|Birth: ||Aug. 31, 1809|
New Jersey, USA
|Death: ||Oct. 30, 1880|
HON. PETER McCALL
Hon. Peter McCall, one of the oldest and most highly respected members of the Philadelphia bar, died at his country seat at Overbrook, on the Pennsylvania railroad, at seven o'clock, on Saturday morning. Mr. McCall was in the seventy-third year of his age. For some time previous his health had been failing, and lately there appeared to be a complete breakdown of the entire system, which became more and more evident during each successive day, till his physicians, Drs. Da Costa and Keating, were compelled to give up the hope of prolonging a life which has been distinguished by varied and lofty attainments, by extended usefulness and a large share of success.
Mr. McCall belonged to an ancient and highly respected family who came to this country in the year 1699. His father and grandfather were prominent East India merchants, and were both men of wealth and standing. His birthplace was in Trenton, N. J., and he was educated at Princeton College, where at the early age of eighteen he graduated with high honors. His attention had already been turned to the legal profession, for which his native abilities singularly qualified him, and on completing his college course he came to this city and entered as a law student in the office of J. R. Ingersoll, Esq., where he had for his associates, two young gentlemen who in later years also became distinguished members of the bar, Judge Sharswood and Isaac Hazelhurst, Esq. Mr. McCall was admitted on the 1st of November 1830, and therefore, had he lived, would to-day have seen the semi-centennial anniversary of that event.
It soon became evident that he had judged himself correctly in the choice of a vocation. He rose rapidly to the highest rank of his profession, and throughout his career practiced chiefly in the civil courts, although one of the most important cases in which he was concerned was a criminal one, the trial at the Bucks county of Mrs. Chapman and her alleged accomplice, the Cuban Mius, for the murder of the woman's husband. In this case Mr. McCall was associated with David Paul Brown as counsel for the defense, which he conducted with an ability that fully equaled the oratorical powers of his eminent colleague.
The result of his efforts was the acquittal of Mrs. Chapman. The Cuban, however, was convicted and suffered the extreme penalty of the law at Doylestown. Mr. McCall was also counsel for Professor S. F. B. Moore in the various suits brought by the latter for infringement of his rights as inventor of the telegraph. His high legal attainments, his profound method and obvious fitness in every respect for the office of judge led to frequent solicitation on the part of his brethren of the law that he would permit himself to serve in the City Councils, and was several times elected to the higher branch between the years 1840 and 1850 and in '44 was chosen Mayor of the city by the old and usually victorious Whig party of Philadelphia.
He won distinction, not only as a lawyer, but as a man of letters, being a remarkable linguist, a fine classical scholar, and not only reading, but speaking and writing several modern languages with great fluency. He was a clear, logical and powerful writer, and took a deep interest in all that related to the higher education. For many years he was a member of the Board of Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania, and till within quite a recent period occupied in the law school of that institution the chair of practice, pleading and evidence at law and in equity.
He was frequently called upon to pronounce the eulogy on a deceased brother, in accordance with the beautiful custom of the legal profession, and was considered to excel in the good taste, kindly feeling and touching eloquence with which he performed that duty.
Mr. McCall's city residence was at 2012 Delancey place. His wife and three daughters survive him. General George M. McCall, of the Pennsylvania Reserves was his cousin. The funeral will take place to-day, at St. Mark's Protestant Episcopal Church.
Philadelphia Inquirer, November 1, 1880, courtesy of Meges (#47093145).
Jane Byrd Mercer McCall (1825 - 1895)
Edith McCall Keating (1853 - 1942)*
Christ Church Burial Ground
Created by: DeLoss McKnight III
Record added: Jul 24, 2005
Find A Grave Memorial# 11416398