Marion C. Early is the son of George G. and Mary A. Early. His father, George G. Early, was born near Norfolk, Virginia, July 13, 1819, and while still a boy removed with his mother to Knox county, Tennessee. His mother, Mary A. (Brittain) Early, was born near Lenoir City, London county, Tennessee, February 23, 1827. His parents later removed to Polk county, Missouri, where on a farm the subject of this sketch was reared. In a log schoolhouse there was held each year a four months’ term of school and this he attended until past nineteen, when he entered the Southern Baptist College at Boliver, Polk county, Missouri, which he attended one year; thereafter he entered the preparatory department of Drury College, Springfield, Missouri, which institution he attended for several years but did not graduate. While attending college he earned his own way. In 1892 he entered the law department of Washington University, St. Louis, and while pursuing the law course he earned all his expenses by working in the law library. June 14, 1894, he was graduated with the degree of LL. B. and on June 18, 1894, was admitted to the bar in St. Louis and immediately entered the law office of Kehr & Tittmann, Wainwright building, St. Louis. In the same building since that date and without interruption he has devoted his whole time to the active practice. Soon after his admission to the bar he was engaged to assist Judge Seymour D. Thompson in the preparation of his work on the law of negligence; in 1900, through the recommendation of Judge Thompson, he was engaged to edit the second edition of Bishop on Statutory Crimes, published in 1901; in 1902 he was engaged to write a treatise on Assignments for the Benefit of Creditors, published in Volume Four, Cyclopedic Law and Procedure; in 1904 he was engaged to prepare the second edition of Bishop on Contracts, which was published by T. H. Flood & Company, Chicago, in 1907; in 1907 he was engaged by T. H. Flood & Company to prepare a second edition of Thompson on Trials. The first edition consisted of two volumes. This work was completed and published in four volumes in 1912. In January, 1911, he was elected Madill Professor of Contracts, Washington University, which position he held until he resigned there from in 1915. He was one of the committee appointed in 1910 by the St. Louis Bar Association to establish the Legal Aid Bureau and continued a member of that committee until the bureau was taken over by the City of St. Louis in 1915, and funds provided for its maintenance. During the World war he served as a member of the draft board, on the committee of the St. Louis Bar Association to give free legal advice to families of those engaged in war work and aided upon various occasions in the sale of Liberty Bonds and in other kinds of war activities. In 1918 he was elected president of the St. Louis Bar Association. In the year he was president the membership of the association was increased from seven hundred to one thousand. One of his first acts as president of the bar association was to appoint a committee to draft a complete revision of the election laws of Missouri and that work was pushed vigorously forward. The committee he appointed was continued from year to year, he himself later becoming a member thereof and much of the work originally planned was finally enacted by the legislature of Missouri in 1921. Mr. Early was convinced that the state election laws, and especially those relating to the nomination for offices at so-called popular primaries, were conducive to fraud and that a complete revision was essential; a firm believer in representative government he further advocated the nomination by convention of all candidates for judicial offices until a better system could be established.
He is a member of the St. Louis. Missouri State and American Bar Associations and also a member of the University Club.