Biographical Sketches of Leading Citizens
Lawrence County Pennsylvania 1897
[p. 35] Social and political position in the United States is not dependent, as in most of the Old World monarchies, on titles or on, long lines of family ancestors, but is rather based on a man's own achievements—if a person has estimable qualities he will be well thought of. A self-made man, one who owes his success in great part to his own individual efforts, is the type of a man, of whom we Americans are pardonably proud, perhaps because his struggles against adverse circumstances and a comparatively humble beginning to success and honor so nearly resemble the life of our own nation. Among the brilliant number of self-made men of whom Lawrence County boasts we would be extremely unwilling to pass by without due mention the name of the subject of this sketch, William D. Wallace, Esq., present judge of the courts of Lawrence County, who, because of his splendid fight to have the bill passed by the Legislature, making Lawrence County a separate judicial district, was elected to the judgeship thus created on Nov. 6, 1894.
Judge Wallace is a son of the late Dr. James J. Wallace, one of the most eminent practitioners of medicine in this county, and was born in New Castle, May 15, 1857. Our subject's whole life has been spent in Lawrence County; he graduated from Westminster College in 1881, and was a very popular young man among students and faculty as a bright student and a leader in athletic sports. Having chosen the law as a profession, he studied the fundamental principles of legal procedure and jurisprudence in the office of Messrs. Dana & Long of New Castle and was admitted to practice in 1882. Professionally, his life has been marked by a high sense of justice, a keen sympathy for the poor and oppressed suitor, and a plainly shown impatience at that public clamor which now and then usurps the place of public justice and demands a victim without much heed as to the question of guilt or innocence. When he became judge he gave up a large and increasing practice, which was becoming very profitable.
On the bench he has a graceful, dignified bearing. His rulings and opinions are delivered firmly, dispassionately, and with evident full intent to treat the case fairly and impartially. He is alike courteous to the youngest attorney and to the oldest member of the bar.
In his political attachments, Judge Wallace is a Republican. He first came prominently before the public eye through stumping the county on various issues. He attracted attention and many favorable comments as he debated with vigor or made convincing arguments on some cause or other. His mind works with the smoothness of machinery; his perceptions are clear and exact. His literary style is simple and unstudied, disliking and avoiding all attempts at display, and having a marked distaste for verbosity. Cool and cautious, and in purpose independent and bold, no man gains an advantage of him by a personal assault, for he will strike back upon the weak point of his adversary with unerring aim and relentless force. Like all men who, have been in public life, Judge Wallace has undoubtedly made his enemies, but never cherishes a hard feeling toward another, so that when he greets his bitterest foe without the slightest appearance of enmity, his friendliness frequently heals the breach and causes his opponents to become his warmest friends.
As an individual in the private walks of life, his principal characteristics are a cheerful nature and a briskness of manner that impresses those who meet him with the idea that he is intensely alive. He is a close student of human nature, and this, coupled with his genial disposition and tact, wins him friends wherever he goes. It is, in fact, one of the chief secrets of his success, for it matters not whether he meets a white man or a negro, a banker or a laborer, he is sure to give him the same warm grasp of the hand and hearty greeting. Apart from his business cares, Judge Wallace takes an active interest in social matters. He is a good conversationalist, and when at leisure is always willing to spend an evening in society. He seldom, if ever, joins a party without his wife, who is a woman of amiable disposition and fine accomplishments, chief among which is a love of music. Mrs. Wallace is recognized as one of the sweetest singers in New Castle. The judge's portrait appears on a foregoing page, and it is with the deepest pleasure that we present the likeness of one who occupies so prominent and important a position in the legal and judicial circles of Lawrence County.
Biographical Sketches of Leading Citizens Lawrence County Pennsylvania
Biographical Publishing Company, Buffalo, N.Y., 1897
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Updated: 12 Apr 2001, 08:45