As Printed in the Connecticut Reports, volume 15, appendix pages 26 - 28
JONATHAN WALTER EDWARDS was the only son of the Rev. Jonathan Edwards D.D., President of Union College, and grandson of the celebrated Jonathan Edwards, President of Princeton College. He was born in New-Haven, on the 5th day of January, 1772. He was educated at Yale-College, where he graduated in 1789, at the early age of seventeen years.
Although so young, he was distinguished for his attainments as a scholar in that institution: and at the end of three years, (during a part of which period, he attended Judge Reeve's lectures at Litchfield,) he was appointed a tutor; which office he discharged with great ability for two years. When he received his degree as Master of Arts, he pronounced an oration, in which he attacked the then existing law of this State, by which the eldest son was entitled to receive a double portion of the estate, upon the death of his father intestate. It excited much attention, and at the next session of the General Assembly, (October 1792,) the obnoxious law was repealed.
In the fall of 1794, he relinquished his place as tutor, and shortly afterwards removed to Hartford, and took an office as an advocate and counsellor at law. For a time, his studious habits and his reserved manners led his friends to doubt as to his success; but as soon as he appeared as a public speaker, these fears vanished; and it is reported, that in a short time after he appeared in public, the late Judge Edwards, who was at that time one of the most distinguished advocates in the State, was heard to say: "this young man will soon be treading on my heels."
His rise at the bar was rapid, and his business soon became extensive. In the midst of his success, he was attacked, by a long and dangerous sickness; and though he unexpectedly survived, yet his constitution received a shock from which he never entirely recovered. After this sickness, by the advice of his physician, he devoted considerable time to exercise and agricultural pursuits; so that he never after pursued his legal studies with the same application as before. He had, however, a large stock of legal information; for in early life no one of his competitors was so much distinguished for profound knowledge of the feudal tenures, and what is called black-letter law;and had his health continued, he would doubtless have been as much celebrated for his legal success, as for his uncommon genius. In his future course, therefore, he depended principally upon the acquisitions of his earlier years and his own almost inexhaustible resources.
He was possessed of great acumen of mind: - he saw, at a glance, what his case needed, and where were the weak points of his adversary; always cool and collected, he attacked or defended with great ingenuity. Few men could manage an intricate case so ably, with so little preparation: and none could present a weak case in so impressive a manner. His perceptions were quick, his statements lucid and his reasoning powerful. His language was pure, his style chaste, his voice pleasant, his manner easy, and his elocution delightful. He was remarkable for his fluency and his correctness; and although his ideas seemed to flow with the rapidity of a torrent, he never hesitated for the proper word to express them. One hardly knew which most to admire, the acuteness of his reasoning, or the neatness and purity of his diction.
If there was a fault, it was a want of variety. There was no passion, no high flights of imagination; if he was ever pathetic, he was so unconsciously; - his eloquence was like a rapid stream, seldom swelled by winter snows, or diminished by summer droughts - keeping on the even tenor of its way, always beautiful. He was always listened to with pleasure, sometimes with admiration.
In his contests with his brethren, he was courteous, and seldom gave or took offense; and while he said all that could be said for his client's case, he did not feel that it was necessary to enter into personal conflicts.
He was representative from the town of Hartford in the General Assembly, at its sessions held in October, 1809, May, 1810, May, 1814, May, 1817, October, 1817 and May, 1818.
Though so eminently fitted for public life, yet his delight was to be in the bosom of his family, to watch the progress of mind in his children, to mingle in their pleasures, and to cultivate their affections, as well as their understanding. As he advanced in life, the religion of the gospel seemed to take stronger hold of his heart, and it imparted peace and hope to his closing hours. He died on the third day of April, 1831.
As Printed in the Connecticut Reports, volume 82, pages 717 - 719
ARTHUR FRANCOIS EGGLESTON, State's Attorney for Hartford County from 1888 to 1908, and for many years one of the most able and successful leaders of the bar, died at his home in Hartford, December 1st, 1909.
He was born October 23d, 1844, at Thompsonville, Connecticut. A direct descendant of Begat Eggleston of Exeter, England, who came to Dorchester, Massachusetts, in 1630, and settled at Windsor, Connecticut, in 1635, he inherited the sterling qualities that distinguished the founders of his native State; and his natural gifts were developed and strengthened by the discipline he gained through the necessity of reliance upon himself in securing the education that should best fit him for his chosen profession.
Upon the outbreak of the Civil War he enlisted at the age of seventeen in Company I of the 44th Regiment of Massachusetts Volunteers. When his term of enlistment expired he completed his preparation for college at Munson Academy, and at the age of twenty entered Williams College where he was graduated in 1864. After teaching school for a time he came to Hartford where he studied law in the office of Strong and Buck. On March 19th, 1872, he was admitted to the bar, and continued in the active practice of the law at Hartford until a short time before his death.
He had to a marked degree the instinct of service, and this was shown throughout life in all his relations. His friends he served loyally and most effectively. The unfortunate, who by chance or circumstance seemed specially entitled to his help, he served generously, and so modestly that more often the author of kindness remained unknown. As a boy his hot struggles to win an education were suspended to serve his country in her hour of need. The offices he accepted in connection with his professional work were executed in the true spirit of public service. When he was appointed State's Attorney he accepted that position not merely as an opportunity to increase professional reputation but as a call to high public service. He was more than counsel for the State; he was the administrator of an important office. His preliminary investigation of the truth of the complaints that came before him was made with a fairness, shrewdness and thoroughness that enabled him to so marshal and carry on the work of a criminal term as to protect the unfortunate against unfounded accusation, to save the court from futile trials, and to secure conviction, in the trials undertaken, with a degree of certainty that induced the guilty to shrink from a contest ordinarily hopeless, and to rely rather upon the mercy of the court and the fairness of the Attorney in the apportionment of punishments. His pursuit of a detected criminal was relentless; his protection of one unjustly accused was resolute. Indeed, his administration of the office of State's Attorney for twenty years was so exceptionally just, wise, and able, and his name became so closely associated with this signal public service, as to withdraw attention in some degree from the equally important service he rendered in his office of lawyer.
As a lawyer he was distinctly a trial lawyer. Wise and sound in the counsel that preceded litigation; indefatigably thorough in preparation for a combat undertaken; cautious, courageous and resourceful in pressing the fight to a successful issue. His industry was more than exceptional; it was phenomenal, intense, unceasing, all-pervading. He had a personal, aggressive combativeness in attack that was always undaunted, and often irresistible, coupled with a wary watchfulness in defense that was unceasing and untiring. His somewhat obtrusive pugnacity in challenging every adverse movement might give to his opponents the impression of an overbearing nature. This was, however, but a weapon used in the fight. His abounding cheerfulness, enjoyment of humor and acts of kindness, showed his real nature. No one observing him during his conduct of an important trial could help feeling a keen interest in its progress and a sympathy with the fighter. The qualities essential to a good lawyer he possessed in common with many others; but the power of impressing others with that interest in himself and confidence in his judgment and ability, which was one secret of his singular success, had the flavor of his own personality. Not especially endued with polish of manner or graces of oratory, he was built physically and mentally for effective work. His grasp of essentials was intuitive. His plain directness gave attractive charm to his statement of facts, and convincing force to his logic, controlled by a practical common sense and sympathetic knowledge of men. A pleasing self-reliance, an unfailing spring of animal spirits, a rugged honesty, persistent uncompromising purpose, the genial charm of a kindly helpful heart, were all suggested by his presence, and combined out only to arouse in court and jury a friendly attention to arguments he advanced and interest in the cause he urged, but also to impress upon clients and friends a sense of his personal power that inspired confidence, dispelled fear and assured support.
From boyhood be was stimulated to make the most of his natural gift by the constant pressure of a strong ambition; an ambition to succeed as a lawyer. But his ambition for personal success was controlled by his instinct of service that led him to seek success, in serving the court whose commission he held, as well as the clients for whose right he fought. He aroused in his clients a confidence similar to that felt, in the early days of law procedure, for the sworn champion who waged battle for the right of his principal in lists where justice presided at the combat and adjudged right to the victor.
The picture of the lawyer and of the man are one. Its most striking feature may be best portrayed in the words which fitly voice the thought of those his life had served when death proclaimed the completion of his service.
"That sturdy, stalwart presence was a tower
Of strength and hope, in many n trying hour:
In friendship warm and wise,
In large self-sacrifice;
In countless kindnesses we proved his power."
*Prepared by the Hon. William Hamersley of the Hartford County Bar.
As Printed in the Connecticut Reports, volume 151, pages 747 - 750
"Now and again there comes a man among us who stands tall; tall not only in his physical bearing but tall in his ideas and ideals; tall in his understanding and compassion; tall in his spiritual growth. Such a man was Justice Arthur Ells." These words of William B. Bryant, pastor of the First Congregational Church of Litchfield, delivered at the memorial service for Judge Ells, felicitously bring to mind my closest and dearest friend. He was indeed a grand man and wonderful friend.
Arthur Fairbanks Ells was born December 17, 1879, in Norwalk, Connecticut, the son of George Nelson and Lucy Ann Fairbanks Ells. While he was still of tender age, the family moved to Waterbury, where he resided until some forty years ago, when Litchfield became the family home. He died in Litchfield on December 8, 1963, after a brief illness.
On June 14, 1906, he married Dorothea Gross. Two children were born of this marriage: Jonathan Fairbanks Ells and Eleanor Bradley Ells. Jonathan is now a leading lawyer in Winsted; Eleanor is the wife of Kendall Murray Barney of Avon. Subsequent to the death of the first Mrs. Ells, Judge Ells married Ruth Thoms of Waterbury on December 16, 1919. There were two daughters by this marriage: Ruth Whitney Ells, now Mrs. Ira Lesser of New York City, and Nancy Fairbanks Ells, now Mrs. Matthew P. Terry of Hingham, Massachusetts. After the death of his second wife, Judge Ells, on June 20, 1936, married Martha Lewis Fischer of New Haven. They had as their only child Theodore Fischer Ells, who was graduated in June, 1964, from the University of Virginia Law School. Judge Ells's widow, Mrs. Martha Fischer Ells, his five children, ten grandchildren and two great-grandchildren survive.
After graduating from Worcester Academy in 1898, Judge Ells entered Amherst College, from which he was graduated in 1902 with a B.S. degree. In 1943, he was awarded the honorary LL.D. degree by Amherst. After completing two years at the Harvard Law School, he was admitted to the Connecticut bar in 1906. He began the practice of law in Waterbury and soon became a member of the firm of Thoms, Ells and Hincks. Among the official positions he held during his practice in Waterbury were prosecutor of the District Court, judge of the Probate Court for the district of Waterbury, state senator of the fifteenth district in 1923, and chairman of the Senate judiciary committee, colonel on Governor Charles A. Templeton's staff, and judge advocate general.
He served as a judge of the Superior Court from June 30, 1923, until May 7, 1940, when he became an associate justice of the Supreme Court of Errors. He continued as a member of that court until December 17, 1949, when he retired pursuant to the constitutional provision, having reached the age of seventy. He then became a state referee.
Incident to his life as a lawyer, Judge Ells was a member of the American Bar Association as well as of his county and state bar associations. He also belonged to the American Law Institute and the American Judicature Society and served for a time as a member of the Connecticut Judicial Council. By reason of his knowledge of the law and extensive experience, Judge Ells was appointed by the governor as a member of the Connecticut Highway Safety Commission and served from 1941 to 1947 as its chairman. The large number of other organizations to which he belonged and of the boards of which he was a member, while no part of his judicial career, demonstrates the breadth of his interests and activities. Among these were clubs, cultural societies, financial corporations, educational institutions and his church.
Judge Ells loved people and people loved him. He was always a welcome member of the Graduates Club Association in New Haven. Here, particularly during our years of circuit duty on the Superior Court, his fellow judges at luncheon delighted in his comments and gentle humor embellishing "the day's occupation." He was especially pleased to narrate amusing incidents where the joke was on himself.
His active membership in the Appalachian Mountain Club for a number of years afforded him and many of his fellow members great satisfaction. He was long a leader in the Connecticut chapter and during the year 1945 was vice president of the entire organization, which has its headquarters in Boston. The Judge truly was a real devotee of the great out-of-doors, whether sailing on a saltwater cruise, paddling a canoe on lake or stream, hiking the mountain trail or settling in for a fireside meal and a sleeping bag in some woodland camp. He was then at his best and certain, in his own quiet manner, to be the "life of the party." In his later years he came to enjoy the more subdued associations of the revered Sanctum Club of Litchfield gentlemen. At its periodic dinners, Judge Ells particularly enjoyed the exchange of views and experiences with the other senior leaders of the community. He was for many years an active participant in forwarding the recreational and cultural interests of Litchfield, serving as a trustee of the White Memorial Foundation, with its beautiful natural park areas, and also as president of the Litchfield Historical Association. He also was identified with two of Litchfield's financial corporations. He was a trustee of the Litchfield Mutual Fire Insurance Company and a director of the Litchfield Savings Bank.
As an alumnus, Judge Ells rendered valuable assistance in promoting the best interests of two of the educational institutions which he had attended. He was for a time a member of the board of trustees of Worcester Academy. He served as president of the Amherst College Alumni Association from 1948 to 1951, as chairman of the board of trustees of Amherst College from 1951 to 1956, and as a life trustee beginning in 1951, becoming trustee emeritus in 1959. While an undergraduate at Amherst, he joined the Amherst chapter of the Alpha Delta Phi fraternity and became its president. Amherst College was always dear to the heart of Judge Ells, and it was a source of well-deserved pride and satisfaction to him to have both of his sons, Jonathan Fairbanks Ells and Theodore Fischer Ells, graduated from Amherst in the course of their education to succeed him as members of the Connecticut bar.
Judge Ells was a sincere and earnest Christian. Blessed by having been brought up in a true New England Christian home, he had been an active member of his church from his youth. While living in Waterbury, he was for many years a deacon of the First Congregational Church of Waterbury. After his removal to Litchfield, he became a member of the First Congregational Church of Litchfield and a regular attendant and supporter of its activities. Judge Ells had exceptional ability as a speaker. His ready wit and clearly expressed thoughts brought him great popularity in addressing gatherings of bench and bar and also various civic and other groups. On occasion, when the pastor of his church was absent, he was called upon by the congregation to occupy the pulpit in the pastor's place.
As already stated, Judge Ells's service on the higher courts of Connecticut embraced two periods; one of seventeen years as a trial judge of the Superior Court, and one of nine years as an appellate justice on the Supreme Court of Errors. This total of twenty-six years' service offers a somewhat unusual opportunity to appraise his ability as a judge. In his judicial gown, standing six feet four inches in height, with a face of strong and regular features, he was an impressive figure. With a natural dignity of manner and a clear but moderate voice, he was a person who inspired respect. Learned in the law as he was, these attributes, coupled with an active and inquiring mind, yet endowed with a sympathetic attitude and ample patience withal, presented to lawyer and litigant alike a well-nigh ideal judge. It was small wonder, therefore, that he was popular and highly regarded by the bar. His resulting broad and busy experience on the trial bench gave him the practical familiarity with the essentials of trial court proceedings and procedure which is such a very important asset for the members of every appellate court.
When Judge Ells, possessed of the qualities just recited, undertook his new work on the appellate court, it was to be expected that he would prove a successful and valuable member of it, and he did. As a justice of the Supreme Court of Errors, he participated in 1073 decisions. Of these, he wrote the majority opinion in 189 cases and a dissenting opinion in 6, and dissented without opinion in 23. His opinions manifest a gift and facility of expression which render them distinctive. They are lucid and reflect the quality of mind and clarity of the writer's mental processes. He used to say concerning the writing of opinions; "Do the ground work at your desk half of each day, and let it crystallize somewhere else, out in the open, the other half." His keen perception, cushioned by his gracious personality and friendship for his associates, brought attentive response when it became a part of his duty to comment upon the opinions which they wrote.
It requires a thoroughly good man to make in the best sense a really good judge. Judge Ells was such a man and such a judge. He was a man of true Christian character and integrity. He was a man of wisdom trained and learned in the law. He was a man possessed of true judicial temperament, being calm, quiet, thoughtful and deliberate. These fundamental qualities were complimented by significant further traits. He was courteous, impartial, conscientious, studious and patient, but firm with a strong sense of justice. He was possessed of a gracious and genial nature and a keen sense of humor. He was sincere and sympathetic and inspired by high ideals. He was the truest and sincerest of friends, even to the point of poignant sacrifice. It was the combination of all of these qualities which made Judge Ells the man he was and rendered possible his long life of service to mankind. After his retirement as a justice of the Supreme Court in 1949, he continued active as a state referee for fourteen years, until his death within nine days of the age of eighty-four in 1963.
During my earlier years on the trial bench, occasionally I had the opportunity of bringing some of the lawyers or my fellow judges, when they were in Norwich, to call upon my then invalid mother. She liked them all, but I often recall her remark, made to me after Judge Ells's first call upon her: "Allyn, he is the Noblest Roman of them all!"
*Prepared by Hon. Allyn L. Brown, of Norwich.
As Printed in the Connecticut Reports, volume 126, page iii
Appointed to Supreme Court May 10, 1939, to take effect upon the retirement of Hon. George E. Hinman.
As Printed in the Connecticut Reports, volume 136, page iii
Retired December 17, 1949, under constitutional limitation as to age.
As Printed in Day's Reports, volume 2, page viii
[Note from a table of the members of the Supreme Court of Errors, from the organization of that court in 1784, until the transfer of its powers to the nine judges of the Superior Court in 1807]
During the last term , Mr. Ellsworth was prevented from attending, by indisposition. He died, November 26, 1807.
As Printed in the Connecticut Reports, volume 34, pages 581 - 585
WILLIAM WOLCOTT ELLSWORTH, for many years a Judge of the Supreme Court of this state, and for four years Governor of the state, died at his residence in the city of Hartford on the 15th of January, 1868, in the seventh-seventh year of his age. He was a man of great strength of character and filled with ability and the highest integrity and faithfulness the offices which he held. The following sketch of his life, and very just estimate of his character, appeared immediately after his death in the Hartford Daily Courant.
William W. Ellsworth was the third son of Oliver Ellsworth, second Chief of Justice of the United States. He was born November 10, 1791, at Windsor, where he received his early education. In 1806 he entered Yale College, and graduated in 1810. Having chosen the law as his profession, he began his legal studies at the celebrated law school at Litchfield, under the guidance of Judges Reeve and Gould, and continued them in Hartford in the office of his brother-in-law, the late Chief Justice Williams. He was admitted to the bar in 1813, and the same year he married Emily, eldest daughter of Noah Webster, the great lexicographer, and established himself in Hartford in the practice of his profession.
Mr. Ellsworth had, we may say, an hereditary predilection for the law, and he was drawn to its study by natural taste, and prosecuted it with great energy and high purpose. He proceeded to master his profession with great painstaking, neglecting not the slightest means to familiarize himself with it. It was his habit, at this time, to write on blank pages of the interleaved copies of the elementary works, which he had prepared for the purpose, all the new decisions in the American and English courts, and he thus kept himself informed of the exact state of the law in every point that might arise. The progress of a young man in the practice of law has seldom been rapid in Hartford, and it is an evidence of the success of Mr. Ellsworth that in 1817, when Judge Williams, whose practice was second to none at this bar, was elected to Congress, the latter entered into partnership with him, and left with him for two years the management of his extensive business. By this time Mr. Ellsworth's own reputation as an able lawyer was widely extended, his practice was large, and he continued in it with undiminished ardor for sixteen years.
In 1827 Mr. Ellsworth was sent to Congress from this district by the Whigs, and was continued there for five years, when he resigned at the close of the first term of the twenty-third Congress, anxious to practice, without interruption, the profession he loved. His course in Congress was highly honorable to himself and satisfactory to his constituents. During the whole time he was on the judiciary committee, in which capacity he took an active part in preparing measures to carry into effect Jackson's proclamation against the nullification of South Carolina. He was one of the congressional committee to investigate the affairs of the United States Bank at Philadelphia, a famous investigation in its day; to him more than to any one else is due the just extension of the law of copyright; and he was an unflinching advocate of a moderate protective policy, such as should develope [sic.] home manufactures. His ablest speeches in the House were upon the judiciary, the tariff, the pension laws, and the removal of the Cherokee Indians.
Mr. Ellsworth returned to his home in 1834, and soon regained his in lucrative practice, but in 1838 he was persuaded, much against his own wishes, to again become the public servant, and he was elected Governor of the state by a large popular majority. He was continued in this office four years, being each time re-elected by the people. During the period of his service as Governor, he was twice offered an election to the Senate of the United States, but he refused steadily to be a candidate, having resolved not again to be drawn away from his favorite and life-long pursuit.
Mr. Ellsworth continued at the bar until 1847, when the legislature elected him a Judge of the Superior Court, and Supreme Court of Errors. He remained on the bench as an associate Judge of the Supreme Court until his office expired by the limitation of law upon reaching the age of seventy. And then, full of honors and still in the use of his vigorous intellectual powers, he retired to the well earned rest of private life.
But it was not an idle life. His interest in public affairs was unabated, and during the progress of the war the cause of the Union had no more earnest and determined supporter. One of the pleasantest remembrances of the writer of this, is the hearty faith and courage that he uniformly maintained even in the darkest day of that struggle, and his lofty adherence to principle to the end. He never counseled lowering the flag an inch, or taking one backward step. With a mind naturally conservative, his sense of justice and honor, and all the traditions of his ancestry, forbade him to compromise principal.
We cannot to day make any fitting estimate of the character of the distinguished lawyer, judge and statesman who has gone. He was a Puritan of the best stock. His honesty was the perfect whiteness. Long ago Rufus Choate spoke of him, in a speech before a legislative committee of Massachusetts, as a man of "hereditary capacity, purity, learning and love of the law;" and he added, "If the land of the Shermans, and Griswolds, and Daggetts, and Williamses, rich as she is in learning and virtue, has a sounder lawyer, a more upright magistrate, or an honester man in her public service, I know not his name."
In Judge Ellsworth were hereditary qualities of great mental and moral worth. Like his father, the Chief Justice, he was remarkable for the simplicity of his tastes and habits. In manner he was dignified, and he had as fine a personal presence and bearing as any man of his time; in conversation he was earnest and sincere, and all his intercourse was marked by kindness and integrity of nature. We have only to add what was the crown of his enduring character. He was educated in the early religious principles of New England. He early professed Christ, and ever after, through all his years of membership in the old Center Church, was a faithful follower of his Lord. He delighted in theological studies and discussions, but he took a very active part in practical religious movements. He was a prominent friend of the great charitable and missionary enterprises; he was much interested in the Sunday school, and even after he had attained a high official position, he continued his duties as a teacher in the school connected with his church. From 1821 till his death, a period of forty-seven years, he held the office of deacon in the Center Church.
He loved his country unselfishly; he loved his state as a patriot should, and was proud of her honors; he loved his profession; he loved his church and all its dear worship and communings; and his love for home and the enjoyments of social life was never weakened by his public callings. In all things he was an admirable representative of New England, a man of old time integrity, sincerity, solidity of character. In his life and in his death his memory is blessed; there has lived among us no one more honorable, there has departed no one better fitted to go.
At a meeting of the Hartford County Bar, holden on the day after the death of Judge Ellsworth, William R. Cone, Esq., in proposing some resolutions on the subject, addressed the members of the bar substantially as follows:
"Mr. Chairman, I should do violence to my own feelings did I not give expression to this tribute of regard to the memory of our departed friend.
"The recollections that cluster about him carry me back quite to my youth - to the time when, as our representative in the Congress of the United States, he took that noble stand against nullification, which at that day came so near to open rebellion; and so earnestly sought to secure the peace of the country, which was ultimately insured by the unflinching firmness of that hero, General Jackson, in the issuing his famous proclamation against South Carolina.
"I remember him in the early days of my professional life - his urbanity and kindness toward the younger portion of the profession - the readiness with which he extended his aid and encouraged them in the trial of their causes, and the pleasant familiarity with which he always met and greeted his professional brethren.
"I remember him as Governor of the state - the dignity and fine personal presence and bearing with which he discharged so appropriately and acceptably the duties of his station.
"I remember him, also, as most of you do, as the Judge upon the bench, giving his undivided attention as he listened to the cause on trial before him - his pains-taking and patient effort to find out the truth and decide right, and the uniform kindness with which he treated all who were in any way connected with the court or engaged in the trial of the cause.
"But I remember him with most pleasure and satisfaction as a kind-hearted neighbor and consistent Christian friend, with whom for more than thirty years I have been on terms of familiar and neighborly intercourse, the memory of which will remain with me as long as I shall live.
"His life has been a useful, consistent and successful one. He died as he lived, a sincere, earnest, happy Christian man.
"Thus, my friends, the few links that bind us, the older members of the bar, to the past, are one after another broken. Early friends and associates, one after another, fall; but the breach is soon closed, and as I look around upon the few that remain, I find that nearly all of my early legal associates have fallen by the way, and some of us stand here almost alone.
"And now another has gone, but he has left us a bright example - an example worthy of imitation by every young professional man - a bright Christian example for us to follow, and which should lead us all to desire to die the death of the righteous, and that our last end may be like unto his."
Addresses were also made by other members of the bar, and the following resolutions were adopted:
Whereas, God in His providence has removed by death the Hon. William W. Ellsworth, lately a Judge of the Supreme Court of this state, and a member of this Bar, therefore -
Resolved, That we cherish an affectionate remembrance of the great excellencies and many virtues of our deceased friend, exhibited in the varied public stations he has occupied, as well as in the quiet simplicity and godly example of his private life. As a member of Congress, his patriotic endeavors extended to every part of the country, and regarding the whole as his country, he was ever active and vigilant in preparing and reporting measures calculated to insure and secure its permanency, its unity, and its highest prosperity.
As the Chief Magistrate of this his native state, he devoted himself to her interests and the advancement of the education of her people with that ardor and inflexible purpose which characterized him in every undertaking.
As a Judge he brought to the bench, as he did to the bar, great purity and uprightness of character, learning, love of his profession, industry, high integrity of mind and heart, and that habit of patient and impartial investigation which made him distinguished as a lawyer and most acceptable and respected as a judge - "a man whom the state delighted to honor, and in honoring whom she honored herself."
As a Christian Gentleman, he was characterized by great simplicity of manner and dignity of person, and by an earnest love of the truth and the doctrines of the Bible. His life has been rich in all the elements of usefulness and happiness, and his example in all the relations of life, public and private, is worthy to be imitated and kept in bright remembrance.
Resolved, That in token of our esteem for his memory, we attend his funeral in a body, and respectfully request the superior court, now in session, to adjourn for that purpose.
Resolved, That the court be requested to order these resolutions to be entered upon its minutes, and that the clerk of the bar transmit a copy thereof to the family of the deceased, and furnish a like copy for publication in the newspapers of the city.
As Printed in the Connecticut Reports, volume 18, page iii
Appointed [Judge of the Supreme Court of Errors] May, 1847.
As Printed in the Connecticut Reports, volume 30, page iii
Term [as Judge of the Supreme Court of Errors] expired by constitutional limitation on the 10th day of November, 1861.
As Printed in the Connecticut Reports, volume 80, pages 723 - 725
William Thomas Elmer, late a judge of the Superior Court, was born in Rome, New York, on November 6th, 1835, and died at his home in Middletown in this State, November 11th, 1907. He was one of six children of Lebbeus E. Elmer, a successful merchant and man of affairs, who was prominent in the social, religious and political life of his town.
Beginning his education in public schools of Rome, Judge Elmer later entered Wesleyan University at Middletown, graduating in 1857. He pursued his study of the law in the University Law School of Albany, New York, and in the office of Wells & Strong in Hartford, and was admitted to the bar in that city in 1860. After a brief time in the practice of his profession in Suffield, Connecticut, he opened an office in Middletown where he soon obtained a large clientage.
On May 21st, 1862, Judge Elmer married Catherine L. Camp, and of four children born of this marriage, three are now living: Charlotte M., wife of Rev. J. Eldred Brown, rector of Trinity Church, Norwich, Connecticut; Annie A., wife of Dr. Howard H. Hawxhurst, a practicing physician of Washington, D.C., and Avery T., a lawyer located at Middletown.
The capabilities of Judge Elmer were early recognized and he was, during his whole life in Middletown, called to serve his fellow citizens in many capacities.
While yet a young man he became a member of the Republican State Central Committee. In 1862 he was elected judge of probate; in 1863 Assistant Clerk of the House of Representatives; in 1864 he was made Clerk; in 1865 Clerk of the Senate; in 1873 Senator from his district; in 1876 Mayor of Middletown, having previously served as Alderman; in 1895 he was a member of the House and chairman of the Judiciary Committee. For many years he was a well-known figure at the State conventions of his party, with a recognized position as a forceful and eloquent leader.
He was a member of St. John's Lodge, F. & A. M. of Middletown. For many consecutive years he was a member of the board of education, holding for several terms the position of president of the board. He was Judge of the City Court of Middletown, and had also acted as City Attorney.
Judge Elmer was first appointed State's Attorney for Middlesex County in 1863 and he served his State in that capacity by successive appointments (save for eight years) till 1895, when he was appointed a judge of the Superior Court, occupying that office till his retirement by age limit at seventy.
Judge Elmer's qualities of heart and mind marked him for success. Endowed with a fine and manly presence and a brilliant mind, he had moreover an unassailable integrity; a nice sense of justice, never overridden by misdirected zeal; a vivid imagination; a quick, almost an intuitive, judgment; and a heart full of sympathy; yet he was seldom deceived by sham or pretence, and it was not well with the evil-doer who presumed upon him. He had a keen sense of humor and a wit which scintillated and sparkled, to the edification and entertainment, but never to the real hurt, of those within its sphere of action. He had the love of a host of friends and the respect of all who knew him.
*Prepared by Frank D. Haines, Esq., of the Middlesex County Bar, at the request of the Reporter.
As Printed in the Connecticut Reports, volume 81, pages 730 - 731
William Henry Ely was taken ill on Saturday, May 22nd, and passed away early on the morning of Wednesday, May 26th, 1909, at his home in New Haven.
He was born in Hartford, November 27th, 1856, where he received his early education. He was graduated from the Hartford High School in 1873, and from Amherst College in the class of 1877. He studied law with Briscoe & Maltbie of Hartford, and was admitted to the bar in that city May 27th, 1879.
Commencing the practice of his profession in Winsted, Connecticut, Mr. Ely continued there until June 28th, 1884, when he moved to New Haven and formed a partnership with William C. and William S. Case, under the name of Case, Ely, Case. This firm was succeeded by the firm of Case, Ely & Webb. Upon the death of William C. Case, this firm was succeeded by that of Ely & Barclay; and on July 1st, 1907, the partnership of Ely, Zacher & Ely, of which he was senior member at the time of his death, the junior member being his only son and child, William Brewster Ely, was formed.
After his admission to the bar, Mr. Ely's lot was not an easy one. With no one to create business for him, his hard work and his success alone brought clients to him. His cases were carefully and well prepared. In reading the law applicable to his cases, the underlying principles and questions were studied and understood, so that the beginning of a trial found him master of the facts and law. It was a delight to hear him argue questions of law. Involved points became so plain that a layman could understand them. He was an aggressive, but a fair, fighter. To be associated with Mr. Ely in a case was to have the aid of a lawyer thoroughly equipped, and one who knew how to use the equipment. To have him as an opponent was to know that no trickery would be used, but every possible legitimate aid to win the fight would be employed. As a cross-examiner Mr. Ely had few equals, and certainly no superiors, among his associates at the New Haven County bar. There was no noise; no splurge. He achieved his object. The testimony sought was given, before the witness, yes, at times even before his adversary, realized it. Gradually his great ability as a lawyer and his rugged honesty were recognized and became generally known, and he was retained in very many of the most important cases brought in the county. He was about to reap what he had sown, to realize the financial reward for his labor, when he was so suddenly and unexpectedly called away.
Mr. Ely hated, and never lost an opportunity to denounce, all sham and hypocrisy. At no time and at no place did he fail to expose them. He was also keen to detect them. Necessarily he made some enemies, but this did not deter him, and necessarily this quality made men respect him and made loyal friends of those who shared this hatred with him.
Mr. Ely had sociable qualities. He loved to entertain and be entertained. Surrounded by those with whom he loved to be, he was the life of the gathering, and was indeed "a good fellow" among good fellows.
Mr. Ely became identified early with the Republican party and was an active worker. He was no office seeker. In January, 1895, he was elected corporation counsel of the city of New Haven, and a unanimous re-election in 1897, irrespective of party lines, was his reward for effectively performing the duties of that office.
Mr. Ely was the son of William Brewster and Elizabeth Smith (Morgan) Ely, descending on his mother's side from the Morgans of Stonington who figured in the war of the Revolution, and also from Thomas Seymour, who was King's Attorney before the Revolution, while on his father's side his descent was no less illustrious. Among his ancestors are Elder William Brewster, of "Mayflower" fame, and Nathan Ely, who came from Kent, England, in 1625. Nathan Ely was made a freeman in New England, at Cambridge, Massachusetts, in 1635, and went to Hartford, Connecticut, with Rev. Thomas Hooker in 1636, and became one of the original proprietors of the town in 1639. From this ancestor, William Henry Ely was a descendant in the eighth generation, his line being through Samuel, Deacon John, Caleb, William, Eli and William B.
On October 18th, 1881, Mr. Ely was married to Miss Mary Gertrude Little, a native of Sheffield, Massachusetts, who survives him.
*Prepared by Edmund Zacher, Esq., of the New Haven County Bar, at the request of the Reporter.
As Printed in the Connecticut Reports, volume 13, appendix page 9
Daniel Everitt, the second member of the Bar in this town [New-Milford], and the first who was regularly educated to the legal profession, was a native of Bethlehem, in this county. He read law with Andrew Adams, Esq. of Litchfield, afterwards Chief Justice of the Superior Court. He came to reside in this town, and commenced the practice of law here, in the year 1772. He was chosen a member of the General Assembly four times, viz. in Oct. 1780, May, 1781, and in May and October, 1783. He was also a delegate to the Convention which ratified the Federal Constitution. In May, 1790, he was appointed Judge of Probate for the district of New-Milford; which office he held until his death, in Jan. 1805, in the 57th year of his age.
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