In keeping with the recent theme of oddly named Illinois judges, today's profile centers on Mazzini Slusser, yet another Ohio resident who became a prominent judicial figure in Illinois! Of the three judges profiled within the past few days, Mr. Slusser is arguably the most obscure, with only a few sources mentioning him at any great length. Born in Williams County, Ohio on October 3, 1853 (year also variously given as 1852 or 1854), Mazzini Slusser was the son of Jonas Peter and Mary Prettyman Slusser. It is unknown why Slusser was given the unusual first name of "Mazzini", but he was most likely named in honor of Italian activist, politician and journalist Giuseppe Mazzini (1805-1872), one of the most prominent advocates for Italian unification during the 19th century.
Slusser married in 1875 to Ms. Ina May Schaffer (a Williams County native) and five children were eventually born to the couple: Carl (born 1880), Thomas Harry (born 1882) Jean Paul (born 1887), Horace Greeley (born 1889) and Herbert R. (date of birth uncertain). Shortly after his marriage, Slusser began law studies at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor and graduated with his degree in 1876. He would return to his home in Ohio to establish his practice and in 1885 was elected as Fulton County Prosecuting attorney.
Mazzini Slusser's time as prosecuting attorney extended two terms, resigning in 1891. The Slusser family left Ohio during the early 1890s and established roots in Du Page County, Illinois. Within a few years of his resettlement, Slusser was named to the position of prosecuting attorney for Du Page County, serving in this position until 1904. Three years after the conclusion of his term as prosecuting attorney Slusser was appointed to a vacancy on the Illinois Circuit Court's 16th district, the vacancy being occasioned by the death of Judge Linus C. Ruth a few days previously. Slusser's tenure on the Illinois Circuit court extended three terms, the last of which concluded in 1921. The following year Slusser was an unsuccessful candidate for a seat on the Illinois State Supreme Court.
Little else is could be found in relation to the rest of Slusser's life, although it is known that he died in Eureka Springs, Arkansas in January 1926 at age 73, "having been in failing health for over a year". His remains were later returned to Illinois for burial in Downer's Grove, an exact cemetery name being unknown at this time.
Slusser's obituary from the Illinois True Republican, January 30, 1926.