Biography of Thomas B. Wall

Thomas B. Wall. A resident of Kansas for nearly thirty years, the late Judge Thomas Berry Wall was a man whose fine intellectual and professional attainments enabled him to leave a deep and benignant impress upon the history of this commonwealth. He was numbered among the representative members of the Kansas bar, served with distinction on the bench of the District Court and by his character and ability won inviolable place in popular confidence and esteem. He was one of the leaders of the bar of the City of Wichita at the time of his death, which occurred January 14, 1906, and this publication exercises a consistent function when it pays specific tribute to his memory.

Judge Wall was born in Cumberland County, Illinois, on the 1st of January, 1857, and like many another sterling citizen who has gained prestige in professional and public life, his childhood and early youth were compassed by the benignant influences of the farm. He gained his preliminary education in the public schools of his native county and thereafter was graduated in Lee Academy. In the furtherance of his higher academic education he entered McKendree College, at Lebanon, Illinois, and from this excellent institution in 1895 he received the degree of Master of Arts, though he had attended many years before. In this connection it is interesting to recall that one of his classmates was Hon. Charles S. Deneen, who later served as Governor of Illinois. At intervals while attending college Judge Wall supplemented his financial resources by devoting his attention to teaching school. With characteristic diligence and ability he applied himself to the study of the science of jurisprudence, in which he made rapid progress, and finally he was admitted to the bar of his native state, upon examination before Judge Scofield.

In 1878 Judge Wall established his residence at Wichita, Kansas, and he became closely identified with the civic and material development and upbuilding of this new prosperous city. Here he became associated with William E. Stanley in the general practice of law, and he soon made himself known as a well fortified counselor and versatile trial lawyer. In 1885, when he was but twenty-eight years of age, he was appointed judge of the District Court, by Governor Martin, to fill the vacancy made by the retirement of Judge Henry C. Sluss. The high estimate placed upon the administration of the able young jurist was shown by his election to the office in the following year, to fill the unexpired term of his predecessor. Upon the enactment of the Federal Bankruptcy Law Judge Wall was appointed, by Judge Hook, to the office of referee in bankruptcy for this district, and of this position he continued the incumbent until 1904. He was a stalwart and effective advocate of the principles of the republican party and his special ability as an orator caused his interposition to be frequently sought in campaign work as well as a speaker upon divers other public occasions. In 1900 he represented Kansas as a delegate to the National Republican Convention, and in this connection he formulated the resolution that was passed by the Kansas delegation, in advance of any other state delegation, demanding the drafting of Theodore Roosevelt as candidate for the vice presidency of the United States. In the practice of his profession Judge Wall long maintained a partnership alliance with Judge D. M. Dale, later he was similarly associated with Charles H. Brooks, and during the last four years of his earnest and successful career he was a law partner of Judge Henry C. Sluss. The proclivities of Judge Wall as a close and appreciative student and reader never seemed to abate in the least their vigor, and he was not only a man of broad intellectual grasp but was also specially well known as a brilliant orator.

The judge never lost his deep interest in the basic industries of agriculture and stock-growing, and just west of the City of Wichita he developed and improved a model farm which is considered one of the best improved and most valuable stock farms in the Arkansas Valley.

On August 15, 1880, was solemnized the marriage of Judge Wall to Miss Kate Alexander, who survives him, and of this union were born two sons, Alexander Berry and Paul Jean.



Connelley, William E. A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans. Chicago : Lewis, 1918. 5v. Biographies can be accessed from this page: Kansas and Kansans Biographies.

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