Biography of Judge Nathan R. Overman
Tipton County, IN Biographies





JUDGE NATHAN R. OVERMAN, one of Indiana's most distinguished jurists, was born April 11, 1827, in Randolph County, Ind.; he was the second son of a family of eight children. Living on the frontier, there were but few opportunities for education within his reach - only an occasional school term of two or three months during the winter seasons. The advantages of an education were, however, early impressed upon his mind by home influence. On winter evenings, the pole cabin was provided with a huge fire of logs and hickory bark, around which parents and children would gather, studying and reading. The mother, who was an orphan from infancy, had not learned the alphabet at the time of her marriage, but afterward became a good writer, and was a diligent and careful reader during the remainder of her life. The father, who at that time could only read and write, soon became proficient in the primary branches, and afterward taught school in the neighborhood. Well does the Judge remember when he and his father having reached the rule of three, the latter doubted their ability to proceed. The effort was made, however, the son being the first to solve the difficulty. Six of the eight children became teachers in the schools of Randolph and Tipton Counties. Judge Overman is enthusiastically fond of the natural sciences, and for the last few years has devoted much of his leisure to geology and kindred pursuits; his excellent collection of fossils and objects of antiquity, including some of the finest specimens yet found, is equal, perhaps, to any private collection in the State. The services rendered by him to the State Geologist are honorably acknowledged by Prof. E. T. Cox in his reports. At the age of eighteen, he commenced teaching in the winter schools, working the remainder of the year with his parents. At that time, the stick and clay fire places were being replaced by more commodious brick chimneys, and brick making became a branch of industry. The father and son each year after harvesting the crops manufaetured a small quantity for the market, the latter becoming an efficient molder and burner of bricks. While thus engaged, he commenced the study of law in the summer of 1849 with Gen. Brown, who was at that time studying with Judge Peelle, of Winchester. Texts from Blackstone were copied on bits of paper tacked to the brick gum and committed to memory by him while at work. Late in the fall of the same year, Judge Overman removed with his father's family to Tipton County. In the spring of 1850, he received $5 as the proceeds of thirteen days' labor, and of it expended $4.50 in the purchase of Blackstone's Commentaries, which now occupies a prominent position in his. well filled library. For eleven years, he continued alternately teaching, farming and brick making, in June, 1861, he commenced the profession of law in Tipton, and in 1863 was admitted to practice in the Supreme Court, and in the federal courts a few years later. As a speaker, Judge Overman is earnest, logical and convincing. As a practitioner, he is untiring, faithful and formidable. In the fall of 1878, he was elected Judge of the Thirty sixth Judicial Circuit, carrying by a majority of 1,232 his own county, which has generally given less than 400 majority for his party. Judge Overman was married, May 27, 1854, to Miss Mary J. Cox, of Clinton County, Ohio, by whom he has five children, Alice, the eldest, married to John P. Hutchings, of Tipton; Eva, married to James N. Waugh. attorney, of Tipton; Charles, Lizzie and Fred, together with the parents, constitute the present household.

From:
Counties of Howard and Tipton, Indiana
Historical and Biographical
Charles Blanchard, Editor
F. A. Bettey & Co.
Chicago 1883.


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