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George Hopson Cornelius

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Title:
George Hopson Cornelius extraordinary ordinary (1880-1946)
Physical Description:
1 online resource (4 p.) : ill. ;
Language:
English
Creator:
Buck, Morison
Publisher:
Morison Buck
Place of Publication:
Tampa, Fla
Publication Date:

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords:
Judges -- Biography -- Florida -- Hillsborough County   ( lcsh )

Notes

Original Version:
Originally published as part of the "Chips off the Old Bench" column: Tampa, Fla. : Hillsborough County, June 1999, Lawyer under title:
General Note:
Title from caption.

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of South Florida Library
Holding Location:
University of South Florida
Rights Management:
All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
usfldc doi - B28-00007
usfldc handle - b28.7
NEW
System ID:
SFS0000052:00001


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Full Text

PAGE 1

G e or ge H op s on C or n e l i u s : E xt r aor d i n ar y O r d i n ar y ( 1880 1946) T he w or d or di na r y ha s be e n gi ve n di f f e r e nt s ha de s of m e a ni ng i n t he l a ngua ge ove r t he ye a r s C om m onl y us e d t oda y a s s ynonym ous w i t h t ypi c a l us ua l or a ve r a ge i n C ol oni a l A m e r i c a i t r e f e r r e d t o t he l oc a l t a ve r n or pub. A t c om m on l a w a n O r di na r y w a s one ha vi ng j ur i s di c t i on i n e c c l e s i a s t i c a l c a us e s I n s om e s t a t e s l i ke A l a ba m a or G e or gi a i t i s t he t i t l e gi ve n t o a j udi c i a l of f i c e r w i t h s t a t ut or y a ut hor i t y i n m a t t e r s pe r t a i ni ng t o w i l l s pr oba t e a n d gua r di a ns hi p. G e or ge H C or ne l i us w a s a n i m m i gr a nt f r om G e or gi a T he gur u of g r a m m a r i a ns Y ogi B e r r a s a i d: W he n you c om e t o a f o r k i n t he r oa d, t a ke i t C or ne l i us di d a nd w e l l G e or ge t ook i t B e f or e l e a v i ng hi s hom e pl a c e i n C l i nc h C ount y G e or gi a how e ve r he s e r ve d a s t i nt a s O r di na r y i n t he G oobe r S t a t e A f t e r pr a c t i c i ng l a w i n T a m pa f or s e ve r a l ye a r s he be ga n s e r vi c e a s C ount y J udge H i l l s bor ough C ount y now ha s 13 C ount y C our t D i vi s ons but he ha d und i vi de d r e s p ons i bi l i t y f or t ha t o f f i c e f or t w e nt y ye a r s A f t e r hi s de a t h i n of f i c e he w a s s uc c e e de d by H onor a bl e W i l l i a m C B r ooke r A t t he ga t e w a y t o F l or i da on U S 41, l yi ng m i dw a y be t w e e n V a l dos t a a nd W a yc r os s a nd ha r d by t he O ke e f e noke e S w a m p c ount r y, l i e s t he s l e e py t ow n of H om e r vi l l e T he C or n e l i us f a m i l y w a s w e l l r e pr e s e nt e d i n C l i nc h C ount y, w i t h a r i c h t r a di t i on of publ i c s e r vi c e G od m us t ha ve l ove d t he m be c a us e he m a de s o m a ny of t he m A c c or di ng t o one o f t he j udge 's c ol l a t e r a l ki n hi s f or be a r s c a m e f r om C ount y C or k I r e l a nd be f or e t he R e vol ut i ona r y W a r O n hi s m ot he r 's s i de t he j udge w a s a de s c e nda nt of L i gh t H or s e H a r r y's s on, w ho w a s m a r r i e d t o a ha l f C he r oke e I ndi a n. O ne o f t he i r of f s pr i ng w a s M a r y A nn L e e w i f e o f t he j udge 's gr a ndf a t he r G e or ge 's gr e a t gr a ndf a t he r B e nj a m i n, s e r ve d a s j us t i c e of t he P e a c e i n bot h L ow nde s a nd C l i nc h c ount i e s a nd l a t e r w a s e l e c t e d t a x c ol l e c t or i n t he l a t t e r j ur i s di c t i on f or t e r m s t ot a l i ng 24 ye a r s G e or ge 's gr a ndf a t he r a l s o na m e d G e or ge w a s e l e c t e d J P i n C l i nc h ( f or m e r l y W a r e C ount y) A f t e r C i vi l W a r s e r vi c e i n t he i nf a n t r y, he s ought t he j ob a s O r di na r y but w a s de f e a t e d by one vot e O n hi s s e c ond t r y he w a s e l e c t e d, s e r vi ng f r om 1888 unt i l 1900. O ur s ubj e c t 's ol de r br ot he r B e n, w a s a l s o a l a w ye r a nd hi s s i s t e r K a t e P a f f or d, ha d t he j ob o f O r d i n a r y i n C l i nc h C ount y, one m o r e f a m i l y m e m be r w ho w a s a t t r a c t e d t o publ i c s e r vi c e A f t e r r e c e i vi ng a t e a c he r 's de gr e e f r om G e or gi a N or m a l C ol l e ge he gr a dua t e d i n l a w f r om M e r c e r U n i v. i n M a c on, w a s a dm i t t e d t o t he ba r i n 1903 t he n pr a c t i c e d i n H om e r vi l l e w he r e he s e r ve d a s M a yor f or one ye a r T he ye a r a f t e r be c om i ng a l a w ye r C ol one l C or ne l i us ( a s he i s r e f e r r e d t o i n a hi s t or y of C l i nc h C ount y) w a s a ppoi nt e d t o f i l l a va c a nc y on t he C ount y C our t A f t e r s e r vi ng l e s s t ha n t w o ye a r s C or ne l i us m ove d t o S t

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P e t e r s bur g, t he n t o T a m pa w he r e he c om m e nc e d l a w pr a c t i c e I n 1921, C or ne l i us w a s a ppoi nt e d j udge of t he M uni c i pa l C our t i n T a m pa T ha t dut y w a s s hor t l i ve d w he n he w a s di s pl a c e d by E dm und W or t h due t o s om e c ha nge s i n t he s t r uc t ur e of c i t y gove r nm e nt A f t e r a br i e f hi a t us h e w a s r e a ppoi nt e d M uni c i pa l ( P ol i c e C our t ) J udge by t he C i t y C om m i s s i on. T he n i n 19 26 he w a s pi c ke d by G ove r no r J ohn M a r t i n t o f i l l t he une xpi r e d t e r m of C ount y J udge J ul i a n H a z z a r d w ho r e s i gne d t o be c om e j udge of t he ne w l y c r e a t e d C i vi l C our t o f R e c or d. H a z z a r d, w ho f i r s t w e nt on C ount y C our t i n J a nua r y, 1921 w a s a da s hi ng, ha nds om e i ndi vi dua l w ho ha d a n E r r ol F l ynn l i ke l i f e a nd w ho w i t h a not he r T a m pa l a w y e r de ve l ope d t he pa r i m u t ue l s ys t e m f or dog r a c i ng be t t i ng T hus di d G e or ge C or n e l i us e m ba r k on hi s l ong c a r e e r a s C ount y J udge be i ng r e e l e c t e d c ont i nuous l y f or t w e nt y ye a r s unt i l de a t h ove r t ook hi m i n 1946. N e w s a c c ount s t e l l t ha t hi s onl y s e r i ous c ha l l e nge a t t he pol l s c a m e f r om C i t y J udge R obe r t J P ot t e r i n t he 1944 pr i m a r y. O r di na r i l y a m i l d m a nne r e d ge n t l e m a nl y f e l l ow P ot t e r w e nt on t he of f e ns i ve H e m a de t he J udge 's he a l t h a n i s s ue a s s e r t i ng t ha t he w a s i n s uc h ba d he a l t h he c oul d not pe r f or m t he dut i e s of t he o f f i c e A l t houg h he ha d be e n us i ng a c a ne f or s e ve r a l ye a r s be f or e t he 1944 e l e c t i on, C or ne l i us r e s ponde d t ha t hi s a bs e nc e f or s e ve r a l m ont hs i n 1941 w a s hi s f i r s t t i m e of f i n 18 ye a r s P ot t e r a l s o c ha r ge d t he i nc um be nt w i t h ne pot i s m c ont e ndi ng t ha t a dm i ni s t r a t i on o f t he C ount y j udge 's of f i c e w a s a f a m i l y a f f a i r A l t h ough t he J udge 's da ught e r G e or gi a ( w ho l a t e r be c a m e t he w i f e of J C l i f f or d M c D ona l d, f ounde r o f M c D ona l d T r a i ni ng C e nt e r f or ha ndi c a ppe d young pe opl e s t i l l a c t i ve i n t hi s c i t y) ha d w o r ke d i n t he of f i c e a t one t i m e J udge C or ne l i us pa r r i e d t he t h r us t by poi nt i ng out t ha t hi s s on, I va n, h i s C hi e f C l e r k, w a s t he onl y r e l a t i ve e m pl oye d i n h i s of f i c e A f t e r t he r e s ul t s w e r e i n t he f i na l t a l l y i n t h e M a y, 1944 p r i m a r y w hi c h w a s de c i s i ve w a s C or ne l i us 16, 028 vot e s t o 9 455 vot e s f or P ot t e r T ha t w a s t he l a s t t i m e t he na m e of G e or ge H C or ne l i us a ppe a r e d on a ba l l o t C or ne l i us a nd hi s w i f e A nni e w e r e m a r r i e d i n 19 01 a f t e r he s e c ur e d hi s l a w de gr e e T he y l i ve d i n T a m pa H e i ght s ( t he n a n uppe r c l a s s ne i ghbor hood) w i t h t he i r f our c hi l dr e n J a m e s O s w a l d ( a n a t t or ne y) ; I va n G e or gi a a nd U na ( l a t e r M r s H ugh D a w s on) O nl y t he l a t t e r w a s l i vi ng a t t hi s w r i t i ng i n M ont i c e l l o, F l or i da but t oo e nf e e bl e d t o be he l pf ul T he P ol k di r e c t or y r e f l e c t s t ha t i n 1928 t he f a m i l y m ov e d t o N e w S ubu r b B e a ut i f ul on S uns e t D r i ve w he r e t he j udge r e s i de d t he r e m a i nde r o f hi s l i f e W e l l know n l a w ye r J R e x F a r r i or l i ve d i n t he s a m e bl oc k. L i t t l e i s know n a bout hi s l i f e a s a l a w ye r a f t e r he m ove d t o T a m pa H i s o f f i c e w a s i n t he l ong gone G oul d B ui l di ng a t 604 1/ 2 F r a nkl i n S t r e e t di r e c t l y nor t h of t he ol d c our t hous e H i s br ot he r A ugus t us E ( F r a nk) ha d a n of f i c e a t t he s a m e l oc a t i on R e a de r s w i l l unde r s t a nd t ha t i n t he v i r t ua l l y unr e gul a t e d ba r i n t hos e ye a r s C ount y J udge s c oul d s t i l l e nga ge i n ge ne r a l l a w pr a c t i c e C i t y di r e c t o r i e s l i s t e d C or ne l i us a s bot h C ount y J udge a nd A t t or ne y a t L a w G e t t i ng a f a i r pi c t ur e of t he pe r s ona l i t y a nd j udi c i a l r e c or d o f G e or ge C or ne l i us i s not a n e a s y t a s k be c a us e he f i ni s he d l i f e 's c our s e s o l o ng a go. N one of hi s f a m i l y or pe r s ona l f r i e nds a r e a va i l a bl e A l s o gone a r e a l m os t a l l o f t h e l e ga l c om m uni t y w ho kne w hi m or pr a c t i c e d be f or e hi m T he w r i t e r w i s he s t o t ha nk t he f ol l ow i ng f o r t he i r pe r s pe c t i ve a nd f or t he i r s t or i e s know n or he a r d w hi c h t he y ha ve s ha r e d a bout J udge C or ne l i us : B a ya r d A ngl e M a yna r d R a m s e y, a nd T P a i ne K e l l y, J r

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T he de s c r i pt i on gi ve n W i ns t on C hur c hi l l by J a m e s R e s t on of t he N e w Y or k T i m e s w he n he ha d l unc h w i t h t he f a m ous m a n i n 1949, c oul d a l s o a ppl y t o J udge C or ne l i us w e l l r ounde d, f o r e a nd a f t H e w a s i n t r ut h, a po r t l y m a n c l e a n s ha ve n, w i t h he a vy br ow s a nd s ha dow s unde r ne a t h t he e ye s O ne c oul d s pe c ul a t e t ha t t he r e w a s s om e t hi ng a bout hi s phot ogr a phs t ha t r e m i nds of hi s C he r oke e a nc e s t r y. O ne of hi s o f f i c e s t a f f f or m a ny ye a r s w a s t he l a t e F or r e s t O H obbs a f a m i l y na m e f a m i l i a r i n T a m pa 's l e ga l c i r c l e s H obbs w or ke d a s t he j udge 's c l e r k, s t udi e d l a w a nd pa s s e d t he B a r e xa m i na t i on w i t hout a c qui r i ng a l e ga l e duc a t i on. M y c l os e f r i e nd, nona ge ne r i a n B a ya r d A ngl e ha s a c oupl e of s t or i e s r e ga r di ng C or ne l i us O ne he a t t r i but e s t o hi s c ont e m po r a r y, t he j udge 's br ot he r F r a nk I n a f l a s h ba c k t o t ur n of t he c e nt ur y H om e r vi l l e w e know t ha t G e or g e w a nt e d t o ge t a c ol l e ge e duc a t i on but c oul dn't a f f or d i t O ne of hi s ne i ghb or s t ook hi m out t o O ke e f e noke e S w a m p, f i s he d out a c ont a i ne r b ur i e d i n a r e m ot e a r e a ope ne d i t a nd c ount e d ou t s om e c ur r e nc y a nd l oa ne d i t t o young G e or ge f or c ol l e ge A c c or di ng t o F r a nk, t he l oa n w a s r e pa i d. A not he r s t or y w i de l y know n a t t he t i m e c onc e r ne d a he a t e d a r gu m e nt i n c ha m be r s i nvol vi ng c ont e ndi ng l a w ye r s J ohn S ut t on a nd J T om W a t s on. T hi ngs w e r e w a xi ng w a r m i n t he c our s e of t he he a r i ng be f or e J udge C or ne l i us w he n W a t s on, know n f or hi s f i e r y a nd c om ba t i ve t e m pe r a m e nt t ook a s w i ng a t S ut t on a c r os s t he t a bl e H e m i s s e d hi s t a r ge t a nd m a s he d i n t he j udge 's ha t w h i c h w a s on hi s de s k c l os e by. B a ya r d a l s o ha s t he w ondr ous r e c a l l t o r e m e m be r j udge C or ne l i us t e l l i ng a bout a l i ght he a r t e d i nc i de nt I t s e e m s t ha t S he r i f f W i l l S pe nc e r w hos e of f i c e w a s ne xt door t o t he j udge 's ha d a c ons t i t ue nt dr op of f a l a r ge l o a d of w a t e r m e l ons out s i de t he of f i c e S om e C r a c ke r c a m e a r ound a nd a s ke d t he S he r i f f i f he c oul d ha ve one of t he m e l ons w hi c h l ooke d s o good. S pe nc e r s a i d i t w oul d be f i ne w i t h hi m but t ha t t he m e l ons be l onge d t o J udge C or ne l i us A bout t ha t t i m e t he J udg e c a m e o ut ove r he a d t he c onve r s a t i on, a nd w i t h a s m i l e t ol d t he m e l on s e e ke r t o he l p hi m s e l f M a yna r d R a m s e y, w e l l know n T a m pa a t t o r ne y, no w r e t i r e d, w ho f or ye a r s ha s l i ve d i m m e di a t e l y ne xt door t o t he C or ne l i us f a m i l y ho m e on S uns e t D r i ve r e l a t e s t ha t t he f i r s t t i m e he a ppe a r e d be f o r e J udge C or ne l i us t he l a t t e r i nqui r e d i f t he O r de r he w a s pr e s e nt i ng t o t he c our t w a s c or r e c t a nd i n pr ope r f o r m H e hope d s o, he t ol d R a m s e y, be c a us e i t w a s t he a t t or ne y's r e s pons i bi l i t y, not t he J udge 's T P a i ne K e l l y J r s t i l l i n a c t i ve pr a c t i c e r e c ol l e c t s t ha t a s r e s ul t o f hi s s uc c e s s i n a w i l l c ont e s t be f or e J udge C or ne l i us vyi ng a ga i ns t a c l i e nt of O l i ve r M a xw e l l ( l a t e r a C i r c ui t j udge ) he K e l l y, a c qui r e d t he pr e va i l i ng p a r t y a s a c l i e nt f or de c a de s a f t e r w a r d. J udge C or ne l i us ha d a f i ne r e c or d o f be i ng s us t a i n e d on a ppe a l t o t he S upr e m e C our t of F l or i da t he r e be i ng no i nt e r m e di a t e a ppe a l s c our t i n t ha t e r a A s ur ve y of s om e of t hos e r e por t e d c a s e s r e ve a l s one w hi c h i s pa r t i c ul a r l y i nt e r e s t i ng. I t w a s a w i l l c on t e s t T hom ps on v F r e e m an, 111 F l a 149 S o. 7 40, de c i de d by t he S up r e m e C our t on J ul y 17, 1933 T hi s a r t i c l e i nc l ude s a r a r e phot og r a ph t a ke n i n t he of f i c e o f J udge P a r ks on t he 2nd f l oor o f t he ol d C ount y C our t hous e i n 1939 or 194 0. T he f our j udge s c om pr i s i ng t he e nt i r e j udi c i a r y of H i l l s bor ough C ount y a r e pi c t ur e d. F r om l e f t t o r i ght t he y a r e : C r i m i na l C our t o f R e c or d J udge J ohn R H i m e s ; C i r c ui t J udge L L P a r ks ; C ount y J udge C or ne l i us a nd C i r c ui t J udge H a r r y N S a ndl e r S t a ndi ng be hi nd i s t he s a m e B a ya r d A ngl e m e nt i one d e a r l i e r w ho w a s s e r vi ng a t t ha t t i m e a s P r e s i de nt of H i l l s bor ough C ount y Y oung D e m oc r a t s N ot i c e t ha t e a c h pe r s on i n t he phot o gr a ph i s hol di ng a pa pe r

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A ngl e 's m e m or y, s t i l l ke e n, i s t ha t he ha d gi ve n a n honor a r y m e m be r s hi p i n t ha t o r ga ni z a t i on t o e a c h j udge G e or ge H C or ne l i us w a s a popu l a r a nd e vi de nt l y a bl e j udge w ho e nj oye d a gr e a t s uc c e s s dur i ng hi s l ong t e nu r e a s C ount y J udge i n T a m pa a pl a c e de s c r i be d by one w r i t e r a s t he da m ne de s t t ow n t hi s s i de of he l l r e f e r r i ng t o t he de c a de of t he 1920s W e r e i t not s o, he w oul d l i ke l y not ha ve be e n r e e l e c t e d e ve r y f our ye a r s be gi nni ng i n 1926. M or i s on B uc k A f t e r w or d: N ot hi ng i n t he w or l d c a n t a ke t he pl a c e o f pe r s i s t e nc e T a l e nt w i l l not N ot hi ng i s m or e c om m on t ha n uns uc c e s s f ul m e n w i t h t a l e nt G e ni us w i l l not U nr e w a r de d ge ni us i s a l m os t a pr ove r b. E duc a t i on a l one w i l l not T he w or l d i s f ul l of e duc a t e d de r e l i c t s P e r s i s t e nc e a nd de t e r m i na t i on a l one a r e om ni pot e n t . . C al v i n C ool i dge


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