To the Honorable, the Judges of the Circuit Court for Montgomery County
Some years ago, one of our distinguished elder citizens complained that the present generation had lost the power of reflection; another expressed a doubt that there could any longer exist “a case of first impression”, for if a sufficient search of judicial opinion were made a case in point would almost certainly be found. If such statements represented a true condition of affairs, they found no place in the mind or actions of our lately departed friend and brother, Clifford H. Robertson.
Born on a farm near Rockville of parents whose long years of honest toil and thrift had at length gained this moderate sized tract of land as their home and means of a livelihood, Mr. Robertson and his brothers and sisters were well schooled from their earliest youth in the value of self-dependence; inventiveness; industry and “the courage that gains, and the prudence that keeps what men strive for”. These qualities continued to govern our brother thoughout his career as lawyer and as citizen. His inquirying mind was never satisfied merely with what men told him. His industry impelled him to search in every available place for additional information with which to test men’s statements, with which to satisfy his own mind. Until thus satisfied, he spared himself neither time nor effort to discover and assemble all the pertinent facts. When his conclusions had been reached, he was adamant in his adherence to them.
Perhaps the above characteristics were never more clearly exemplified than in his long career as auditor of this Court, in which capacity he was probably best known to those present here to-day. His reports of his findings in such matters were moldels of neatness in workmanship, for he usually typed them himself, and of clarity of expression. He took the utmost pains in the performance of this duty to the Court and to the parties litigant, unmoved by favor or prejudice. Even instructions from the Bench could compel him to no more than unwilling obedience to authority on the rare occasions whne his findings failed to gain the Court’s approval.
After graduating from the Rockville Academy, Mr. Robertson entered theoffice of the firm of Anderson and Bouic as a law student in accordance with the custom then prevailing, for few aspirants to the Bar had the time or the money to attend the law schools in Washington or Baltimore. His zeal, industry and ambition, together with the probity of character, immediately attracted the interest and assistance of the members of the Bar and in 1898 he was duly admitted to practice before the Courts.
During his many years of service as an Examiner in Chancery, the typewriter was introduced, and he soon acquired such dexterity on that machine that he could record testimony upon it almost as rapidly as the average stenographer can do in shorthand. His practical mind also evolved a revision of examiners’ fees which remained unaltered for many years.
After serving one elective term in the Maryland House of Delegates, he formed a partnership with the late Frank Higgins. Upon the death of the latter, he continued alone in the practice of his profession during the remainder of his life, as also in an extensive fire insurance business. This latter he disposed of after he became aware of failing health.
Mr. Robertson’s membership in the Montgomery County Bar Association probably began with its foundation, and he derived much satisfaction and pride out of his election to its presidency --- years ago, after it had been re-organized into the virile and effective organization which it has become. He also esteemed his membership in the Rotary Club of Rockville. Most important in his life was his loyalty to the local Baptist Church. While his independence of thought sometimes forced him into temporary disagreement in that as well as in other fields of activity, he was always ready, as member and as a Trustee, to place at the disposal of the churchof his choice his sound judgment and practical wisdom.
In his domestic life, he early formed an attachment for Miss Lillian Keiser of the prominent Bethesda family of that name, but it was only after he had acquired complete ownership of a home for her that he invited her to enter into the life partnership in which they enjoyed mutual happiness until her death in 1942.
On September 30, he passed away quietly in his home of a heart ailment of some month’s duration. His son, Aldis C., who had married and founded a business career elsewhere was able to be with his father during the last few weeks of his life. The faithful daughter, Miss Elizabeth, a teacher in the Montgomery County schools, continued to the end her devoted and affectionate care of him.
To these, his son and daughter, we extend our sincere condolences.
Be it resolved, therefore, that this memorial to our esteemed brother be spread upon the minutes of the current term of this Court and that copies be sent to his family.