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Memorial-Anderson, Thomas
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Thomas Anderson


At the close of the call of the Docket, Mr. H. Maurice Talbott in a few well chosen remarks announced to the Court the death, on the 19th day of January last, of Thomas Anderson, Esquire, a member of this Bar and President of the Bar Association of this County, stating that a memorial had been adopted by the Bar Association and a Committee appointed to present the same to the Court –

Whereupon Mr. Philip D. Laird as Chairman of said Committee read and presented to the Court the following memorial and resolutions:

At a meeting of the Bar Association of Montgomery County, held on the 22nd inst., the following minute in memory of the late Thomas Anderson was adopted:

The Bar Association of Montgomery County, profoundly sorrowful at the death of its President, places upon record this minute of its appreciation of his worth as a lawyer and as a man. Thomas Anderson was possessed of unusual attainments. By a diligent use of time and a wide range of reading in early life, he had stored a naturally retentive memory with a large fund of information both within and without the domain of his profession; and the influence of his literary studies was visible in the grace of style, the accuracy and elegance of language and the cogency and order of thought in all that he wrote. As a lawyer, he was well grounded in the fundamental principles of the science of law. His tastes and temperament led him to the contemplation and application of these to the daily routine of work, rather than to the practice of the arts and devices of the trial table, though he was by no means deficient as a nisi prius lawyer, and when interested, he spoke with force and eloquence. He became therefore, the safe and cautious adviser rather than the brilliant and magnetic advocate. In his long professional life of more than forty years, he was engaged in most of the important cases tried at the Bar of Montgomery County, maintaining by his ability, his integrity and his worth, a place in the front rank, and occupying, at all times, a high and enviable position in the esteem of his professional brethren. As a man, he was ardent in his friendships, and devotedly attached to those of his own household. His love of children was a marked characteristic, which beckoned a warm heart, and a kindly nature, which found a wider expression in a cheerful readiness to aid the suffering and to encourage the young who were battling for a place in the world. The passing away of such a man leaves a gap in the community in which he was born and lived out his days. It is therefore, a fitting tribute to his memory that some unduring record should be made of the high regard of his fellows; and to this end be it resolved by this Association :-

1. That a copy of this minute be transmitted to his widow with the expression of our ernest sympathy.
2. That a copy hereof be published in the County newspapers.
3. That at the ensuing March Term of the Circuit Court for Montgomery County and of the Orphans’ Court, copies thereof be presented to said Courts, with the request that they be spread upon the minutes of their proceedings.

Mr. W. V. Bouic, Jr., then addressed the Court as follows:-
On the 5th day of August, in the year, 1870, I entered into Co-partnership in the practice of the law with our lamented brother, the late Thomas Anderson, which partnership continued, uninterruptedly, up to the time of his death. I had been admitted to the Bar of our Court at the June Term of 1870, inexperienced in everything connected with the responsible and anxious duties of a practitioner and therefore was much in need of an experienced lawyer, such as he was. From the time I was associated with him until the sad moment of his death he never failed to be a constant, efficient, and kindly assistant to me. Our confidence one in the other and our mutual attachments were such that neither ever mistrusted the other and both were ever regardful of the welfare and interests of each, ever from the beginning to the ending of that partnership – a period of almost 30 years – almost an entire generation – our relations were of the most cordial and pleasant character. Aye, to a great extent his friends were my friends and my friends were his friends as the strong sympathetic bond of good will existing between us, drew our respective friends into a oneness with the members of the firm of Anderson & Bouic. Then how can I fail to realize the serious personal loss I have sustained in his departure – and knowing his great legal attainments and literary culture so well, am I not excusable in stating that our deceased brother was one of our most profound and cultured members and by his long career and intimate fellowship with all of us, has added as much to the dignity and respect of our profession and the proper alucidation of constantly recurring legal principles as any lawyer ever at this Bar – which we all recognize has had as many bright and able minds as that of any Bar in our State. Seldom, if ever, did he hesitate to assist any member of the Bar when called upon. Aye, nearly, yes all, of the present members of this Bar are indebted to him for wise and kindly advice and instruction. Moreover, nearly all of the Courts writs and forms now in daily use were prepared by him. And in this connection I will say that in the preparation of legal papers and forms of whatever nature, he had no superior and but few equals anywhere. In the opinion of my deceased father, the late Judge Bouic, as made known to me by him many years ago, our departed brother was the most skilful pleader and form lawyer of any he had ever met. Our brother was a man of strongest likes and dislikes – his fondness for friends was a noticeable trait of his character – his friends he always deemed the most upright, capable and intellectual and could never do too much to help them along by word and act. And he was not excelled by any one in that transcendant jewel of character, to be rightfully placed in my judgment, far above the knowledge of our Profession, thorough honesty of purpose and a fair and righteous dealing with his fellow man. Throughout his whole career I can truthfully assert that he always made the interests and welfare of his clients the primary object of his labor, thought and solicitude – always subordinating his pecuniary compensation and fees to the former. In fact he was not mentally constituted a fee-getter and I will venture the assertion that none of his many clients will say that he was exacting in his charges or persistent in his collections, or that he ever turned a deaf ear to their request for reasonable indulgence or reductions. He never for the sake of obtaining business undercharged the profession but it after the charges and the business had been completed a bona fide request was made for a reduction, he would generally tell an honest client to pay him only so much of his charge as he felt able. Certainly I can say that in his death the community has suffered an irreparable loss and our Bar has lost one of its brightest, wisest and most worthy members. But my brothers the death of our brother, after so many struggles amongst us, and the silence of his absence should forcibly remind us, never in our contentions with one another to permit bad-feelings to be engendered, and no matter how earnest our differences, as frequently unavoidable they must be, we should never carry them beyond the trial table remembering always that yet a little longer we all, one by one, must follow our deceased brother to the silent Tabernacle of the dead; and can only live perpetually in the memory of this Bar by inspiring a sincere belief in our kindness of heart and justice of thought. The logical mind, the eloquent voice, the magnetic personality of all of us, soon aye, sooner that we are willing to believe, must sink to rest, as we sleep the sleep preliminary to our admission to the Great Court of Final Resort above – not to plead I hope but to be rewarded, as I reverently trust, for the good deeds done and the kindly words spoken whilst prosecuting our noble profession here below. So let us emulate the good and kindly acts of our lamented brother and ever keep the memory of Thomas Anderson fresh and green about us.

Mr. Charles W. Prettyman, being next recognized, and speaking for the younger members of the Bar as their Senior, said:
As a boy beginning my life in this community, as a young lawyer commencing my struggle for professional existence at this Bar, I learned to look up to and respect Mr. Anderson as a learned lawyer and a wise counsellor. Not only in the walks of his profession was he a learned man, but in the more flowery paths of general literature he was possessed of a discriminating taste and a broad culture, brought about by extensive and well chosen reading, so that his advice and counsel could, with benefit and pleasure, be sought in all those things pertaining to our broader education and cultivation. As the years have passed, bringing with them increasing responsibilities and more burdensome cares in my profession, and as the recurring seasons have brought the signs of the passing of the years, the esteem and regard with which I was, as a boy, inspired, have grown and developed. It is meet that I , as the oldest of the younger members of this Bar, should bear testimony to the unfailing courtesy and unflagging kindness shown to me and many others of my younger brethren by him whose loss we mourn to-day. And I have arisen that I may add this little tribute to the chaplet which adorns the memory of a wise and good man.

The Hon. James McSherry, Chief Judge, responded on the part of the Court as follows:-
Gentlemen of the Bar:

The death roll in the form has again been called and the shrouded who next? has been answered. The grim, relentless reaper has snatched a victim from our midst, and a useful life has ended. Life! And what is life? To the scoffer, the skeptic, the materialist, the agnostic it is

“but a walking shadow, a poor player
“That struts and frets his hour upon the stage,
“And then is heard no more; it is a tale
“Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
“Signifying nothing”-

But is that life? Has it no wider zone; no greater horizon? Does it reach no further than the grave, and end within the shadow of the tomb? It is a probationary pilgrimage, where the trials, the toils, the stern realities and the duties of our station are turned, if we will it so, from slumbering blocks to stepping stones along the pathway which leads to man’s ultimate destiny. And where is that ultimate destiny? It is a blessed immortality. The ending of life, therefore it is the beginning of an unending eternity. –

“Away and afar from the night-land,
Where sorrow o’ershadows my way,
To the splendors and skies of the light-land,
Where reigneth Eternity’s day,
To the cloudless and shadowless bright-land
Whose sun never passeth away”.

Our departed brother had no narrow, soul-less view of life. His Christian training taught him the value of a well spent life; and with him precept and practice were in accord. His kindly disposition was as gladsome as the sun-shine; and his conduct was the reflex of his conscience. His Christian virtues, predominant in his private life, denoted the moral build, the shape, the make-up of the man. He was a man of clean heart and clear head. Whilst he made no attempts at fervid or florid forensic efforts, he never failed to impress Judge and Jury with his absolute sincerity, and the entire earnestness of his convictions. He was frank and honest with both Court and Client. He led no man into litigation for the sake of sordid emolument to himself. He had too high a conception of the duty of a lawyer for such ignoble conduct. He could always be depended on for safe, conservative counsel; and he scorned the devious ways of the trickster. He practiced the profession on a lofty plain; and he did not forget that personal integrity and professional zeal are never antagonists in the life of an upright counselor. He formed his judgment after calm, dispassionate deliberation – never hastely or immaturely. The universal conviction that he acted under the influence and according to the dictates of a sensitive conscience inspired a well-founded confidence in the man and the lawyer – and that confidence he never abused or forfeited. His fidelity to the trusts which were committed to him, became proverbial. He closed an honorable career without a blur or a blemish on his name. The temptations and the pit-falls which beset as active practitioner are many and great. The wonder is, not that some fall by the way-side, but that more do not wander astray. It is the example of such men as Mr. Anderson was, which helps to keep the great body of the profession upon the straight road of rectitude: and which gives to the lawyer, who respects his calling, the commanding influence he should always exert in the community where he lives. A man like he was, is a governing and restraining force, keeping the profession up to its highest standard and its best ideal in this age of commercialism, and amidst the modern tendency towards innovations and doubtful expedients. The younger members of the bar may well study his character and imitate his example. The Bar has lost a leader; the County has lost a valuable citizen; and bar and County alike will sadly miss his enobling and inspiring influence. In the words of one of his favorite authors:

The stately ships sail on
To their haven under the hill,
But oh! For the touch of a vanished hand
The sound of a voice that is still.

As a mark of respect to his memory these proceedings will be spread upon the minutes of the Court, and the Court will now rise for the day. 

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