The McCabe family is in its fifth generation of attorneys in Indiana, and most all of those years were spent in Warren County.
Jim McCabe is in the fourth generation of attorneys in the family, and he has provided a little family history.
It all started with James McCabe, who was born July 4, 1834, in Darke County, Ohio, and one of five sons.
“When he was 16, James and one of his brothers moved to Crawfordsville, where he boarded with a Baptist preacher named M.M. Van Cleave. He worked on the railroad as a section hand. Rev. Van Cleave saw James’s potential and persuaded him to start school at age 17. It was a night school taught by Judge Naylor of Crawfordsville, one of the well-known members of the Indiana bar. Taunted by the others because of his age and size, McCabe often wanted to leave school but Judge Naylor and Reverend Van Cleave persuaded him to stick it out and he did, and that is when and where he learned to read and write. He married Rev. M.M. Van Cleave’s daughter, Serena. After their marriage, they moved to Oxford in 1853 where James continued to study and work on the Monon railroad as a section foreman and did whatever other odd jobs he could to put food on the table. His self-education progressed to the point he was able to get hired to teach school at Oxford and Pine Village. Something called him, whether fame, fortune or the desire to help his fellow man, and he decided to become a lawyer, was admitted to the bar in Indiana, moved to Williamsport and began the practice of law by opening an office there in 1861.
“Not only did James engage in the practice of law he became active in politics. James ran for Congress twice and was narrowly defeated each time although it was a heavily Republican district and area. In 1892 he ran for the Indiana Supreme Court and was elected for a term of six years serving from 1893 through 1898. As the Hon. Alan Sharp, who practiced law in Williamsport for a number of years and became a state and then federal district court judge, told me: ‘Judge McCabe wrote over 545 opinions in his six years-all without a law clerk.’ It was an impressive career on the Indiana Supreme Court but alas he was defeated, as were all Democrats in the 1898 election.”
Jim McCabe said for an example of one of McCabe’s cases Google “Judge McCabe’s opinion in Hinshaw v. State”.
His great-grandfather got a touch of national politics, as well.
“During the 1896 Democratic national convention held in Chicago, Judge McCabe was a delegate from the State of Indiana. It was there Judge McCabe met William Jennings Bryan, who went on to become the 1896 nominee for president on the Democratic ticket. Bryan went on to hold that honor for two other elections but never made it to the White House. During the convention Judge McCabe and Bryan each saw a lot of things in each other they liked, and they visited with one another whenever Bryan was in the area and they corresponded frequently. Following judge McCabe’s death in 1911, Bryan took the time to come to Williamsport, Indiana, and delivered a wonderful funeral oration for James McCabe.”
Jim McCabe explained his great-grandfather was survived by three children: a daughter Nancy, who was married to JB Gwinn, a lawyer in Indianapolis, Indiana; Edwin F McCabe, who practiced law with James in Williamsport; and Charles McCabe, who practiced law was Crane and McCabe and Crawfordsville, Indiana.
“Edwin F McCabe was a character. He had a prodigious memory on cases and often was asked by the presiding judge, even while sitting in on a ‘what’s the law of the case McCabe?’, and he would generally know the answer. Edwin F McCabe died in 1942, six weeks after his grandson James E McCabe was born.
“Edwin, known as ‘Ned’, was a trial lawyer. Oh, how he loved to try cases. Edwin graduated from Wabash College in 1880 majoring in Greek, of all things, and read and wrote Greek throughout his life. Some interesting thoughts he put down were from the Greek word ‘infinity’, and he defied anyone to truly understand something that had no beginning and no end. After graduating from college, he was admitted to practice law in 1880 and started the practice in Williamsport with his father and did so continuously until the latter’s death in 1911.”
The family of lawyers grew, as Edwin had five sons and two daughters. Four of his sons became lawyers and three practiced law. Ross McCabe and Charles McCabe practiced for a while in Williamsport and then both moved to Lafayette, Indiana, where Charles opened a law office and Ross opened an abstract and title office. Harold was admitted to the bar but became an electrical engineer and worked for the utility in Joliet, Illinois. Edward L. McCabe attended Wabash College and graduating in 1922, 42 years after his father. He was admitted to the bar and began the practice of law that year in Williamsport with his father.
“Edward L. McCabe was born on Jan. 18, 1901, in Williamsport. He had two children: Julia Edna McCabe, now Poor, and James E. McCabe. While Edward’s father was alive, he was known by friends as “Baby Ned” and later just “Ned” like his dad. Ned was a Democrat, like his forebearers, and ran for office every election when either the judge or prosecuting attorney was up for election. He was elected prosecutor in 1942 for one term of two years and then in 1958 for three terms, succeeded by his son James E. McCabe.
“James E. McCabe went to Wabash College graduating in 1964. Note that Jim graduated 42 years after his father graduated. James attended Valparaiso University School of Law graduating in 1967 where he received his juris doctorate degree. He then attended the University of London, England, where he obtained an LL.M. in 1968 and returned to Williamsport to practice law with his father. In 1970 Jim was elected prosecuting attorney for Warren County, Indiana, and served until his defeat by 78 votes in 1978. He subsequently served in the 1990s for four years as chief deputy prosecuting attorney. Jim ‘semi-retired’ in 2017 shuttering the Williamsport office that had been in town for 156 years. He joined the firm of Reiling, Teder & Schrier, LLC, in that year and has practiced in an ‘of counsel’ position with that firm since. Reiling, Teder & Schrier, LLC, has decided to carry on the ‘McCabe tradition’ and their philosophy of providing excellent legal services and has opened a law office in Williamsport, Indiana at 38 N. Monroe St., one block down from where all the other McCabe law offices, of which there were three in the ‘new town’ north of the railroad tracks, were located.”
He’s a member of the Warren County Bar Association, the Tippecanoe County Bar Association and The Indiana State Bar Association. He is admitted to practice in all courts in Indiana, both state and federal, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, The U.S. Tax Court, the United States District Court for the Central Division of Illinois and The United States Supreme Court. He is an honorary lieutenant colonel in the Indiana State Police, an honorary Secretary of State of the State of Indiana and a fellow of the Indiana Bar Foundation, he said.
The McCabe lawyer story doesn’t stop with Jim.
He said he and his wife, Cynthia, have two children, Kimberly and Ross. Kimberly graduated from Seeger High School and then Denison University with a B.A. She then attended Thomas Jefferson School of Law in San Diego, California, graduating with a juris doctorate. In 2007 she was admitted to practice law in Illinois, where she practiced for a year; and in 2009 she was admitted to practice law in Indiana and began to practice with her father in Williamsport. In 2012 Kimberly moved to Indianapolis, Indiana, where she commenced practicing law there. She is currently an associate with her husband’s new law firm, Hollingsworth Roberts Means.
And on his sister’s side of the family, his sister, Julia McCabe Poor, has four boys: Michael, David, and Scott Brown and Ryan McCabe Poor. Ryan missed out on the 42-year thing but did graduate from Wabash. He attended Indiana University School of Law and is a partner in the Labor Law Division of Ice Miller LLP in Indianapolis, Indiana.
Next in the line up, he said, “It appears that Scott Brown’s daughter, Rachel, is geared up and headed toward law school this coming fall having graduated from Purdue University in three years and taking a short break.”