History of Bucks County, Pa Volume 3 by William H. Davis
Names and Page # Index



                WILLIAM CHAFFEE RYAN, lawyer and referee in bankruptcy, Doylestown, was born in New Hope, Bucks county, Pennsylvania, June 15, 1860, and is the son of John and Lydia (MOORE) RYAN, both natives of Hunterdon county, New Jersey.  He spent his boyhood days in his native town, and attended the high school there until 1878, when he accepted a position as clerk in the office of the Lambertville Spoke Manufacturing Company, which he filled until August, 1882.  In September, 1882, he entered the office of Hugh B. EASTBURN, Esq., at Doylestown, as a student at law and was admitted to the bar, of Bucks county September 15, 1884, and located at Doylestown.  In 1887 he formed a law partnership with the late Hon. Robert M. YARDLEY, member of congress from the Bucks-Montgomery district, which was continued until 1890.  In 1891 Mr. YARDLEY was made receiver of the Keystone National Bank, Philadelphia, and Mr. RYAN became assistant receiver; and in 1894.  Mr. YARDLEY having also been made receiver of the Spring Garden Bank, Mr. RYAN became assistant receiver of that institution and continued in the work of closing out the affairs of both banks until 1898.  Returning to the active practice of law at Doylestown, he was appointed referee in bankruptcy by the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, in July, 1898, a position he still fills (1904).  He has been admitted to practice in the state and federal courts, including the supreme court of the United States; is a member of the County and State Bar Associations and of the National Association of Referees in Bankruptcy.  Mr. RYAN stands high in the practice of his profession, and has acted as counsel in many important cases.  As chief counsel he conducted the defence (sic) of Wallace BURT, the half-breed murderer of the RIGHTLYS, in 1894, in connection with Howard I. JAMES, Esq.  He represented the borough of New Hope in the important contest against the Western Union and Postal Cable Telegraph Companies over an ordinance imposing license fees on the telegraph companies for the maintenance of Poles and wires within the borough limits, and carried the case through the state and United States supreme courts.   The latter court sustained the contention of the borough, in 1903, in the case of the Western Union Company, (187, U.S. 419), but to some extent modified its decision in the case of the Postal Telegraph and Cable Company, in 1904 (192, U. S. 55), though it sustained the contention of the plaintiff, viz.: the right of the borough to enact and enforce such an ordinance if the rates imposed be reasonable.  The cases were therefore important, involving a constitutional question of great interest.  Mr. Ryan argued both cases in the several courts.

      In politics Mr. RYAN is a Republican and has often taken the stump in political campaigns.  He has also been frequently called upon to deliver addresses upon formal occasions.  In the practice of his chosen profession, to which he is thoroughly devoted, he is active, earnest and successful, both as a counselor and advocate, frequently appearing before the courts in the trail of civil and other causes.  Mr. RYAN was married April 18, 1889, to Katherine GRIMES, and has one daughter, Helen Lydia RYAN.

Test taken from page 476 of:

Davis, William W. H., A.M., History of Bucks County, Pennsylvania [New York-Chicago: The Lewis Publishing Company, 1905] Volume III

Transcribed August 2004 as part of the Bucks Co., Pa., Early Family Project, www.rootsweb.com/~pabucks/bucksindex.html

Published October 2004 on the Bucks County, Pa., USGenWeb pages at www.rootsweb.com/~pabucks/

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