The legal profession occupies a most important place in our political, as well as in our social system. It is con­nected with the closest of family ties, and is often called upon to settle the disputes roost vital to domestic happiness. To this profession are we indebted for our constitutions and our laws, and in a great mea­sure the management of our polit­ical system. To it also must we look for the enforcement of our laws, the punishment ofits violators and the maintenance of good order in society. The Judicial system of Warren County, as at present constituted, may be di­vided into four parts: The Justice Court, County Court, Circuit Court and the Supreme Court. John B, Talbot was the first Justice of the Peace, receiving his appointment when the county was attached to Peoria County, and Daniel McNeil, Jr., was the first appointed after the county was organized. The first elected, which was at the election held the first Mon­day in August, 1830, was John Pence, and Daniel McNeil, Jr., for the Yellow Banks district, and John B. Talbot and Andrew (Sandy) Ritehey, for Hodgin's Grove district.
When the county was organized it was in the fifth judicial circuit, with Judge Richard M. Young presiding.

At the time the Judge issued his order for an election for county organization, he fixed the terms of holding the Circuit Court for the fourth Monday in June, and the first Monday in October, which was to be held at such places as the County Commissioners' Court might select. The Commis­sioners, however, for reasons not known, failed to make any provision for an October term of court, and there was none held. The first term of this court subsequently was called for June, 183;. There were two cases docketed for this term, to wit: John Pence, vs. Joshua Vandruff, an appeal case from the Justice Court, and Charles Collins vs. Thomas S. Sublett, an action for debt.

The docket reports that no court was held on account of Indian disturbances. It was the same with the October term following. In October, 1832, the Indian troubles having been settled, a term of court was held, which was the first regular term in the county. Hon. Richard M. Yourng; presided, with Thomas Ford, states attorney, Daniel McNeil, Jr., clerk, and Stephen S. Phelps, sheriff. The first case tried was an action for an assault and battery; the People vs. William Donison. The defendant was found guilty and fined $14 and cost. The two first cases docketed were then tried. The judg­ment in the Justice Coutt was affirmed, and the other case was nonsuited at plaintiff's cost. The Grand Jurors for this term were Alexander Davidson, William Russell, Thomas S. Sublett, James Ritchey, John Caldwell, Peler Smith, Thomas Caldwell, Field Jarvis, John Smith, John G. Haley, Elijah Hanan, John Vanaton, John E. Murphy, Win, R. Jamison, Elijah Davidson, Jacob Rust, Robert M, Black and Wm, Whitman. Davidson was appointed foreman.

After a few days of session the Grand Jury came into court and reported that they had not found any cause for indictment, and there being no further business before them they were discharged. The first petit jury sworn in for the trial of causes were: Sheldon Lockwood, Elijah Davidson, Sr., Henry Meadows, John C. Jamison, Abner Short, Lewis Vertrees, Samuel Gibson, Robert Wallace, George Peekempaugh, James Gibson, Joseph W. Kendall and Thomas Gibson, Sr. They tried the assault and battery ease above mentioned.

The members of the liar were fond of having their little fun in those days, probably more so than now. They had more true then for recreation and frolic, and never failed to embrace the opportunity. John Potter had been admitted to the Bar at one of the sessions of the Court during this term. He was for­tunate in securing a trial ease, in which he made his first plea or maiden speech, which is reported to have been a very fair one. On the motion docket is the following order: "Members of the Bar vs. John Porter:—Now, come the plaintiffs and move the Court for an order on defendant to ' wet * his maiden speech.'' This order was allowed. The records do not inform us however, whether the young attorney's fees in this case were sufficient to defray the ex­penses necessary to carry out the Court's order.

 

MURDERERS OF WILLIAM MARTIN

JOSEPH SMITH

JOHN BAXTER

McMAHILL AND BROCKNER