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Judge David R Hindman


Posted By: County Coordinator (email)
Date: 4/12/2010 at 14:07:17

A history of the bench and bar of the eleventh judicail district of Iowa would be incomplete and unsatisfactory were there failure to make prominent reference to Judge David Hindman, of Boone, who for eleven years sat upon the bench and for an extended period was regarded as one of the most able and eminent lawyers practicing in his section of the state. It is not the province of biography to give voice to a man's modest estimate of himself and his accomplishments, but rather to judge the record establishing his position by the consensus of public opinion of the part of his fellowmen. Judged by that standard, too much cannot be said in praise of David R Hindman, for all who knew him were glad and proud to call him friend, recognizing his notable manhood, his lofty purposes and his well spent life. In a profession where advancement depends entirely upon individual effort and merit he made steady progress and his course ever reflected credit and honor upon his chosen calling.
Judge Hindman was a native of Otsego county, New York, born on May 10, 1834, and was, therefore, almost 74 years of age when he passed away at his hom in Boone on April 17, 1908. The greater part of his youth was spent in Oneida county, New York and he supplemented public-school insturction by study in the Witestown ( N.Y.) Seminary. He afterward entered for professioal training the Clinton Law School and having completed his preparation for the bar, he removed to Portage City, Wisconsin, in 1860, and for some time engaged in active practice there. However, following the outbreak of the CIvil war he joined the army, enlisting first in response to the call of three months' troops and afterward reenlisting as a private of the Nineteenth Wisconsin Infantry. He rose from the ranks though successive promotions to the captaincy of the company and was belived by those who served under him. He never asked the troops to go where he would not lead.
With the close of the war Judge Hindman returned to Wisconsin and the following year came to Boonesboro and to Boone in 1875, where he opened an office and entered upon the active practice of his profession. His ablity won almost immediate recogition. He displayed comprehensive knowledge of the law and notable skill in applying legal principles to the points at issue. His ablitiy gained for him appointment to fill out the unexpired term of Judge Mericle of the eleventh judicial district in 1888. He was then elected and afterward reelected, retiring from the bench in 1899. He could have remained for a longer term of years in that judicial position, had he so desired, for he had "won golden opinions from all sorts of people" by the fairness, equity and impartiality of his decisions. Of him it has been written:
"Judge Hindman was without a peer among the district judges in the state of Iowa and he established a record with the state supreme court his decisions were scarcely ever reversed by that body which indicated that Mr Hindman made friends of all. Eminently successful in a financial way, he leaves a far greater legacy, the goodwill of the community. Throughout his long life crowned with deeds of usefulness his upright character and noble manhood stood out prominenty. As a judge of the distrcit court, as a practicing attorney, in any of his business dealing or in his social life he was the same- affable, with a kind word for all, never saying anything but good of his fellowen. His dipostition was most genial and his views of life were of the most optimistc,. He often expressed the desire to depart this life suddenly without suffering and his wish was gratifed by an all wife Creator. One of the intersteing traits of his life was his fondness for young peple and when in their company he seemed contented and happy. He always held a charitable estimate of everybody's character and his death is indeed, a sad blow to Boone and this community where he was so well and favorably known. Everywhere among his friends of the legal profession nothing but words of praise are heard from him. All unite in paying tribute to this well spent life."
It was in 1866 that Judge Hindman was united in marriage to Miss Jennie E Ritchey, who was born near Lafayette, Tippecanoe county, Indiana. Her father a farmer by occupaton, died in the early 70's and her mother and sister afterward came to make their home with Judge and Mrs Hindman, Mrs Ritchey here passying away in 1897, in the 86 year of her age. Her daughter, Miss Mary A Ritchey, still resides with Mrs Hindman. Judge and Mrs Hindman had no children, but he is still survied by four sisters, all of whom are living in Syracuse, New York. Judge Hindman was a prominent Mason and attained the Knight Templar degree of the York Rite, exemplifying at all times in his lfie the beneficent spirit of e craft. He wore with pride the little bronze button, which showed him to be a member of the Grand Army of the Republic, and he always maintained the deepest interst in those with whom he had served when wearing the nation's blue uniform. He was intersted in the armory and in the hospital and in other public affairs of this city and cooperated in all movements of the general good. At the same time he was devoted to his profession and while his allegiance to his clients' intersts was proverbial, he never got that he owed a still greater fidtiy to the majesty of the law. Death came to him suddenly and after an illness of but six hours he passed away. A fitting tribute was paid to his memory by Honor R F Dale, who said:
"It seems meet and proper that the members of this bar should pause for a time this afternoon and cast anchor to the rushing turmoils of life and give our thoughts in contemplation of the virtuous dead to stand at the tomb and allow our eyes to take glimpses of eternity and enjoy in anticipation the rest which awaits us at the close of this life. Surely, we must be much benefited thereby, become better men, gather more potency to clasp virtue and entrench ourselves more strongly against vice.
"On occasions like this does not the query arise, is the grave the end? We know the body submits to decay but we are also told that there will come a time when a voice shall command the seas and the graves to give up their dead and meet the spirit which shall descend there to be reunited. The stroke of death only expands life.
"Of the life our departed brother, in this work of discontent and restlessnes, no one need speak, it is an open book upon each page of which is expressed a noble mind, kind heart, generous spirit and heroic dealings. D R Hindman lived his allotted time and from our acquaintance and observations with and of him we could see him meeting his duties courageously and manfully and at all times with kindness and due thought of the rights of others, he always met the combinations of former ages intelligently and strove to apply them to the demands as they now exist. While our brother is not visible to the natural eye, yet those who read history might say he is not dead.
"These ceremonies combined with the influence of the life lived by the tenant of the grave enrich our minds, assist in forming our judgments, or hearts are softened and if rightfully studied our lives are directed and controlled thereby. Honor, ability and dignity were attriutes possessed by our departed brother.
"He was a student of human nature, thus gaining knowledge of the world in its noblest sense, always taking a broad and liberal view of human conduct, never seeking for matter of condemnation but rather for matter of approval, always excuses for the erring and charity for weakess. He understood weakness as well as strength, vice as well as virture. His power and qualifications for a lawyer jurist, neighbor and friend were based upon his knowledge gained from such study. His colosal kindness and hospitality made him one whom we were awlsays glad to meet. Those who knew him longest respected and loved him most. No better recommendations can man desire or possess. His life here gives the lie to that old and unwarranted idea, entertained by many and expressed by some, "No lawyer can be honest." His word was his bond a verity. We cannot change his condition but his life and influence are our heritage.
"What more can be said. Let us emulate his kindness and good will exhibited toward the members of this chosen profession and thereby lessen the bitter feelings and animosities that are prone to enter into our dealing together. Judge Hindman asked only for his life that to which he believed him entitled, let us follow his example."

1914 Boone County History Book


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