Wilhelm: Local attorneys played key roles in 1800s




  • In Business
  • 2022-01-22 10:16:03Z
  • By The News-Messenger

While last week's column dealt with two of Sandusky County's early lawyers who were not later remembered, as some might expect, with a building or street named for them, this week we touch on some whose memories have been well preserved.

Rodolphus Dickinson began his law practice in 1827 and served Sandusky County as prosecuting attorney, member of the State Board of Public Works and two-term congressman.

As a member of the board of public works, he played a role in getting improvements for the Maumee and Western Reserve Highway - now U.S. 20 - and oversaw the construction of the downtown covered bridge over the Sandusky River.

His son Edward also was an early lawyer who served with distinction in the Civil War.

Interesting to me was the fact that Edward resigned as prosecuting attorney to become a newspaper man.

Later, he served one term in Congress, became mayor of Fremont and served three different times as probate judge.

Ralph P. Buckland, who entered the practice of law in 1837, has been well remembered.

Rutherford B. Hayes, who studied law in Buckland's office before attending law school, was one of his partners in the 1840s. Later partners included Homer Everett, James Fowler, Wilbur Zeigler and his sons, Horace and George Buckland.

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Ralph Buckland served as mayor of Lower Sandusky from 1843 to 1845 and as an Ohio State Senator from 1855-1859.

In addition to his community leadership in Lower Sandusky, he organized the 72nd OVI during the Civil War, rose to the rank of Brevet Major General and has been credited with playing a key role in the eventual success of the North at Shiloh.

He resigned from his successful and heroic Army career in 1865 to take his seat in the U.S. House of Representatives, where he served two terms.

Thomas Finefrock, in addition to decades in private practice, served the county as prosecuting attorney, representative in the state legislature and Common Pleas Court judge.

He partnered with several different lawyers through the years, including his brother Henry and his son-in-law S. C. Garver, with changes being caused by partners moving or Finefrock being elected to the bench.

Another early lawyer was George R. Haynes who served a few years in Sandusky County before moving to Toledo. From there he was elected three times to serve as judge of the Circuit Court of the Sixth Circuit of Ohio.

Our most famous early judge, of course, was Rutherford B. Hayes, who later became the 19th president of the United States.

He was an able lawyer, who is remembered here for arguing in favor of the changing of the name of Lower Sandusky to Fremont in 1849.

To me, these are a few of the pioneer lawyers of Sandusky County whose names appear to have been carried on through history in one way or another.

By the way, another of our early lawyers was George W. Glick who later moved on to the Kansas territory and became governor there.

Roy Wilhelm started a 40-year career at The News-Messenger in 1965 as a reporter. Now retired, he writes a column for both The News-Messenger and News Herald.

This article originally appeared on Fremont News-Messenger: Wilhelm: Early local attorneys played large roles in region

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