Judge Samuel Courtright, attorney-at-law of Circleville, is one of the most influential and prominent citizens of Pickaway County, and is also widely and favorably known throughout the States. Through his profession, politics and Masonry, he has formed a wide acquaintance and is held in the highest esteem by all. His life record will prove of interest to many.


The Judge was born in Walnut Township, this county, December 9, 1842, and is the son of Hon. Jesse D. Courtright, who was born in Fairfield County, Ohio, May 5, 1811. The great-greatgrandfather, Johannas Von Courtright, came from Amsterdam to Staten Island with the first families of New York and was prominent among the Knickerbocker families of New York. The grandfather, John Courtright, was born in Pennsylvania. His father, Capt. Jesse Von Courtright, had dropped the title-prefix to his name on removing to Pennsylvania. He was born on Staten Island, and served as a Captain in the Revolutionary War. About 1802, John Courtright emigrated with his family to Ohio, traveling over the mountains and through the forests with a three-horse wagon. He bought land near Royalton, Fairfield County, improved a farm in the midst of the wilderness, and was very successful becoming owner of twenty-one hundred acres of land. He built the first brick house in that vicinity. His death occurred at the age of eighty-four years. He, too, had been a soldier, serving in the War of 1812. His wife, who bore the maiden name of Elizabeth Drake, was born in Scotland and came of the same family as Sir Francis Drake.


Hon. Jesse D. Courtright, father of our subject, was reared in Fairfield County, and educated in the old log schoolhouse. When a young man, he married Sallie Stout, who was born in Washington Township, Pickaway County. Her grandfather, George Stout, a native of Pennsylvania, settled in this county in the latter part of the eighteenth century. He brought his family and household effects in a wagon. Among his goods was a very large clock, which is still well preserved and is now in the possession of our subject. Mr. Stout became a prominent and wealthy farmer. Soon after his marriage, Mr. Courtright located in Walnut Township, where he purchased one hundred and sixty acres of land and successfully engaged in farming. He always followed farming and finally became the owner of some two thousand acres of valuable land. He served one term in the State Legislature and refused a re-nomination. He ran on the Democratic ticket and was elected over a large Whig majority. He also long served as Township Assessor and Trustee and for more than thirty years was Justice of the Peace. He was an Elder and leading member of the Presbyterian Church, and was an influential and highly respected man. In 1870, he removed to Circleville, living retired until his death in Februaiy, 1873. His estimable wife passed away in 1881, at the age of seventy-three years. Eight of their nine children grew to mature years and seven are yet living. One son, Dr. George S., was a Surgeon in the regular United States army in Gen. Kit Carson's command, and is now a prominent physician of Lithopolis, Ohio.


Judge Courtright was the sixth child in the family. He was reared to agricultural pursuits and his early education was supplemented by a course in South Salem Academy, where he remained until 1861. He then began studying law in the office of the late David M. Jones, and in October, 1862, entered the Law College in Cincinnati, from which he was graduated in 1863, with the degree of L. L. B. A few days afterward, he was admitted to the Bar, and, returning home, immediately opened a law office in Circleville. His skill and ability were at once recognized by his election to public office. In April, 1864, he was elected City Solicitor, and re-elected in 1866. In October, 1867, he was elected Country Prosecuting Attorney, reelected in 1869, and satisfactorily filled the office. In 1870, he was elected a member of the Board of Education of the Union Schools, was chosen President and was successively re-elected for four years. In April, 1875, he was elected one of the Judges of the Court of Common Pleas of the Fifth Judicial District of Ohio without opposition and was the youngest Judge in the State. After serving a full term of five years on the Bench, he resumed the practice of law and has since devoted himself to his profession.


In Circleville, December 14, 1865, Judge Courtright married Miss Jennie R., daughter of ex-Mayor Z. R. Martin, a native of Pennsylvania and an honored pioneer of Circleville. He served as Mayor for six years and was a prominent business man. Three children have been born to our subject and his wife: Florence B., who graduated from the Circleville High School and completed her vocal and instrumental instruction in music under Prof. Snyder and Miss Cranch, of Cincinnati, is an accomplished lady, now the wife of E. F. Dunn, the largest dry-goods merchant of Circleville. Jennie B., a pupil in the Circleville High School, has considerable musical talent. Marguerite B. completes the family. Their pleasant home is a magnificent residence on the corner of Court and Union Streets. It is the largest and most tastefully furnished home in Circleville and is the abode of hospitality. The Judge also owns several valuable and well-improved farms in Pickaway County and one in Bloom Township, Fairfield County.


Judge Courtright is one of the most prominent Masons of Ohio. He is a member of the Blue Lodge, Council Chapter and Commandery of Circleville, and after serving as Grand Master of the State in 1876, 1877 and 1878, declined a re-election. He has been Grand Dictator of the Knights of Honor of Ohio and was thrice Representative to the Supreme Lodge. He is also Past Chief Patriarch of the Odd Fellows' society, and is a consistent and active member of the Presbyterian Church, of which he has served as Trustee. The Democracy finds in him a most ardent supporter, and his influence and power have done much for its upbuilding. From January, 1884, to January, 1886, he served on Gov. Hoadley's military staff, with the rank of Colonel, and rendered important service during the Cincinnati riot and at other times He was also Colonel and a prominent member of Gov. Campbell's staff from January, 1890, until January, 1892. The Judge is a most successful attorney. His quick powers of perception, his logical reasoning and his convincing arguments well fit him for the profession he has chosen. He has just been appointed by the Supreme Court of the State a third time as a member of the Ohio Board of Commissioners for examining candidates for admission to the Bar. The Judge is a large, well-proportioned and fine looking man, whose face gives evidence of that cordial and genial nature that has made him so popular. He is pleasant and affable, and, as stated in the beginning of this sketch, is undouliedly one of the most infiuential citizens of the county.

 

From PORTRAIT & BIOGRAPHICAL RECORD OF FAYETTE, PICKAWAY AND MADISON COUNTIES, OHIO - Chapman Bros. [Chicago, 1892]