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Hon. Richard 'Dick' Haney


Posted By: S. Ferrall - IAGenWeb volunteer
Date: 2/9/2010 at 16:56:12

Hon. Dick Haney, an attorney of Mitchell, was born in Lansing, Iowa, November 10, 1852. His father, John Haney, was a pioneer of that state and became the owner of the land on which the city of Lansing was built. There for many years he was engaged in the operation of saw and flour mills. His father, James Haney, was a native of Ireland and on coming to America in 1775 settled in Pennsylvania. The earlier ancestors were of Scotch birth, removing from the land of hills and heather to Ireland in the first part of the eighteenth century. John Haney was born in Pennsylvania and in 1830 became a resident of Illinois, where he resided until 1848, when he cast in his lot with the pioneer settlers of Iowa. His wife, who bore the maiden name of Fanny Toll, was a native of Massachusetts and in their family were eleven children, of whom the subject of this review is the youngest.

Liberally educated, Dick Haney attended a private school at Lansing, Iowa, and afterward pursued a classical course in the Iowa Wesleyan University at Mount Pleasant. He next entered the Law College of the Iowa State University and was graduated therefrom with the class of 1874. He then began practice in Lansing, Iowa, where he remained until 1885, and for several years during that period filled the office of city attorney. On leaving Lansing in 1885 he came to Dakota territory, settling at Plankinton, Aurora county, where he was elected district attorney, which position he filled until 1889. He was then elected to the circuit bench, presiding over the circuit court until February, 1896, when he was appointed a member of the South Dakota supreme court by Governor Sheldon. Early in 1905 Dick Haney, of Pierre, one of the three Supreme Court judges was appointed to the position of United States district attorney for South Dakota. He remained a member of the court of final appeal until 1913 and during three years of that period was presiding judge. He proved himself the peer of the ablest members who have sat upon the supreme court bench, his course being distinguished by the highest legal ability. To wear the ermine worthily it is not enough that one possess legal acumen, is learned in the principles of jurisprudence, familiar with precedents and thoroughly honest, Many men, even when acting uprightly, are wholly unable to divest themselves of prejudice and are unconsciously warped in their judgments by their own mental characteristics or educational peculiarities. This unconscious and variable disturbing force enters more or less into the judgments of all men, but in the ideal jurist this factor becomes so small as not to be discernible in results and loses its potency as a disturbing force. Judge Haney was exceptionally free from all judicial bias. His varied legal learning and wide experience in the courts, the patient care with which he ascertained all the needed facts bearing upon every case which came before him, gave his decisions a solidity and exhaustiveness from which no member of the bar could take exception.

In 1913 Judge Haney removed to Mitchell and entered into partnership with Timon J. Spangler under the firm name of Spangler & Haney, constituting what is now one of the most favorably known law firms of the state.

On the 22d of January, 1876, Judge Haney was united in marriage to Miss Roxie Doe, and they became the parents of two children, John D. and Harriet H. The mother died August 7, 1907, and on the 14th of September, 1909, Judge Haney wedded Florence Tredway, by whom he has a daughter, Elinor.

In his political views Judge Haney has always been a stalwart republican and fraternally he is connected with the Masons and the Modern Woodmen of America. He also belongs to Beta Theta Pi, a college fraternity, while his religious faith is that of the Episcopal church. He is a prominent member of the state bar association, which honored him with election to the presidency in 1914. His superior legal training and his long service on the circuit and supreme bench, aggregating nearly a quarter of a century, place him easily among the most distinguished lawyers of the state, his name being inscribed on the keystone of the legal arch of South Dakota.

~"History of Dakota Territory"; G.W. Kingsbury, 1915; Vol 3, pgs 935 & 940; Vol 4, pgs 441-442
~Photo of Hon. Dick Haney is from South Dakota Supreme Court: "A Photographic History" and is dated 1903


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