Tribute to William Cantrell Dismukes, 1903

William Cantrell Dismukes

Transcribed from TSL&A Microfilm Roll  #54
Sumner County Clerk Minutes, Vol:  Oct. 1882- Jan 1892

Transcribed by Jan J. Barnes

October Term, 1903
Pages 108 - 111

J. T. Durham Atty appeared in Court at the opening of Court and presented following resolutions which were adopted by a rising vote and ordered spread upon the Minutes of this Court.

As members of the Gallatin Bar and as officiate of the County we are called mourn the death of one of our prominent associates
Hon. William Cantrell Dismukes died Monday morning at 2 O'clock July 20th 1903 at the Infirmary of Dr. Richard Douglass in the city of Nashville.  The immediate cause of his death was a necessary operation for apendicitis caused with his delicate state of health and enfeebled condition of health.  Our departed friend well merrits the characterization of an useful and honorable citizen of the State, the County of Sumner and the municipility of Gallatin.  Each and all of them he entered in positions of public trust and eminent ability and fidelity.
William Cantrell Dismukes was born in Sumner County July 1st 1850 and spent almost the whole period of his life in his native county.  He acquired his literary education in the private skools of the County and partly at the Kentucky Military Institute.  He graduated from the Law School of Cumberland University in 1871.
Immediately thereafter he commenced the practice of law at Gallatin.  He grew in thought and power as a lawyer from his admission to the Bar until feeble health stamped the impress of approaching death upon his energies some year or more before he passed from our midst.  Nov. 24th 1874 he married Miss Sallie Martin in this County.  Three children, Martin Bessie and William were the result of this union.
His first wife died in 1882.  In 1885 he married Miss Lou Cage and by her had one child Fannie.  He was elected and served as a Justice of the Peace in the Gallatin District and this County in the County Court from 1882 to 1888.  In 1889 he was elected to represent the County in the General Assembly of the State.
That he met the duties of positions with which he served with marked success will be attested by all with his course and conduct in that body.
Indeed he so stamped the impress of his personality and individuality upon the body and its legislation that he left it with a reputation for legislative wisdom and judgement and parliamentary wisdom coextensive with the limits of the State.
By reason of his forceful and acceptible history as a representative in the Legislature from this County he was reelected to the State Senate in 1890.  His associate Senators recognising his prominent fitness for the high trust elected him Speaker of the body.  He succeeded himself as Senator from the Senatorial District and was again elected Speaker and so far as your Committee now recalls, his ease is the only instance in the history of the State where a party was successfuly for two terms elected Speaker of the State Senate.  While the close of his second term as Senator from this District ended the public career of as a public official of our deceased friend and although at its close he devoted himself and his energies to the succesful practice of his profession, he continued to be an influential and valuable factor in public affairs and he stood ready by counsel and public effort to advance the public welfare of the proper conduct of public administration.  As an honorable aspirant for political honors, Mr. Dismukes was bold, vigorous and aggressive in the advocacy of his public ideas.  He believed in the policies and principles of his party, and believing in them he maintained them on the rostrum with all the aggressiveness of his nature.  Political antagonists, advancing ideas decreed detrimental to the public good, sometimes received no mercy at his hands.  His adversaries always met with due and proper courtesy from him when it was justly returned and not abused.  But it is as a lawyer that we can speak of William Cantrell Dismukes with almost perfect familiarity and knowledge.  He came in and went out before us almost daily in this capacity for over thirty years.
He comprehended the correct ethics of the profession and recognized the threefold trust daily that a high minded lawyer owed to the Courts, to the County and to his clients.  He had none of the elements of the shister about him.  As an advocate he was bold and aggressive, because aggressiveness was an essential part of his nature, and while his aggressive temperament sometimes led him aside to say things in the heat of legal contests not strictly warranted by the facts of the particular case, he was quick to make amends when made to see his error.
The profession and the bar of Gallatin in his death lost a worthy member.
As a parent and husband he was in the permanent elements of his character, kind, devoted, and indulgent.
As a citizen he was patriotic and public spirited.
As a trustee in public position he was eminently efficient and faithful.
As a lawyer he was true to his client and at the same time true to the Courts, his Country and the just ethics of his profession.
As a man he had faults and defects, who of us is clear of these.  But his merits and excellent traits as clearly seen by his immediate associates, and as better evidenced in hights of elements entering the hour of his death, so far excuded his demerits as to practically obscure and diminate them from consideration and leave us perfectly free to sincerely extol his virtues and just heartfelt sorrow morn his final departure from us to test the issues of an eternal life in a future world.
Therefore resolved, That in the death of William Cantrell Dismukes, the Bar of Gallatin, the County of Sumner and the State of Tennessee and last but not least his family and immediate relatives and friends have lost an eminent and worthy member, a patriotic and public spirited citizen and a kind and loving protector.
Resolved, that we extend to his berieved famly and relatives our tenderest sympathy in this their hour of distress and sorrow, trusting and knowing that they will look to go to that higher and all prviding source for permanent consolation,
Resolved that a copy of these resolutions be presented the family of our departed friend, and that the Chairman of this meeting be authorized & directed by members of the press present copies to the proper Courts before whom our associate practiced his profession.
                                                          J. W. Blackmore, Chairman
                                                          S. F. Wilson
                                                          Ed T. Seay
                                                          Geo. W. Boddie
                                                          Geo. E. Seay
                                                          Wm. A. Guild
                                                          Harris Brown
                                                          B. F. Allen       Committee   

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