IN THE CIRCUIT COURT FOR MONTGOMERY COUNTY, MARYLAND
In the Matter of the Memorial Proceedings to Albert Bouic, Esquire
October 6, 1969
Hon. Kathryn J. Shook
Hon. James H. Pugh
Hon. Ralph G. Shure
Hon. Walter H. Moorman
Hon. Joseph H. Mathias
Hon. John P. Moore
Hon. Plummer M. Shearin
Hon. Irving A. Levine
Hon. H. Ralph Miller
Hon. Robert E. Clapp, Jr.
Respectfully submitted by Thomas M. Anderson, Jr.,
And Barnard T. Welsh, For and On Behalf of the
Bar Association of Montgomery County, Maryland,
And responded to by the Honorable James H. Pugh
P R O C E E D I N G S
JUDGE SHOOK: Mr. Miller.
MR. MILLER: With the Court’s permission, remarks on behalf of Albert Bouic will be addressed to the Court by Thomas M. Anderson, Jr., and Bernard T. Welsh.
MR. ANDERSON: May it please the Court, Ladies and Gentlemen, when you have a gentleman such as Albert Bouic, who died at the age of 86 and who practiced in the County for over fifty years, it sometimes takes more than just one person to try and do justice to him.
He was born in 1883. One of the luckiest things that happened to my family is when Albert married one of my cousins, Fanny Peter, of the Peter-Anderson-Vinson clan, back in 1909, and she said he had a marvelous gift of gab and you could see that he was going to go a long way.
He was the son of William Veirs Bouic, who had served for a long time here in the Court, and the lady that he married was a granddaughter of a Circuit Court Judge.
They had four children, a boy; William Bouic, and three daughters; Mary; Ann and Frances. Albert, when he died, had eight grandchildren in whom he had a great deal of pleasure and with whom he was always with.
Rockville in his day was a very small town. There were 500 people. We had a trolley line that came from the District. We had horses and carriages then. To go into Washington was an all-day trip, to go early in the morning and to come back late at night. We were a farming county then, a very much smaller community than we are now. The center of Maryland was very much Baltimore, and if you wanted to go to Baltimore, if you had business, you would go to the city.
At that time we had two banks, one started by Albert’s father and the other started by his wife’s grand parents; the Montgomery County National Bank and the Farmers Bank and Trust.
Back in those days, in what seems like the distance days to us, we had three hotels. We had the Dixie Tavern, Ketchner’s and the Hungerford Tavern.
We only had one Judge and we had to increase that to two in 1938. Of course, the Bar was very small indeed.
Albert Bouic was elected States Attorney in 1918 and served a four-year term. He was also the general counsel for the Farmers Bank and Trust Company and was one of the best lawyers who ever appeared before a jury.
Albert,as I mentioned, had a marvelous gift, the gift of gab, and if anyone could get a guilty client off, it was Albert. He was very honest about it.
He was nto as perfect, perhaps, as a judge in legal matters. I remember one of the classic stories that is always told about Albert, it was when the Judge called Albert and the other lawyer up to the Bench to confer on instructions and he asked, “Mr. Bouic, what instructions would you like to have given to the jury?” He said, “Your Honor knows best. You know a great deal more law than I do, and I have confidence you will give what Your Honor thinks is best.”
I knew him when he was semi-retired. Many of you have seen his small law office, which is right across from the Montgomery County National Bank. His son practiced in the front of it; in the middle was the secretary and in the rear was where Albert sat, That is where he held Court.
He would hear you come in, he was always gracious, and he would say, “Come right back and sit down here. Let us talk about politics.”, and the dozens of things Albert was generally in. He was a marvelous teller of stories; stories about people.
He wrote a book called, “County Lawyer, Third Generation.” I recommend it for everyone to read as a classic story of the experiences of a country lawyer.
He was a family man. The Vinson family that he married into was a family of six, and he took care of them. When he married Fanny Peter she had four younger brothers and she had to take care of them. Believe me, they were a handful back in those days to try and enforce her dominion because Albert was a leader very much ahead of things. He wanted to be that and he did a very good job with it. He had lots of cousins getting into endless problems, but Albert took the time and energy to try and work things out.
I remember my first experience with him. I clashed horns with him; it was a question of a family decision and I was trying to encourage my grandmother to go against what Albert waned and get her to do something different. She came back with the classic remark. She says, “Well, Albert says” – It was always the case, “Albert says”. That was that, unless you went to Albert to get him to change his mind.
He had a strong sense of protection for women and children; he was really a man to that extent. He understood that they needed more protection; there were so many people in those days who would take care of a widow in unfortunate circumstances. Our laws were not drafted then to give people as many protections and options as they are now. In those days if a woman was a widow she could not work and didn’t have sufferage, had very few rights. He felt strongly about this and he would protect them and did a marvelous job.
He had young people with him. He would call you into his office when I was a young man, or younger, perhaps, and aks you what was happening. It was always interesting when you were in his office. This was back in the 50’s or early 60’s and I would look at the law books and they would all stop about 1950, nothing went on very much after that. But he was great in probate work; his trial practice had terminated by that time. I think he was one of the best jury men we ever had in Montgomery County.
He was always fair and equitable. In his book he said he never sued anyone for his fee. He said, “Even if that person did not pay him, they might send you a good client in the future.”
He was enthusiastic in sports, an active member of the Manor Club, played golf and baseball in his earlier years. One way I would sum him up is; there was a great warmth about this man, you had to like him.
He was honest and said what he thought. Even if you didn’t agree with him, and many times you didn’t agree, you had to admire him for saying what he wanted to.
Those will conclude my very brief remarks, Your Honors, and I would like to renew the motions that these remarks would go on record.
JUDGE SHOOK: Very well.
MR. WELSH: Your Honors, Mr. President, Members of the Bouic Family, what I have to say is gathered from my own memories and from the book that Tommie talks about, which every lawyer should have read, “Country Lawyer, Third Generation.” It certainly is equal to anything that was written by Partridge or Cousins.
The personage of Albert Bouic is woven with flaxen thread into the legal and social tapestry of Montgomery County, Maryland.
He commenced to study law at his father’s law office on March 5, 1901, when he was eighteen years old. His father permitted him to come into his office to study under him rather than to go to college.
At his father’s suggestion, he read “Hallam’s Middle Ages”, “Humes’ History of England”, “McCaulley’s History of England”, and “Blackstone’s Commentary”. He learned very soon that the words “incorporeal hereditament” meant a right of way over another’s land.
He attended a business school in Washington and commuted from Rockville to Washington by electric car. He learned shorthand in a special class of the Rockville Academy, located over Vinson’s Drug Store.
Later, he went to the National Law School and left Rockville at 4:30 p.m. and arrived home at 10:30. He was a brilliant student and received the MacArthur Gold Medal for the best examination grades in class, and won prizes in real property, evidence and common law pleading.
He was admitted to both the Maryland and D. C. Bar in 1906.
Shortly thereafter, his father died, but he learned from him something that all successful lawyers learn early in their careers. He was told by his father that it was all right to make money practicing law, but it must be fair and a lawyer must never have it on his conscience of having taken advantage of any man in a financial or any other way.
He learned never to foreclose a mortgage simply to make a fee. He learned never to let a client go out of his office who was not satisfied with his fee, and to discuss the fee with him.
He married Miss Fanny Peter in the Episcopal Church in Rockville on October 20th, 1909, when he was twenty-seven and she was twenty years old.
Mr. and Mrs. Bouic had four children. The oldest is William Veirs Bouic, named after his grandfather and father. William was educated at the public schools and spent three years at Western, one at Woodbury Forest and five at the University of Virginia, as an undergraduate and a law student. His oldest daughter, Mary, was educated at Stuart Hall, Bernard College in New York and George Washington University. His second daughter is Ann, who was educated in the County Public Schools, at Stuart Hall and Holton Arms. His youngest daughter is Frances, with whom he lived in the latter part of his life.
Mr. Bouic enjoyed the companionship of his children and grandchildren. In this respect he was a family man, because in the early years of his marriage, he lived in the home of his wife’s father, Judge Edward C. Peter, and his three sons, George, Vinson and Eddie.
Mr. Bouic was active both indirectly and directly in Montgomery County politics. His father was elected State Senator in 1898, and at that time was the only Democrat to be elected to the Legislature.
Mr. Bouic ran for office only once; that of State’s Attorney for Montgomery County, and was elected in 1916 and served until 1920. He says that his experience with politics was never pleasant. He avers he saw best friends desert their best friends, if they could gain anything by it. This was offensive to the sensitivity of Albert Bouic and to his philosophy of life, because of all qualities he valued most, loyalty and frienship were paramount.
Mr. Bouic’s friendliness may be traced from him happy boyhood days. He was born in Rockville, in the center of town, and symbolically, he remained in the center of Rockville. His birthplace was located on the corner of South Washington Street and East Montgomery Avenue. It was a family home given by his grandfather to his father in 1870, when his parents, William Bouic, Jr. and Alice Ann Almoney were married.
There were six children of the marriage: Louis, Harry, William, Isabelle, Norman and Albert. Among his boyhood recollections, he recalls sleeping in the attic. His father below would ring a bell to arouse the Bouic brothers. The home was heated by a Latrobe stove.
As a boy, Albert was friendly and neighborly. He would pick fruit from the neighbors’ (Moulden) apple trees and the Mouldens drew water from the Bouic pump.
The Bouics early had a bath installed in the home. Water was stored on the fourth floor and it was released into a bathtub on the third floor. It was the first gravity system in Rockville. Albert’s task was to pump the water to the fourth floor.
His boyhood schooling consisted of going to a kindergarten with a Miss Curtin. He learned his first songs there and they were much more delicate than those he would sing at the Manor Country Club or political conventions, such as:
“Grasshopper Green sat on a track,
Picking his teeth with a carpet tack.”
He later attended a public school in Rockville, which separated the boys’ playground and the girls’ playground with a high board fence. According to Albert, they were as ineffectual as the walls of Jericho, and all the boys carried horns.
He then went to a school operated by Miss Lucy Simpson, and later on, went to the Rockville Academy.
His boyhood was colored with marbles and baseball in the spring, swimming and fishing in the summer, football and hunting in the fall, and ice skating and sleigh riding in the winter. He enjoyed storing the ice in the ice house and has a longing for a moonie which he lost in a game or marbles.
In 1930, the home in which he was born was torn down. Symbolically, the new Court House and this room in which we are conducting these services in memory to our departed legal brother is on the exact spot where Albert Bouic was born.
Albert loved dogs and owned an Irish Setter named Joe. When Joe became old and was in the field with him, Albert would help Joe across the fences. He also had a Bull Terrier named Jupiter, a Fox Terrier named Bugler, and a Shepherd named Enzi. Bugler was given special privileges; he was welcome to come into the court room, but there is no record of his ever serving as a juror.
A man who loved dogs as Mr. Albert, was naturally loved by his household retainer. Miss Lucy Book worked for Mrs. Bouic for years. She came to the Bouic home when she was fourteen. Mr. Bouic says when he was seven to ten years old, he was with Lucy a great deal at night. She was a member of the colored Methodist church, located on Wood Street, and when they had the magic lantern shows, she took Albert to church with her. This was a long time before movies.
When Albert’s mother died in 1922, Lucy was still at her home serving her. Lucy continued to work in the Bouic home until her retirement. She was said to be part Indian, and Albert says of her, “All my family respected her, felt close to her, as though she were a relative, and loved her for the many things she did for us.” A man must be kind to deserve the loyalty and affection manifest in this relationship.
Albert was not an irreligious man, although he was not a regular church attendant. He was not above telling a story with a religious angle. Albert inherited his wit from various members of his family, and appreciated it when it shone through.
His grandfather had been buried in 1896 in the old Rockville Baptist graveyard, which is presently situated next to the Parsonage of the Methodist Church, which is located on Jefferson Street. The Baptist Church, of course, has been removed to its present location on the northwest corner of the intersection of Washington and Jefferson Streets, somewhat removed from the burial place of deceased baptists.
Albert was close to his Aunt Ella, who also was a Baptist. Aunt Ella, apparently, circulated in church circles, even interdenominational and had made the acquaintance of the Methodist Minister, who was residing in the Parsonage next to the Baptist graveyard. The Methodist Minister complained to Aunt Ella that the Baptists had neglected the old cemetery and pointed out that the fence had fallen down, the weeds had grown up and the gravestones had fallen. The good Methodist Prelate said it was not only a neglected graveyard, but that there was an odor from the bodies of the people who had been buried there for the past fifty years.
According to Albert, Aunt Ella stated, “Parson, there has not been a Baptist buried there for thirty years, and, if you smell anything, what you smell are some of those stinking living Methodists in your Sunday congregation”. Albert told me this story, and I can still hear him laughing.
Albert was a boy in the days when for two cents, they could by chocolate drops, chewing gum and prizes. Gingerbread cakes as big as two hands were for sale for one cent. Albert’s brother was paid two cents a day for rubbing Albert’s father’s law partner’s head, Mr. Thomas Anderson.
Albert summered on his grandfather’s farm. He rode horses and hauled hay shocks for twenty-five cents a day. He was interested in watching the oxon work. He tells of a flight between the boys with one contingent being led by Bap Offutt and himself leading the other. He tells of going to Washington Grove with my father where people gathered for worship and picnics at the Tabernacle. He tells of taking a basket from one of the carriages with my father and eating chicken.
Mr. Bouic grew up with the Farmers Bank, now the First National Bank of Maryland, which opened on November 8th, 1900. The bank opened in a small rented room, which cost $10.00 a month, and money deposited was carried over each afternoon in a tin box to the National Bank, now the Maryland National Bank. The employees of the National Bank called the Farmers Bank a “tin box bank”. And I suppose that is the way they feel about each other today. Any history of the growth of the “tin box bank” to the financial institution which it has obtained today would be incomplete without the name of Albert Bouic. He was both a Director and an attorney for the Bank.
Mr. Albert is replete with stories of the growth of Rockville. “One time I saw a fight right on the Town Hall steps in the daytime. Talbott and Talbott had an office in the Town Hall and Tom Talbott, the son of Maurice Talbott, also had an office there. My office adjoined this building. Jim Veirs was sitting on the steps of the Town Hall watching the men doing some work on the new Montgomery County National Bank building.
“They were on the top of the roof and somehow or other Jim seemed to interfere with passage into the entrance of the Town Hall when one of the Talbotts tried to go into his office and one thing led to another and a fight started.
“Jim Veirs was a huge man. Harry Poss came along and held Jim Veirs and stopped the fight. Mr. Maurice Talbott ran into his office and got a pistol and I think it was Mr. W. P. Mason who took the gun away from him.
“Jim had gone up the street and did not know tht Mr. Talbott had gone into his office for the pistol. The men up on top of the roof of the bank building saw what was happening and, when they saw the pistol being taken away from Mr. Talbott, you ought to have seen them scatter! They went way back on the roof.
“When Jim Veirs heard about Mr. Talbott and the gun, that afternoon and every afternoon for several days he marched right up in front of Mr. Talbott’s hoouse, I guess to show he wasn’t afraid. They had no further trouble, though.”
He also has some stories concerning the acidity of Judges. “Before I was practicing law and when Judge Henderson was on the Bench, on the call of the docket a case was assigned for trial, at the request of the lawyers, for a day sometime later and that date turned out to be Good Friday. Judge Henderson hadn’t thought about, I’m sure, and neither had the lawyers.
“Somebody wrote to Judge James McSherry in Frederick -- he was the Chief Judge of the Circuit – and asked him to come down to preside with Judge Henderson on the trial of the case. This was often done.
“Judge McSherry answered, saying ‘There are only two judges I know of that try cases on Good Friday. One is Jim Henderson and the other was Pontius Pilote.’ A new assignment was made for the case.”
Albert was an ardent left-handed golfer, although no Bob Charles. The lowest handicap he achieved was fourteen at Manor Club. Of his three staunch friends, Frank Broschart, Lee Councilman, and Douglas Blandford, only Frank Broschart was a golfer. Mr. Albert and Frank played the front nine at Manor Club more than a thousand times. His footprints are still indented in the wildest part of the rough.
One day he and Frank were playing a match and it was agreed they would take a pint of liquor with them and the one who won the hole could have a drink and the other would have to go without a drink. Albert won every hole until they reached the fourteenth and naturally had had fourteen drinks. Dr. Broschart had had none. Dr. Broschart was so mad he started to curse and Albert took him into the clubhouse to let him buy himself a drink so that he would have some chance of beating him. If he couldn’t beat him sober, he might be able to beat him drunk.
Some of the Judges here today have been the victims of Albert’s legal ability. Albert assisted the Simpsons in the defense of a man who was charged with stealing dog tax money. Albert went into one of his intimitable orations in his closing argument to the jury. He told the story of the Battle of Runnymede, the Magna Carter, the Declaration of Independence, the Mayflower Compact, how great jurors are and how mean and cruel are the judges and that in Maryland jurors are the judges of the law and that all judges can do is to keep lawyers under control and to keep jurors together without meat or drink until the judge says they can eat or drink, but if they would come back with a not guilty verdict, then the judge would have to let them eat and drink. The jury acquitted this man and Jim Pugh, then the State’s Attorney, had lost another case.
Mr. Albert and my father were great friends, although Dad did not play golf or gin rummy. They had law, politics and trying to educate a couple of sons in common.
Let me repeat a story that contains a bit of local history and infers somewhat how much the friendship between my dad and Albert meant.
“Barnard Welsh sent for me one time when had a case. He wanted me to assist him in the trial of one of his political friends, a colored man who lived in the Travilah neighborhood. What he wanted, he said was “a twenty-five dollar” speech from me to the jury on circumstantial evidence.
The defendant was charged with stealing a turkey from a farmer in the neighborhood. The crime was committed in the late fall or early winter and it had been raining the night of the theft. The State charged the defendant had climbed a tree in the farmer’s back yard, caught a turkey roosting there, wrung its neck and, also because of the condition of the ground, the thief was tracked across the field to a road where our client lived.
Judge Stedman Prescott was the State’s Attorney and, as part of the State’s case, he offered in evidence a pair of gum shoes, working pants and a coat taken from the home of the defendant. All had blood spots on them.
When examined, the defendant said the blood on his gum shoes and his pants came from butchering hogs. He denied owning the coat, and when he was to try it on, it was way too small for him. Barnard’s political friend was acquitted. The State’s case had seemed too perfect. I don’t remember the name of the accused or whose turkey was stolen; I don’t even remember being paid twenty-five dollars, but I guess it was because Barnard was “fairly honest”.
It is impossible for me to comment about some of the attributes of this man without feeling derelict in not commenting about others. He was an entire man who was tremendously complex as are all gifted men. Yet he was direct and simple at the same time. He passed to his children his love of life.
He passed to his children his love of life. Although a strong and formidable figure in Montgomery County, he was approachable to those of lesser stature. He met all men at eye level. He did not patronize the inferior nor did he curry favor from the powerful of the earth. He was resourceful in the court room, skillful and clever on the golf course, and self-reliant in his personal life and Albert Bouic had depth – subterranian life.
Occasionally I was privileged to travel with him along the roads of the upper County and listen to the rumblings of his intellectual torrent when he chose to open the dikes of his mind. He was active to the end and escaped in his “strange eventual history”, the “second childishness and mere oblivion”.
Albert Bouic, similar to Oliver Wendell Holmes, enjoyed his old age because of the splendid foundation upon which the later years rested. I am reminded of the immortal words of Holmes in 1931 when he was honored for his many years of service. He stated:
“In this symposium, my part is only to sit in silence. To express one’s feelings as the end draws near is too intimate a task. But I may mention one thought that comes to me as a listener in. The riders in a race do not stop short when they reach the goal. There is a little finishing canter before coming to a standstill. There is time to hear the kind voices of friends and to say to oneself; the work is done. But just as one says that, the answer comes; the race is over but the work never is done while the power to work remains. The canter that brings you to a standstill need not be only coming to rest. It cannot be while you still live, for to live is to function. That is all there is in living.”
And so I end with a line from a Latin poet who wrote this message more than fifteen hundred years ago:
“Death plucks my ear and says ‘Live – I am coming.’”
Albert Bouic functioned until death plucked him by the ear and he left a legacy to Montgomery County and to his family for which we are all indebted.
JUDGE SHOOK: Judge James H. Pugh will respond for the Court.
JUDGE PUGH: Albert Bouic was everything that Barney Welsh and Senator Anderson have said about him.
I became acquainted with Albert when I first came to Rockville to practice law in the early ‘30’s. At that time Albert was the outstanding trial lawyer at the bar. He had a unique way of trying cases, very vocal, very personable and very intelligent.
He bragged many times that the only law books he kept in his office were the Maryland Code. Frequently, one of the lawyers practicing in those days would ask him how he would get by with only an Annotated Maryland Code when the Maryland Reports, the Maryland decisions, were codified in about two hundred volumes, and Albert would say, “Well, it is not necessary for me to know the law; it is up to the Judge. The Judge is supposed to know the law. There is no reason for me to look it up, that is what you are elected for. The Judge is elected to know the law, so why should I have to go and dig it out from the law books?”
But he knew the law and he knew the facts, too, in the trial of cases. The first case that I tried in this courtroom in 1932 was a jury trial involving a dispute over a boundary line of some property on the Seneca Creek, where the Seneca Creek was supposed to be the boundary line, and Albert Bouic and Judge Anderson defended the defendants in the case. The case took almost four or five days to try, and that was a long time in those days.
I was a young lawyer and scared to death in the trial of that case. Barney, Albert’s partner, made me mad and I would lose all my composure. I then was almost as vocal as Albert, but the result of that case was a hung jury. It never was settled and it never was re-tried.
Barney Welsh, talking about the case that I prosecuted at the end of my term as State’s Attorney, reminds me that Albert had Vivian Simpson and Joe Simpson and two or three other lawyers in the case. It was tried in this courtroom and Albert, with his usual good-humored ability, convinced the jury that the defendant was not guilty, and I, in my closing argument, wasn’t able to convince the jury to the contrary. The jury acquitted the defendant in that case. I had occasion to prosecute a few cases that Albert lost during my previous three or four years as State’s Attorney.
Albert was really a friendly lawyer, he was friendly with everybody.
I remember when I first came to Rockville, not being a member of the Bar, in 1924, when Albert was in the “hayday” of his trial work in this Court. It was in the old Courthouse.
In those days lawyers were lawyers, and lawyers were in the courtroom to fight for their client, and they left no stone unturned. The feud was, in those days, between Tom Dawson and Albert Bouic, and I will never forget the day that I learned that when the two lawyeres were trying and prosecuting and defending their respective side and Albert lost the case – and so incensed did lawyers get in those days and so wrapped up did they become in the trial of their cases – when Albert got back to his little office across the street from the Montgomery County National Bank, Tom Dawson had reached Albert’s office before Albert, Tom picked a flower out of the field and put it on Albert’s desk, as a kind of condolence because Albert lost the case. We all wondered what Albert said, but we knew that Albert was always in good spirits and always would take a loss in a case as he would a winning of any other case.
The remark that one of the proposers here made to the resolution with reference to the law, I never will forget when Albert Bouic brought a case over here for Judge Woodward. It was a rather voluminous reocrd in the case because in those days testimony in equity cases were taken before an examiner, and he brought the case to Judge Woodward and laid it on his desk and Judge Woodward said – Tommie Anderson just happened to be in the outer chambers when Albert brought it over – and he said, “Albert, do you have any law on the subject, something to help me out, something to help me?” He said, “No, you look up the law. You know what the law is. You are supposed to know the law and I don’t see what I can add or help you out. So you will have to decide it that way.” And Judge Woodward did decide it.
There was a great relationship between the lawyers in those days in the Court, and among each other they all really fought for their clients, but the Bar here consisted of some fifteen lawyers when I came to the Bar here in the early 1930’s. Vivian Simpson was one of them, and she recalls the situation at that time.
Another case that I had occasion to try was a case when Albert was defending the debt of a man and I was suing for wrongful debt. I was trembling in my shoes before we got to Court. Finally, I did win that case with a small verdict, but Albert was an able and outstanding trial lawyer, a good citizen, one who did not seek politics, except the one time when he ran for the State’s Attorney.
When I was involved in politics and after my term as State’s Attorney, we tried to get him to run for Judge of the Circuit Court, but he wouldn’t have anything to do with it. He didn’t want to be a Judge. He didn’t want to be bored with the responsibility of the Judge “digging up” the law and so forth. We could not prevail upon him to run for Judge.
Albert was Albert, there will not be any other Albert Bouic. He was a great man, a great lawyer, a great trial lawyer and a great citizen and this Court will mourn his death because it is the passing of an age, an age of the past when things were smaller; the town was smaller, the law was less complicated, as I see it, but he was an able lawyer in his day and I will miss him.