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This article is an important resource because it lists the names and years of service of all men who served on the supreme court from statehood to the early twentieth century, the clerks and reporters of the supreme court, and the judges of the nineteen judicial districts. It appeared as a chapter in a multi-volume history of Minnesota which was edited by Lucius F. Hubbard and Rerturn I. Holcombe, and published in 1908.
In 1868, John Van Dyke moved with his family from New Brunswick, New Jersey, to Wabasha, Minnesota, to retire and benefit from its healthful, curative climate. He brought with him a sterling reputation for being a successful lawyer, respected judge and stalwart Republican. He had been mayor of his hometown, a two term congressman, who served with the Great Triumvirate, and a justice on the New Jersey Supreme Court. On the last day of his first term in congress, he had actually voted to establish the Territory of Minnesota, and in his second term, he had voted on the individual bills that came to form the Compromise of 1850.
After arriving in St. Paul in 1885, Charles Bechhoeffer began an apprenticeship with the John B. and W. H. Sanborn firm. There he remained for about two years. He then opened his own practice, specializing in real estate, probate and tax law. In 1923, he was appointed to the bench of the Second Judicial District. He served on the district court until 1931, when he resigned because of illness.
John H. Brown served as a judge in the Twelfth Judicial District from March 13, 1875, to his death on January 20, 1890.
In 1898, Charles Elwin Callaghan and George Granger formed a law firm that soon became one of the most successful in southwestern Minnesota. It dissolved in 1915, when Granger was appointed to the district court bench, a post he held only two years before resigning. Callaghan was then appointed to fill the vacancy; he was elected to a full term in 1918, and reelected in 1924. He died in office on August 13, 1926, at age seventy-three. The following year, a committee of the Wabasha County Bar presented a "sketch" of his life in district court.
Except for a brief stint on the bench, Ozro B. Gould practiced law in Winona from 1867 to January 1907, when he died. For over seventeen of those years, from 1877 to 1895, he practiced in partnership with Arthur H. Snow.
Ralph Parker thrived on public service. He ran for office nine times and never lost an election. In November 1922, he was elected judge of the Tenth Judicial District, which covered Freeborn, Mower, Fillmore and Houston Counties. Shortly after the election, an illness recurred and he underwent an operation in a Rochester hospital. But his health deteriorated rapidly. On December 22nd, he took the oath of office in the hospital, and died five days later. In the following months, resolutions honoring him were adopted by the Minnesota House of Representatives, where he had served four terms, as well as the district and state bar associations.
William L. Parsons arrived in Fergus Falls in 1882 to practice law. He was twenty-fours years old and already a member of the New York bar. In 1886, he formed a partnership with James A. Brown, and their firm soon became one of the most prominent in the area. He served as a Federal Referee of Bankruptcy from 1898 to 1913. In 1913, a third judgeship was added to the Seventh Judicial District, and Governor Eberhart appointed Parsons to fill this slot. He served until late 1927, when he resigned. He died on January 13, 1939, and the following day the Fergus Falls Daily Journal published his obituary.
An obituary of Arthur H. Snow, who served as a district court judge in Winona County from 1897 to his death on May 14, 1915, was published the following day in "The Winona Independent."
Austin H. Young served as a judge in Hennepin County for over eighteen years, initially on the Court of Common Pleas from 1872 to 1877, then on the District Court from 1877 to 1890, when he was defeated for reelection. He died on February 13, 1905.