The first lawyer in Afton was probably George Smith, who was here in 1830. He came in a young, single man and married a daughter of Henry Olendorf. He practiced here several years and removed to Norwich, where he died. He was the only lawyer of any note who located here until the present ones came in.
The present (1882) lawyers are Jacob B. Kirkhuff, George A. Haven and Josiah D. Merritt.
Jacob B. Kirkhuff was born in Stanhope, N.J., September 12, 1836. He read law in Red Creek, N. Y., with Jacob B. Decker, with whom he remained six months. He entered the Albany Law School March 7, 1861, and was admitted on examination in November of that year. He commenced practice in Red Creek the same year and after six months removed to Savannah, in the same county. After two years spent west, in 1870, he located in Afton, where he has since practiced, since the spring of 1879 in company with Josiah D. Merritt. He has been a notary public since 1873.
George A. Haven was born in Pitcher, N. Y., October 1, 1844, and read law in Oxford with Hon. Solomon Bundy. He entered the Albany Law School in September, 1872, and was graduated May 17, 1873, having been admitted a month or two previously at a general term. He commenced practice in Oxford in 1873, and removed to Pitcher in 1875, and from there in April, 1878, to Afton.
Josiah D. Merritt was born in Bainbridge, September 24, 1852, and commenced the study of law at Chicago, Ill., in the Law Department of Chicago University. He subsequently pursued his legal studies in the North-Western University, from which he was graduated June 9, 1877. During his second college year he also read law in the office of Bage, Denslow & Dixon, of Chicago. He was admitted June 13, 1877, and commenced practice in Racine, Wis., where he remained about a year, when he removed to Hampshire, Ill. He removed thence after about eight months to Afton and formed a law partnership with Jacob B. Kirkhuff, which still continues.