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David J. Workum formed a partnership with offices in the First National Bank Building.
He took an active interest in politics, and in 1912 became the Democratic candidate for Congress in the First District, defeating Nicholas Longworth, the Republican nominee. He served two years with Alfred G. Allen, his Democratic associate from the Second District. In 1914 the same candidates opposed each other, but this time Mr. Bowdle was defeated.
In 1911 he was elected as a member of the Ohio Constitutional Convention and left his impress upon the work of that body and extended his reputation as a man of original thought and an orator armed with wit, humor and learning.
In 1916 he became a candidate for Congress in the Second District, but was defeated by Victor Heintz.
At the time of his death he was busy with his profession and increasingly occupied with important and lucrative litigation and office business.
In the last few years he was associated, in the Second National Bank Building, with Joseph B. Schroeder, Edward C. Hauer and Lorenz Lemper.
The above gives a mere outline of Mr. Bowdle's life, but conveys no idea of his mind, heart and soul or of the qualities which gave him distinction and drew the affection and esteem of his friends.
Of a tall, almost gaunt appearance, he commanded attention immediately by his manner of speaking. Even in familiar converse he was impressive. His enunciation was clear and distinct, his sentences well formed, his ideas lucid and connected, and always there was a graphic grace about his gestures and bodily movements—not in the least conventional—that heightened the telling effect of his words and thought.
He had a logical mind. Laying down his premises and data, he proceeded by easy and imperceptible stages to convince his hearers of the soundness of his conclusions. He loved an argument and would fairly meet an opponent point by point, whether in the field of law, politics or religion.
He had read deeply certain phases of history. French history from the Revolution to modern times attracted him. He was familiar with the speeches of Robespierre, Mirabeau and the other great orators of those times. No one who heard his paper on Thiers, the French statesman, delivered before the Bar Association, can forget his vivid character painting, his familiarity with the opening years of the nineteenth century, his knowledge of the tangled political currents following the Napoleonic era and the trend of events up to and during the Commune.
The Bar Association heard also his papers on Emilio Castelar, the Spanish statesman, and Juarez, the first president of the Mexican Republic.
These three papers contain a most entertaining and accurate synopsis of the history of the three countries, France, Spain and Mexico for the greater part of the nineteenth century. They were enlivened throughout by dramatic force, keen insight into political conditions, sparkling wit, a characteristic pungent humor, and the delightful surprise of apt epigram.
He was intensely alive to the great achievements of the United States in the times preceding the war. As a member of Congress he took occasion to become familiar with the burning question of the merchant marine. His lecture on this subject was given before many audiences. It was a labor of love. From his boyhood days in Cramps ship-yard, he began the study of the intricate problems of seapower in peace and war. He knew ships from keel to crows-nest, and he carried in his mind the statistics of world shipping, the names of the various companies, the numbers of vessels controlled by each, the laws governing the conditions of operation-all to a degree of detail that was most amazing. He advocated the acquisition by the United States of a strong merchant marine, keenly realizing its immense influence on national safety and prosperity.
He had visited Panama, and his illustrated lecture on the canal, given frequently, never failed to hold the tense interest of his audiences.
In his travels in the West his imagination was stirred by the achievements of the Government in its series of land reclamation projects. Here again he took delight in delivering talks with stereoptican views of these colossal undertakings, which have proven so valuable to the rich arid lands of our Western Empire.
There was never a dull moment in any of these addresses; they were truly informative; and at times he called upon his reading of the world's great philosophers for quotations showing the analogy between the grandeur of the material universe and the sublimity of human speculative thought. Throughout there were flashes of humor to relieve the didactic or descriptive and the hearer arose refreshed in mind and spirit to carry away a more exalted opinion of his country's greatness and of the dignity of the moral world.
In politics he was a Democrat of the old school. He felt sympathy with the cause of the common people. He loved simplicity of life and cared nothing for pomp or show. He took many a case for those who could promise little or nothing in the
way of fees.
As a lawyer he was distinguished for his ability to separate a law question into its most simple forms. He loved to argue from principle and then proceed to fortify his position with the most pertinent cases. The illustrations he used in argument were mostly taken from homely things. And yet at times he would marshal opposite incidents and illustrations from history, literature or mechanics.
He showed great skill in his speeches to juries. Dangerous points were minimized or dismissed with a sarcasm that was not too caustic. He dwelt on the strength of his case in strong, simple language and in more than one aspect, so that the jury could not fail to see his position in its most favorable light.
No account of Mr. Bowdle's life would be complete without some reference to his religious trend of thought. That he was profoundly reverent of a supreme power as ruler of the universe, no one who knew him even superficially, could doubt. His nature was one of engaging frankness and he loved to talk of the things that gave him the greatest interest. First among these was his knowledge of the Bible. As a very young man he formed the habit of studying the Scriptures. Although he read widely among the agnostic and atheistic philosophers, such as Spencer and Voltaire, he seemed never to have a doubt of the Christian revelation. He saw in the New Testament the fulfillment of the promises voiced by the great Hebrew prophets Isaiah and Ezekiel. His form of worship went through some changes in his life, but in latter years he had become a member of the Episcopal Church.
Over and above Mr. Bowdle's attainments in several fields of activity-political, legal and literary-were the personality and character of the man himself. There was a never failing boyishness—the incarnate spirit of youth, notwithstanding the fundamental seriousness of his nature. He was always eager and fresh for an intellectual combat. When he had time he prepared carefully his arguments, but he was ever ready to engage unexpectedly in debate and drew unfailingly upon the ample store of knowledge always at his command. He seemed somehow never to arouse rancor in his opponents. They knew that he was genuine and that his quarrel was always with ideas, not with the individual.
Perhaps the most noticeable characteristic of his mental equipment, shown in both his familiar and public utterances, was his unfailing sense of humor. It was not humor for humor's sake, but used to make clearer the sharp point of an argument. Joined with the humor there was also the wit that lighted up his thought by juxtaposition with an unexpected contrast. It may be said of him that he was self-educated in the best
He was always willing to learn, and in consequence his views on serious subjects were constantly being broadened and ripened. His reading was extensive and embraced religious, philosophical, historical and literary masterpieces.
He had the gift of making close and loyal friends. His conversation was stimulating, his understanding of views other than his own quick and sympathetic.
His influence on others was widespread and invariably elevating. No one could converse with him without being better for the contact. His domestic life was of the happiest.
To say of him that the example of his life was inspiring; that the love and admiration of his friends will live on; that his memory in the community will be ever cherished, is to utter a commonplace, but it is the simple truth, and we of his profession are honoring ourselves as well as him by this sincere and heartfelt tribute.
EDWARD KIBLER, SR.
By DAVID F. Pugh, of Columbus
Neither the quantity nor the quality of a human life can be ascertained by statistics. By glibly repeating the dates of the birth, marriage and death of a man, we can not measure his life. We learn nothing of the invisible, spiritual element of his life, which is abiding and potent, by that process. There is more in one's life than the cradle, the marriage altar and the grave. The finest and divinest part of one's life is unseen, unheard by and unknown to others. No one can fitly speak of that part of another's life.
It is easy to relate when and where Edward Kibler, Senior, was born, who his parents were, what schools and colleges he attended, when he began to practice law, etc. But that does not inform. us about the visions, hopes, and plans of his youth, his internal wrestlings with doubts and fears, his lonely sorrows, the temptations which he met and to which he yielded or which he mastered, the solemn questionings in his tribulation hours, the silent battles he fought, the whole sweep and complexion of his inner life. Of these things we have no absolute knowledge. We can only reason from the open, the visible part of his life, what they were.
Mr. Kibler was devoted to his profession, and in the line of that devotion he was president of the Ohio State Bar Association, and vice-president for Ohio of the American Bar Association. He never held any public office except as city councilman, city solicitor and municipal code commissioner. He had no relish for politics. He had no hunger and thirst for publicity or notoriety which is sweeter than honey to many men. His life was chiefly a quiet one. Although he had a lucrative practice, he was never engaged in any celebrated cause, unless one, City of Newark vs. The Newark Natural Gas and Fuel Company, may be so classed. He never was identified with public history, which so often imparts value to biography. His kind of a career may not be calculated to charm the reader of his biography by the significance of its