(Past and present of Saline County, Missouri. 986 Pages.)
Past and present of Saline County, Missouri. 986 Pages.
(Excerpt from Over the Santa Fe Trail The spring was back...)
Excerpt from Over the Santa Fe Trail The spring was backward, and when I reached Colonel Chiles's house in the middle of April winter was still lin gering in the lap of spring. The grass was not good on the plains until the loth of May. It was arranged for me to go out with the train commanded by Jim Crow, a son of Colonel Chiles. About the Publisher Forgotten Books publishes hundreds of thousands of rare and classic books. Find more at www.forgottenbooks.com This book is a reproduction of an important historical work. Forgotten Books uses state-of-the-art technology to digitally reconstruct the work, preserving the original format whilst repairing imperfections present in the aged copy. In rare cases, an imperfection in the original, such as a blemish or missing page, may be replicated in our edition. We do, however, repair the vast majority of imperfections successfully; any imperfections that remain are intentionally left to preserve the state of such historical works.
He attended the grammar school at Lawrenceville, and in 1826 was graduated from the College of New Jersey. He studied law under John Tayloe Lomax at the University of Virginia and in 1830 he was graduated from the department of law of the university with high honors.
For three years he served as tutor in the family of William Fitzhugh Gordon near Charlottesville, Virginia.
During his five or six years of residence in a "strict-construction" atmosphere he naturally imbibed much that tended to make him a lifelong advocate of state rights. In 1832 he moved to Fayette, Missouri, where he took up the practice of law, and at the same time for a few years edited the Boone's Lick Democrat. Governor Boggs appointed him attorney-general in 1836, an office which he held for three years.
In 1839 Napton was appointed a judge of the supreme court of Missouri and held the office until his defeat in the election of 1851. He was the chief if not the sole author of the famous Jackson Resolutions (instructions to Senator Thomas H. Benton to uphold the extreme proslavery program in Congress) passed by the state legislature in 1847. He first admitted and then, to save the face of their legislative sponsor, Claiborne F. Jackson, denied that he formulated the resolutions. When the trouble over slavery arose in Kansas, Napton, whose home was in Saline County--a strong pro-slavery section of western Missouri--aligned himself against the abolitionists. While this struggle was growing more acute a pro-slavery convention of considerable proportions was held (July 1855) at Lexington, then the largest town in western Missouri. Napton was the chairman of the resolutions committee, prime mover and general mouthpiece of this convention. It took, practically unanimously, a belligerent stand against the abolition movement and condemned the "diabolical" activities of the Emigrant Aid Society in Kansas. Napton was elected to the state supreme bench in 1857 but was automatically retired from the position when he refused to take the specially devised oath of office in 1861. Apparently he took no active part in the Civil War.
For a decade after 1863 he was a successful lawyer in St. Louis, and then (1873) was again chosen to the supreme court. He was generally considered the leading member of the bench until his voluntary retirement on December 31, 1880. He takes unusually high rank among Missouri jurists.
His judicial decisions bear the earmarks of painstaking research and were always clothed in beautiful and clear diction. In the jurisprudence of commercial law, land titles, and equity, the principles and conclusions which he set forth are counted as valuable and lasting contributions. Except perhaps where his favored doctrine of state rights was involved he was forward-looking in the adjustment of legal principles to new social and economic conditions. In this respect he helped to create precedents and through them to shape the course of legal development.
In 1838 he married Malinda Williams, the daughter of Judge Thomas L. Williams, who was for several years chancellor of eastern Tennessee and also a judge of the supreme court of Tennessee. Nine of their ten children lived to maturity.