Arthur A. Stewart (1946 – 1970)

Judge Arthur Stewart

Arthur Stewart was born in St. Paul on January 29, 1888 to parents John and Anna, who had settled in St. Paul in the 1870s.  John originally had a hardware store at Seventh Avenue and John Street (close to the present location of Red’s Savoy Pizza), but lost his business in the 1893 crash. John eventually became an executive with the Smyth Printing Company. According to a St. Paul Dispatch article, young Arthur got his lucky break at age seventeen when he landed a job in the clerk’s office of the Minnesota Supreme Court. That’s where then-Chief Justice Charles M. Start took a liking to him and urged him to go to law school. Arthur Stewart graduated from the St. Paul College of Law in 1908, and was admitted to the Minnesota Bar the following year. In August of 1917 he enlisted for service in World War I and was commissioned a first lieutenant of the infantry. After his honorable discharge in December of 1918 he returned home to St. Paul, where he had married Hermione Peterson the previous January. The couple later had two children, Hermione and Charles.

Stewart took up law practice of law in the firm of Barrows Stewart & Metcalfe, where he stayed for the next twelve years. (Their office was on the fourteenth floor of the Pioneer Building in downtown St. Paul.) In 1922 he became assistant corporation counsel for the City of Saint Paul, working under senior counsel Carlton F. McNally. He himself became corporation counsel for the City in 1925, when McNally was appointed to the bench of the Ramsey County District Court. Stewart also served on the Ramsey County Board of Commissioners, as well as the City Hall and Court House Building Commission in its planning of the present courthouse. He was serving as a member of the State Industrial Commission when he was appointed to the Ramsey District bench in 1946 to fill the vacancy left by the death of Judge James C. Michael.  Judge Stewart served in this position until he died in 1970, at the age of 82.

Judge Stewart’s portrait was painted by local artist Ken Fox, who is the last known surviving artist of the portrait collection.  We were honored to have Mr. Fox attend our 80th Anniversary celebration and tell about his work as an artist.  Additionally, history buffs may be sad to learn that Judge Stewart is the last judge of the portrait collection to be featured on this blog, but there are other historical figures of the local legal community that can be explored here.  Please share if there are any particular ones you would especially like to read about.


J.A. Burnquist, Minnesota and Its People (S.J. Clarke Publishing Co., 1924) p. 3:342-343. 

Stewart–Judge Aurthur A. (Obituary) St. Paul Pioneer Press, June 23, 1970 p. 20.

“Thye Selects Former City Attorney,” St. Paul Dispatch, April 10, 1946.



Marshall F. Hurley (1908-1960)

Judge Marshall F. Hurley (1959-1960)

Judge Marshall F. Hurley (1959-1960)

Marshall Hurley was born on Feburary 13, 1908 in St. Paul, Minnesota. His father, Joseph “J.J.” Hurley was apparently one of the prominent undertakers of the St. Paul community of the time, and was elected to the Minnesota Legislature two years after his son’s birth.  Marshall attended St. Mark’s Parochial School, St. Thomas Military Academy, and St. Thomas College (now the University of St. Thomas.) He received his L.L.B Degree from the University of Minnesota in 1931 and was admitted to the Minnesota Bar that same year. Sometime not long after that he married Catherine Donohue and they had two sons, Marshall and John.

Hurley engaged in private practice with the firm of Walsh, Jackson, Walsh and Yackel until 1940, when he became Assistant Corporation Counsel for the City of St. Paul.  He held this position until 1954, when he was promoted to the office of Corporation Counsel. There he served until 1959, when he was appointed to the Ramsey District Court by Governor Freeman to fill the vacancy left by the sudden death of Royden Dane from a heart attack. Hurley’s tenure ended less than 15 months later when he had a sudden heart attack of his own and died on May 13, 1960.

Judge Hurley’s portrait is one of two in the library painted by artist James Artig, the other being Judge Carlton McNally.


Olin B. Lewis (1861 – 1936)

Judge Olin Lewis

Olin Bailey Lewis was born on March 12, 1861 in Weyauwega, Wisconsin. He graduated from Omro High School in 1879 and entered the University of Wisconsin the same year.  He taught school to support himself during this time, including as a chemistry instructor at the University. During this time he also married Della Barnett in 1885, and they eventually had one son and two daughters. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin in 1889. After being admitted to the bar he came to St. Paul and formed a law partnership with Oscar Hallam

Lewis was nominated and elected to the St. Paul City Council in 1894. In this capacity he formally represented the city at the launching of the ocean liner “St. Paul.”  In 1896 he was also a member of what became known as the “retrenchment committee,” which was committed to reducing government expenditures and revaluing the City’s real property.  The movement ultimately reduced the valuation of property of St. Paul by $30,000,000.  Lewis was nominated for a Ramsey County district judgeship in 1896, and was elected that same year.  Under Lewis’s direction as senior judge, the Ramsey Judicial District likewise gained a widespread reputation for docket efficiency, but Lewis’s page on history is not for his efforts to reduce government expense.  His most notable case as a judge was the double murder trials of Gottschalk and Williams, wherein both were sentenced to hang.  Gottschalk committed suicide before his execution, but Williams’ execution was the botched hanging which ultimately led to Minnesota ending capital punishment.

Judge Lewis retired in 1929. He had been ill and applied to the governor for this retirement with a note from his doctor. He stated in his application that he had “become incapacitated physically from performing the duties of my office.”  The doctor’s note also indicated that Lewis suffered a stroke the previous November, leaving him brain damaged and his left arm and leg paralyzed.  Judge Olin Lewis died on March 28, 1936.


Other Sources:

“The Bench and Bar of Saint Paul” p. 34-36, (1897).

J.D. Bessler, Legacy of Violence: Lynch Mobs and Execution in Minnesota, p. 141-160 (2003).

E.V. Smalley, A History of the Republican Party from its Organization to the Present Time to Which is Added a Political History of Minnesota from a Republican Point of View and Biographical Sketches of Leading Minnesota Republicans, p. 276-277, E.V. Smalley  (1986).

Olin B. Lewis, Judge Here for 30 Years, Dies.  St. Paul Dispatch, March 28, 1936.


Charles C. Haupt (1854-1922)

Judge Charles C. Haupt

Charles C. Haupt was born on February 10 1854 in Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania. His family moved to Michigan when he was ten. He attended the Franklin Marshall College in Pennsylvania and later “studied law” with S.C. Coffinberry at Constantine, Michigan. He was admitted to practice in Michigan shortly thereafter.  After he moved to Minnesota in 1882 he was admitted to practice here, settling first in Wilmar and later in Fergus Falls. He married Ida Trenchard of St. Paul in October of 1884, and their daughter Mary was born in 1888. He continued to practice law in Fergus Falls until 1902 when he was appointed by President Theodore Roosevelt as U.S. District Attorney for Minnesota, at which time he and his family moved to St. Paul.  According to an editorial published in the St. Paul Globe, Haupt was supported by Senator Moses E. Clapp in order to avoid the controversy of choosing between a candidate from either Hennepin or Ramsey County.

Minnesota Governor Burnquist signed legislation creating additional judgeships for the Ramsey County judiciary in 1917, and Haupt was appointed to the Ramsey County District bench in May of that year.  He was subsequently elected to that position in November of 1918. He was actively serving on the bench when he died on December 1, 1922. According to a Pioneer Press article from the next day, he was the judge in charge of multiple cases of taxpayers seeking assessment reductions.  He had been working on his decision when he was suddenly struck ill and died shortly thereafter.  It was predicted that his death would require retrial of twenty Ramsey County tax cases.  He is buried at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Maplewood, MN.



“Bar to Honor Judge Haupt,” Pioneer Press Saturday December 2, 1922.

“Did Him No Good:  Senator Clapp’s Support of C.C. Haupt Not Considered Wise Move,” St. Paul Globe April 28, 1902

History of the Bench and Bar of Minnesota, “Charles C. Haupt” p. 126 Hiram F. Stevens

“Many New Laws on the Statutes,” Warren Sheaf. (Warren, Marshal County, Minn.) April 25, 1917

United States Federal Census 1900 (Accessed via



Dr. Green books and announcementThe Ramsey County Law Library would like to announce that we will be celebrating our 80th Anniversary this fall. To mark both this occasion and the completed restoration of the judicial portrait collection, we will be presenting a day of festivities on Monday, September 26, 2016. The focal point of this day will be a special CLE presentation by Augsburg professor Dr. William Green, “Civil Rights in Minnesota: The Early Years.” You may be familiar with Dr. Green’s books, Degrees of Freedom: The Origins of Civil Rights in Minnesota, 1865-1912 and A Peculiar Imbalance: The Fall and Rise of Racial Equality in Early Minnesota (both available in our library for checkout). Dr. Green’s noontime presentation will be open to the public and is co-sponsored by the Ramsey County Bar Association (RCBA).  Go to their website to read all the details and preregister.

Following Dr. Green’s presentation we will host an open house with refreshments, tours, and a brief program on the judicial portrait collection.  You will recall that Phase II of the portrait collection restoration through Minnesota Legacy Grant funds was completed this year. (Phase I was completed in 2013.)  So plan on joining us for this celebratory event!


John William Graff (1903-1977)

Judge John William Graff

Judge John W. Graff

John William Graff was born in 1903 at New Ulm, Minnesota. He received his B.A. degree from the College of St. Thomas in 1925 and his law degree from the University of Minnesota in 1930. In 1936 he received a doctorate of jurisprudence from Georgetown University. He  in 1934. He practiced law in New Ulm until 1934, when he married his high school sweetheart Thelma Rinke and joined the Agricultural Adjustment Administration.  In 1939 he became assistant U.S. District Attorney. In 1948 he was appointed U.S. District Attorney for Minnesota by President Harry Truman, where he served for a little over a year. He then practiced with the St. Paul law firm of Hoffman and Donahue, which later became Graff, Schultz & Springer, until he was named to the Ramsey County district bench.

Graff was appointed to the Ramsey County District Bench on May 5, 1949 by Governor Orville Freeman, succeeding the late Judge Carlton F. McNally.  Graff served 15 years on the Ramsey County District Court Bench, and was Chief Judge when he retired from the bench on May 5, 1974. He stayed on as a “senior judge” until he was stricken with illness shortly before his passing.

John W. Graff died on April 28, 1977 at the age of 73. He was survived by wife Thelma and their three daughters, Teresa, Joan, and Constance.



“Hon. John W. Graff” obituary, The Bench and Bar of Minnesota, July 1977 p. 80

“Thelma Graff” obituary, Saint Paul Pioneer Press, June 16, 2004

(NOTE:  Information sources for the life of Judge John W. Graff were surprisingly scarce.  Please feel free to share any memories or information you might have on his life and career.)



Richard Ambrose Walsh (1862-1940)

Richard Ambrose Walsh

The Walsh portrait is unsigned, but its subtle and somber quality are unmistakably Edward Brewer.

Richard Ambrose Walsh was born to Irish immigrant parents on January 9, 1862 near Robert Street and Concord Street (now Cesar Chavez St.). This area was then Dakota County, but was later annexed to become part of City of Saint Paul and Ramsey County. As a child, Walsh witnessed James Hill working as a freight clerk in his neighborhood, and recalled Hill purchasing the bankrupt St. Paul and Pacific railroad and transforming it into the Great Northern Railway. His father’s employment with the St. Paul Police Department may have sparked the younger Walsh’s interest in the law.  After he graduated from what was St. Paul’s only high school at the time, young Richard “read law” under Charles D. Kerr in the offices of Kerr, Wilson, and Benton.   (This was the usual means of gaining a legal education then, especially with the nearest law schools being in St. Louis, MO and Ann Arbor, MI.) He was admitted to the bar and began practice in 1883. In 1884 he married Margaret McManus, and they had thirteen children together. It was at the family’s second home in White Bear Lake when tragedy struck on September 9, 1909.  The house burned to the ground and three of their children died in the flames.

Walsh was elected to the Minnesota House of Representatives in 1890, and re-elected in 1893.  At 29, he was the youngest member serving at the time. While serving he introduced and helped pass legislation requiring safety enclosures on the front of streetcars.  After leaving the legislature he became a member of the firm of Walsh, Jackson, Walsh & Yagel, and served as the President of the Scandinavian Bank. He was appointed to the Ramsey District Court bench in 1931 upon the death of Judge Wheeler (who happened to be his cousin).   Judge Walsh was apparently involved in an investigation of coal price-fixing by the Minnesota Bureau of Coal Statistics.  (See James J. Egan entry.)  He continued to be nominated for reelection, but withdrew his candidacy in 1938. He retired from the bench in 1939.

Walsh spent his brief retirement years enjoying his private library and flower garden.  (Family records documents him always wearing a white suit and white gloves while gardening.) which he did while dressed in a white suit. He died the following year in 1940 after a brief illness at the age of 78.


The Law Library extends its sincere thanks to the Walsh family, which graciously provided us photocopies of personal family records which were invaluable in supplying information for this summary of the life of Judge Richard Walsh.

Additional sources:

History of Ramsey County and the City of St. Paul, Inlcuding the Explorers and Pioneers of Minnesota by E.D. Neill (1881)

History of St. Paul and Vicinity, by H.A. Castle (1912)

“R.A. Walsh, Former Judge, Dies” (Obituary), Pioneer Press Jan 19, 1940


Hugo O. Hanft

Judge Hugo O. HanftHugo O. Hanft was born in 1871 in St. Peter, Minnesota to Oscar and Anna Hanft.  Oscar was a tinmaker, and died when Hugo was only six years old.  Young Hugo attended school in New Ulm.  Graduating at age 16, he desired admission to the University of Minnesota Law School, but was too young.  Instead he enrolled in the German-American Teachers’ Seminary (Miwaukee), and graduated from there in 1889. He then taught at the Peru, IL High School until 1894, where he served as principal his final year. He finally enrolled in the University of Minnesota Law School, and graduated in 1896.  He was admitted to the Minnesota Bar that same year.

Hanft served as assistant Ramsey County attorney in 1896 under Pierce Butler.  The following year he went into private practice, and returned to the University of Minnesota to receive his masters in law degree.  He left his practice in  1898 to serve as First Lieutenant in the Army during the Spanish-American War.  Upon returning he married Laura Holly, and they had one child, Hugo Holly Hanft. He resumed private practice until his election to the Saint Paul Municipal Court in 1906.  He served as a municipal judge until he was elected as a Ramsey County District Judge in 1914, where he served from 1915 to 1943.  Judge Hanft also presided over the sensational 1917 case against Frank Dunn for the murder of his separated wife, which resulted in Dunn being found guilty and spending the rest of his life in prison. ( This story is captured in the popular book Murder has a Public Face: Crime and Punishment in the Speed Graphic Era, by Larry Millet.)   Hanft was also a candidate for Minnesota Supreme Court Justice in 1924. He finally retired from the Ramsey District Court bench in 1943.  Hugo Hanft died in 1949, preceded by his wife, Laura, who died in 1931.

As a judge, Hanft was very protective of youth, but was otherwise a “hands-off” guy as he understood the role of government.  As a municipal judge he was concerned about the effects of alcohol, “penny parlors,” and dance halls on the young, as well as what he thought was lack of proper parental supervision.  He thus inaugurated “compulsory economy” as a municipal judge, requiring young men charged with drunkenness to put portions of their income in savings, and to pay their parents for room and board.  As a district judge he continued to protect youth with his long-term campaign against alcohol ”bootleggers.”  Conversely, in 1928 he denied the right of state agencies to control the financial policies of the University of Minnesota.  In 1934 he also struck down state income tax as unconstitutional, only to see it reinstated by the Minnesota Supreme Court in Reed v. Bjornson et al. (253 N.W. 102).


The Law Librarian extends special thanks to the George Latimer Central Library.  Their collection of historic newspaper clippings from the Pioneer Press and Saint Paul Dispatch were invaluable in locating the information presented here. 



Restorations in Progress

Giant lightThe huge, high-tech light pictured on the right is not part of a hospital- at least not in the traditional sense. This is one of the tools that one can see when they visit the Midwest Art Conservation Center (MACC). We paid a visit last week, where the last installment of our judge portraits were getting their state-of-the-art restoration treatment. This visit provided us a rare opportunity to see our judges up close, even under the microscope! The details of the portraits, including the canvases, varnishes, brush strokes, are simply unbelievable!  We also witnessed the painstaking process of cleaning each portrait, with hand-rolled cotton swabs. (Keep in mind that years of “smoking” had left a yellow-brown film on all of the gentlemen.)

Another interesting detail as to the history of the portraits was revealed during our visit. See the photo below taken on the back of a particular portrait indicating that Brewer entered it in the 16th Annual Exhibition of the Art Institute back in 1930. Is it possible that this was in fact the first of the portraits, which led Brewer to paint most of the others?

We would like to extend a huge thank you to Chief Conservator David Marquis and the other MACC staff for allowing us to visit the restoration in progress. Their informative explanation of the restoration process was most enlightening.  Until the portraits return to our walls, enjoy these pictures from our visit.



Entry tag from 1930 Art Institute exhibition

Entry tag from 1930 Art Institute exhibition

close-up of canvas

Close-up of canvas and Judge Wilkin’s spectacles

Judge Sanborn on easel

Judge Sanborn “on the stand”



The Judge Portraits Identified

Restored portraits await return to wallsAs countless people surf the web every day, it behooves the Law Librarian to actually list the judges of the historic portrait collection on our walls. It’s always exciting for us when a visitor to the library (or our blog) points out a portrait as being of their deceased relative.  So as we near the completed restoration of all the portraits, we want to encourage people with connections and memories to come forward and share them with us.

So, here they are (in alphabetical order):

Charles Bechhoefer (1923-1931)
John W. Boerner (1923-1949)
Hascal Russel Brill (1875-1922)
Kenneth Gray Brill (1929-1954)
George Lincoln Bunn (1897-1911)
Frederick Miles Catlin (1913-1921)
William Daltin Cornish (1890-1893)
Royden Smith Dane (1947-1959)
Frederick N. Dickson (1911-1921)
James J. Egan (1891-1897)
John W. Graff (1959-1974)
Archie L Gingold (1960-1978)
William Sprigg Hall (1867-1875)
Oscar Hallam (1905-1912)
Hugo O. Hanft (1915-1943)
Charles C. Haupt (1917-1922)
Marshall F. Hurley (1959-1960)
Edwin A. Jaggard (1899-1905)
William Louis Kelly (1887-1923)
Charles D. Kerr (1889-1897)
Olin Baily Lewis (1897-1929)
Gustavus Loevinger (1931-1955)
Carlton F. McNally (1924-1959)
James C. Michael (1915-1946)
Richard D. O’Brien (1923-1939)
Grier Melancthon Orr (1903-1930)
Charles E. Otis (1889-1903)
E.C. Palmer (1858-1864)
John B. Sanborn (1922-1925)
Orlando Simons (1875-1890)
Arthur A. Stewart (1946-1961)
Levi M. Vilas (1889-1891)
Richard Ambrose Walsh (1931-1938)
Howard Wheeler (1930-1931)
Wescott Wilkin (1865-1891)
John Willey Willis (1892-1899)

We are also interested in information related to the artists, including Edward V. Brewer and James L. Artig