Post Civil War
In addition to the judges originally appointed, the following judges served between 1801 and 1852: William Hunter, Amos Ellis, John Hunter, Houston Clark, and Alex Martin. Clermont County was a part of a district, the number of which changed from 1, to 5, to 10. Primarily, however, Clermont County was united with Adams and Brown counties from 1852 to 1914. The judges from this district, particularly those from Clermont County, are:
Shepherd Norris 1852-1862
Thomas Q. Ashburn 1862-1876
Allen T. Cowen 1876-1888
Frank Davis, Sr. 1888-1898
John S. Parrott 1898-1903
Frank Davis, Sr. 1909-1914
In addition to these, there were two judges from Brown County who served Clermont County during the time they were elected; these were David Tarbell who served from 1871 to 1881, and John Markley who served from 1897 to 1913. Both were from Georgetown. After the Constitutional Convention in 1912, effective in 1913 and 1914, each county of the state had at least one common pleas judge. These judges are:
Frank Davis, Sr. Harry Britton
William A. Joseph M. Dale Osborne
Charles G. White Harold D. Nichols
Prominent among the local bar of Batavia was Hugh Llewellyn Nichols (1865-1942) [pictured above], who served as the 32nd Lieutenant Governor of Ohio from 1911 to 1913 and Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Ohio from 1913 to 1920. A graduate of Batavia High School and Ohio Wesleyan, Nichols received his law degree from Cincinnati Law School (now known as University of Cincinnati Law School) and practiced in Batavia as Nichols and Nichols starting in 1886. Mr. Nichols was appointed to a vacancy in the Lieutenant Governor position on March 1, 1911, and was elected to the same position in November of 1912. Also in 1912, the voters of Ohio amended the 1851 constitution to create the elected office of Chief Justice. Prior to that time, the position as chief justice rotated among the members of the Court. Lieutenant Governor Nichols was appointed Chief Justice, the first person to hold the newly created position under the amendment, and took office September 22, 1913. He was elected to a full six year term on 1914, where he served until defeated in the election of 1920. Chief Justice Nichols presided over major changes in Ohio’s legal system, including the use of depositions for trial testimony, and was commended for his handling of the numerous transitions. Chief Justice Nichols was also praised for creating a model of a non-partisan judiciary and impartial supervision of lower courts. After leaving the bench, he returned to the practice of law in Cincinnati and devoted considerable time to civil and charitable work. A portrait of Chief Justice Nichols is displayed in Courtroom 204 on the second floor of the Courthouse.
For the official Ohio Supreme Court online biography of Chief Justice Nichols, please click here.
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