I previously posted an article that Oscar wrote about his brother, William G. Langford, for a memorial booklet he created at the time of his brother’s passing.
There were also excerpts from various newspapers included.
From the Spokane Review
May 11, 1893
JUDGE LANGFORD IS DEAD
He Passed Away Yesterday, After a Long Illness-He Held Many Positions of Trust
Hon. William G. Langford, late Judge of the Superior Court of Spokane County, died at his residence, 1224 Broadway, yesterday afternoon a few minutes before 5 o’clock.
The Judge had been suffering with a complication of ailments for nearly two years, and his physical condition of late had been such that the end was not unexpected. The primary cause of death was nervous prostration.
Everything possible was done for him; the best medical assistance that could be procured was in attendance, but of no avail.
The Judge breathed his last surrounded by his wife and a few intimate friends, who had stood watch at his bedside day and night for weeks past. He made a brave struggle for existence, but the odds were against him. For some time previous to his death he was unable to lie in a reclining position, and the folding bed which he occupied was arranged so that he could sleep almost in a sitting posture. It was in this manner that he passed peacefully and unconsciously away.
Judge Langford would have been 58 years old his coming birthday. His early youth was passed in the states of New York and Iowa. In 1850 he emigrated from the home of his boyhood and crossed the plains to Oregon. In 1856, under Judge E. D. Shadduck, at Portland, he began the study of law, but dropped his studies and served several months in the Indian war, then raging. Afterward he resumed his studies in the office of Judge P. A. Markham, at Portland. Subsequently he went to Vancouver and practiced law until the spring of 1862. In 1863 he was appointed by the Governor of the Washington Territory prosecuting attorney for the First Judicial District. In 1864 he was elected a member of the Territorial Council. Then he went east and practiced law in Washington, D. C., also in Texas and in Mississippi. Afterwards he practiced law in San Francisco.
He married Mrs. Emma R. L. Norris (nee Wheaton), at Washington, D. C. A year later he moved to Lewistown, Idaho, where he was elected a member of the Territorial Council. In 1879, his wife died. In January, 1883, he married Julia Gilbert, a cousin of his former wife, who survives him. This wedding was consummated at Walla Walla, where Judge Langford located early in the seventies, and where he served as city attorney for a number of years. He was appointed Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the Territory of Washington by President Cleveland. During his term as Associate Justice he decided the local option law and woman suffrage law invalid, and was sustained by his associates.
He removed to Spokane from Walla Walla about three years ago, and was soon after elected to a Superior Court Judgeship on the Democratic and Labor tickets, succeeding Judge Kinnaird. He filled the office with dignity. During the latter part of his term on the bench the Judge suffered intensely. He spent some time on the coast and in British Columbia, seeking the health which never came.
Judge Langford was a man of scholarly attainments and sterling integrity. In politics he was Democrat, but his friends and admirers among both parties were legion. The deceased has a brother residing at Pasadena, Cal., a brother and sister in Ohio, and two sisters in Iowa and Virginia.
From the Spokane Chronicle
The Hon. William G. Langford was among the most conspicuous personages in Spokane. He was honored, revered and loved by all who knew him, by those with whom he has come in contact, either socially or in his official capacity. He gained their entire confidence and good will. Intellectually, he was a man of high culture.
From the Spokane Review
May 16, 1893
WITH JUDICIAL HONORS
Remains of the Late Judge Laid to Rest-The Bar Association Acts
The Bar Association met in the court room yesterday morning to take action on the death of Judge William G. Langford. Judges Norman Buck and Wallace Mount presided. Hon. R> R> Blake moved that the court take a recess until Tuesday morning, out of respect to the deceased. The motion was approved. Hon. George Turner moved that a committee of five members of the Bar be appointed to draw up suitable resolutions for the occasion. The motion prevailed, and the following gentlemen were appointed: Charles S. Voorhees, L. H. Plather, J. W. Feighan, J. M. Kinnaird and George Turner.
From the Spokane Review
May 17, 1893
PAID HIM A HIGH TRIBUTE
The Bar Association Meet This Morning and Pass Resolutions of Respect to Judge Langford-Worked for the Public-He Was Known and Respected by all Classes of People Where He lived.
This morning the members of the Spokane Bar met in the courtroom to pay homage to the memory of the lat Judge Langford. Judge Blake as President of the Bar Association, presented resolutions, and also in an able address paid a high tribute to the life and works of his esteemed brother jurist.
C. S. Voorhees delivered a eulogy upon the life, character and deeds of the deceased judge. In part, he spoke as follows:
“I feel that one of the highest honors that could possibly be conferred upon me is to be allowed to speak upon such an occasion as this, and to pay my respects to the life of so distinguished and eminent a jurist as the late William G. Langford. During his brief career among us, and as a member of the bench, my associations with him have always been pleasant. As a judge upon the bench he was one of the most conscientious and honorable men that I have ever known. As a lawyer, in the knowledge of law he had few equals, and always kept himself posted with every branch and ramification. He was a close student and thoroughly acquainted himself with every minor as well as the more important points in all cases. His sterling honesty, unquestioned integrity and true loyalty were faculties possessed by him that has made his name a synonym among us. By his death the profession has lost an able, conscientious and worthy member, and the citizens a valued and most sincere friend.”
S. C. Hyde and Isaac Kevelle followed, and paid glowing tributes and high testimonial in their eulogy of Judge Langford. The resolutions were then presented and read and spread among the minutes, which are as follows:
Whereas, It has pleased an all-wise Providence to remove from our midst, while yet in the full meridian of his intellectual powers, our friend and brother, Hon. William G. Langford; and,
Whereas, It is fitting and proper that we, the witnesses of his life-work, should put upon record for posterity our appreciation of his character in life and our estimation of the great loss sustained by his profession and the public in his death; therefore be it
Resolved, by the Bar Association of Spokane, That as a man, a citizen, a member of the legal profession, and a judge upon the bench, our deceased associate, Judge Langford, exhibited throughout his life virtues and abilities of the highest order, and justly won, by reason thereof, the esteem and confidence of the public and the love and respect of his associates at the bar.
Resolved, further, That by his untimely death our profession has lost one of the brightest exemplars, we, the members thereof, a trusted and friendly guide and mentor, and the public at large a faithful, efficient and upright aid in the administration of public justice.
Resolved, further, That a copy of these resolutions be presented to the Superior Court of Spokane County, with a request that the same be spread on the minutes, and that a copy of the same be transmitted to Mrs. W. G. Langford, the widow of our deceased friend and brother, accompanied by the profound and heartfelt sympathy of the Bar Association in her deep grief.
HIS CHARACTER AND LEGAL ABILITY
Judge Langford was original, thoughtful, and profound. He had breadth and scope, resource, learning, logic, and, above all, a sense of justice. He understood the framework, anatomy and foundation of law; he was familiar with the great streams, currents and tides of authority. He was not a case lawyer, a decision index or an echo. He listened to debates, and his industry was only limited by time and strength. In the winter of 1892-3, when he was almost completely disabled by rheumatism, whenever it was possible for him to be at his post, he could always be found there; and it was universally conceded that Judge Langford has made one of the best judges that Spokane has ever had. He had a faculty of dispatching business rapidly and expeditiously, and his decisions always reached the point and stood the test of the Supreme Court. In his home life, he was a model husband, ever thoughtful and kind, and while suffering said to a friend that he would like to be released from it if it were not for the thought of leaving his wife.
Among the prominent features of his character was his genial and kind nature, his generosity to those in trouble; and a life like his cut down in its zenith was considered by the citizens of Washington as a public calamity. Of death he had no fear, and these lines expressed his sentiments:
I fear not death. Why should I fear
The God that gave me breath?
This life is but a suburb of the life
Whose portals we call death.
On the Sunday evening preceding his last illness he sung his favorite hymn “Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing”. He believed in the Christian religion, and said it was our deeds, not words, that showed our Christian character, and that we should imitate Christ while he was on earth, as near as possible, to be true Christians. Work and good deeds were the expressions of his Christian life; and if we could look through the misty veil that separates us, we might know why this transition. The noble mind was too large for its tenement.
But how vain to pry within the veil!
Our keenest visions here must fail;
But faith reveals to us a place
Held for the just by Heaven’s grace-
A veil of texture thin and fine,
Through which no ray of light may shine.
So cast your burdens on his breast,
Who to His loved ones giveth rest.
It was fitting that a being so noble, that so gentle and so pure a life should leave the scenes of earth in May, when Nature is dressed in her holiday attire, when the leaves and vines and green, when flowers are blooming, when the songs of birds and the murmurings of brooks commingle their sweet music, when the sunshine is bright, and the air is laden with the perfume of flowers.
Green be the turf above thee,
Friend of our better days.
None knew thee but to love thee,
None named thee but to praise.
From the Spokane Chronicle
May 15, 1893
HE WAS A GRAND MAN
There Were Many To Shed Tears at Judge Langford’s Grave--The Funeral Services and the Burial at Greenwood
The funeral of the late lamented Judge William G. Langford took place this afternoon at 1:30 o’clock at the family residence, 1224 Broadway, where brief services were held. The remains were then taken in charge by the Odd Fellows and members of the Spokane Bar, and escorted to the First Presbyterian Church, where the last sad rites were held over the remains of the distinguished jurist. The Rev. F. J. Mundy delivered the funeral service. The spacious quarters of the church were filled to overflowing, and many friends and neighbors of the eminent judge were unable to gain admittance. Rev. Mr. Mundy’s sermon was a most impressive one. He paid a high and worthy tribute to the life and deeds of the deceased jusge. The funeral procession was led by the Odd Fellows; then came the hearse with the following pall-bearers, all wearers of the ermine at present or in days gone by: Hon. Norman Buck, Hon. Jesse Arthur, Hon. Wallace Mount, Hon. George Turner, Hon. K. B. Blake, Hon. J. M. Kinnaird. The Bar Association came next, nearly every lawyer in the city being in line, followed by the officers of the courts. The carriages brought up the rear. The obsequies were very impressive. The interment took place at Greenwood Cemetery.