Biography of Hon. Curtis E. McBride
North Central Ohio Biographies





Hon. Curtis E. McBride. Numbered among the skilled, resourceful and highly successful attorneys practicing at the bar of Mansfield, Hon. Curtis E. McBride is easily one of the most distinguished men of Richland County, and one whose influence has had a determining effect upon his times. He was born in Richland County, Aug. 11, 1858, a member of one of the old families of this region.

Alexander McBride, grandfather of Curtis E. McBride, located in Monroe Township, Richland County, about 1800, coming here from Hampshire County, Va. About the same time, another resident of that county, Lambert LaRue, also settled in Monroe Township. Alexander McBride's wife was a daughter of Benjamin Barns. The son of Alexander McBride and his wife, Union McBride, married Nancy Jane Smart, a native of Richland County, whose father, Joseph Smart, was a son of William Smart, who assisted in erecting the first house in what was then Franklinton, Ohio, but now a part of the city of Columbus. William Smart subsequently returned to Pennsylvania, where he married, and then with his wife he came back to Ohio and settled in Monroe Township. He and his son, Joseph Smart, Alexander McBride, and Lambert LaRue, all lived to advanced ages and enjoyed the confidence and respect of their neighbors.

Union McBride and his first wife, Nancy Smart, were married in 1856, but she died in 1865. He later married Adeline Crider and moved to Illinois, where he remained for several years. He then returned to Richland County, and died at the age of 68 years. By his first marriage three children were born, of whom Curtis E. McBride was the only one to reach maturity, and he was reared by his maternal grandfather.

Growing up on his grandfather's farm, where he remained until he was 16 years old, Curtis E. McBride attended the country schools and at that age entered the preparatory department of Wooster University, where he remained until the close of his junior year. At the age of 21 years he married Minnis Rhodes. Having decided upon a legal career, the ambitious young man read law with Col. Barnabas Burns and Thomas McBride, his uncle, who were in partnership and among the older lawyers of this section of Ohio. Colonel Burns, a veteran of the Civil War, was one of the best known men in Ohio at that time. Mr. McBride pursued his studies so diligently and rapidly that he was admitted to the bar March 7, 1882, with his cousin, Curtis, the son of Thomas McBride, and for a year the three engaged in practice under the firm name of McBride, McBride & McBride. In 1884 Mr. McBride went with S. G. Cummings under the firm name of McBride & Cummings. The latter, a prominent attorney, is deceased. This association continued for some years. On Feb. 9, 1902, Mr. McBride and Mr. Cummings took Judge N. M. Wolfe into the firm on his retirement from the bench. When Mr. Cummings died in July, 1916, the present firm of McBride & Wolfe was formed. Mr. Cummings was one of the best office lawyers in Ohio and an authority on title, abstracts, and all other matters pertaining to realty transactions, a fine counsel, wholly devoted to his practice.

In 1884 Mr. McBride became legal counsel for the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Company and in addition, in 1896, became counsel for the Big Four Railroad Company. For 12 years he has been counsel for the Lake Erie & Western Railroad Company, for 10 years he has been counsel for the Erie Railroad Company, and from 1887 until 1916 was general attorney for the Mansfield Street Car Company, in which year the company sold its interests. Mr. McBride has been attorney for the Cleveland, Southwestern & Columbus Interurban Railway Company for 18 years.

Very active in Democratic politics, in 1893 Mr. McBride was elected to the State Legislature, and was reelected in 1895, both times as a representative from Richland County. Mr. McBride is the author of "Special Findings of Facts," now in force; of the law to give a party the right to call an opposite party as witness and cross examination, which is still a statute, and an unusual law. He succeeded in having both of these measures passed during his first term, and he is also the author of the law controlling the present manner of selecting juries. During his second term he was minority leader of the House. At one time he was a candidate for Congress, but was defeated at the primaries. Mr. McBride has always been a campaigner on state and local committees. In 1898 Governor Bushnell named him a member of the Ohio Centennial Celebration Committee for his congressional district. Mr. McBride's district is overwhelmingly Republican, but in spite of that fact, he was appointed both times by Governor Bushnell, who frequently consulted with Mr. McBride while he was minority leader of the House with reference to contemplated legislation.

Mr. McBride has not confined himself exclusively to law and politics, for he is a close student of many subjects, and has become an authority on Thomas Jefferson, his lecture on that great statesman being a very popular one. He possesses a very fine library, numbering over 5,500 volumes of general literature, including many works on early American history. He has always been a student of Latin and Greek and devotes some time daily to the study of these languages.

Fraternally, Mr. McBride is a member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, Knights of Pythias, Masons, Consistory, 32nd degree, and Al Koran Shrine.

The first wife of Mr. McBride died in 1900, leaving two children: Ethel, who is the wife of Guy H. Ruggles, superintendent of the mills of the Inspiration Cooper Company, of Inspiration, Ariz.; and Mrs. W. J. Whitting, who lives at San Jose, Calif. On Jan. 1, 1911, Mr. McBride married Mrs. Frances (Clark) English, a former acquaintance of Mr. McBride at Wooster University, and a resident of Chicago, Ill., at the time of her marriage. Mrs. McBride has traveled extensively and is a fine scholar. She is active in the Daughters of the American Revolution, and has been a delegate to the national conventions. Both Mr. and Mrs. McBride are members of the First Presbyterian Church of Mansfield, of which he is an elder, and he has been a delegate to the Ohio Synod. He is a teacher of the men's Bible class of 150 members, and has taught this class since 1906.

Mr. McBride is a member of the Mansfield Bar Association, of which he is past president; the Ohio State Bar Association, of which he was president during 1921-22; and the American Bar Association. It would be difficult to mention any forward movement of the past 35 years or more in the county or state, that has not received substantial assistance from this alert, scholarly attorney and good citizen, who wears his many honors modestly, and is satisfied with being able to render a service that is of real value to his fellow citizens. For the past 22 years he has been a member of the Richland County Children's Home, and 21 years of that time has been its president.

From:
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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