Syracuse, New York
The Herald newspaper
Friday evening, May 9, 1913
Page 2, Columns 1 thru 3
JUSTICE M'LENNAN KILLED BY FALL AT ROCHESTER
Noted Syracuse Jurist Trips on Stairs at Genesee Valley Club.
HIS SKULL FRACTURED
In Haste to Answer Message When He Fell - Expired in Forty Minutes.
Peter Baillie McLennan of this city, presiding justice of the Appellate division, fourth department of Supreme court, and one of the most distinguished jurists of the State, died last night at 8:20 o'clock of injuries which he received in a fall at the Genesee Valley clubhouse at Rochester forty minutes before. Justice McLennan tripped at the top of the stairs leading from the third to the second floor of the clubhouse and fell to the bottom. He struck with crushing force, receiving a basal gracture of the skull, a cerebral hemorrhage followed, and forty minutes later, without having regained consciousness, he died.
Physicians, hurriedly summoned, worked desperately over the stricken jurist, but although oxygen was administered and other restoratives resorted to, Justice McLennan did not respond to the treatment.
Justice McLennan was in his sixty-third year, had lived in Onondaga county, most of the time in Syracuse, for forty years, and had been on the bench since November, 1892.
Until 6 o'clock last evening, Justice McLennan was engaged with the other members of the Appellate division in the consideration of cases before them. Then, in company with Justices Foote, Kruse, Lambert and Robson, he went to the club. This was in accordance with a custom of long standing, the members of the court at the close of the day's session dining together at the Genesee Valley clubhouse.
Started to Descend.
Justice McLennan had dressed for dinner and was leaving his room to join his associates on the floor below, when a telegram was handed to him by one of the club attaches. The message, relating to court business, requiring an immediate answer, Justice McLennan made haste to the stairway and started to rapidly descend.
On the third step from the top, Justice McLennan slipped. He tried to save himself by grasping the railing, but, falling, plunged headlong to the hardwood floor below. As he fell he cried out and club members and servants rushed to him. He struck with great force and those of his friends who were at his side, almost as he struck, felt that he had sustained fatal injuries.
Friends carried the stricken man into the dining room, but a step or two away and physicians were called. Dr. Arthur Johnson and Dr. John Ready, who reached the clubhouse within two minutes, declared that there was a severe fracture of the skull and Dr. E. W. Mulligan, a specialist, who quickly followed them, sustained the diagnosis of the others. It was thought from the start that Justice Mclennan had small chance to recover.
The three doctors did all that was possible to save the stricken man. Oxygen was administered and other restorative agents were employed, but there was no response to the treatment and death followed without a return to consciousness.
Coroner Thomas A. Killip, who was notified, immediately investigated and issued a certificate of accidental death.
Colin W. McLennan, a son, was first to hear of the fatal accident, and by arranging with the Division Superintendent F. W. Everett of the New York Central lines, was permitted to board the Twentieth Century limited, which does not take Syracuse passengers. Mr. McLennan left at 8:53 last night. Early to-day Henry McCarthy of John McCarthy's Sons went to Rochester to bring Justice McLennan's body to the McLennan home at No. 303 Green street.
Mrs. Stewart F. Hancock and Miss Christine McLennan, Justice McLennan's daughters, received the news of their father's death while they were at the music festival at the Arena.
Mrs. Hancock was accompanied by her husband and Miss McLennan was with a woman friend. As soon as possible Mr. Hancock and Miss McLennan went to the New York Central station. They were in time to get the 9:45 train. Mrs. Hancock went to the McLennan home to join her mother.
Gloom Spreads Over Club.
Justice McLennan's death cast a pall over the Genesee Valley club, where he had been a popular member for years, and it came with crushing force to the family and friends in his home city.
Resident justices of the Supreme court who were engaged with terms of court in other cities were notified by wire of the death of Justice McLennan and all of them sent messages of condolence.
Out of respect to the distinguished jurist terms of court in twenty-two counties that make up the Fourth department of the appellate division were adjourned to-day.
Justice McLennan was born in the town of Lyndon, Cattaraugus county, December 3, 1850. His parents had cone from Scotland and settled to Lyndon four years before Justice McLennan was born. Justice McLennan was graduated in 1873 from Alfred university, through which institution he worked his way, doing farm work in the summer and teaching in the winter to acquire funds to meet the expenses of the fall and spring terms.
Immediately after graduation, Justice McLennan came to this city, to read law with the firm of Bookstaver & Kingsley. He taught school for two terms in the town of Geddes, resumed the study of law in the office of Fuller & Vann and was admitted to the bar on October 6, 1876. After a year in partnership with Major E. O. Farrar, Justice McLennan became a member of the firm of Vann, McLennan & Dillaye. When Irving G. Vann in 1881 was elected to the Supreme court bench, the firm became Waters, McLennan & Dillaye. This partnership existed until 1882, when Judge McLennan was appointed general counsel for the New York, West Shore & Buffalo railroad. He was during that time in New York. When the West Shore and the New York Central railroads were consolidated, Justice McLennan came to this city and after practicing for a time alone, he became associated with William G. Tracy and Charles F. Ayling.
Elected to Bench in 1892.
In November, 1892, Justice McLennan was elected on the Republican ticket as a justice of the Supreme court, to succeed George N. Kennedy. He was designated in 1898 to the Appellate division, of which he has been the presiding justice since 1904. Justice McLennan was re-elected to the Supreme court bench in 1906 for a fourteen year term that would have expired on December 31st, 1920.
Justice McLennan held his first term of court in this city on Saturday, January 7th, 1893, when he acted for Justice Irving G. Vann at a special term of court for motions.
One of the things for which Justice McLennan will be best remembered was his earnest effort in securing water for the city. He was one of the commissioners named by Mayor Kirk in 1888 to determine the best source of water supply for Syracuse and the following year was one of the commissioners appointed to acquire the old plant and to conduct the working out of the new system.
Presided at Wilson Trial.
It was before Justice McLennan as a trial judge that "Dink" and "Kid" Wilson were tried for the murder of Detective James Harvey in this city in 1893.
Justice McLennan had a warm feeling always for Alfred university and it was through his efforts that there was established there the college of agriculture. he also always took a deep interest in farming and was responsible for the dissemination of a large amount of information of scientific methods of agriculture. He maintained to the present that old farm in Cattaraugus county.
Justice McLennan was married in December, 1881, to Miss Belle Barron of Addison, Steuben county. Mrs. McLennan and three children, Colin W. McLennan, Mrs. Stewart F. Hancock and Miss Christine McLennan, survive. Justice McLennan has three brothers, Donald F. McLennan of this city, John McLennan and Dr. Roderick C. McLennan, both of Fayetteville, and two sisters, Mrs. William Johnson of Franklinville and Miss Christine McLennan of Lyndon.
In politics Justice McLennan has always been a Republican.
Justice McLennan's funeral will be held at May Memorial church Sunday afternoon at 3:30 o'clock.
Arabelle Barron McLennan
1853–1927 (m. 1881)
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