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Edgar Clarence Steele occupies as enviable a position in the public esteem as the most ambitious could desire or as any of our prominent men have achieved. To the citizens of Moscow and the second judicial district he can only be known as being a reputable, prominent man and an honest, able and efficient officer. At the bar he manifests all the qualities of the successful lawyer, and on the bench he displays a rare combination of talent, learning, tact, patience and industry. The successful lawyer and the competent judge must be a man of well balanced intellect, thoroughly familiar with the law and practice, of comprehensive general information, possessed of an analytical mind and a self-control that will enable him to lose his individuality, his personal feelings, his prejudices and the peculiarities of disposition, in the dignity, impartiality and equity of the office to which life, property, right and liberty must look for protection. All these qualities Judge Steele displays.
A native of Indiana, he was born November 15, 1857, his parents being Samuel A. and Mary Amnie (Beem) Steele. The father was born in Indiana about 1830, has followed farming and stock raising throughout his entire business career, and is now living in Romona, Indiana. His wife also is a native of the Hoosier state, and is still living. The paternal grandfather of our subject was Samuel Steele, a native of Ireland, who on coming to the United States located in Maryland. Subsequently he removed to the blue-grass region of Kentucky, and thence to Indiana, where he died at the age of seventy-two years.
Judge Steele is a graduate of the high school of Spencer, Indiana, and also pursued his studies in the State University, at Bloomington, Indiana. Determining to engage in the practice of law as a life work, he spent two years in the Indiana Law School, at Indianapolis, where he was graduated with the class of 1879. He practiced law in that state until the fall of 1889, and for four years was in partnership with James H. Jordan, who is now a member of the supreme bench of that state. In 1889 Judge Steele was appointed law examiner of the general land office at Washington, and served until January, 1893, when he resigned and came to Idaho, having in the meantime formed a partnership with Hon. Willis Sweet, of Moscow. That relationship was maintained until 1898, when Judge Steele was elevated to the bench.
The Judge is a stalwart Republican in his political views, and in August 1898, he was nominated for judicial honors in the second district, being elected by a plurality of eight hundred. He has proved a most competent officer, strictly fair and impartial, weighing the evidence carefully and framing his decisions with due regard to the law and to precedent. He is proving himself to be one of the best district judges of the state, and his judicial actions are in entire harmony with the opinions of the leading members of the bar.
In November 1889, in Logan, Ohio, Judge Steele was united in marriage to Miss Jessie L. White, a native of Ohio, and their pleasant home is a popular resort with Moscow’s best citizens. In his social relations the Judge is a Mason, and in professional and political circles he is regarded as one of the leading men of his adopted state.