Thomas A. Mc Bride Biography


        Thomas Allen McBride was born on November 15, 1847, on the donation land claim of his parents, James and Mahala McBride, in Yamhill County, Oregon. His father was the late Dr. Jas. McBride, well known to all old Oregonians, and whose memory is still venerated by all who ever knew him. He was one of the leading men in the Territory, and his daily walk was always in the direction of everything that was pure and noble, and, being a man of far above average ability, his example and teachings have been lasting in their effect. His sons inherited their father's ability and uprightness of character and all of them were a credit to our state. His brother, Hon. George W. McBride, was the leading merchant of Columbia county and speaker of the House in the Legislature in 1882, where he made a reputation that will favorably compare with any of his predecessors. His parents crossed the plains in 1846 and settled upon the donation land claim upon which Thomas Allen McBride was born and were among the early pioneers of Yamhill county, Oregon.

        Thomas Allen McBride attended the schools of Yamhill county, and of Vancouver, Washington, read law at Vancouver, Washington, an later completed his school education at McMinnville, Oregon College.

        In the middle sixties, he spent some time in the frontier mining camps of Eastern Oregon and endured the hardships, knocks and experiences of the mining days of that period among the miners, and perhaps had his first experience in law by appointment from a miners' committee to prosecute or defend violators of "Miners' Law" as it was then administered in the early mining camps.

        On October 6, 1870, at Salem, he was regularly admitted to practice law at the Bar in Oregon. After his admission to the Bar he practiced at Lafayette, and in 1872 he removed to St. Helens, and then at Oregon City, remaining at St. Helens until 1878, when he went to Salt Lake City, Utah, and there practiced his profession for two years. In 1880 he returned to Oregon City and formed a law partnership with Edward L. Eastham and later with A. S. Dresser.

        He was the first Republican ever elected to the Legislature from Columbia County, and that in the face of a large Democratic majority. He owed his election solely to his great personal popularity, not only among Republicans but also Democrats. In that Legislature, he made quite a reputation as a debater, and his speeches and witty repartees are often referred to by those who heard them. He was a member of the House in 1876.

        In 1882 he was appointed as District Attorney for the Fifth Judicial District, then comprising the counties of Washington, Clackamas, Clatsop, Columbia and Wasco, by Governor Moody. He was elected and reelected by the people and continued to hold this position until 1892 when he became Circuit Judge of the District. He was elected and re-elected to the office of Circuit Judge of the Fifth Judicial District, and occupied that position for seventeen years, and until named by Governor Benson as one of the Judges of the Supreme Court of the State of Oregon, which latter position he held for a period of more than twenty-one years, and up to the date of his death.

        During the period of his service as a Judge of the Supreme Court, he was Chief Justice of such Court for five terms.

        On February 7, 1875, he was married to Miss Mary E. Merrill, of Columbia County. Mrs. McBride died in 1923. They had two children, George M. McBride and Mrs. A. F. Newton. Justice McBride was married a second time to Mrs. Lottie May Chappelle, of Portland, Oregon, on April 8, 1927, who also survived him. The death of Justice McBride occurred at his home in Salem, Oregon, on Tuesday night of September 9, 1930. He would have been eighty-three years of age the next November fifteenth.

        Justice McBride was Republican in politics, was a member of the Christian Church and of the Order of Elks, and of the various branches of the Masonic Order; a member of the Oregon Bar Association and of the American Bar Association.

        For a period of more than thirty-eight years consecutively Thomas Allen McBride faithfully and unswervingly interpreted and administered the laws of this state as a Judge, seventeen years upon the Circuit bench, and twenty-one years upon the Supreme bench. During the period of twenty-one years while he was a Justice or Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, he wrote and delivered, in addition to the duties devolving upon him during his long service as Chief Justice, and in addition to many per curiam opinions, eight hundred eightyeight opinions of the Court, which fill pages of the volumes of Oregon Reports, beginning with the 54th volume, and ending with the volume of September 9, 1930, of the Advance Sheets of the Supreme Court, wherein appears the last opinion written by him and filed with the Clerk of the Court the day preceding his death.

        Judge McBride loved the companionship of his friends and was himself a most companionable and lovable man. His friends and acquaintances are innumerable and occupy every station of life. He lived and moved in the most active part of the history of his country, and in all that has gone to the making of the country and of the state of Oregon, he has borne an eminent and honorable part.

Arthur F. Benson's Original Biography Document