Biography of Charles H. Aldrich
Chicago, Cook County, Il Biographies

ALDRICH, CHARLES H. - Born August 28, 1850, in LeGrange county, Ind. Son of Hamilton Metcalf and Harriet Sherwood Aldrich. He lived with his parents on the old homestead until he was 16 years old. About this time his father moved to Orland, Steuben county, in ordrr to secure better educational advantages for his children, Here Mr. Aldrich attended the high school, and later entered school at Coldwater, Mich., going from there to Ann Arbor, where he finished his preparatory courbe, In 1871 he began a classical course at the Michigan University and was graduated in 1875, Mr. Aldrich had, in connection with his literary course, taken up the study of law, and has made that profession his life work, Returning to Indiana in the autumn of 1875 he entered the law office of Coombs, Morris & Bell, at Fort Wayne, and remained with them until May, 1876. He then associated with himself an old classmate, Mr. J. M. Barrett, and these two gentlemen, forming a partnership, practiced their profession in Fort Wayne until the removal of Mr. Aldrich to Chicago in April, 1886. The professional career of that gentleman in this city is well known. He is possessed of a keen, analytical mind, and has been an indefatigable worker in his profession, and it is but natural that he should have attained a leading position at the Chicago bar, During his practice Mr. Aldrich was connected with several very important cases, having been several times engaged as special counsel for the government. It was therefore a matter of no great surprise, but was one of much congratulation, when he received his appointment as solicitor general of the United States, succeeding Mr. William H. Taft, who had filled the office since April, 1889, resigning it to accept the appointment as United States circuit judge. The position of solicitor general of the United States is almost as important as that of a cabinet officer. He is the assistant of the attorney general, and by a special provision of the law in the case of a vacancy in that latter office, or in the absence of that officer, the solicitor general is called upon to exercise all his functions. He practically has charge of the conduct and argument of all cases in the supreme court in which the United States is interested, the duties of the attorney general having with the growth of the department of justice become largely executive.

Mr. Aldrich held this position until the first of June, 1893, although he tendered his resignation on the sixth day of March and urged its early acceptance. President Cleveland declined to relieve him until the close of the term of the supreme court. While acting as solicitor general he met as opposing counsel most of the leaders of the American bar and won many distinguished victories. The court and bar held Mr. Aldrich in the highest esteem, and it was often said that the United States had never been so ably represented at the bar of the court.

At the same time ex-President Harrison and his advisers had the greatest confidence in the executive ability and discretion of Mr. Aldrich, as was evinc d by leaving him in full charge as actfing atorney general for the ten days immediately preceding the elections and when it seemed that a conflict between federal and state authority was highly probable. His course was highly commended by all parties.

Mr. Aldrich is a republican, and is a prominent member of the First Presbyterian church. He was trustee for two years of the Chicago Law Institute, is president of the Michigan University Alumni Association, and a member of the Phi Upsilon fraternity. He is a member of all the bar associations, state and national, and a member of the Law, University, Oakland and Union League clubs, and was one of the latter's cot. mittee on political action; he is also president of the Law Club.

Mr. Aldrich was married October 13, 1875, to Miss Helen Roberts, ot Steuben county, End., and has a family of one son and two daughters.

He has now returned to Chicago and resumed his relations with his firm, Aldrich, Payne & Defrees, His many friends predict yet greater honors for him in the future.


FROM:
The Handbook of Chicago Biography
Edited by John J Flinn.
The Standard Guide Company
Chicago 1893

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