Edwin F. Uhl,
Edwin F. Uhl was long a distinguished member of the Michigan bar and in his profession his reputation far transcended the limitations of his native state, besides which he gained high diplomatic honors in his service as United States minister to Germany and was otherwise prominent in governmental and general public affairs. He was one of the morst honored and influential citizens of Grand Rapids at the time of his death, May 17, 1901, and this publication properly functions when it enters a tribute to his sixtieth birthday anniversary. He was a child of three years at the time of the family removal to Michigan, less than a decade after the admission of the state to the Union, and his father, David M. Uhl, became a pioneer farmer a short distance east of Ypsilanti, Washtenaw county, where he obtained land in the district known as "the plains", both he and his wife having been sterling pioneer citizens of Michigan at the time of their deaths. Before he was seventeen years of age Edwin F. Uhl had completed a course in Ypsilanti Seminary, which was then one of the well ordered educational institutions of the state, and in his class he gained the maximum honors for oratory. In 1862 he was graduated in the law department of the University of Michigan, and was duly admitted to the Michigan bar by the supreme court of the state. For thirty years Mr. Uhl continued in the successful practice of law in Michigan, and he gained reputation as one of the most resourceful trial lawyers and well fortified counselors at the Michigan bar. In 1876 Mr. Uhl removed with his family to Grand Rapids, and this city continued to represent his home and the center of his interests during the remainder of his life. Here he became identified with numerous industrial and financial enterprises of importance, and he ever manifested deep interest in all that tended to advance the city and material welfare of the city. Mr. Uhl had much of leadership in the Michigan councils of the Democratic party, and in 1890-91 he gave a characteristically loyal and effective administration as mayor of Grand Rapids, his executive policies having been marked by much progressiveness. In 1893 Mr. Uhl was tendered a high position in the United States war department, but he declined this post, on the grounds that he was entirely unfamiliar with military affairs. Later he was importuned to accept a military post abroad; but this governmental preferment he likewise refused, largely for the same reason that had prompted his previous declination. In 1893 he served as assistant secretary of state for Michigan, and in 1895 he made an extended European tour, under governmental appointment, to inspect the United States consular service in the various European countries. In 1896 Mr. Uhl was appointed United States minister plenipotentiary and envoy extraordinary to the Germany empire, and was stationed in the city of Berlin. He gave a masterly administration in this important diplomatic post, and after his return to the United States he resumed the practice of his profession, in which at the time of his death he was a member of the representative Chicago law firm of Uhl, Jones & Landis, and of the influential Grand Rapids law firm of Uhl, Hyde & Earle. He gained wide reputation as a constitutional and corporation lawyer and won many great victories in connection with litigations of the most important order. Mr. Uhl and his wife were zealous communicants of the Protestant Episcopal church, and as such were for many years influential members of the Grand Rapids parish of St. Mark’s church. Mrs. Uhl, whose maiden name was Alice Follett, was born in the state of Michigan, and she continued her residence in Grand Rapids until her death, at the age of seventy-three years. Mr. and Mrs. Uhl are survived by two sons and two daughters: David E. is individually mentioned elsewhere in this volume; Marshall M. is a representative member of the Grand Rapids bar, as a member of the well-known law firm of Knappen, Uhl & Bryant; Lucy F. is the wife of Daniel Wood, of San Jose, California; and Edwina is the wife of Earl D. Babst, of New York City.
History of Kent County, Volume III by Arthur
Location: Grand Rapids Public Library
Transcriber: Evelyn Sawyer
Created: 29 March 2002