Biography of Judge Louis H. Winch
Cuyahoga County, OH Biographies

JUDGE LOUIS H. WINCH, former judge of the Ohio Court of Appeals, has been a prominent figure at the Cleveland bar for nearly forty years. He is a native of Cleveland, and his father was a pioneer business man of the city.

Judge Winch was born June 17, 1862. The Winch family in Colonial times came from Kent, England, to America. His grandfather, Benjamin Winch, was born in 1766. The old family seat was at Salem, Massachusetts. Some of the early records of that town refer to the Winch family. Benjamin Winch learned surveying. On leaving Salem, Massachusetts, he moved to New York State and settled in what later became Oswego County. He surveyed the original township lines of that county.

Thomas Winch, father of Judge Winch, was born at Richland Oswego County, New York, in 1806. In 1836, as a young man of thirty, he arrived at Cleveland, and became a factor in the pioneer transportation business centering at the lake port. He was a forwarding merchant both on the lake and canal, which had been opened only a few years before. He owned several boats. Still later he engaged in the coal trade, and finally became an oil refiner. He died at Cleveland in 1886.

In 1842 Thomas Winch married Sarah Hall Allen. She was born at Ellisburg, Jefferson County, New York, daughter of William Allen, who was a prosperous farmer, and at one time a member of the New York General Assembly. Her brother, William F. Allen, was the first president. of the Cleveland Board of Trade. It was during a visit in Cleveland, at the home of her brother, that she first met Thomas Winch. Mrs. Winch died at Cleveland in December, 1914, when in her ninetieth year.

The old Winch homestead in Cleveland, where Judge Winch was born, was situated at the corner of East Third Street and Hamilton Avenue. in almost the exact center of the present City Mall or "Court of Honor." From his early memories and associations Judge Winch can reconstruct much of the older Cleveland business district. Judge Winch as a boy attended public schools, and then entered Western Reserve University. In 1884 he graduated with the Bachelor of Arts degree and with scholarship honors that gave him membership in the Phi Beta Kappa. He also studied law at Cleveland, and was admitted to the Ohio bar in 1886, and the same year received his Master's degree. In the early years of his practice he gave evidence of sound learning and great industry and resourcefulness in handling the interests entrusted to him.

He had achieved the reputation of a sound and able lawyer long before he became a candidate for the bench. In 1902 he was elected judge of the Circuit Court for the Eighth Judicial Circuit, including the counties of Cuyahoga, Lorain, Medina and Summit. In 1908 he was reelected to the Circuit Bench, and in 1911 was chosen chief justice of the Circuit Courts of Ohio. Under the new Ohio constitution adopted in 1912 the Circuit Court became the Court of Appeals, and Judge Winch continued his duties with that branch of the judiciary until 1915.

The Republican State Convention of 1912 nominated Judge Winch as a candidate for judge of the Supreme Court. In a year marked by the defeat of Taft and nearly all other republican candidates, Judge Winch likewise failed of election. When he retired from the bench three years later he resumed private practice and since 1915 has been a member of the well known Cleveland law firm of Payer, Winch, Minshall & Karch, with offices in the Discount Building. In 1898, in collaboration with M. S. Hinman, many years journal clerk of the Common Pleas Court of Cuyahoga County, Judge Winch published a book on "Journal Entries," which has been a standard authority on that subject ever since. He has also prepared a manuscript history of all the sections of the General Code of Ohio, which has not been published, and is the author of special essays on Workmen's Compensation, Torrens System of Land Registration, Negligence Law m Ohio, etc.

Judge Winch is a member of the Cleveland and Ohio State Bar associations, is a member of the Cuyahoga Early Settlers Association, is one of the veteran members of Tyrian Lodge, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons, and the Cleveland Scottish Rite Consistory, and belongs to the Congregational Church.

A History of Cuyahoga County
and the City of Cleveland
By: William R. Coates
The American Historical Society
Chicago and New York, 1924

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