Archive for 2019


42-FeadOn this day in 1877, Louis Fead was born. Fead was appointed the 55th Justice of the Michigan Supreme Court, by Governor Fred W. Green on February 21, 1928, succeeding Richard Flannigan who had died a few days earlier while still in service to the Court.

Fead is notable for having presided over the trial of “King Ben” of the Israelite House of David on public nuisance charges while he was a judge of the Eleventh Circuit. The Michigan Supreme Court, on hearing the appeal in the case, commended Justice Fead for his handling of a lengthy and complicated trial involving “…51 days of actual trial, 225 witnesses, 500 exhibits, 73 depositions, and 15,000 pages of testimony.” You can read more about this cult here.

Learn more about Fead by reading his biography here.



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FBF 2009

Today’s Flashback Friday (#FBF) is the topic of the legal vignette at the 2009 Annual Membership Luncheon was titled “Road Trip: A Look at the Places and Personalities Made Famous by Sherwood v. Walker” by WMU-Cooley Professor Emeritus Norman Otto Stockmeyer. You can view the slide show here (PowerPoint) and read the text here.

You can read more about Professor Stockmeyer here in his biography and  his role in the development of the Court of Appeals’ Research Division here.

Sherwood v. Walker is one of the Society’s top cases, profiled in the Verdict of History and featured in our book The Michigan Supreme Court Historical Reference Guide 2nd edition. You can read about it online here under The Forgotten Years including two poems about the famous cow case.

You can read more about one of the justices involved in the case here — Thomas Sherwood, no relation to the plaintiff of the same name.

Our book can be purchased online here and anywhere books are sold! The 2019 Annual Membership Luncheon will be held on April 18 at the Detroit Athletic Club. Invitations will be mailed soon to all members.


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15-SherwoodThomas Sherwood, 27th Michigan Supreme Court justice was born and died on March 28. His birth in 1827 was in Pleasant Valley, New York, where he spent summers on a farm.

He read law in Rochester, NY, and eventually moved to Kalamazoo. He served in private practice until April 1883 when he ran for the remainder of Isaac Marston’s term, as a candidate of the combined Democratic and Greenback Parties. His victory, and that of John Champlin, were shocking as they represented the first Republican losses in a statewide election since 1856.

Sherwood’s term on the Michigan Supreme Court overlapped with Big Four Justices Thomas M. Cooley and James V. Campbell. One of the notable opinions in which he was involved was the famous cow case Sherwood v Walker (although the Sherwood in that case was no relation to the Justice).

Sherwood was defeated by Republican and Civil War veteran Claudius Grant in 1889. He returned to his law practice and died on March 28, 1896, in Chicago, Illinois.

Read about Sherwood v Walker here >>

Read about his portrait presentation here >>

Read his memorial here >>

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Potter’s House















The house at 334 Evergreen Avenue in East Lansing, Michigan, built in 1909, was the home of Michigan Supreme Court Justice William W. Potter until his death on July 21, 1940. Potter died in an automobile crash while driving himself to his chambers at the Court (then in the Capitol).

Learn more about the house and Justice Potter in our fall newsletter here; in his biography here; and his memorial here.

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