Biography of Judge Charles D. Leggett
Jefferson County, IA Biographies





JUDGE CHARLES D. LEGGETT.
Few lawyers have made a more lasting impression upon the bar of the state, both for legal ability of a high order, or for the individuality of a personal character which impresses itself upon a community than has Judge Charles D. Leggett, now practicing as a member of the firm of Leggett & McKemey. A large law practice is accorded him in recognition of his ability, which enables him to successfully cope with the intricate problems of the law and by reason of clear analysis and keen insight to reach a logical conclusion. He has spent almost his entire life in Jefferson county, although his birth occurred in Carrollton, Carroll county, Ohio. October 8, 1849, his parents being Richard H. and Beersheba (Viers) Leggett. The father was for many years one of the enterprising and prominent citizens of Fairfield, to which city he removed with his family in 1855. He was born in Washington county, Pennsylvania, March 25, 1811, and was a son of Jesse and Mary (Cheek) Leggett. He came of English ancestry in the paternal line, the family having been founded in America during colonial days by representatives of the name who settled in Maryland. Richard H. Leggett was a little lad of six years when he accompanied his parents to Carroll county, Ohio, and to the common school system of that district he was indebted for the educational privileges he enjoyed. Early in his business career he engaged in merchandising and subsequently became proprietor of a hotel in Ohio. When the country became involved in war with Mexico he put aside all business and personal considerations to espouse the American cause and raised a regiment and was commissioned its colonel. The troops, however, were never called out for active duty on account of the termination of the war.

While living in Ohio, Richard H. Leggett was married in Jefferson county, on the 25th of April, 1833, to Miss Beersheba Viers, who was born at Island Creek, that county, April 29, 1815, her parents being Elisha W. and Margaret (Ferrell) Viers. Her father, who was of English descent, was born in Montgomery county, Maryland, while her mother, who came of Irish parentage, was a native of Virginia. Mr. and Mrs. Leggett began their domestic life in Ohio; there they retained their residence until 1855, and then came to Fairfield, Iowa. For eighteen years he had been engaged in the conduct of a hotel in Carrollton, Ohio, and upon his arrival in Jefferson county, Iowa, opened a hotel in Fairfield, remaining for a considerable period the proprietor of a popular hostelry known as the Leggett House. This brought him a wide acquaintance and his genial manner and personal worth gained him the warm friendship of the majority of those with whom he came in contact. His early political allegiance was given to the deomcratic party but when Fort Sumter was fired on he joined the republican party and continued one of its stanch supporters until his demise. His fraternal relations were with Clinton Lodge, No. 15, A. F. & A. M. and his wife was a member of the Presbyterian church, which she joined in 1858. The death of Mr. Leggett occurred September 8, 1884, and his wife passed away October 23, 1892. In their family were nine children, of whom three died in childhood, while two sons and four daughters reached adult age. These are: Samantha, the wife of Rev. John Huchuly; Ella, who became the wife of Dr. Thomas Smith, of New Philadelphia, Ohio, and died March 15, 1857; James Milton, who wedded Jessie Coulter, and died in Chicago, April 15, 1890; Perihelia, the wife of George W. Phelps, of Fairfield; Charles D., whose name introduces this review; and Frank E., the wife of Charles Whiting, of Aradell, New Jersey.

In taking up the personal history of Charles D. Leggett we present to our readers the record of one who is widely known in Jefferson county, having for fifty six years made his home within its borders. He was a lad of six summers when the family came to Iowa and in the schools of Fairfield he pursued his early education, which was supplemented by study in Griswold College, Davenport, and a course in Kenyon College, at Gambier, Ohio, where he was graduated in 1869 at the head of his class. A review of the broad field of business in its agricultural, commercial and professional departments, led him to decide upon the practice of law as his life work and he therefore began reading with the Hon. D. P. Stubbs, of Fairfield, as his preceptor. He thoroughly acquainted himself with Kent, Blackstone and other commentaries and after careful preparation successfully passed the examination that admitted him to the bar on the 5th of January, 1872. Soon afterward he was admitted to practice in the United States circuit and supreme courts and on the day of his admission to the Iowa bar he formed a partnership with his former preceptor, D. P. Stubbs, under the firm name of Stubbs & Leggett. For five years he practiced in that connection and then on the dissolution of the firm was joined in a partnership relation by Jacob S. McKemey. They were associated under the firm name of Leggett & McKemey until the senior partner was elected to the bench of the second judicial district in 1886. He served for one term and his course was distinguished by high legal ability. His opinions were exceptionally free from all bias. His thorough legal learning and wide experience in the courts, the patient care with which he ascertained all the facts bearing upon every case which came before him, gave his decisions a solidity and exhaustiveness to which no members of the bar could take exception. Upon his retirement on the expiration of the four years' term he resumed his former partnership relation and the firm of Leggett & McKemey remains as one of the most prominent in the annals of Iowa's jurisprudence. Judge Leggett has argued many cases and lost but few. No one better knows the necessity for thorough preparation and no one more carefully prepares his cases than he. His course in the court room is characterized by a calmness and dignity that indicate reserve strength. He is always courteous and deferential toward the court, kind and forebearing toward his adversaries and his handling of a case is always full, comprehensive and accurate, while his analysis of the facts is clear and exhaustive.

On the 2d of September, 1885, was celebrated the marriage of Judge Leggett and Miss Beatrice Cunningham, of Centerville, Iowa, a daughter of P. F. Cunningham. She was born in Centerville and is a graduate of Parsons College, at Fairfield. The children of this marriage are: Richard C., born October 8, 1886; Ruth, born March 21, 1889; George P., born January 19, 1893; and Elizabeth, born January 21, 1897. Judge Leggett has always given his political allegiance to the republican party but has never sought office outside the strict path of his profession, preferring to concentrate his energies upon the duties that come to him as a member of the bar. His devotion to his clients' interests is proverbial and his position in the public regard is indicated in the fact that his name is always found high on the list of the leading citizens of Jefferson county.

From:
History of Jefferson County, Iowa
A Record of Settlement, Organizatin,
Progress and Achievement Vol II
BY: Charles J. Fulton
The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co.
Chiago 1914


Privacy Policy for OnlineBiographies

NAVIGATION
Jefferson County, IA
Biographies

Online
Biographies

Iowa
Biographies

New York
Histories

New York
Biographies

Maine
Histories

Pennsylvania
Histories

Pennsylvania
Biographies

For all your genealogy needs visit Linkpendium

Family Tree Maker 2012