Page images


JUN 30 1915



They who lived in history .... seemed to walk the earth again.

-Longfellow. We may gather out of history a policy no less wise than eternal.

-Sir Walter Raleigh.

Histories make men wise.-Bacon.

Truth comes to us from the past as gold is washed down to us from the mountains of Sierra Nevada, in minute but precious particles.—Bovee.

Examine history, for it is “philosophy teaching by example.”—Carlyle.

History is the essence of innumerable biographies.-Carlyle.

Biography is the most universally pleasant, the most universally profitable, of all reading.-Carlyle.

Both justice and decency require that we should bestow on our forefathers an honorable remembrance.- Thucydides.

“If history is important, biography is equally so, for biography is but history individualized. In the former we have the episodes and events illustrated by communities, peoples, states, nations. In the latter we have the lives and characters of individual men shaping events, and becoming instructors of future generations.”


Encyclopedia of the History of Missouri.


The son,

Slover, James H., lawyer and jurist, tics he is a Democrat, and he was for many was born December 31, 1838, in Towanda, years chairman of the Jackson County Pennsylvania. His parents were Jacob J. and Democratic committee, and an aggressive Christiana A. (Potter) Slover. The father opponent of the severely proscriptive Drake was descended from a Holland family which constitution. Judge Slover was married in settled in the Mohawk Valley in the State of 1866 to Miss Mary A. Howe, daughter of New York, and contributed of its members to William Howe, of Independence, an early the patriot army during the Revolutionary merchant who figured prominently in the War. He removed to Pennsylvania and was Santa Fe and Indian trade. a soldier in the War of 1812. James H. Slover, began his education in the Small, George H., merchant and pubpublic schools in his native town, and con- lic official, was born in Mason County, Kentinued it in Chicago, Illinois. He then be- tucky, April 10, 1843. He was reared in came a student in the Union College of Law Missouri, and during the Civil War served at Chicago, and was graduated from that in- with Bledsoe's battery in the Confederate stitution in June, 1866. In September fol- Army. In 1867 he came to St. Louis and lowing, having made his residence in Jackson engaged in business as a commission merCounty, Missouri, he was admitted to the bar chant, continuing to devote the larger share by Judge Tutt. He at once entered upon of his time and attention to that business for practice, in which he continued until his ele- nearly thirty years thereafter. In 1889 he vation to the bench in 1885. For some time was appointed police commissioner of St. he was a member of the firm of Comingo & Louis by Governor David R. Francis to fill Slover; later, John F. Philips (afterward out an unexpired term of two years, and at United States Judge) was admitted to the the end of that time was reappointed for a partnership, and the firm name became Phil- full term of four years. In 1895 he was apips, Comingo & Slover.

Mr. Slover was pointed Assistant United States Treasurer at called to public service immediately upon St. Louis by President Cleveland. He was completing his legal education, being elected first vice president of the Merchants' Exa justice of the peace in Independence in 1866 change of St. Louis in 1894. Politically he and occupying the position for four years. has been identified with the Democratic During the same period he served as a mem- party ever since he became a citizen of Misber and as treasurer of the school board, and souri. He was married, in 1877, to Miss Ida for two terms as mayor.

In 1885 he was ap- M. Wetmore, a daughter of Dr. A. Wetmore, pointed Judge of Division 2 of the circuit

a leading physician of Clinton, Iowa. court of Jackson County. In 1886 he was elected to the same position and he was suc- Smith, Alvin Jay, lawyer, and vice cessively re-elected in 1892 and in 1898. As president of the Adrian Banking Company, of a lawyer, his attainments are of a high order, Adrian, Bates County, was born in a log and on the bench he displays the qualifica- cabin in Delaware County, Ohio, May 23, tions of an accomplished jurist; well read in 1855, son of John J. and Deborah H. (Blue) the literature of his profession, and quick to* Smith. His father, who was born in Berkdiscern the relations of fact and law, he is at shire County, Massachusetts, June 6, 1816, the same time a patient listener, and is held in boyhood moved with his parents to Delain high regard by practitioners for his un- ware County, Ohio, where he taught school failing consideration and courtesy. In poli- until he was thirty years of age. In 1869

Vol. VI-1

he removed to Bates County, Missouri, where cided to locate there, where he has had a the remainder of his life was spent on a farm. successful career since May 23, 1883. Mr. His first wife, a native of Virginia, died when Smith has always been devoted to the printhe subject of this sketch was an infant. His ciples of the Republican party, in the success second wife was Martha Livingston, daugh- of which he has been actively interested. ter of Judge Livingston, of Franklin County, Even before he was of age he was ardent in Ohio. The children of the first union were his support of the cause of Republicanism, as Dr. Norman P. Smith, of Paris, Illinois; an incident in his college career will show. Mary E., widow of William H. Walter, of The law class of which he was a member Warrensburg, Missouri; Dr. Harvey B. contained only half a dozen young RepubliSmith, who died at Shelbyville, Illinois, Jan- cans, and of these he was recognized as the uary 6, 1894; John C., a merchant at Adrian, leader, by reason of his forcefulness and oraMissouri; Alvin J., and a daughter who died torical ability. The city of Columbia was in infancy. John J. Smith was a careful bus- strongly Democratic, but the young men deiness man.

When he came to Missouri he termined to show their colors during the was in debt, but when he died he left valu- campaign. They congregated on one of the able property. He always followed the streets and were addressing the assembled golden rule, and if he ever did an injustice to crowd, when the meeting was broken up by a fellow man it was through an error of judg- a crowd of roughs. Adjournment was taken ment. The education of Alvin J. Smith, his to the courthouse, and while young Smith youngest son, was begun in the public was speaking to a crowd that filled the room, schools of Ohio. In 1869 he accompanied his a missile was thrown upon the platform. father to Bates County, Missouri, where his Determined to stand upon his rights, he education was continued, principally at the stepped to the front of the platform and in Butler Academy. After leaving the last tones whose meaning was unmistakable, annamed institution he began the study of law nounced that the next assault of that kind under the direction of Judge William Page, would be followed by the adoption of measof Butler, teaching school in the meantime ures that would put an end to the trouble. for the purpose of earning money enough to This announcement was sufficiently corcomplete his legal education. The end sought rective and the meeting proceeded without was finally accomplished and he entered the further disorder. Its result was the organilaw department of the State University at zation of the first Republican club of that Columbia, graduating in the class of 1881, of campaign in Boone County. Mr. Smith's which he was valedictorian. In the same first vote was cast for Grant. For fifteen year he was admitted to the bar before Judge years he has been city attorney at Adrian, James B. Gantt, chief justice of the Supreme the only public office he has ever held. He Court of Missouri, after a most rigid exam- has never asked for political preferment, nor ination. After the conclusion of the examin- cared for it, but has accepted nominations to ation, Judge Gantt descended from the bench office only upon the demand of his party. and grasping the hand of the applicant He has been the Republican nominee for warmly congratulated him on the unusually school commissioner, prosecuting attorney successful issue of the test to which he had and Representative in the State Legislature been subjected, an incident rarely witnessed. from Bates County, and on each occasion Upon receiving his coveted certificate Mr. ran ahead of his ticket, though not elected, Smith began practice in the office of his pre- the Democratic majority of 1,500 in that ceptor, Judge Page, at Butler, and was suc- county being too large to be overcome. For cessful from the start. About a year later fifteen years he has been attorney for the he went to Ohio to visit his brother, John C. Adrian Banking Company, and since 1899 Smith, remaining there for seven months and has been vice president of that corporation. spending all the money he had earned while His other interests include 300 acres of fine engaged in professional work in Butler. Re- farming land and several valuable lots in turning home he went to Yates Centre, Adrian. Fraternally he is a charter memKansas, and made arrangements to engage in ber of Adrian Lodge No. 13, Independent practice there, but in deference to the wishes Order of Odd Fellows, in which he has of his father, then residing in Adrian, he de- passed all the chairs, and a member of the

« PreviousContinue »