William H. Bainbridge

    William H. Bainbridge, Lawrenceburgh, judge incumbent of the Seventh Judicial Circuit Court, and an able member of the Dearborn County bar, is a descendant of the old English stock of Bainbridges, of which his second cousin, Com. Bainbridge, of Tripoli fame, is perhaps the most conspicuous member. He is a son of P. W. and Catharine (Palmer) Bainbridge, and was born in the State of Pennsylvania, June 5, 1829. His father was a native of Maryland, and his mother was reared in Stark County, Ohio, her parents both living tot he advanced age of over ninety years. His paternal ancestors were a hardy and intelligent class of people, though his parents died when he was in childhood, and he was reared by a family by the name of Goode, from the age of six to thirteen years at which time Mr. Goode died. This period of Judge Bainbridge's life was passed on the farm. He obtained the rudiments of an education during the winter terms of the district schools, and with this as a basis, by close application to his books during every moment of his leisure time, he acquired a thorough general knowledge such as is rarely attained outside of a regular collegiate course, of which latter advantage he was never able to avail himself. Mr. Bainbridge resided in Warren County, Ohio, till nineteen years of age. He then spent three years in Rushville, Indiana moving to Shelbyville, Indiana, in 1851. Here he began the study of law with Judge Cyrus Wright, an able lawyer of that county, and in the meantime was also engaged in editing a political paper called the Banner, and which he says is the only act of his life, in a political way, that he has any reason to regret; that he undertook the enterprise without due consideration, but soon saw the error of his position as the editor of a "Native American", or "Know-nothing" paper, and true to his convictions of right, abandoned the whole thing as soon as he could possibly dispose of his press and office.

    From the fall of 1855 to the spring of 1858, Judge Bainbridge spent most of his time in the State of Ohio, engaged mostly in reading, returning to Indiana in the spring of 1858, and locating at Martinsville. While at this point he was engaged to edit the Martinsville Monitor, the Democratic paper of Morgan County, which he did with credit to himself and satisfaction of his party and friends. In the fall of 1859 he removed to Nashville, Indiana, where he continued the practice of his profession till in January, 1864, when he was appointed county recorder over ten other applicants, the regular official having been removed by death. In the fall of the same year he was elected clerk of the circuit court of that county, on the Democratic ticket, and he filled that office and practiced his profession till 1866, when he came to Lawrenceburgh, where he has ever since resided, giving his entire attention to his professional business. He served five years as city attorney for Lawrenceburgh, and, in the fall of 1884, was elected to the office of judge of the Seventh Judicial Circuit of Indiana, comprising the counties of Dearborn, and Ohio, the duties of which office he assumed October 22, 1885. On that date, the Lawrenceburgh correspondent to the Cincinnati Enquirer referred to his character and abilities in the following complimentary terms: "This morning Judge Given retires from the circuit court bench, and Hon. William H. Bainbridge dons the judicial ermine, and for the next six years will preside over the counties of Dearborn and Ohio, as sole judge. Judge Bainbridge goes upon the bench with a mind possessed of superior legal attainments, having for nearly thirty years, been an active and leading practitioner in all the courts. Always a close and hard student, as well as a deep thinker and a forcible speaker, he made his mark as an attorney, and those who know his abilities as a jurist, predict for him a  high place among the judges of the land. A man of faultless character, pure motives and the strictest sense of justice and right, fair minded and impartial; the litigants in his courts will never be able to even reflect against his honesty or judicial fairness in administering the law. Having experienced the hardships of poverty in his youth, and being compelled through misfortune early in life not only to earn his own living, but under the most adverse circumstances acquired by his own exertions an education, he is in every respect a self made man, and, although but fifty-three years he has been a wheel horse in the ranks of Democracy, and in every campaign and upon every stump his voice has been lifted fearlessly and eloquently advocating Democratic principles. At different localities he has edited Democratic paper, while at the same time keeping up with his legal business, thus evincing the tireless energy of the man."

    Judge Bainbridge was married in 1855, to Lucretia A. Wright, of Quaker extraction, a daughter of Joshua Wright, a man of fine mental attainments, and niece of Rev. George W. Maley, a former prominent Methodist Minister of Cincinnati.

    Mr. and Mrs. Bainbridge, are parents of five children, Maley, Cora and Lulu, living. An interesting little son of five years, and an infant daughter are deceased. Miss Cora Bainbridge is a young lady of rare musical attainments, and devotes some time in giving instructions in that most civilizing of all arts, and is now in Europe prosecuting her musical studies. In manners Judge Bainbridge is affable; in principle, firm and decisive; in business, active and energetic; in heart generous and kind. He is a firm believer in the religion of Christ, he and his entire family being members of the Presbyterian Church.

Source: History of Dearborn and Ohio Counties, Indiana by F.E. Weakley & Co., 1885.