Paine P. Prim Biography


        Sixth, ninth and twelfth Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Oregon.

        He was on the supreme bench of Oregon continuously from 1859 to 1880, having three times held the high office of Chief Justice of that court.

        Judge Prim was born and raised in the state of Tennessee, where he obtained his literary and legal education and was admitted to the bar when yet a young man. In the year 1851 he was among the ambitious emigrants who crossed the plains, enduring many hardships and privations, arrising in Linn County near where the city of Albany is now located, where he passed his first winter in the west. In the following spring, 1852, he removed to Jacksonville, in Jackson County. Jackson County was at that time a thriving mining community, and for the four years following Judge Prim actively engaged in mining. In 1856 he resumed the practice of law, and in that year was elected prosecuting attorney of the first judicial district.

        In 1857 he was married to Miss Theresa. M. Stearns. Judge Prim was elected a delegate to the constitutional convention held in 1857, and took a prominent part in all important matters of state. In the year 1859, after Oregon Territory was admitted as a state, Governor Whiteaker appointed Judge Prim as one of the associate justices of the supreme court of the state of Oregon and ex officio circuit judge of the first judicial district. At the following election Judge Prim was elected to the office to which he had been appointed and successfully reelected to the same office for twenty years. In 1864, according to the arrangement of the supreme court, Judge Prim succeeded to the office of Chief Justice for a term of two years, until 1866. From 1866 to 1870 he again served as associate justice, assuming the duties of Chief Justice from 1870 to 1872. From 1872 to 1876 he performed the duties of associate justice again, and again in 1876 succeeded to the high office of Chief Justice, which office he held until 1878. In the year 1878, the supreme court of Oregon having been reorganized, the governor appointed Judge Prim as one of the first associate justices under the new arrangement in accordance with the law now in force, to hold office for a term of two years, until 1880. In that year he returned to the practice of his profession at Jacksonville, but in 1882 was again honored by the people of his district by being elected State Senator, which office he filled until 1886. He then continued the practice of his profession until 1897, when he removed to San Francisco, California.

        In politics Judge Prim was a conservative democrat, and was a resident of Southern Oregon for more than forty-five years, having been one of the leading pioneers and efficient promoters in all public interests in that part of the state.

        Judge Prim died in San Francisco August 7, 1899.

Arthur F. Benson's Original Biography Document