Obituary of Arthur Boreman

The State Journal (Parkersburg)
April 23, 1896

The Spark Of Life

Of a Distinguished Citizen and Beloved Man Goes Out.

Judge Arthur I. Boreman

Passes Quietly Away Surrounded by His Family, Sunday Morning - West Virginia's War Governor no More - The History of His Life Reads Like a Romance - A Leader of Men.

At the beginning of April 19, a beautiful Sunday, bright with sunshine and signs of awakening summer time, the life of a statesman, scholar and an ideal man went out. Judge Arthur I. Boreman died peacefully at 9:20 o'clock surrounded by his sorrowing family. The end came quietly; there was no suffering. The eyes of the beloved man closed as though he were dropping off into a sleep and he was no more. The news of his death spread rapidly throughout the city and the sadness caused by his death stole into many hearts and homes and made itself felt. The greatest sympathy and regret was expressed by everybody.

All day Saturday it was felt that Judge Boreman could not survive. His physician, Dr. E. D. J. Bond, did all that could be done and brought to bear upon the case his long experience and thorough knowledge of medicine, yet he knew that the case was hopeless and the distinguished patient was fast getting beyond any earthly aid. He gave no encouragement to the family and they were prepared for the inevitable which finally came Sunday morning. It was a great blow notwithstanding to his family and his death will be an incalculable loss to them and to the entire State. A wife and two daughters - Misses Maud and Lorraine - and two stepsons - Tolbot O. and John O. Bullock, survive him.

The funeral services took place at the Methodist Episcopal church, corner of Fifth and Juliana streets, Tuesday, April 21, at 3:30 o'clock in the afternoon, conducted by Rev. W. S. Winans, jr., assisted by Rev. S. Scollay Moore and Rev. Henry Rumer.

The services at the grave in the Odd Fellows cemetery were conducted by Parkersburg Lodge, No. 7, I. O. O. F., the Judge having been a member of that order since the forites. He was also a director in the Citizens National Bank and the Second National Bank, of this city. Judge Boreman had not been a well man for several months, but he was not taken down until April 7, when he arrived home from Elizabeth having at 2:30 o'clock of the morning of that that adjourned court at Elizabeth. The cause of his death was a total collapse of the energies and a general breaking down.

Among the distinguished men of this State who were leaders in the period from 1860 to 1870, Arthur Ingraham Boreman stood at the head and front.

When the war cloud gathered in 1861, and the pulse of the Nation beat at fever heat, there were others in Western Virginia the equal in reputation and learning of Arthur I. Boreman, yet there were none, seemingly, who possessed that untiring energy, sleepless industry and indomitable will, peculiar to him, and which were in that crisis essential to safe and successful leadership. He had the grit that men admire. His backbone was as stiff as Bunkerhill monument. He believed he was right in standing by the flag. His position was the Unity of the Nation; and there he stood as firmly as the eternal rocks that based the hills around him. The people saw that there were in his make-up those essentials that mark the leadership of men, so they called him to the front and placed him upon the pedestal of commanding position.

Governor Boreman was a man of positive convictions, and was, as a natural consequence, a devoted partisan. He had no faith in that philosophy of government imputed to Louis Napoleon when President of France, which led him to suppose that he could cominate all parties by taking ministers for his Cabinet that represented none. He did not believe that the security or permanent peace of the country could be obtained without enacting and enforcing measures of legislation that, if properly observed, should make the liberties we then enjoyed as great a beneficence as without such protection they would be to the poor and downcast a mockery and a snare. So believing and so acting, he was consistently conspicuous in his devotion to the ends he had in view.

Viewing Governor Boreman as a partisan leader in "those times that tried men's souls" even his opponents in after years conceded that he possessed many high and generous qualities of both head and heart. If he struck hard blows, he did not shrink from receiving hard blows in return; and when the strife was ended he was ever ready to extend a hand, and to sink, if not forget, the past. And while he never gave up a partisan advantage, he was ever ready to perform a personal act of kindness and friendship to a political adversary as well as to a political friend; and the admiration, love and affection of those who stood nearest to him in those dark days of the past could then as now attest the warmth and strength of his own affections. His record is before the people of the State. From it no fair-meaning man would blot out a single page. It is easily understood - bold, fearless, direct, distinct. There is no evasion or darkness in the definitions of his principles or policies. As the bold, fearless, loyal President of the Wheeling Convention that reorganized the Government of Virginia, and as the first Governor of the new State of West Virginia, his heroic, manly conduct gave him a place in the affections of the Union people of the State that will not soon be forgotten.

Hon. Arthur I. Boreman was born in Waynesburg, Pa., July 24, 1823. In his childhood he came to Tyler county, this state, where, after receiving a common school education, he engaged in the study of law with his brother and brother-in-law at Middlebourne. He was admitted to the bar in 1843. In November following he commenced the practice of his profession in this city, soon attaining a high reputation as a jurist and an able advocate. In 1855, he was elected to the Virginia House of Delegates from Wood county and was successively re-elected until 1860. He was a member of the Virginia Legislature, which amid the intense popular excitement of the hour, held an extra session in 1861, to discuss the propriety of seceding, and his efforts against that movement were very conspicuous. During the same year he presided over the convention assembled at Wheeling to reorganize the State government; and in the ensuing October was elected Judge of the Circuit Court, exercising the functions of that office until the unanimous election in 1863 as first governor of the new State. He was re-elected in 1864, and 1866, and wielded the executive power with rare conception of the urgent needs of that trying period. In 1868, he declined to be a candidate for the same high position and was then honored in the Legislature by an elction to the United States Senate, taking his seat March 4, 1869. He served with great efficiency on the committees on Manufactures, Territories and Political Disabilities, and, during the Forty-third Congress was chairman of the Committee on Territories as well as a member of the Committee on Claims.

When his six years term as Senator had ended, the State having become Democratic, he resumed the practice of law in this city, and soon built up a large and lucrative practice.

Without solicitation, the distinguished ex-Senator was nominated and elected by his party admirers as Judge of the judicial circuit over which he had presided with dignity, ability and fairness, nearly thirty years before. In this capacity he acceptably served till his death; the term to which he was elected, being eight years from January 1, 1889.

Ex-Governor Boreman was for many years a member of the Methodist Episcopal church, and was honored by the West Virginia conference, in 1888, by an election as a lay-delegate to the General Conference which held its quadrennial session in New York that year. Judge Boreman was a clear and incisive speaker, with a rare power of analysis, which was often exercised in debate. He was an industrious worker, a strict adherent to principle, and a man of liberal sentiment. He enjoyed a wide acquaintanceship and the respect and confidence of all who knew him.

The Wood County Bar

The Wood County Bar held a meeting Monday at the Court House to take appropriate action upon the death of Judge Boreman. Judge Loomis presided and F. B. Burk acted as secretary.

On motion of J. W. Vandervort a committee of three was appointed to make all necessary arrangements for attending the funeral in a body. The committee was named as follows: J. W. Vandervort, J. F. Laird and Levin Smith. W. N. Miller moved that a committee of five be appointed on resolutions and that the Bar adjourn till 1:30 o'clock p. m. Tuesday to take action upon the report of that committee. The motion was carried and Messrs. W. N. Miller, V. B. Archer, B. M. Ambler, C. D. Merrick and Geo. W. Neale were appointed as members of that committee.

At the M. E. church Sunday night the Board held a meeting and appointed Rev. W. S. Winans, jr., J. W. Dils, W. H. Warne and R. B. Taylor, to draft suitable resolutions on the death of Judge Boreman.

The funeral of Judge Arthur I. Boreman was one of the largest and also one of great simplicity. Before starting for the church a prayer was said at the house by the Rev. W. S. Winans, Jr. At the M. E. church Tuesday the services were very short and impressive. Dr. S. Scollay Moore and Dr. Winans read passages of scripture. Then Dr. Rumer, of the Presbyterian church delivered a beautiful prayer, which was followed by a hymn sung by the choir.

The remians were then taken to the Odd Fellows Cemetery, followed by a long procession of friends. Parkerburg Lodge, No. 7, I. O. O. F., the Wood county Bar, and the Board of Directors of the Citizens National and the Second National banks. At the grave the Odd Fellows conducted a short service and then the casket holding the mortal remains of a patriot, statesman, and scholar, was lowered into a flower-lined grave.

The honorary pall bearers were Judge James M. Jackson, Capt. Chas. B. Smith, Judge George Loomis, Capt. O. M. Clemens, Jas. W. Dils, W. H. Wolfe, C. H. Shattuck, and H. H. Moss.

The active pall bearers were B. Mason Ambler, W. N. Miller, John F. Laird, Jas. A. Bryan, G. H. Cotton, R. B. Taylor, Joseph Good and Adolph Hiehle.

The floral offerings were something beautiful. The Bar sent a broken column, the Odd Fellows the usual three link piece, and there were numerous other offerings from the banks and friends. By the action of the Board of Education all the scholars in this city were closed at noon Tuesday on account of the funeral. Following the request of the mayor, in his proclamation, many business houses throughout the city were closed from 3 to 5 o'clock. The Court House was draped in crepe. At the meeting of the Wood County Bar Tuesday afternoon Attorney Frank Nolan, of St. Marys, also presented appropriate resolutions from the Pleasants County Bar, which were adopted.

The Wood County Bar met at 1:30 o'clock Tuesday afternoon.

Judge Geo. Loomis presided and F. B. Burk, Esq., was the Secretary.

The committee on arrangements for attending the funeral of Judge Boreman made a report, which was adopted.

The committee on resolutions was next called upon for a report and Mr. B. Mason Ambler of that committee presented and read the fol[l]owing resolutions:

The members of the Bar of Wood County having been called together to take action upon the death of the Hon. Arthur I. Boreman, and desiring to place on record their tribute of respect and affection for him, have unanimously ordered the adoption of the following:

Arthur I. Boreman, Judge of the Circuit Court of this County died at his home in Parkersburg on the 19th day of April, 1896, in the seventy-third year of his age. From 1855 to 1860 he represented this County in the legislature of Virginia. He was a member of the extra session of 1861 of the General Assembly of Virginia. It called a convention which, on April 17, 1861, passed the Ordinance of Secession.

On June 11, 1861, a convention met in Wheeling, which two days later put forth a Declaration demanding a reorganized government of Virginia. He was president of that body. In October, 1861, he was elected Judge of the Circuit Court. In 1863 he became first Governor of the State of West Virginia. Re-elected in 1864 and again in 1866, he refused to hold that office longer. On March 4, 1869 he entered upon a six years term in the Senate of the United States. In 1875 he returned to the Bar of this County, among his old friends and neighbors after many years of distinguished service in the several fields. In 1888 he was elected Judge of this Circuit, for a term of eight years, from the 1st day of January 1889, and up to the time of his lamented death, he was diligently devoted to his duties as such Judge.

The most meager outline must bring into view the great events unfolding during the momentous period of his earlier public life.

In each of the three separate departments of government - the Legislative, the Executive and the Judicial, he was called to serve in times of dire trouble and difficulty, and he filled the full round of every requirement with tireless labor, exacting care and unflinching courage. Of all the states loyal to the Federal government during the four years' strife, none had a war governor confronted with complications and perplexities such as beset Gov. Boreman, who became the chief executive of a State of disputed legality, brought into being during those throes of turmoil, its territory a battle ground, and its people embittered because of their divided allegiance and stung by frequent retaliatory acts of violence. He had long been known as a quiet, forceful citizen, of gentle bearing, scholarly attainments, indomitable will and energy. The responsibilities which devolved upon him as Governor came unsought, but he did not evade what he believed to be a summons to duty - he never did. In his trying position the storms of contest brought out the elements of his character in such new light that to him were ascribed not only dauntless courage and fixed purpose, but he was charged with a boldness and an arbitrary exercise of power which fairer judgment has since shown to have been his interpretation of duty and the fearless hardihood of intense conviction.

Public history must do full justice to a man who in public life consecrated his every gift and energy to the discharge of whatever burdens were laid upon him.

In this community where he was best known he manifested the lovable traits of character and the commending graces that great offices does not always make conspicuous.

For the twenty-one years succeeding his return from the Senate he lived among us the modest, courteous, exemplary, christain [sic] gentleman - a lawyer of stainless reputation, a counsellor trusted without measure by his clients, a man revered for his honor, integr[i]ty and moral worth. Naturally of high spirit, he was uniformly kind manner and in speech, and prompt with the soft answer which turneth away wrath; of fierce decision of character, yet he respected the opinion of others; unsparing of himself, exacting and pains-taking in the extreme, he cherished unbounded charity for the shortcomings of others and was patient with all their faults. Generous in private judgment, he harbored no suspicion, his nobility of soul repelled mean thoughts.

As a Judge he was beloved by the members of the Bar, who manifested in many ways their veneration for him. The common routine of the business of his court, the form of address and the bearing of the attorneys in his presence, was a tribute sometime unconscious of the pervading influence of courteous consideration which Gov. Boreman inspired among all about him. We recognize the privilege of having been brought into relat[i]onship with a man of such sterling excellence, and it is well for this community that the evening of his life was passed in days of peaceful quiet, where he could reveal a character of beauteous mould, and teach his generation that

"To be noble is only to be good."

Governor, Senator, Judge - these were titles earned and worn with tranquil dignity and unsullied fame.

The invincible fidelity that marked his course in official station, attended him with sweet humility in the church of his earnest faith.

Purity of heart and guileless virtue endeared him in a home where his affections were returned with a devotion rare and touching; and it was there he lately sought a short respite from overcrowding fatigue and found rest eternal.

When we think of the bereft family whose love was all his own, we long to speak words of comfort, as we stand with them in the shadow of a great affliction, and here words fail.

We were his constant witnesses and we could but know that he was "stadfast, immovable and always abounding in the works of the Lord." He verified the injunction laid upon us, in this Court House, a few months ago, when he reminded us of the shortness and uncertainty of life, and warned each one to be ready, "for ye know not the hour when the Son of Man shall appear."

We will attend to-day the funeral of our oldest and most honored member, and we will keep forever in grateful memory his manhood and his name.

The chairman is requested to present to the family this sorrowing tribute of friends who mourn him, and to have proper entries made on the records of the courts over which he presided. After the resolutions, which were written by W. N. Miller, V. B. Archer, B. M. Ambler, C. D. Merrick, and G. W. Neale, had been read Judge J. M. Jackson arose and fittingly spoke of the deceased and endorsed the resolutions. He recounted some personal recollections of Judge Boreman and paid a high tribute to him.

Judge Jackson was followed by V. B. Archer, J. T. Piggott, D. D. Johnson, and J. W. Vandervort, all of whom made eloquent addresses, dwelling more upon the character and personality of the dead judge, as they remembered them, than upon his official acts, which were so eloquently told of in the resolutions. Mr. Johnson, to illustrate Judge Boreman's great sense of duty, read a letter written by the deceased to the speaker's brother, during the stirring times of 1863. After the several addresses, all impromptu, had been made the Bar proceeded in a body to attend the funeral of their departed co-worker.

The Wirt County Bar

Frame a Tribute to the Memory of the Late Judge Boreman

The following tribute to the memory of the late Judge Boreman was framed and adopted at a meeting of the Wirt county bar Tuesday.

We, the members of the bar of Wirt county, having assembled to console with each other concerning our loss in the death of the Hon. Arthur I. Boreman, hereby, adopt the following:

There is a time with us all when it will be said, death is come. It is appointed for man once to die, but when and how, a kind Providence, in His own wisdom, decides.

We as lawyers are peculiarly affected by the sad news of the death of the Hon. Arthur I. Boreman, Judge of the Fifth Judicial Circuit of W. Va., which occurred at his home in the city of Parkersburg, Wood County, W. Va., April 19, 1896. He has left behind him, a career as an executive, statesman, judge, lawyer and citizen, well worthy of emulation. For him, the sun of existence has dropped its golden light below the horizon of eternity. At the end of a career that had lifted him round by round, upward on the ladder of fame, with every reason to look to the past with pride and satisfaction, and to the future, with faith and an abiding and eternal hope. While we will miss him in the affairs that most nearly concern us as lawyers and will, in our moments of forgetfulness, find ourselves relying upon his unerring judgment and depth of learning, always manifest in his decisions as judge, only to realize that he is no more. Yet we must bow in submission to the will of Him that doeth all things well, and be consoled by the thought that he has come to his grave, "in a full age like as a shock of corn cometh in, in its season."

Be it therefore, Resolved, That the members of this bar attend his funeral in a body and unite our efforts with the local bar of Wood county in paying proper respect to his memory. Be it therefore, Resolved, That the sympathy of the members of this bar, be and the same is hereby, extended to the family of the deceased, and that a copy of these resolutions and the preamble thereto, be presented to the Judge of the Circuit Court of Wirt county, with the request that they be spread upon the record of said court, as a tribute to his memory.