Biography of Erasmus D. Shattuck

Judge E. D. Shattuck was born in Bakersfield, Franklin County, Vermont, December 31, 1824. He spent his boyhood and youth on a farm and was prepared for a collegiate course at Bakersfield Academy. In 1844 he entered Vermont University, pursued the full classical course and graduated in 1848. While in college he was dependent upon his own resources for means to prosecute his studies, and during vacations and some part of term time he taught school in the country or had private classes in the village. Notwithstanding these disadvantages and interruptions he completed the college course in the prescribed time and stood third in his class on final examinations.

On leaving college Mr. Shattuck was employed for a year as teacher of Latin and mathematics in Bakersfield Academy. He then went to Georgia and taught a year in Newnan Seminary, situated about twenty-five miles from the city of Atlanta. While in Newnan he employed his leisure in reading law in the office of Archibald McKinley, at that time one of the leading lawyers in that part of the State.

In 1851 he returned north and located in Malone, New York, where he applied himself to the study of law in the office of Parmelee & Fitch. In the Spring of 1852 he went to New York City and entered the office of Abner Benedict, where he remained reading law and acquiring the details of practice until October, 1852, when he was admitted to the bar.

Soon after his admission to the bar he decided to come to Oregon, at that time almost an unknown region. He did not purpose to come alone, and returning to Vermont he was united in marriage to Miss Sarah A. Armstrong of Fletcher. January 5, 1853, Mr. Shattuck and wife started for Oregon by the Isthmus of Panama, arriving at Portland on the 15th day of February. For about four years after his arrival in Oregon Mr. Shattuck was engaged chiefly in teaching, having been appointed professor of ancient languages in the Pacific University at Forest Grove. In 1855 he was elected county superintendent of common schools in Washington County, and in 1856 probate judge for the same county. In 1857 he was elected delegate for Washington County to the constitutional convention, and sat in that body and took part in framing the Constitution of the State.

After the adjournment of the Convention he formed a co-partnership in the practice of law with David Logan and removed to Portland, where he has ever since continuously resided. In 1858 he was elected to represent Multnomah and Washington Counties at the last session of the Oregon Territorial Legislature. In 1861 he was appointed United States District Attorney, and in 1862 was elected Judge of the Supreme and Circuit Courts for the Fourth Judicial District, holding the latter office until November, 1867. In 1874 he was again elected Judge of the Supreme Court and continued in office until the reorganization of the State Judiciary by the Legislative act of 1878. In 1886 he was elected Judge of the Circuit Court for Department No. 1, in the Fourth District, a position he still worthily fills. Besides the offices named, Judge Shattuck, at different periods, has served as member of the Portland City Council, as a member of the Board of Directors of the Portland school district, and was one of the founders and early trustees of the Portland Library.

It will be seen that Judge Shattuck has been almost constantly in the public service since his arrival in Oregon, and during all these years his record has been such as to win the confidence and respect of his fellow men. He is a studious reader, a profound thinker, and an earnest and logical talker. He has been a hard worker in his profession. His patient industry, his power of incisive analysis, and his large knowledge of the principles of law are conspicuous in all the fields of learning and practice, but appear to best advantage in the sphere of a judge. His mind is judicial in tone and temper; in no one could there be better harmony between mental and moral forces than in Judge Shattuck. In all the elements which constitute the worthy citizen, he excels. He is a man of strong convictions, of great sincerity and high sense of duty. He follows his convictions regardless of personal consequences; is firm, without being dogmatic, but maintains his opinions fearlessly. In modes of thought and life he is eminently practical, and abounds in domestic affection and is earnestly loyal to principles and friends. Although reared under the teachings of the Christian faith, he is hardly “orthodox” in matters of religion, but has due respect for the views of others, and the utmost veneration for all agencies which tend to elevate the standard of morality and to make men lead better and purer lives.

In politics Judge Shattuck was originally a whig, but joined the republican party on its first organization in this State, acting with it until 1872, when he united with the so-called independent movement and worked earnestly against tendencies which he found objectionable in the policy of the regular party leaders. In the presidential election of that year he was a candidate for elector on the Greeley-Democratic ticket. Since that time he has acted and voted chiefly with the democratic party, although he is classed among the independent voters and has never been considered much of a partisan. He is one of the best known and most highly esteemed citizens of Oregon; in the soundness of his judgment and in his personal and official integrity, all men have full confidence, and no man has done more than he to establish and maintain the high character of our judicial tribunals. His reward is the universal esteem of his fellow men.


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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