Biography of Judge George W. Bartch
Utah Biographies





GEORGE W. BARTCH
Typical in every respect of the success that comes from high ability, integrity and hard work is the subject of this sketch. The Hon. Geo. W. Batch is a native of Pennsylvania, born of sturdy English-German blood that figmred prominently in the early history of the Quaker State. His father, Rev. John G. Bartch, was a noted Evangelical clergyman of his time.

Both Judge Bartch's parents died while he was yet a boy, but to the influence the life of hips father exercised over him he ascribes the foundation upon which he built his pronounced success. After the death of his father his boyhood days were spent with an elder brother, on a farm in Sullivan County, Pennsylvania. At the age of sixteen he began life as a teacher in the country schools, where he displayed great ability and after graduating and receiving the academic degree of Master of Science, was shortly made superintendent of the city schools of Shenandoah, Pa., a position which he retained for ten years. But his natural bent was toward legal work and during the time that he was winning fame as an educator he was in his spare moments gaining a knowledge of law, with the result that he early achieved success at the bar of Pennsylvania. In the fall of 1886 he removed to Canon City, Colorado, where he maintained the high reputation previously attained. In 1888 he settled in Salt Lake City, and there he gained an enviable position as one of the leaders among the brilliant members of the bar. During President Harrison's term, Mr. Barter was appointed Probate Judge of Salt Lake County.

Under the same administration he was later on named as Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of Utah, and when the territory became a State. Judge Barteh won a sweeping victory as a nominee for the same position on the Republican ticket. Dining the last two years of this five year term he was Chief Justice, and in 1900 was reelected a member of the Supreme Court, and again became Chief Justice in January. 1905, holding the office until Oct. 1, 1906, when he voluntarily tendered his resignation for the purpose of looking after his large personal interests and resuming the practice of law.

Judge Bartch's work on the bench has made him famous throughout Utah. No one ever questioned his fairness, his uprightness, or his integrity, and his decisions have been almost universally upheld by the court of last resort, and in no case where he has written the original opinion on the subject has the case been reversed by the Supreme Court of the United States.

His decisions on the Supreme Court bench have been clear and comprehensive. They are especially strong in the application of equitable principles and upon questions of irrigation and mining. On the subject of irrigation he has pointed out forcibly and logically the modification of the common law respecting riparian rights in the arid regions of this country necessitated by the peculiar conditions existing in those regions, and his opinion in the case of the Grand Central Mining Company is regarded as one of the ablest that has yet been written upon the subject of mining. It is strong alike in the application of legal and scientific principles. Respecting that decision, the "Mining and Scientific Press" of San Francisco, Cal., under date of March 17, 1906, speaking editorially, said: "In deciding the case of the Grand Central against Mammoth Mining Company, the Supreme Court of Utah has given us a valuable treatise on the law of mines. Not since Justice Field wrote the decision in the Eureka-Richmond case have we had anything comparable to it, especially in clearness of statement, in fullness and breadth of treatment and in the vigorous way each issue is exhaustively discussed and conclusively decided." And in Shames "Mining, Mineral and Geological Law," the author says: "The most important mining decision of recent years is that in the Grand Central-Mammoth litigation, delivered by the Supreme Court of Utah, Oct. 11, 1905. The chief question in the controversy was the definition of a vein with reference to apex, extralateral rights, etc., and the decision contains one of the best discussions, based on the latest investigations and theories of vein formation and ore deposits, that has ever been presented on this feature of the mining statutes by a court?'

His opinion in the case of Weyeth H. & M. CO. vs. James-Spencer-B. Co., delivered Jan. 12, 1897, is a strong exposition of the powers and rights of private corporations as to their corporate property; and likewise his opinions in the cases of Merriman Irrigation Co. vs. Reel, decided July 19, 1902, and Salt Lake City vs. Salt Lake City W. & El. P. Co., decided April 1, 1903, ably represent the law respecting the appropriation of water and riparian rights in the arid region.

He resigned as Chief Justice. October 1, 1906.

Since resuming the practice of law. Judge Bartch has. within a short time. built up an extensive and lucrative high class practice, giving special attention to mining, irrigation and corporation business.

From:
Sketches of the Inter-Mountain States
1847 - 1909
Utah Idaho Nevada
Published by: The Salt Lake Tribune
Salt Lake City, Utah 1909


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