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Bullis Levi - 1828 - 1902


Posted By: Bill Waters (email)
Date: 10/19/2017 at 21:02:08

Source: The Courts and Legal Profession of Iowa Vol II, Cole and Ebersole, H. C. Cooper, Jr. & Co. Chicago, ILL, 1907

Levi Bullis was born at Schuyler Falls, Clinton County, N. Y., April 5, 1828, where the foundation for his long and honorable professional career of more than forty-eight years was laid by a good common school course, and later by a thorough education acquired at Ballston Springs law school. Mr. Bullis left his native state in 1853, and after spending a year in Illinois and several months at Portage City, Wisconsin, came in 1854 to Decorah and took up his residence and entered upon the practice of his profession, which he so dearly loved and which he followed with indefatigable zeal to the very last hour. His death removes from our midst the last survivor of the pioneer bar of Winneshiek county, and all but three of the pioneer practitioners of the old judicial district. Mr. Bullis was a representative type of the old school of the legal profession. A constant student, an inveterate reader, both in his profession and in general, Mr. Bullis acquired a vast accumulation of knowledge, and gathered about hint one of the most extensive and valuable private law libraries, supplemented by biography, history, travel and literary works, to be found in the state. And this library was always at the welcome disposal of his legal associates and personal friends, and many a young student will ever, while life lasts, hold in grateful memory his kindness and assistance in this respect. A sense of loneliness comes to this writer when he thinks that no more will our eyes, as they wander from our sanctum window across the street to that vine-shaded office on the hill, with its open door in summer time, be greeted with the familiar figure of our friend, seated in the old easy rocking chair upon the threshold just within, or on the little lawn without, gently rocking, as his ever studious mind absorbed the contents of book or paper. Who of our readers has not seen that picture. It seemed fitting to us that the life and character of this old resident, this staunch friend, this outspoken enemy if he was not friend, should he delineated and chronicled in substantial form by some old friend. And at our request a member of the bar of this county, who perhaps of all friends or acquaintances knew him best, associated with him most, who indeed imbibed through him his own knowledge of legal lore, contributes this impression of his true character. Geo. W. Adams writes: “In the spring of 1854 Levi Bullis, in the prime of early manhood, came and settled in Decorah, then a primitive town indeed. On the 23rd day of July, 1902, after more than 48 years of incessant labor, his body was laid beside his two children in God’s half acre, and we hope that his indomitable spirit is at rest. Mr. Bulks, fresh from school, at once became prominent as a citizen, and his voracity for work and aggressive energy soon placed him in the front rank of his profession—a noble one when honestly followed—and he possessed the highest ideals of an attorney, and no man can truthfully say that he was not honest with his clients, or that he ever employed trickery or chicanery in the conduct of his cases. He won or lost in an open and fair fight, while putting forth every honorable effort possible. He was imbibed with a spirit of chivalry in a high degree, and was at all times willing and anxious to defend anyone whom lie believed others were trying to oppress. No client whom he believed to have a just cause ever sought his services in vain. Though he loved to make money, yet he loved his profession better, and would undertake the cause of a poor client and furnish money to fight his battles. His zeal for what he deemed the right carried him beyond all bounds of reason. It made him intolerant, and in a great measure hampered his usefulness in the cause he wished most to serve. He was a man of heart, a man of action, and zealous as a martyr—a man of strong passion governed by impulse and calm judgment. Yet his heart was as pure as the heart of a child, and his life was as clean. He hated sham, he hated fuss and feathers. He loved young men; he loved children, and a little child could lead him. Above all things this many-sided man of whom it can truthfully be said that he was without a model and without a shadow, has his memory enshrined in the hearts of the poor and lonely, whom he loved and aided always."— Decorah Journal, July 29, 1902.

Phelps Cemetery

Winneshiek Biographies maintained by Bruce Kuennen.
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