Biography of Lyman R. Critchfield
North Central Ohio Biographies

Hon. Lyman R. Critchfield, the second of the name, son of the late Lyman R. Critchfield, whose distinguished career as a lawyer and Democratic leader in Ohio has been sketched elsewhere, has likewise for over 40 years been a prominent member of the bar and is a former judge of the Court of Common Pleas.

Judge Critchfield, of Wooster, was born at Millersburg, Holmes County, Ohio, April 17, 1868. He attended the public schools, became a student at Ohio Wesleyan University, and completed his law studies under the direction of his father. He was admitted to the bar in 1891, and throughout his professional career has lived at Wooster. Judge Critchfield is a veteran of the Spanish American War.

The career of Judge Critchfield as an attorney has been interspersed by a number of official responsibilities. Like his father, he has been a life long Democrat. He was elected in 1898 and served two terms as city solicitor of Wooster; was elected for two terms, beginning Jan. 1, 1908, as prosecuting attorney for Wayne County; and in 1914 was chosen judge of the Common Pleas Court. He was on the bench for six years, and since 1921 has resumed his private practice.

In 1898 Judge Critchfield married Miss Rose Brown, the daughter of Allen Brown, of Salt Creek Township, Wayne County. They were the parents of three children: Lyman R., III, a sketch of whom appears elsewhere in this history; Henry Brown, born June 14, 1905, a graduate of Wooster College in 1927, and Western Reserve University in 1930; and Dorothy A., a graduate of Wooster College in 1929.

Lyman R. Critchfield, father of the subject of this sketch, began his career as an attorney in the decade before the Civil War. He continued it with brilliant success and achievement for more than half a century, and three communities came to know his prowess as an attorney, Holmes County, Cleveland, and the city of Wooster. For many years he was one of the outstanding thinkers and orators of the Democratic party in Ohio. He was born at Danville, Knox County, Ohio, in 1831. His parents were Reuben Troutman and Nancy Caroline (Hardesty) Critchfield, the Critchfields being of Welch descent, and the Hardestys of Scotch Irish lineage. The Critchfields moved from Virginia to Washington County, Pa., where Reuben T. Critchfield was born. His wife was a native of Kentucky and was a child when her parents moved to Ohio. When Lyman R. Critchfield was two years of age his parents came to Millersburg, Ohio, and that was his home during the greater part of his life. He was reared there, attended the public schools, and then entered Ohio Wesleyan University, at Delaware, where he was graduated with honors and as valedictorian of his class in June, 1852. He won two degrees, Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts. Studying law at Columbus in the office of George E. Pugh, then attorney general of the State of Ohio, and later United States Senator, he was admitted to the bar by the Supreme Court in 1853, and at once opened an office at Millersburg, where he rapidly rose to prominence in his profession. In 1859 he was elected prosecuting attorney of Holmes County and was reelected in 1861, but resigned in 1862 when elected attorney general of the State of Ohio. He held this important office during the latter part of the Civil War, a period that threw upon his office great responsibilities. He served from 1863 until 1865. He was nominated for the second time but was defeated with the rest of the Democratic state ticket in 1864. The following year he was elected a member of the Ohio State Senate, serving with ability one term, and resigning. He became the Democratic candidate for Congress in 1868, and in 1887 and again in 1888 was nominated for the supreme bench. He made a splendid showing in the popular vote, his individual qualifications for the office being unquestioned. Mr. Critchfield practiced law six years in Cleveland, and in 1888 located in Wooster, where he was an active member of the bar until a few years before his death, when he retired to Miflersburg. He died Nov. 28, 1917, at the age of 86 years.

Judge Critchfield was a member of the Masonic Lodge and for many years belonged to the Methodist Episcopal Church.

On Oct. 2, 1854, Judge Critchfield married Miss Adelaide Margaret Shaffer, of Wooster, the eldest daughter of Doctor Moses Shaffer, a pioneer physician of this city. She was educated in Mrs. Pope's Academy, and attended Women's Academy at Granville, now Denison University. She died in 1895. The children born to Judge and Mrs. Critchfield were: Edith, deceased; Grace; Henry, M. D., deceased; Mary and Blanche, deceased; Lyman R.; and Nellie, deceased.

History of North Central Ohio
Embracing Richland, Ashland, Wayne,
Medina, Lorin, Huron and Knox Counties
BY: William A. Duff
Historical Publishing Company
Topeka-Indianapolis 1931

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