History of Virginia - Honorable Julian Minor Quarles

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Honorable Julian Minor Quarles

HON. JULIAN MINOR QUARLES. In Judge Julian Minor Quarles, honored and esteemed in his home pity of Staunton, is found one of Virginia's distinguished native sons. His long life has been full of worth-while achievement, and whether at the bar or on the bench, or as an outstanding figure in the national Congress, his fellow citizens have never doubted his great ability or failed to recognize his sterling personal character.

Judge Quarles was born in Caroline County, Virginia, September 25, 1848. The Quarles family had their original seat in Normandy, in old France, and members emigrated from there to England prior to 1066, the date of the Norman conquest. The parents of Judge Quarles were Peter and Mary E. (Waddy) Quarles, the latter of whom was of Scotch ancestry and a woman of unusual mental attainments. His father, Peter Quarles, was a soldier in the second war with Great Britain. He was a descendant of John Quarles, who was a charter member of the Virginia Company of 1609, and one of his forebears a century later was Edward Nelson, a sea captain from County Essex, England, who settled in Hanover County, Virginia, in 1718.

Up to the age of eleven years Judge Quarles spent a happy boyhood on the home plantation, and was thereafter kept at school until the close of the war. When devastating war fell upon the land six of his brothers entered the Confederate army, and three of them never returned. One brother, N. F. Quarles, was killed in action on the third day of the second battle of Manassas. He had particularly distinguished himself at the battle of Cedar Run on August 9, 1862, by capturing, alone, nineteen prisoners and three flags. For this unusual display of courage Gen. "Stonewall" Jackson, with many words of commendation, presented him with an officer's sword, which is now one of Judge Quarles' cherished relics.

Although too young to bear a part in the great conflict, Julian M. Quarles as a boy eagerly sought and found opportunity to visit his brothers and family friends in the army camps, and when the enemy threatened invasion, left school to accompany the troops as they advanced to prevent it. He completed his educational training at Pine Hill Academy, Aspen Hill Academy and the University of Virginia. While his natural talents justified him in the choice of the profession of law, on account of the ravages of the war and uncertain processes of the reconstruction period in his neighborhood he was unable to continue his education in professional channels unless he could find a way to provide through his own efforts the necessary financial means. This way the young mail found in the educational field, and for several years he taught school to provide the capital which carried him. through the academic department of the University of Virginia and enabled him to complete his course in law in that institution in 1873-74. With the exception of two years spent in Minneapolis, Minnesota, in the practice of his profession, he has been a continuous resident of Staunton. In a comparatively short time he acquired a satisfactory practice, which later became one of very large volume and brought him into local prominence while yet a young man.

In the open field of politics Judge Quarles could scarcely be anything but a democrat, but he is a very progressive member of his party. He has been signally honored by his party and fellow citizens, and has the reputation of always having borne with him to every responsible position the high ideals of human conduct end relationships with which lie began his public career. He early served as master commissioner in Chancery of the Court of Hustings for the City of Staunton; as a member of the Board of Directors of the Western State Hospital; as master in chancery of the Circuit Court of Augusta County; and as a member of the Board of Trustees of Mary Baldwin College.

In 1879 Judge Quarles was elected to the County Court bench, and served with absolute efficiency until lie resigned in 1883, in order to devote himself to his private practice. In 1898 he was elected to Congress, and while a member of that august body gave evidence of great ability as a statesman, his attitude in relation to the leading questions of the day at that time showing his deep sense of justice and his broad vision for the future. In 1901, when the Virginia Constitutional Convention was to be held, about one thousand citizens of Staunton and Augusta County called upon Judge Quarles to induce him to become a candidate to represent the city and county in the convention. He responded to the call, was elected, and was one of the two delegates to the State Constitutional Convention of 1901-02. Judge Quarles' speeches have been masterly discussions of some of the leading questions in state and national affairs. One of the greatest speeches he made was while a member of Congress, under the title "The Trade of Puerto Rico," delivered on February 27, 1900. While a member of the State Constitutional Convention he opposed in an able speech the administration of oath to its members, and another notable speech while in that body was on the "Election of Judges by the People." For half a century Judge Quarles has been an active force in all that pertains to the abiding welfare of Staunton and Augusta County.

Most of Judge Quarles' useful life, however, has been dedicated to the practice and study of the law, to which he has given about fifty years of devoted service. One who has been associated with him for over twenty years in the practice of law says of him: "He is a wise counselor and a vigorous and able advocate, ever ready to take any fair advantage over ail antagonist, but always adhering strictly to the highest ethical principles of the profession, it being his constant aim to keep the profession on a high plane. Always loath to give hasty opinions on difficult legal questions, but ever eager to thoroughly investigate the authorities and form opinions, his mature judgment is almost unerring. I have never known a lawyer who was so absorbed in the study of law for the pure love of it and who thought so little of the ultimate gain to be derived from his efforts. Known to be possessed of a wide range of legal lore, Us opinions are highly regarded by other members of the profession."

Judge Quarles married in October, 1876, Miss Cornelia Stout, who died in 1903, without issue. In January, 1908, he married Miss Cornelia Taylor, and they have three children: Mary Nelson, Cornelia Taylor and Julian Minor, Jr. Judge Quarles is a member of the Presbyterian Church and of the Virginia Historical Society, and in the Masonic fraternity is a Knight Templar.