Sunday, April 8, 2012

Colostin DeKalb Myers (1847-1920)

   This mustachioed fellow is Colostin DeKalb Myers, an Ohio native who gained prominence as a Circuit Court judge for Illinois' 11th judicial district. I first discovered Myers's unusual name in a 1915 Illinois Blue Book two years ago and since that time have been searching for a portrait of him. Fortune has smiled upon me once again, as a picture of Judge Myers has been found, courtesy of a McLean County Historical Society bulletin that was originally published in 1899. 
  Colostin D. Myers received a brief mention in yesterday's profile of Sain Welty (1853-1920), another Illinois lawmaker whom Myers appointed to the position of Master of Chancery for McLean County, Illinois. It's interesting to note that both of these oddly named judicial figures were born in the same state (Ohio) within a few years of one another and both ended up settling in the same city (Bloomington, Illinois) years later! In an even more amazing connection, both men went on to serve as judges in the same district and both died within a few months of one another in the early part of 1920. With those interesting tidbits out of the way......on to the profile!
   Colostin D. Myers was born in Meigs County, Ohio on May 7, 1847, the son of Benjamin and Serena Elliott Myers. During his youth, Colostin worked in a mercantile store in the Pomeroy, Ohio area and later signed up for military service at the dawning of the Civil War. During his stint in the Union Army, Myers became a private in the 32nd Ohio Volunteer Infantry and served in this regiment until the war's conclusion. After returning home, Myer's began working on the family farm while also pursuing his education at the National Normal University in nearby Lebanon, Ohio. His stay at the latter institution was short-lived, as he ended up leaving Ohio to teach school in West Virginia for an unspecified amount of time.
   Myers returned to his home state of Ohio in 1869 and reentered the National Normal University, graduating from there in 1872. That same year he began pursuing a law degree at the University of Michigan (located in Ann Arbor). He married in Michigan in 1872 to Ms. Dora Yager (1851-1941) and graduated with his law degree in 1874 after nearly two years of study.
  Myers eventually resettled in Bloomington, Illinois in 1874 and was admitted to the bar there in June of that year. He established a law partnership with a local lawyer named Albert Bushnell in 1874 and this firm lasted until 1879 when Myers founded another practice with a lawyer named Stroud. 
   In 1886 Colostin Myers was elected to the first of three terms as McLean County judge, the last of which concluded in 1897. In the last named year, he was elected to the Illinois Circuit Court (11th circuit) and served in this position until his retirement in June of 1915. In addition to his circuit court service, Myers was named to the Illinois Appellate Court's 4th district in 1903 and served a six-year term.
  Shortly after retiring from the bench, Myers was called to public service once more when he named by Illinois Governor Edward Fitzsimmons Dunn to the McLean County Examining Board at the beginning of America's involvement in WWI. He served on this board until the close of the hostilities and died on January 12, 1920 at age 72. Myers was survived by his wife Dora by over 20 years and both are buried in the Evergreen Memorial Cemetery in Bloomington, Illinois.

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