THE EARLY BAR, 1788-1866
Our story begins with the first Pittsburgh lawyer, Hugh Henry Brackenridge, facing execution for treason in 1794 for his role in opposing the federal tax on whiskey. It was an era of duels and rebellion and violent political confrontation. Factionalism and arguments about the nature and powers of the young Republic form the backdrop to some of the more dramatic tales of the period, from the impeachment of Pittsburgh's first Common Pleas judge, Alexander Addison, to the last duel in Pittsburgh, to the involvement of Pittsburgh lawyers in the Civil War itself. Also reviewed are the idiosyncratic U.S. Supreme Court tenure of Henry Baldwin; the Great Fire of 1845 and its impact on the legal profession; the Pittsburgh career of Edwin Stanton, later known as President Lincoln's Secretary of War; and the connections and reactions of the Pittsburgh bar to the assassination of President Lincoln.