Consanguinity: (kŏn'săng-gwĭn'ĭtē) , relationship by blood, whether linear or collateral.

Primarily concentrating on my Browning family from Harrison County, Ohio (and their subsequent move to Crawford County, Illinois) but I've got Plymell, Crago, Eagleton, Garrard, McConnell, Nichols, Swan, Nevitt, Huls, Markee, Depperman, Papstein/Popstein and Hamilton in there too. And that's just the beginning......

Monday, May 11, 2009

Browning v. Beck, pt. 4 - Famous By Association?

Before I continue on with Samuel's case I want to feature something that's been brought to my attention by the wonderful footnoteMaven! A thousand thanks go out to her for her help. It reminds me how vital it is that all of us remember to reach out to other genealogists and weave as many webs with others as we are able. Do it when you ask others for help, and do it when you offer your help. Who knows? Someone else out there may have a snippet of knowledge that could illuminate a dark corner of your history for you or help clear out forests you haven't been able to see into because of the trees. And who knows? You might be carrying one of those snippets around for someone else. In other words, pay it forward.

So what, you ask, was that snippet of information that footnoteMaven graced me with?

If you'll recall -- and maybe you won't, but thank goodness fM did! -- Samuel had hired counsel to represent him in his case against James Beck. His counsel was the team of Dewey and Stanton. Before beginning my presentation here I did a thorough read-through of the extant documents I have and the first names of these men are never mentioned in any of them. Lacking that information I decided to concentrate on the witnesses in the case and in the course of that research I ran across a burial listing from the Cadiz New Cemetery, as follows:

Buried in the Cadiz New Cemetery:

Dewey Chauncey Mar 27 1796 Feb 15 1880

Dewey Nancy Pritchard Oct 27 1804 Sep 6 1897 w/o Chauncy Dewey

I wondered if that was one of the lawyers in the case and jotted it down. I then popped into the 1840 census and looked him up. I found this Chauncey living in Cadiz Township. Interesting! I decided to check the other fellow and typed in Stanton. No hits in Harrison County. With that, I'd laid aside that aspect of my research task for a while, intending to return to it for a later installment of this series, and concentrated on researching the witnesses of the case instead.

I thought nothing more of it until last night, when fM left me a comment and mentioned that she found the lawyers in the case as interesting as the case itself. She let me know that the "Dewey and Stanton" who represented Samuel in this case were none other than the Chauncey Dewey I had located and his then-lesser known, younger partner Edwin McMasters Stanton.

Edwin M. Stanton had been elected to the Ohio Bar in 1835 but had to wait until he reached the age of 21 to begin practicing. By the time of Samuel's trial Stanton had married Mary Lamson in 1836 in Columbus and brought her back to Cadiz to live, had become active in the local anti-slavery society, and just been elected prosecuting attorney of Harrison County as a Democrat.

Though Dewey was the elder of the two and had been practicing law for much longer than Stanton, it didn't take long for Stanton to rise farther than Dewey had ever been able to. Stanton practiced law in Harrison County for a few more years after representing Samuel; in 1839 he decided to expand his practice into his hometown of Steubenville, Ohio -- a city some 40 miles away from Cadiz. From 1842 to 1845 he served as recorder of the Supreme Court of Ohio in Columbus as well as maintained his partnership with Dewey until 1843, after Dewey's tenure as an Ohio state senator (1841-42)was concluded. Dewey decided to step away from the law and pursued banking in his later years but Stanton continued to practice. Stanton moved to Pittsburgh in 1847 to more vigorously pursue his career, as his wife Mary had died in 1844. He stayed there for nine years before deciding in 1856 to move to Washington, D.C. He wanted to pursue his further law career before the Supreme Court.

History was to get in his way and send him down another path. He served as legal consultant to Secretary of War Simon Cameron under President James Buchanan. In 1860 he was appointed Attorney General by President Buchanan. In 1862, upon Secretary Cameron's resignation, Stanton was appointed the Secretary of War by President Abraham Lincoln. Stanton served with Lincoln through his presidency and served under Andrew Johnson after Lincoln's assassination. He didn't agree with Johnson at all and worked to get him impeached. Johnson fired him in February 1868. Stanton refused to leave office and locked himself in the War Department. Stanton then resigned in May 1868 and returned to his private practice. His wish to sit on the Supreme Court appeared to be fulfilled when President Grant appointed him and the Senate confirmed him on the same day, 20 December 1868. He died, however, four days later in Washington, D.C.

In my research into Stanton's life a few of the same things kept coming up over and over. He was said to have been autocratic, stubborn, grating, abrasive, and ego-driven. He wasn't an easy man to get to know and an even more difficult one to like. He was like a dog with a bone when he felt he was right. He didn't show much mercy or compassion to his enemies or to those he'd defeated in battle -- whether the battle be in the field or in a courtroom. He was said to be brutal and sarcastic and unwilling to give an inch during trial; he could browbeat witnesses with the best of them.

I wonder what it was like to have been Samuel and Julia Ann, watching a young Edwin McMasters Stanton in the courtroom during their trial against James Beck. I wish I had the trial transcripts; I might have been able to tell. I bet James Beck wished he'd just settled, though…..

Thanks for the help, fM. I've found no famous ancestors in my family trees so far, but I guess I can settle for famous by association!


Sources: . History of Carroll and Harrison Counties, Ohio Under the Editorial Supervision of JUDGE H. J. ECKLEY, for Carroll County and JUDGE WM. T. PERRY, for Harrison County. Assisted by a Board of Advisory Editors. Harrison County Illustrated Volume 1. The Lewis Publishing Company, Chicago and New York, 1921. . The Ohio Judicial Center website, Grand Concourse. Biography of Edwin McMasters Stanton (Dec. 19, 1814 - Dec. 24, 1869) . The Impeachment of Andrew Johnson website, Who Was Who, Cabinet Members.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you so much for your kind words. Yes, we are here to help each other. Why, Stanton may have become the man of history by cutting his teeth on cases such as this. Samuel and Julia Ann may be responsible for his fame and fortune.

    I once had a professor who said I was like a dog with a bone; when I researched I shook the bone until all the meat fell off. I think it's an apt description for an attorney.

    Can't wait to read more!