Mortimer Crosthwaite Rhone was born March 16, 1871, at Cambridge, Luzerne County, Pennsylvania, the son of Rev. Zebulon S. and Jennie Crosthwaite Rhone. As a boy he was brought up in a small town in Nebraska. There he lived until his father died. His mother brought the family back to Lycoming County, and seventeen year old Murray went to work in the saw mills and lumber camps in this area. He attended the Williamsport Commercial College and Dickinson Seminary. While attending the latter institution he studied law under Walter E. Ritter (according to Col. Thomas Lloyd’s History of Lycoming County, but Walter C. Gilmore, according to the bar resolutions adopted after his death).
He himself attributed to Celeste Humphries, whom he married June 15, 1895, the entire credit for the building of his character and professional standing in the community. He was greatly encouraged by her to study law, while earning support for his wife and children, and he drove a milk wagon in Williamsport, as did the late Robert H. Thorne, another prominent citizen of Williamsport.
He was admitted to the bar, July 7, 1900. From 1916-1918, he was City Solicitor of the City of Williamsport. In 1908, he was a delegate to the Democratic National Convention at Denver; in 1928, at Houston, Texas, he was also a delegate where as he always boasted, he voted for Al Smith.
The first Mrs. Rhone died in May 1933, and in 1935, he married Florence E. Horn, who survived him. He adopted a child, Ethel, by a former marriage of his first wife, and he like wise adopted a son, Lee, by the first marriage of his second wife.
After the death of Judge G. B. M. Metzger, on March 18, 1938, Governor George H. Earle appointed him Judge of Lycoming County. He ran for election for the full ten year term, in the fall of 1939, but was defeated by 37 year old Samuel H. Humes, the Republican nominee. Judge Humes had been serving as assistant district attorney under District Attorney Charles Scott Williams. Judge Rhone then returned to private practice which he pursued actively until his death March 16, 1941.
Judge Rhone was a direct descendant of the LaPorte family which had settled in Sullivan County during the Revolutionary War. They were of French descent, and the town of Laporte, the county seat of Sullivan County, was named in their honor.
Judge Rhone’s uncle, D. L. Rhone, Judge of the Orphans Court of Luzerne County, wrote the famous Rhone’s Orphans Court Practice, which was considered to be a standard work until the revision of the Decedents Estates law, and is still used by lawyers when referring to the law as it formerly existed prior to 1917.
Through the efforts of Judge Rhone, the Supreme Court of the United States was persuaded to reverse its General Order in Bankruptcy No. 8, and to decide that it, the highest court in the land, had purported to act beyond its own constitutional powers. The particular point decided was that the petition of a partner to have the firm adjudicated a bankrupt, when filed by such partner individually, could not be sustained as a voluntary petition by the firm, notwithstanding an allegation that the partnership desired to obtain the benefits of the bankruptcy laws.35Many of the attorneys at our bar studied this very case in law school. It was argued personally by Murray Rhone.
On July 16, 1932, Judge Rhone, John C. Youngman and Michael J. Maggio sailed for Europe, where Judge Rhone and Mr. Youngman represented the Lycoming Law Association at the International Conference of Comparative Law held at The Hague, Holland. We never really learned much about the conference, but John Youngman came home with a remarkable phonograph record entitled “Wien and Wein”. He finally wore out the record playing it so often to us at Highland Lake. Mr. Maggio prolonged his visit and did not return with the other two. John was then District Attorney of Lycoming County and had just completed the investigation and solution of the Garrison- Hutton murder case, which he successfully prosecuted upon his return from Europe.
In Bar Association matters, Mortimer C. Rhone was ever a leader. To him, more than any one else, belongs the credit for the increase in interest taken by the local Bar in the activities of the Pennsylvania Bar Association. He brought the state group in closer proximity to the local group and developed a hitherto unknown interest. His practice was of a general nature and filled with difficult and complicated litigation. He was what is known in legal parlance as a digger. He went to the bottom of matters in his research. He was a formidable opponent, both in the trial of a case and in the appellate courts. As late as the March 1941 Quarter Sessions (he died March 16, 1941), he successfully represented the defense in a difficult arson charge. Following the verdict of ‘not guilty” his zest for the arena seemed to have returned. He thoroughly enjoyed the fruits of victory from the trial of a cause.
Judge Rhone was civic minded. His contributions to this community will be lasting. During World War I, he served the local draft board as its attorney and made personal investigations of thousands of cases. It was his unpleasant duty to check on all the “chiselers”, and this he did without fear or favor. For his unstinting, courageous service in this matter he received no compensation whatsoever and paid all of his own expenses.
He was a dynamic force in the economic recovery of Williamsport after the 1929 crash. He recognized the needs and possibilities of the City and gave untold time and effort to the rehabilitation of its industry. Throughout his civic career, he was always progressive. In 1925, he advocated municipal ownership of the Water Company of Williamsport at the then price of One Million Eight Hundred Thousand ($1,800,000) Dollars. It was to the everlasting misfortune of this community that the other civic leaders at that time could not recognize Mr. Rhone’s wisdom and foresight.
Murray was a delightful companion, long remembered for his social graces and accomplishments. To call him the “life of the party” does him far from justice. His genial smile, hearty laughter and melodious tenor voice are gone. I can recall how he loved to sing “My Wild Irish Rose” upon occasion, as well as many other old time songs.
Samuel Hamilton Humes was born in Jersey Shore, Pa., January 29, 1901, the son of Samuel Humes and Jessica Cole (Prindle) Humes, and grandson of Hamilton B. Humes. His mother later married James H. Krom after the death of Mr. Humes. Judge Humes was christened “Samuel Humes”, but adopted Hamilton as his middle name from that of his grandfather. His father and grandfather were bankers.
Samuel Humes, eldest son of Hamilton B. Humes and S. Floretta (Sebring) Humes, was born in Jersey Shore, October 25, 1870, and died at his late residence in that borough, September 30, 1904.
In early life he had attended a private school which was conducted in a brick building at the head of Seminary Street, and was later sent to the Hill School, at Pottstown, Pennsylvania, from which institution he was graduated in 1887, and subsequently entered Williams College, at Williamstown, Massachusetts, graduating therefrom in 1891. Upon his return home he entered the banking house of the Jersey Shore Banking Company as a clerk, later being promoted to assistant cashier, and then to vice president, and in all capacities took an active part in the conduct of the business of the institution, being an expert in stocks and bonds. He served as treasurer of the Electric Light Company of Jersey Shore, of the Business Men’s Club, and of the board of trustees of the Presbyterian church. He was a man of exemplary habits, and his good qualities were innumerable. He was well liked and thoroughly trusted by all who knew him, was well informed in financial affairs and his opinion was often sought at home and abroad.
Samuel Humes was a member of the Presbyterian church for a number of years and took great interest in church and Sabbath school work, and in the Young Peoples Society of Christian Endeavor. He was a trustee of the church and superintendent of the Sunday School at the time of his death, and although absorbed in business he never allowed it to overshadow his devotion to his church and the interests and good works of the Master’s kingdom. There was no interest in the church in which he did not take an active part, and no demands in the church for maintenance and work to which he was not among the first to respond. There was never a call looking for world evangelism to which he did not open a liberal hand, and besides the regular channels of the church for benevolence, the worthy and needy were constantly encouraged by substantial help of which the church and the world knew nothing. Every missionary of the Cross had a place in his prayers, and every Christian worker a large place in his helpful sympathy. His nature was an intense one, and this intensity manifested itself no more in his business than in his love and loyalty to his church and his Lord. No other expression of unfaltering faithfulness will describe what he was as a son, husband, father, citizen and Christian. Mr. Humes died September 30, 1904, and the funeral service was held in the Presbyterian church. In the absence of the pastor, Rev. Charles W. Bruce, the Rev. W. V. Gance, of the First Methodist Episcopal Church, officiated.
Mr. Humes was united in marriage with Miss Jessica Cole Prindle, December 28, 1893. Three children were born to them: Margaret Prindle, born December 2, 1894, now Mrs. Denver Collins; Samuel, Jr., born January 29, 1901; and Hamilton Marshall, born May 8, 1896, died July 9, 1897. Mrs. Humes and the two surviving children continued to reside in Jersey Shore.
Mrs. Humes was born November 7 1870, at Williamstown, Massachusetts, and began her studies in the common schools of her native town, and pursued advanced courses at Glen Seminary, Williamstown, Mass., and Abbott Academy, at Andover, Mass. She was the daughter of Marshall and Caroline Prindle. Marshall Prindle was born in Williamstown, Mass., in 1819, a son of John Prindle, who was a farmer, and Penelope (Johnson) Prindle. He was a son of John Prindle, who was a merchant in New Milford, Conn., of a leading family of that state. Marshall Prindle was a prominent and prosperous farmer at Williamstown. He married (second) Caroline Lamphier, who was of French ancestry on the paternal side, and of English ancestry on the maternal side.
William Pringle (also spelled Prindle in his will), a native of Scotland, the emigrant ancestor and progenitor of the family in America, settled in New Haven, Conn., where he took the oath of fidelity to the New Haven jurisdiction before Theophilus Eaton, governor, on April 4, 1654. He is first mentioned in the New Haven Colonial Records as “the Scotchman who lives at Mr. Allerton’s”, who was one of the Mayflower Pilgrims. Savage said that William Pringle was “a Proprietor in 1685, and so was Joseph, who may have been a son.” He married December 7, 1655, Mary Desborough, Mr. Stephen Goodyear, magistrate, officiating. Eleven children were born to them, seven sons and four daughters; of these sons, Ebenezer, Elezar and Samuel settled in Milford, Connecticut. Elezear died in middle life, and Samuel betook himself to New Milford, and was one of the original settlers of that town. Samuel Prindle was born April 16, 1668, was twice married, and had one of those good old colonial families, nine children, Elizabeth, Samuel, John, Sarah, Dorothy, Daniel, Abigail, Mary and Obedience. His son John became a merchant in New Milford, but about 1760 a young minister, one Whitman Welch, was called to take charge of a new little church just started in Williamstown, Mass. After him flocked a goodly number of the citizens of New Milford, and he became a great help to them in their selection of lots, and to sign their deeds as a witness. Among these we find John Prindle, with two sons — Solomon and John — who, having sold his store in New Milford, came too, along with his fellow townsmen. He purchased the original sixty-acre lot No. 54, on Birch Hill, on what is commonly known as the “Prindle Place”, and was the grandfather of Marshall Prindle.
The maternal ancestors of Mrs. Humes, the Coles of England, trace their lineage back to the year 1001. There were some twenty-seven coats of arms in the family, and the representatives in England filled positions of honor and trust. During the Revolutionary War eight hundred and sixty-five members of the family enlisted their services, thus clearly demonstrating their loyalty and patriotism. The pioneer ancestor of the branch of the family named in this narrative was James Cole, born in Highgate, a suburb of London, in 1600. He married in 1625, Mary Lobel, and came to Plymouth, Mass., in 1632. He owned for many years what is still known as Cole’s Hill, and opened and kept for many years the first hotel of Plymouth, if not the first in New England. He and his son, James, for a number of years owned the ground upon which rests Plymouth Rock.
Hugh Cole, son of James and Mary (Lobel) Cole, was born in England in 1627. He was one of the Proprietors of Swansea, and the river running towards Swansea bears his name, Cole’s River. In 1675-1677, he was a soldier in King Philip’s War. In 1665, he purchased a farm from King Philip, still in the possession of his descendants, having suffered no alienation during this long period of over two hundred and eighty-seven years. His home, built upon the banks of the river, was burned by King Philip; he rebuilt it, but after his death it was again burned. He married January 8, 1654, Mary Troxwell, who bore him ten children, six Sons and four daughters.
Benjamin Cole, son of Hugh and Mary (Troxwell) Cole, was born in Swansea, Mass., 1678 and died there September 29, 1748. He was a farmer, and the house built by him in 1701 is still standing and in good condition. He was a deacon in the Baptist church of Swansea for thirty-five years. He married, June 27, 1701, Hannah Eddy, who bore him eight children, five sons and three daughters.
Israel Cole, son of Benjamin and Hannah (Eddy) Cole, was born in Swansea, Mass., March 4, 1709. He married March 5, 1733, Susannah Wheaton, who bore him six children, five sons and one daughter. At the same time his son Israel, removed to Royalton, he with the remainder of his family removed to Shaftsbury, Vermont, where he died August 5, 1789.
Israel Cole son of Israel and Susannah (Wheaton) Cole, was born in Rehohoth, Massachusetts, September 26, 1735. He married January 17, 1765, Susannah Wood, and they were the parents of nine children, five sons and four daughters. About the year 1769 the family settled in Royalton, Mass., having gone there with the Wood and Mason families, and afterwards Mr. Cole removed to Cheshire and was a very successful farmer. He served in Captain Parker’s Company, Col. Leonard’s Regiment, at Ticonderoga during the Revolutionary War. He died at his home in Cheshire, July 6, 1830.
Lydia Cole, daughter of Israel and Susannah (Wood) Cole, was born in Cheshire, Mass., 1766. In 1787, she became the wife of Jason White, born in 1762 in New Ashford, Mass., son of William White (who served as Captain of Capt. Ellis Perkins Company, Col. Benjamin Simonds’ Regiment which reinforced the Continental Army at Ticonderoga and Bennington, 1777). Abigail, their fourth and youngest child, was born August 27, 1809, in New Ashford, Mass. In 1836, she married to Benjamin Lamphier, by Elder John Leland. Benjamin Lamphier was a descendant of Isaiah Lamphier, who served in the Revolution, having enlisted in Little Brittain Parish.
Caroline Lamphier, youngest child of Benjamin and Abigail (White) Lamphier, was born November 15, 1839. She became the wife of Marshall E. Prindle, op. cit., December 10, 1862, and their children were: Franklin Everett, Beloit, Wis.; Jennie A., of Williamstown, Mass.; Jessica Cole, who married Samuel Humes; and Clarence Harvey, who resided on the homestead with his parents.
Judge Humes’ great-great-great grandfather, Robert Hume, served as a private in the Lancaster County Militia during the Revolutionary War, as did John Hume, Judge Humes’ great-great grandfather. John Hume was born in Lancaster County and moved to Milton, Pennsylvania, where he died. He was the first to add an “s” to his name, spelling it Humes.
Other ancestors of Judge Humes who served in the Revolution were James Hamilton, also of Lancaster County; Timothy Johnson, of Mass.; Isaiah Lamphier, of Rhode Island; John Pfoutz, of Cumberland County; Major Peter Richards, of Philadelphia and Captain William White, of Mass.
Judge Humes attended the primary and grade schools of his native town, Jersey Shore, and was graduated from The Hill School, Pottstown, Pa., in 1919, with an award for the best general record in scholarship and athletics. He entered Williams College, the alma mater of his father, from which he was graduated in 1923. While at Williams, he was again active in athletics and so scholarly that he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. His interest in scholastic attainments continued, as evidenced by the fact that he helped found, and was one of the sponsors of, the Phi Beta Kappa chapter at Bucknell University.
In the fall of 1923 he entered Harvard Law School, and there studied under such outstanding legal scholars as Samuel Williston, Joseph Henry Beale, Manley O. Hudson, Austin W. Scott, and the then Dean of the law school, Roscoe Pound. After receiving his L.L. B., he went to Pittsburgh and served his clerkship with the law firm of Dalzell, Fisher and Dalzell, in whose offices he acquired a practical knowledge to supplement the theory learned so well in law school. After passing his State Bar examinations, he was admitted to practice in the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania and subsequently to the Courts of Allegheny County, in 1927. He remained with this law firm until the fall of 1929, when he came to Williamsport.
In June of that year, he was united in marriage with Miss Elenor Kathryn Graham, of Wilkinsburg, Pa., and after a wedding trip abroad established his home here.
Previously, in January 1929, he had planned to form a partnership in Williamsport with Harry Alvan Hall Baird. This partnership began October 1, 1929, and continued until his elevation to the bench in January 1940.
Both in Pittsburgh and in Williamsport, Judge Humes gained a wide and varied experience in the trial of cases, both civil and criminal. Of all types of work in which a lawyer may engage, this type is an art requiring patience, courage, resourcefulness and insight into human nature. Judge Humes possessed these qualities in large measure, and was highly successful in this field.
His ability as a judge was recognized alike by the Bench, the Bar and the public. His short judicial career gave great promise of a brilliant future, and many acquainted with his ability were convinced that the position from which he was removed by death, was but a stepping stone to an appellate court judgeship.
Judge Humes had taught business law at the Margaret Morrison School, a division of the Carnegie Tech in Pittsburgh, while he was engaged in practice there. From the time he came to Williamsport, he had been active in all phases of public life. In politics, he served as Republican State Committeeman for Lycoming County from 1935 to 1939. He was first assistant district attorney from 1936 to 1939.
He was a member of the First Presbyterian Church of Williamsport, and served as superintendent of the sabbath school, and clerk of the session. He was a member of its National Board of Foreign Missions, whose New York monthly meetings he at tended with great regularity.
He was also interested in the Y.M.C.A. of which he was a director. His work with the Boy Scouts of America led to his election as President of the West Branch Council, after many years of service. In 1941 he was Chairman of the Community Chest. In fact, there was no phase of civic or community life which did not know his touch and the influence of his guiding hand and understanding heart.
He made a careful personal investigation of all penal institutions of the Commonwealth so as to acquire first hand knowledge of their suitability for the commitment of persons sentenced by the Court. He was a member of the Executive Committee of Juvenile Court Judges; the State Advisory Council of the Pennsylvania Committee on Penal Affairs of the Public Charities Association, and had charge of a campaign for funds for the National Probation Association. He gained statewide recognition because he asked for and received permission to serve as a juror in the U. S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania, in order to enable him to better see and understand the workings of the Court from the juror’s viewpoint.
Another of Judge Humes’ interests was his interest in sports. In addition to being an ardent fisherman, he was intensely interested in football, baseball, basketball, boxing, handball and hockey. He was a member of many organizations. He was a member of the Lycoming Law Association, the Pennsylvania Bar Association, of which he served as a member of the Executive Committee, and of the American Bar Association. He was Vice President of the Lycoming Historical Society, and a member of important committees of the Muncy Historical Society, Ross Club, Grays Run Club, Highland Lake Manor, active in the former Community Theatre projects as well as the Summer Theater at Eagles Mere. He was a member of John F. Laedlein Lodge, No. 707, F. & A.M., Pennsylvania Society of Sons of the American Revolution and the Amazon Lodge, I.O.O.F. He was a director of the First Federal Savings and Loan Association of Williamsport.
Judge Humes was survived by his wife, Elenor G. Humes, and three sons, Samuel IV, Graham and James Calhoun, his mother, Mrs. James H. Krom, since deceased, and his sister, Margaret, now Mrs. Denver Collins, of Grey Wing Hall, Jersey Shore, Pa.
Samuel Humes IV, like his father, was also educated at The Hill School and Williams College. He received his Master’s Degree in Public Administration from the University of Pennsylvania. Since then he has been studying abroad, and is presently writing a thesis comparing the local municipal government systems throughout the world. This thesis will be published under the auspices of the United Nations, and for this work he will receive his doctorate from the University of Leyden, The Netherlands.
Graham, likewise an alumnus of Hill and Williams, completed his post-graduate work at the Harvard Business School. He is married to the former Elizabeth Jordan Dill, and they have two daughters. Graham now resides in Philadelphia, where he is employed by Butcher and Sherrerd, a brokerage house. His father, Judge Humes was a classmate at Hill of Howard Butcher, of that firm.
James Calhoun Humes, another Hill and Williams alumnus, was also educated at the Stowe School, Buckinghamshire, England, where he took and passed the Oxford entrance examinations. He attended the University of Madrid, and is at present studying law at George Washington University. In 1957, he was married, in Scotland, to the former Dianne Stuart, of Concord, Massachusetts, and they now reside in Washington, D.C.
On the evening of January 28, 1943, Judge Humes collapsed in attempting to extricate his automobile from a snowbank, while en route to address a Williamsport Parent—Teacher Association meeting. He died that night a few hours after being admitted to the Williamsport Hospital, as the result of a heart attack.
Governor Edward Martin appointed Spencer W. Hill to fill the vacancy thus created. He took the oath of office on March 2, l943, the 35th anniversary of his birth. Judge Hill, like Judge Humes, had been an assistant district attorney under District Attorney Charles Scott Williams.
According to family tradition, the ancestors of Judge Hill were originally Scotch, but by reason of religious persecutions in the reign of James II they fled to Switzerland; after the revocation of the Edict of Nantes (October 18, 1685) they were expelled from Switzerland, along with the Swiss and French Hugenots, and sought refuge in the Palatinate in Germany. During the early years of the eighteenth century there was a large and continuous immigration of German Palatines into Pennsylvania. About the year 1710, Jacob Thu is said to have arrived in Philadelphia with others known and classed as Palatines. He settled as a farmer in the Maxatawnev Valley, near the site of present day Kutztown, in Berks County, where he spent the remainder of his life. He was one of the founders of the Moselem Lutheran Church, still in existence in Richmond Township, Berks County. He had three sons, John Jacob Hill, Daniel Hill and Frederick Hill, and also several daughters.
John Jacob Hill had a son, Frederick Hill, born Sept. 8,. 1758, at a place called Windsor Castle, in Windsor Township, Berks County. He lived in Richmond Township, and later Oley Township, where he was a shoemaker. According to his pension affidavit, made May 6, 1818, Frederick enlisted in Berks County, 1777, in Capt. Robert Connelly’s, Company in the Regiment commanded by Col. William Butler, and served for three years in the 4th regiment of the Continental Line. He served in the battles of Monmouth, New Jersey, and Jamestown, Virginia, and was discharged in Virginia. This latter fact would seem to preclude his having participated in the revolt of the Pennsylvania Line, in New Jersey in 1779. At the time of his declaration, he stated that he had no family but resided with his son, aged 21 years. He was present during that memorable winter at Valley Forge when the troops suffered so much hardship. He died May 6, 1833 according to a notation on his pension declaration papers, and is buried at Danville, Pa.
His son, Martin, was also a shoemaker by trade, and one of the early settlers in Hughesville. His wife, who was a granddaughter of Jeptha Hughes, for whom Hughesville was named, bore him six sons, among whom was Joseph P. Hill, who married a Miss Doane, and reared a large family of children, among whom was Spencer W. Hill, grandfather of Judge Hill.
Spencer Willets Hill was born in Williamsport, Pa., on March 2, 1908, the son of H. Donald and Matilda (Graybill) Hill. His grandfather, Spencer W. Hill, for whom he was named, had been registered as a law student in 1883 (vide No. 107, March Term 1883), but apparently never completed his course of study . He served for many years as an alderman in the fourth ward of the City of Williamsport.
Judge Hill began his education in the public schools of Williamsport, completing high school in 1926. He received his A.B. degree from Bucknell University in 1930, then went on to the University of Pennsylvania Law School, taking his LL.B. in 1933. His clerkship was served in the offices of Clarence L. Peaselee, Esquire, upon whose motion he was admitted to the Lycoming County Bar on May 7, 1934 (vide No. 420, March Term 1934).
Spencer W. Hill was vitally interested in the Republican Party at all levels: local, state and national. This interest was active throughout his professional life. The party honored him by appointing him to the offices of assistant district attorney, judge, deputy attorney general, and solicitor for the commissioners of Lycoming County.
In the Republican primary of 1943, District Attorney Charles Scott Williams opposed Judge Hill, the organization’s candidate, and won the nomination. Judge Williams’ opponent in the November election was Thomas Wood Sr., a highly esteemed attorney and civic leader who had formerly been postmaster at Muncy, and was the Democratic nominee.
The Williamsport Sun summed up editorially his judicial services after he had completed his judicial appointment as follows:
“Although unsuccessful in his quest for election, Judge Hill has every right to feel as he returns to private practice, that his record on the bench has been excellent and that those in a position to judge hold his official record in high regard. It should be further said of Judge Hill that he has made a fine impression by the manner in which he has accepted the verdict of the voters, even though it contained disappointment for him.”
Following Judge Hill’s return to private practice, he succeeded Marshall R. Anspach, as Special Deputy Attorney General assigned to the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board, with the change back to a Republican administration. He served until the Leader administration appointed Sidney A. Simon to that office.
Judge Hill belonged to the Pine Street Methodist Church, and served on its board of trustees. He was a member of the several Masonic bodies of Williamsport, served as President of the Community Trade Association (1951-53); and on the Board of Directors of the Y.W.C.A. Judge Hill belonged to the Ross Club and was a member of the Elbow Fish and Game Club. He served as president of Lycoming Law Association (1949) and also belonged to the Pennsylvania Bar Association and the American Bar Association.
He married Olive A. Fetterman, on March 21, 1933. They are the parents of three children: Ann M., Irene and Spencer III.
Spencer Hill died in 1963.
Charles Scott Williams was born at Picture Rocks, Lycoming County, Pa., November 28, 1904, the son of Rev. Alvin Samuel and Emma Fraim (Stadden) Williams. As his father was a Methodist minister, the family lived in many parts of Central Pennsylvania, before Judge Williams returned to Lycoming County to take up the practice of law in 1930.
After two years in Williamsport High School, Charles graduated from Roaring Springs High School in 1922, then attended Dickinson College, receiving his B.A. there in 1926, and his LL.B. from the Dickinson School of Law in 1929. Although he had lived in Harrisburg, Altoona and Chambersburg, he was well acquainted in the Williamsport area as all of his grandparents lived and died in this vicinity, and are buried in Wildwood Cemetery. His maternal ancestors. were among the earliest settlers of the region, two of them, John Sample and William Stadden, having been in the battle of Fort Freeland, and one of them served at Fort Muncy during the Revolution. His grandfather was an early home builder in present day Williamsport, building the second house on a farm near the Brandon Park Area, moving there when it was nothing but fields.
Judge Williams interrupted his law school education for one year, being employed by the Pennsylvania Railroad Company in Altoona, where after working for six months, he next secured employment as a reporter and editor on the Altoona Tribune. He then went to Harrisburg, where he was employed in the editorial office of the Harrisburg Evening News for long hours, from 12 a.m. to 8 the next morning. This schedule permitted him to attend law school, traveling between Harrisburg and Carlisle in order to continue holding his job.
After Judge Williams passed his state bar examinations, he went to Altoona, which at that time was the home of his parents, where he was admitted to the Blair County Bar. Before he had begun to practice, however, his father moved to the Newberry section of Williamsport, and the Judge came with him.
At that time Ames and Hammond was one of the oldest law firms in the city. Herbert T. Ames had been elected Mayor of Williamsport on the Prohibition ticket in 1930. His partner, Thomas H. Hammond, was a lay leader in the Episcopal church, and had amassed a comfortable fortune through his practice and investments. These two men were then located on West Third Street, opposite the Court House, and they gave office space to Judge Williams. He was admitted to practice in Lycoming County on May 5, 1930, upon motion of Mr. Ames.
In 1930 the firm moved to 465 Pine Street and Judge Williams went with them. In 1931, Mr. Hammond died, and in 1932, Judge Williams became a partner of Mayor Ames. This partnership continued until the death of Mr. Ames, in 1936, after which Judge Williams practiced by himself and later, associated with the late Arthur McKean, the only member of our bar to be killed in World War II while on active duty.
Judge Williams first attracted public notice in 1932, when he was appointed U. S. Commissioner. Prohibition was coming to an end, and he heard, as committing magistrate, many cases involving the major bootleggers of the West Branch Valley, including such then famous persons as Prince Farrington, Charles Farrington, Jacob Kohberger and Joe Gardner. It is said that Prince Farrington made the finest quality whiskey to be procured anywhere. It was many years later that the Federal Government finally caught up with him and arrested him in Florida, for income tax evasion, by which time Prince’s worldly possessions had dwindled to almost nothing.
Judge Williams entered Lycoming County politics with the blessing of Mayor Ames in 1935. He was elected district attorney and the only Republican, as the state was then under Democratic Governor George H. Earle. This marked him for a coming man. He appointed as his assistant district attorneys Samuel H. Humes later to be an elected judge, and Spencer W. Hill, later an appointed judge, and subsequently a special deputy attorney general.
In 1939, Judge Williams conducted a brisk campaign, obtaining both the Republican and Democratic nominations, and was the first district attorney of the county to be elected to two four-year terms in that office. William H. Spencer had formerly been elected to two terms, but at that time the term consisted of but three years. Williams had been opposed in the primary by the Republican county chairman but easily won that nomination, and got the Democratic primary by write-ins. He appointed Joseph P. Keliher and H. Swank Phillips as his assistants, with Col. C. E. (Cap) Whipple as his county detective for the second time under his administration. Keliher later became district attorney. Lyle S. Spangle was appointed by Williams to succeed Whipple when the latter was recalled to army service.
During his second administration as district attorney Williams managed the local campaign for Senator James J. Davis, in the latter’s bid for the governorship, Davis representing the more liberal wing of the Republican party. When Davis was defeated, and upon the death of Judge Humes, Governor Martin appointed Judge Hill. As a result the primary in 1943 saw one of the biggest fights ever to be held in Lycoming County with Hill leading a slate of hand-picked candidates openly endorsed by the Republican administration at Harrisburg, with Williams also running for Judge. The latter with several of his political friends and supporters broke up the slate and went on to victory in the General Election, following.
During his first term as Judge, Judge Williams announced that he was a candidate for Governor of Pennsylvania on the Republican ticket, and toured the state with little or no support outside his home county. He got almost 70 per cent of the votes cast in Lycoming County, however, and two years later was re-elected to a second term without any opposition, the Democratic County Executive Committee endorsing his candidacy as well as the C.I.O. Council of the county. The success achieved by Judge Williams was partly to be attributed to the fact that he had a large personal following. For many years his supporters were organized under the name of “The Lincoln Club.”
As district attorney the Judge’s most important case was that of the county treasurer’s embezzlement of $101,000, which resulted in the county treasurer and his deputy going to jail. As Judge he presided over many important cases, one of them being a timber case (Hutchinson v. Ash, 1 Lycoming Reporter 1, in which Marshall Anspach took part as solicitor for the Lycoming County Commissioners, amicus curiae, at the request of the Court). This case required thirteen days for trial, and involved the calling of 23 coal and timber expert witnesses, including a Professor from Pennsylvania State College, on the part of the county.
Perhaps the most outstanding case to come before Judge Williams, was the case of Commonwealth v. Fisher, 1 Lycoming Reporter 33, 86, 159, in which the interpretation of an 1855 deed with mineral reservations was involved. An injunction was granted enjoining Donald F. Fisher from strip mining in Pine Township, the surface being owned by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. John C. Youngman represented the Commonwealth, and Mr. Anspach and Richard H. Klein, of Sunbury, represented Fisher. Fisher appealed to the Supreme Court (364 Pa. 422) and the Supreme Court reversed at the plaintiff’s costs. It was very unusual for the Supreme Court to place the costs on the Commonwealth. This case has been referred to by attorneys in all of the coal producing counties in Pennsylvania as having made new law.
In 1963, Judge Williams sought a third term, but was defeated by Thomas Wood in the general election.
Judge Williams was very active in community affairs. During World War II he was chairman of the largest cash campaign ever held in the county, for the American Red Cross, and for two years was chairman of its annual drive. He served for many years on the Lycoming County Red Cross Board. He was also active with the West Branch Council, Boy Scouts of America, serving as its president for two terms. He served as the first chairman of the advisory committee of the Divine Providence Hospital, being active in the second fund raising campaign of that hospital. He was a member and chairman of the Advisory Board of the Salvation Army locally, and of the State of Pennsylvania.
Judge Williams was active in Masonry, being a member and past master of Lodge 106, F. and A.M. (1943). He also belonged to Williamsport Consistory, A. A. S. R., to Baldwin Commandery No. 22, Knights Templar, and to Williamsport Council #20, Red Cross of Constantine, of which he was past sovereign. He held memberships in the S.A.R., being a past president of Tiadaghton Chapter; and in the Ross Club, Wheel Club, Lycova Grange, the Consolidated Sportsmen and the Pennsylvania Society of New York. He was a deer hunter, holding membership in Bobst Mountain Hunting Club. He was a past president of Williamsport Exchange Club.
Lycoming College might be said to have been Judge Williams’ avocation. He was a director for 24 years and was chairman of its executive committee for many years. He was also one of the key men in changing that institution from a junior to a four year college granting academic degrees. He was chairman of its first big community drive. He was a director and chairman of the finance committee, as well as treasurer of the Preachers Aid Society, the legal owner of Lycoming College.
He belonged to Newberry Methodist Church, of which his father had been pastor. The Judge served on its official board and also as a member of the board of trustees of the Central Pennsylvania Conference of the Methodist Church. At the time of ascending the bench, he was a director of the Bank of Newberry, from which position he resigned at that time.
Judge Williams received from the Pennsylvania Supreme Court an interim assignment as president Judge of Clinton County upon the death of Henry Hipple, Sr.
Judge Williams was devoted to history, particularly to local history, being a past president of Lycoming Historical Society, and also being author of published histories of Lycoming College and of the Newberry Methodist Church.
On June 25, 1940, Mr. Williams married Helen Edler of Williamsport. They had one son, Scott Alvin Williams, a member of this bar since 1966.
Judge Williams’ sudden and untimely death occurred on Saturday, June 25, 1966.
The name of Greevy has been, since the beginning of the twentieth century, synonymous with law in Lycoming County. Charles F. Greevy, Sr., the judge’s father, was admitted to the Lycoming County bar on February 11, 1900, and continued in active practice until his death on February 26, 1936. The judge’s sister, Evelyn Greevy Hand, graduated from Pittsburgh Law School and was associated in her father’s law firm until his death. His brother, Lester L. Greevy, Sr. was a law partner with Charles from 1946 to 1952, and continued the active practice of law until his death on February 17, 1985. His nephew, Lester L. Greevy, Jr. began law practice in Lycoming County in July, 1968. The judge’s eldest son, Charles F. Greevy, III, entered practice on August 1, 1969, while serving his preceptorship with his father. The judge’s son, Robert A. Greevy, was admitted to the Lycoming County Bar on November 21, 1973, and is at the present time an attorney with the Pennsylvania Board of Probation and Parole in Harrisburg.
Charles F. Greevy, Jr., born May 2, 1914, was the eldest son of Charles F. Greevy, Sr. and Clara Tepel Greevy, and was a man of many talents, having served devotedly in many spheres.
Educated in the Williamsport schools, he began his practice of law in 1939, following graduation from Dickinson College and Dickinson School of Law in Carlisle. World War II interrupted this practice, and for over two years he served in its European, Atlantic and Pacific Theatres as a naval lieutenant in the Armed Guard.
Returning home in 1945, he resumed legal practice, first as sole practitioner, then with his brother, Lester L. Greevy, Sr., and Daniel F. Knittle in the firm of Greevy, Greevy and Knittle. Prior to serving as Judge, Judge Greevy enjoyed a successful practice. He was co-counsel with Charles R. Bidelspacher in the Williamsport Wire Rope case, on behalf of the stockholders and former stockholders, successfully sued the Bethlehem Steel Co., and obtained a very favorable settlement for the clients. He was a court appointed defense counsel representing Arthur Kuster, who was acquitted of a first degree murder charge.
Indeed, Judge Greevy represented his clients with such vigor and success that Democrats and Republicans both nominated him for judge in 1951. Judge Greevy was a member of the Democratic Party. Judge Greevy was re-elected ten years later with both major party nominations, and in 1964 became president judge. Retained for an unprecedented third term in 1971, he served Lycoming County until January 4, 1982, serving with Judges Charles S. Williams, Thomas Wood, Thomas C. Raup, and Clinton W. Smith. He continued to serve as a Senior Judge throughout the Commonwealth, by action of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. He retained his robes as a Senior Judge for 20 years and presided at an adoption hearing in December 2002 as his last official case.
In 1969 to 1971 the old Lycoming County Courthouse was demolished and a new one built on the same site. During construction, court activities were held in the old Federal Building on West Fourth Street, which now serves as Williamsport City Hall. Chief Justice Benjamin C. Jones of the State Supreme Court was the main speaker at the dedication of the new building May 1, 1971, with President Judge Greevy presiding.
Judge Greevy has been active in Pennsylvania Juvenile Court activities and devoted much effort to improve the community’s understanding of the needs of children who are neglected and emotionally disturbed. He was a Fellow of the fifth session of the Pennsylvania Masonic Juvenile Court Institute held at Pittsburgh, an idea promoted by the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania, F. & A.M., some years ago, to which judges and interested persons in that field were invited.
In an issue of the Juvenile Court Judges Journal, Judge W. S. Criswell, of Florida, a prominent juvenile judge and authority on juvenile jurisprudence, reviewed with considerable favor, Judge Greevy’s five point program for coping with juvenile delinquency. Judge Greevy’s program was announced locally in January 1958.
In 1977, the Pennsylvania State Court Administrator cited President Judge Greevy as an “aggressive” leader who headed a motivated and dedicated professional court staff, and concluded by saying that “there is an esprit de corps in the operation of the judicial system of Lycoming County which augurs well for its future.”
In 1980, as a result of an effort spearheaded by Judges Greevy and Raup, the Pennsylvania Legislature created a third judgeship for Lycoming County, and on May 27, 1981, Judge Clinton W. Smith was sworn in. In 1980 Judges Greevy and Raup appointed a committee to study the need for a new county prison, which thereafter was built and ready for occupancy on January 19, 1986.
During Judge Greevy’s 30-year tenure (1952-82) there were a number of departments and offices added in court-related matters. In 1952 there was only one part-time juvenile officer, no Adult Probation Department, no Domestic Relations Department, no law clerks, no public defenders, no cost clerk, no court administrator, no Mental Health Department, no County Department of Children and Youth, no Family Court, no arbitration procedures, no West Branch Drug and Alcohol Abuse Organization and no computers. All began during this 30 year period.
During this period a number of innovative additional programs were developed to aid in handling court matters. Among them: pre-sentence investigations, the Friends of the Court (of which Judge Greevy was co-founder), Community Service programs, work release, and Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition programs. In 1970, the Justice of the Peace system was revised state-wide into the District Justice system, and came under the personal supervision of Judge Greevy.
Judge Greevy’s stature in office was been matched by his unselfish contributions of talent and leadership to religious, educational, fraternal and civic interests. A life-long member of New Covenant United Church of Christ (originally “Immanuel Lutheran”), he was its first president; and in 1957 was Vice Moderator of the last Evangelical and Reform General Synod, before merger occurred. He was a past president of Williamsport Council of Churches, a director of the Pennsylvania Council of Churches, a former board member of the Lancaster Theological Seminary, and trustee of the Phoebe Home for the Aging.
As a citizen of his community, Judge Greevy touched many lives. Thus, he served as first co-chairman of the Williamsport Chapter of the National Council of Christians and Jews 10 years, and on its National Board of Governors. He was a director and executive committee member of Lycoming College, a trustee of James V. Brown Library, first president of the local American Field Service program, exalted ruler of the Williamsport Lodge No. 173, Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks Club, 55-year member and past president of the Williamsport Kiwanis Club, Pennsylvania Youth Commission, local and state chairman of the March of Dimes, a 18-years board member and past president of Williamsport YMCA, board member and president of the Cleft Palate Clinic, director of the Museum of Our National Heritage, in Lexington, Massachusetts, director and vice president of the West Branch Council of Boy Scouts of America, and member and vice president of the former Lycoming Community Chest.
The Judge was active in major branches of Freemasonry. He was a 65-year member of John F. Laedlein Lodge No. 707, F.&A.M. He was a member of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite, and York Rite bodies, Valley of Williamsport, Lycoming Royal Arch Chapter No. 222, Adoniram Council No. 26., Royal and Select Masters, Baldwin II Commandery No. 22, Knights Templar, Irem Temple Shrine, Williamsport Shrine Club, the Howard Club, the Royal Order of Scotland, and the Red Cross of Constantine. He was a charter member of the National Sojourners Chapter No. 509, having served it as president and received its Hero’s Degree. He was also a member of the Pennsylvania College Masonic Societas Rosicruciana in Civitatibus Foederatis. He was also a past celebrant of Rosicruciana. On Nov. 4, 1988, he was made a member on sight of the Grand Council Allied Masonic Degrees and shortly thereafter was instrumental in forming Susquehanna Council 245, A.M.D.
In the Scottish Rite, Judge Greevy served as Commander in Chief of Williamsport Consistory from 1962 to 1965 and also a trustee. He became a 33rd Degree Mason in 1959 and was elected as an Active member of Supreme Council in 1965. On Sept. 29, 1983, he was named Deputy for Pennsylvania, the first member of the Valley of Williamsport, A.A.S.R. to be so honored. He served as Deputy until he reached the mandatory retirement age of 75, in 1987. He was named as a PA Active Emeritus Member on Aug. 30, 1989, a position he held until his death. He also was an honorary member of the Supreme Councils of Peru and Honduras, of the Illinois Council of Deliberation, the Grand Council of Royal and Select Masters of Pennsylvania and the Grand Commandery of Pennsylvania.
His honors and awards include being listed in Who’s Who in American Law, First Edition, Who’s Who in Masonry and Who’s Who in the East. In 1990 he was awarded the Ben Franklin Award of the Pennsylvania Grand Lodge; in 1991, the Distinguished Citizen, Silver Beaver Award from the Susquehanna Council, Boy Scouts of America; in 1994, the Public Service Award from the Williamsport-Lycoming Foundation; in 1998, the Williamsport Rotary Distinguished Citizen Award and in 2002, the Lycoming County Distinguished Citizen Award from the Lycoming County Commissioners. He was also the recipient of the National Brotherhood Award of the National Conference of Christians and Jews and the Outstanding Alumnae of Theta Chi Fraternity.
In 1982, Judge Greevy received a citation from Pennsylvania Governor Richard Thornburgh in which it was stated that Judge Charles F. Greevy served “a devoted career to the fair and firm application of the law. Your active duty on the Lycoming County Bench, coupled with your vast experience in the legal profession, has played an important role in insuring justice for the citizens of the Keystone State. You have made many worthwhile contributions to civic, veterans, and charitable organizations in the Williamsport area, and have been an active member of your community.”
In 1984, a citation came to Judge Greevy from the Volunteers in Prevention, Probation and Prisons, Inc., signed by President Reagan in person, also by past Presidents Ford, Carter and Nixon, and by Judge Keith Leenhouts, executive director of VIP, for the Judge’s 25 years of volunteer services in courts, prisons, juvenile institutions, jails, parole, probation, and prevention and diversified programs. In 1988 the Pennsylvania Senate saw fit to recognize Judge Greevy’s achievements.
On the occasion of his fiftieth anniversary of having been commissioned as judge, the Lycoming Law Association honored Judge Greevy for his judicial service to Lycoming County. A banquet, held January 14, 2002, was attended by many members of the bench and bar of Lycoming County, as well as members of the Judge's family, his friends and former staff members. Following dinner, a video that highlighted Judge Greevy's life and career was played for all in attendance. The high regard with which Judge Greevy was held was conveyed by a standing ovation at the conclusion of the event.
Charles F. Greevy, Jr. was married to Eleanor Seitzer on June 15, 1940, and they were the parents of four children: Charles F., III, an attorney in Williamsport; Robert A., an attorney in Harrisburg; Ann E. Shumaker of Hummelstown, Pennsylvania; and David U., Director of Tell-Base Systems, of Burke, Virginia.
Judge Greevy died on May 14, 2003.
35Meek v. Center County Banking Company et al., 268 U. S. 426; 45 Sup. Ct. Rep. 560, decided May 25, 1925.