ENOCH ELLERY NEWLIN.
In the life of Judge Enoch E. Newlin the young men and boys of his community ought to find the inspiration to meet and overcome all obstacles, for in knowing what he has accomplished they may say to themselves, “What this man has accomplished I also can.” It will, however, take a boy who is above the average to make as complete a success of his life as has Judge Newlin. He placed his goal high, and started out in the race with lofty resolves. He has never lowered his ideals for a moment, and all the disillusionment that has come to him since, as a mere school-boy, he began the battle of life, has never caused him to feel that the greatest things in the world were aught but faith, hope, charity and love. As a lawyer he is noted for the thorough way in which. he prepares his cases. He never neglected a case however trifling it might have been, and this, together with his integrity and honesty, have brought him many clients who might have gone elsewhere. He is one of the best known judges of the circuit court, and lawyers are always glad to try cases before him because they are certain of obtaining a full measure of justice. His early struggles for an education make him extremely sympathetic with young men who are beginning life, though but few have the difficulties to overcome that he had. This warm and sympathetic side of his nature adds to his success as a judge, for though he is strict in the enforcement of the law, yet he is merciful, and from his long experience in judging human nature, he seldom errs in his conclusions.
The father of Enoch Ellery Newlin was Thomas Newlin, who was born in Crawford county, Illinois, in 1821. His father was Eli Newlin, who was a native of North Carolina and came to Illinois about 1814. He settled on government land in Hutsonville township and here he continued to reside until his death. He was the father of eight children, as follows: Mahala, who married Alfred Correll; Jonathan; Sarah, who became Mrs. William Patten; Enoch; Mary, who married William Sutherland; Thomas; Frederic and Kelly. All of these children are now dead, but since all of them married and raised families the descendants of Eli Newlin are numerous. Thomas Newlin followed in his father's steps and engaged in farming. He was married to Mary E. Ruelle, a daughter of George and Susan Ruelle, who were both natives of Licking county, Ohio. Four sons were born to Mr. and Mrs. Newlin, of whom Enoch E. was the second. The eldest born, George A., died
at the age of fifteen. The other two sons are Doctor LeRoy Newlin, who is a prominent physician in Robinson, and Thomas J., who is a lawyer of considerable repute in the same city. Thomas Newlin managed his farm until the war clouds began to gather and then he dropped the plough and shouldered the gun. He enlisted on the 1st of April, 1860, in Company I of the Seventy-ninth Illinois Volunteer Regiment. He bade his family a cheerful farewell and marched bravely away like so many others never to see his home again. He died in the hospital at Murphysboro, Tennessee, in April, 1862. In the regiment with him were his brother Kelly and his two nephews, Cyrus Patten and Luther Newlin. All of them were killed on the battlefields of the southland or died in Confederate hospitals or prisons.
Mrs. Newlin was now left a widow with four small boys, Enoch being only four at the time of his father's death. His mother had scarcely any ready money, and even the farm upon which they lived was rented. With a horse to help in the plowing and a cow to supply the milk, which was often the only supper the boys had, she managed to struggle along. Her efforts were directed simply toward keeping her little family together and bringing up her boys to be noble, upright men. As soon as the boys were old enough to attend school she sent them to the district school in the winter, and during the summer they worked at whatever they could find to help make a living. After the day's work was over, and supper had been eaten, Mrs. Newlin would gather her little flock about her, and from six until eight they would be busily engaged with school books. Then the mother leading them they would kneel in prayer before going to bed. Her rule was a firm, but gentle one, and her high ideals were so firmly planted in the minds of her sons that they have never been lost. With such a mother it is easy to understand the characters of the sons. At the age of fifteen her eldest son died, and with this additional burden to bear she still faced the world cheerily and bravely. Enoch, now being the eldest, was hired out at the age of thirteen to work on a neighboring farm. Until he was seventeen this was the way he spent the summers, in the winter time continuing to attend school. At the age of seventeen he secured a position as teacher of a district school, and for eight successive terms he taught school in Crawford county. All of his salary he turned over to his mother, but so frugal was she, and so careful was the young school teacher with the money that he was supposed to use for his personal expenses, that in time he and she together had saved enough money to permit him to continue his education. What a story of self-sacrifice is written in those few words! What energy and industry and perseverance! It was in 1879 that he left his home county for the first time and, going to Terre Haute, Indiana, entered the State Normal School. He remained there a year and on his return home carried out the determination that he had formed of studying law in the office of Callahan and Jones. To obtain the money for his board and his law books he taught school during the winter, and during the summer studied law in Robinson, under the tutelage of the above well known lawyers. In 1882 he was admitted to the bar, and, paying almost his last dollar for the rent of his office and a few chairs, he hung out his sign and sat down to wait for clients. He knew that if they did not come speedily he would have to go back to teaching school again. He had not realized that in his work as a farmer boy and as a school teacher he had made many and warm friends, and these friends were not slow in seeing that he had clients. His practice soon began to increase and it was not long before he was firmly established as a lawyer.
In 1883 he was appointed city attorney for the city of Robinson, and
served in this capacity one term, to the satisfaction of all concerned. He was heart and soul in his work, and after being admitted to the bar he kept on with his studies, adding daily to his knowledge of the law. Today he is one of the best informed lawyers in this section. In 1884 he was elected state's attorney for Crawford county, and in 1888 he was re-elected without opposition. In 1892 he was again proposed for the office, but he declined to accept the nomination. As a state's attorney he was extremely careful and vigilant. He won the confidence of the juries through his honesty and sincerity, and it was practically impossible for a guilty man to evade the penalty of the law while he was in office. During the eight years in which he served as state's attorney he collected annually enough money from fines and forfeitures to pay his fees and even then had a surplus to turn over to the county. He was admired and respected by the judges in whose courts he tried his cases and it was well known that they need not expect trickery or evasion in any of his prosecutions. His reputation spread to other sections of the state where he happened to be called through the demands of his profession; therefore it was far from unexpected when in 1897 he was elected to the office of judge of the circuit court in the second judicial circuit of Illinois. During the years intervening he served two years as master in chancery, and the remainder of the time was devoted to his law practice. He formed a partnership with J. C. Olwin and under the name of Olwin and Newlin the firm did a large business until the death of Mr. Olwin in 1890. During the next year Judge Newlin formed a partnership with Judge William C. Jones, which lasted until the former was called to the bench.
The second judicial circuit over which Judge Newlin was elected to preside consists of twelve counties, and nowhere in all this section is there a man more respected. He is popular with both the lawyers and their clients. His care in weighing testimony and his skill in judging human nature make him particularly fitted for the judicial office. That the people realized this was proved when in 1903 he was re-elected and again in 1909. He still holds the office, and he is one member of the bench who has nothing to fear if a law permitting the recall of judges should be passed, for his popularity is based on the solid foundation of true merit.
Judge Newlin has always been a Democrat, and has been a prominent leader in his party, giving valuable assistance, both as an organizer and as a speaker. For eight years he was chairman of the county central committee, and during this time showed his splendid powers of organization, and his mind trained for battle, be it of tongnes or pens. In his religious affiliations Judge Newlin is an active member of the Methodist Episcopal church, and for twenty years has been president of the board of trustees. In the fraternal world he places his whole allegiance with the Masons, being a Royal Arch Mason and a Knight Templar of Olney, Illinois. The greatest sorrow of his life occurred when his mother, who had lived to see her sons all grow into the sort of men she had tried so hard to make them, passed away, on the 7th of January, 1903. She had been married a second time, her husband being Thomas Lewis, and three children had been born of this union.
On the 1st of January, 1885, Judge Newlin was married to Clara A. Coulter, a daughter of Melville and Mary Coulter. Both of her parents were natives of Crawford county, where they lived and died. She is the niece of the late Judge Jacob Wilkin, of the supreme court of Illinois. Judge and Mrs. Newlin have three children. The eldest, Mary Fay, is now Mrs. Landgrebe, and lives at Huntingburg, Indiana, where her husband's work calls him at present. Her husband, Mr. E.
C. Landgrebe, is a civil engineer, Frank E. Newlin, the only son, has chosen the profession which his father honors, and was admitted to the bar in July, 1911. He is now practicing law in Robinson, The youngest, Marian O., is going to school and is at home.