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Harry H. Belt Biography


        Harry H. Belt was born at Salem, Oregon. November 24. 1883. He was the son of John D. and Nellie (Hackleman) Belt, his father having been born in Missouri and his mother in Oregon. In 1853 the father accompanied his parents on their journey across the plains with ox teams. The family located at Salem, where the grandfather took up land and cleared and developed it, placing many improvements on his property. He was also a physician and in addition to cultivating his farm practiced his profession at Salem, continuing active along those lines during the balance of his life. His son. John D. Belt. on starting out in the business world engaged in the drug business. becoming proprietor of a store at Salem and later conducting an establishment of that character in Dallas.

        Harry H. Belt attended the public schools of Dallas and later became a student at the State Normal school at Monmouth. Oregon. from which he was graduated with the class of 1903. Subsequently he taught school for three years in Yamhill County, and so excellent was his record as an educator that-he was called to the office of superintendent of schools of Yamhill County, which office he capably filled for three years, when he resigned in order to devote his entire attention to the study of law. While teaching he had devoted his leisure hours to mastering the principles of jurisprudence, his uncle. Judge George H. Burnett, now serving as Judge of the Supreme Court of Oregon. being his instructor. On June 8 1911, he was admitted to the bar and then entered the office of Oscar Hayter, a prominent attorney of Dallas. While well grounded in the principles of common law when admitted to the bar, he has continued through the whole of his professional life a diligent student of those elementary principles which constitute the basis of all legal science and this knowledge has served him well in many a legal battle before the court.

        Judge Belt's ability as a lawyer soon won recognition and he was called to the office of circuit judge of the 12th judicial district, which office he served from 1914 to 1924, being at the time of his election the youngest judge chosen to that office in the state, the territory over which he originally had jurisdiction comprising Yamhill, Polk and Tillamook Counties. The last named county, however, is not now included within the boundaries of the 12th judicial district, which comprises Polk and Yamhill Counties. At the close of his six years' term Judge Belt was reelected without opposition. He has made a record over which there falls no shadow of wrong nor suspicion of evil and his native sense of justice as well as his knowledge of the law have made him an able presiding officer over the tribunal of which he has charge. His decisions indicate strong mentality and careful analysis, his ability being based upon a finely balanced mind and splendid intellectual attainments.

        Judge Belt was elected to the Supreme Court in 1924. re-elected in 1930, 1936 and 1942.

        On the 3d of July. 1907, Judge Belt was united in marriage to Miss Martha Paldanius and they have become the parents of three children. George L., Myra and Barbara.

        In his political views the Judge is a republican and a stalwart supporter of party principles. Fraternally he is identified with the Masons, 32nd degree Mason, the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, the Knights of Pythias and B. P. O. E., exemplifying in his life the beneficent spirit underlying these orders. He possesses a high sense of duty and honor and never swerves from the course which his conscience dictates as right. He has a wide acquaintance in this section of the state and the sterling traits of his character have established him high in public regard.


Arthur F. Benson's Original Biography Document