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HISTORY AND BIOGRAPHY
3llustrated with Half-Tone Engravings
HON. WILLIAM B. NEFF
A WORD IN
HERE is perennial interest in stories of the achievements of jurists and members of the Bar. This is true because both are
engaged in the transaction of matters that are more or less of a public nature. One can not read the history of the various constitutional conventions without coming upon stories of the members of the Bench and Bar. No other profession has contributed so many of its members to offices of trust and honor in state and nation as has the Bar. Lawyers have written some of the most brilliant pages of our country's history. They are peculiarly qualified by education and experience for public service, and it is but natural that politics should have an attraction and appeal for members of the profession.
A history of the Bench and Bar of Northern Ohio is closely interwoven with the history of the development of that half of our glorious commonwealth. The pioneer lawyer and the pioneer judge were busy in the difficult task of establishing a system of jurisprudence, while the pioneer laymen were clearing the forests, tilling the soil and laying foundations for the erection of the structure of business. The lawyer's task was just as difficult and just as necessary as that of the pioneer, and it might well be argued that the task of establishing a system of jurisprudence was the more important, for the law is the cornerstone on which is reared the structure of civilization.
Without law and order men can not congregate and live in villages and cities, and so it was that while the great Northwest Territory-of which our state was a part—was still a primeval country, with savages making up the majority of population-an all-wise body in Washington, provided the great Ordinance of 1787, for the government of the territory embracing the present middle west. The ordinance was one of the forerunners to the rapid settlement of the country to the west of the Alleghenies. Up to the passage of that measure, it had been the tendency to discourage immigration to the west and to encourage the whites to live along the eastern coast, where they were more accessible. Under the ordinance a simple but effective system of jurisprudence was established, and the people of the East feeling the security it granted, and further prompted by the advantages to be gained by taking up residence in a new country, Hocked across the Alleghenies into Ohio. The establishment of a system of laws for the new territory alone exerted a great influence toward populating it. That first organic law of the new territory to the west of Pennsylvania was written by a Congress, in which members of the legal profession held commanding positions,
The present day lawyer can not imagine the struggles that the pioneer lawyer endured. He frequently was before courts that were