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OLD MEMBERS OF THE CALHOUN AND KALAMAZOO COUNTY BARS

BY A. D. P. VAN BUREN

NATHANIEL A. BALCH
Nathaniel A. Balch, the Nestor of the Kalamazoo bar, was born at Athens, Windham county, Vermont, on the 22d of January, 1808. He fitted for college at Chester academy and graduated at Middlebury in 1835. He was principal of the Bennington academy for two years. He read law with Gov. John S. Robinson, of Bennington. He also read medicine and quite extensively in theology before he left his native state.
He removed to Kalamazoo, Mich., in 1837, and became a law student of Stuart & Webster. He had charge of the Kalamazoo Huron Institute for some time, and in 1838 became principal of Marshall college, where he remained two years. He was admitted to the bar in 1842*; was prosecuting attorney for Kalamazoo and Barry counties, and member of the state senate in 1847. Mr. Balch is an able Greek and Latin scholar, and has been a diligent student in acquiring knowledge during his entire professional life. His broad and thorough reading has fully equipped him for the discussion not only of law questions but of all others. Hence at the bar he has been a formidable opponent—one strongly entrenched in argument and very difficult to defeat. He has been called the metaphysician of the Kalamazoo bar. A close reader, he thought over his cases profoundly. He had the faculty of not only working up a strong case for his client, but of so identifying himself with his client's cause as to make it his own. His language is good, his address forcible and commanding; for behind all his legal learning and attainments one recognizes the intellectual power of the man. Mr. Balch when fully aroused was a master in argument. He brushed aside technicalities, when in his way, as mere cobwebs; and, on the other hand, made them strong as iron if his case needed their support.

Michigan


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