The following resolution was presented to the Court by John A. Garrett Esq. On behalf of the Bar.
To the Honorable, the Judges of the Circuit Court for Montgomery County, Maryland.
The report of the Committee appointed to draft resolutions upon the death of the late Edward C. Peter, Associate Judge of the Sixth Judicial Circuit of Maryland, respectfully submits the following:-
Judge Edward C. Peter was born at Rockville on the 18th day of June in the year eighteen hundred and sixty-two and was a son of the late George Peter and Lavinia Gassaway Peter.
His legal training was received in the office of his father then associated in the practice of the law with the late Judge James B. Henderson and he was admitted to the bar of this court on the 19 day of June 1883.
Mr. Peter was elected State’s Attorney for Montgomery County in eighteen hundred and eighty-seven and was re-elected in eighteen hundred and ninety-one, serving two terms.
On June 27, 1888, he was married to Miss Mary Gordan Vinson, a daughter of the late Judge John T. Vinson, Associate Judge of this Circuit, who survives him. Of this marriage there were born a daughter and three son’s of whom the former is the wife of Mr. Albert M. Bouic of this bar.
After his retirement from the office of State’s Attorney Mr. Peter rapidly assumed a position as a leader of the local bar acquiring a large and successful practice which he continued to enjoy until his elevation to the bench by appointment of Governor Crothers upon the expiration of the term of the late Judge Henderson in 1910. The following year Judge Peter was elected Associate Judge of this Circuit for a full term of fifteen years of which he had served twelve at the time of his death, August 22, 1923.
As a man and as a lawyer one of the distinguishing traits of Judge Peter was his democracy. He was equally at home with all classes of men and was able to understand and inerpret the thoughts and aspirations of men regardless of condition.
Out of his practice and out of his experience in the political affairs of the county, in which he was long a leader, he acquired a wide knowledge of the people of the County. His acquaintenance was so large as that of any man in public life in his generation. He made a study of people and his quick and retentiver memory enabled him to make the most of this knowledge. This fact together with a natural ability to discern human motives contributed greatly to his success both as a lawyer and as a judge. In the latter capacity his industry and his fine sense of justice makes it not surprising that he was seldom reversed in the Court of Appeals during the time her served on the bench. While Judge Peter was a man of strong opinion and positive character he was ever courteous to an opponent and likewise to those who practiced before him after he became judge. His kindliness, his love of hum companionship and the many other winning qualitites which endear his memory to all who were thrown into close contact with him describe his generous and attractive personality. The majesty of the law and the dignity of the bench were jealously guarded by him and whoever infringed upon either were certain to meet with his prompt and decisive rebuke.
His devotion to duty and his unflagging industry in performing it was remarkable and it seemed as if no amount of labor in investigating a case was ever a barrier to its accomplishment. His courage in the maintenance of what he considered the true solution of a question was of a most determined type. He was indeed a learned lawyer and by nature a profound thinker and a just judge. While using precedents to sustain his own views his judgments and opinions were worked out by careful reflection upon the fundamental principles of the law.
He heard courteously, he answered wisely, he considered soberly and decided impartially.
He delighted to help younger members of the bar, giving generously of his time and from his well-stored mind citing cases in point already decided.
As a distinguished lawyer, as a just and learned judge and as a leading citizen of his community his loss has already been keenly felt and he will continue to be missed and his memory cherished by all who knew him in any of those capacities.
John A. Garrett
Bowie F. Waters
Otho H.W. Talbott
William F. Prettyman
J. Roger Spates
Julian W. Whiting
The Honorable Hammond Urner on behalf of the Court responded as follows:
Gentlemen of the Bar,
At the opening of the September Term in Frederick I had the privilege of responding to the resolutions in which the members of the Frederick County Bar expressed their appreciation of Judge Edward C. Peter, and I have looked forward to this opportunity to pay a tribute to his memory here in his home community and in the Court where he rendered the greater part of his services as a lawyer and as a judge. I know how highly he was esteemed and how well he was beloved by the people of this County, among whom he as born and reared and lived his active and useful life, and I can testify to the fact that the people of Frederick County held him in equal admiration and affection. They always welcomed him with the utmost cordiality, and they manifested in every way their high and warm regard for him as a judge and as a man. They were shocked and grieved beyond expression by his death.
It was a great satisfaction to be associated with Judge Peter in the work of our Courts. I served with him on the Bench for nearly thirteen years. During that long and intimate relationship with him I was able to closely observe the mod, the spirit and the quality of his judicial service. He was a highly capable judge, who had been well prepared for the Bench by his active and successful career at the Bar and by his thorough study and constant application of legal principles. His mind was alert and virorous and his judgment was mature and practical. He has an unusual faculty for quickly and clearly discerning the real merits of a controversy. It was his earnest and conscientious endeavor in every case to render exact justice. To that purpose he dedicated his talents and energy without reserve. In every instance his judicial duty was carefully and impartially performed. He served the people with absolute fidelity and with great efficiency, and he enjoyed the full measure of their confidence and good-will.
In reference to Judge Peter’s career at the Bar I will repeat what I said on that subject in Court at Frederick. “He was a wise counsellor and an able advocate. As a trial lawyer he held high rank in the profession. He prepared his cases with care and skill, and tried them forcefully and effectively. I was associated with him in the trial of some cases before we served on the Bench, and I greatly admired him as an exceptionally capable lawyer. In his service to his clients at the Bar and to the people as a judge he exemplified the highest principles of professional and judicial honor.”
Judge Peter was a man of sterling character. He was upright, candid and sincere. He was strong and positive, but also broad-minded and tolerant, in his convictions. He has a genial and magnetic personality. As a friend he was loyal, unselfish and sympathetic. The cheering and wholesome influence of his companionship will be gratefully remembered until we too shall have heard and heeded the final summons to which he has already responded.
I could not adequately express the profound personal sorrow of the members of this Court that Judge Peter’s earthly life has come to an end. It is distressing in the extreme to realize that we shall never again see him in Court, in our communities, or in his hospitable home to which he was so devoted. But in preceeding us from this scene of mortal life and labor he has left us a record of useful and distinguished service of which we are justly proud.
Whereupon William F. Prettyman, Esq. Moved that aforegoing Resolution and Response be spread upon the Minute of this Court and a copy handed to the County Newspapers and to the family of the late Judge E.C. Peter.
The Court was then adjourned for the day in respect of the memory of the late Edward C. Peter.