Biography of Forrest C. Hirleman
Bronx County, NY Biographies

FORREST CLYDE HIRLEMAN - Among the well known members of the legal profession who are engaged in general practice in The Bronx is Forrest Clyde Hirleman, of the firm of Rifleman and Vaughan, whose offices are located at No. 391 East One Hundred and Forty ninth Street, The Bronx. Mr. Hirleman has been engaged in practice in The Bronx for the past twenty years, and previous to the opening of his office in The Bronx, was engaged as supervising inspector in the Tenement House Department of New York City.

Forrest Clyde Hirleman was born in Waverly, Iowa, May 2, 1877, the youngest of a family of eight children, of David G., a veteran of the Civil War, and of Maria (Wile) Hirleman. His father died when he was but three years of age, and it became necessary for his mother to do dressmaking in order to support her family, which then consisted of six children, two having died before the death of the father. It was also necessary that the children should do all that they could in the way of contributing to their own support as soon as possible, and young Forrest Clyde early learned the value of a dollar. He also early learned the value of time. As a small boy he earned as much as he could, doing odd jobs such as running errands, sawing wood, shoveling snow, taking cows to pasture at twenty five cents a week, and making full use of his time before and after school and during vacation times. That he was able to aid in supporting himself is evidenced by the fact that he bought his first suit of store clothes with money which he had earned himself when he was in his ninth year. When he was thirteen years of age the death of the wife of his oldest brother brought a change in the family fortunes, at least so far as location was concerned, for the mother and the children went to Spencer, Iowa, to live with the bereaved brother.

Young Forrest Clyde attended the public schools of Spencer, continuing to earn as much as possible clerking and working on a farm, when not in school, but he saw to it that his studies were well attended to and in 1896, he graduated from Spencer High School. In the fall of that year he matriculated in Cornell College, at Mount Vernon, Iowa, and while a student there, managed to pay the greater part of his own expenses by working during the college term and during vacation periods. During his junior year in college he was compelled to leave during the spring term because of typhoid fever. When he recovered he secured a position for the summer as clerk in a local grocery store, and the following fall instead of returning to Cornell, went to Madison, Wisconsin, and entered the Law School of the University of that State. After four weeks of study, however, his health failed and he was obliged to give up the course. He returned to Spencer, Iowa, where he was met by the president of the local Board of Education who offered him a position as substitute teacher in the high school. He promptly accepted and after completing the fall term as teacher in the high school resumed his studies at Cornell College, from which he was graduated with the class of 1900. During his senior year in college he was editor in chief of the "Cornellian," the college paper, and he worked on the Spencer "Reporter" during the summer of 1899. That experience proved to be of value for when, after his graduation from college, he returned to Spencer, Iowa, he was employed as editor of the Spencer "Reporter" during the absence of the owner and editor on a western trip. In the spring of 1901, he went to Chicago with the intention of associating himself with one of the daily news sheets of that city, but later went to Buffalo and then to Pennsylvania, where on a visit with relatives he enjoyed his first real vacation. Being near New York City he decided to visit the metropolis, and arrived there in September, 1901, with all his worldly possessions in his pocket, a sum of money amounting to twenty five dollars. By chance he met an acquaintance at the elevated station at One Hundred and Twenty fifth Street and Eighth Avenue. That friend invited him to share his room, and through this meeting he came in contact with a young man from Cedar Falls, Iowa, who after taking a summer course at Columbia University had secured a job as laborer on the subway then under construction. When the young man from Iowa left the city, Mr. Hirleman took over his job, which he held for about ten days, at the end of which time he secured a position as salesman in the silverware department of Theodore A. Cohen and Sons, who were then located on West Twenty third Street. His salary was seven dollars a week, and he immediately began to study stenography in an evening school. In February, 1902, he began to prepare to pass the Civil Service examination for inspector in the Tenement House Department of New York City, which had recently been created. More than fifteen hundred persons took the examination, and Mr. Hirleman was sixty first on the list of those who passed and the thirty second inspector appointed. The office of the department was located at the corner of Irving Place and Nineteenth Street. He was detailed to some office work and later was placed in charge of the office work of a large staff of clerks, in addition to having charge of the inspectors when they reported for duty in the morning and prior to their going into the field. He was made deputy chief inspector by Commissioner Robert W. De Forest, and, having passed a promotion examination, acquired the title of supervising inspector and an increase of salary to one thousand five hundred dollars. On December 31, 1903, he was presented with a gold watch and chain and diamond watch charm by the employees of the Old Building Bureau of the Tenement House Department. The following inscription was engraved upon the watch:

Presented to
Forrest C. Hirleman
Deputy Chief Inspector
By the Emoloyees
of the
Old Building Bureau
Of the Tenement House
City of New York,
December 31,

He had just been detailed to the Brooklyn office of the Tenement House Department to inaugurate there the system of office routine already established in Manhattan, and he remained in Brooklyn until 1904, when he was detailed to The Bronx office of the department. He then removed his place of residence to The Bronx, locating at No. 182 Alexander Avenue, and in The Bronx office of the department continued supervisory work until March, 1907, when he resigned. Meantime, he had completed one year of his law course at the New York Law School, and when he came to The Bronx he resumed his studies at that school completing his course in June, 1905, and taking his bar examination June 19, 1905. He was admitted to the bar in October of that year, but did not engage in practice until after his resignation from the Tenement House Department in March, 1907, when he opened his office at No. 2804 Third Avenue, The Bronx, New York City. There he continued until May, 1911, when he removed to his present location, at No. 391 East One Hundred and Forty ninth Street. In April, 1914, he admitted to partnership, Edwin Vaughan, Jr., under the firm name of Hirleman and Vaughan, and that partnership has been continued to the present time, (1927).

Mr. Hirleman is engaged in general practice, and much of his work has been confined to Bronx County, where his office has always been located, but the interests of his clients have taken him to San Francisco, California; South Carolina, and West Virginia. He has handled a great deal of what is known as office work, including real estate law, organization of corporations, handling of estates, and general consultations, and has made for himself an assured place in his profession. He has served as secretary of The Bronx Bar Association for six years, 1917-1922, and at the present time is on a member of the Board of Directors of that association.

Mr. Hirleman has always been actively interested in local public affairs in The Bronx; is a member of The Bronx Board of Trade, a delegate of the Taxpayers' Alliance, and Counsel for The Bronx Taxpayers' Association. He has been nominee for the State Senate and Assembly and for the office of The Bronx Municipal Court Judge, and is secretary of the Park Republican Club. Fraternally, he is identified with Guiding Star Lodge, No. 565, Free and Accepted Masons, and he finds healthful out of door recreation and pleasant social intercourse through membership in the Gedney Farms Golf Club. His religious affiliation is with Calvary Methodist Episcopal Church.

Forrest Clyde Hirleman married, February 21, 1912, in New York City, Lavina Stout, daughter of Charles and Julia (Curran) Stout. Mrs. Hirleman is a member of The Bronx Woman's Club, vice president of the Ladies' Park Republican Club, and a member of the League of Women Voters.

The Bronx and its people
A History 1609-1927
Board of Editors: James L. Wells,
Louis F. Haffen
Josiah A. Briggs.
Historian: Benedict Fitspatrick
Publisher: The Lewis Historical Publishing Co., Inc.
New York 1927

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