Ohio Biographies

James Robert Lytle, A.M.

James Robert Lytle, A.M., attorney and counsellor at law, of Delaware, Ohio, is a man of prominence in his profession and is widely known throughout this section of the State. He was born in Clear Creek Township, Fairfield County, Ohio, April 9, 1841, and is a son of James and Catherine (Freymyer) Lytle.

James Lytle, the father, was born in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, and there received an educational training in the public schools. He was a remarkably fine penman, and became known as a broad and liberal-minded man. In 1837, he came west to Ohio, and engaged in farming in Wayne County for one year, then removed to Clear Creek Township in Fairfield County, where he purchased a farm. He followed general farming. His wife died in 1855. aged forty-two years, and he followed her to the grave in 1866. She also was born in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, and was a daughter of Jacob Freymyer. Four children were the issue of their union, as follows: Catherine A., deceased, who first married Dr. C. C. Bryson, and later John T. Evans, who at that time was clerk of the court in Delaware County; John, who died at the age of twenty-one years; James Robert, whose name heads this sketch; and William F., who enlisted in Co. I. Ninetieth Regiment, O. V. I., and was captured by guerrillas on Strawberry Plains, just after the battle of Chickamauga, and was never heard from afterwards. Mr. Lytle was of the Episcopal faith, and his wife of the Lutheran. He was originally a Whig in politics, and later joined the Know-Nothings, but became a Republican upon the organization of that party. A strong Abolitionist, he was connected with the Underground Railroad during the war.

James Robert Lytle was reared in Fairfield County and received a rudimentary education in the common schools. He entered Ohio Wesleyan University, but after attending that institution one year, was obliged to return home and take charge of the farm, his brother having enlisted in the service of the Union Army. He continued at home until the spring of 1864. when he enlisted in Co. I, One Hundred and Fifty-ninth Regiment, O. V. I., and went with his regiment to Baltimore, where for one hundred days they guarded railroads about that city. Immediately after his return home from the war, he re-entered Ohio Wesleyan University, from which he was graduated in June, 1868. During his vacations he had read law under the direction of Jones & Hipple of Delaware, and in June, 1869, he was admitted to the bar, just one year from the date of his graduation. He went to Fremont, Sandusky County, Ohio, and engaged in practice one year, then returned to Delaware and formed a partnership with his former preceptor, Gen. John S. Jones, under the name and style of Jones & Lytle. This association of legal talent continued for a period of twenty-five years, during which time the firm was identified with much of the important litigation in the courts of Delaware County. Since April 1, 1895, Mr. Lytle has practiced alone and has maintained the prestige established in earlier years. He has been especially active in practice before the Bureau of Pensions, having procured the grant of more than fifteen hundred pensions. He also procured bounty for many of the veterans or their families, and his familiarity with the bounty records of Delaware County resulted in the exposure of the bounty frauds and the saving to Delaware County of more than $20,000. Among the important cases with which Mr. Lytle has been identified, was the prosecution through the United States Circuit Court of two suits for the heirs of Leonard Case, a multi-millionaire of Cleveland, in which he was opposed by many lawyers, among the number being some of the most distinguished practitioners before the bar in Ohio. The number of defendants in one of these cases was 648, and the land involved was valued at many millions, including the sites of Case Library and the City Hall in Cleveland, about one mile of lake front, some 4,000 lots in all, and 1,900 acres of land adjoining Cleveland. Mr. Lytle is attorney for the Fidelity Building Association and Loan Company, and numbers among his clients many other of the important business concerns of Delaware.

Mr. Lytle cast his first presidential ballot for Abraham Lincoln in 1864, and has ever since been an active participant in political affairs. He was identified with the Republican party until 1894, and during that time served two years as chairman of the Republican County Central Committee. He has since that date been a supporter of the Democratic party, and has served two years as chairman of the Democratic Executive Committee. In 1894, he was Democratic nominee for Probate judge and was honored with a large vote, being defeated by 339 votes, while the head of the ticket was defeated by McKinley, the Republican candidate for governor, by 969 votes.

July 28, 1808, James R. Lytle was united in marriage with Miss Cornelia Ann Chase, who was born in Porter Township, Delaware County, Ohio, and is a daughter of Rev. Ira and Jane (Wilcox) Chase, a record of whom appears on another page of this work. Her paternal grandparents came from England and were of noble birth, and Mrs. Lytle has in her possession the Chase coat of arms. She is descended from Aquilla Chase and one of the lines to the noted Chase-Townly estate in England. Her father was a cousin of Salmon P. Chase, one of Ohio's greatest governors, and also an uncle of Governor Chase of Indiana. Mrs. Chase was a native of Rhode Island and was a near relative of the two brothers, General and Bishop Rosecrans, who were former residents of Delaware County. She also was related to Livingstone, the noted explorer. Mrs. Lytle attended Wesleyan University and afterward studied art under a private tutor, being a great lover of nature and fond of landscape paintings, she has quite a collection of her own work. She continued her art work for several years after her marriage. She has always been very much interested in the poor of the city and was for a long time conference treasurer of the Woman's Home Missionary Society of the Ohio Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church. Quiet and retiring in her tastes, she has been found mostly in that sphere of comparative seclusion which is bounded by the domestic relations in life, her greatest interests centering in home and family. Mr. and Mrs. Lytle have reared a family of three children, one son and two daughters, whose honorable and useful lives evidence the careful training of a devoted mother. The children are as follows : William James, graduated from the public schools of Delaware in 1886, from Ohio Wesleyan University in 1890, and then took up the study of law. He served as assistant postmaster in the city of Delaware for nearly three years, discharging eyery duty to the satisfaction of his many friends. During this time he continued the studies of his chosen profession and had almost completed his legal course, when he was taken ill. and went to the far west hoping to regain his health, but all in vain. After leaving California, he went to Arizona where he died in November, 1898, in the prime of life. Mr. Lytle was a young man of superior ability, of fine character, and noble ambition. He was a member of the I. O. O. F., Knights of Pythias, and the Order of Elks. Baroness Viola Lytle von Uchtritz was the second child born to our subject and his wife; and Countess Nelly Lytle Eulenburg was the youngest of the family. Mr. and Mrs. Lytle are active members of St. Paul's M. E. Church, of which he is steward and was treasurer for many years. Fraternallv, he is a member of Hiram Lodge, No. 18., F. & A. M.; Delaware Chapter No. 54, R. A. M. ; Delaware Council, No. 84. R. & S. M.; and George B. Torrence Post, G. A. R.


20th Century History of Delaware County, Ohio, and Representative Citizens, Edited and compiled by James R. Lytle, Delaware, Ohio, Biographical Publishing Co., Chicago, 1908


Hon. James R. Lytle was born in Fairfield County, Ohio, on the ninth day of April, A. D., 1841. He is the son of James and Catharine (Freymyer) Lytle. The parents were natives of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, and were of Scotch-Irish and German descent, respectively. They located in Fairfield County, Ohio, about the year 1837. The subject of this sketch received his early education in the public schools of his native county and worked on his father's farm until twenty years of age, when he entered the Ohio Wesleyan University at Delaware. Ohio, in the autumn of 1861. After one year in the University, his brother having enlisted in the Union Army, he returned to the farm and took up the management of affairs there. In the month of May, 1864, he enlisted in Company I, One Hundred and Fifty-ninth Regiment. O. V. I., and served out the term of his enlistment and was discharged with the regiment.

At the completion of his term of service, he again entered the Ohio Wesleyan University, completing the classical course in that institution, with the class of 1868. Having commenced the study of law during his college course he was admitted to the Bar in the month of June in the year 1869. He immediately began the practice of law in Fremont. Ohio. He remained in that city for one year and in the summer of the year 1870. he returned to Delaware and entered into partnership with his former preceptor. General John S. Jones, which partnership continued for twenty-five years, the style of the partnership being Jones & Lytle. During the existence of this partnership the firm of Jones & Lytle were employed in most of the important cases tried in Delaware County.

After the dissolution of the partnership with General Jones, Mr. Lytle continued his practice alone and is still in active work. He has devoted much of his time to office work and has been very successful in his practice before the Bureau of Pensions. He has procured for the veterans of the Civil War, their widows, minor children and dependent fathers and mothers, more than fifteen hundred pensions, also hundreds of bounties for these veterans, their widows and heirs at law. Having become very familiar with the bounty records of Delaware County, Mr. Lytle discovered what has been commonly known as "The Bounty Frauds of Delaware County."

Delaware County, during the Civil War, offered bounties to volunteers who would give their credit to its quota, and certain scrip or promises to pay had been issued to the soldier, which were payable to him, his widow or legal heirs or representatives. Many of these had not been paid and certain parties who claimed to represent these veterans, their widows and legal representatives, forged their names to applications and affidavits and procured the allowances of these claims by the commissioners of the county and warrants were issued for the amounts. These forgeries having been discovered by Mr. Lytle before the warrants were paid, the county was thus saved more than twenty thousand dollars, and in addition Mr. Lytle collected for the rightful heirs of these veterans many thousand dollars, having prosecuted many cases from the Common Pleas Court to the Supreme Court of Ohio.

Probably the most notable litigation in which Mr. Lytle ever engaged was the prosecution of two cases for the heirs of Leonard Case, which involved the recovery of real estate in the city of Cleveland, Ohio, of which this well known multi-millionaire died seized, which suits involved the Case Library, the City Hall, about one mile of lake front, about four thousand lots in the city of Cleveland, and about nineteen hundred acres of land adjoining the city, amounting in value to many millions of dollars. The cases were prosecuted through the United States Circuit Court and resulted in a verdict for the defendants in one and a dismissal without prejudice in the other. The time spent and labor performed in the preparation and trial of these cases was necessarily very great. The defendants in one case numbers six hundred and forty-eight and the lots and tracts of land over four thousand. Opposed to Mr. Lytle in this litigation were the noted legal lights of the Cleveland Bar.

Mr. Lytle has been remarkably arduous and successful in his chosen profession, always manifesting a great interest in his clients' cause, which has made him many personal friends and owing to these traits of character he has succeeded in building up and retaining a large and remunerative practice. He has always taken an active interest in public affairs and has filled many positions of trust and responsibility, both in the city and in the church. He is absolutely honest and trustworthy and for a period of more than thirty years he has been regarded by the profession in Delaware and throughout the counties of central Ohio, as an able and successful lawyer. His industry has seemed untiring both in his profession and as a student. Law. history and literature have received constant attention, when not occupied with the cares and duties of his professional engagements. He has always taken an active part in the politics of his county and is recognized as one of the ablest organizers in the county, being also regarded as a careful, conservative and safe leader. He has ever been interested in the young men of Delaware and especially in those who have studied law under his tutelage, several of whom have become prominent lawyers and politicians in this and other counties and states.

Mr. Lytle is the attorney for the Fidelity Building Association and Loan Company of Delaware, Ohio, in which organization he has ever manifested a lively interest.

Fraternally Mr. Lytle is affiliated with the Masonic order, being a member of Hiram Lodge No. 18, F. & A. M. ; Delaware Chapter No. 54, R. A. M.; Delaware Council No. 84.R. & S. M.. and of George B. Torrence Post,G. A. R.

[The above sketch was prepared by William B. Jones, a member of the Delaware County Bar.]


20th Century History of Delaware County, Ohio, and Representative Citizens, Edited and compiled by James R. Lytle, Delaware, Ohio, Biographical Publishing Co., Chicago, 1908