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Prof. Wm. P. Wells

Prof. Wm. P. Wells image
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One by one the University is losing its older professors. " Death loves a shining mark," and it has removed from the University in the past few years many men of more than local and state reputation. The latest to answer to the cali of the grim reaper is William P. Wells, of Detroit, long an honored professor in the Law department. Professor Wells' death last Wednesday morning was very sudden. He was to have lectured in the law department that morning, but was detained in Detroit by legal business, and sent Professor Griffin out to fill his lecture hour. He appeared in the Wayne Court room Tuesday ing and made a brief argument in his usual calm and graceful manner. At its conclusiou, he took his seat near Attorney Collier, and entered into a whispered conversation with him. Without any previous sign, his head feil onhisfriend'sshoulder, he gasped for breath and his face assumed a purplish hue. Collier supposed that he hadfainted. Water was called for ; Mr. Wells was placed upon the floor, while his son, who was in the court room, placed an overcoat under his head. Physicians were summoned, but in a few moments all was over. His death was probably caused by the bursting of one of the large blood vessels of the heart. He had been treated in the past few months for heart disease, and seems to have had a premonition that his death would be a sudden one, probably after some public oration. William Palmer Wells was born at St. Albans, Vermont, February 15, 1831. He received an academie education at the Franklin County Grammar School, at St. Albaris, and then entered the University of Vermont, at Burlington, and after spending four years graduated with the degree of A. B. in 1851, and A. M. in 1854. After graduation he commenced the study of law at St. Albans. In 1852 he entered the law school of Harvard University, and in 1854 graduated with the degree of LL. B., receiving the highest honors of his class for a thesis on " The Adoption of the Principies of Equity Jurisprudence into the Administration of the Common Law." The same year he received the degree of M. A. from the University oi Vermont, and in 1854 was admittec to the bar of his native state at St. Albans. In January, 1856, he settled in Detroit, entering the law office o: James V. Campbell. In March iowing he was admitted to the bar of Michigan, and in November o the same year became a partner o James V. Campbell, the partnership continuing until Judge Campbell's accession to the bench in 1858, as one of the judges of the Supreme Court of Michigan. From tha time to the present, Professor Wells continued the practice of law alone in Detroit. In 1864 he was elected to .the Michigan Legislature. He was a member of the Detroit board o education at one time, and was nom inated by President Johnson fo assistant secretary of the treasury but his nomination was not con firmed by the Senate, which wa politically opposed to Johnson. H was a vice-president of the Ameri can Free Trade League. In 1874-1875, during the leave o absence of Judge Charles I. Walker Kent Professor of Law, Professo Wells was appointed to the vacancy On Judge Walker's resignation, in 1876, he was appointed to the proessorship,- a position he held unil December, 1885, when he reigned because of the interference of ts duties with his legal practice. The subjects assigned to this professorship, and of which Professoi Wells had charge, were Corporations, Contracts, Commercial Law generally, Partnership and Agency. Upon lis resignation an address was presented to him by the students, and resolutions of commendation adopted by the Regency. From January 1, 1887, to the close of the college rear, he held the position of lecturei on Constitutional History and Contitutional Law in the literary de)artment, temporarily discharging he duties of Judge Cooley. In une, 1887, he was again called by he Regency to the Kent Professorhip in the law school. Professor Wells was one of the arliest members of the American Sar Association, and for several years has been a member of General Council, and in 1888 was elected hairman of the General Council. Among the members of the legal )rofession, Professor Wells stands n the front rank. As an advocate, lecturer, and a gentleman of broad nd liberal culture, he holds a place mong the best. He was naturally clear and vigorous thinker and )ossessed the valuable gift of clear nd forcible expression. That Processor Wells has been greatly sucessful as a professor is conceded by 11 who have any knowledge of the Jniversity, and especially by the tudents who have been fortĂșnate in aving him as an instructor.