Biography of Judge Arthur L. Beardsley

The courts in this country are the last refuge of liberty for the citizen and the ultimate bulwark of defence [sic] for his life and property; and it is well for any community when its judges are men of proven probity, extensive legal learning, patriotic devotion to the public good and unyielding force of character in standing up for essential justice in the administration of the important trusts which they have in charge. In nothing, perhaps, have the states of the farther West been more fortunate and distinguished than in the uprightness and capability of their courts in general. Their judges have dignified and adorned their jurisprudence by a wealth of legal lore, and in cases where this has been in some measure lacking, the force of character and triumphant sense of fairness of the judges have made sufficient amends for the deficiency to subserve the ends of justice in their decision and make the rights and interests of the citizens secure. In the particular instance of Judge Beardsley both the legal learning and the force of character are present, and there is besides a wide and accurate knowledge of men gathered in experience with them in the toilsome avocations of life. The Judge was born in Newark, Essex county, New Jersey, on January 26, 1860, and is the son of Theodore and Henrietta E. (Baldwin) Beardsley, the former born in Sussex county, that state, and the latter in Essex. The father was a merchant and besides being successful in business was prominent in the councils of the Prohibition party in politics, being at one time its candidate for mayor of his home city. He and his wife were Baptists in religious affiliation. Their offspring numbered six, of whom five survive them, the mother having died on January 16th, and the father on November 2, 1895. The living children are Arthur L., Grace, William, Mabel and Theodore. The Judge began his scholastic education in the public schools and finished it at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, his own industry and frugality furnishing the money for the more advanced courses of instruction. In 1873 he came to Colorado, and here he devoted four additional years to school in special courses. In June, 1878, he took a position on a cattle ranch in the employ of W. L. Beardsley, of Huerfano county, living near the present town of Walsenburg. He remained with Mr. Beardsley until January, 1879, then turned his attention to merchandising at Leadville. From there he moved to Tincup and began the study of law. After pursuing the study the required time and attending the schools belonging to the profession, he began to practice at Glenwood in 1887, remaining there one year, at the end of which he moved to Newcastle [sic], where he passed eleven years in active practice, nine of them as city attorney. In 1898 he was elected county judge of Garfield county, and in 1901 and in 1904 he was re-elected, being each time the candidate of the Republican party, the first time of the Silver Republicans and the second and third of the regulars. The last election was for a term of four years. In the administration of his exalted and important office he has given great satisfaction to all classes of the people and made a high and enduring reputation for himself. He is active and prominent in the Masonic order, belonging to the lodge and the Royal Arch chapter, in the latter body holding the office of captain of the host. He also belongs to the Knights of Pythias. On May 21, 1902, he was married to Miss Rhoda Belle McDonald, a native of Valeene, Indiana, her father born in Kentucky and her mother in Indiana. Almost the whole of his mature life was passed in the latter state, where he was for many years a miller and later a farmer. He died in 1897, at the age of seventy-five. Mrs. Beardsley was at one time a school teacher in Kentucky and afterwards at Carbondale, this state. She and the Judge became the parents of one child, which died in infancy, and Mrs. Beardsley died June 16, 1904, in giving birth to a daughter, who survives her.

Source: Bowen, A. W. Progressive Men of Western Colorado. Chicago: A. W. Bowen & Co., Publishers. 1905.

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