HON. ORANGE JACOBS. – Hon. Orange Jacobs is a son of new York, a state which is the first in wealth, population, trade, manufactures and commerce, and first in the number of her sons and daught4ers who had gone out to make homes in other regions, and to develop their resources with New York brain and brawn.
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Virginia claims the proud distinction of being the “Mother of Presidents;” and New York could claim the prouder title of being “the mother of States and Territories.” In 1880 the Empire state had more than one million two hundred and fifty thousand sons and daughters who had made homes in newer countries. It is beyond human power to calculate what these armies of New Yorkers have done to found and build up our empire in that vast country west of the Alleghany Mountains.
The subject of our sketch is one of the most honored, distinguished and useful of these Empire state children. He was born in 1829, a rugged era of American civilization, which produced and developed rugged and heroic men and women. From New York he removed in early life to the frontiers in Michigan, where he was educated, and where his character was molded. At twenty-three years of age he joined the migratory masses that were moving towards the setting sun; and, following the “Oregon Trail,” he crossed the plains and the continental divide, and reached the tides of the Pacific Ocean. His home was first made in Salem, Oregon; but later he removed to Jacksonville, Jackson county, where he pursued the practice of law for a quarter of a century.
In 1867 he was appointed associate justice of the supreme court of Washington Territory, and in a short time was made chief justice. On the expiration of his term, Judge Jacobs was offered a reappointment by President Grant; but he declined the position to accept the nomination for delegate to Congress from the Republican party. He was elected to this office for two terms, and declined the nomination for a third term, returning to the practice of law. In 1880 he was elected mayor of Seattle, and served on term, declining a renomination for a second term. In 1884 he was elected to the senatorial council, where he did good service for the people of Washington Territory. Among the many measures he was instrumental in passing may be mentioned the change in the exemption laws, and the appropriations for the territorial penitentiary, insane asylum and university. The appropriations for the university were the largest in the legislation of that territory; and the results of the outlay will be felt to the remotest time.
Judge Jacobs is now a member, and the treasurer, of the board of regents of the University of Washington. While living in Oregon he came within one vote of a nomination, which would have been equivalent to an election to the United States Senate. While chief justice of the supreme court of Washington Territory, he made a decision in a case that became celebrated, as it involved the question of the national jurisdiction to the Island of San Juan. Judge Jacobs is decidedly opposed to alien and servile labor, and as strongly in favor of free American labor; but he deprecates violence and lawlessness in the solution of the question. He believes that it is a question of national importance, and that the non-employment of Chinese would result in their removal from this country.
Judge Jacobs is a man of large stature, commanding presence, positive views, has the courage of his convictions, but is liberal and tolerant. He has filled a prominent place in the public affairs of Northwest America as a pioneer, lawmaker and judicial officer.