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Lawyers and Poetry
Miles Tobey Granger
"Miles Tobey Granger, was born August 12, 1817 in New Marlboro, Mass. By his own exertions as a farmer boy and at country school teaching he graduated at Wesleyan College in 1842. The next year he went to Louisana as a family teacher and began studying law and was admitted in that State in 1845. Returning to the North he was admitted the same year to this bar, and soon located in North Canaan, making that his residence, until his decease October 21, 1895.
[Biographical Notes, Dwight C. Kilbourn, The Bench and Bar of Litchfield County, Connecticut 1709-1900: Biographical Sketches of Members [,] History and Catalogue of the Litchfield Law School [,] Historical Notes 247-248 (Litchfield, Connecticut: Published by the Author, 1909)] [online text]
Granger "was a graduate of Wesleyan University at Middletown . . . . He was a school teacher on a plantation down in Mississippi, teaching the sons and daughters of the surrounding plantations, and during that time he studied law in Mississippi and was admitted to the bar in that state. He came back to Connecticut and went into the office of Leman Church and studied law with him for the purpose of obtaining a knowledge of Connecticut laws and was admitted to the bar after 1843. He was the greatest wit, humorist and wag of tlie bar, he was the very Mark Twain of the bar. His sayings, his wit and his humor might he read as Innocents at Home instead of Innocents Abroad. He was skilled in doggerel poetry as he called it. He would see the ludicrous and ridiculous in persons and things that no one but he thought of, and he would bring it out to the great amusement of his hearers. His very first argument in the Superior Court was in poetry. It was the case of Dunham vs. Dunham. Dunham brought a petition for a divorce against his wife, he was a widower when he married, and she was a widow. They were both very old and infirm, their spouses were dead and they desired companionship, and so they inter-married. Jack Elmore brought the petition and in that petition he set up as a ground, a fradulent contract. Judge Ellsworth, a very grave man and a deacon of the church in Hartford was holding Court. Granger led off in the argument for the defense and Church was to close the debate. His whole argument was in poetry, but I remember nothing but the last verse, which was this:
He was a great fellow for giving names to persons. . . . He was full of his jokes and quirks, it made no difference whether it was foe or friend, but ot was all in good nature. . . . [H]e was highly honored, represented his town in the Legislature, in the Senate and represented the 4th district in Congress after his retirement as a Judge." ["Reminiscences of Lietchfield County Bar" (by Donald J. Warner), in Dwight C. Kilbourn, The Bench and Bar of Litchfield County, Connecticut 1709-1900: Biographical Sketches of Members [,] History and Catalogue of the Litchfield Law School [,] Historical Notes 100-118, at 111 (Litchfield, Connecticut: Published by the Author, 1909)]