Preserving the Past, Informing the Future
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William Brown Glover, who died at Fairfield, January 18th, 1896, after a brief illness, was born April 7th, 1857. He graduated from Yale University in the class of 1878; two years later received his degree at the Columbia College Law School, and in 1881 was admitted to the bar of this state. He was married soon afterwards to Miss Helen Wardwell of New York, who, with two sons and two daughters, survive him.
Since 1882 Judge Glover continuously held the office of judge of probate for the district of Fairfield. In 1883, 1884 and 1889, he represented his town in the lower house of the General Assembly, serving during the latter year as chairman of the judiciary committee and as speaker pro tem of the House. In 1885 he was a member of the committee appointed by the legislature to revise and compile the probate laws. Associated with him in this important work were the future Governor Luzon B. Morris, Judge Augustus H. Fenn of the Supreme Court, and Messrs. Henry S. Barbour and Edward L Cundall. From 1889 to the time of his death, Judge Glover continued to be the Prosecuting Attorney of the Criminal Court of Common Pleas for Fairfield County.
His sudden and unexpected decease was widely and sincerely mourned. The tributes to his memory, both in the press and from his associates at the local bar, were singularly hearty and discriminating, and proved the universal esteem in which he was held by the best citizenship of the State. Attention was called to the many fine sides of his character - his faithfulness, capacity for true friendship, and attainment of high ideals.
In addition to the performance of official duties, his time was occupied by a large and continually increasing clientage. Thorough and painstaking in the preparation of his cases, he presented them to court or jury with earnestness, clearness and often-times with genuine eloquence. Fairness and courtesy toward those who were opposed to him, were characteristic of Judge Glover, and added greatly to his popularity among all classes of men.
At a bar meeting held shortly after Judge Glover's death, a friend who was present, said with discrimination: "In Judge Glover's life there was reproduced that useful kind of power and influence which the lawyer, a counselor and leader, formerly had and exerted in the old New England towns. Especially had this feature prevailed in Fairfield, from its foundation by Roger Ludlow, who became its first great leader and who had many notable successors, the last being Roger M. Sherman, who died in 1844. With the loss of Sherman and the removal of the court house in 1855, its people keenly felt that the prestige of the town was waning. For a long time no leader appeared. Mr. Glover began to practice law there in 1881, and he very soon took and held until his death, without a rival, the position of leadership which Ludlow, Sherman and others had so worthily filled. Judge Glover's short career did not allow him as much time as Judge Sherman had to ripen; but in a very high degree he had the same type of manhood, high character, and intellectual activity. Like Sherman, he was a peace-making lawyer. His office was first a court of conciliation. If however, his earnest efforts failed to settle controversies, and litigation followed, then his clients found in him an able, adroit and eloquent advocate, and opposing counsel a foeman worthy of their steel."
Such a man could not fail of wielding a strong and pure influence during his legislative career. He became an acknowledged leader, retained the admiration and respect of all his fellow members, and greatly pleased his constituents by his fine record. "For nearly seven years I met him regularly in his position of service to the State of Connecticut," writes a friend, "and a more loyal servant I have never seen." His death must be reckoned as not only a loss to Fairfield County, but a misfortune to the State at large," added a leading newspaper in regard to his public services. It is not too much to say that no one of his time had firmer hold on the affections of the people with whom he lived and to whose concerns he gave - often gratuitously and always from the most disinterested motives - so much of his valuable and busy time. This was manifest at his funeral, when the whole community, with many prominent representatives from elsewhere, seemed united in a common bond of deepest sorrow.
His domestic and religious life were notably sweet and lovely and fully set forth the finer shades of his well-rounded, sympathetic and earnest character. Of convictions so strong that he could see no middle ground, and a sense of power so fine and delicate that it recoiled from the approach of temptation, he yet was the personification of thoughtfulness of others, and was always charitable in his conversation and gentle in his manners.
"There was a genuineness and sincerity about him," says a clergyman of his town, "that wrought his many good qualities into just balance and fine proportion. His manliness was not seen less in the home than on the street. As a Christian he was modest and reticent in respect to that deep life which flowed through his soul like some peaceful river through the land. As senior warden in St. Paul's Church he was a most useful and efficient servant. As superintendent of the Sunday School he came into close touch with the young of the parish, and endeared himself to all the little people.
"Judge Glover's ideas of life were broad and comprehensive. He was lenient and patient towards all men, and had respect even for people who differed with him decidedly. His religion was large enough to gather into its compass men of diverse creeds or of none. It was heart with him rather than head, in this question of faith.
"It seems like a life all too brief and restricted. One has a feeling that such a character might well have been lent unto us for years, and been made to contribute its wealth to our common humanity. As we call to mind this man in his service as son, husband, father, brother, friend; as eminent citizen, as exemplary Christian; as we measure the record of the past and dwell upon prospects in the future, the greatness of our loss seems equaled only by the mystery of his departure."