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Chauncey Wilson Blackmer
Chauncey Wilson Blackmer was born October 11, 1848, at Somerset, Hillsdale County, Michigan, and died at Cripple Creek, Colorado, March 5, 1913. When a small lad, his family moved to Omro, Wisconsin, where he spent his boyhood. After graduating from the White Water School he moved to Sioux City, Iowa, and in May, 1871, was admitted to the Bar at Clarion, Iowa.
In the Spring of 1872 he came to Colorado and lived at Del Norte until 1882; ten eventful, and to him important years. On his arrival in Colorado he was appointed Assistant United States District Attorney, and his then aroused interest in criminal practice forecast and largely determined his subsequent professional career. This office he abandoned in 1873 to accept an election as county judge. On January 31, 1875, he married Margaret Ellen Glasgow of Del Norte, who with a daughter, survives him. On March 25, 1876, Mr. Blackmer was admitted to the Bar of the Supreme Court of Colorado, and in 1882 moved to Montrose. During his residence there he did not devote his entire time to the law, but took an active interest in Republican politics and in 1885 was elected superintendent of public instruction. From 1886 to 1899 he lived at Cortez and then moved to Cripple Creek where he lived, now rests, and successfully practiced until his death from paralysis of the brain.
He belonged to a number of fraternal orders, but was specially prominent among the Odd Fellows and Knights of Pythias.
Mr. Blackmer's best work was in the field of criminal law, and his abilities found deserved professional recognizance in 1910, when he was elected president of the Teller County Bar Association, an honor which he held until his death.
In Mr. Blackmer's death the Bar of the State has lost an able member.
To the Colorado Bar Association:
Your Committee on Local Bar Associations reports as follows:
In order to avoid repetition, we refer to, and adopt as a part of this report, the record of the proceedings of the Association at the time of the adoption of the amendment to the By-Laws under the authority of which this Committee was established (Association's Report, 1911, page 26), and this committee's two previous reports (Association's Reports, 1912, page 229, and 1913, page 314).
This committee, as we have heretofore said, was established to promote the organization, maintenance and activity of local bar associations in the State and to secure united action among them in the study of those subjects, and action thereon, which properly come within their consideration, with the object of giving to the people, in their effort to establish suitable means for the administration of justice, the benefits of the investigation, scholarship and experience of lawyers, in view of present emergencies in the evolution of government in which the lawyer's scholarship, his knowledge, and the accomplishments which he acquires from his peculiar occupation, are as much in demand as they have ever been in establishing suitable provisions for the just administration of our political, social, economic and juridical affairs.
In accordance with the direction of the Association, this committee has requested for examination at our present session brief reports from the local bar associations respecting their activities during the past year. We present herewith reports of this character which have been received by us. These reports, much to our gratification, show a commendable determination on the part of the local associations to become earnestly active in the serious work of administering justice and establishing efficient government. However, they disclose that much still remains to be done in the field which naturally belongs to these associations, in which the first-hand, serious public work by lawyers must be done, if done at all.
At a recent session of the Pueblo Bar Association, Hon. Robert E. Lewis, United States District Judge, speaking as a guest, very forcefully pointed out the opportunity and duty which lawyers have to instruct our newly-naturalized citizens in some of the elementary principles of self-government in the United States and to give them the benefit of at least a little instruction in some of the primary political, social and economic truths which every citizen in America should know.
Your committee is of the opinion that the local bar associations will become active in the work of disseminating historical and legal information when they discover that an effort to that end is desirable and feasible. They have only to be convinced, as we believe, that there is an opportunity for such an effort and that there will be appreciation of it, in order to be aroused to undertake the labor which it will entail. Each local association has great need of, and should develop within its n'embership, a man who is willing to devote himself to the encouragement of the proper activities of his local association and who has the enthusiasm for the work and the faith in its ultimate success which are always required in order to secure beneficial results in any line of effort. Such a man will find noble employment for an association, and, thereby, will make all lawyers and the people of his community his debtors. Through such a man every local association can perform a great service to the public.
Your committee believes that the local associations will appreciate a suggestion of a specific program for a part of their annual work. We, therefore, make such a suggestion.
Lawyers, more thoroughly than others, appreciate the unfortunate condition that large bodies of the people possess an entirely insufficient understanding of the fundamental elements of our constitutional organization and the more important facts of our constitutional history, and that this wide-spread insufficiency of understanding of these subjects is accountable for many false and harmful notions of the philosophy of government, public justice and public administration.
We propose an effort in the direction of making knowledge of these subjects more general among the people. We propose that each local association shall carry on some form of popular instruction along the lines of our constitutional history and the broad fundamental principles of our constitutional organization. The substance of parts of Hamilton's Federalist may serve as the material for the basis of such instruction. The Federalist was written for the masses of the people and, at the critical period of our national development, was the salvation of our country through its influence upon the people as a whole. It still remains the greatest commentary ever written upon our constitution and still remains one of the greatest contributions to the world's political philosophy. Its subject-matter is as fresh and useful today as it was when it was composed. The people of to:lay are as much in need of a knowledge of what it contains as the people have ever been since the adoption of our national constitution. It should be made familiar to every citizen. There is no better agency by which this can be done than the local bar associations, through popular instruction in the form of plain teaching to be carried on by those members of the local associations who have faith in the possibility of disseminating the truth and in the prophecy that the truth shall make us free.