For a long lapse of years James S. Engle, of Winchester has stood in the front rank of the Randolph county bar, and for the past five years has been a judge of the 25th judicial circuit court, being still incumbent of the office, and as judge he has more than met the expectations of his friends and the public, and has so discharged the duties of the office as to receive the hearty approval and warm commendation of the bar, without regard to party. He brought to the bench a dignity becoming the high position, and in the line of duty, is industrious, careful and singularly painstaking, which combined with his sterling honesty and fearlessness of purpose, makes him one of the most popular and efficient men ever called to preside over the courts of this district. It is but just to say and greatly to his credit, that no political prejudice, bias or zeal is ever allowed to deflect his mind from its honest convictions, and while discharging his official functions, personal ties and friendships, as well as his own interests and opinions are lost sight of in his conscientious efforts to render equal and exact Justice to those whose affairs are adjudicated in his court. His opinions and decisions attest his eminent fitness for judicial positions, being always lucid, unstrained and vigorous, his statements full and comprehensive, and his analysis and interpretations of the law, conspicuous and complete.
Judge Engle was born in Washington township, Randolph county, Indiana, September 13, 1846. He is a son of William and Letitia (Cabe) Engle. The father came from New Jersey in 1825, and located in Warren county, Ohio, where he was engaged in farming until 1840, when he came to Randolph county, Indiana, and purchased two hundred and forty acres of wild land in Washington township, which he cleared, developed and added to until he became owner of four hundred acres and was one of the leading agriculturists of that township at the time of his death, December 1, 1884. He was a man of sterling attributes of head and heart and influential in his community highly esteemed for his industry and honesty. His family consisted of twelve children, named as follows: Isaac, who established his home in Wells county, Indiana; Wesley H. remained in Randolph county; as did Robert; Elias C. moved to Jefferson county, Kansas ; William, who was a soldier in Company F, Thirty-seventh Indiana Volunteer Infantry, died from a gun shot wound, at Pittsburg Landing; Samuel is deceased; Calvin S. remained on the homestead; James S., of this review ; Daniel H. remained in Randolph county; Albert H., also stayed on the home farm; Price removed to what is now eastern Oklahoma in an early day; Josiah B. was the youngest. This remarkable family of sons were given every advantage of education and early training possible by their pioneer parents. The death of the mother occurred, on the homestead, April 6, 1900, many years after her husband had passed to the Silent Land. He had perhaps the finest farm, and was the first to do any ditching in the county. He was a loyal Republican and was township trustee, when, by law, there were three on the board, and also held the same office, when the board was constituted of only one. He was a worthy member of the United Brethern church, and a true Christian gentleman.
Judge Engle grew to manhood on the home farm where he assisted with the general work during the crop seasons when he became of proper age, and in the winter time he attended the district schools, of which was supplemented by attending the schools of his nearest town, then he attended Hartsville University for nearly three years. In the meantime he taught school and sold books to keep himself supplied with funds, and in 1871 he began the study of law with Cheney & Watson, reading with them until the firm dissolved, early in 1872 he then studied with Watson & Monks until the latter part of 1872 when he was admitted to the bar. He at once formed a partnership for practice with J. E. Neff, now deceased, which partnership continued until Mr. Neff was elected secretary of state, when he formed a partnership with Levi W. Study, also now deceased, which lasted until 1880, and then joined his old preceptor, E. L. Watson, who died a number of years ago. He remained with Mr. Watson until 1885, when their partnership was dissolved and Mr. Engle engaged in practice alone. In all these years he met with a large measure of success, building up an extensive arid lucrative clientage, being one of the best known and most popular lawyers in the county.
Politically, Judge Engle has been an active Republican since reaching his majority. He was elected justice of the peace in 1874, filling the office acceptably for four years. In 1885 he was elected to the state legislature, where he made his presence felt for the good of both his county and the state. For a time he utterly ignored public office, his extensive practice requiring his entire attention. In 1891 he formed a law partnership with W. G. Parry, as Engle & Parry, which continued for some time, and was succeeded by Engle, Caldwell & Parry; F. S. Caldwell becoming a member of the firm. This continued until November 16, 1908 when our subject became a judge of the circuit court. He came to the bench well qualified for its exacting duties and responsibilities and from the beginning his judicial career was characterized by such a profound knowlege of the law and an earnest and conscientious desire to apply it impartially that he was not long in gaining the respect and confidence of the attorneys and litigants and earning for himself an honorable reputation among the leading jurists of northern Indiana. From the first his labors were very ardous and many important cases were tried in his court, large interests being involved. So far as known his rulings in all cases have been satisfactory to all concerned, fair and impartial, and his decisions so in accord with the principles of law and practice that every body interested has been throughly satisfied with his course.
The Judge is one of the honored veterans of the Civil war, having enlisted in Company F, One Hundred and Thirty-fourth Indiana Volunteer Infantry, serving the time of his enlistment, one hundred days, with credit and fidelity to the Union, and was honorably discharged. He is a member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows and the Encampment, also the Knights of Pythias and the Improved Order of Red Men.
Judge Engle was married September 23, 1875, in Winchester to Alice Monks, who was born in Randolph county, August 27, 1856 and here she grew to womanhood and received a good education. She is a lady of talent and culture, long a favorite with a wide circle of friends from the best families of the city and county. She is a daughter of John W. and Mary (Hobbick) Monks, both natives of Randolph county, each representing sterling pioneer families, and are both now deceased. Mrs. Engle is a member of the Methodist Episcopal church in which the Judge is an active worker and liberal supporter. He has long been a member of this denomination, and is on the official board of the church in Winchester, having filled this position for over twenty-five years. He has also been a Sunday school teacher for many years.
Judge Engle is the owner of a fine farm, well improved, highly cultivated and very productive, which lies in Wayne township, this county, and he has a commodious and modernly appointed home on South Main street in the best residence section of the city, and this cozy home is known to the many friends of himself and wife as a place of old-time hospitality and good cheer.
Past and Present of Randolph County, Indiana, 1914.
Contributed by Gina Richardson
JAMES S. ENGLE, of Winchester, gave more than forty years of his life to the practice of the law and his duties in the judicial office. Throughout a long career Judge Engle has been distinguished by a fine devotion to duty, a high-minded citizenship and utmost fidelity in all the varied relationships of a long life. He was born on a farm in Washington Township, Randolph County, September 13, 1846, and his home all his life has been in this section of Eastern Indiana. His parents were William and Letitia (Cabe) Engle, his father a native of New Jersey and his mother of Pennsylvania. They were married at Waynesville, Ohio, and in 1842 settled in Washington Township, Randolph County, where the father was a farmer and stock raiser. For fourteen years he held the office of township trustee, was a Whig in politics and voted for John C. Fremont, the first standard bearer of the Republican Party, in 1856. William Engle died in November, 1884, and his wife survived him until April, 1900, passing away at the age of eighty-seven. James S. Engle was an Indiana farm boy, attended country schools, a select school conducted by Thomas S. Gordon in Washington Township, and at intervals for four years was a student in the schools at Winchester. Part of his education was also acquired in the United Brethren School known as Hartsville University in Bartholomew County. Judge Engle was a schoolteacher five years, and his law studies were pursued in the offices of Cheney & Watson at Winchester. On being admitted to the Indiana bar in 1872 he engaged in a general law practice, and had a heavy routine of professional work for over thirty-five years. In November, 1908, he was elected judge of the Twenty-fifth Judicial District, and served a term of six years. On leaving the bench in 1914 he gave up the practice of law and has since enjoyed a dignified retirement, still mingling with friends and an interested participant in local affairs. He and his family occupy a beautiful home at 422 South Main Street, Winchester. Judge Engle is one of the last survivor of the boys who fought for the Union cause. He enlisted in May, 1864, in Company F. of the One Hundred Thirty-fourth Indiana Infantry, and was detailed chiefly on guard duty in the Army of Tennessee under Generals Grant and Sherman. He received his honorable discharge in September, 1864, and for many years has been a member of the Grand Army of the Republic. He is a member of the Randolph County and American Bar Associations, has filled all the chairs in the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, is a member of the Encampment, the Knights of Pythias and Improved Order of Red Men. Judge Engle married, September 23, 1875, Miss Alice Monks, who was born in White River Township, Randolph County, daughter of John and Mary (Hobbick) Monks. Her father was of English and her mother of German ancestry. Mrs. Engle is a Methodist and Judge Engle has been a trustee of that church since 1889. His official career prior to his elevation to the bench began with his election as justice of the peace, an office he held from 1874 to 1878. During that time and for some years afterward he was deputy prosecuting attorney of Randolph County. In 1885 he represented the county in the State Legislature, and for several years was chairman of the Randolph County Republican Central Committee.
Submitted by Lora Radiches
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