Sunday, February 28, 2016

Amandus Delos Risdon (1837-1924), Amandus Brackman (1884-1972)

Portrait from "The History of Adair County", 1911.

  Our write-up for today takes us once again to Missouri, a state that has been very well represented here on the site over the past five years. Today's oddly named duo both possess the unusual first name "Amandus" and both were prominent practitioners of law in their respective counties. The first of these men, Amandus Delos Risdon, lived to be nearly ninety years old, and during that long life rose to become a standout citizen in the Adair County. He would serve for many years as prosecuting attorney of that county and for a time was also city attorney of Kirksville, the Adair County seat. 
   A native of the Buckeye State, Amandus Delos Risdon was born in Tiffin, Ohio on July 12, 1837, the son of David and Elizabeth Batzell Risdon. Amandus left his home in Ohio at a young age and resettled in Iowa, later attending college at Weston, Iowa and the Grinnell College at Grinnell. Early in the Civil War Risdon enlisted in Co. I of the 13th Iowa Volunteer Infantry and during his service took to reading law in his spare time. 
  At the conclusion of his service in 1864 Risdon was admitted to the Iowa bar at Marengo and married in Iowa City, Iowa in January 1865 to Frances Butler (1846-1878). The couple would have one son born to them, Ernest (1868-1949). Following Frances Risdon's death in May 1878 Risdon remarried in Adair County on December 22, 1881 to Julia Ella Mitchell, with whom he would have another son, Audrey (1883-1951), later to serve as Kirksville city clerk.
   Shortly after being admitted to the Iowa bar Amandus Risdon relocated to Kirksville, Missouri, where he would build up a law practice. In 1877 he was elected to his first term as Prosecuting Attorney of Adair County and would serve in that capacity for a total of ten years (1877-79, 1881-87 and 1895-97.) Sources also relate that Risdon served Kirksville as its city attorney as well as city councilor and president of the Board of Education.
   From 1891-93 Risdon served as a regent for the Kirksville Normal School and in September 1917 received the honor of being elected president of the Missouri Association of Elks for a one year term. He died on September 18, 1924 at age 87 and was later interred at the Forest-Llewellyn Cemetery at Kirksville.

Portrait from the Official Manual of the State of Missouri, 1953.

    Lifelong Missouri native Amandus Brackman served as a judge for the Thirteenth Circuit Court of Missouri for over a decade, first being appointed to the bench in 1929. Born on January 14, 1884 in Ceder Hill, Missouri, Amandus Brackman was a student in the public school system of Jefferson County and for two years taught school in the Jefferson County area. In 1905 he graduated from the law department of the Washington University at St. Louis and afterward practiced law in both St. Louis and Clayton, Missouri.
   Following his graduation, Brackman not only practiced law but also worked as a reporter for the "St. Louis daily newspapers" from 1905-1909. He married in December 1909 to Ms. Lillian Ruehl (1890-1955). The couple were wed for over forty years and their union saw the births of three children, Roy (1910-1992), Lois (birth-date unknown) and Paul (birth-date unknown).
   Amandus Brackman first entered Missouri political life in 1911 when he was appointed as assistant prosecuting attorney for St. Louis County. He served in that capacity for two years and in 1915 began a two year stint as city attorney for Maplewood, Missouri. Several years later Governor Arthur M. Hyde selected Brackman to serve as a "special attorney general" in charge of investigating fraud charges arising out of the St. Louis County election primary. Brackman's time investigating those alleged frauds extended five months and in August 1929 was appointed as the judge for the newly created division No. 4 of the 13th Circuit Court of Missouri. His term extended until 1931 and in 1936 served as part of the Missouri delegation to that year's Republican National Convention being held in Cleveland, Ohio. 
   In 1942 Amandus Brackman was elected to a full six year term on the Thirteenth Circuit Court of Missouri and in November 1948 won another six year term, serving on the bench until January 1955. Widowed in the last named year, Brackman was given the Award of Honor from the St. Louis Lawyer's Association in 1967 and died in March 1972 at age 87. A burial location for him remains unknown at the time of this writing.

From the 1929 Official Manual of  Missouri.

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