Biography of Cyrus A. Dolph

Dolph, Cyrus A., of Portland, one of the most successful lawyers of Oregon, was born in Chemung, (now Schuyler) County, New York, on September 27, 1840. Leaving school at the early age of eighteen he took up the occupation of teacher, and taught in the schools of his native county during the years 1859, 1860 and 1861. In the spring of 1862 he enlisted in the Government service from which he was discharged at Fort Walla Walla, Washington, in October, 1862, and came to Portland, where he has ever since resided.

While engaged in teaching, Mr. Dolph began the study of law as an accomplishment rather than with a view of adopting it as a profession, but he soon became so much interested in it that what had been taken up as a pastime he resolved to make his life work. With this end in view he began a systematic course of study and was admitted to the bar in 1866, immediately thereafter beginning the active practice of his profession.

In June, 1869, without solicitation on his part, he was nominated on the Republican ticket for the office of City Attorney for the City of Portland, and was elected by a large majority over Judge W. F. Trimble, now deceased. He served for the full term of two years, and his administration of the duties of the office was eminently satisfactory to the people. In 1874, during his temporary absence from the city, he was nominated by the Republican Convention for the Lower House of the Legislature, but he declined to become a candidate. Two years later he was tendered the nomination for State Senator, which he also declined.

Since his residence in Portland Mr. Dolph has been identified with most of the principal corporations which have been organized for the development of the city and State, and is now vice-president of the Northern Pacific Terminal Company of Oregon, and the Oregon Improvement Company. He was one of the founders of the Portland Savings Bank and the Commercial National Bank of Portland, for several years being a director in, and the attorney for both of these banks. For a number of years he was a director in the Oregon and California Railroad Company and during the years 1883 and 1884, was the general attorney of that company. He was also director in the Oregon Railway and Navigation Company from 1883 to 1889.

In 1883, Mr. Dolph was selected by Mr. Henry Villard, then president of the Oregon Railway and Navigation Company, and the Northern Pacific Railroad Company, as the general attorney of the first named corporation, and the consulting attorney in Oregon for the latter company. Notwithstanding the various changes in the management of these companies, which have occurred since that time, he has continuously held the positions named, meeting the many intricate and complicated legal questions which have arisen in relation to these two great companies with promptness and decision, and disposing of them to the entire satisfaction of both management and stockholders.

Mr. Dolph’s attainments as a lawyer early gave him prominence in his profession, and not only has he enjoyed a lucrative practice for many years, but has already realized a handsome competency from his professional labors. Since 1883 he has been the senior member of the firm of Dolph, Bellinger, Mallory & Simon,-an association of legal talent of exceptional strength, character and ability.

Mr. Dolph has always been a zealous Republican in politics. He has, however, no political aspirations, and, with the exception mentioned, has consistently refused to become a candidate for office. The large interests with which he is identified, and his business habits leave him with neither time nor inclination for the pursuit of office. Every part of the large and complicated business of his firm has his personal attention and supervision. He is a hard and conscientious worker. The law is said to be a jealous mistress, yet, Mr. Dolph’s devotion to his profession entitles him to the place which he has in it. He is cautious without being timid, and is exceptional for the soundness of his judgment. Having a retentive and discriminating mind, he never forgets nor misapplies a case. He has in an unusual degree those qualities which distinguish the safe lawyer from a showy one. Steadfast in his friendship; conservative in his judgment, when the conduct of others exposes them to censure; considerate of the feelings of his fellows; scrupulously careful of the rights of those with whom he is brought into business relations, and conscientious in all he does, he is deservedly held in high esteem by all who know him.


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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