Biography of Earl C. Bronaugh

Bronaugh, Earl C., one of the most prominent attorneys of the State, was born in Abingdon, Virginia, March 4, 1831. He secured his educational advantages in his native town prior to reaching the age of twelve years, when with his parents he moved to Shelby County, Tennessee. They founded a new home in the woods and endured all the privations of pioneer life at that early day. Here Mr. Bronaugh spent six years of his life, assisting his father in the support of the family, after which becoming imbued with the desire to read law he entered the office of Hon. J. W. Clapp, an uncle, at Holley Springs, Mississippi, and two years thereafter, in 1851, was admitted to the bar. Being without means to begin the practice of his profession he spent the following two years in teaching in Tennessee and Arkansas. He then began the practice of his profession at Jacksonport, Arkansas. A few months later he removed to Little Rock, Arkansas, where he served for a short time as Clerk of the Chancery Court. From Little Rock he moved to Brownville, Arkansas, where he remained for two years, when he located in Helena in the same State. He was elected Judge of the Circuit Court, comprising the Helena circuit, in 1860, which office he held until the great war began.

By education and association Mr. Bronaugh was imbued with the principles of the South. Although never in sympathy with slavery, he was none the less a firm believer in the rights of State Sovereignty, and when the State of his adoption seceded from the Union he joined his fortunes with the hopes and destinies of the new confederacy of States. He enlisted in the Confederate army and for one & continued in the service, when his health becoming impaired he was discharged and returned home, where he remained during the further progress of the war. When the war closed, like the most of his fellow citizens, he found himself impoverished and without immediate hopes of retrieving his fallen fortunes.

For a short time he bravely struggled against the adverse and disheartening conditions by which he was surrounded, but his efforts to improve his fortunes were unavailing, and he determined to seek a new home where hard and honorable work might offer fairer chances of reward. With this end in view he came to Portland in 1868, arriving in the city an entire stranger and without a dollar in the world. He opened a law office and from the start his success was most gratifying, and year by year his practice and reputation have increased until at the present time the remuneration he receives from his professional labors is excelled by few, if any, in the State, while his legal attainments give him a place in the very front rank of the Oregon bar.

For some three years Mr. Bronaugh was associated as partner with Hon. John Catlin and for ten years with the firm of Dolph, Bronaugh, Dolph & Simon. In 1882, on account of his own health and that of his family and that his children might enjoy better educational advantages than Portland then afforded, Mr. Bronaugh moved to St. Clair County, California, where with his family, he remained two years. He then returned to Portland and became a partner in the law firm of Whalley, Bronaugh & Northup. Mr. Whalley retired in 1889, since which the firm has been known as Bronaugh & Northup.

Mr. Bronaugh is a man of strong religious convictions, the result of long and close study and thoughtful consideration of the Bible and its teachings, and the writings and investigations of the most advanced scientists of this and preceding generations. He was reared in the Presbyterian faith, but during the last ten years has been a firm believer in the views held by the Christian Adventists. But while he is unbending in his religious faith and exhibits in his life and every anion an endeavor to live up to the standard of an ideal Christian character, he is nothing of the Pharisee and none of the Puritan.

His success as a lawyer has been conspicuous in all the branches of legal litigation, but it is in the trial of cases that he particularly excels. His forensic abilities are of high order, and in numerous trials have won for him a reputation as a pleader and advocate second to none in the State. He is always clear and forcible in speech, but when occasion demands it he uses language ornate and persuasive, while his delivery and manner are peculiarly fitting and appropriate. His practice extends largely to criminal cases and the success which he has achieved in this branch of practice where in many instances it has seemed to rely almost solely on his handling and presentation of the facts, has been so marked as to cause his services to be in almost constant demand.

Mr. Bronaugh was married is 1854 to Miss Araminta Payne, of Jacksonport, Arkansas. They have had nine children of whom but two sons are living. The elder at the present time is reading law under his father’s direction, while the other is acquiring a practical business education.

In personal appearance Mr. Bronaugh is of tall and well proportioned stature; has strongly marked features, a fine forehead, well-shaped head and dark auburn hair and beard, both of which are well sprinkled with gray. He is an engaging conversationalist and has that courtesy of manner characteristic of the Southern reared gentleman, while his consistent life and character, his integrity and faithfulness to every trust have given him a high place in the esteem and good opinion of his fellow citizens.


Biography, History,

Harvey Whitefield Scott. History of Portland, Oregon: with Illustrations and Biographical Sketches of Prominent Citizens and Pioneers. Portland, Oregon. D. Mason & Company, 1890.

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