Judge Joseph Dudley Perkins

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Judge Joseph Dudley Perkins

  • Birth 10 Feb 1851 Farmington, St. Francois County, Missouri, USA
  • Death 27 Oct 1935 Carthage, Jasper County, Missouri, USA
  • Burial Carthage, Jasper County, Missouri, USA
  • Plot Bl 33 Lot 119
  • Memorial ID 39892042

Joseph Dudley Perkins
Attorney, Judge
Aged 84 years, at the time of his death from chronic myocarditis.
* * * * * *

A glimpse into the past about Judge Perkins was shared from a snippet article from 'The Mornin' Mail' archives paper in Carthage courtesy Mr. Bill Boggess

1 December 1898

"Judge J. D. Perkins and Dr W. W. Flora [father-in-law of Luke Boggess] are each planning to build residences in the spring but have not yet decided on plans or location."



For 20 Years He Served on Circuit Bench Here.


At His Request Funeral Will Be In His Old Court Room With Bar In Charge

Judge J. D. Perkins, 84, who served as judge of the circuit court of Jasper County longer than any other one man - 20 years - died at 8:35 o'clock last night at the home of Mrs. Issac Amerman, 525 West Chestnut.

He had been in failing health the last year. On last July 6 he was taken to McCune-Brooks hospital, where he was a patient a week, being moved from there to the home of Miss Doshia Kingsbury on Lyon Street, where he had been rooming for some time. His condition became more serious and he was moved to the home of Mrs. Amerman, a practical nurse. He had been growing weaker since October 8. Death was attributed to a heart condition complicated by his advanced age.

In accordance with instruction left by Judge Perkins with Attorney John H. Flanigan, funeral services will be held in division one courtroom, with members of the Jasper County Bar association in charge.

In 1932 Mr. Perkins wrote his autobiography, copies of which he presented many of his friends, in this book Judge Perkins recalled that his ancestors on his father's side of the family originally came from England and settled in the colony of Virginia. His grandfather, Joseph Perkins, for whom Judge Perkins was named, moved from Virginia to Kentucky when his father was one year old and lived in Shelby county about 10 years. The family moved from there to Missouri and settled in St. Francois county, about three miles northeast of Farmington, the county seat. Judge Perkins was born there on February 10, 1851.

When a youth, he would hunt snakes. Then later he attended Wentworth Military Academy at Lexington, Missouri, and then University of Missouri, Columbia, Missouri.

From early childhood Judge Perkins was interested in court proceedings and after he was grown he often attended court sessions. In 1876 he was appointed deputy assessor of St. Francois county by his uncle, Jasper Horn, then assessor and served in that capacity one year, after which he continued his study of law. In April, 1877, Mr. Perkins was elected school commissioner in that county and served until the next fall when he resigned and in November of that year he was given a license to practice law in the courts of Missouri. Mr. Perkins then went to Fredricktown, Mo., where he opened a law office remaining there about five years. In 1878 he was elected prosecuting attorney of Madison county of which Fredricktown is the county seat, and in 1880 was re-elected to that office, but at the end of that term he voluntarily retired from office.

The Missouri State Bar Association was organized in 1880 in St. Louis and the following year, Mr. Perkins became a member.

Judge Perkins came to Carthage on June 15, 1883, and in August of that year he opened a law office here. At that time the circuit court was held in Carthage in an old frame church building which had been moved onto the west part of the jail lot. In the spring of 1887 Mr. Perkins was elected city attorney of Carthage and held that office one year.

The following is from Judge Perkins' autobiography:
"Prior to 1896 the Republican party in Jasper county split over the free silver coinage issue. William McKinley and 'Silver Dick' Bland had been advocating in congress the free coinage of silver for a long time. When the Republican national convention in 1896 adopted a gold standard platform and nominated McKinley for president and he accepted the nomination on a large number of Republicans in the county refused to support McKinley. When Bryan was nominated at the Democratic convention on a free silver platform, these Republicans organized what they called the 'Free Silver Republican' party in Jasper county and enthusiastically supported Bryan.
"There was also a well organized Populist party in the county which gave its support to Bryan. the Democrats of Jasper County almost solidly followed 'Silver Dick' Bland and William J. Stone, who was then governor of Missouri, and enthusiastically supported Bryan. The three county committees, the Democrats, Populists and Free Silver Republicans held a joint meeting and organized what was then known as the 'three ringed circus' and agreed to combine on one county ticket and on a distribution of the county of offices including circuit judge. The conventions of the three parties were held in Carthage at the same time and nominated a combined ticket. I was nominated for circuit judge by all three conventions without opposition. For years Jasper County had been normally Republican by majorities of from 1,000 to 1,200. After the combination of the three parties their combined strength was about 2,500 more than the Republican more than the Republican strength and our whole ticket was elected by large majorities. It was the first time the Republicans had failed to carry the county since the Civil War. I was elected for only two years to fill out the remainder of an unexpired term."

Judge Perkins began his judicial career on the first day of January 1897 and in 1898 he was re-elected for a term of six years. In 1904 he was defeated by Judge Howard Gray. Mr. Perkins then formed a partnership with Harry W. Blair who had been Mr. Perkins court reporter. They opened an office in Carthage and practiced law together for six years.

When the election of 1910 approached there was a strong and insistent demand for Judge Perkins to become a candidate on the Democratic ticket for circuit judge. He was elected and returned to the bench where he served for 12 years, being again elected in 1916. Having previously served eight years this made a total service on the circuit bench here of 20 years. Judge Perkins was defeated for re-nomination in 1922 by S. W. Bates of Webb City.

Members of the Jasper county bar gave a banquet in Judge Perkins's honor January 14, 1923 at the Drake hotel, following his retirement from the bench. This was in recognition of his many years of able service as circuit judge. Tributes to his character, his reputation for honesty and ability were paid by many speakers, including Judge Howard Gray, the late Samuel McReynolds and P. D. Decker of Joplin. In closing Mr. Decker presented Judge Perkins a travelling bag, a gift of the bar. The party was attended by attorneys from adjoining counties, not only in Missouri but in Kansas and Oklahoma. He was elected president of the Southwest Missouri Bar association at that meeting.

After retiring from the bench, Judge Perkins served as attorney and counselor for the Conqueror Trust Company of Joplin for more than two years. Upon leaving the service of the trust company he again opened an office in Carthage and took care of legal work. On July 1, 1928, he retired from active business and following that spent several years travelling throughout the United States.

Judge Perkins was married on May 5, 1897 to Miss Mynta Mae Miller of Carthage, and to this union three sons, Leland Dudley, Carlyle Miller and Richard Marlin, were born. Mrs. Perkins died when the three boys were small. He later married Mrs. Laura Young Gashwiler. She passed away four years after their marriage.

For three years he was a member of the old Carthage Light Guard, a volunteer military company of which W. K. Caffee was captain and Charles O. Harrington was first lieutenant. That was in the early 80's. During that time the Fifth Missouri regiment was organized and the Light Guard became Company A of that regiment ~ [then later, the 2nd regiment].
Judge Perkins served as special counsel for the city in the long drawn out litigation with the old Carthage Water Company at the time the city embarked on construction of it's municipal water system more than 25 years ago. For years that legal war raged in both circuit and federal courts before the city finally emerged victor and the corporation retired from the field.
Judge Perkins was widely known over southwest Missouri. On the bench he made an outstanding record. As an attorney he ranked high, particularly as an office consultant. He seldom appeared before a jury.
His passing marks the breaking of another of the few remaining links that bind the Carthage of today with the Carthage of yesteryear.

Surviving Judge Perkins are his three sons:
*Carlyle Miller Perkins, of Los Angeles, California;
*Leland Perkins, Laguna Beach California
*Marlin Perkins, St. Louis, Missouri
[curator of reptiles at the St. Louis Zoo];

and a brother,
*G. W. Perkins of Fillmore, Illinois.

Family Members


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  • Maintained by: NJBrewer
  • Originally Created by: Linda Dukes
  • Added: 26 Jul 2009
  • Find A Grave Memorial 39892042
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Judge Joseph Dudley Perkins (10 Feb 1851–27 Oct 1935), Find A Grave Memorial no. 39892042, citing Park Cemetery, Carthage, Jasper County, Missouri, USA ; Maintained by NJBrewer (contributor 47097113) .