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THE OLD MEMBERS OF THE CALHOUN AND KALAMAZOO COUNTY BARS

BY A. D. P. VAN BUREN

SKETCHES, REMINISCENCES, AND ANECDOTES OF THE OLD MEMBERS OF THE CALHOUN AND KALAMAZOO COUNTY BARS

The period of which we write embraces most of the pioneer epoch of central Michigan. At this time, from 1836 to 1848, Judge Epaphroditus Ransom, one of the chief justices of the supreme court, was ex-officio presiding circuit judge. His circuit then "embraced nearly one fourth of the present inhabited area of the lower peninsula, commencing with Branch county at the -southeast, thence north to Montcalm, and including all the territory between that line and the eastern shore of Lake Michigan. Most of this vast tract was hardly more than an unbroken wilderness, the courts of which were held in the primitive school houses and reached by the judge on horseback. " There were two associate or side judges,, elected in each county, who sat with the judge during the term of court in their own county seat.
Many interesting incidents are given of Judge Ransom and his legal cortege making their accustomed journey through the woods from county seat to county seat, in rude cavalier style. The early settlers, those true founders of this state, first reared the log house, then the school house, the meeting house, and lastly the courthouse. These four, the home, the school, the church, and the court of justice, constitute the four corner stones in the fabric of our civilization. The mechanics were at first the most needful class, then came the professional men, and among them the lawyer. "I have a great reverence, " says Kennedy, "for the profession of the law and its votaries; but especially for that part of the tribe which comprehends the old and thorough paced stagers of the bar. " For the present these reminiscences will bide with the old stagers of the Calhoun and Kalamazoo county bars.

Michigan


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