Julius Houseman Amberg

Page 639-640-641 - Julius Houseman Amberg, an active young attorney of Grand Rapids, is a descendant of pioneer settlers of the city, his family history recording the presence of one of his grandfathers in Grand Rapids in the days before Michigan was admitted to the Union, and both sides of the house are closely linked with the development of the city since that time. His maternal great-grandfather, Maxim Ringuette, a shoemaker of French-Canadian origin, came to Detroit on foot in 1834. There he bought a horse and rode to Ionia where he traded the animal for a canoe in which he came to Grand Rapids. He was the first shoemaker to locate in the settlement, which at that time comprised only a few white families and several hundred Indians. Julius Houseman, the maternal grandfather of our subject, was born in Zeckendorf, Bavaria, Germany, December 8, 1832, and received a common school and commercial education in Munich. In 1848 he emigrated to the United States and settled at Grand Rapids in 1851. Thereafter until 1876, he engaged in mercantile pursuits in that city and then became interested in timber lands. His integrity and popularity were such that he was elected alderman, serving eight years in that capacity. He was then elected mayor of Grand Rapids for two terms. The people of his district then sent him to the state legislature in 1871 and 1872, and in 1876 he was the Democratic candidate for lieutenant-governor. He was elected to Congress in 1882 on the Union ticket, receiving 16,725 votes as against 16,609 votes cast for the Republican candidate, William O. Webster, and 336 for William H. Taylor, the Greenback candidate. His daughter Hattie Houseman, married David M. Amberg, a native of Middletown, Ohio, who came to Grand Rapids in 1868 at the age of twenty years. Mr. and Mrs. Amberg were the parents of four children, Melvin, Sophie, Hazel, and Julius H., the subject of this review. Julius Houseman Amberg was born in Grand Rapids, February 27, 1890. He attended the Wealthy Street Grammar School and then the Central High School, being graduated from the latter in 1908. He then matriculated at Colgate university from which he was graduated with the degree of Bachelor of Arts in 1912. During the four years spent at this university he was editor-in-chief of the college annual and the college weekly paper; he was winner of prizes in Latin and English and lead the debating team; he was a member of Skull and Scroll, Phi Beta Kappa, and Delta Sigma Rho honorary fraternities, and he was graduated first in his class. He is a member of the Delta Upsilon fraternity, Colgate Chapter. In 1912 he entered the Harvard Law School and was graduated therefrom in 1915. He was note editor of the Harvard Law Review, winner of the Sears prize for foremost scholarship in 1913 and 1914, and secured the Fay diploma in 1915 as a mark of the highest position in the class. Following his graduation from Harvard, he returned to Grand Rapids and became a clerk in the office of Butterfield & Keeney on September 1. He was admitted to the bar on October 15 and was taken into partnership September 1, 1916, the firm later adopting the name of Butterfield, Keeney & Amberg. In 1917 he was called to the office of the Secretary of War to perform legal work in connection with labor disputes, being the author of the War Department pamphlet on enforcement of the eight-hour law in government contracts. Later in the war Mr. Amberg entered the United States Navy as a seaman, second class, at Great Lakes, Illinois, but the war ended before he was sent over seas. Mr. Amberg was married October 10, 1916, to Callie S. Smith, the daughter of Eugene and Ella (Sutherland) Smith of DePere, Wisconsin, and to Mrs. and Mrs. Ae was note Hmberg have been born a daughter, Mary Sutherland, October 10,1917; a son David M., January 31, 1920, and a daughter, Hazel Felice, April 18, 1925. Mr. Amberg is a member of the Doric Lodge of Masons, the Harvard chapter of Acacia, the I. O. B. B., Kent Country Club and the University and Triangle Clubs. He has served as president of the Grand Rapids Anti-Tuberculosis Society, and in the Grand Rapids chapter of the American Red Cross; has been a director, member of the executive board, secretary of the Civilian Relief Committee and chairman of the speakersí committee during the war campaigns. He is a director of the Social Welfare Association and has been a director in the Big Brother movement. He was also chairman of the advisory board of the Grand Rapids Federation of Social Agencies, and became president of that federation in 1920 and continued as its president during its reorganization into the present Grand Rapids Welfare Union of which he was president until 1925. He is also a trustee of Butterworth Hospital, the Grand Rapids Bar Association, and the Grand Rapids Foundation. Mr. Amberg has taken part in many important cases in the Michigan and Federal courts and is the author of an article entitled "Retroactive Excise Taxation" printed in the Harvard Law Review in 1923. He is president of the Foster Welfare Foundation, organized under the will of Clara J. Foster.

Transcriber: Nancy Myers
Created: 7 January 2004
URL: http://kent.migenweb.net/white1924/personal/ambergjh.html