History of Bedford and Somerset Counties Pennsylvania, Vol 3 E. Howard Blackburn

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History of Bedford and Somerset Counties Pennsylvania, Vol 3  by  E. Howard Blackburn

History of Bedford and Somerset Counties Pennsylvania, Vol 3 by E. Howard Blackburn
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Bedford and Somerset Counties.HON. ALEXANDER HAMILTON COFFROTH.Alexander H. Coffroth, for many years a leading figure in his profession and in the public life of the commonwealth during the dramatic period leading up to and culminating in the CivilMoreBedford and Somerset Counties.HON. ALEXANDER HAMILTON COFFROTH.Alexander H. Coffroth, for many years a leading figure in his profession and in the public life of the commonwealth during the dramatic period leading up to and culminating in the Civil war, was intensely active and broadly useful during his entire career.

His abilities would undoubtedly have commanded his entrance upon highest places had not his inflexible devotion to principle held him to a political party which was constantly in the minority.General Coffroth was a native of Pennsylvania, born in Somerset, May 18, 1828.

He was the youngest son of John and Maiy (Besore) Coffroth, the father born in Hagerstown, Maryland, of German descent, and the mother born in Green-castle. Pennsylvania, of English ancestry. These parents removed in 1808 from Greencastle to Somerset, where the father was among the early settlers, and the first to set up a store, bringing his merchandise from the east on pack-horses.

Mr. Coffroth was a man of excellent character, and his wife was a model of womanhood, whose kindliness of disposition, purity of conduct and energy of character were reflected in the son.Young Coffroth made of himself a fine exemi)lification of the truly self-made man in the best sense of that oft-abused term. Early thrown u])on his own resources, he entered upon and waged the battle of life in such masterly fashion as to not only provide himself an ample equipment for the large duties which were to devolve upon him, but to also develop to their fullest his fine natural gifts of soul and intellect.

He attended the common schools, and out of the fruits of his own labors defrayed the expenses of a more liberal education in the old Somerset Academy. For a time he served efficiently as a school teacher, and with the means thus earned supported himself while preparing for his chosen ]irofession, the law. It was his great good fortune to attract the interest and friendship of the distinguished Jeremiah S. Black, in whose office and under whose preceptorshi]) he read industriously for some years, meantime and for five years, beginning at the age of eighteen, serving as editor of the Somerset Visitor, a Democratic journal of no inconsiderable circulation and influence.Even at this youthful age the virile energy of his pen gave high promise for the future.

Admitted to the bar of Somerset county in February, 1851, he at once entered upon a practice which rapidly expanded and shortly brought iiim to the front rank of his profession and into recognition throughout the state for ability, astuteness, resourcefulness and real devotion to the law out of respect for its own majesty.

A tireless worker, by following a rigid system of self-control he labored throughout his professional career cheerfully and with unruffled temper. His practice, covering a period of more than a half century, was marked by scores of hotly contested cases, yet in all he was known as one of the best-hearted of men, always urbane and kindly dispositioned. During all these many years there was scarcely a case of importance in his judicial district in which he did not bear a leading part.

A cause celebre which will ever be famous in the legal annals of Pennsylvania was the trial of the Nicely brothers, charged with the murder of Herman Umberger, and in which he was chief counsel for the defense. Enduring evidence of his high legal abilities exists in various volumes of the reports of the supreme court of Pennsylvania and the courts of the United States.

His high place in the respect and confidence of his colleagues of the local bar is attested by his election to the presidency of the Somerset Bar Association at its organization, and his undisputed continuance in that position up to his death—this, too, by a bar which has ever been ornamented by some



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