities. He traveled extensively and was a shrewd observer, and his lectures on the countries he visited were interesting and delightful, and always attracted large audiences.
He was an accomplished orator, and his inimitable wit, his great fund of information and his irresistible logic made him a valuable asset for his party in the numerous political campaigns in which he took a prominent part. His reputation as a political speaker extended far beyond the boundaries of Connecticut.
Notwithstanding the absorbing character of his professional work he found time for a wide range of reading and study, and keenly appreciated and enjoyed the best things in letters and in art. There was much of the dramatic in his makeup, and it was difficult to listen to any of his addresses without arriving at the conviction that his versatile talents would have won recognition in other callings as well as in the practice of the law.
In the work of his profession he was considerate and obliging both to his associates and antagonists, and the incessant play of his wit relieved the tedium of any trial in which he was engaged.
In his death the profession has sustained a serious loss and the community is deprived of a gifted and highly esteemed citizen.
*Prepared by William F. Henney, of the County bar, at the request of the Reporter.
As Printed in the Connecticut Reports, volume 29, pages 614 - 615
I RECALL from the printer these closing sheets to add another worthy name to the list of our memorable dead. Jonathan Barnes Esq., for many years the acknowledged head of the Middlesex County bar, and a man of great classical as well as legal attainments, died at Middletown, where he resided, on the 24th of December, 1861, at the age of seventy-two. The following notice of him is taken from the Sentinel & Witness, a Middletown paper.
JONATHAN BARNES was born in Tolland, in the year 1789, and was the son of Jonathan Barnes, an attorney of eminence in Tolland county. He was graduated at Yale College, in 1810. Having finished his collegiate course he commenced the study of law with his father, but removed to Middletown in 1811, and pursued and completed his studies with Chauncey Whittelsey, Esq., a prominent lawyer of this place. He was admitted to the bar in 1813, and from that time almost to the day of his death he has practiced in Middletown. We do not believe that any lawyer ever left behind him such an example of unremitting and unfaltering labor in his profession. He was constantly employed in the duties of his calling, never absent from the city, and seldom even away from his office. In sickness and in health he was to be found at his post, and at last he died with "the harness on."
In his profession he stood among the first, as the many clients who entrusted their interests to his charge can testify. He never strove to shine, but simply endeavored to do his duty to his client, preferring rather the approval of a mind conscious of right than the plaudits of the public. His store of legal erudition was vast and varied, and was so systematized that it was on every occasion ready for use. His style of speaking corresponded with the character of the man. He never attempted empassioned declamation, or brilliant figures of rhetoric, but calmly made his statements of fact, and reasoned out his positions. He had a fine command of language, and a polished taste in the choice of it. He never gave utterance to anything low or vulgar; and if his arguments had been taken down as they fell from his lips, they would have made finished essays.
His reading outside of his profession was extensive and various, and upon almost every subject of ordinary conversation he could talk easily and interestingly. His love for literature never deserted him, even amid the trying duties of his profession. He devoted a portion of each day to reading the classics: and late in life he was probably more familiar with the great writers of Greek and Roman literature than when he received his diploma. To his classical attainments he added an excellent knowledge of several modern languages, and his acquaintance with the Hebrew text of the old Testament would have done credit to a theologian.
He did not aspire to political honors, and never stood before the public as a candidate for office. He preferred the quiet routine of the daily duties of his calling, and was contented never to quit them to join in the scramble of scheming politicians. If he had entered public life he would undoubtedly have been successful and distinguished, for he who served individuals so well and so faithfully would surely have served the public with exemplary fidelity.
He became a member of the North Congregational Church, on the 5th of July 1829, and has been ever since a pious and consistent christian. While he was in the enjoyment of health he was a regular attendant upon the service of the sanctuary, and even when stricken with disease he was present in his pew as often as possible. For many years he was a teacher in the Sunday school of the church which he attended, and many of those who searched the scriptures under his guidance, and are now pursuing their various avocations in all parts of the country, remember to this day with delight the expositions which he gave. He died on the 24th of December 1861, and has gone down to the grave in the fullness of age. Leaving behind him a character fragrant with every excellence.
As Printed in the Connecticut Reports, volume 134, pages 705 - 706
Floyd B. Bartram was born in Darien on September 3, 1882, the son of Elijah and Sally Bell Bartram. He attended the New Canaan public schools, and upon the completion of his studies there felt impelled to go further. Although not in vigorous health he determined to earn his way and spent two years at Mount Hermon School in Northfield, Mass. He then took special work at Colgate University in preparation for law school. He entered New York Law School and was graduated in June 1908, with a degree of L.L. B. He was admitted to the bar in 1909 and entered the office of Martin J. Gray. Judge Gray had studied law in the office of the late Judge John E. Wheeler and upon his admission to the bar had opened an office in Stamford. He was a capable practitioner, but died in 1910.
Upon the death of Judge Gray, Mr. Bartram formed a partnership with Benjamin & Mead under the firm name of Bartram & Mead. He was an excellent trier of cases and the firm had a good practice. During this period he was active in politics in the Democratic Party and became its candidate for mayor in 1918 and 1920. Stamford was then a Republican stronghold, and although he ran far ahead of his ticket he failed of election.
In 1922 he was elected judge of probate and terminated the partnership of Bartram & Mead. For eight years he held this office with distinction. His knowledge of probate law was extensive and accurate. He presided over his court with firmness but with courtesy and respect for the opinions of others. He was extremely helpful to many people of small means who aroused his sympathy. It is probable that he might have been continued in office for many years, but he felt a strong inclination to return to private practice. The law firm of Cressy & Sherwood was then expanding rapidly. This was the successor to the old firms of Fessenden & Carter and Carter & Cressy. Judge Bartram, with Joseph L. Melvin, joined with Warren F. Cressy and Clinton F. Sherwood in the present firm of Cressy, Bartram, Melvin & Sherwood, with offices in the new office building of the Stamford Trust Company, on September 1, 1929. Judge Bartram, however, took no active part until the expiration of his term as judge of probate on December 31, 1930.
In his association with the new firm he was able to specialize in the field in which he had acquired such familiarity in the Court of Probate and was soon recognized as an authority in the administration of estates and trusts. He combined a high sense of fidelity and sound business acumen with an attractive personality. This brought him immediately a large clientele. In his life outside his office he was fond of outdoor sports and was a delightful companion on any golf or fishing party. His sense of humor and love for harmless practical jokes enlivened any group with whom he associated.
In the summer of 1945 he began to fail in health and on March 5, 1946, died at Stamford. He was buried in the family plot at New Canaan. His parents had not long predeceased him, and having lived a long life together they were buried on the same day, May 13, 1938. Surviving Judge Bartram are his wife, Frieda H. Bartram, to whom he was married March 17, 1914, and a daughter, Nancy B. Bartram. A son, William Bartram, died August 10, 1938, at the beginning of a successful business career.
Judge Bartram was a member of the Congregational Church of New Canaan and was also a 32d degree Mason, having been raised in Union Lodge No. 5 in 1913. He was a member of Puritan Lodge No. 43, I.O.O.F., and of Woodway Country Club. He had been president of the Stamford Chamber of Commerce and a director of the First-Stamford National Bank & Trust Company and the Putnam Trust Company of Greenwich. At the time of his death he was a director of the Citizens Savings Bank and vice-president of the Stamford Day Nursery and of Brady & Chadeayne, Inc.
*Prepared by Warren F. Cressy, of the Stamford bar.
As Printed in the Connecticut Reports, volume 126, pages 719 - 723
Heredity and environment tended to make John Kimberly Beach the ideal lawyer. There were six John Beaches in Connecticut in the direct line, and all of them were ministers or lawyers. Born in New Haven on October 18, 1855, he lived there until his death on July 6, 1938. A graduate of Yale in the class of 1877, he was long a teacher in the School of Law. Active work in the profession for over fifty years broadened and ripened his character and mind. The last of a line of lawyers, he grew up in an office with his father, a keen and able practitioner.
Judge Beach's apprenticeship brought him into close association with a fine and able group of men who were the leaders of the New Haven bar. This included, with his father, the brilliant and resourceful Ingersoll, the learned Baldwin, and the consummate solicitor Louis H. Bristol. These names with those of Torrance, Harrison, Stoddard and Watrous bring up memories of a bar, which has perhaps not been excelled in Connecticut in power and ability.
This young man was highly favored of fortune so far as concerns a propitious environment for a career in the law. With a sound New England toughness inherited from the Beaches was mixed the Quaker-Irish blood of his mother's family. This produced no complexes, but a rare combination of sweetness, friendliness and gayety, with a keen and dispassionate intellect ready to cope with the most intricate problems, and fully fitted to solve them. His mind and soul were exceedingly independent. Fishing in the North Woods, minding his pea patch in his charming retreat at Hammonassett, preparing a case for trial, or investigating the law for judicial opinions, he worked by himself. There remains a memory of him in middle life in the full swing of a busy practice. On a typical afternoon he would be found in his office, hour after hour, writing briefs in longhand on the arm of an old-fashioned rocking chair while he loudly argued the points with himself.
Upon beginning practice he was at once engaged with his father in many important patent causes. They were days of rapid industrial development. Connecticut was full of inventors, and lawyers and clients were litigious. His father had the confidence of the business community and the young man had thus unusual opportunities. In early years his name is almost always associated in briefs with that of his father. There are many such in a long succession of patent causes in the Circuit Court. They had as well an extensive general practice. For example, at the June Term of 1887 the Beaches appeared together in the Supreme Court in a suit to replevy a quantity of brass and copper, in an appeal from a probate decree allowing a claim against the estate of an insolvent debtor, and in an appeal from a judgment allowing damages for diverting waters.
After his father's death in 1887 he continued in practice with a brother. In 1898 he joined Samuel H. Fisher to form the firm of Beach and Fisher. Fisher came of a patent law family, and had had experience in Washington. These young men developed a fine business in patent soliciting, but the patent litigations were diminishing in number and importance, and when they were invited in 1902 to join the firm of Bristol, Stoddard and Bristol, they were glad to do so; and formed the firm of Bristol, Stoddard, Beach and Fisher. Henry Stoddard had retired from the bench in 1888, and fourteen years later was in the midst of a trial practice, which in character and volume has been without parallel in Connecticut. For the next ten years this firm enjoyed a splendid business in an atmosphere of cheerful friendliness, which tended to hilarity upon appropriate occasions.
Mr. Beach's practice had by then become largely general court work; the presentation of causes on behalf of or in conjunction with other lawyers. A few of his cases in the period 1908 to 1913 involved suits for diverting waters, for indemnity for damages caused by a strike of workmen against a carrier of strike insurance, against a life insurance company for distribution among policy holders of a so-called safety fund, for damages for property of a theatrical company destroyed by a fire on a railroad, and some important work in bankruptcy. It was during this period that for some years he was active in the defense of members of the hatters' union in the famous Danbury Hatters case (Loewe v. Lawlor, 208 U.S. 274, 223 U.S. 729, 187 Fed. 522). This was interrupted when he was appointed to the bench.
His briefs follow a common pattern. In his youth they are long and meticulous, with extensive citation of authority. Later they became simple, confined to clear reasoning for a few pages, covering only essential points, with sparing reference to decisions. He was wont to say that one strong assignment of errors is better than twenty weak ones. The essence of advocacy is simplicity; and Judge Beach learned this in his practice.
An outstanding characteristic in trial work was his fineness almost amounting to delicacy. He would not resort to cheap methods or tricks, and he resented the use of then by others. He seemed to regard a case predominantly as an intellectual problem. Having assembled the facts, he worked the matter out as one would a problem in mathematics. While this had the advantage of clarity and simplicity, it occasionally prevented a necessary shift in tactics to meet the vicissitudes of the courtroom.
On February 6, 1923, he resigned as law professor because of increasing pressure of his work upon the bench. Over a period of many years he had given instruction in the Yale Law School in Admiralty, Agency, Patent Law, Conflict of Laws, Sales, and Receivers. He taught by a combination of the textbook and case methods. For example, in his course on Sales the book he used was Benjamin's, which is to a large extent a classified digest of decisions.
Because of his soft voice and gentle manner the Judge was not at his best in public appearances at the bar or in the classroom. The true quality of his finely tempered mind is found in his briefs and opinions. He was born to sit upon a court of appeals. However, he succeeded in the chief function of a law teacher, the clear, orderly and comprehensive presentation of a course of study, available to the grasp of a student willing to learn. He received from Yale the honorary degrees of Master of Arts in 1908 and of Doctor of Laws in 1913.
He was, as C. R. Ingersoll said of his father, "notably a lawyer and thoroughly a lawyer." All of his intellectual interests were concerned with the law. Professor Hicks says of him, "He participated actively in the work of the American Law Institute as advisor to the reporter on Restatement of the Law of Agency. His colleagues report that, despite his advanced age, he was a learned, alert and stimulating associate." He was a member of the Connecticut committee on the federal rules of civil procedure, a work in which he took great interest. He was gravely disturbed about certain manifestations of the New Deal philosophy, especially the National Recovery Act, and what he called "its successor in purpose, the pending bill to reform the. Court."
After the decision of the case of State v. McCook, 109 Conn. 621, Judge Beach, then retired, became greatly interested in the subject matter of Section 12 of Article IV of the Constitution of Connecticut with which that decision dealt. In an unpublished paper he has left, he has gone at great length into the judicial history of this subject, and with customary clarity has given his reasons for preferring the conflicting federal rule.
Judge Beach's last important undertaking was his work as state referee in hearing and reporting on an extensive investigation into conditions in the New Haven bar. He has left some notes on the foundation of legal ethics which are worth repeating:
The term "ethics" when applied to professional conduct includes as a matter of course common honesty and fair dealing in the contractual relation and it also connotes the existence of some rules of conduct for the breach of which the law does not give a remedy, but which have a sanction comparable to the social ostracism which follows persistent violation of the prevailing standards of personal conduct. So the persistent violation of such professional minor morals may justly result in professional ostracism. The time has gone by when the rule caveat emptor drew a distinct line between a business and a profession, but it still remains true that a business transaction may involve nothing more than a strictly contractual relation, whereas a professional transaction, though it also be contractual, includes always a relation of trust and confidence. A lawyer who does not feel and respond to this fiduciary obligation may do a considerable business, but he is not practicing his profession. Strict performance of this fiduciary duty is more important in the law than in any other profession; not merely to protect the interests of the client, but because any public distrust of the legal profession creates a corresponding distrust and impairment of the administration of civil justice.
* * * * *
You might suppose there was no necessary connection between wholesale ambulance chasing and the loss of public confidence in the administration of justice. But the fact as indicated by the evidence is that the practice of ambulance chasing on a large scale is a highly specialized business and a highly competitive one. In the first place, the prospective clients are almost necessarily poor or ignorant, for it would be dangerous to employ on any large-scale persons who are in a position to make trouble. The next step is to make the employment attractive by offering to pay all medical and legal expenses, so that win or lose it will not cost the client a cent and the lawyer will rely on a percentage of the recovery for his compensation. Then to prevent the case from being captured by a competitor the client is required to sign a power of attorney giving absolute control of expenses, settlement or trial or abandonment of the case to the attorney. The lawyer being thus safely in full control of the joint enterprise is inclined to be autocratic in handling his client, and the net result appears to be that the average client is never sure that he has been fairly treated. and this not only for the reason stated but because the amount of the recovery, if any, is apt to be far below the rosy estimates held out by the attorney or his runner as an inducement to his employment
* * * * *
In concluding this topic it might fairly be said that no single condition affecting the administration of civil justice confronts the profession and the courts, not only here but elsewhere, which is of greater importance than the problem of adequately dealing with the increasing accumulation of claims for damages for personal and property injuries, especially when that problem is aggravated by ambulance chasing and by the poverty of an overcrowded bar.
Judge Beach is the last man who has been a member of the Supreme Court of Errors without having passed through apprenticeship of work as a nisi prius Judge. Appointed in 1913 by Governor Baldwin after twenty-five years or more of active practice involving important responsibilities, he became immediately a useful member of the court. Beginning in Volume 86 of the Connecticut Reports and continuing until Volume 103, when he retired for age in 1925, he regularly wrote an average of eighteen published opinions a year upon a great diversity of subjects. There are nearly three hundred of his opinions in sixteen volumes of the Reports. His brevity is truly remarkable. His forty opinions in Volumes 91 and 92 average less than four pages in length; and this includes two rather long opinions in appeals from conviction for murder.
Notable brevity and clarity are virtues attained by few of our profession, but Judge Beach had the capacity to compress into a short paragraph of two or three sentences the essential facts and the fundamental law of a case. Examples of this may be found by taking his opinions at random. Good judges are always looking for the "nub" of the case. Judge Beach always found it, and generally stated it.
Space does not suffice to refer to many of his opinions. Mention is made of Napier v. Peoples Stores Co., 98 Conn. 414, overruling Wells v. Hartford Manilla Co.; Hartford-Conn. Trust Co. v. Devine, 97 Conn. 193, in which the court freed our law from the supposed sanctity of a seal; Blodgett v. Union & New Haven Trust Co., 97 Conn. 405, a leading case in succession tax law; and New Haven Sand Blast Co. v. Dreisbach, 102 Conn. 169. In the last in a field of law where he was thoroughly at home Judge Beach wrote an opinion longer than customary. For moderation, clarity, orderly progression from point to point, and thence to an irresistible conclusion, this opinion can perhaps not be surpassed in the Connecticut Reports.
It is difficult to reproduce the appearance or personality of Judge Beach. Professor Frederic C. Hicks has attempted it:
"Slight of build, without an ounce of superfluous flesh, moving about with quick bird-like motion, alert, friendly, animated, always aware of his surroundings, he had an engaging personality. Although he had strong convictions he was greatly respected for his fairness in practice and on the bench."
From the point of view of his juniors in the profession, he was a wise and kind preceptor, a tolerant and generous master. He knew how to delegate responsibility, and by reposing confidence inspired the strongest loyalty and affection. He well fulfilled Rufus Choate's requirements for the ideal judge, who must be a man "not merely upright and merely honest, and well intentioned, but a man who would not respect persons in his judgments," and in this he must possess the "perfect confidence of the community."
*Prepared by Frederick H. Wiggin, of the New Haven bar.
As Printed in the Connecticut Reports, volume 86, page iii
Appointed February 20th, 1913.
As Printed in the Connecticut Reports, volume 103, page iv
Retired October 18th, 1925, under constitutional limitation as to age.
As Printed in the Connecticut Reports, volume 55, pages 603 - 607
JOHN SHELDON BEACH was one of the ablest lawyers who ever practiced at the bar of Connecticut.
Differing in noticeable particulars from each one of his professional brethren, he was, in the total force of his peculiar powers, at least the equal of the strongest of them and easily the superior of all the rest.
He was born in New Haven on the 23d day of July, 1819, and died there on the 12th day of September, 1887, profoundly respected by all who had ever known him and greatly lamented by all who had known him intimately.
He was the eldest son of John Beach, formerly clerk of the Superior Court and for some time judge of the City Court of New Haven. And he was a lineal descendant of the Rev. John Beach, who from 1732 until 1782 was conspicuous in Connecticut as a devoted and efficient missionary of the Church of England in the service of the "Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts."
Graduating at Yale College in 1839, Mr. Beach immediately entered Yale Law School, where he graduated in 1842. Being admitted to the bar in 1843, he began the practice of law at New Haven, where for nearly forty-five years, and almost down to the day of his death, he continued in the zealous and highly successful exercise of his profession.
On the 15th day of September, 1847, he married Rebecca Gibbons, of Wilmington, Delaware, who, with three sons and one daughter, survives him.
For twenty-two years he was a most useful member of the Vestry of Trinity Church, and he lived and died in that Christian faith wherein he had been born and nurtured.
A meeting of the Bar of New Haven County, held on the 14th of September, Hon. Tilton E. Doolittle presiding, adopted the following preamble and resolutions :--
"JOHN SHELDON BEACH, the honored leader of the New Haven County Bar and for many years an eminent practitioner in all the courts of this state, having departed this life at his residence in the city of New Haven on the 12th instant, his brethren of the Bar with which his professional life has been most closely associated desire, in their sorrow, to place upon the records of the court so long adorned by his service, their sense of the bereavement sustained by them and by the community in which the labor of his life has been accomplished.
"Wherefore, it is by the members of the Bar of New Haven County, now assembled for the purpose,
"Resolved, that deeply impressed by the great and good qualities and the useful and honorable life of our deceased brother, we render this tribute of our admiration and respect to the high intellectual ability, the professional learning, the wise judgment and rare powers of argument, and the scrupulous integrity and fidelity which, through the forty-four years of his career at the bar, have distinguished his professional character, and which, combined with his signal private virtues, have brought to his life the respect and esteem of all who knew him and made of his death a public loss.
"Resolved, that the president of the Bar be desired to present these proceedings to the Superior Court at its next session in this county, with the request that they be entered on its minutes.
"Resolved, that this Bar will, as a body, attend the funeral services, of our deceased associate.
"Resolved, that a copy of these proceedings be transmitted by the clerk to the family of the deceased, with the respectful assurance of our sympathy in their bereavement."
Those who knew him best will most fully recognize the truthfulness of the portraiture of this accomplished lawyer and gentleman as delineated by Ex-Governor Ingersoll in the address made by him upon the presentation of the resolutions--which address was, substantially, as follows:
MR. INGERSOLL'S ADDRESS.
It is not easy, Mr. President, it is indeed impossible, to express adequately by formal resolution or, I may say, by any words of man, the sentiments by which you and I are moved upon this occasion. For we are here, in this large assemblage of our profession, alone almost, as the representatives of this Bar as it was in the decade which brought our dead brother into its ranks. For more than forty years, in summer and in winter, we have been by his side in almost constant practice of our profession, and during that long period in the friendly companionship involved in such relations. It is very hard to rupture such a tie. But my personal association with him goes back to an earlier date. Born in the same neighborhood in this town, we were companions in childhood, in school life, in college life, and following him to this Bar after an interval of two years we have ever since been closely associated in many ways not professional. I look back on this long life with which mine has been so connected and it is luminous with qualities that sanctify friendship and go into the making of good men and honored citizens. Mr. President, I cannot venture to dwell at this time upon those personal relations. A single allusion in this connection I will make, for the incident has given me too much satisfaction to be ignored. But a few weeks ago, at a social gathering, the last that he attended, I heard him, in conversation with a brother lawyer upon some of the agreeable characteristics of our profession, say that he had been in practice with me for over forty years, and that this had brought us together in the trial of a great many cases and not often upon the same side, but that during this long experience with its varied occasions for antagonism of opinion, no instance of serious misunderstanding had ever, under any circumstances, arisen between us. And that, Mr. President, was the literal truth.
As to his relations to this Bar and our profession, I will add a word or two. John S. Beach was notably a lawyer; and he was thoroughly a lawyer. His element was the atmosphere of courts. His ambition and his delight was to be active where justice is sought. And, outside of his home with its associations most cherished by him, his life duty was centered here, among judges and lawyers. And, Mr. President, the jealous mistress of the law never found occasion to reproach him for any neglect of her service. No public honor ever allured him from her side. No phantom of popular fame ever led him away in its pursuit. No temptation of quick gains in other paths ever ensnared him. But quietly, unostentatiously, industriously and conscientiously, he has for forty-four years, steadily followed the common routine of the practicing Connecticut lawyer. Followed it, however, as we all know, not as a plodder through a daily task--not in servile toil to heap up riches for he could not tell whom to gather. Far from that. He had a broad nature and his way of life was a generous one. There was noticeably in him, a freedom from anything cramped or cynical in his dealings, with men or his judgment of their conduct or motives. But he devoted himself to this career because he loved it. He was a man of purposes and very firm in them- "justum et tenacem" and I have no doubt that long ago he determined upon this plan of life because of the conviction of his judgment that in no other worldly vocation could his intellectual and moral nature procure higher and fuller satisfaction than in the faithful practice of our profession. Only recently he said that he believed he took as much pleasure in the trial of a case then as he ever did. But his delight was particularly in the presentation of his cases to a court in argument. I do not recall any criminal case in which he was ever actively engaged; and he always avoided if he could the trial of any issue by a jury. But in the open fair field of legal controversy, where principles could be expounded and applied, and in the region of pure fact, as the mechanics of a patent suit, he was always ready and very fond of the discussions involved. His style of presenting a case reminded one of that quaint characterization of an old English judge, "there was no rubbish in his mind." Simple, clear, without rhetorical or any other display, and apparently to an onlooker without special effort, his prepared arguments were nevertheless the result of painstaking care. Their aim was to capture the reason of the trier, and the joints of premise and conclusion were always artistically fitted, and the whole structure polished by a pure and lucid diction, so that the argument not only commanded the attention but required the vigilance of him who had to hear another side.
And this devotion to his profession received the reward that was merited and, doubtless, coveted. I do not think any lawyer of this Bar ever had a stronger clientage. There were few of the representative men of this community during the last thirty years who were not, at some time, familiar with his office. And most of our monied institutions and leading commercial establishments have, in one way or another, availed themselves of his counsel. What secured this confidence? Not alone, Mr. President, the intellectual skill and professional experience I have pointed out. But underlying it all was the primitive bed-rock of private virtue and moral strength, without which it is the glory of our profession that, in the long run of forty years, the cunning of the brain and all the acquired accomplishments of the lawyer avail but little.
Mr. President, I have been led into saying more than I intended. The earth has not yet closed upon the form that seems to have been but yesterday in this room, and it is the hour of lamentation rather than the hour of eulogy. But very soon nothing will be left here save the memory of him. Mr. President, let this Bar cherish that among its jewels. If our generation of its members has any legacy to leave to that generation fast pressing upon us, I know no richer one than the example of John S. Beach.
*Prepared at the request of the Reporter, by Ex-Governor Henry B. Harrison, of the New Haven Bar.
As Printed in the Connecticut Reports, volume 99, pages 736 - 738
MORRIS BEACH BEARDSLEY was born in Trumbull, Conn., August 13th, 1849. He was the son of Samuel Gregory Beardsley and Mary (Beach) Beardsley. His preliminary education was acquired at the Stratford Academy and his academic education at Yale University where he took his degree in 1870. After attending the Columbia Law School for one year and spending the following year in study in the office of William K. Seeley, one of the leaders of the Fairfield County Bar, he was admitted to the practice of law June 14th, 1872.
It is difficult to pass on to posterity a description that will do justice to the character and attributes of Morris Beardsley. Nature was prodigal of her gifts to him. He was a strikingly handsome man of courtly bearing, distinguished manners, warm heart and sympathetic temperament. He early accepted the office of Judge of Probate for the District of Bridgeport, and held the same for nearly seventeen years.
Never was there a more ideal judge of probate. No judge ever discharged the often depressing duties of that office with more tact, sympathy and thoughtful kindness. His charity was great. It could be truthfully said of Judge Beardsley that “to relieve the wretched was his pride.” Like John Ruskin, he trusted in the nobleness of human nature and the joy of its love. He, too, endeavored to love his neighbor as himself, and to labor with the strength and opportunity that God gave him. No finer tribute can be paid to the memory of Judge Beardsley than the one expressed in the minute of the Committee on Resolutions appointed by the Fairfield County Bar, which in part follows—
“Judge Beardsley’s most conspicuous service was in the Probate Court. It was characterized by adequate capacity and constant fidelity. He was untiring in his effort to make his court a model probate court and the records of that day bear witness to the distinction with which he acquitted himself. He gave to that court every quality which that judge should have: a steady and fine character, an unblemished reputation, a commanding trust, habits of system and method, and promptness in the dispatch of public business, enthusiasm in the cause in which he had enlisted, a jealous devotion to the good name of the court, a high purpose to administer his office as a trust, a personality which inspired confidence, and a disposition and heart which gave to the heartsore and troubled not only sound direction, but unflagging sympathy. Every one came into his court respecting and trusting him and left it his life-long friend. His impartiality knew neither person, circumstance, creed nor race, and when he had served in this exacting position sixteen years and refused to longer continue in this office, the universal commendation of the people of the probate district followed him into his retirement. When he began again the practice of law, quite naturally, the greater part of his practice was in connection with estates and wills. He was connected in one capacity or another with most of the cases for the construction of wills arising in his locality during the period of his practice. He drew many wills and advised many testators, and was responsible for many of the bequests for charitable and philanthropic institutions in his locality.”
Judge Beardsley had been the city clerk of Bridgeport, and served upon its library, education and park boards, a representative in the General Assembly, and the nominee of the Democratic party for Lieutenant-Governor and Governor. He had served as President General of the National Society of the Sons of the American Revolution, and Governor of the Society of Colonial Wars in the State of Connecticut. He had served in various capacities the charity and welfare organizations of his community; had been a director of a national bank and a trustee and president of a savings bank, and he had served as president of two important social organizations.
It would be impossible to adequately cover the many activities of Judge Beardsley in this sketch. One can only say he brought honor and distinction to all.
He was a good citizen and a good neighbor and countless deeds proved both. His personal life matched his public. He was a cultivated and a truehearted gentleman, kind in heart, gentle and sweet in disposition, generous in action, loyal and just to all, at home in every circle, never losing his natural dignity, yet meeting the contacts of the humblest in perfect equality and counting the hours of each day too few in which to minister to his stricken or sorrowing friends. He honored the law and was true to its high purposes and loyal to its ideals.
Judge Beardsley died March 2d, 1923, and his funeral was held from the South Congregational Church with which he had so long worshipped. Many were the tears shed on that occasion in that crowded edifice. The feeling of personal loss oppressed all. The wise counselor, the helpful friend, the warm hearted, loving and lovable man would walk with them no more.
*Prepared by Charles Stuart Canfield, Esq., of the Fairfield County Bar, at the request of the Reporter.
As Printed in the Connecticut Reports, volume 58, pages 604 - 606
SIDNEY BURR BEARDSLEY, ex-judge of the Supreme Court of Errors, died at Bridgeport where he had resided most of his professional life, on the 21st day of April, 1890, aged sixty seven.
Judge Beardsley was born in Monroe in this state in 1823. He was the son of Hon. Cyrus H. Beardsley, who in 1846 was speaker of the House of Representatives of the state for several years judge of the County Court of Fairfield County. He prepared for college and entered Yale College, but did not graduate, afterwards receiving an honorary degree, studied law, and was admitted to the bar of Fairfield County in 1843. He began the practice of law in Norwalk, but soon after removed to Bridgeport, where he resided until his death.
Judge Beardsley was a man of strong intellect, characterized by sound judgment and vigorous common sense, rather than brilliancy. As an advocate at the bar he never attempted to be rhetorical, nor to play upon emotions or passions of a jury, but presented his points in plain and simple language, addressed to their understandings, and with great clearness both of conception and statement. His arguments to the court were generally a thorough discussion of the legal principles involved, and were never overlaid with exhaustive legal authorities nor weakened by legal niceties. He soon acquired a prominent position in his profession, and a large and lucrative practice. He had very little personal ambition, and his best professional efforts were always called out by his interest for his clients rather than by a desire to add to his own reputation. He was entirely unassuming and wholly without pretension, and seemed indifferent to those honors that most men are so eager to obtain. He was elected to the State Senate in 1858, and was induced to run for Congress in 1869 upon the Republican ticket against William H. Barnum, afterwards United States senator; carrying his own city of Bridgeport and most of the towns of his county, but defeated upon the whole vote. There is believed are the only political offices that he ever held or aspired to.
While Judge Beardsley was very successful at the bar, his mind was pre-eminently judicial in its character. He looked the judge. Quiet, imperturbable, with a compact and sturdy frame, and a countenance that, though easily lighted up, wore in repose a look of austerity, he seemed well adapted to hold the scales of justice, and lay down, with calm and sound judgment, the law between man and man. He had in a high degree that special judicial faculty that enables a judge to see through the complications of a case into the heart of it and to strip the legal question involved of all the inessentials that so often cluster about and obscure it.
It was therefore with much satisfaction to the profession and the public that in 1874 he accepted a seat on the bench of the Superior Court from which he was elevated to the Supreme Court of Errors in March, 1887. The last position he held, faithfully and acceptably discharging its duties, until the first day of November, 1889, when a resignation sent to the governor several months before, took effect. His failing health was the cause of his resignation.
Judge Beardsley was a man of fine social qualities and was always a welcome attendant upon the festive gatherings of his professional brethren, and a welcome guest at private hospitalities, while he found much pleasure in receiving his friends at his own attractive home. In all the intercourse of life he was courteous, affable and kindly. He was true and faithful in his friendships, and the writer feels that in his death he has lost a warm personal friend.
He was married in his early manhood to Ann Eliza Daskam of Norwalk, who with a son and two married daughters, survives him.
At a meeting of the Fairfield County bar, held soon after Judge Beardlsey's death, appropriate resolutions of affection and respect were passed, upon which a number of the leading lawyers of the county spoke in eulogistic terms of his fine qualities of personal and professional character. Among those who addressed the bar on that occasion were Messrs. D. B. Lockwood, H. S. Sanford, J. B. Curtis, R. E. De Forest, L. N. Middlebrook, A. B. Woodward, G. W. Warner, S. B. Sumner, and A. B. Beers. A paper read by Judge Lockwood gives so full and interesting a sketch of the judge both in his professional life and in his personal relations, that it is given entire. It was as follows:--
"During the session of the county court at Fairfield in December 1849, I was introduced to Sidney B. Beardsley. I had been for some months reciting to the late Hon. Thomas B. Osborne, than a resident of Fairfield, and was desirous of entering a law office to pursue my studies. Upon asking Mr. Beardsley upon what terms I could study law under him, he promptly replied that if I would enter his office he would charge me nothing for tuition. In January, 1850, I entered his office as a law student, where I remained until my admission to the bar in August, 1851. During the time I was a student in his office I conceived an attachment for him which has ripened into a friendship of forty years' duration. The memories of those student days crowd in upon me like a flood upon this occasion. In those days there were a great many more trials before justices of the peace in surrounding towns than now. He always took me with him on such occasions, and my first insight into the practice of law was gained in legal contests before county justices, where Belden and Sturges and Loomis and Ferry and Treat, and others of equal ability, were his opponents.
"As a lawyer he seemed to me to comprehend a case more readily than any other lawyer I ever knew. His mind was symmetrical, well balanced and comprehensive, and he almost invariably reached the right conclusion, apparently by sort of intuition. He was a strong advocate, not indulging in flights of eloquence nor addressing the passions or emotions of a jury, but in plain concise and vigorous language he appealed to their intelligence and common sense. While at the bar he had a large clientage, and was retained in most of the important cases that were contested in our courts. In the trial of cases he took but few notes, but his retentive memory enabled him to state correctly any important item in testimony. He was a man of keen perceptions, a good judge of human nature, and could fathom the motives of men. He was a favorite with the members of the bar, and as courteous as he was congenial. He possessed a rare combination of brilliant qualities that made him the most companionable man I ever met.
"In 1874 he was appointed one of the judges of the Superior Court. Hon. Nathaniel Wheeler was that year a member of the state senate, and united with the members of the bar in pressing his name for the position of judge, for which he was eminently well-fitted. As a judge - a trier of cases - he had few equals. He was endowed by nature with a legal mind. While fully recognizing the demands of justice and law, he had at the same time a lively conscience and a tender heart. He had a keen appreciation of what constituted judicial integrity, and had the faculty of discovering what belonged to equity and good conscience. He was the "upright judge." In 1887 he was promoted to the bench of the Supreme Court of Errors, which position he held until November 1st, 1889, when failing health compelled him to relinquish its arduous duties. In this, the highest court in our state, will be found the most enduring monument of his professional learning in the opinions he has left recorded.
"As a citizen and in all the relations of private life he won the respect and esteem of all with whom he became associated. He was the idol of his family, and was tenderly and devotedly attached to his wife and children and grandchildren and the endearments of home.
"His death is a public loss; and while we are met to express our mutual sympathy and to speak our common grief, I cannot but feel a personal loss in the death of him who was my godfather in the law. And as we lay to rest to-day as the shades of evening gather, and bid him good-night, let us hope in some happier clime to bid him good-morning."
As Printed in the Connecticut Reports, volume 55, page iv
Elected at the January session of the General Assembly in 1887 to fill the vacancy caused by the resignation of Judge Granger.
As Printed in the Connecticut Reports, volume 58, page iii
Resigned November 1, 1889.
As Printed in the Connecticut Reports, volume 134, pages 706 - 707
George Emerson Beers was born in Bridgeport, Connecticut, October 7, 1865, and died in Guilford, Connecticut, December 25, 1947. He was the son of the Reverend John Samuel Beers and the grandson of David B. Beers, a member of the Fairfield County bar. He was graduated from Trinity College in 1886, where he was a member of Phi Beta Kappa and Delta Phi Societies and from which he received the degree of M. A. in 1889. He was graduated from Yale Law School, magna cum laude, in 1889, and he received the degree of M. L. in 1890 from the same institution.
Mr. Beers began the practice of law in Knoxville, Tennessee, where he was part-time associate professor of law at the University of Tennessee. H came to New Haven in 1892 and there he was engaged in the active practice of his profession for fifty-five years, during the latter part of the time in partnership with his son, William L. Beers. From 1892 to 1912 he served as part-time professor in the Yale Law School, and many who subsequently became prominent members of the bar of this state and judges of its courts were his pupils during that period. In the midst of the active practice of his profession he continued his scholastic approach to the problems of the law. He edited a revision of Baldwin's Digest of the Connecticut Reports, was a consulting editor of the "American & English Encyclopedia of Law & Practice," and was the author of the "New England Edition of Stephen's Digest of the Law of Evidence" and "Notes on the Practice Act of Connecticut," as well as of frequent contributions to legal periodicals. From 1913 to 1923 Mr. Beers was compensation commissioner and made important contributions to the development of administrative procedure under the workmen's compensation law. He was one of the Connecticut commissioners on uniform state laws until 1940, when he was succeeded by his son, William L. Beers.
Mr. Beers was a lifelong member of the Protestant Episcopal Church, served on the vestry of his church and was active for many years in the affairs of the diocese of Connecticut.
A profound student of the law, with a keen intellect, great resourcefulness and untiring industry, Mr. Beers stood unquestionably for many years among the leaders of the bar of the state, whose esteem he enjoyed to an unusual degree. With one exception every volume of the Connecticut Reports from volume 70 to volume 134 contains one or more of the 194 cases which he argued before the Supreme Court, his last appearance before the court being the mouth before he died. He was thus engaged in active practice to the very end of his days, with unimpaired vigor of mind and body which entirely belied his years.
Mr. Beers married Margaret Lowry of Kentucky on August 17, 1892. She survives, together with four children, Henry S. Beers, William L. Beers, Mrs. Harold L. Chittenden and Josephine Wakeman Beers, nine grandchildren and three great grandchildren.
*Prepared by Hon. John W. Banks, of Bridgeport.
As Printed in the Connecticut Reports, volume 13, appendix pages 23 - 24
Was a native of Woodbury, in this State. On the 13th of August, 1800, he commenced reading law with Noah B. Benedict, Esq. of that town, with whom he continued till November, 1801, when he entered the office of Ephraim Kirby, Esq. of Litchfield, then Supervisor of the internal revenues of the United States for this State, where he continued as a clerk, till the office was abolished, in February, 1803; when he resumed and continued his legal studies with Mr. Kirby, till the 20th of June, 1803; from which time he attended the lectures of Judge Reeve till the 20th of March, 1805; when he was admitted to the bar in Litchfield County, and settled in the practice of law at Litchfield. On the 18th of November 1813, he was appointed Collector of the direct taxes and internal revenues of the United States for the county of Litchfield; which office he held till it was abolished, the 2nd of April 1820. In September 1820, he was appointed State's Attorney for the county. He was a representative from the town of Litchfield, in the legislature, of 1820, 1821, 1822 and 1823. At the session of 1821, he was chosen clerk of the House; and in May 1822 and 1823, was chosen Speaker. In 1824, he was elected a State Senator, and while a member of that body, was appointed Assistant Commissioner of the School Fund; and, on the resignation of the Hon. James Hillhouse, was appointed sole Commissioner, on the 1st of June, 1825, which office he still holds. On being appointed Commissioner, he relinquished the practice of law, and resigned the office of State's Attorney.
As Printed in the Connecticut Reports, volume 15, appendix page 33
Was born in 1771; graduated at Yale-College, in 1788; and admitted to the bar in 1792. He was appointed judge of probate in 1805, and resigned in 1816, on being elected an Assistant, or member of the Council, which office he sustained two years. He was a member of the House of Representatives, in October, 1796, May, 1798, October, 1800, October, 1804, October, 1807, October, 1808, May, 1809, October, 1809, May, 1810, May, 1811, May, 1827; and was Clerk of the House, in 1809, and May 1810. He died July 2d, 1831.
As Printed in the Connecticut Reports, volume 129, pages 712 - 715
William Lyon Bennett, born May 19, 1848, in New Haven, died at the advanced age of ninety-four on June 2, 1942, in New Haven. He was the son of Thomas Bennett and Mary Ann (Hull) Bennett of New Haven. His father attended the Yale School of Law from 1835 to 1837, practiced in New Haven and was for a time a judge of the Municipal Court. Brothers of William were Thomas G. Bennett, Yale `70S, who was head of the Winchester Arms Company for a long time and a trustee of the, Sheffield Scientific School; Joseph H. Bennett, Yale `73, and George H. Bennett, ex-'74. William attended General Russell's Collegiate and Commercial Institute in New Haven and took the degree of B.A. at Yale in. 1869 and the LL.B. Degree at the Yale School of Law in 1871. In his student days, he was active in many ways, being a member of his school baseball team and in college a member of Beethoven Society, Delta Kappa, Linonia and Phi Theta Psi fraternities. He was admitted to the bar in 1871. Quite early in his practice he became a partner with Tilton E. Doolittle and Henry Stoddard in the firm of Doolittle, Stoddard & Bennett, and after Henry Stoddard's retirement from the firm continued in partnership with Mr. Doolittle and later with George A. Fay. From 1895 to 1898 he taught insurance, and later contracts, in the Yale Law School.
Judge Bennett was appointed judge of the Court of Common Pleas for New Haven County in 1905 and to the Superior Court Bench in 1908. On his retirement from the Superior Court upon reaching the age of seventy he was appointed corporation counsel of the city of New Haven by Mayor David E. FitzGerald and served in that capacity during Mayor FitzGerald's two terms of office, until 1923.
Judge Bennett was married on June 5, 1878, in Brooklyn, New York, to Frances Theodosia, daughter of George Woolsey and Mary Ann Bardin (Richardson) Welles, who died October 25, 1888. They had three children: Ethel Welles, well known as an artist the wife of Walter Boudewyn Schiffer; Mary Elizabeth Sanderson, who for a time studied at the Yale School of Music and died August 9, 1920; and Francis Theodore, who died December 16, 1918, a few years after graduating college.
For a time after his retirement from the Superior Court bench Judge Bennett continued actively at work as state referee and, as has already been noted, as corporation counsel of New Haven. He gradually relinquished his professional activities and enjoyed well-merited quiet, the satisfaction of life with his daughter and her family and the indulgence of reading and of words, spending a large part of his time in his summer home in the retirement of the hills of the southern Berkshires. Until the last he retained his facilities, his interest in affairs and his enjoyment of humor, and within but two hours of his sudden death he was dressing to join his family circle. He had given away his professional library and destroyed his papers. His death was due to acute heart failure. He was buried in Evergreen Cemetery in New Haven.
There are now almost none who can remember Judge Bennett in his active professional career. The writer of this memorial recalls him on the Superior Court bench as a quiet, courteous, attentive trier, of sound and deliberate judgment, applying his knowledge and long experience readily but never hastily, and off the bench giving to the problems presented to him the careful consideration of a scholar.
In his earlier practice he may have been more aggressive than he appeared to be as a judge upon the bench, but that is doubtful. His two partners, Tilton E. Doolittle and Henry Stoddard, were both of the aggressive type. In 1896 ex-Governor Charles R. Ingersoll, in presenting resolutions in the Superior Court upon the death of Mr. Doolittle, said this of Judge Bennett's partner: "He never posed for what he was not. He never posed, indeed, for anything that he was. In all his ways, in all his moods, under all circumstances, he was simply himself, -- he was Doolittle." While according to the writer's recollection William Bennett and Tilton E. Doolittle were strikingly opposite to one another in manner, yet of Judge Bennett, with his quiet but unassuming assurance based on unwavering principle and sound conviction, those same words of Governor Ingersoll might well be spoken.
It is interesting to go back and look at one of the earliest cases in which our friend appeared, City of New Haven v. New York and N. H. R.R. Co., 39 Conn. 128, argued at the February Term of the Supreme Court in 1872, Doolittle and Bennett for the plaintiff. The question was whether it was the duty of the defendant to keep in repair a certain portion of a highway leading to a railroad bridge. The defendant had been notified to repair and upon its neglect to do so the city made the needed repairs and sought to recover the expense in an action of assumpsit on the common counts, which was first tried before a justice of the peace, then in the Court of Common Please and reserved for advice in the high court. George H. Watrous, afterwards president of the railroad, appeared for the defendant. The Supreme Court at that time consisted of Butler, C. J., Park, Carpenter, Foster and Seymour, Js. We here see the beginning of a notable career dating far back of the memory of anyone now at the bar-a battle between the stalwarts Doolittle and Watrous with the probability, on the side, that Bennett, the younger participant, had prepared studiously a case involving the respective legal obligations of the two great corporations brought upon a small bill within the jurisdiction of a justice of the peace and yet fought out to the limit to establish a principle. In little more than a year after that case, Doolittle and Bennett for the plaintiff city were again before the Supreme Court against the railroad company in two cases in an effort to collect taxes alleged to be due to the town and city of New Haven, with Watrous again for the defendants. Judgment in both was for the defendant but in one case the force of Mr. Doolittle and the industry of our friend Bennett won the approval of two of the five judges.
While on the Superior bench, Judge Bennett was called to sit as a member of the Supreme Court at two or more full terms of court to fill a vacancy caused by the death of absence of one of the justices.
He lived and served his clients and his fellow citizens through a period which marks a notable development of the law and its practice - a change too, to be regretted, in the free intimacy of daily life of the lawyers. Mr. Doolittle, Judge Stoddard and our friend, when they were associated, occupied offices in what was afterwards known as the Law Chambers, next to what was then the county court house. In the same building were the offices of Charles R. Ingersoll, John S. Beach, his son John K. Beach and others. Those men in those days knew and visited one another and suspicion might be warranted that occasionally they indulged with one another in lighter pastime than argument of legal questions. They fought with one another nobly in the courts-in their offices fraternized as sympathetic, even jovial neighbors. From the start in that company William L. Bennett lived the life and did the work of an active professional and judicial career and when his work was done retired with the respect and affection of all his associates to enjoy the quiet of a peaceful old age.
*Prepared by Leonard M. Daggett, of the New Haven bar.
As Printed in the Connecticut Reports, volume 225, pages 929 - 930
REMARKS BY CHIEF JUSTICE ELLEN A. PETERS ON THE OCCASION OF JUSTICE ROBERT I. BERDON'S TWENTIETH ANNIVERSARY ON THE CONNECTICUT BENCH
June 10, 1993
Before we begin to hear the final cases scheduled for the current court year, I would like to take the opportunity to honor a very special event in the history of this court. On the first of July, a distinguished member of the Supreme Court will mark an anniversary of unusual significance: twenty years of service as a member of the judiciary of this state. Justice Robert I. Berdon: we salute your extraordinary record of exemplary achievement!
Justice Berdon came to the Superior Court bench after sixteen years as a private practitioner and a successful political career as state treasurer. During his time on the Superior Court he made a name for himself, nationally as well as locally, as a scholar, an educator and a prolific writer. In 1982, he was named Outstanding Jurist by the Association of Trial Lawyers of America and in May, 1991, he received the prestigious Judiciary Award of the Connecticut Bar Association. Almost two years ago we welcomed him as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court.
As an energetic and diligent member of this court, Justice Berdon has written thirty-one majority opinions to date...thirty-one and counting! As is true of all of us, the subject matter of his opinions has ranged broadly over the legal landscape. He has helped to define the appropriate methodology for difficult new issues under the state constitution in a case holding that suppression is the proper remedy for incriminatory statements elicited by the police after an illegal entry into a private home.1 In other important cases, he has explained: why a witness should not be required to invoke his fifth amendment privilege in front of a jury2; when a court may order the exclusion of expert witness testimony as a sanction for nondisclosure of certain evidence3; and the circumstances under which an insurance carrier providing underinsured motorist coverage may not limit its liability by taking credit for payments made to others.4
It is, however, not only as an author of majority opinions that Justice Berdon has made his mark. Fiercely independent, passionately committed to the view that our courts have a wide ranging responsibility to protect the rights of defendants, especially criminal defendants, Justice Berdon has written an extraordinary number of vigorous dissents and concurrences, sixty-three by the most recent official count. These opinions stand as a testament to his intellectual and social conscience and reflect his belief, so well expressed at his swearing in, that "the poor must have adequate legal representation to assure reasonable access to the judicial branch of government in order to protect and preserve their rights...."
Justice Berdon, on behalf of your colleagues on this court and throughout the Judicial Branch, I congratulate you on your many achievements. We applaud your many years of devoted service in the interests of justice for the people of the state of Connecticut. Best of all, we recognize that you will continue to make an important contribution as a member of this court for many years to come!
1 State v. Geisler, 222 Conn. 672, 610 A.2d 1225 (1992).
2 State v. Dennison, 220 Conn. 652, 600 A.2d 1343 (1991).
3 State v. Genotti, 220 Conn. 796, 601 A.2d 1013 (1992).
4 Buell v. American Universal Ins., Co., 224 Conn. 766, 621 A.2d 262 (1993); Stephan v. Pennsylvania General Ins. Co., 224 Conn. 758, 621 A.2d 258 (1993)
As Printed in the Connecticut Reports, volume 220, page iii
Appointed to the Supreme Court September 4, 1991, to take effect September 4, 1991.
As Printed in the Connecticut Reports, volume 251, page iii (also printed in volume 252, page iii)
Retired December 24, 1999, under constitutional limitation as to age.
As Printed in the Connecticut Reports, volume 197, page iii
Appointed to the Appellate Court September 24, 1985, to take effect September 24, 1985.
As Printed in the Connecticut Reports, volume 209, page iii
Retired [from the Appellate Court] November 12, 1988, under constitutional limitation as to age.
As Printed in the Connecticut Reports, volume 132, pages 703 - 704
Albert Carroll Bill was born in Hartford, September 29, 1863, and died at his, home in Wethersfield on. December 14, 1944. While he was very young his parents removed to Enfield, Connecticut, where his father conducted an extensive farm for many years. It was the desire of his parents that he should devote himself to farming, but at the age of seventeen he determined that he should enter the legal profession and therefore charted his course accordingly.
He received his education at the schools in Enfield and also the Hartford Public High School. His attendance at the latter institution made necessary a daily trip by train between Enfield and Hartford and the completion of his chores on the farm before leaving home and after his return.
On January 3, 1883, he commenced the study of law in the office of the Honorable Charles H, Briscoe, the first judge of the Court of Common Pleas for Hartford County. At this time the Superior Court held its sessions in the old state house on Main Street. After an oral examination before a committee composed of Messrs. Robert Wells, Charles E. Gross, Edward S. White and Samuel O. Prentice, he was admitted to the bar on May 21, 1885.
After his admission to the bar he was associated with the firm of Briscoe and Andrews. In 1893 he formed a partnership with the late Joseph P. Tuttle which continued until Mr. Tuttle became a judge of the Superior Court in 1913. Judge Bill later formed a partnership with his son Albert S. Bill and engaged actively in the practice of the law until a very short time before his death.
In 1887, he was appointed clerk of the Probate Court for the district of Hartford. Subsequently, he was appointed clerk, associate judge and finally judge of the Police Court for the city of Hartford. He served in the last capacity for a period of eight years.
From 1890 to 1892, he served as councilman from the old fourth ward in Hartford. In 1903, he was appointed to the board of police commissioners for a term of three years, and was elected president of that board in 1906. He served in the Connecticut National Guard for many years, and as quartermaster of the Old First Regiment on the staff of Colonel Edward Shulse with rank of captain. He was a member of the Governor's Foot Guard for eleven years. At the outbreak of World War I he was appointed chairman of the draft and exemption board of the third district of Hartford with jurisdiction of some 15,000 registrants and held this office until the end of the war. He devoted many months of work, day and night, to this important task. In 1918, he was appointed a commissioner on the water board and served during the construction of the compensating reservoir at New Hartford.
On October 24, 1889, he married Bessie M. Collins of Hartford, who survived him. They had four children, Charles C. Bill, Gladys Bill Horton, Albert S. Bill, and Julie Bill Sunderland.
Judge Bill was truly a member of the old school of Connecticut lawyers. His pleadings were drafted after a thorough study of the law and with meticulous care. His cases were carefully and fully prepared before trial. In the courtroom he was an antagonist entitled to the deepest respect by opposing counsel. He always enjoyed the respect of the bench. Whether engaged in trial work or office practice he was worthy advocate of his clients' causes and served their interests with unwavering fidelity. In a very full and busy professional career he gave liberally of his talents to public service.
To those of us who were favored in knowing him well, there came a deep appreciation of a very rare companionship. He was devoted to his friends and basked in their companionship. To the very end he maintained active, intimate associations with a very wide circle of friends. His fine old home on the bank of the Connecticut River in Wethersfield was a frequent meeting place for his friends and invitations to dinner when shad from the river and asparagus and strawberries from his carefully tended garden could grace his table. He was gifted with qualities that drew people to him. In his broad circle he left a vacant chair that time has not filled.
*Prepared by Alex W. Creedon, of the Hartford bar.
As Printed in the Connecticut Reports, volume 115, pages 737 - 738
Benezet Hough Bill was born February 26th, 1829, in New Milford, Susquehanna County, Pennsylvania, and died at Rockville, Connecticut, August 21st, 1904
When six years of age his parents moved to Vernon and later to Lebanon, Connecticut. Benezet attended the Lebanon Academy, the public schools in Worcester, Massachusetts, and the Suffield Literary Institute of Connecticut. Subsequently he attended the Academy at Wilbraham, Massachusetts. While still a young man he taught School at Lebanon, Connecticut; at Sandwich, Massachusetts, and at the Academy in Vernon. In 1851 he entered the law office of his brother-in-law, Hon. Dwight Loomis of Rockville, who became later an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of Connecticut, and was graduated from the Yale Law School in the class of 1854 with a degree of B. L.
For three years beginning in 1855 Mr. Bill was associated with his preceptor Judge Loomis in the practice of the law at Rockville. Possessing fine natural talent and superior qualifications adapted to the successful practice of his profession, he established a remunerative business, and a most excellent reputation as a citizen.
In 1869 he was appointed State's Attorney for Tolland County and held that office for twenty-four years. Later he was appointed judge of Rockville City Court, resigning in 1899 owing to the age limitation. For a period of years he was Corporation Counsel of the city of Rockville and president of the Rockville Savings Bank, one of the old and prosperous institutions of the County. Although not a member of the Church, he was connected with Union Congregational Ecclesiastical Society of Rockville.
On November 2nd, 1859, Mr. Bill was married to Miss Kate Griggs, the daughter of the late Rev. Leverett Griggs, D.D., and of Katherine (Stearns) Griggs of Bristol, Connecticut, who died on April 13th, 1887. He had two children, Leila Loomis and Kate Elizabeth Bill. On July 10th, 1890, Mr. Bill was married to Mrs. Lucinda R. Hall of Waterbury, Connecticut , who now survives him. He is also survived by one daughter, Kate Elizabeth, the wife of Dr. Thomas F. Rockwell of Rockville, Connecticut.
The Bill family is one of the oldest in England, being directly traceable in a single county, that of Shropshire, for a period of about five hundred years.
The first of the family who came to America was John Bill, from whom the subject of this sketch is a descendant in the eighth generation.
*Prepared by Charles Phelps, of the Tolland County Bar, at the request of the Reporter.
Through an oversight, Mr. Bill's obituary did not appear in the Connecticut Reports at the time of his death.
As Printed in the Connecticut Reports, volume 258, page iii
Appointed to the Appellate Court November 20, 2001, to take effect December 13, 2001.
As Printed in the Connecticut Reports, volume 7, page iii
Appointed [Judge of the Supreme Court of Errors] May 1829.
As Printed in the Connecticut Reports, volume 47, pages 604 - 606
ALFRED BLACKMAN, for many years a leading member of the New Haven bar, died at that city the 28th of April, 1880, in his seventy third year. He was born in Newtown, in this state, on the 28th of December, 1807, and there spent his boyhood. He was graduated at Yale College in the class of 1828, and after completing his law studies settled in Humphreyville, (now Seymour,) where he practiced his profession until 1842, when removed to Waterbury, and a year later to New Haven, where he spent the rest of his life.
In the year 1842 he was elected to the State Senate from the fifth senatorial district, and in 1855 represented the town of New Haven in the lower house of the General Assembly; and while residing in New Haven he held successively the offices of Judge of Probate, Judge of the County Court, Mayor of the city, and clerk of the United States District Court, holding the last office from 1853 to 1868.
In the year 1871, owing to the infirmities induced by repeated attacks of rheumatic gout, he established his office at his residence, retiring from public practice, but continuing his advice and counsel to some of his old clients. His health gradually failed from the inroads of the disease, which had become chronic, and during the last thee or four months of his life he was confined to his house, retaining however vivacity and cheerfulness that had characterized him through life, and a lively interest in all that was going on in the outside world.
At a bar meeting held upon the occasion of his death, and which was presided over by Charles Ives, one of the older members of the New Haven bar, who has himself since passed away, the following felicitous sketch of his character was given by ex-Governor Charles R. Ingersoll, in seconding some appropriate resolutions that were offered.
ADDRESS OF MR. INGERSOLL.
Mr. Chairman: There are a few of us here-and when I look around upon the many who are here the reflection that here are so few becomes a very sober one-to whom the event that brings the bar together at this time haws come with a peculiar impressiveness. It breaks about the last link that has connected us with the old bar of New Haven County. That bar, I mean, into which you, Mr. Chairman, and I entered more than a generation of men ago, but of whose contests we were for a while at least, the spectators rather than the sharers. In the lists of those days there was no more active champion than he whose death we are now here to deplore. Thirty years ago, in all courts and in all that our courts had to do, Alfred Blackman was a conspicuous man. And conspicuous, I beg to be understood, Mr. Chairman, because he deserved to be so. For no one of this bar whom I can recall had less desire than he for the distinction which comes from mere display. Nay, nothing would so quickly loosen those finely feathered arrows of his irony which upon just occasion he could so happily use, as the shams and vanities of human life - and nowhere was he so impatient of their exhibition as in the circle of our profession. But he was, at that time, in full tide of professional success-in the prime of life-a busy general practitioner-with a reputation already made as a trusted and faithful lawyer-and that it was certainly his ambition to be. And faithful, Mr. Chairman, let me add, in that high sense which implies something more than mere fidelity to the clients whom one serves. For he had an ardent temperament and it carried him into his cases with his whole strength and an unstinted zeal, but it did not betray him into a forgetfulness of that respect which belongs to the good opinion of our fellow-men or of those grave responsibilities which are suggested by the attorney's oath. And for this vocation he was, I think, admirably equipped. His intellectual qualities were indicated by this robust frame, lighted up as it was by a bright and cheerful countenance. They were sound and vigorous throughout, cultivated by much reading and reflection, but rich in "saving common sense" and with faculties that had been quickened and sharpened and made ready for the varied demands of general practice by a genial association with his fellow-men, and a keen observation of human nature in its manifold phases. In this latter respect he was remarkable. He had rare sagacity. His perception of human motives-his penetration into the hidden springs of human conduct-seemed to me instinctive, and he had that power we call magnetic of putting himself in accord with the varying moods of those he sought to convince. His presentation of cases was, therefore, always forcible, but in those cases where the tribunal was a jury drawn from the body of New Haven County, among whom the earlier portions of his professional life had been passed, I have heard appeals from him which were as effective as any I ever heard at this bar. In this he was greatly aided by a characteristic aptness of language. How he delighted in those simple and sturdy phrases which he would call his "old Saxon," and which went so straight to the understanding and the sympathies of his hearers! He had, indeed, a natural fondness for the study of the English tongue, and frequently I have found him in his office enjoying the "good reading" which he used to say he never failed to find in his Worcester's Dictionary, of which the best edition he could command was always upon his office table. And to this taste was doubtless due that excellent diction he possessed, and which was manifested in every thing coming from his pen.
It is not easy for me, Mr. Chairman to discriminate between the professional and the merely personal character of Judge Blackman. He had such a strong individuality that to those who knew him well he was the same man, whether within or without his office. But he had a large acquaintance and many associations in this community that were not professional. I need not speak of the respect which his sterling qualities commended as a citizen, and which led him, without his seeking, into many positions of public trust. No one was better known upon our streets, and his affable presence, companionable ways and shrewd and lively conversation, brought him from all pursuits warm personal friends. It was my good fortune to be among them. He came to New Haven about the time I came to the bar, and we happened to become office neighbors, and so we continued to be so long as he continued in practice. The association soon brought us into relations of friendship. I forbear to speak of its enjoyments here. But it has led me to see much of him since his infirm health compelled him, some years ago, to lay aside his armor and retire to the quiet of his home and library. The shades of life's evening have been slowly, but very surely, closing about him for much of this time, and he has suffered much, occasionally very much. But it has brought no gloom to his clear conscious and cheerful spirit. And the same bright disposition, kind heart and buoyant temper that distinguished him in the heat of life's battle, has, in mercy, attended him as he has "gathered the drapery of his couch about him."
As Printed in the Connecticut Reports, volume 84, pages 723 - 724
JAMES KINGSLEY BLAKE was born in New Haven on September 17th, 1870, and lived there continuously until his death on August 28th, 1911. He was of New England ancestry and his family have long been active and prominent in the life of the community. His father, Henry T. Blake, is a member of the Bar of long and honorable standing, who since his retirement from practice has devoted himself actively to unselfish public service. His maternal grandfather, James L. Kingsley, was a distinguished Latin scholar and was for many years Professor of Hebrew, Greek and Latin in Yale College.
He prepared for Yale in the New Haven High School, and graduated from the Academic Department in 1891 and from the Law School in 1893. He maintained a high stand in scholarship and was prominent in the social life of the departments in which he studied.
Upon his admission to the Bar in 1893, he entered the law office. of Clark & Swan, and shortly became a member of the firm. He later held the positions of assistant clerk and clerk of the Court of Probate. Shortly after his retirement from the latter clerkship he was appointed assistant corporation counsel of the City of New Haven, and held this position for about two years. In 1904 he was appointed by the Judges of the Superior Court a member of the State Bar Examining Committee, and served as secretary of the committee for the period of five years. In 1908 he entered into partnership with Henry C. White and Leonard A. Daggett, under the firm name of White, Daggett & Blake, and continued in active practice as a member of this firm until his death.
He was a man of broad general interests and entered largely into the active social and religious life of the community. In a characteristically quiet, and modest way he performed all of the duties of good citizenship which he was called upon to perform, and was always ready to sacrifice personal interests and comfort to any undertaking or cause which contributed to the welfare and happiness of others.
His nature was such as to inspire a kindly feeling among those who knew him only slightly. To such he was always courteous in manner and considerate and thoughtful in speech and action. He saw and appreciated the best side of any character. Better acquaintance more particularly disclosed his broad general education and culture, sound knowledge, and characteristically quaint wit and humor. He never failed to see and grasp the humorous elements of a situation, his wit was spontaneous and original, and he had the gift of apt expression. This unusual combination of qualities was shown in frequent writings in prose and verse, sometimes illustrated by clever and original sketches, and many of rare literary quality. He naturally formed close friendships with people of culture and serious interests, and in the social life of which he was a part his congenial and stimulating presence was always felt.
In his professional life the maintenance of the highest ethical standard was simply a natural and matter-of-course proceeding. While his disposition and tastes led him to prefer office practice, he frequently appeared in court, and such appearances were marked by able presentation and a thorough mastery of the questions of law and fact involved. He was especially familiar with probate law and practice. The dominating motive of his work was useful service well performed, and he was incapable of subordinating this motive to any real or fancied immediate personal advantage. His ability, industry and high personal character brought him a substantial and growing practice. He thus realized the less immediate but more enduring advantage of an ultimate success which was fully recognized in the community in which he lived, and which carried with it the highest degree of respect and good will.
*Prepared by Harry G. Day, Esq., of the New Haven County Bar, at the request of the Reporter.
As Printed in the Connecticut Reports, volume 13, appendix pages 10-11
DAVID S. BOARDMAN, native of the town of New-Milford, was graduated at Yale-College, in 1793; pursued his legal studies under Judge Reeve, until March 1795, when he was admitted to the Bar of Litchfield county; and having settled in his profession in his native town, pursued the practice of law there, until May, 1831; when he gave up the practice, on being appointed Chief Judge of the County Court. This office he held for five years.
On the death of Mr. Everitt, in 1805, he was appointed Judge of Probate for the district of New-Milford, to which office he was re-appointed for sixteen years in succession. He was elected eight times a member of the General Assembly, viz. in October, 1812, May, 1813, Oct. 1813, Oct. 1814, and May, 1815, and again in the years 1827, 1828, and 1829.
As Printed in the Connecticut Reports, volume 239, page 966
The Honorable Joseph W. Bogdanski, former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, died on January 12, 1997, at the age of eighty-five. He was first appointed to the Court of Common Pleas in 1955 and became a judge of the Superior Court in 1958. Following his elevation to the Supreme Court as an Associate Justice in 1972, he was appointed Chief Justice in 1981, and reached mandatory retirement age of seventy in November of the same year.
After receiving his A.B. in 1935 from Colgate University, where he received various football scholarships and was named an All-American football player, Chief Justice Bogdanski entered the University of Connecticut School of Law, from which he graduated cum laude with an L.L.B. in 1940. He was admitted to the Connecticut bar that same year. Before becoming a judge of the Court of Common Pleas, he served as prosecuting attorney for the City Court of Meriden from 1942 to 1943 and as a judge of that court from 1949 to 1951. He was appointed Lieutenant Commander of the military staff of Governor Chester Bowles from 1949 to 1951 after serving in the United States Navy from 1943 to 1948.
Chief Justice Bogdanski was married to the former Anne Niedzwiecki and was the father of five children.
As Printed in the Connecticut Reports, volume 164, page iii
Appointed to the Supreme Court April 13, 1972, to take effect December 2, 1972.
As Printed in the Connecticut Reports, volume 183, page iii
Appointed Chief Justice February 25, 1981, to take effect March 2, 1981.
As Printed in the Connecticut Reports, volume 185, page iii
Retired November 12, 1981, under constitutional limitation as to age.
As Printed in the Connecticut Reports, volume 56, page 605
DAVID BELDEN BOOTH was born April 19th, 1824, in Danbury, Conn., in which town he lived during the greater part of a useful life, and where he died on the 20th day of January, 1889.
His father, Reuben Booth, was one of the leading lawyers in western Connecticut, and the subject of this sketch was, from his boyhood, familiarized with the profession in the practice of which his life was spent. He entered Trinity College in 1840, but was obliged on account of ill health to leave college when in his Junior year. He studied law in his father's office, and was admitted to the bar in August, 1846. For a short time, he practiced in the state of New York, but he soon returned to Danbury, and immediately attained, in both law and politics, a prominence which he retained until his death.
In the field of law, while by no means unskilled in the actual trial of causes, he was especially eminent as an adviser and counselor, and as an expert draftsman of legal papers. His knowledge of the statute laws of the state was almost unequaled, and was so ever present in his mind that a printed copy of the statutes was well-nigh superfluous in his office.
Courteous in his manners, very retentive in his memory, ready and disinterested in counsel, he attracted around him a large number of personal friends and clients, who always sought his aid when in need.
The same qualities which gave him success as a counselor, made him conspicuous in politics. He was for many years one of the most active and prominent Republicans in his part of the state. His capability and popularity caused him to be elected to many of the principal offices in the gift of his fellow-townsmen. He represented Danbury in the General Assembly in the years 1863, 1864, 1872 and 1880, was town clerk and judge of probate for many years, and was elected the first warden of the borough of Danbury. He was also clerk of the Senate in 1854, and one of the revisers of the statutes in 1866 and in 1875.
Mr. Booth was married July 26th, 1866, to Julia Richards of Farmington, Conn., who, with four of his five children, survives him. His eldest son, John R. Booth, was a law student in the office of his father until the death of the latter, and succeeds him in his profession.
*Prepared at the request of the Reporter, by Howard B. Scott, Esq., of the Fairfield County bar.
As Printed in the Connecticut Reports, volume 129, pages 715 - 716
John Richards Booth was born in Danbury on July 16, 1867, the son of David Belden and Julia (Richards) Booth, and died on October 21, 1942. After graduation from the Danbury High School he attended the Yale Law School and was admitted to the bar of the state on May 14, 1889. He started practice in the office of his father, which had been the office of his grandfather Reuben Booth, both of whom were prominent members of the bar of Fairfield County. Within three years of his admission to the bar he was elected judge of probate in the Danbury Probate District, an office which his father had held for many years. Later Judge Booth formed a partnership with Eugene C. Dempsey under the firm name of Dempsey & Booth, and after the dissolution of that partnership he was associated with Robert S. Alexander under the firm name of Booth & Alexander. He took an active interest in politics and in 1903 was elected mayor of Danbury. From 1898 to 1907 he was prosecuting attorney of the Danbury City Court and he was judge of that court from 1907 to 1917, when he was appointed a judge of the Common Pleas Court of Fairfield County. In 1924 he was appointed a judge of the Superior Court and served upon that bench until his retirement under constitutional limitation in 1937.
Judge Booth was an able and successful practitioner at the bar but, as will appear from the above brief outline he was destined for judicial position almost from the beginning of his professional career. For that he was by nature exceptionally well qualified. He possessed to an unusual degree the judicial temperament. "He heard courteously, he answered wisely, he considered soberly and decided impartially." He was endowed with a keen analytical mind which grasped and solved with apparent ease the legal problems brought before him. So fairly and impartially did he preside and so persuasive was the reasoning in his decisions that even defeated litigants and counsel found it difficult to quarrel with the justice of the result. In character and learning he exemplified the highest traditions of our Connecticut judiciary. He had a quiet, natural dignity upon the bench which assured proper decorum in the court room without any display of authority.
Judge Booth was for many years a member of the Fairfield County Law Library Committee. His membership in many fraternal and civic organizations evidenced his enjoyment of social contact with his fellows. He was a member and for many years a vestryman of the St. James Episcopal Church of Danbury. In all his personal relations he displayed an innate and unfailing courtesy and friendliness which brought him a host of loyal and devoted friends in all walks of life.
He was married on June 24, 1896, to Elizabeth M. Dibble, who predeceased him. He is survived by three children, Mrs. Bertrand B. Salzman, Dr. John D. Booth, and Walter Cowles Booth.
*Prepared by Hon. John W. Banks, of Bridgeport.
As Printed in the Connecticut Reports, volume 143, pages 737 - 739
With the death on June 18, 1956, of John Rufus Booth in his eighty-third year, there ended a long life of service to the state and its people. Judge Booth was born in New Haven on September 26, 1873, the son of James Walter Booth and Marguerite Angaud Booth. He was named after his grandfathers, John Angaud and Rufus Booth. He had one sister, Lena, who, sixteen months his senior, is still living.
As children, John and Lena were inseparable, and were often referred to as "the twins." They were members of the same class in grade school for several years, and both attended Hillhouse High School in New Haven. Lena Booth now fondly remembers their long walks to school together. The bond between brother and sister persisted to the end. In speaking of her early memories, Miss Booth describes what was, without doubt, the prevailing characteristic of Judge Booth's whole life. "He was," she recalls, "a sweet boy. Everyone liked him, and he liked everybody." Those who knew him in later years can easily recognize, in his genuine, selfless human warmth, the trait which so early made its impression on his sister.
Upon completion of a two-year commercial high school course, Judge Booth worked for two years to support himself and finance his further education. He entered Yale Law School at twenty-one and was graduated in the class of 1897, which had among its members many men who have distinguished themselves at the bar and on the bench. Close upon graduation from law school, he married Grace Beers of Orange. The two children of this union are now deceased. A son died early in life. The daughter, Marjorie, died in 1943, leaving two daughters.
At the outset of Judge Booth's legal career, the hard years of the beginning, which then as now called for industry, integrity, ability and a pleasing personality, progress was not spectacular but steady. That he succeeded and firmly made his way is shown by his appointment as city attorney of New Haven in 1911 and as a judge of the City Court in 1913. He was on the City Court bench four years and soon showed the judicial fitness that so distinctly marked him throughout the remainder of his life. The business of the City Court was, to him, of the utmost importance. His concern was to supply kindly, helpful treatment in the incipient stages of the tragedies of humanity, to meet the responsibility of wielding a potent influence upon the future of the many persons who came before him, and to avoid the danger of stirring resentment in those whose helplessness might make them safe objects for verbal lashings. His philosophy of judicial conduct, developed in the City Court, characterized his conduct during his tenure in the higher courts. This philosophy is well exemplified in the counsel given by him in later years to a newly appointed judge of the Superior Court: "Remember always the poor devil before you has plenty of trouble already and cannot defend himself against a scourging from the bench. You can much more justly fix his sentence if you have held your tongue."
In 1917 he was named the first public defender for New Haven County but did not accept the position. He was appointed a judge of the Court of Common Pleas for New Haven County in 1920 and continued in that position until his appointment as a judge of the Superior Court in 1927. He served on the Superior Court until 1943, when he retired because of the constitutional limitation as to age. During these years, he remained the same modest, studious, careful, affable and courageous person he had always been. The possession of power did not change him. As his sister has said, his indignation, whether in private or public life, could be very real, but its only outward sign was the flash of his expressive eyes. He would never permit any feelings of slight or of friendship, or the recognition of possible hostility in others, to influence his action. This strict impartiality was maintained not only in matters which might he the subject of appeal but also throughout the broad field of judicial discretion which, under our system of jurisprudence, lies largely beyond the reach of appellate review.
His dedication, his restraint and his sense of justice produced remarkably worthy results. Appeals from his decisions were few in number and seldom resulted in reversal. One of the best testimonials to his judicial qualities is found in the words of a layman, given at a session of the Superior Court in Bridgeport on November 10, 1933. On that occasion a member of the jury then finishing its tour of duty remarked as follows: "Your Honor, the jury has asked me to express a few words of felicitation to you personally in view of our happy experience with you in this court during the last two months. I think we can say very conscientiously that you personally have impressed us. We recognize your grace and grit, your poise and character, and your activity and aggressiveness . . . . We have been impressed with your mental balance, with your sense of the dignity of the law, . . . of the ... needs of humanity, the reality of the problems of life, of the suffering of people who are hurt . . . . And in view of all of this we go away with a high respect for the court, with a real, honest appreciation of the place of law in society, with the feeling that lawyers and judges and juries can really serve humanity in the interest of home, of personal safety, and of the development of human life."
As a boy, Judge Booth had been a member of the Christ Church and of its choir. In mature life he had a fine baritone voice, and often sang for the pleasure he could give groups of his friends or as a member of such organizations as the Gounod Club and the Masonic Lodge. His second wife, a musician of distinction, was Lenna Mallory, to whom he was married in 1918. Her tastes closely paralleled his. They were both devoted to outdoor activities, particularly golf, and both enjoyed fine music and literature.
Judge Booth was for many years active in Masonic organizations. At his death he was the oldest living past master of Wooster Lodge No. 79, A.F. & A.M., and a member of the New Haven Commandery, Knights Templar, of the Franklin Chapter, R.A.M., of the Lafayette Consistory of Bridgeport, and of the Pyramid Temple, A.A.O.N.M.S. He was a member of the Graduates Club, the New Haven Country Club and the New Haven Grays.
Although he had no formal church connection in later life, his close friends knew that he had an abiding faith in the great tenets of Christianity. He prayed often, but his petitions were more likely to be for his suffering friends than for himself.
Seven years ago Judge Booth became gravely ill, and his physicians doubted that he could survive more than a few weeks. This emergency, as well as his sudden loss of sight, was met by Mrs. Booth with rare courage. Her devotion made it possible for him to live during the remaining years in comparative comfort and the fellowship of his friends.
After his retirement, Judge Booth continued, so far as his health permitted, to serve the bench, the bar and the public. In addition to his work as a state referee, he made himself available to fellow judges and lawyers. He kept up with the development of the law by having recent decisions read to him. He came to his courthouse office almost every day. Many went there to consult him or simply to visit with a man of great heart and wide experience. So it was almost until the end. For a while he was missed at the courthouse, and then it became known that he would come no more. And thus ended one of those quiet, devoted lives which only in retrospect assume their true proportions.
*Prepared by Thomas R. Robinson, of the New Haven bar.
As Printed in the Connecticut Reports, volume 19, pages 159 - 160
REUBEN BOOTH was born in Newtown, Conn., on the 26th day of November 1794. When quite young, his parents removed to Kent, in this state. His father, though a man of considerable attainments in science, was in moderate circumstances, and required. the assistance of this son in his business, (wool-carding,) to support his family. The subject of this sketch was employed in this business until he was about seventeen years of age, when, with his father's consent, he commenced the preparatory studies of a collegiate course; and in the fall of 1813, he entered the Sophomore class in Yale-College. Shortly afterwards, he received information of his: father's death, who was drowned in the Housatonic river. He hastened home, expecting, at that time, to abandon his collegiate studies, as he was unwilling to reduce the slender means of his mother; but a few friends in Kent generously offered to loan him the amount requisite to complete his course, and he returned to college. He graduated at the commencement in 1816, being the last at which president Dwight presided. Immediately thereafter, he commenced the study of the law with David S. Boardman Esq., of New-Milford, with whom he remained about a year; and then removed to Danbury, where he continued his law studies with Moses Hatch Esq. At the same time, he was employed as an instructor in the academy in Danbury.
In 1818, he was admitted to the Bar, and opened an office for practice, in Danbury. In 1822, he was elected a representative of that town, in the General Assembly. In the same year, he was appointed judge of probate for the district of Danbury. In this office, he continued; by successive annual appointments, until 1835. In 1830, he was elected a state senator. In 1844 and 1845, he was elected Lieutenant-Governor of the state. He died at Danbury, August 14th, 1848, of the dysentery, after an illness of a little more than two days. This was during the session of the county court at that place. On Friday, August 11th, he was engaged in the trial of a cause before that court, which he argued with his usual ability; and his death occurred on the Monday night following. At his funeral, the business of the place generally was suspended. He was buried in the burying-ground of the Episcopalians in Danbury; he having been, during the latter part of his life, a member of their church.
Mr. B's professional practice, at the time of his death, was as extensive as that of any member of the bar in the county. He was distinguished for his industry; his cases were always thoroughly prepared; his knowledge of the law was accurate. He was at once zealous for his client, and courteous to his adversary.
He was well known in this state, as a leading and active politician. His policy was always conservative. During the two years that he was the presiding officer of the senate of this state, the members of that body who were his political opponents, felt and acknowledged his liberality of sentiment and conduct. He was always firm in his principles; but where principles were not concerned, he regarded and treated his political opponents as friends. He was a warm and generous hearted man. Remembering that in early life, he was indebted to others for aid, no deserving young man ever asked in vain for a loan from him, which it was in his power to make. He was simple and unostentatious in his manners ; kind and benevolent in his disposition. He loved the young; and they never feared to approach him, as they knew that his sympathies were with them. All classes mourn his loss.
As Printed in the Connecticut Reports, volume 191, page iii
Appointed to the Appellate Court August 9, 1983, to take effect August 15, 1983.
As Printed in the Connecticut Reports, volume 215, page iii
Appointed to the Supreme Court May 8, 1990, to take effect May 10, 1990.
As Printed in the Connecticut Reports, volume 148, page iii
Appointed to Supreme Court April 4, 1961, to take effect May 6, 1961.
As Printed in the Connecticut Reports, volume 149, page iii
Retired October 7, 1961, under constitutional limitation as to age.
As Printed in the Connecticut Reports, volume 13, appendix page 10
The third member of the Bar in this place, was a native of the town; was educated at Yale-College, where he graduated in the year 1780; read law with Daniel Everitt, Esq., and was admitted to the Bar in this county, about the year 1783; from which time he continued to reside and practice law here, until his death, on the 3rd of April, 1799, at the age of 44 years. He was a member of the General Assembly, May session 1796.
As Printed in the Connecticut Reports, volume 13, appendix pages 2 - 3
Born at Harwinton, Nov. 12th, 1754; educated at Yale College, graduated in 1779; studied law, under the direction of Oliver Ellsworth, Esq. (afterwards Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States) then of Hartford; admitted to the bar, at Bennington, in Vermont, in November 1779;* settled immediately in the practice of the law, at Pawlet; removed, in April 1782, to Manchester; practised in the counties of Bennington and Rutland, and occasionally attended Court in the State of New-York, about five years; during a part of which period, he held the office of State's Attorney for the county of Bennington, and was chosen, by the Freeman of the State, a member of the Council of Censors to revise the Constitution of the State. In January 1786, he removed back to Connecticut, and settled in Glastenbury; practiced there until August, 1794, when he was removed to Hartford; and was appointed State's Attorney for the County of Hartford, in December 1807; appointed Judge of the County Court for the County of Hartford, and Judge of Probate, for the district of Hartford, in May 1809, when he resigned the office of State's Attorney and relinquished practice; held the former office until 1821, and then resigned it, and the latter office, until 1824, when he declined a re-appointment.
He represented the town of Glastenbury in the General Assembly of this state, in May of 1788, May 1791, Oct. 1791, May 1792, May 1793, May 1794; was chosen Assistant, in May 1798; elected a representative from this State in the Congress of the United States, in 1799; resigned in May 1801; was re-chosen Assistant, in May 1802, and annually thereafter, until the adoption of the Constitution of the State, in 1818; chosen Senator under the Constitution, in 1819 and 1820, when he declined a further election.
As one of the two senior Aldermen of the city of Hartford, he became a Judge of the City Court, in 1797, in which situation he continued, with the exception of two years, until September 1815, when he was elected Mayor of the city, and, in that capacity, presiding Judge of the City Court; held that office until November 1824, when he resigned, having become legally disqualified by age. He died at Hartford, August 26th, 1837.
*The members of College having been dispersed, by the war, and deprived of the means of pursuing their academic studies to advantage, Mr. B., with many others, employed a part of his time, during his college course, in preparation for his profession, in consequence of which, he was enabled to sustain an examination for admission to the Bar, so soon after his graduation.
As Printed in the Connecticut Reports, volume 228, page 935
1908 - 1994
The Honorable John J. Bracken, of Hartford, a former Superior Court judge and state attorney general, died January 23, 1994, at the age of eighty-five.
Judge Bracken was born in Hartford on February 11, 1908. He was a graduate of Hartford Public High School and the Georgetown University Law School, from which he received his law degree in 1931. He was admitted to the Connecticut bar the following year.
Judge Bracken practiced law with the firm of Odlum, Bracken and Burke before joining the Federal Bureau of Investigation as a special agent from 1942 to 1945. He was a prosecuting attorney at the Hartford Police Court from 1941 to 1942 and 1946 to 1947 and served as a judge of the Hartford City and Police Court from 1947 to 1949.
Judge Bracken was an assistant clerk of the state Senate during the 1953 legislative session and had also served as chairman of Hartford Local Draft Board No. 3.
Former Lieutenant Governor Edward N. Allen and former Hartford Mayor William H. Mortensen backed Judge Bracken in his bid for lieutenant governor in 1954, but he did not receive the Republican nomination. He was elected state attorney general that fall, a post he held from 1955 to 1959.
Judge Bracken was nominated to the Court of Common Pleas in 1965 by Governor John N. Dempsey and to the Supreme Court in 1972. He retired in 1979 but remained active as a state trial referee until shortly before his death.
"He was a meticulous, hardworking practitioner of the law," said Judge John J. Daly a former associate of Judge Bracken. Judge Daly said he had known Judge Bracken since 1950, when they worked for the same law firm.
Judge John Brennan, a friend of Judge Bracken for forty-five years, described him as an excellent trial lawyer and "a real fighter" in the courtroom. "I think he was one of the finest men I've ever known," Judge Brennan said. "He knew what was right and he did it."
He was a member of the Hartford County, Connecticut and American bar associations, the Society of Former Special Agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Georgetown University Alumni Association.
As Printed in the Connecticut Reports, volume 7, page iii
Resigned May, 1829, having held the office from 1806 to that time. He died at New London, January 14th, 1830, at the age of seventy.
As Printed in the Connecticut Reports, volume 78, pages 723 - 724
Augustus Brandegee, an eminent citizen of the State and a honored leader of the bar, died in New London on November 14th, 1904. He was born in that city on July 12th, 1828, and was the son of John and Mary Deshon Brandegee. On his father's side he came of an old Connecticut family, and on his mother's of distinguished Huguenot stock - his grandfather, Captain Daniel Deshon, having commanded the armed vessel Defense commissioned by the State of Connecticut for service in the Revolutionary War. He fitted for college in the Union Academy at New London, and the Hopkins Grammar School at New Haven; entered Yale, and graduated with his class in 1849. He studied law at the Yale Law School and with the late A. C. Lippitt in New London; was admitted to the bar of New London County in 1851, and continued in the practice of his profession until a few months before his death. He was married in 1854 to Nancy Christina Bosworth, who died in 1881. A daughter, Mrs. M. Gray Zalinski, and a son, United States Senator Frank R. Brandegee, survive him.
Mr. Brandegee was a lawyer of the highest type. He was studious and well versed in legal principles He was skillful in applying those principles to the particular case in which he was engaged. He was untiring in his devotion to his clients' interests. He was fair to his opponents. He was honest with the court. And also in the practice of his profession he attained success with honor.
As an advocate it is probable that Mr. Brandegee was never surpassed at the Connecticut bar. His arguments were effective when made to the jury; they carried no less weight when addressed to the court. Stating the legal principles involved with clearness and precision, he embellished this framework with a wealth of illustration and quotation from the Scriptures and the classics. He seemed to know the Bible by heart.
In 1854, 1855, 1859 and 1861, Mr. Brandegee represented his native town in the State legislature, and in the last term was speaker of the House. He took a prominent part in the Fremont campaign, becoming one of most popular orators of the Republican party. In 1863 he was elected as a Representative in Congress from the third Congressional District, and in 1865 re-elected. Here his gift of oratory soon brought him to the front. He was conspicuous in the debates in those historic times, and became a trusted friend of President Lincoln. He declined a re-election to Congress, and from that time held no public office except that of mayor of New London. But this was wholly from choice. He put aside the highest political honors. He always retained, however, his interest in politics, and was one of the valued advisers of his party, as well as a delegate to several national conventions.
Mr. Brandegee stood for high ideals through all his public life. He zealously supported the anti-slavery movement when its supporters met contumely and contempt. He rendered signal service to cause of the Union and to the building up of the Nation after the Civil War. His private life was upon the same high plane. He abhorred hypocrisy, shams and pretensions. He led a simple life, and as a lawyer and citizen set an example for emulation. His friends cherish his memory. His State counts him among her illustrious sons. His country is the better for his life.
*Prepared by the Hon. Walter C. Noyes of the New London bar at the request of the Reporter.
As Printed in the Connecticut Reports, volume 76, pages 713 - 714
LYMAN DENISON BREWSTER, the son of Daniel and Harriet Averill Brewster and a direct descendant of the sixth generation of Elder William Brewster of Plymouth, was born in Salisbury, Connecticut, July 31st, 1832. He prepared for college at Williams Academy, Stockbridge, Mass., and was graduated from Yale in 1855. He was the poet of his class. Subsequent to graduation he travelled extensively abroad and upon his return began the study of law in the office of Hon. Roger Averill (afterwards Lieutenant-Governor), in Danbury, where he lived the remainder of his life. In 1858 he was admitted to the bar, and ten years later married Sarah Amelia Ives, who survives him.
Judge Brewster early attained prominence at the bar. In 1868 he was judge of probate, and in 1870 the first judge of the court of Common Pleas of Fairfield county, serving four years. In 1870, 1878 and 1879, he represented Danbury in the lower house of the State legislature, serving two years on the judiciary committee, also as chairman of the committee on constitutional amendments, and as a member of the committee on a reformed civil procedure, whose work resulted in the drafting and adoption of the present Practice Act. In 1880 and 1881 he was a member of the State senate and chairman of the judiciary committee.
He confined himself closely to the practice of his profession after 1880, and became very successful as a trial lawyer. His most important case was the suit involving the will of Samuel J. Tilden of New York. Appearing for the heirs at law, he attacked the validity of the residuary bequest creating the "Tilden Trust." The Court of Appeals of New York, by a bare majority, held the bequest invalid, the prevailing opinion indicating that the conclusion of the court was based largely on Judge Brewster's brief, in the preparation of which the best part of the four years was spent. Joseph H Choate was associated with him on the case, and James C. Carter was one of the opposing counsel.
Judge Brewster was a charter member of the American Bar Association, and until his illness in 1903 had attended all of his meetings. Since 1890 he had been chairman of the committee of the Association of uniform State laws, and from 1896 to 1901 was president of the National Committee of Commissioners on Uniformity of State Legislation, appointed by the governors of the various states. He practically gave up the last years of his life to this movement, and contributed more than any other one man to its success. In 1901 he wrote a series of exhaustive articles for the Yale Law Journal and Harvard Law Review, in defense of the Negotiable Instruments Act, which had been subjected to the criticism of Dean Ames of the Harvard Law School. He was an earnest advocate of reform in the business laws of the country, and gave forcible expression to his views in a paper on "A Commercial Code," which he read before the New York State Bar Association at Albany, in January, 1903. Immediately after reading this paper, which he had said would probably finish his work in behalf of uniformity, he was stricken with paralysis. The last year of his life, although one of partial invalidism, saw no impairment of his mental vigor, and on the day preceding his death brought about the settlement of a case in which he had been counsel. He died in sleep at his sleep at his home in Danbury February 14th, 1904.
A lovable Christian character shone all through his life, and during his last year of rest and freedom from activity his life became a benediction to all who came in touch with him.
*Prepared by J. Moss Inves, Esq., of Danbury, at the request of the Reporter.
As Printed in the Connecticut Reports, volume 92, pages 714 - 715
CHARLES HENRY BRISCOE, a descendant, in the eighth generation, of Nathaniel Briscoe who came to Newtown, Massachusetts, in 1631, was born in Newtown, Connecticut, December 20th, 1831, and died suddenly at Hartford, January 21st, 1918. For sixty-four years he practiced law in the courts of this State, and in his death the bar of Hartford County lost a venerable and respected member.
His early education was obtained in the schools of his native town, after which he studied law with the Hon. Amos B. Treat (See 54 Conn. 601) in Newtown, was admitted to the bar in 1854, and then came to Enfield where he always resided. Three years later (1857) Enfield chose him to represent her in the legislature, elected him again in 1864 and in 1878; on the latter occasion he was made Speaker of the House. He was a member of the State Senate in 1861 and chairman of the important committee on Military Affairs. In 1868, when the Court of Common Pleas was established, he became its judge, a position he held with exceptional ability and satisfaction until his return in 1875 to the active practice of his profession. While he was on the bench only nineteen appeals were taken from his decisions or judgments, and of these, fifteen were affirmed and only four reversed—a remarkable showing. From 1877 to 1881 he was a partner in the firm of Briscoe & Maltbie, and from 1882 to the end of 1893 it was the privilege of the writer to be his associate. The death of his son Willis in April, 1913 (See 87 Conn. 713), saddened his few remaining years.
Judge Briscoe’s wide acquaintance brought him clients from all walks of life, and to their service he gave his time and his energy without reserve—and usually with results pleasing alike to them and to him. He was above all a jury lawyer and a most successful one, though it is not easy to discover the secret of his power. One of his few surviving contemporaries, writing of his ability as a verdict-getter, says: “He made no pretense of being an orator or of displaying any great learning, but somehow he got hold of the hearts and minds of the jury and held them to the end in a quiet homely way. During the last forty years of his practice at the Hartford bar he was, to say the least, the equal if not the superior of any brother lawyer. When he and Judge Eggleston joined their efforts before a jury—and they were many, many times together how very few cases you can recall in which they were not victorious. In saying these things about his power with a jury, I am not intimating that when he thoroughly studied a question of law you could lightly dispute him in his conclusions, for you would be very apt to find yourself in the wrong if you did.”
Judge Briscoe did, however, possess the ability to look a fact in the face and to appreciate its full weight and significance, whether pro or con. In other words, he sized up a situation as the man in the street, the ordinary, average, every-day man, regarded it; and gift—for it was a gift—not only enabled him to settle the bad cases, but gave him an immense advantage in knowing how to approach the “twelve good men and true” in the jury-box. He always looked for justice, and if he found that, he spent but little time in trying to bolster up the case with rules of law or judicial precedents. Naturally he became a conservative, safe adviser, and the arbiter of incipient quarrels and neighborhood differences.
By his friends and associates, at the bar he was esteemed for his loyalty, his genial wit, his unswerving honesty, his kindly sympathy, his courtesy and willingness to oblige. During his later years he gradually relinquished practice, but he still came to his office and with a keen sense of humor would recall his earlier experiences at the bar with the giants of those days. He was well informed generally, and in conversation rarely failed to add something of value to the discussion. With a sweet and lovable personality his memory will long remain a fragrant one to his professional brethren.
*Prepared by the Reporter.
As Printed in the Connecticut Reports, volume 87, pages 713 - 715
WILLIS ANSON BRISCOE, son of Charles H. and Anna Judson (Traver) Briscoe, was born at Enfield in this State December 16th, 1856, and died suddenly at Norwich on the 28th day of April, 1913. Of New England ancestry, he was a descendant in the ninth generation of Nathaniel Briscoe, who came to Watertown, Massachusetts, in 1639, and whose son, Nathaniel, afterward removed to Milford, Connecticut, where he was one of the ten original proprietors of that town.
Willis received his education in the public schools at Thompsonville, then at the Hartford High School, where he was graduated in 1873, and in the fall of that year entered Yale and was graduated among the younger members of his class in 1877. As his father— who is still living at the age of eighty-two—was judge of the Court of Common Pleas in Hartford County from 1869 to 1875, and before and since in active practice, Willis grew up in a legal atmosphere and readily took to the study of law, which he pursued in the office of the Hon. T. C. Coogan in Enfield, and was admitted to the bar in May, 1879, after a most creditable oral examination. In the late fall or early winter of 1880 he opened an office in Bristol, Connecticut, in company with the present Reporter of the Supreme Court, and gave a large part of his time for the next few months in assisting to prepare the first edition of the Connecticut Index Digest, thereby acquiring an unusual familiarity with the judicial reports of this State.
It was not long, however, before the real work of his life began. In August or September, 1881, John C. Averill, Esq., of Norwich left the office of the Hon. Jeremiah Halsey to become clerk of the Superior Court in New London County, and Mr. Briscoe took the vacant place in Mr. Halsey’s office and incidentally also became Mr. Averill’s life long friend. At that time Mr. Halsey was undoubtedly the leader of the bar in eastern Connecticut and an association with him afforded Willis a chance to demonstrate his ability and worth—and well did he prove them. Until Mr. Halsey’s death in 1869 Willis was his constant companion and fellow-worker, and each held the other in affectionate esteem and regard. Thereafter the clients of Mr. Halsey turned to Mr. Briscoe for advice, and if they had not already learned to value his opinion, it did not take them long to do so; for they found him not only sagacious, sound, sane and safe, but also industrious and resourceful, and above all honest and with an eye single to their interests. Honesty in the ordinary sense is common enough; but Mr. Briscoe was above all honest with himself, and could not be swerved or tempted to shade or color his conclusions to suit the wishes or hopes of his clients, as many a man may do unconsciously. This trait, coupled with a capacity for analysis of remarkable power, which enabled him to unravel perplexing and difficult situations and to hold up to his listener the very pith and marrow of the case in hand, won him the lasting confidence of an ever expanding clientage. He also possessed a lucidity and conciseness of expression that was evidenced in his written documents, and all these characteristics were supplemented by an unflagging industry and devoted loyalty to those who placed their interests in his keeping. Of course such a man hated shams and hypocrisy of every kind and description—and if he seemed to overstep the line in this respect once in awhile, it was due to the intensity of his nature, and was soon forgotten by those who knew him intimately. Court room practice was not congenial to him. He believed the highest usefulness of a lawyer lay in preventing litigation, and to that end his whole professional energy was directed; but he was compelled at times to try causes and when he did so he was almost uniformly successful, for he knew the right side and would force a settlement if his client was in the wrong.
In 1899 Mr. Briscoe was elected a director of the Thames National Bank, and became its vice-president in 1907 and its president in 1909. This led to a study of banking from its practical side, in which during his later years he took a deep interest and to which he devoted a large share of his time and energies. In fact the anxiety and distress to which he was subjected during the early months of 1913, while other institutions near by were compelled to close their doors, undoubtedly had the effect of shortening his life.
He had no aptitude or taste for politics or public life, though he served the city of Norwich as its corporation counsel for a term, and generously advised and supported the charitable institutions of the neighborhood.
Loyal and true to his friends, he took a sincere delight in their company, and was as fond of entertaining them in his hospitable home as they were of going there. He loved his books, the flowers in his garden, his fire-side and his friends, nor did he forget the haunts of the trout and the salmon.
He was twice married, but in each instance his wife lived but a short time, and this chapter of his life was sad beyond words. Traver, a son of his second wife, survives him, and in him the father found his hope and his inspiration.
The following resolutions, adopted by the bar of New London County, give such a discriminating and faithful picture of Mr. Briscoe, that they are appended:—
“The members of the Bar of New London County, having lost, in the death of Willis A. Briscoe an honored and beloved associate, desire to make recognition of his standing in the legal profession as a sagacious counselor, an adherent of the loftiest ideals of practice, a generous rival and a chivalrous adversary.
“In the affairs of business his quick penetration and correct analysis of involved situations, sound judgment and unswerving insistence upon fundamental truth and honesty led many to repose in him their confidence and cast upon him large responsibilities. These were never misplaced and he gave loyal support to every worthy cause.
“To those who enjoyed the intimacy of friendship he was endeared by the variety and breadth of his interests, the brilliancy of his mind, the sparkle of his humor, his quick sympathy and delicate feeling.
“Such a career is an inspiration for clean living, vigorous thinking and efficient performance, and those among whom he moved are the better for his life.”
*Prepared by the Reporter with the kindly assistance of Hon. Wallace S. Allis and John P. Huntington, Esq., of the New London County Bar.
As Printed in the Connecticut Reports, volume 83, pages 721 - 723
LOUIS H. BRISTOL was born on March 2d, 1839, in New Haven, where he lived until his death on July 20th, 1910.
He came of New England ancestry, and the family has been represented for three generations at the Connecticut bar. His grandfather, William Bristol, was a judge of the Superior Court, a member of the Supreme Court of Errors of Connecticut, and a judge of the United States District Court for this district. William B. Bristol, his father, practiced law for many years in New Haven County, and had the sound judgment, ability and integrity which have always characterized this family.
He prepared for college in New Haven, chiefly at General Russell's school, and graduated from the Academic Department of Yale in 1859. He studied law in his father's office and the Yale Law School. He was first associated in practice in with his father, then with his brother, and in 1888 formed a partnership with Henry Stoddard and John W. Bristol. Some years later John K. Beach and Samuel H. Fisher became members of this firm.
When he came to the bar nearly fifty years ago, a group of exceptionally able men were in successful practice in New Haven. Among them were Alfred Blackman, John S. Beach, Charles R. Ingersoll and Henry B. Harrison. They soon recognized his unusual character, learning and industry, and they gave him their confidence and friendship. With them as associates or opponents he did his earlier work at the bar. In this work he searched out and mastered the principles and appreciated and understood the spirit of the great system of law which we have inherited. With a proper regard for the formalities which safeguard rights and secure orderly and convenient method, he never laid a mistaken emphasis on the letter. With him the law served justice and advanced and facilitated legitimate business. Litigation was a means of determining questions of substance. Among the cases in which he was interested were Lamphear v. Buckingham, which helped to establish the practice in hearings in damages in tort actions after default or demurrer overruled; Clarke v. Tappin and Dale v. Gear, relating to the admissibility of parol evidence affecting written instruments; the New Haven Wire Company cases, in which a method of protecting credits extended by foreign bankers was upheld; Leffingwell's Appeal from Probate, involving the construction of the Act of Congress providing for the payment of the French spoliation claims; White v. Howard, Austin v. Wright, and the cases relating to the will of Philip Marett and the Storrs School.
While he continued to be interested in court work, the duties of the advocate were more and more overshadowed by those of the counsellor. He became, and long continued to be, a counsellor at law in the fullest and best sense of the term.
It was in conference with his clients and with lawyers that his thorough legal knowledge and ability to apply legal principles so as to secure practical results were most useful. And it was here that his natural and inherited endowment of sound judgment and strong common sense enabled him to render his greatest service. When he had deliberately reached a conclusion he acted upon it with confidence, and others learned that in this reliance upon his own judgment he was fully justified. These qualifications caused his office practice to increase, and led the managers of our leading financial, manufacturing and commercial interests to seek and follow his advice.
When we commemorate those whose record is completed and who have deserved and won our favorable judgment, we often say of them that they have lived for truth and have stood for reality. And these things can generally be said with sincerity of any man who has had real success at the Connecticut bar. No one ever practiced among us of whom these things can be more truly said than of Louis H. Bristol. In every sense he was intellectually and morally honest and sound. And in our time we have had no lawyer who has done effective and useful work more modestly or quietly.
I used to go to him for advice in my earlier years at the bar, and always found him approachable and friendly. In the discussion of those questions on which younger men need the counsel and suggestion of those of longer experience and riper judgment, he always had something to say that was worth remembering and which gave real assistance.
His friendships were intimate and of long standing, and were largely with men of his own profession. They included one of special closeness with Governor Ingersoll, which was almost lifelong. He had unusual powers in conversation and in drawing interesting talk from his companions, to whom he was always ready to listen. He had a wide and thorough acquaintance with good literature, and his library was one which gave a lover of books a pleasure to enter.
He has taken high and permanent rank among the veterans of his profession in this State. He will be remembered as one of the lawyers whose strong and cultivated minds, deep reflection, wide experience of life and thorough understanding of principles of law, have made their counsels the safe foundation of social order and sound successful business. It can only be known in the close relations of the profession how often they prevent controversy and secure good understanding. He accomplished his results, not by aggressive contentiousness, nor by weak compromise and concession, but by the clear knowledge of what is reasonable and right and by his power to make these things prevail.
He has taken his place with the men who have honored this bar. He and they have no small part in making and keeping this the land of steady habits and of real progress, a commonwealth in which justice prevails and law is the safeguard of life, liberty and property. They have made and kept our courts such that the humble and powerful meet therein as equals before the law, tribunals wherein no man, however poor or friendless, need lack a strong and faithful advocate nor an upright and impartial judge.
To the names of those whom the bar of this State has recently lost, whom we rejoice to have had as our associates, and who have deserved well of this Commonwealth and its people for their services to the cause of justice, - to the names of David Torrance, Charles R. Ingersoll, Jeremiah Halsey, Frank T. Brown and Goodwin Stoddard, is now added the name of Louis H. Bristol.
*Prepared at the request of the Reporter by Henry C. White, Esqr., of the New Haven County Bar.
As Printed in the Connecticut Reports, volume 3, page iii
Appointed May, 1819; when all the Judges received commissions, to hold their offices during good behaviour, pursuant to the constitution of the state.
As Printed in the Connecticut Reports, volume 6, page iii
Resigned May, 1826, being appointed Judge of the District Court of the United States for the District of Connecticut.
As Printed in the Connecticut Reports, volume 36, pages 588 - 590
JOHN HALL BROCKWAY died at Ellington, in Tolland County, the place of his birth, and where he had always resided, on the 29th of July, 1870, in the seventieth year of his life. In early life he was somewhat distinguished for his love of books and aptness to learn. He entered Yale College at the age of sixteen years, and graduated at the age of twenty years, with a creditable standing in his class. He read law in the office of Seth P. Staples, Esq., of New Haven, and with him and in the law school at New Haven, then under the charge of Mr. Staples and the late Judge Hitchcock, he completed his professional studies, and was admitted to practice in the courts of this state in New Haven County in April, 1823.
He commenced the practice of law in his native town, and soon became known throughout the county, and had his full share of the business in the courts. He possessed many of the qualities that go to make up the successful lawyer. His mind was active and his perceptions acute; his judgment was sound, and his conclusions, though rapidly formed, were generally correct. He excelled in the argument of questions of fact to the jury. He was an easy, pleasant speaker, and always seemed to have the power to express his ideas in pure English without apparent effort. He seldom indulged in mere declamation, but had a faculty of presenting his cause in an attractive form, and, where the case admitted of it, with a constant flow of humor that secured the attention of his hearers.
Mr. Brockway never felt that his duty to his clients consisted solely in the trial of their cases. He made their interests his own, and where he became convinced that their interests would be promoted by a settlement he would labor to effect that result. Few lawyers in the state have amicably adjusted a greater proportion of their cases. He sympathized deeply with his clients, and when he thought they were in the right he would be exceedingly grieved by an adverse decision.
He was a great favorite with his brethren and the court. He always seemed to enjoy their society and it is certain that his presence contributed very much to their enjoyment. His genial temperament and quaint humor made him the life of their circles, and secured for him their kindest regard. The younger members of the profession regarded him as a friend, and one to whom they could look for any aid in his power to bestow.
Mr. Brockway served in both branches of the General Assembly of this state, and was twice elected to the House of Representatives in the Congress of the United States. He served as State Attorney for the county of Tolland nearly eighteen years, and until his health had become so much impaired that he felt it his duty to resign. It is sufficient here to say that he discharged the duties of these several positions creditably to himself and to the entire satisfaction of the public.
He united with the Congregational Church in Ellington in the year 1827. He was a constant attendant on public worship on the Sabbath, and a teacher in the sabbath school, and was seldom absent from other stated and occasional services of the church. He was well versed in the doctrines of the different denominations and accepted those that are usually called orthodox, but was never bitter or censorious towards those who could not fully adopt his views.
In all the relations in life, he acted well his part. As a husband and father he was affectionate, devoted and faithful; as a friend he was firm, unselfish and constant; as a citizen he not only bore his share of the burdens of life with cheerfulness, but he was ready to aid in all proper ways such enterprises as were intended to ameliorate its evils. Having spent a useful and somewhat active life, his name will go down to posterity honored and respected.
*Prepared by Hon. Loren P. Waldo, of Hartford.
As Printed in the Connecticut Reports, volume 135, pages 719 - 720
For more than two-thirds of a century Nathaniel R. Bronson of Waterbury was known throughout the State as a lawyer of great ability and competence. His reputation for rugged and sturdy honesty was matched only by a forthrightness that was sometimes irascible but always so much in character as to hold its own peculiar charm.
From the time he was admitted to the bar in 1884 until his death April 20, 1949, he was constantly colorful and probably the subject of more tales and anecdotes than any other lawyer of his period. It is quite appropriate, therefore, that a sketch of his life and a pen portrait of his personality should be included in the Connecticut reports, which contain so many cases in which he appeared as counsel.
He was born in Waterbury July 3, 1860, the son of Lucian Stone Bronson, a descendant of John Bronson, who was one of the earliest settlers of Waterbury. He obtained his preliminary education in the high school of his native city, was graduated from Yale in 1882 and then completed two years of study in the law department of Yale. As early as 1888 he had formed a law partnership in Waterbury with George F. Terry, a well-known Connecticut lawyer. In 1905 he founded with Lawrence L. Lewis the firm of Bronson and Lewis, which has had a continuous existence to the present time. The latter fact alone is a revealing commentary on Mr. Bronson's well-ordered, serious-minded approach to professional responsibilities and his idea of service to the community with which he cast his lot and in which he became an important cog during its flourishing growth and development.
His early years at the bar were marked by an eager interest and active participation in civic and community affairs as he took his place among the solid and important citizens of his city. He served as president of the Chamber or Commerce during World War I and furnished dynamic leadership which did much in shaping a rapid industrial growth in Waterbury and contributed greatly to the upbuilding and development of that important city, which today is one of the leading municipalities in the state.
On March 26, 1886, Mr. Bronson married Miss Helen Adams Norton. The tender devotion that marked their long journey together was as touching as that of Darby and Joan and furnishes bright testimony to the fine fiber of his loyal and affectionate nature. Mrs. Bronson survives, together with their two sons, Norton Bronson of Greenwich, and Richardson Bronson, who was for a long time a member of his father's law firm. He is now in Germany in government service.
It is given to relatively few men to serve their state and their fellows for as long a period as Mr. Bronson did. He earned a unique position at the bar and was generally recognized as possessed of great legal ability and imbued with the highest ideals and traditions of a truly great profession. He took a stern pride in his fellow members of the Waterbury bar and his trust in them amounted almost to a fetish.
He believed with Polonius that the dress oft proclaims the man and was always meticulous in being well-groomed. He was short in stature but exceptionally sturdy and alert. His physical vigor was great and found its counterpart in a mental stature and a moral grandeur that marked him as one of God's noblemen. By instinct and nature he was so polite as to live almost by protocol.
His physical activity found its outlet in golf, of which he was an enthusiastic devotee, and he was perhaps as widely known on the links as in the busy marts of life. His was a well-rounded life, a sound mind and body, with perfect poise and superb serenity of spirit. Such a man as he adorns any profession to which he belongs.
His sturdy figure with its Jove-like head and brisk but dignified pace was for fifty years familiar as a part of the Waterbury scene. He will be missed; but he will be remembered at least as long as the statute against perpetuities makes possible.
*Prepared by Hon. Kenneth Wynne, of New Haven.
As Printed in the Connecticut Reports, volume 135, pages 720 - 721
It is impossible to accurately reflect in language the personality of one, intimacy with whom became affection long years ago. This vignette of Allan Brosmith,** therefore, confess its failure, in limine, since it does not appraise a man but recalls a friend.
There is a nostalgia associated with the Allan Brosmith of another day - the friend we knew before they moved the county building from the dust and drabness of the city to the more refined atmosphere of Columbus Circle and the Supreme Court. I see him now hurrying to the old courthouse, meticulously groomed, derby-hatted, gray-spatted, pince-nezed, some pleadings thrust into the pocket of a velveted chesterfield, John Nagle, his social confidant and professional nemesis striding beside, and myself, custodian of the file in the case, completing a Travelers' triumvirate that assured of its ability to convince a waiting jury that every plaintiff's case was suspect, and that the particular plaintiff's case which was about to be heard was an abomination in the face of the Lord.
And not infrequently, however importuning the specter of a waiting judge, would he pause to greet Ed Daly, a Mayor Buckley or an Alex Creedon, or slow his step to offer a friend a congratulation, or condolence or one of those small but intimate well-wishings that constituted the imperishable aves in the rosary of his life.
Born in New York City on July 21, 1880, Allan Brosmith, unlike his beloved father, inherited the handicap of affluence. Unlike his father, his way was pointed, but it was never paved. He was educated - the earlier years - in New York, but at the College of the Holy Cross he came under the influence of the sound, exacting discipline of the Jesuits, whose simple teaching informed and fixed the conscience that never tolerated an injury to any man, nor yet refused to forgive one.
He was not a lawyer as one thinks of certain lawyers, trained, alert, an academician, impeccable of thought, with unerring finger upon the pulse of social rectitude. To him, the law, whether inscrutable as the Sphinx (as it sometimes was) or inevitable as the alarm clock (as it always was), was neither a puzzle to be probed nor intrusion to be tolerated, but an ethic to be lived, and he did his best to live it. Measured in terms of verdicts, his success was high today, low yesterday, and it might be high or low tomorrow. Measured in terms of effort and good will, he never lost a case.
It is difficult to sum him up. Intensely human, no man had higher spiritual values. His journeyings across the nation, his presence anywhere and everywhere convivial insurance or law men met, were inseparable from - indeed were part of - a nature that yet idolized with reverence the sanctity of home and family.
Like Falstaff, he could trade the latest quip. Like Dionysus, he could utter the liveliest toast. Like only himself could he sit beside a stricken friend or kneel before a silent casket.
Allan Brosmith is gone. He achieved prestige, enjoyed eminence, loved friends, lived strongly and closed his eyes in Time only to open them, I am sure, with the buoyant confidence of youth upon the newness of Eternity. Who could wish for more?
*Prepared by Warren Maxwell, of the Hartford bar.
**Mr. Brosmith died January 28, 1947.
As Printed in the Connecticut Reports, volume 124, pages 697 - 699
'There are some who never know the tragedy of the grave; who sleep only to awaken in the sublime knowledge that they have not lost, but have found life. For death, after more than eighty years of strong and vital living, is achieved, not suffered. Landor tells the story in a simple couplet:
"I warmed both hands before the fire of life,
It sinks, and I am ready to depart"
The words bespeak courage, action, attainment, peace. They bespeak William Brosmith.
I knew only the closing decade of his life, but I knew it in the fullness of its fruit and in all the ripe richness of its talent. Yet, however close the heart and endeared the hand that spreads its history upon the record, the pen must pause, and the memorial pall before the living testament which evokes it.
Greatness, to be recognized, must be articulate. It must speak a language of public honor and material benefaction, or be ignored, and from this aspect, one might dwell at length upon the career of William Brosmith.
Born in New York City, the son of worthwhile Irish immigrants, at thirteen this boy found himself fatherless and the partial supporter of a mother, three sisters and a brother. The very rudiments of learning apparently denied to him, he went to work, but soon sought and found opportunity of continuing his studies at night school. Even at a tender age, and despite the limited hope held out to his ambitions, he looked ahead to a career in law, and when but a hard-working lad of sixteen, he won certification as clerk in the offices of Beach & Beman, practicing attorneys, New York City. At twenty-two, he was licensed to practice his profession.
Soon thereafter, Mr. Brosmith successfully prosecuted a client's claim against the United States Mutual Accident Association, one of the largest accident insurance companies in the country. A remarkable grasp of the highly specialized principles of insurance law won the private admiration of Charles B. Peet, president of the company, and the young attorney soon received the first of many great compliments which, throughout his career, were to be paid his learning and his industry, the offer of the general attorneyship in this company. Thereafter, his rise was meteoric. Before the turn of the century, James G. Batterson enlisted his services with the Travelers Insurance Company at Hartford, in which association he was to develop a stature second to none in the profession.
The public and the insuring companies, particularly casualty companies, probably do not realize that much of the language which today comprises the final repository of their respective rights and duties was the product of this man's forthright honesty, expressed in a medium which attests it. Many years ago, at a meeting of the International Association of Accident Underwriters, he said; "Why use words capable of being understood in two or more possible senses? If there are certain types of so-called accidents which we do not intend to cover, and for which we do not receive a premium, why not say so in plain, understandable English?" Here was a mind that analyzed clearly and spoke candidly, or did not speak.
The manifold activities in which Mr. Brosmith was a participant and recognized leader establish the breadth of his interests and measure, in some degree, his contributions not only to the field of insurance and to the law, but to church and state as well. The presidency of the Association of Life Insurance Counsel, of the International Association of Accident Underwriters, of the International Association of Casualty and Surety Underwriters, and of the Hartford College of Law; the chairmanship of the advisory committee of the insurance federation of America and of the committee on insurance of the American Bar Association; charter and active member of the American Law Institute; member of the Association of the Bar of the City of New York, of the New York County Lawyers' Association, of the New York State Bar Association, of the Connecticut State Bar Association, of the Hartford and Middlesex County Bar Associations; director of the Travelers Bank & Trust Company, of the Connecticut River Banking Company and of the Dime Savings Bank of Hartford; member of the Connecticut council of defense during the world war, of the highway safety committee organized by Herbert Hoover, of the Connecticut civil service commission and of the Hartford municipal commission; trustee of St. Francis Hospital and of St. Joseph's Cathedral Corporation; president of the Hartford Chamber of Commerce, of the board of charity commissioners of the city of Hartford, and of the Holy Name Society of St. Joseph's Cathedral; chairman of the commission of public welfare of the city of Hartford; trustee of Albertus Magnus College and of St. John's Industrial School Improvement Association; vice president and general counsel of the Travelers' companies; recipient of the rare papal dignities of Knightship in the Order of St. Gregory the Great and in the Knights of Malta, and honorary Doctorate in Law from Holy Cross College, signify in some degree the scope of more than half a century's active and militant endeavor.
A rare coincidence of qualities contributed to this man's pre-eminence. An apt mind, a strong body, and a passionate interest in the genius of the common law were some of these. But it was his youth, his refusal to acknowledge the decay of years, that marked him perennially alert and vital. Age took nothing from acuity that never crystallized, nor an intellect as fluid as quicksilver, and as alive. Clear-eyed to the end, he conceded nothing to the compelling claims of time, and he died as he had lived - buoyant and aware.
Such, in brief, is the story of William Brosmith, wide indeed as the wide flowing sea and as difficult of recapitulation. But there is a final chapter, a humbler and dearer chapter, that cannot go unattested. There is the story of the simple, Godfearing man, whose spiritually recognized many creeds, but only one morality, whose charity was broad and deep and never ending, and whose personal purity of life was as fragrant as the breath of May. He died on August 21st, 1937, at the age of eighty-two, virile, courageous and undefeated. "Sunset and evening star" shadowed his adieu, but he met the infinite in the lightening dawn youth. He took with him much of love and something of veneration, but he left aglow the flame of a worthy life, undying as his own strong soul.
*Prepared by Warren Maxwell, of the Hartford bar.
As Printed in the Connecticut Reports, volume 164, pages 713 - 715
Allyn Larrabee Brown was born in Norwich, Connecticut, on October 26, 1883, the son of Lucius Brown and Hannah Maria Larrabee Brown, and he died there on October 22, 1973. He was the twenty-first chief justice of the Supreme Court of Connecticut.
He graduated from the Norwich Free Academy in 1901 and completed his undergraduate work at Brown University in 1905 and his legal studies at the Harvard Law School in 1908. He was admitted to the Connecticut bar on January 15, 1909. His father was then and since 1868 had been a distinguished member of the bar and in 1909 was the senior member of the Norwich law firm of Brown and Perkins, which Allyn L. Brown joined in that year, continuing in active practice as a member of the firm until his appointment to the bench.
In 1917 Allyn L. Brown was appointed as the first public defender for New London County. Judge Brown, whose sense of humor was particularly keen, liked to tell in after years of the newspaper account of his first appearance at the ensuing criminal session. The reporter, somewhat unsure of the nature of the new office but wishing to make favorable mention of Attorney Brown's presence at the session, said, "The State's Attorney was ably assisted in the presentation of his cases by the new Public Defender, Allyn L. Brown." Judge Brown used to add the comment that the reporter, in spite of his generous intensions, was more than half right. But Attorney Brown soon gained the reputation for his capable and vigorous defense of the impecunious accused in the Superior Court. Indeed, his practice as a lawyer, both in court and out, was characterized by thoroughness of preparation in both the facts and the law and an earnest and persuasive presentation of his cases. During these years he actively participated in public affairs and in 1916 was elected mayor of the city of Norwich, the youngest at that time ever to have held that position. In 1920 he was elected to the state senate and served as a member of the judiciary committee. He was a faithful and devout member of the Central Baptist Church, for many years was a deacon and, at different times, served as clerk, president of the board of managers, and church moderator. He was also active in both the local and state organizations of the Young Men's Christian Association and in the Boy Scouts and other groups which serve to promote public good.
On June 4, 1913, he was married to Marion M. Brown at Brooklyn, New York, where her home was. She survives him. During his long and active career she provided him with a happy and felicitous home life and shared in his interests and numerous non-professional projects. They had two children; a daughter, Frances H. Brown of Norwich and a son, Allyn L. Brown, Jr., of Preston, a lawyer who is past president of the Connecticut Bar Association and a former state's attorney for New London County, now in active practice in Norwich. Six grandchildren brought much satisfaction and joy to Judge Brown in the years before his final illness.
In 1921 he was appointed by Governor Everett J. Lake to fill the vacancy on the Superior Court brought about by the retirement of Judge Gardiner Greene of Norwich. Judge Brown served on the Superior Court as a trial judge for fourteen years. In 1935 he was named by Governor Wilbur L. Cross as an associate justice of the Connecticut Supreme Court, and effective March 10, 1950, he was appointed chief justice by Governor Chester Bowles, and continued to serve in that capacity until he reached the constitutional retirement age of seventy on October 26, 1953. Thereafter he became a state referee. In addition to his judicial obligations, Judge Brown, for five years, carried out the duties of membership on the state bar examining committee, and he also served on the state board of pardons and the executive committee of the Connecticut Prison Association.
Throughout his twelve years of practice and his thirty-two years on the bench, Judge Brown maintained an intense interest in education. For fourteen years he was president of the corporation and board of trustees of the Norwich Free Academy. He was a member of the board of trustees of the Mansfield Training School, and president of the board for several terms. He became a trustee of Brown University in 1930 and of Connecticut College in 1953. In honor of his distinguished services as a jurist and his contributions to the cause of education, his alma mater, Brown University, in 1938 conferred upon him an L.L.D. degree. Wesleyan University granted him an L.L.D. degree in 1950. But his interests and efforts in the realm of education were not confined to work with recognized and well established institutions, for he was profoundly concerned with the struggles of individuals who, because of a lack of financial means or other adverse circumstances, were having a difficult time in attaining a higher education. He gave generously of his time and of his own resources to help them achieve their goals.
For more than sixty years he labored in the vineyard of the bar and brought to his tasks greatness of mind and character and the "one increasing purpose" to bring about fairness and justice in all the relationships of men. As a trial judge he was courteous and considerate, careful and thorough. He presided with a dignity and a presence which ensured decorum in the court and respect for the law. As associate justice and chief justice of the Supreme Court of the state, he brought to the court the benefit of his very active practice and his many years on the trial court. He never lost sight of the problems confronted by the trial judges in all the courts and favored practical and effective solutions of specific cases within the framework of the law rather than interpretations and solutions which leaned toward the abstractly theoretical and doctrinaire. His opinions were clear and unambiguous, free from obscure allusions and nebulous escape hatches thrown in against the day of a possible future change of mind.
He possessed the attributes of a great judge. He was conscientious, hardworking and learned in the law; he was courageous in that he always stood for and spoke for what in good conscience he believed to be right; he was not afraid to disagree when he must, and then he did so deferentially and graciously, after he had carefully weighed the opinions of others. He was honest in his thinking and acted accordingly. His life was dedicated to performing fully and well his duty as a judge, regardless of the consequences.
After the death of Chief Justice William M. Maltbie, Chief Justice Brown, who succeeded him, said of his predecessor: "He never compromised his convictions, or hesitated to keep sharply defined the difference between right and wrong.....Not only did he assign to himself the most difficult opinions which were to be written but, by his logical and persuasive comments on the opinions prepared by the other judges, very often obviated the danger of dissenting opinions and helped to preserve the symmetrical development of the common law of Connecticut." Although it surely never occurred to Judge Brown that his fine tribute to his dear friend and colleague could or would ever be used as a fair estimate of his own character as chief justice, the appropriateness of its use for that purpose comes immediately to mind, and it is fitting and deserved.
Judge Brown's devout and self-disciplined life, his reputation for absolute honesty and integrity, and his dedication to the cause of justice would perhaps, standing by themselves, suggest a person somewhat distant and formidable, but joined as they were with great warmth of heart, a capacity for kindness and generosity, a ready and delightful sense of humor, an outgoing and friendly disposition, a great depth of understanding and a compassionate spirit, he is remembered as an intensely human person who stood tall among his fellows through his notable endowments of character and mind. His state and his country remember his long and dedicated service and his great contributions to the imperishable value of freedom and justice under law-the heritage of his fathers and the hope of generations to come.
*Prepared by Hon. Robert P. Anderson, of Noank.
As Printed in the Connecticut Reports, volume 121, page iii
Appointed to Supreme Court February 6th, 1935, to take effect upon the retirement of Hon. Frank D. Haines.
As Printed in the Connecticut Reports, volume 136, page iii
Appointed Chief Justice June 1, 1949, to take effect upon the retirement of Hon. William M. Maltbie.
As Printed in the Connecticut Reports, volume 140, page iii
Retired October 26, 1953, under constitutional limitation as to age.
As Printed in the Connecticut Reports, volume 135, pages 721 - 723
Among the outstandingly able and eminent attorneys who, from generation to generation, have distinguished the bar of New London County, a prominent position was won by and unhesitatingly accorded to Arthur Morton Brown, whose honorable and useful career terminated with his passing on June 12, 1949. Born in Jewett City in the town of Griswold September 24, 1877, the son of George W. and Sarah F. (Young) Brown, he attended the town schools and Norwich Free Academy, meanwhile earning towards the expenses of his education by various employments. Upon leaving school in 1894 he embarked as cabin boy on the yacht of William A. Slater, a wealthy Norwich resident, for a two-year cruise around the world, before the end of which he was promoted to quartermaster. Fortunately resisting, with some hesitation, the temptation to continue a seafaring career, he entered upon the study of law in the office of Solomon Lucas, a prominent Norwich lawyer, then and until his death in 1906 state's attorney for New London County. He was admitted to the bar in 1901 and commenced practice in Norwich, being associated with Mr. Lucas until the latter's death, than practiced alone until 1915, when he and Charles V. James formed a partnership which continued until Mr. Brown's death. On October 1, 1901, he married Gertrude E. Sanderson, who survives, as do two sons, Francis Y. Brown of Moosup and Morton H. Brown of New Britain, and four grandchildren.
Even before admission to the bar Mr. Brown was interested and active in politics and represented his town in the house of representatives at the 1901 session, as delegate to the constitutional convention of 1902, and as senator from the then eleventh district at the session of 1903. Thus early, he manifested the ability as a keen thinker and a forceful and effective public speaker which contributed greatly to his success at the bar and in other public services and activities. In argument to court and jury he was conspicuously effective, and he was much in demand for addresses on public and fraternal occasions and generous in compliance when his busy practice permitted.
In 1901 also he became treasurer of New London County and served continuously for twenty-three years; he had been counsel for the borough of Jewett City since 1902, and for the town since 1904. From 1905 to 1922 he served as county health officer for New London County, was warden of the borough of Jewett City, 1914-1916, prosecutor of the Town Court, 1903-1915, and judge of that court, 1915-1923. In 1924 he was appointed state's attorney and filled that office with noteworthy ability until 1947, when he retired at the age of seventy. His tenure in that difficult position was characterized not only by careful preparation of cases and vigorous and able prosecution of those which came to trial but by his frank and fair treatment of court, counsel and accused persons. He frequently stated that his creed was to protect the innocent as well as prosecute the guilty and he pursued this policy in his conduct of the office. When convinced of the guilt of an accused he frankly disclosed the strength of his case to the opposing counsel and thereby many cases were disposed of by plea and the necessity of trial obviated.
He was a member of the American, state and county bar associations, served two terms as president of the state association, 1928-1930, and was a member of the judicial council from its inception in 1927 until 1947. His civic activities included service as president of the Jewett City Savings Bank, vice president of the Chelsea Savings Bank of Norwich, president of the New London County Mutual Fire Insurance Company, member of the advisory board of the Norwich branch of the Hartford-Connecticut Trust Company, and president of the New London Northern Railroad. He was also long prominently identified with Eastern Connecticut Council of Boy Scouts and was a member of the Jewett City Baptist Church.
He early became interested and was long active in the Masonic fraternities, joining Mt. Vernon Lodge A. F. and A. M. of Jewett City in 1901, and in 1906 and 1907, Franklin Chapter R. A. M., Franklin Council R. and S. M., and Columbian Commandery Knights Templar, all of Norwich. He was grand master of Masons in Connecticut in 1923. Entering the Connecticut Consistory, Scottish Rite Masons, in 1916, he was commander in chief, 1924-1925, became an active member of the Supreme Council in 1937, and in 1940 was made deputy for the district of Connecticut, continuing until his death. He was also a member of Sphinx Temple A.A.O.N.M.S. and St. Andrews Conclave, Red Cross of Constantine, Hartford, and an incorporator and director of the Masonic Temple Corporation of Norwich.
In 1936 he re-entered politics to become the Republican candidate for governor and conducted a vigorous but unsuccessful campaign against Governor Cross.
In personal relations Mr. Brown was most cordial and agreeable in both social and professional contacts, and he made and retained a host of friends whom his regard and loyalty were unswerving.
*Prepared by Hon. George E. Hinman, of Willimantic.
As Printed in the Connecticut Reports, volume 81, pages 728 - 729
FRANK THURSTON BROWN was born in Norwich, Connecticut, February 27th, 1853, and died there April 17th, 1909. He was the eldest of three sons of Francis and Harriet Thurston Brown. From his ancestors, particularly the Thurston branch, it is evident that Mr. Brown inherited some of those intellectual traits which peculiarly fitted him for the legal profession.
His early boyhood was spent on his father's small farm, and in attendance upon the public schools of Norwich. At the early age of eleven he entered the Norwich Free Academy, and there prepared for Yale from which he was graduated in 1872. In his school and college life, while not a close student in the ordinary sense of the term, he gave clear evidence of an unusually acute mind. From college he returned, as an instructor, to his home Academy where he taught until 1876, studying law meantime in the offices of those distinguished members of the Connecticut bar, George Pratt and later Judge Hovey and Hon. John M. Thayer. He was admitted to the bar in 1878, and from that time until his death, continued to practice his profession in Norwich. He was married in 1885 to Isabel L. Geer, who, with two daughters, survives him.
Always much interested in public affairs, Mr. Brown never sought public positions for himself. It was because of this absence of self interest, as well as his practical and comprehensive judgment, that the public often turned to him for advice and leadership. In 1883 he represented his native town in the legislature and served on the judiciary committee. For about ten years he filled the office of corporation counsel of Norwich, and did most efficient service in that position. He was selected to represent that town in the Constitutional Convention of 1902, where his conservative judgment and power of clear and concise statement made him a recognized leader. He was president of the Board of State Police Commissioners from its organization, and was appointed by Governor Roberts a member of the Commission upon Laws relating to Primaries and Corrupt Practices at Elections. Many other positions of honor, both judicial and political, were urged upon him which he did not accept.
He was identified with many local interests. At the time of his death he was a trustee of the Norwich Free Academy, a director in the Hopkins & Allen Arms Co., a trustee in the three savings banks in Norwich, chairman of the Grievance Committee of the New London County bar, and a member of its Library Association.
Notwithstanding his prominence and efficiency in public matters, Mr. Brown's chief work was undoubtedly in his chosen profession. He was adapted by nature for it, and masterful in it. Through his own efforts he had become at the time of his death one of the recognized leaders of the Connecticut bar. Few of its members have been connected with more important cases. During the last few years of his life, such clients as the late Governor Lilley, the Southern New England Telephone Co., and The Norwich Gas & Electric Co., and his representation of the interests of the N. Y., N. H. & H. R. R. Co., and B. & M. R. Co., brought him into unusual prominence and into close touch with matters of state and national importance.
It was perhaps as an advocate that he excelled. Once persuaded that his contention was right, he was most tenacious in maintaining it. He possessed a most remarkable power of seeing the vital issues of a case, and of clearly and concisely stating them. Seldom, if ever, has Connecticut produced a man of keener, quicker intellect. He was not oratorical in his manner of address to the court, or jury, but his words were always forceful and commanded attention. He spoke for results and not for applause.
In his private life, Mr. Brown was unassuming and somewhat retiring, but possessed a kind and sympathetic disposition. He disliked ostentation and detested sham. To his friends he was loyal, but they must prove themselves worthy. He was fond of his home, and was ever a support upon which the members of his family and his relatives unconsciously and implicitly relied.
Mr. Brown was a man of pronounced personality. Positive in his convictions, he was frank and fearless in his expression of them. Of strict integrity, he held the confidence of his fellow men. In his death, the profession which he loved, and the State which he served, have suffered a profound loss. His memory will ever be an inspiration to his friends.
*Prepared by the Hon. Wallace S. Allis of the New London County Bar, at the request of the Reporter.
As Printed in the Connecticut Reports, volume 92, pages 712 - 714
JOHN RANSOM BUCK, born in East Glastonbury, Connecticut, December 6th, 1835, died at his home on Forest Street in Hartford on February 6th, 1917. Mr. Buck’s ancestry in this country goes back to 1694. The family descendants were distinctively farmers, and it was upon his father's farm and by hard work, economy and perseverance, coupled with a studious pursuit of books in his leisure hours, that Mr. Buck laid the foundation of his success in his profession. He went to school in Glastonbury, then studied at Wilbraham Academy in Massachusetts, and for a year at Wesleyan University in Middletown. Some years later Wesleyan bestowed upon him the degree of B. A. He taught school to eke out a limited income, and in 1859 entered the office of Wells & Strong in Hartford and began the study of law. He was admitted to the bar in 1862, and not long thereafter became a partner of Julius L. Strong, under the firm name of Strong & Buck, which continued until the death of Mr. Strong in 1872. Afterward he formed a partnership with Arthur F. Eggleston, and this firm, known as Buck & Eggleston, was one of the most prominent and successful in Hartford. Judge Eggleston died in November, 1909, and was succeeded in the partnership by John Halsey Buck, a son of the subject of this sketch.
Mr. Buck was prominent in public affairs for many years during his early career. In 1864 he was assistant-clerk of the Connecticut House of Representatives and subsequently clerk of the House and of the Senate. In 1868 he was president of the Court of Common Council of the City of Hartford, and from 1871 to 1873 City Attorney. Treasurer of Hartford County from 1873 to 1881, he was elected in 1879 to the State Senate from the then first district, composed of Hartford with several other towns. In 1880 the electors of the First Congressional District sent him to Washington as their Representative in Congress and reelected him in 1884. Upon retiring from Congress in 1886 he devoted himself exclusively to his profession.
Mr. Buck was of the true New England type, equipped by inheritance with that courage, self-reliance and independence of thought characteristic of New England’s best men. Coupled with ingrained honesty and strong purpose, he had native shrewdness and a knowledge of human nature, and he believed that good rather than evil motives guided men in their conduct. Conscious of the limitations imposed by his lack of a complete education, and with no assured position waiting ready-made for him, he knew no other road to success than by hard and conscientious work, day by day. He left the ways of his fathers, coming from the country to the town, worthily ambitious of making as much as possible of his life.
While he was studying law, at the outbreak of the Civil War, the whole country was alive with political discussion and Mr. Buck’s associates were men of political convictions and activities. With a native endowment of political sagacity, he early became interested in studying the political questions and conditions of the hour. Political honors came to him later with professional success and he grew to be one of the leading men in this State, rendering excellent service in the Senate of Connecticut and the Congress of the United States. Had the fates so decreed, Mr. Buck would have been a most useful member of the United States Senate.
In the practice of his profession, Mr. Buck was at his best in matters of wide scope to which he could give time for study and thorough investigation. Working slowly, he went to the bottom of his problems and when he had finished a subject, it was covered. The fundamental principles of law and the reasons for them he had studied out for himself. Clear in statement, sincere in his claims, his arguments, laid on broad and solid foundations, carried conviction. In matters of negotiation he was tactful and shrewd and his judgment as a counselor was admirable. He had a wide knowledge of the statutes of this State, especially, those governing corporations.
In the many important matters with which he dealt during his long and active life, he had the confidence of courts, legislators, clients and the public, because of his honesty, his stern sense of duty, and the support which he gave to the right. Meanness or dishonesty were as foreign to his nature as light to darkness. He was a man of intense and earnest loyalties to the persons whom he loved and the institutions in which he believed.
To nature he gave a deep and genuine affection, taking an unaffected delight in all her forms, and he loved good books with enthusiasm and discrimination, for their interpretation of life and its problems. A man of discernment, of sympathy and kindness, of charity for human frailty, he filled a large place in his generation.
Let us hope that the kindly tradition of the bar will not allow such a man soon to be forgotten.
*Prepared mainly from an address of Edward M. Day, Esq., of the Hartford County Bar.
As Printed in the Connecticut Reports, volume 32, pages 595 - 596
The custom of entering upon our Reports a brief memorial of the members of our profession, as one after another they are called away, commends itself as well to the understanding as to the heart. We only wish that the custom were more general, and that it had not been confined to the distinguished few; for we deem it eminently fit that all at least who contribute to the essential learning which is treasured in our Reports, should have a brief page devoted to their personal history.
Norton J. Buel was born in Salisbury, in this the state, on the 6th day of September, 1813, and died at New Haven, on the 6th of March, 1864.
The foundations of his mental culture were laid in his native village. In his youth he was for a considerable time a clerk in a mercantile establishment, and this early business training was of the greatest value to him in the practice of his profession. He derived from it a skill in penetrating and unraveling intricate accounts that few lawyers ever acquire, and his services were much sought in cases involving such accounts; while such investigations, which are generally the dread of our profession, were undertaken and pursued by him with positive delight.
He did not enjoy the advantages of a collegiate education, but relying more upon his own patient industry and careful analysis for the ascertainment of facts and correct principles under the practical teachings of General Sedgwick for a season, and afterwards of Judge Seymour, he soon evinced such indications of self mental training as were the sure harbinger of success in his profession.
Unlike too many who consider an examination and an admission to the bar as a title to preferment, he never ceased while he lived to be a student of the law. He was always investigating its principles, and always learning to simplify and elucidate them. Associated or contending with such men as the late lamented C. A. Ingersoll, Kimberly, and Baldwin, he did not rely so much upon the inspiration of his genius as upon the careful study and preparations of his causes; and in argument he sought to make an impression by clearness of statement and by a forcible yet truthful presentation of facts of a case, rather than by mere oratory, or by appeals to passion or prejudice. In this way he secured the confidence of the court and of the jury, and thus gained the professional success which these help so greatly to win. His proverbial fidelity to truth always commanded the respect of his brethren, and the unreserved confidence of his clients.
Soon after his admission to the bar he opened an office at Naugatuck, in 1835, then belonging to the town of Waterbury, and in 1840 he removed to the present city of Waterbury, where he remained until the autumn of 1863, when he removed to New Haven - thus dedicating his professional life to the county of his adoption. At the time of his death he was already in the front rank of the profession, and had he lived a few years longer he would have had a practice in the state and federal courts not surpassed by that of any other lawyer in the state. With a naturally fine constitution and temperate habits he yet broke down in the fullness of his powers under the severity and fidelity of his professional studies and labors.
Mr. Buel was never an ardent politician. There was much in his mental constitution incompatible with party requirements; and yet he cherished clear and conservative political principles, and did not hesitate to avow them upon all proper occasions. But he was too independent in his mental structure to be the tool of a party. Notwithstanding this, he repeatedly represented his adopted town in the legislature, and his district in the senate of our state; but always with more satisfaction to his constituents than gratification to himself; and was for many years, in a more congenial employment, one of the best probate judges of the state.
Mr. Buel several years before his death connected himself by a religious profession with one of the Congregational churches of Waterbury, and ever after sustained his profession by a consistent Christian life.
The estimation in which he was held by those who knew him best, can not be better expressed than by citing a portion of the principal resolution unanimously adopted by his brethren of the New Haven County bar upon the occasion of his death: -
"That we shall ever cherish a regretful and affectionate regard for the memory of one whose honorable deportment, uniform courtesy, acknowledged ability, and stainless virtues, endeared him the closer to those who had the best opportunity to appreciate his professional and private worth."
*Prepared, at the request of the Reporter, by Alfred Blackman, Esq., of the New Haven bar.
As Printed in the Connecticut Reports, volume 46, pages 611 - 614
ISRAEL M. BULLOCK, of the Fairfield County Bar, was born at Thompson, Connecticut, the 20th of May, 1844. After a preparatory course of study in his native town, and at Suffield in this state, he entered Brown University at the age of eighteen, where, in 1865, he graduated with high honors. At the close of his first collegiate year he enlisted in a regiment of Rhode Island three months volunteers, and after serving his country in that capacity to the end of the term of his enlistment, was honorably discharged. He studied law with G. W . Phillips, Esq., of Putnam, and was admitted to the bar of Windham County, but soon after began practice at Norwalk. His talent and integrity soon gained him the confidence of the people of that town, and they sent him as their representative to the General Assembly of 1869. Removing to Bridgeport in August of that year, he entered into partnership with Amos S. Treat, Esq., with whom he continued to be associated in business until the fall of 1874, when the firm was dissolved. From that time he practiced law alone, until February, 1879, when the writer became his partner. During the last two or three years of his life his health gradually failed, and his decease occurred on the 20th of October, 1879.
Endowed with unusual mental activity and stimulated by what seemed the certain promise of great professional and political success and distinction, it was a severe trial to him to realize, day by day more and more clearly, as he was compelled to, that all his bright anticipations were to be eclipsed by an early death; but it is the testimony of those who were most intimate with him in his sickness, and nearest him in his last hours, that no murmur escaped him. He yielded with perfect resignation to the divine decree. It was "the will of God," he said.
His funeral was largely attended by the Bench, the Bar, the Masonic fraternity, and many others who had known him in social and business relations. On every hand expressions of sorrow were heard; not simply that an amiable companion had been removed from earth, but that society and his profession had been thus unseasonably deprived of so valuable a member and so bright an ornament.
There was a strong conviction in the minds of all who knew him that his future career would be singularly distinguished. Judging from what he had already attained, this belief certainly appears to have been well grounded. He came a stranger to this part of the state, a young man just admitted to the bar, with no large circle of acquaintances or family influence to introduce or aid him. He came among many older and well established lawyers. Every one who has tried the experiment knows how little there must have been in such circumstances to draw out or encourage a beginner, and how much to hinder and dishearten him. Still, within the short space of ten years we find him a representative in the legislature from one of the most populous and important towns in the state, prosecuting attorney for the city of Bridgeport, city judge of Bridgeport for three years, and corporation counsel for the same municipality. Besides this, he had inquired as early as 1876 a private practice nearly if not quite as large and lucrative as any other in Fairfield County. He was intrusted with the sole management of many very important causes, not only at his own bar, but in other parts of the state, and conducted them with so much skill and energy that he rarely met defeat. He gained and retained to a remarkable degree the confidence of his clients. While he was living those who had once employed him sought his advice in any new emergency. and when they had obtained it relied implicitly upon it. And even when the result of the litigation was less favorable than they had hoped, they were never disposed to attribute it to any failure of judgment, or relaxation of effort, or want of ability on his part. Now these results, in a life that closed at thirty-five, were not accidental. Their explanation must be found in rare qualities of mind and heart possessed by him. What they were, it is interesting and profitable to inquire. One noticeable trait, to which was doubtless due some measure of his success, was the caution and deliberation which he observed in all his professional business. It. entered into even the minutest details of his practice. He was systematic and exact in the preservation and arrangement of his papers, in the keeping of accounts, in disposing of correspondence, in remcmbering and punctually performing every appointment and engagement. Little things, perhaps we say, and yet they form a material part of the basis of all human attainments. Though his perception was quick, and his logical powers at once comprehensive and ready, yet when consulted, even on matters of minor importance, he bestowed upon them his closest attention and profoundest thought. The opinion which perhaps was immediately suggested to him, and which in the end he would probably be confirmed in, still, he was unwilling to adopt and give, until he had examined the whole field, however familiar, and viewed it in every possible light. When his opinion was thus formed it was generally found unassailable. He had from the outset a distinct and firm theory of the cause, and when in the production of evidence, and as an advocate, he came to defend it, every step was taken with precision, for a fixed purpose. and with telling effect. In his arguments to the court or jury his claims were presented so concisely and clearly that they could not be misunderstood, and with a force of reason and authority that could not be easily resisted. So, at all times, himself persuaded, and with an eye single to persuasion, he was earnest, perspicuous, convincing, eloquent. Almost from the time of his admission to the bar he had been so actively engaged in the discharge of professional and official duties that he had perhaps found less opportunity than some of us enjoy for pure legal study. Probably he had not read in course a very large number of legal treatises. His reading however had been thorough and thoughtful. His memory was retentive. He had obtained a complete mastery of the essential principles of the science, and in his application of them to the facts of his cases he exhibited a skill rarely excelled by the most experienced practitioners.
It is not the province of this sketch to dwell upon Mr. Bullock's moral and social qualities, except as they bear upon his professional character. It would be superfluous to do it. His memory in this respect is tenderly preserved in the hearts of his family and personal friends. Their spontaneous utterances, by lip and pen, have already expressed, and will again repeat, all that the warmest affection can say (and it is not too much) of that depth of kindness, that firm fidelity, that devotion to duty which adorned his private life. Yet it is appropriate to put it upon the record while we are considering what he had accomplished, and the greater attainments that were promised him, that in his chosen occupation, in his natural ambition to reach the honors and emoluments connected with it, in the eager competition and numberless temptations necessarily attending it, in his relations to the court, and in his intercourse with his clients and his brethren of the bar, he ever maintained a strict integrity and a spotless honor.
Finally, I attribute no little of his success to a certain seriousness in his disposition and deportment which all his acquaintances must have observed. It was not melancholy or moodiness, but that quality which distinguished him front the trifler, the cynic, the laughing philosopher, and led him to look upon this world and its business, human labor and human affairs, even in their minutest and humblest particulars, as grave realities, not to be ridiculed or slighted, but to be deeply considered and earnestly grappled with. He attributed to these things a dignity transcending their immediate importance, inasmuch as they constitute the means of man's intellectual and spiritual development, and in their tendency and influence reach beyond time and enter into the problem of his eternal destiny. It is to men of this stamp that others turn, from the company of merry-makers, whenever in their temporal affairs they find themselves involved in difficulty or confronted by dangers. It is on the shoulders of such men that others, lay their burdens when they become too heavy for themselves to bear. This characteristic, possessed Mr. Bullock to a remarkable degree, at times perhaps subjected him to the suspicion that he lacked sociability, and it perhaps did unfit him for the companionship of triflers, but it brought men to him in real trouble, when in the stress of their affairs they realized that they were too serious to be treated as a farce. It enthroned him then in their confidence, and assured them that from him their business would receive a treatment commensurate with its importance to them, and that in his services they would have the benefit not only of a clear head and a strong will, but also of a lively sympathy. It was this that preeminently qualified him to be a counselor and champion. More such men are needed in this skeptical and insincere age, and heartily indeed may we lament that such a one has thus, in the flower of his life, been stricken down.
*Prepared at the request of the Reporter by R. E. De Forest, Esq., of the Fairfield County Bar.
As Printed in the Connecticut Reports, volume 101, pages 753 - 757
LUCIEN FRANCIS BURPEE died at his home, in West Hartford, May 9th, 1924. He was born in Rockville, October 12th, 1855, the son of Colonel Thomas F. Burpee and Adeline M. (Harwood) Burpee, prepared for college in the public schools at Rockville, and was graduated from Yale College, with honors, in the class of 1879.
After studying law at the Yale Law School and at Hamilton College, he began the practice of law at Waterbury in 1881 with Hon. Stephen W. Kellogg, and later entered into a partnership with the latter and his son, John P. Kellogg, under the firm name of Kellogg, Burpee and Kellogg, which was continued until 1889. He served as Prosecuting Attorney of the City Court of Waterbury until 1890, when he became Corporation Counsel for that City, a position which he held until 1896; from 1897 he was judge of its City Court, until 1909, when he was appointed a judge of the Superior Court, a position he held until April, 1921, when he was appointed a justice of the Supreme Court of Errors, and remained in that office to the time of his decease.
For many years he served in the National Guard of this State, passing from Second Lieutenant through all grades to that of Colonel of the Second Regiment.
At the outbreak of the Spanish-American War, he recruited his regiment to the full legal maximum and tendered its services to the Governor of this State on April 25th, 1898, “for any time and any place.” Not being called into action immediately, he obtained a leave of absence from the State military authorities, and accepted a commission from President McKinley as Lieutenant Colonel in the United States Volunteer Army. He served throughout the campaign at Porto Rico on the staffs of Major General Nelson A. Miles, commanding the United States Army, and Major General James H. Wilson, commanding the First Division, First Army Corps. In official dispatches to the Government, he received honorable mention for distinguished service.
On four occasions, under appointments from Connecticut Governors, he took a leading part in revising the military laws and regulations of this State.
In March, 1917, he was requested by Governor Holcomb to organize troops for State defense, the National Guard having been called into Federal service in the World War, and was appointed Chairman of the Military Emergency Board, provided for by an Act of the Legislature enacted during that month. Under his leadership as Major General of the Home Guard, nearly 20,000 men were recruited for that service, about one half of whom were placed on the active list and promptly armed, uniformed and equipped for service. During a period of three years, he directed this work, in addition to performing his duties as a judge of the Superior Court.
At Memorial Services for him held October 7th, 1924, in the Supreme Court room, in Hartford, ex-Governor Holcomb spoke of Justice Burpee as follows: “During July and August, known as the vacation months, he gave one week to each of the six military districts of the Home Guard of the State for drill and instruction at the Niantic Military Camp Grounds, with the result that during the World War this State had the finest body of citizen soldiers of any State, and was a model for other States. General Burpee received the following communication: ‘Compliments of American Defense Society to General Lucien F. Burpee, for his effective work in safe-guarding life and property in Connecticut.’ The credit of developing and perfecting the Home Guard of Connecticut belongs to Lucien F. Burpee. I have no doubt but that the physical strain he was under materially shortened his life. The people of this State may never fully realize the full extent of their obligation to General Burpee, and it is certain the State can never repay the debt it owes him. He is worthy of all the honor we can pay to his memory as a competent and faithful judge and as a patriotic American citizen.”
The address of Mr. Chief Justice Wheeler on the same occasion gives such a vivid portrait of his colleague and such a true estimate of his character and influence, that with his permission it may appropriately conclude this notice:
“Justice Burpee was endowed with a strong mentality, which had been informed, equipped and trained by the schools and by much reading of the books; his education in the school of life had been conspicuously wide through a most varied practice in the law and an association with public affairs and public offices of responsibility and authority, criminal as well as civil; he was familiar with Connecticut institutions, customs, laws and history, and he understood the New England people, their standards and their ideals. He was a dignified, well poised, forcible and self-reliant man, conscious of his power, yet justifying it in the sight of man by the deed done or the word spoken. His thought was clear, vigorous and ready and his spoken word direct, much to the point and well expressed.
“A few men are peculiarly fitted for a definite vocation. Justice Burpee was among these few. The law was his natural vocation. He had a legal mind. As a practitioner we recall, as among the best of his day, his presentation of the evidence in a cause. The chaff was avoided, the strong points featured and no time wasted over the immaterial. He knew his case and had weighed it in the balance of his discriminating judgment. His sense of proportion gave to the trier, as he saw it, the essence of the case. He knew what he was after in his examinations, he never groped nor unduly protracted, and when he was through he stopped. In the summing up he dealt with the pregnant matter of the case; what his sober and calculated reason rejected he did not impose upon court or jury. A multitude of incidental fact and inconsequent detail did not fog his mind, or turn him from his marked out course. You could not listen to him without seeing that he understood human motives and grasped the truth of the situations. In his argument order reigned, logic prevailed and reason forcible and correct in every topic touched; its power lay in the truth of the position taken, in the strength and manner of the presentation and in the clarity of the expression. It was inevitable that he should become the leader of the Waterbury bar. His position in the profession made him a directing force in the development of the large industrial organizations and governmental institutions of the fast growing and important community in which he lived. He had seen human nature revealed; its vices and its passions; its virtues and its nobleness. All these the lawyer of experience comes in contact with, perhaps more closely than any other man; for him the disguise is stripped off. It was in such a training school that Justice Burpee became a finished and symmetrical lawyer and fitted for service in our higher courts.
“The appreciation of the responsibility of the judicial office possessed him, lent earnestness to his conviction, solicitude as to his action, and made it his highest ambition and constant purpose to faithfully discharge its duties, uncaring circumstance and loving justice.
“As a trial judge he met the Socratic test—‘He heard courteously, he answered wisely, he considered soberly and decided impartially.’ He never tried to carry water on both shoulders. The judicial office is no place for those of timid decision or those of compromising mind, and Justice Burpee belonged to neither of these classes. He was a trial judge of masterful will and unyielding conviction when his judgment had become convinced and settled, but underlying each was his most earnest desire to reach a right conclusion, and then to enforce it.
“When he came to this court there was universal recognition of the fitness of his promotion. All of the profession knew that he had an accurate knowledge of the underlying principles of the law and the legal grasp to apply them, capacity for sound and comprehensive reasoning, an analytical mind, ripe judgment, courage unflinching, abundant scholarship and culture, and real intellectuality, and the discipline of many years of trial court work, which he proved his metal and demonstrated his quality. In this court he measured fully up to the requirements of his high position, and throughout sustained his place. His service though brief has left behind a body of opinions which will reveal to their readers in the long future that Justice Burpee possessed the judicial qualities which make the true judge of the court of last resort.
“Underwood Typewriter Co. v. Hartford involved a question of taxation of very large interest to the municipalities of the State and their people, and its decision is an illustration of the treatment of a public question in a broad way with the emphasis placed upon the public welfare. Whitehill v. Halbing construes our statute concerning the revocation of wills, while Bissell v. Butterworth construes the statute creating a trust fund for the benefit of those who saw service in the World War, and both present probably as capable arguments as could have been made upon these subjects. Long a prosecutor and trier of criminal causes, he was insistent upon an accused having accorded him the fundamental rights guaranteed him by our law. In State v. Ferrone, Justice Burpee strongly upholds the right of an accused to be accorded a fair trial under the rules of the law. These opinions will suffice to show the strength of argument, the care in presentation, the soundness of the reasoning, the clarity in the expression and the elegance in the style, though this was never suffered to cloud or dull the thought or reasoning. His use of words was exceptional, they fitted exactly the place in which they were put.
“ In the disposition of the many intricate and important problems discussed in the conference room, Justice Burpee was a very helpful influence. The disagreements in view, sharp as they sometimes were, arose from the scrupulous longing of the judges to reach just results. Always the dominant purpose of Justice Burpee, as well as his associates, has been, so far as was reasonably possible, to reconcile views and give to the utterance of the court the strength which comes from unity. When the final word had been spoken, and the decision adverse to his views reached, he accepted the result with the best of grace.
“Our association was cordial and friendly. We respected his judgment, and esteemed him as a helpful associate, and were bound to him in genuine attachment. Service upon the bench became a vital part of the religion of his life. To him it meant as it did to Webster, who once said, ‘ Whoever labors upon this edifice with usefulness and distinction, whoever clears its foundations, strengthens its pillars, adorns its entablatures, or contributes to raise its august dome still higher in the skies, connects himself in name and fame and character with that which is, and must be, as durable as the frame work of human society.'
“Some lawyers and some judges are that and nought else. The great stream of life passes by them save as their profession touches it; not so with Justice Burpee. His love and reverence for his country and her institutions was a supreme passion of his nature. He was intensely patriotic. The sword of his gallant father who fell at Cold Harbor quickened his interest in all things military. He served in his State’s troops, he helped make her military laws. When the Spanish War came and he could not get his regiment accepted ‘for any time, in any place,’ he promptly severed the ties of home and gave up a lucrative practice and his high hopes of honorable preferment to serve on the staffs of General Miles and General Wilson. His country’s war must be his war. The World War set his patriotism aflame. Then and after he knew better ‘what liberty and justice, what honesty and compassion, what morality and right really were.’ He became the trusted confidant and military adviser of our war Governor Marcus H. Holcomb. He originated and organized the State Guard and it had much to do in preserving the morale and good order of the people of our State throughout the war. Justice Burpee by inheritance, experience and natural aptitude was quite fit to play the great part he did in the World War. By day and by night he was on military duty, carrying its duties on with conspicuous success and during all of that time never permitting his services as a Superior Court judge to lag. His life is a lesson in patriotism for the living, and it should be held up to those who come after as worthy of emulation.
“When dread disease seized upon him and he knew what he faced, he met his fate and 'fronted death’ with ‘unquailing eye.’ He lived and died a brave man, a devoted lover of his country and his State, a man who regarded service to the State as of the highest careers of men, and a judge who had served his generation usefully, acceptably and honorably.”
Justice Burpee was survived by his wife, Irene A. Fitch, three children, Lida Ellsworth, Helen Silleck and Thomas F. Burpee, and eight grandchildren, John Stoughton Ellsworth, Jr., Thomas Burpee Ellsworth, Lida Burpee Ellsworth, Elaine Ellsworth, Esther Silleck, Hope Silleck, Thomas Burpee and Mary Margaret Burpee.
*Prepared by Terrence F. Carmody, Esq., of the New Haven County Bar, at the request of the Reporter.
As Printed in the Connecticut Reports, volume 96, page iii
Appointed to Supreme Court April 27th, 1921.
As Printed in the Connecticut Reports, volume 100, page iii
Died May 9th, 1924.
As Printed in the Connecticut Reports, volume 15, appendix pages 28 - 29
Born in that part of the ancient town of Waterbury, which is now a part of Wolcott, October 6th, 1772; removed with his parents, while a child, to New-Marlborough, Mass. In September, 1795, at the first commencement of Williams College, he entered the freshman class of that institution. At the end of the sophomore year, he took a dismission from college, and read law at Norfolk in this State, under the direction of Edmund Akins and Augustus Pettibone, Esqrs. He was admitted to the bar, at Litchfield, in December, 1799. In May following, he commenced the practice of law in North-Canaan in this State. In February, 1801, he removed to, and settled in Bristol in Hartford county where he remained until 1806; when he removed to Plymouth in Litchfield county, where he has ever since resided.
He represented the town of Plymouth in the General Assembly of this State, in May and October, 1814, and at the special session in January, 1815; in May, and October, 1816; in May 1817; in May, 1818; and in the years 1821, 1822 and 1828. He was a member of the convention which formed the constitution of this State in 1818. In 1832, he represented the 16th senatorial district in the senate of this State. When the town of Plymouth was constituted a probate district in 1833, he was appointed judge of probate for that district; which office he held until June, 1842. He was also judge of the county court for the county of Litchfield, for the year commencing in June, 1839.
As Printed in the Connecticut Reports, volume 39, pages 601 - 604
THOMAS BELDEN BUTLER, who held the office of Chief Judge of the Supreme Court of Errors of this state from May, 1870, until his resignation a few weeks before his death, died at Norwalk, where he had long resided, on the 8th of June, 1873, in the sixty-seventh year of his age.
Judge BUTLER was born at Wethersfield, in this state, on the 22nd of August, 1806. His father, Frederick Butler, was a man of literary tastes and acquirements, and the author of several books, chief among which is a "Compendium of History." His mother, Mary Belden, was a native of Wethersfield, and a woman of rare natural gifts. The classical education of the son was carefully conducted by his father. Upon its completion he entered Yale Medical School, where he remained there for two years, and then left for Philadelphia, where he continued one year, and completed his professional studies. He settled as a physician in Norwalk, where he ever after resided, in the year of 1829, and there pursued his profession for about eight years. At the end of that time he decided to abandon the practice of medicine and devote himself to that of law. A principle reason for this change, as stated by himself, was that he was sensitive and nervous temperament that he could not endure the sufferings of his patients and his anxiety about them.
He studied law with the late Judge Bissell of the Supreme Court, then at the bar, and was admitted to the Fairfield County bar in 1837. He soon after entered into partnership with Thaddeus Betts, upon whose death, while a senator at Washington, he took and conducted the extensive professional business left by him. He afterwards took into partnership with him Orris S. Ferry, then just commencing the practice of law, now a member of the United State Senate from this state. Still later he had as a partner the late Josiah M. Carter, who remained with him until the election of Judge BUTLER to the bench of the Supreme Court in 1855. He continued in that court until he was elected by the legislature to the Supreme Court in 1861. He was appointed Chief Judge in May, 1870, to fill the vacancy caused by the death of Chief Justice Hinman. This office he held until his resignation in May, 1873.
Judge BUTLER was elected to Congress in the year 1849, and served one term. He was also a member of the State Senate in the years 1848, 1852, and 1853, and a member of the House as representative from Norwalk in the years 1832, 1833, 1837, 1843 and 1846.
He was married in 1831 to Mary Phillips Crosby of Norwalk, who now survives him.
Judge BUTLER had a legal mind in the best sense of that term. He readily understood and appreciated the nicest distinctions, and no one could discriminate more closely or clearly. Yet he had not in the slightest degree that fault to which such minds so frequently run, of being over-nice and technical. On the other hand his common sense perceptions were quick and positive, and he saw clearly the real justice of a case. His only fault in this relation was a tendency in an unusual degree to speculative views. His mind was in the highest degree philosophical, and never found more congenial occupation than when engaged in an unhampered speculation on some philosophical subject, more especially of a physical nature. His habits of observation, both of men and things, were remarkable, and his mind was constantly framing deductions from the facts gathered. He came to have very positive opinions with regard to the characters of public men, more especially as to political and private honesty. He abhorred dishonesty in every form, and was, it sometimes seemed, a little too ready to suspect it. He was however very far from being cynical or censorious, and had one of the kindest of hearts. While ready to be helpful to all, he was never weary of rendering offices of special kindness to his friends. His tender-heartedness showed itself especially towards little children, and he used to keep about him such pets as chickens, pigeons and rabbits, in part for his own amusement, and in part for the entertainment of the children who might visit his house. This was the more remarkable as he had never learned to love children through having any of his own.
His habits of observation led him early in life to study the phenomena of the weather, and to form theories with regard to its changes; and continuing the study through life with an increasing interest and zeal, he published in 1856 an elaborate work on the subject, entitled "The Philosophy of the Weather," of which a second and enlarged edition was published in 1870, under the title of "The Atmospheric System." These works are monuments of his remarkable habits of observation, as well as of his faculty of scientific analysis and construction. He was also fond of the study of mechanics, and obtained several valuable patents as an inventor. He took also an active interest in agriculture, and was full of practical information on all points connected with that subject. He was for several years president of the Fairfield County Agricultural Society. His own farming operations were on a limited scale, but his fields were noticed as among the best tilled and most productive.
The investigating and speculative turn in mind that has been mentioned, he brought with him to the bench, and often, in writing his opinions, he went into deepest philosophy of his subject, examining his questions very fully in the matter of authority, but going beyond authority into an exhaustive discussion of the subject upon pure principle; often extricating the principle form all foreign matter that had fastened upon and obscured it, and bringing it back, like a restored picture, to its original simplicity and beauty. Perhaps as a single judge sitting by himself he might have made more mistakes than some other judges intellectually inferior to him, but as one of a bench of judges, supplemented on the points where he was most likely to fail by the generally more supplemented on the points where he was most likely to fail by the generally more cautious and conservative opinions of his associates, he was invaluable. In any case which involved a new and somewhat uncertain application of legal principles he was generally assigned, when only an associate judge, to write the opinion. His opinions upon some of the novel questions that arose during the late war, especially as to the legality of the actions of towns in various cases and as to the constitutionality of the law authorizing soldiers to vote in the field, are among the finest specimens of juridical investigation and reasoning. In all these cases he showed not merely a thorough knowledge of legal principles, but an extensive knowledge of the early civil and political history of our state, and of the peculiarities of organization of the New England states.
The style in which he wrote his opinions was well worthy to be the vehicle of the thoughts of such a mind. No better style has gone upon our law reports. It is never ambitious or self conscious, but is remarkably succinct and clear and forcible; wasting no words, yet leaving no thought imperfectly expressed; sometimes lacking dignity a little, but never nerve; and occasionally warming into a little keenness of criticism of views which he condemned, but never into unjudicial glow of feeling. Few judges have ever been able to get so much thought into so little space.
Judge BUTLER was absolutely free from ostentation or pretension. There was nothing that he despised more. He was very plain in his dress and manners, familiar in his intercourse with the bar, and, while determined that the court should be thoroughly respected, seemed to care little for the external and traditional dignity of the judicial office. In person he was tall and slender, with countenance indicative of frankness and honesty, in which the perspective organs were remarkably prominent. He enjoyed the humorous side of things, especially if it had some feature of the grotesque, and though not given greatly to story telling, had a fund of anecdotes, originating generally in the county where he lived, and illustrating some eccentricity of human character, especially of people whom he had known, which he often told very effectively. He had a very serious organization, and nothing of that imperturbability that is generally regarded as a good quality in a judge. The nervousness increased upon him in his later years, when his health became very poor, but it never made him irritable on the bench, or manifested itself in an offensive way to his associates. In his poorest health he was a willing worker to the utmost limit of his strength, both in the court room and in the privacy of his study. His mind was too active to rest, even if his sense of official duty had not impelled him to labor. He finally resigned his office when he found the restoration of his health to be improbable, although it is believed he had not wholly given up the hope of recovery, and would have resigned a year earlier but for universally expressed desire of his associates on the bench, and of the bar generally, that he should remain in the office and allow himself to be relieved of such of its duties as could be delegated to others.
Judge BUTLER was all his life a regular attendant on public worship at the Congregational Church of Norwalk, but had never, until shortly before his death, connected himself by profession with the church. He was always a staunch supporter both of religious institutions, and of what he regarded as sound religious doctrine - but upon religion as a matter of private feeling and experience, he was always reticent. It therefore gave great satisfaction to his friends that, a few days before his death, he expressed desire to make a public profession of his religious faith and connect himself with the church. Rev. S. B. S. Bissell, his pastor, in reporting to the church an interview which he had with him on the subject, stated that: "Judge BUTLER said that he had never been a sceptic, but that he had been led, in 1860, to make a through examination of the Gospel as the way of salvation, and was as clearly convinced of its truth as of his own identity; that he had since then considered himself a Christian, and had often intended to make a public profession of his faith in Christ, but had postponed it; but he said, and he repeated it three times very impressively, that he wished it to be explicitly understood that he did not make this application to be admitted to the church, solely or chiefly on the basis of former conviction, but on account of recent exercises and experiences; that many times in the last thirty days in the night-watches, he had earnestly implored, with deep contrition, the pardon of his sins through Christ, and he felt that, in answer to his prayers, he had been forgiven." Mr. Bissell further stated that then, at the judge's request, he recited to him the confession and covenant of the church as required in the reception of members, to which he gave his full assent. The church having voted to receive him, the communion of the Lord's Supper was administered to him upon his bed, on the 2d day of June; a committee of the church and members of his family, with several friends and neighbors, participating. It was a very impressive service, and on its conclusion he was asked whether it had not fatigued him. "No," he replied. "I feel refreshed and strengthened by it."
Six days later, just at evening on a peaceful Sabbath day, he passed quietly away.
As Printed in the Connecticut Reports, volume 30, page iii
Elected [to the Supreme Court of Errors] by the Legislature at its May Session 1861 to fill the vacancy created by the election of Judge Hinman to the office of Chief Justice.
As Printed in the Connecticut Reports, volume 37, page iii (also printed in volume 38, page iii)
Appointed Chief Justice by the General Assembly in May, 1870, in place of Chief Justice Hinman, who died in February, 1870.
As Printed in the Connecticut Reports, volume 40, page iii
Died June 8th, 1873, having resigned his office about two weeks before.
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