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Early Members of the Bar

The first practicing lawyer---as attorneys at law usually were known in those days---in Kent county was Julius C. Abel, who came to the county in 1834. He was a surveyor of land and a self-made lawyer, with a stentorian voice that won him many a case. John Ball was another early member of the bar here, as were George Martin, A. D. Rathbone, Charles P. Calkins, Thomas B. Church, S. M. Johnson, and C. Osgood. George Martin afterwards became chief justice of the supreme court of Michigan. Thomas C. Church became prosecuting attorney by appointment of the governor and in that capacity conducted the first murder trial in Grand Rapids in 1843.

Other early attorneys admitted to practice were Solomon L. Withey, John T. Holmes and Sylvester Granger, 1843; Lucius Patterson, 1847; Ebenezer S. Eggleston and James H. McKee, 1852; Christopher W. Leffingwell, 1854; John W. Champlin, 1855; William E. Grove, 1859. Mr. Champlin in 1883 was elected justice of the state supreme court.

The Grand Rapids Bar association was formed in 1902, with 106 members.


Transcriber: Ronnie Aungst
Created: 14 December 199
URL: http://kent.migenweb.net/etten1926/bar.html