DANIEL J. MAHER. - This representative member of the Kansas bar has been a resident of this state since his boyhood days and here he has won advancement through his own energies and ability, with the result that he is now conceded to be one of the strongest criminal lawyers in the state, with a reputation that is unassailable in any connection. He has been concerned with much important litigation in the state and federal courts of Kansas, especially in the department of criminal practice, and through his character and services he has honored the profession of his choice. He has been engaged in practice in Kansas City since 1883 and has been a member of the bar of the state for fully thirty-five years. He has brought to his profession the attributes of an alert and well trained mind and the resources of a strong and sterling character, so that there is signal consistency in according to him in this publication specific recognition as one of the leaders of the bar of Wyandotte county.
Daniel J. Maher was born in the city of Alton, Madison county, Illinois, on the 14th of March, 1854, and is a son of John and Honora (Hay) Maher, both of whom were born and reared in county Longford, Ireland. About the year 1832, soon after their marriage, the parents severed the ties that bound them to the fair old Emerald Isle and set forth for America. They first settled on Long Island, New York, and thence removed to Alton, Illinois, where they continued to maintain their home until 1865, when they removed to Orleans, Morgan county, that state, whence, in 1868, they came to Kansas and took up their abode on a pioneer farm in Franklin county, where the father developed a valuable property and incidentally lived up to the full tension of the pioneer era in the history of that section of the state. There his cherished and devoted wife died in 1882, and thereafter he made his home with his son Daniel J., of this review, in Kansas City, until 1888. Of the ten children the subject of this sketch is now the only one living.
In the common schools of his native state Daniel J. Maher gained his rudimentary education and he was a lad of fourteen years at the time of the family removal to Kansas, where he assisted in the work of the home farm and continued to attend the public schools, at intervals, until he had attained to the age of seventeen years. He then left the parental home and for a short time thereafter was employed at railroad work in the state of Iowa. He then returned to the home farm and while assisting in its various operations he began the work of preparing himself for his chosen profession. Riding nine miles morning and night, between the farm and the city of Ottawa, Kansas, he prosecuted the study of law under the able preceptorship of Colonel Charles B. Mason, who was at that time one of the leading members of the bar of Franklin county, of which Ottawa is the judicial center. He brought to bear marked energy and perseverance and made rapid progress in his absorption and assimilation of science of jurisprudence, with the result that he secured admittance to the Kansas bar in 1876. His professional novitiate was served at Ottawa, where he soon proved the validity of his claim to consideration and support in the work of his exacting vocation and where he consequently built up a substantial practice. In Ottawa Mr. Maher was incumbent of the only political office for which he has consented to become a candidate. He was elected city attorney and as such he administered the affairs of the office without fear or favor. It was mainly due to his determined efforts that the saloons in Ottawa were closed, and he there formulated the city ordinance whose provisions were later incorporated in the present prohibition law of the state.
Mr. Maher continued in the practice of his profession at Ottawa until 1883, when, realizing the superior claims of Kansas City, which was rapidly growing in population and commercial importance, he removed to this city, where he has since continued in active practice and where his clientage has long been of distinctively representative character. He has appeared in connection with many important causes brought before the courts of this section of the state and he has shown splendid powers in the handling of criminal cases. In this department of practice his reputation far transcends local limitations and he is known as one of the most brilliant and resourceful criminal lawyers of the state. He appeared for the defense in the case of Mrs. Mary Hudspeth, charged as an accessory in the C. & A. train robbery; was similarly retained by the Pullen boys, charged with wrecking a train on the Wabash Railroad; the cases known as the Fowler conspiracy cases; was attorney for the prosecution in the trial of "Tutes" Rambo, charged with murder; and appeared for the defense in the Rumble murder case. These represent only a few of the more important criminal cases in which his services have been enlisted, and he has to his credit a large number of victories gained in this department of professional work.
Though he gives a staunch support to the generic principles of the Democratic party Mr. Maher holds himself aloof from strict partisan dictates and in local affairs especially he gives his support to the men and measures meeting the approval of his judgment. He is a man of broad intellectual grasp and is well fortified in his opinions touching economic and civic matters. He is affiliated with the Modern Woodmen of America and both he and his wife attend and support the Congregational church, though he is not formally a member of the same.
In the year 1879 Mr. Maher was united in marriage to Miss Jennie M. Robb, who was born in the city of Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, on the 15th of August, 1858, and who is a daughter of James and Mary (Fox) Robb, the former of whom was born in county Down, Ireland, and the latter in the city of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, their marriage having been solemnized in Pittsburg, that state. Mr. Robb was for forty years one of the representative merchants of Pittsburg, whence he removed to Ottawa, Kansas, in 1868. He became one of the influential citizens of Franklin county, which he represented in the state legislature and he also served as postmaster of Ottawa for several years. He was a Republican in his political proclivities, was a man of fine mind and sterling character, and was a leader in thought and action in the community. He attained to the venerable age of eighty-four years, and his noble wife was also eighty-four years of age when she was summoned to the life eternal. Mrs. Maher was graduated in the Ottawa high school and is a woman of distinctive culture and most gracious personality. She has proved a valuable coadjutor to her husband, whom she has assisted as a stenographer and in other lines of his work, and for several years she has been a prominent factor in furthering the cause of woman suffrage. Both on the lecture platform and through other specific efforts she has done much to advance the cause, and she has also been deeply interested in charitable and benevolent work, in which connection she has secured pardons for a number of young men serving prison terms. In each instance she has made careful investigation and upon presenting her causes before the governors of Kansas and other states she has shown conclusively the justice of her claims for such clemency to be extended in the way of pardons. After the release of such prisoners she has given a number of them kindly advice and timely aid, and thus has helped them to live honest and useful lives. Mrs. Maher was the delegate from Kansas to the national woman's suffrage convention held in the city of Washington on the golden anniversary of the cause, as well as on the seventy-eighth birthday anniversary of that noble woman and earnest worker, Miss Susan B. Anthony. At this convention she delivered a most effective address, and the same was made the subject of most appreciative and complimentary mention by the newspaper press throughout the country, in reports of the convention.
Mr. and Mrs. Maher have two children, Daniel Robb Maher, who is now a captain of the city fire department of Kansas City; and Nettie Honora, who is the wife of Edward L. Doores, of this city.
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