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HON. MAHLON H. STOUT

HON. MAHLON H. STOUT, president judge of the courts of Bucks county, was born in Richland township, Bucks county, Pennsylvania, March 10, 1852, being the son of Jacob and Amanda (Headman) Stout, both of German descent.

Jacob Stout, the great-great-grandfather of the subject of this sketch, was born in Germany in the year 1711, and came to this country at the age of twenty-six years. He arrived in Philadelphia in the ship “Samuel,” August 30, 1737, accompanied by an elder brother John, aged thirty years. In the year 1739 Jacob Stout married Anna Leisse, widow of John Leisse, of Rockhill township, Bucks county, Pennsylvania. John Leisse, LaCene, Lacey, or Licey, as the name has been variously spelled, arrived in the ship “Adventurer,” from Rotterdam, with wife Anna, aged twenty-four years, a brother, Paul LaCene, with his wife Luisa and three children, and a brother-in-law, Michel Miller, September 23, 1732. John Leisse purchased in 1735 two hundred acres in Rockhill under the name of “John Lacey”. He died in 1738, and the following year his widow married Jacob Stout. The two hundred acre farm purchased by Leisse included a large part of the present borough of Perkasie. In 1759 Johannes and Hendrick Licey, the sons of John Leisse, deceased, conveyed this tract to their stepfather, Jacob Stout, and he and wife in turn conveyed to them tracts in Hilltown, portions of 266 acres purchased by Jacob Stout in 1757. The first purchase of land by Jacob Stout was a tract of land adjoining the Durham tract, now in Williams township, Northampton county, 243 acres, purchased September 9, 1750; his residence at that date was given as “Durham township, Bucks county.” In 1753 he purchased a mill property at Church Hill, in Rockhill township. In 1767 he purchased the Pine Run mill property and one hundred and nineteen acres, and in 1774 a tract of one hundred and fifty acres in New Britain township. These later purchases were doubtless to provide homes for his daughter, Salome, who had married Abraham Freed, a miller, and to whom he conveyed the mill and forty-one acres three years later; and Catharine, who had married Jacob Schlieffer, who occupied and later heired the New Britain property. Jacob Stout was a potter by trade and was a successful and prominent man in the community. The last twenty years of his life were doubtless spent on his Perkasie farm, where he lies buried in a neat little burial lot close to the P. & R. R. R. station. He died April 30, 1779, aged sixty-eight and a half years. The children of Jacob and Anna (Miller-Leisse) Stout were: Abraham, Isaac; Salome, married (first) Abraham Freed and (second) Gabriel Swartzlander; and Catharine, wife of Jacob Schlieffer.

Abraham Stout, eldest son of Jacob and Anna Stout, was born August 17, 1740. He was probably one of the best educated Pennsylvania Germans of his time in Bucks county. Most of his education was acquired in the old Germantown Academy, under the tuition of Hilarius Becker, professor of German, and David J. Dove as instructor in English. He thus acquired a thorough knowledge of the English language, a rare accomplishment at that date or for many years later among the German colonists of upper Bucks. He was an excellent accountant and penman as well as a good business man, and his services were much in demand as a surveyor, scrivener and accountant among his German neighbors for over a quarter of a century. From an examination of the old papers on file in the county offices it would appear that he drew a great majority of the deeds, wills and other legal papers for the middle section of upper Bucks during that period. In addition to this he was constantly in demand by the court to serve as one of the auditors appointed to prepare and state the accounts of administrators and executors under the rule then in vogue, and many of these papers now on file in the orphans’ court are models of penmanship, conciseness and neatness. At the death of his father in 1779 his brothers and sisters conveyed to him the homestead farm at Perkasie, whereupon he was born, and he spent his whole life there, the Durham farm going to his brother Isaac, while the sisters were provided for as before stated. He died June 8, 1812, and is buried beside his father, mother and wife in the family burial lot at Perkasie. His life presents a fine example of German-American citizenship. Though he was in the height of his local usefulness during the period of the Revolutionary war, he seems to have held aloof from active participation therein. He was elected to represent Rockhill township in the committee of safety in 1775, but after several meetings had been held he asked to be relieved and another was appointed in his place. It is probable that the traditions of the sufferings of his ancestors from the civil wars in the Palatinate had their effect in deterring him from taking an active part in the struggle. He was a delegate from Bucks county to the constitutional convention of 1790, and took an active part in the framing of the constitution of our commonwealth. He married October 21, 1772, Mary Magdalen Hartzell, daughter of Henry Hartzell of Rockhill. She died November 8, 1811, in her sixty-first year. Their children were: Hannah, who married a Worman, and was left a widow young and for many years resided with her parents; Abraham; Henry H; Jacob H.; Anna, who married Jacob Hartman; Margaretta, who married Tobias Rule; (later spelled Ruhl) and Magdalene, who married John Gearhart.

Jacob Stout, second son of Abraham and Magdalen, was the grandfather of Judge Stout. He was born on the Perkasie homestead January 9, 1775, and died there August 15, 1820. His wife was Elizabeth Barndt, born November 27, 1778 and died November 7, 1821. They resided on a portion of the old homestead and raised a family of eight children, viz: Isaac; Abraham; Jacob B.; Samuel; Sarah, who married Charles Leidy; Anna, who married Isaac Drumbore; Mary Magdalen, who married Jacob Gross; and Elizabeth, who married Enos Kile.

Jacob B. Stout, the father of Judge Stout. was born at Perkasie, November 8, 1814, and died near there in April, 1896. He married Amanda, daughter of Michael Headman. They resided for a time at the old Headman Pottery in Rockhill, but returned later and purchased a farm adjoining the old Perkasie homestead, where the remainder of their lives were spent. The children of Jacob and Amanda Stout were: Maria, who married Tobias Weil; Emma, who married George W. Kratz; and Mahlon H., the subject of this sketch.

Judge Stout spent his boyhood days on the Rockhill farm and attended the public schools of the neighborhood and the First State Normal School at Millersville, and taught school for four years. He afterwards entered Franklin and Marshall College, at Lancaster, Pennsylvania, from which he graduated in 1878. He at once took up the study of law in the office of Adam J. Eberly, Esq., at Lancaster, and was admitted to the Lancaster county bar April 4, 1880, and to that of his native county in May of the same year. After two years of practice at Doylestown he located in 1882 at Hulmeville, opening a law office there and having a branch office at Bristol. He was also a justice of the peace at Hulmeville. In 1886 he came to Doylestown and formed a law partnership with ex-judge Richard Watson, under the firm name of Watson & Stout, which continued until the death of Judge Watson in 1894. Mr. Stout was elected district attorney of Bucks county in 1888, and was unanimously nominated by his party to succeed himself three years later, but was defeated at the polls by the late Paul H. Applebach, the candidate of the then dominant party.

Mr. Stout was married November 13, 1894 to Miss Harriet Miller, of Downingtown, Pennsylvania. In 1898, his wife’s health failing, he sacrificed his business and removed with her to Pasadena, California, with the hope of saving her life. While there he was admitted to the bar of that state and practiced law at Pasadena. His wife died December 24, 1899, and their infant son Max on December 25, 1898.

Mr. Stout returned to Doylestown in the spring of 1900, and again took up the practice of law. In 1901 he formed a partnership with Harvey S. Kiser, Esq., under the firm name of Stout & Kiser, which continued until the elevation of Mr. Stout to the bench. He was elected president judge in November, 1903, and entered upon the duties of his office in January, 1904. Judge Stout has always been a close student, and as a lawyer had the reputation of being one of the best counsellors at the bar, and his administration of the high office to which he has been elevated merits the trust reposed in him by the large majority of voters who elected him. His calm and even temperament, his uniform courtesy, his sterling common sense, his devotion to principle and right, and his unquestioned knowledge of the law, have made his administration popular with all classes.

Text taken from pages 84-85 of: Davis, William W. H., A.M., History of BucksCounty, Pennsylvania [New York-Chicago: the Lewis Publishing Company, 1905] volume III Transcribed July 2000 by Earl Goodman of PA as part of the Bucks Co., Pa., Early Family Project, www.rootsweb.com/~pabucks/bucksindex.html

Published April 2000 on the Bucks County, Pa., USGenWeb pages at www.rootsweb.com/~pabucks


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