Obit: MacBride, Robert J. (1847 - 1934)

Contact:  Crystal Wendt
Email:  crystal@wiclarkcountyhistory.org

Surnames: MacBride, Brown, Marsh, Gates, French

----Source: Neillsville Press (Neillsville, Clark County, Wis.) 22 Feb. 1934

MacBride, Judge Robert J. (28 June 1847 - 20 Jan. 1934)

Word was received here last week that Judge Robert J. MacBride had died at the home of his son Oscar in St. Louis, Mo., on Jan. 20, 1934.

Judge MacBride was for many years a leader in the professional and political life of this county and state. He was born in Philadelphia, June 28, 1847. He was educated in the city schools and high school and entered the office of David Paul Brown a distinguished attorney of Philadelphia, where he studied law for a time. At the age of 10 he came west on a visit to friends in Davenport, Iowa. He there made acquaintances who persuaded him to come to Neillsville, then a thriving lumber village.

Here he found employment as a bookkeeper for the firm of Hewett and Woods engaged in lumbering and carrying on a large mercantile business. While thus employed he resumed the study of law under Dr. B. F. French, a prominent attorney and physician.

After admission to the bar, young MacBride opened an office in the Hewett and Woods building, now the W. J. Marsh Dry Goods store, and soon became the leading attorney of elections.

Soon after beginning the practice of law he started to take an active part in politics, allying himself with the Democratic Party. Although his party was in minority in this county and state he was instrumental in leading it to victory in a number of elections.

In 1869 he was elected county judge and was twice re-elected, resigning during his third term to take a more active part in partisan politics.

In 1881 he was elected member of Assembly from this district then consisting of Clark, Wood, Lincoln and Taylor counties. It was at the session Clark County was made a separate district and Mr. MacBride was re-elected at the next election. He was the acknowledged leader in the legislature, served on prominent committees and was the author of much important legislation.

In 1890 he was elected to the state Senate, was made president pro tem of that body and there continued the active leadership maintained in the lower house.

For many years he was familiar figure in Democratic conventions. In 1880 and again 1888 he was a delegate to the national convention. In 1892 he was elected presidential elector at large for Wisconsin and presided at the meeting of the electors in Madison who cast their votes for Grover Cleveland.

In 1894 Mr. MacBride was appointed United States consul to Edinborough, Scotland, where he represented the government with great credit during the remainder of President Cleveland’s term.

Both before and after his consular service in Scotland Mr. MacBride built up a large law practice, being connected with litigation in import and cases. He was considered one of the ablest lawyers in the state, being noted for his accurate memory of cases and his remarkably logical reasoning. In later years failing eyesight handicapped him in his professional practice, but his brilliant mind lost none of its acuteness.

In 1927, Judge MacBride, unable longer to continue professional work, went to St. Louis to live with his son Oscar, remaining there until his death.

Robert J. MacBride and Miss Addie Gates of Neillsville were married June 28, 1870. His wife preceded him in death several years ago.

He leaves one son Oscar, mentioned above, and employed by the American Express Company in St. Louis, another son, Robert J. MacBride, Jr., died in the west about two years ago. He leaves also two grandchildren, LaMonte MacBride, managing editor of the Sheridan Press, Sheridan, Wyo.; and Douglas MacBride, former high school principal at Gilman, Wis., now a rancher at Ashland, Mont., also a granddaughter in St. Louis.

 

 


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