The following is a transcript of the Richmond Dispatch article from June 17, 1891. Every effort was taken to ensure accuracy.



Henry T. Meloney, of Maryland, Clerk, and Ex-Judge Thomas S. Atkins, of This City, Marshal—Lawyers Qualify.

The attendance in the United States Circuit-Court room yesterday was probably larger than it has been since the memorable day when the bail bond of Jefferson Davis was signed there.

As on that occasion the Chief Justice of the United States presided. The cause of the gathering was, however, a much more pleasant one, being the organization of the new United States Circuit Court of Appeals.

Nearly every lawyer of prominence in the city was present, as were also numerous others.


It was given out Monday afternoon that 10 o'clock would be the hour of meeting, but yesterday morning it was announced that it had been determined to postpone the opening until noon.

The partial cause of this was to give the Judges time to agree upon the appointment of the clerk and marshal of the court. Before leaving the hotel a delegation from the Richmond bar called on the Chief Justice to urge the appointment of ex-Judge Thomas S. Atkins as clerk.

At exactly five minutes past 12 o'clock the Chief Justice and Judges Bond and Jackson entered the court-room. All present rose until the trio, who were attired in black silk gowns, were seated. Judge Bond sat to the right of the Chief Justice and Judge Jackson on his left.

Leaning forward over the bar, the Chief Justice explained the reason for the formation of the tribunal, which, he said, was to expedite justice and relieve the pressure on the United States Supreme Court.


Mr. Justice Fuller then read an order designating Judge J. J. Jackson, of West Virginia, as the associate judge of the court until an appointment is made by the President.

Continuing, the Chief Justice said the next thing to be done was to select the officers of the court.

Mr. Henry T. Meloney, of Maryland, had been chosen as clerk and he asked that gentleman please to come forward and be sworn. Mr. Meloney advanced to the desk, was sworn in by the Chief Justice, and then signed his oath of office.

This done, Mr. Fuller announced that Mr. Thomas S. Atkins had been selected for marshal.

This gentleman, his face wreathed in smiles, advanced to the bench and had the oath administered by Mr. Fuller.


Mr. Justice Fuller stated that while the annual term of the court would probably be held in October as there would be nothing for it to do this year it would not meet again until next February.

The Chief Justice suggested that it would be well for Assistant-District-Attorney Bristow to qualify to practice before the court, and that he could then submit motions to allow others, who in turn, could introduce all who desired to qualify in this court. Mr. Fuller stated that all who practiced in the United States Supreme or Circuit Court were eligible.

Mr. Bristow was accordingly sworn by the clerk. He submitted the names of Major Legh R. Page, Henry R. Pollard, George L. Christian, and James M. Mathews. These four were sworn and after them the following: James Lyons, Meade Haskins, Henry W. Stamper, Robert Stiles, W. W. Henry, B. B. Munford, A. L. Holladay, John A. Coke, R. B. Pegram, C. S. Stringfellow, Hunter H. Marshall, James C. Lamb, John H. Dinneen, W. W. Cosby, F. W. Christian, E. C. Minor, John Howard, Rosewell Page, Thomas Rouldin, James L. Anderson, E. B. Thomason, Joseph Bryan, W. H. Sands, Harvey Willson, S. D. Davies, James Pleasants, William Flegenheimer, Jackson Guy, S. J. Parish, M. M. Gilliam, Willis B. Smith, Charles V. Meredith, S. Proskauer, E. Waddill, Jr., James Caskle, C. C. Jackson, George C. Sturgiss, James H. Stewart, district and assistant district attorneys of West Virginia.


Justice Fuller announced that a set of rules for the government of the court had been adopted. He did not consider it advisable to amend them at its first sitting, but the Court would always be open for suggestions. The rules are printed in pamphlet form and are only of interest to members of the bar.

After stating that the practice of the court would be as far as applicable the same as in the United States Supreme Court, the Chief Justice announced that the court was adjourned until the Tuesday after the first Monday in February.

The Clerk and Marshal of the court are each required to give bond in the sum of $20,000.


The new Clerk is a tall, handsome gentleman of nearly forty-seven years of age. He is descended from a Quaker family. In politics he is credited with being a Democrat, but doesn't care to talk politics. "You know," he said, "that the Chief Justice says that politics 'find no place in the courts.'"

He stated to a Dispatch man that every appointment he had received had been under a Democratic administration. From this it would appear that he must have been Chief-Justice Fuller's choice, although he is a resident of Baltimore and came to Richmond with Judge Bond.

Mr. Meloney will bring to his new place the experience of nearly thirty years as a court clerk or deputy. At sixteen he was in the Talcott county (Md.) Clerk's office. In 1870 he was appointed court clerk of the Baltimore City Court. In 1874 he was made court clerk of the Criminal Court of the same city. In 1877 he was appointed by the late United States District-Judge Giles as deputy clerk of the Circuit and District Courts of Baltimore.


Ex-Judge Thomas S. Atkins, the new Marshal, is about fifty years old. He was until yesterday chief clerk in the United States internal revenue office here. He was for many years deputy clerk of the United States District Court, register in bankruptcy, and lately judge of the Hustings Court. He was Judge Witt's predecessor on that bench, where he served one term, and gave general satisfaction. One of the most important cases during Judge Atkins's term was that of Cluverius. Judge Atkins was a candidate for the place given Mr. Meloney, and was endorsed for it by almost the entire bar of Richmond. His appointment is thought to be due to Judge Bond, though all the members of the court were no doubt favorable to his appointment to the marshalship.

Judge Atkins submitted his resignation to Mr. Brady by telegraph yesterday.