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Charles Candee Baldwin, LL.D.
MOST things said to be impossible are so only in the mind of the man too inert to attempt them. This bit of practical forestry philosophy recently uttered by Gifford Pinchot has been proved over and over in other fields of endeavor and its truth comes to mind when one surveys the short but crowded period which made up the life of the late Charles Candee Baldwin, of Cleveland. Whether or not Mr. Baldwin ever expressed this thought in so many words, he undoubtedly thought it, for his whole life exemplified it. From merest boyhood it was the object of each day to prove to himself that he had not reached the limit of his endeavor. His boyish journals are filled with reference to little tasks he had set himself to accomplish--and the strictness of that juvenile self-dicipline brings amazement filled with tenderness for the lad who lived so seriously. And, as the "boy is father to the man," so may we read in every record of the Charles Candee a hint and promise of the man he was to be--of his life work in Cleveland, Ohio, with its ever-expanding record of accomplishment and honors earned. He did not, like some natures, work gradually up to his season of flowering, then as gradually decline till all abilities were withered, but, in the fullness of his posers, in the glory of his life's accomplishment, in the bounty of his fruitage, it was as if he was harvested by the husbandman of the universe and garnered for his everlasting storehouse.
"He does everything well!" men said in amazement. "He can always let out an extra link, no matter how hard he is already working,"said others. He was a man of myriad activities--his very recreations were occupations--merely in some other direction--but always it was that same display of energy, energy, energy--and industry, industry, industry--a busy man, but one who had always "time" for each task that called for his attention. His secret was the secret of efficiency, of concentration, doing one thing at a time, putting into each thing for that time every ounce of energy in himself. Thus it could not be said--as has been said--that Charles Candee Baldwin "divided his attention between many affairs"--he gave undivided attention to each, for such periods of time as its business was uppermost. Such a man is a marvel of accomplishmnet, a miracle of inspiration, but, alas ! the despair of the younger generation since few indeed may hope to equal so exalted an example.
Charles Candee Baldwin, admitted to the bar in Ohio in October, 1857, and judge of the Circuit Court for the Sixth Judicial District of the United States since his commission under President McKinley in 1884 until his untimely death in 1895, was respected at the bar and honored on the bench; but equally was he admirable in every line of endeavor. Toward commercial life he had marked leanings in his youth and later was a success in business as is shown by his important connection with so many institutions, such as the First National Bank of Cleveland, the Broadway Savings and Loan Company, the East End Savings Bank, in each of which he was a director, the Cleveland Linseed Oil Works, of which he was the vice president, the Cleveland Board of Fire Underwriters, of which he was president, and the Liverpool, London and Globe Insurance Co., Cleveland Branch, of which he was manager. Man of law and man of business, he was also man of letters and research, few surpassing him in antiquarian matters, for his findings were authentic, uncolored by romance, or obscured by his hopes. He accepted in his research--as he himself put it--"only what would be admitted as legal evidence." It is no wonder that in historical, archeological [sic.] and genealogical matters the "last word" is considered Judge C. C. Baldwin's.
Busy as he was he found time to gather an exhaustive genealogical record of the Baldwin family which in 1881 was published, a book of one thousand pages, the labor of twenty years collecting and comparing and verifying. This was followed two years later by a record of the Candee family, his mother's side. He had "time" to gather one of the most creditable private libraries in the country, including a unique collection of early historical maps (many in manuscript and very valuable), relating to the West. This collection has a national reputation among scholars. He also gathered a collection of original French Americana. He was a member of the new England Genealogical Society of Boston and an honorary (correspondence) member of many State historical societies, among them the Pennsylvania Historical Society, the minnesota Historical Society, and the Virginia Historical Society. He was a member of the Society of Antiquities of Worcester, massachusetts, a member of the American Bar Association and, of course, of the Cuyahoga Bar Association. He was a founder and trustee of the State Archeological [sic.] Society of Ohio, and--more creditable than all because of the fullness of his labors and the importance to posterity--he was planner, organizer, trustee, secretary, and finally president of the Western Reserve historical Society of Cleveland--which is perhaps the most active and successful society in the State among those having as their object the gathering and preserving of historical data fro the whole of Ohio.
Born in 1834 and dying in 1895, he accomplished in barely sixty-one years, work which might very creditably have sufficed for some half dozen average men with lives of threescore or more. Each thing he did he did creditably. He was his own severest critic and seemingly worked for the love of the work and the value of his findings. Certain it is that his conclusions, whether in matters of history or of law, can be accepted at full value.
Charles Candee Baldwin was born December 2, 1834, in Middletown, Connecticut, son of a successful country merchant, Seymour Wesley Baldwin, who was the fifth in descent from Richard Baldwin of Milford, Connecticut, who founded the Baldwins in America, coming from County Bucks, England. Seymour Wesley Baldwin died in Elyria, Ohio, at a ripe old age. The mother of the subject of this sketch was Mary E. Candee Baldwin, of French Huguenot descent, her ancestors being among the earliest in Connecticut and Massachusetts colonies, among the William Pincheon, the first treasurer of the Massachusetts Colony, Captain Wadsworth, who spirited the famous charter into the hollow oak, and John Allyn, of the Connecticut Colony. She herself was born in 1813, and was but eighteen years old when she married Seymour Wesley Baldwin (November 15, 1831) in Oxford, Connecticut, her native town. S. W. Baldwin removed his business, immediately after his marriage, to Middletown, Connecticut, where, December 2, 1834, Charles Candee was their first born. In May of the following year, the young husband took his wife and babe to the wilderness of the Western Reserve, traveling by way of the Erie Canal. He settled in Elyria, Lorain County, as a country merchant, Undoubtedly the son derived his business talent from the father, as he did many of his qualities of determination, persistence, and self-discipline. A year later the young mother died, leaving not only Charles Candee, but a babe five days old, named David. S. W. Baldwin remained in Elyria until 1847, marrying a second time, this stepmother proving a blessing to the otherwise motherless Charles and David. In 1847, S. W. Baldwin, having accumulated the competence he set out to secure, returned to Meriden, Connecticut, thus giving opportunity for the education of young Charles, who was sent to a boarding school in Middletown, from there to Wesleyan University, in the same town of his birth. He graduated with honors in August, 1855, and the same month was entered in the Harvard Law School. In 1857 we find him a full-fledged Bachelor of Laws and in March of the same year find him in Cleveland, Ohio, provided with the best start of all for a young man just entering the legal profession--as assistant in the office of S. B. & F. J. Prentiss, then the leading lawyers of the thriving city. In October of the same year, he was admitted to the bar of Ohio. He served as the assistant in this office until 1861, when he was taken into full partnership by S. B. Prentiss, the firm being known as prentiss and Baldwin.
In 1862 Mr. Baldwin married Miss Caroline S. Prentiss, niece of his law partner. She was the daughter of C. W. Prentiss, a successful lawyer of Vermont, then of New York, and eventually of Cleveland, where he was in partnership with his son-in-law. She was born January 18, 1842, her mother being Caroline (Kellogg) Prentiss, daughter of Deacon Erastus Kellogg, of Peacham, Vermont. Both the Kelloggs and the Prentisses of New England are among the earliest of the colonists, with ancestors conspicuous for valor in the Indian wars of the seventeenth century. Four children consummated this union of Charles Candee and Caroline (Prentiss) Baldwin, of whom the two youngest died in childhood--a daughter Mabel, and a son, Seymour David. The heart of the father never recovered from this loss. He lavished the tenderest care on the two eldest children, who grew to maturity, the daughter, Mary Candee (named for her father's mother), was born January 6, 1864, and a son, Samuel Prentiss (named for Mr. Baldwin's preceptor, partner, and friend), was born October 26, 1868. Miss Mary Candee Baldwin married Dr. John Pascal Sawyer, their children being: Charles Baldwin Sawyer, born July 15, 1894; he is now a student at Yale College in his senior year; and David Pascal Sawyer, born December 13, 1895; he is also a student in Yale College.
Samuel Prentiss Baldwin married Miss Lillian Hanna. He is an attorney and lives in Cleveland. They have no children.
In 1870 Mr. Baldwin was compelled to take--not a rest but a change of activity, on account of baffling ill health--and spent the year abroad in company with his venerated father. He used the tour as an opportunity, however, and made many antiquarian investigations, including research in the genealogical origins of the Baldwin family in Aylesbury, England. He also collected in Paris and Belgium a remarkable French section for the library of the Western Reserve Historical Society, and some few additions to his own private library in the original French, relating to American history.
The partnership of Prentiss and Baldwin had been interrupted in 1867 by the election of S. B. Prentiss to the Court of Common Pleas, and Mr. Baldwin then combined practice with has [sic.] father-in-law, C. W. Prentiss, up to that time of New York, and later a new partner was added, so that the firm was known as Prentiss, Baldwin and Ford, then as Baldwin and Ford, which it was in 1884 when Mr. Baldwin was compelled to withdraw on account of election as judge of the Circuit Court of Ohio in the Sixth Judicial District. This was the first time C. C. Baldwin had ever been a candidate for office. He was practically the unanimous choice of the county, was elected by a flattering majority, and twice re-elected by large majorities. He successfully served two full terms and was just entering on the third when a sudden illness culminated in his death, February 2, 1895.
Of Charles Candee Baldwin as a judge, it is enough to say that rarely has one of his judicial decisions been reversed, such was his care and precision and his determination to measure out justice.
"His examination of cases was thorough and exhaustive. His conclusions were reached upon the facts and law involved . . . without the slightest reference to the parties to be affected . . . the personnel of counsel or any outside influence whatever"--we quote from a extended comment by Hon. John C. Hale, one of his associates on the bench.
In 1892 he had been honored by the degree of Doctor of Law from Wesleyan University. The letter of Justice Brewer, of the Supreme Court of the United States, to the faculty of Wesleyan University refers to his high rank as lawyer and judge and the honor in which his adopted state holds him.
"Accurate, just, wise business methods were natural to him," wrote his former associate, H. Clark Ford, Esq., who felt almost the grief of a son at his loss. "His judgment of men, matters of business, and values, seemed to me to be the expression of a law or force of nature, with which he was familiar by intuition and experience. He was one of the most thoroughly educated men in this city of many scholars. What he needed and desired to know he knew thoroughly. He possessed preëminently the power of concentration."
Judge Baldwin's home library has been alluded to. Here he was wont to find his greatest relaxation and recuperation, in his shelf-lined rooms, and it was usually some work of history or science that was found in his hands. While it is impossible to relate his fullness of life and accomplishment here, allusion must be made to the Western Reserve Historical Society of Ohio which claimed so much of his thought. In 1861, when vie president of the Cleveland Library Association, he planned the above-named historical society, and in 1867 helped to organize it. Under his secretaryship and the loving care of Colonel Charles Whittlesey, president, it was directed successfully for the object intended, and on the death of Colonel Whittlesey in 1886 the only choice for the president was felt to be C. C. Baldwin. Judge Baldwin remained in this office until his death in 1895. He was chiefly instrumental in the movement for securing a permanent home for the society and housing its priceless treasures in a fitting and fireproof manner. Perhaps no work held his heart so closely as this. His view of its importance is reflected in the following sentiment expressed by him--which occurs in one of his monographs on history:
"One who, with the ties which should bind him to the place of adoption, is not warmly, deeply interested in its history, its prosperity or adversity; who, whether through good or evil report, will not defend, protect, and uphold it, is neigher a good citizen attached to the State he lives in, nor devoted to his Country."
All who knew the man will recognize Judge Baldwin in this thought. May we not accept it as the profound life utterance of one who saw much, understood deeply, and made few mistakes in his teaching?
Barbara's Bordered Backgrounds