HON. ALFRED SAMPLE, Circuit Judge of the Eleventh Judical District of Illinois, has won honorable distinction in the line of his profession and well deserves representation in this volume. A native of Ohio, he was born in Butler County, November 27, 1846. His parents were James and Jane (Beard) Sample. The father was a native of Kentucky and the mother of Virginia. The father was a farmer and stock-dealer. With his family he removed from Ohio to Livingston County, Ill., in 1857, and was a resident of that and McLean County until his death, which occurred April 20, 1883. His wife, the mother of our subject, a woman possessed of many excellencies of character, survived her husband until April 13, 1892.
Alfred Sample came to Illinois with his parents when eleven years of age and, when not attending school, was employed in agricultural pursuits on the home farm. November 24, 1863, when but sixteen years of age, he enlisted for the late war as a member of Company G, One Hundred and Twenty-ninth Illinois Infantry, and immediately went into active service. His regiment was assigned to Sherman's Army and participated in the Atlanta campaign. At the battle of Resaca, Ga., May 15, 1864, the young soldier of whom we are writing was severely, and at that time supposed to be mortally, wounded, being shot in the breast and through both arms. Thus unfitted for duty, he received an honorable discharge December 6, 1864, on account of his wounds received on the field of battle. He carries with him through life a crippled arm as a memento of the so-called ''late unpleasantness between the States."

On returning from the war, Mr. Sample became a student in Eureka College, where he pursued his studies for three years, after which he entered Monmouth College, taking a special course in each, and giving particular attention to the classics and mathematics. While at college, he taught select school several terms during vacations and was engaged in teaching school for one year after leaving Monmouth College. He then entered upon the study of law under the preceptorship of the Hon. Robert G. Ingersoll, the famous American orator and attorney at law of Washington, D. C, then a prominent lawyer of Illinois and a resident of Peoria. In 1871, after the regular examination, Mr. Sample was admitted to the Bar and that same year opened an office at Paxton, where he entered upon a successful practice of his profession. His talent and ability soon won for him an honorable position in the Bar of Eastern Illinois.

In politics. Judge Sample is a Republican, but he has never sought or desired prominence in the line of political distinction, but has preferred to devote his energies to the practice of his profession, and to accept such preferment as is the legitimate outgrowth of success in that direction. The only purely political position he has been known to fill was that of Presidential elector in the campaign of 1880, when James A. Garfield was chosen President. He has served as State Attorney for eight years. City Attorney of Paxton for four years, and in June, 1885, was nominated and elected without opposition to the honorable position of Judge of the Eleventh Judicial District of Illinois. After serving a term of six years, he was again nominated and elected for the succeeding term without opposition. The fact of Judge Sample being the unanimous choice of the citizens of that district on both occasions speaks volumes in his praise and is a compliment of which he may well be proud. The Eleventh Judicial District of Illinois includes within its limits the counties of Livingston, Kankakee, Iroquois, McLean and Ford, and Judge Sample's associates are Judges Charles R. Starr and Thomas F. Tipton. In June, 1891, Judge Sample was appointed to the Appellate Bench of the Fourth District of Illinois, which position he holds at the present time.

On the fifth of September, 1876, the Judge was married to Miss Florence A. Cook, a daughter of Col. H. D. Cook, a well-known and prominent citizen of Illinois, a sketch of whom appcars elsewhere in this work. The lady was born in Cappa, Woodford County, Ill. Judge and Mrs. Sample have two daughters: Florence I. and Lois A., both born in Paxton. Socially, Judge Sample is a Mason and a member of the Grand Army of the Republic. He belongs to Paxton Lodge No. 416, A. F. & A. M.; Ford Chapter No. 113, R. A. M.; Mt. Olivet Conmmandery No. 38, K. T., and was in the year 1878 the Grand Orator of the Masonic Grand Lodge of the State of Illinois. He is also a member of Paxton Post No. 387, G. A. R.

The personal popularity of the Judge has grown with the years of his service in a judicial capacity. He is comparatively a young man and has the physical strength to hold court until the work on the docket is disposed of, not having lost a day on account of illness in about seven years. He has the executive ability to dispatch business with rapidity and without any undue haste, and his career as a lawyer has been successful from the start. He is studious by habit, possessing quick perceptive faculties and a mind well adapted to the intellectual profession of his choice. As a judge, his rulings have ever been fair and impartial, so that lawyers and litigants interested feel at the conclusion that they have been fairly and impartially treated. In manner, Judge Sample is unassuming, yet dignified, cordial and affable, gifted as a conversationalist and always good company. He has won his success in life by hard study and earnest application to business, and is essentially a self-made man. He is the owner of valuable tracts of land and has recently erected at Paxton a very comfortable and modern residence, which he designed for a permanent home. Several years prior to his elevation to the bench, Judge Sample distinguished himself by the able and successful manner in which he conducted suits against railroad companies to compel the adoption of the legal rate of three cents a mile fare and to prevent the annoyance and loss to the traveling public of the illegal rate of four cents. This railroad litigation, which was of public interest at the time, attracted general attention and the marked success attending the efforts of Judge Sample won for him much favorable comment and well-merited praise.

Extracted 14 Dec 2017 by Norma Hass from Portrait and Biographical Record of Ford County, Illinois, published in 1892, pages 205-206.

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