WETMORE, L. D., was born in Pine Grove
township, Warren county, Pa., on the 18th day of October, 1818. He is
the son of Hon. Lansing Wetmore, a sketch of whose life is written in
this work, and the grandson of Parsons Wetmore, an early settler in
Whitestown, whose wife was a daughter of Hugh White, the first settler
west of the Dutch settlements in the Mohawk Valley in the State of New
York. Hugh White earned the distinction of being the founder of
Whitestown, N.Y., as his son Hugh became the founder of Cohoes, N.Y. The
family came originally from the vicinity of Hartford, Conn.
L. D. Wetmore received his earlier education in the district schools of
Warren, and afterward attended the academy at the same place. He was
graduated from Union College in the class of 1841, after which he began
to study law in Warren. He was admitted to practice in 1845, and at once
commenced the practice of his profession in Warren, his labors being
interrupted for a time in 1843 and when he taught in the academy at
Smethport for two seasons. From that time on he has conducted a large
and successful practice in Warren, and is now at the head of the firm of
Wetmore, Noyes & Hinckley. Mr. Wetmore’s prominence in this and
adjoining counties is sufficiently attested by the fact that in the fall
of 1870 he was elected president judge of the Sixth Judicial District,
composed of the counties of Erie, Warren, and Elk, and that during a
term of ten years he performed the functions of that office with the
most creditable promptness and efficiency. For some time previous to the
death of his brother, C. C. Wetmore, in April, 1867, he was interested
with him in an extensive lumber business. After that painful accident,
as described in other pages of this volume, Judge Wetmore was obliged to
assume sole charge over the business, and from that time to the present
he has engaged heavily in the manufacture and sale of lumber, with
results which disclose his sagacity and capacity for managing affairs.
In politics Judge Wetmore is a Republican, and though not an office
seeker was clothed for a time with the judicial ermine, as stated, and
has been called upon to take a part in the arduous and not less
important burdens of local office. Previous to his election to the bench
he was president of the First National Bank of Warren, a position which
he resumed on his retirement from the political office, and which he now
holds. His judicial ability has been even better appreciated since the
expiration of his term than while he was in office. Like his father, he
has always been remarkable for the affability of his manner and his
social disposition in all the relations of life. His decisions were
almost always correct, notwithstanding the fact that he was engaged in
private business enterprises that would alone have fully taxed the
energies of most men. He studied all the questions that came before him
for decision with the thoroughness of a student in love with his task,
and refused to neglect the minutest duties of his position.
The following is the correspondence on the termination of his official
life in Erie county:
ERIE, Pa., April 29, 1874.
TO THE HONORABLE L.D. WETMORE,
Dear Sir:— As your connection with the bar of Erie county as president
judge has ceased, the undersigned, its members, desire to give an
expression of their respect for you, officially and personally, at a
supper at such time as it may suit your convenience to meet us.
We are, unwilling that your connection with us as president judge of our
county should cease without some demonstration, feeling that while it
should be a pleasant occasion to us, it is due to you for the ability,
impartiality and fidelity with which you discharged the duties of the
office as well as a grateful expression of our remembrance of the
agreeable intercourse we have had with you as our late president judge,
signally marked out as it was by gentlemanly and courteous bearing, and
patient consideration of our efforts before you. With great respect we
are your friends and obedient servants.
JOHN H. WALKER,
JAMES C. MARSHALL,
and some forty members of the Erie bar.
WARREN, Pa., June 8, 1874.
Gentlemen:— Your favor was duly received and my absence has delayed a
To have performed the duties of judge in a manner to meet the approval
of the members of your bar is to me a source of great satisfaction.
Your learning, ability and urbanity greatly aided me in my labors on the
The upright, fearless, and learned lawyer is as much a minister of
justice as the court to which he speaks, said Justin Grier, on his
retirement from the bench of the Supreme Court of the United States.
The fact so truly stated by Judge Grier has been appreciated by me in my
official intercourse with you.
I would be pleased to accept your invitation but am unable at present to
state a time when it would be convenient for me to meet you. Thanking
you for the flattering compliment of your letter, I remain
Very respectfully yours,
TO HON. JOHN H. WALKER, HON. ELIJAH BABBIT, HON. JAMES C. MARSHALL and
At a meeting of the court in Warren on the first Monday in January,
1881, the following resolutions, offered by a committee appointed by the
bar, were adopted:
WHEREAS, The term of office of Lansing D. Wetmore, president judge of
the 37th Judicial District has expired, and he is about to retire from
the bench, therefore be it
Resolved, That we, the members of the bar of Warren county, express to
Judge Wetmore our great respect and esteem for him personally, and our
high appreciation of his able, learned, and impartial administration of
justice in the county.
Resolved, That as a judge he has been calm and impartial in
investigation, independent without pride of opinion, just but merciful
in judgment, earnestly striving to judge according to the law.
He has ever sincerely sought to establish truth and do impartial
justice, and by his considerate politeness and courtesy towards all he
has merited our special gratitude, and shown himself a kind and cultured
gentleman, as well as a just and learned judge.
The pure and perfect gem of judicial authority which was committed to
his keeping ten years ago he transmits to his successor, still a
diamond, not a stone, with its brilliancy undimmed, its lustre
Resolved, That the sincere and hearty good wishes of this bar follow
Judge Wetmore into private life, and we hope and expect to see his ripe
years and manhood crowned with even greener honors than those he today
With all his labors he is governed by a philosophy
of good will and enjoys life as it passes. He has an exquisite taste in
literary matters, and among those who are acquainted with his
attainments is regarded as a just and discriminating critic. He was one
of the original contributors to the first fund, and is now one of the
trustees of the Struthers Library Building. Moreover, he is liberal and
ready to promote by generous contributions all beneficent public
institutions, and with the aid of his wife is constantly engaged in the
dispensation of many and well-directed private charities.
Judge Wetmore has been twice married. His first wife was Miss B.
Wetherby, of Warren, who died in 1856, four years after their marriage,
leaving one child, now the wife of Lieutenant J. P. Jefferson, a
graduate from West Point. In March, 1858, Judge Wetmore married Maria C.
Shattuck, of Groton, Mass. They have three children, Edward D.,
Frederick S., and Albert L. Wetmore.
History of Warren County:
With Illustrations and Biographical Sketches of some of its Prominent
Men and Pioneers, J. S. Schenck, Syracuse, NY: D. Mason & Co., 1887.
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