The Oneida County Bar Association • New York   

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See also: History of the Oneida County Court Houses   |   History of the United States Courthouse

Formation Of The Oneida County Bar Association

Lawyers of the Oneida County met in the John Street Courthouse on January 2, 1872 and a committee consisting of E.J. Richardson, William Kernan and George W. Admams was appointed to draft the necessary legislation for incorporation. The Association of the Bar Oneida County, predecessor of our present Association, was incorporated by the legislature on January 26, 1872 "for the purpose of maintaining the honor and dignity of the profession of law, of cultivating social relations among its members, and increasing its usefulness in promoting the due administration of justice".

Alexander S. Johnson was elected the first president but there is no record of any further meetings. Apparently the members turned their attention to the establishment of a law library in 1876.

It appears that the few local bar associations which existed prior to 1900 were basically social gatherings. At a state meeting of lawyers in 1895 one speaker said that "Most of our local associations appear to do little, except give annual banquets to the Justices of the Supreme Court, or to some incoming or outgoing judge of a local court, at which fulsome eulogy and wit of a local flavor absorb the speech making".

Members who formed our present day association met in the John Street Courthouse on April 8,1905 with retired Justice Milton H. Merwin as chairman to discuss the formation of a more purposeful association. The current Oneida County Bar Association was incorporated on December 16, 1905 and held its first meeting on February 17,1906 at which the following officers were elected: Milton H. Merwin, President; William Kernan, First Vice President; Henry W. Bentley, Second Vice President; William K. Harvey, Secretary; and John S. Baker, Treasurer.


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