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Floyd Bixler Residence (206 Spring Garden Street) - page 3 / 12





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addition to regular mathematics, McCartney added other courses to his mathematics curriculum, including astronomy, and navigation.21  When the College added a new building in 1838 (later known as West College), Professor McCartney designed a marble dial stone to be inserted into the South wall, which gave “the latitude, longitude, and magnetic variations of the college.”22  He was highly popular with his students.  In 1846, when they learned that he had resigned “on account of a deficiency in his salary”, a committee of them wrote to the Board of Trustees and offered to “make up that deficiency for the coming year.”  They informed the Board that Professor McCartney was “one of the strongest links that bind us to La Fayette”, and without him “many will leave the Institution”.23  The 1846 graduating class presented McCartney with a portrait which he kept in his house on Spring Garden Street.24  

From 1849, McCartney was also Lafayette College’s professor of “Mental and Moral Philosophy”.25  In addition, he authored a history of the United States.26  He also gave a variety of public speeches and lectures during his lifetime.  One, entitled “How to Read a Book”, was remembered as being “one of the most polished and chaste productions in the English language, and full of sound, common sense, and profitable hints.”  Most of these lectures were never published – a large number of unpublished manuscripts were found among his personal effects after his death.27  

In addition to his college work, McCartney studied law, and joined the Northampton County Bar in 1838.28  He became a Deputy Attorney General for Northampton County in 1846 (reappointed in 1847 and again in 1848),29 and was elected the President Judge of the Third Judicial Circuit of Pennsylvania from 1851 until his death.30  He took the law very seriously.  His son later remembered accompanying Judge McCartney to work one day, sitting on an important case in Bethlehem.  Despite the gravity of the matter, the lawyers imbibed a little too freely at lunch.  When Judge McCartney reconvened court that afternoon, a spokesman for all the lawyers addressed the court to “respectfully request an adjournment of this case until tomorrow morning, as all of the bar of this Court is pretty damn drunk!”  The Judge was not amused, and fined the attorney on the spot for contempt of court.31  

Not content with just practicing law, Judge McCartney proceeded to become the “founder and principal of one of America’s earliest law schools”.  It was not connected with Lafayette College,32 but was separately incorporated in 1854 as the Union law School.33  Although other noted local lawyers agreed to become instructors, Judge McCartney’s “strong and winning personality . . . was what created the Union Law School, and what held it together, for the institution survived his death but a comparatively short time.”34   

Judge McCartney and his landlord, Dr. Charles Innes, served together on the School Board committee that planned the organization of Easton’s McCartney High School.35  Dr. Innes had a family connection in legal circles: his sister, Mary E. Innes, married prominent Easton lawyer Matthew Hale Jones.36   Jones later purchased the Innes home on Millionaire’s Row, and then sold it to his son-in-law, Judge William Sebring Kirkpatrick.  Judge Kirkpatrick, as a young man, had studied law in the offices of Attorney Henry D. Maxwell (Sr.), and later was the senior partner in the law firm of Kirkpatrick & Maxwell with Attorney Henry D. Maxwell (Jr.).37  

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