Biography of James W. Rayhill
Oneida County, NY Biographies





For thirty one years James Warwick Rayhill has occupied the law office in which he still receives his clients and prepares his cases for presentation before the courts. He is today widely known as a successful general practitioner being equally at home in the departments of civil and criminal law, his ability being manifest in the trial of cases of both classes. His boyhood was passed upon a farm in his native town of Litchfield, Herkimer county, New York, where he attended the district schools between the ages of six and sixteen and afterward spent three years in the West Winfield Academy and a portion of a year as a student in the Utica Free Academy. Through three winter seasons he engaged in teaching in the country schools but was attracted to other professional service and regarded school teaching merely as an initial step in that direction. He was fortunate in having as his preceptors in the study of law the Hon. Lewis H. Babcock and Hon. D. C. Pomeroy, both of Utica. Daytime. was devoted to his studies, while in the evening he taught in the night sessions of the Utica public schools for three winters. He pursued the full law course in Hamilton College and after reading for thirty nine months was admitted to the bar in June, 1874, being the youngest member of his class.

In the following September Mr. Rayhill opened an office in Utica, where he has since practiced his profession. He has not specialized to any particular degree but has practiced in all of the courts and as referee. Criminal business come to him unsought, including many important cases of all kinds. He has defended nine men for murder, only one of whom was executed. He marshals the points in evidence with the precision of a military leader commanding his troops on the field of battle. He never seems to lose sight of any point that bears favorably upon his case and yet gives due prominence to that important point upon which the decision of every case finally turns.

Mr. Rayhill's parents came from Cavan, Ireland, and he often says: "I am proud of all the Irish blood that's in me." In spirit he is a thorough, ardent American, loving liberty with the fervency of his Irish ancestry and holding strongly to the support of the republican principles upon which the nation rests. He has never held any political office, although he was a candidate for district attorney on the democratic ticket in 1898, when his defeat was almost equivalent to a victory, for he came within two hundred and twenty three votes of being elected, although the republican county majority at that election was about twenty five hundred. The fact that he ran thus far ahead of his ticket was proof of his personal popularity and the confidence reposed in his professional skill and ability by his fellow townsmen.

From:
History of Oneida County, New York
From 1700 to the present time
of some of its prominent men and pioneers.
By: Henry J. Cookinham
The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company
Chicago 1912


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