“The Late Ashley Pond” (obituary for an early model)

Tuesday, 10 July 2007

On January 12th [1910] last, Ashley Pond died at his home in Detroit in his eighty-third year. By his death the University has lost one of its oldest and most distinguished alumni.

Mr. Pond was graduated from the Literary Department in 1854. After studying law for a little over two years, he was admitted to the, Detroit Bar. At that Bar he continued to practice for about half a century, and when he died was its senior member.

Mr. Pond’s career is an example to every lawyer and an encouragement to every young man of humble origin and narrow means. When Ashley Pond as a mere child, his father settled in Branch County, Michigan. The boy was born in Northeastern New York at the foot of the Adirondacks in November, 1827. His youth was spent almost on the frontier, with Indians as occasional uninvited guests at his father’s fireside. To get funds with which to support himself while in the academy and college, he taught school, acted as clerk in a country store, did any work that came to his hand. He was a mature man when he entered college, and 27 when he began to study law. By the time he was admitted to practice his father had died and he was charged with the support of an aged mother. To begin practice in a strange town is not too easy at the best. To have struggled till the age Of 29 before getting ready to begin practicing is most discouraging.

In spite of his early struggles, or perhaps in part because of them, Mr. Pond sprang to the front almost at once. His splendid mind had been developed, not dulled, by his experiences. His capacity brought him early recognition. Within three years, says one who knew him then, he was deemed one of the very able men at a Bar at which in the meridian of their power were such men as Jacob Al. Howard, George V. N. Lothrop, Halmer H. Emmons and Charles I. Walker. He early formed a partnership with J. P. Emmons. Mr. Emmons’ health was bad, and on Mr. Pond for several years fell an enormous amount of work. In those days he often went to his office at daylight and worked a couple of hours before breakfast. As he was always an intense worker and a man of delicate rather than rugged health, this meant an almost overwhelming burden of business. Somewhat later he formed a partnership with the late John S. Newberry, a distinguished Admiralty lawyer. Later, Henry B. Brown became a member of the firm. Not very long afterward Mr. Newberry withdrew from practice, and for several years the firm was Pond & Brown. In 1876 Mr. Brown became United States District Judge, and later a justice of the United States Supreme Court. After 1876 Mr. Pond formed…

Michigan Law Review, Vol. 8, No. 5 (Mar., 1910), pp. 396.
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