Judge Joseph Casper Bucher 1 2 3 4 5
- Born: 28 Jan 1834, Middletown, Frederick, MD 1 5 6 7
- Marriage (1): Mary Ellen Walls on 20 Nov 1861 1
- Died: 17 Oct 1908, Sunbury, Northumberland, PA at age 74 1 5 6 7
- Buried: Lewisburg: Lewisburg Cemetery, Union, PA 7
Sources of additional information about him not yet reviewed:
The Story of Snyder County, by G. F. Dunkelberger, page 579.
Noted events in his life were:
1. Residence: in Selinsgrove, Snyder, PA. 2
2. He has conflicting birth information of 28 Jan 1836 and Middletown, Frederick, MD. 2 4 8
3. Census in 1850 in Peters Twp., Franklin, PA. 4 John C. Boocher, minister of the gospel, 45, was living with daughter Mary, 19; John H., student, 17; Joseph, student, 15; Henry, 14; Lydia, 11; Ann, 9; Ellen R., 7; Emma, 4. Also in the home: Henry Frey, 71; Catharine Wolfe, 64. Everyone was born in Pennsylvania.
4. He was educated at Graduated with highest honors from Franklin & Marshall College in 1853 in Lancaster, Lancaster, PA. 9
5. Occupation: Admitted to the bar in 1858 in , Union, PA. 9
6. Census in 1860 in New Berlin, Union, PA. 10 Joseph C. Bucher, 24, lawyer, is living in the household of Isaac Henker, 58, lawyer and his wife Margaret Henker, 51, and son James G. Slenker, 18. Also in the home are two servants.
7. Occupation: President Judge on 7 Nov 1871 in , Union, PA. 11
8. Census in 1880 in Lewisburg, Union, PA, USA. 3 Joseph C. Bucher, judge of court of common pleas, 44, was living with wife Mary E., 41; John W., 12; Casper Bucher, 8; Abbot Bucher, 4; Miriam A. Bucher, 1. also with them are three servants: Mary Weaver, 26; Jane E. Price, 16; and John Wilson, 19. Everyone and their parents are born in Pennsylvania.
9. Book: History of That Part of the Susquehanna and Juniata Valleys Embraced in the Counties of Mifflin, Juniata, Perry, Union and Snyder, 1886. 12
He is written about on pages 465, 1191, and 1424, not yet reviewed.
10. Book: History of Lycoming County Pennsylvania, 1892. 13
John J. Metzger, who was defeated by Judge Cummin in 1878, was his successor in 1888. He was the regular Democratic nominee, and B. Stuart Bentley, son of Judge Bentley, was the Republican nominee. The campaign was conducted very quietly, but a large vote was cast and the contest was close. The figures were as follows: Metzger, 7,074; Bentley, 7,030; Ames, Prohibition, 189. Metzger's plurality, 44. Total vote polled, 14,293. The closeness of the contest was a surprise to both parties, and it gave rise to suspicion on the part of some of the friends of Mr. Bentley that fraud had been committed by the Democrats, and a contest was talked of. The Republican county chairman, John B. Emery, finally took the preliminary steps to bring about a judicial investigation. A petition signed by some, fifty voters, "complaining of a false return and undue election of John J. Metzger," was laid before the attorney general, whereupon that official reported the matter to the Governor and he issued a precept to Judges W. M. Rockefeller, Joseph C. Bucher, and Charles A. Mayer, directing said judges to convene the court of common pleas of Lycoming county to hear and determine the complaint of the petitioners. Errors in registration, illegal voting on age, and non-payment of taxes were alleged. The first session of the court was held December 7, 1888, when the case was opened in due form. The following attorneys appeared for the petitioners: H. C. & S. T. McCormick, Candor & Munson, and J. T. Fredericks. The respondent was represented by H. C. Parsons, R. P. Allen, H. W. Watson, and W. W. Hart. On the 12th of January, 1889, "the cause being at issue," the parties to the contest nominated James L. Meredith and Frank P. Cummings for examiners. They were, confirmed, and two stenographers appointed to make a verbatim report of the testimony. The examiners were ordered to "proceed with all possible dispatch to collect. the ballot boxes containing the ballots. cast for president judge," and deposit them in some secure place until called for by the court. As there were fifty-nine voting precincts in the county the task of collecting the boxes was not an easy one, especially in the month of January. Examiners Meredith and Cummings made a tour of the, county, gathered up the ballot boxes, brought them to Williamsport and stored them in a cell in the county jail for safe keeping. In the meantime Judge Metzger took the oath of office, and having received. a commission, subject to the decision of the court of investigation, ascended the bench and presided at the January session; and continued to hold court while the investigation was pending.
The examiners proceeded with the work of taking testimony. This work, after the novelty wore off, became very monotonous, and it was the 10th of December, 1889, before they closed their labors. They were not in daily session, however; frequent adjournments took place. A mass of testimony making 3,797 printed pages was taken. The record, including the opinion and summing up of the court, made 488 pages; respondent's brief, 166; contestant's brief, 116. Total printed pages relating to the contest, 4,567.
All the boxes were opened by the court and the ballots examined. This required much time, but there was no other way to arrive at an exact conclusion. Illegal ballots cast for either party were set aside and a record made of them, when they were deducted from the respective totals. By this method the court was enabled to arrive at the correct majority. By this process Judges Rockefeller and Bucher found that 333 illegal votes were cast for Judge Metzger, and 387 for Mr. Bentley. This reduced Metzger's total vote to. 6,650, and Bentley's to 6,521, leaving a majority of 129 for Metzger instead of forty-four as originally reported before the contest was commenced. Judge Mayer dissented from his colleagues in the admission of certain ballots, and filed an opinion. He also submitted a table which, reduced Metzger's majority to fifty-nine. The court then closed its opinion in the following words: "We find as the result that the said respondent, John J. Metzger, received the greatest number of legal votes cast at the said election, and 129 votes more than Benjamin Stuart Bentley, and that the said John J. Metzger was duly elected to the said office of president judge, and is therefore entitled to the same." A decree was then made affirming the above and ordering the prothonotary "to enter this decision of record to the case," and transmit a copy to the secretary of the Commonwealth. It was signed by C. A. Mayer, J. C. Bucher, and W. M. Rockefeller, president judges. Judge Mayer appended a note to the decree stating that he concurred in everything except the majority, which he found to be fifty-nine instead of 129.
Thus ended the great judicial contest which commenced December 7, 1888, and closed August 12, 1890. Nothing more remained for the court to do but fix the costs. This they did October 11, 1890, by declaring "that there was probable cause for this contest, and that the costs and expenses shall be paid by the county of Lycoming." On summing up the items the total was found to be $16,060.92, which was paid by the county. The State paid the judges as follows: William M. Rockefeller, $2,220; C. A. Mayer, $2,241; Joseph C. Bucher, $2,400. Total, $ 6,864. The direct and indirect cost of the contest, therefore, was $23,024.92. Aside from this the contestants and respondent paid fully $3,000 each for private expenses which do not Appear in the bill of costs.
This was the first contest in the State under the act relieving the Senate of conducting such investigations. It attracted wide attention and the proceedings were watched with deep interest. Much bitterness of feeling was engendered between the contestants and the friends of the respondent, but the outcome was very gratifying to the latter. And whilst the trial was a costly one, it may be productive of good in causing more care in conducting elections.
11. Book: Commemorative Biographical Record of Central Pennsylvania, 1898. 14
His biography appears on page 784, copy not yet obtained.
12. Census in 1900 in Lewisburg, Union, PA, USA. 8 Owning the home at 222 Market St. was Joseph C. Bucher, lawyer, 64, born Jan 1836, who was living with wife Mary E., 38, born Oct 1843. They had been married 38 years and she had birthed 6 children, 4 still living in 1900. With them: John W., teller in bank, 32, Jun 1867, single; Casper J. Bucher, law student, 28, Mar 1872, single; Abbot G., 24, Mar 1876, single; and Miriam A. Bucher, 21, Feb 1879, single. Also with them are three servants. Everyone and their parents were born in Pennsylvania, except Joseph was born in Maryland.
13. Book: Residence Directory of the Sigma Chi Fraternity, 1902. 15
Bucknell University, Kappa Chapter, Call of 1894: Joseph Casper Bucher, Jr., Law Student, Lewisburg, PA
14. Book: Annual Report of the American Bar Association, 1908. 6
Joseph Casper Bucher was born in Middletown, Frederick County, Maryland, on January 28, 1834, the son of Rev. John Casper Bucher, D. D., an eminent divine of the Reformed Church, and died in Lewisburgh, Union County, Pennsylvania, on October 17, 1908.
He was graduated with honors at Franklin and Marshall College in 1855, delivering the valedictory addresses of his class. After teaching in an academy in Maryland he began the study of the law in the office of Isaac Slenker, an eminent lawyer, in New Berlin, Union County, Pennsylvania, was admitted to the Bar in 1858, and began practice with his preceptor. In 1859 he was elected district attorney on the Democratic ticket by a handsome majority, though the county was largely Republican. In 1861 he married Mary Ellen, daughter of John Walls. Mr. Slenker having been elected to the office of auditor-general of Pennsylvania in 1862, their partnership was dissolved and Mr. Bucher removed to Lewisburgh, which was thenceforth his home.
At the Bar he soon took a prominent position, and was very successful as an advocate. He was easy of access, with a manner cordial and hearty, and mingled freely with the people. He was a man of strong intellect and quick apprehension, with a very retentive memory. Rarely gifted of speech, he had the faculty of gathering and grouping his facts with graphic power, presenting his argument in a loud, clear and ringing voice, carrying conviction to the hearer. Possessed of a fund of anecdote and a ready wit, he naturally drew men to him and was the centre of the circle wherever he might be.
In 1871 he was elected president judge of the 20th Judicial District of Pennsylvania, composed of the counties of Union, Snyder and Miniin, and was re-elected in 1881. In his twenty years' service on the Bench Judge Bucher not only discharged the duties of his high office with promptness and fidelity in his own district, but he frequently was called to preside specially in many of the other districts of the commonwealth, and he gained a statewide reputation for learning, ability and impartiality.
Directly after his retirement from the Bench in 1892 he resumed the practice of the law and became the local solicitor of the Pennsylvania Railroad Company, the Northern Central Railway Company and other affiliated companies, with offices at Sun- bun', Pennsylvania, and so continued until failing health compelled his withdrawal from active practice.
The estimation in which he was held by those who knew him best is fittingly set forth in the resolutions in his memory adopted by the Union Connty Bar Association, to wit:
"Resolved, That in the death of Judge Bucher we have met with an irreparable loss.
"That Judge Bucher was, at the Bar, a lawyer of vigorous intellect, well-trained in the science and art of his profession; a ready, able and formidable antagonist, possessing great tact, judgment and skill, and before a jury most persuasive and effective; on the Bench a just judge, compassionate and slow to punish; courteous in language and manner, and to the young lawyer kind and encouraging; at trial quick to grasp the point of a case; his rulings plain and fair; his charges to the jury models of simplicity, clearness and force; a good citizen, ever wakeful to the interests of his community, state and nation; in the family a tender husband and indulgent parent; honest and stainless in his private life ; socially, a most charming companion ; a kind neighbor and loyal friend, whose gracious memory will abide with us during the passing years."
15. Book: Courts and Lawyers of Pennsylvania, 1922. 5
Judge Woods was succeeded by Joseph Casper Bucher, who was born at Middletown, Frederick county, Maryland, on January 28, 1834. He graduated at Marshall College at Mercersburg in 1859, was admitted to the bar in 1858, and was elected district attorney for Union county in 1859. He was elected president judge of the Twentieth Judicial District in 1871 and was reelected in 1881, serving until January, 1892. On his retirement from the bench in that year, he resumed practice and continued until his failing health compelled his withdrawal. He died at Lewisburg on October 17, 1908. Judge Bucher was succeeded by Harold M. McClure, who was elected president judge of the Twentieth Judicial District in 1891, and served in that capacity until, under the provisions of the Act of June 12, 1895, P. L. 190, the counties of Union and Snyder were constituted the Seventeenth Judicial District, and Judge McClure became president judge of that district, in connection with which he has already been mentioned.
16. Book: The Abott-Adlum-Green Families, 1957. 16
The Joseph Casper Bucher Family
Line # 5 Joseph Casper Bucher (079) m. Mary Ellen Walls (078)
John Walls Bucher (081), m. Susan Dunlap
Joseph C. Bucher (093), m. Vannie Burrell
Abbott Green Bucher (091), 1876- 192-(?)
Margaret, died in infancy
May, died in infancy
Miriam Walls Bucher (088), m. Harry W. Chamberlin
Grandsons & Granddaughters
John W. Bucher's Children
Anna Dunlap Bucher (082), m. Albert Watson, II (083)
Joseph Casper Bucher's Children
Abbott Green Bucher (095)
Miriam Walls Chamberlin's Children
Mary Walls Chamberlin (090)
Anna Bucher Watson's (83) Children
Albert 'Watson, III (085)
John Bucher Watson (087)
17. Book: The Abott-Adlum-Green Families, 1957. 9
JUDGE JOSEPH CASPER BUCHER (079) was born at Middletown, Md. He was graduated from Franklin & Marshall College with highest honors in 1853. He taught school for three years; thereafter he studied law at New Berlin, Union Co., Pa., under Hon. Isaac Slenker. He was admitted to the bar in 1858, and in 1859 was elected District Attorney. In 1862 he moved to Lewisburg, Pa., where he practiced his profession until 1871, when he was elected President Judge of the Twentieth Judicial District, Pennsylvania, comprising Union, Muffin and Snyder counties. He was a director of the Lewisburg National Bank, and of the Lewisburg Bridge Company. After retiring from the judgeship, he was Counsel for the Pennsylvania Railroad Company with an office at Sunbury from 1892 to 1905. He was in poor health for some years prior to his death, October 17, 1908.
Judge Bucher married Mary Ellen Walls (078), a daughter of Judge John Walls (021) with whom he had eight children, two having died at an early age. His sons were Abbott Green Bucher (091), 1876-1921; Joseph Casper Bucher (093), 1872-1927; John Walls Bucher (081), 1867-1955, who married Susan Dunlap (080), their only child was Anna Dunlap Bucher (082) who married Gen. Albert Watson; they had two children: Albert Watson, III (085), and John Bucher Watson (087). John Casper Bucher (093) married Vannie Burrell; they had one son, Abbott Green Bucher (095).
Miriam Bucher (088) was the only daughter of Judge Bucher who lived beyond the period of infancy; she married Harry W. Chamberlin (089); their only child was a daughter, Mary Walls Chamberlin (090).
SOURCES FOR JOSEPH CASPER BUCHER
Biographical Encyclopedia, Pennsylvania of the 19th Century, Galaxy Pub. Co., 1874, p. 171.
History of the Susquehanna and Juniata Valleys, Ellis; pub. Evarts, Peck & Richards, Phila., 1886: Vol. 1, p. 313; Vol. 2, pp. 391-411, pp. 1191, 1196; Vol. 1, p. 542 in Series 3.
Early History of Western Pennsylvania and the West, Kauffman; pub., Harrisburg, 1846, p. 129.
Bucher Family Bible; in possession of Merrill Linn, Lewisburg, Pa., in 1956.
Joseph married Mary Ellen Walls, daughter of Judge John Walls and Margaret Adlum Green, on 20 Nov 1861.1 (Mary Ellen Walls was born on 6 Oct 1839 in Lewisburg, Union, PA, USA,17 died on 8 Jan 1905 in Lewisburg, Union, PA, USA 7 18 19 and was buried on 12 Jan 1905 in Lewisburg: Lewisburg Cemetery, Union, PA 7 19.)