Benjamin  F.  Love


           Benjamin F. Love. It is a fact worthy of consideration that nearly all of the eminent men of this country have struggled up from obscurity to fortune, position and fame.  Here industry, learning, talent and genius secure the highest reward of life.  In a word, the true nobility nature's rulers, God's noblemen come to the front, and the people recognize them.  They make our laws, shape our institutions, and free the minds of the masses from that ignorance that would otherwise trammel their intellectual development.  These reflections thrust themselves upon us as we quietly contemplate the many eccentricities of the talented lawyer whose name heads this biography, and whose face we have seen in the legal battle light up with the radiant hope of success, when, with invincible argument of logical fact, he was demolishing the polished sophistries of a wily antagonist.  Benjamin F. Love is a native Hoosier, born in Liberty Township, Shelby County, Ind., March 31, 1831, and is the son of  Samuel and  Lucy Love, and the ninth in a family of fourteen children. His grandfather, John Love, a native of the Keystone State, moved to Kentucky, where he was married, Samuel being the only fruit of that union.  He grew up in Kentucky and married  Lucy Crisler, a native of the "Old Dominion" and in 1823 came to Bartholomew County, Ind., where the family remained but a short time; and, not being satisfied with the country in that vicinity, they returned to Kentucky.  In 182[?], Samuel Love and family again came to Indiana, this time selecting a home in Shelby County, where he resided until his death, in the spring of 1843.  Samuel Love was an "early-day" Justice of the Peace in this county, and it is said by some of the oldest inhabitants that Benjamin F., while a boy, was a constant attendant upon the trials in his father's court, and always gave strict attention to the conflicts of the lawyers, and while quite young he displayed great aptitude in grasping and comprehending [?] questions of fact; and from his youth he exhibited a logical and analytical mind, which he to some extent cultivated at neighboring debates with the teachers and bright young men of his locality. He received his education at the common district school, with the exception of a short course of study in the Shelbyville Seminary, and in early manhood followed teaching and surveying.  During the latter part of this time, he studied law in his spare moments, and had charge of a few cases, which was his first experience in the legal profession. Hoping to better his condition, and with a desire for change, he went to Missouri, and in the spring of 1861, entered the law department of Cumberland University, Lebanon, Tenn., remaining there one session.  He then returned to Missouri, and in a few months went to Jackson County, Ind., and shortly afterward, in the summer of 1861, came back to his boyhood home and located in practice at Shelbyville, where he has since remained.  He was married in Kentucky, in November, 1855, to  Miss Elizabeth Johnson, of that State, who died in July, 1857.  He was again married, July 3, 1865, in Shelby County, Ind., to  Mrs. Martha J. Wooley,  nee  Winterrowed, daughter of  Anderson Winterrowed, one of the early pioneers of this county.  Mr. Love is regarded as an eccentric man, which arises from his very unreserved and unpretentious bearing toward his acquaintances, and, when the cares of business are cast aside, his indulgence in his large fund of humor and anecdote; and, having a keen sense of the ridiculous, he enjoys repeating anecdotes and passages from humorous speeches and orations; and at other times rising to great intellectual force and power, when the occasion demands it, thus producing an inconsistency in the make-up of the man that is only appreciated by those who know him best. when he presents himself before the court or jury in the conflict in behalf of his client, his combative nature and intellectual power rise to any emergency that presents itself, and his greatest force is only brought out when hard pressed or grave responsibility rests upon him; and the man as surrounded by his friends in the social circle, and the man before the jury, presents a change and contrast of intellectual make-up that is striking, and it is not strange that those who know him think him eccentric.  While he is a lawyer of extraordinary ability and strong faculties, he yet in an important case appears slow, and labors harder than others of his professional brethren ; but a client may always be certain he will fully develop all the strong points in his case.  His great caution and genuine solicitude for the cause of his client, and his fear that he might omit something or commit an oversight that would prejudice his client's cause, is the reason of his apparent tardiness in such a case.  Nothing would be more mortifying to him than to feel, or to have his client feel, that he had not done all that could possibly be done in a case.  Though possessing great combative force, he is not what is understood as an aggressive lawyer until he is sure of his position, and then he presses his point with vigor, deducing from every fact, or seeming-fact, a logical conclusion that cannot be broken down or undermined.  He has never aspired to office or political preferment, but has devoted himself to the law, and, though an ardent Republican, his party has not succeeded in obtaining his power and influence upon the stump. He is scrupulously honest and frank in all his dealings with his fellow-man; and in all his agreements or professional engagements with the court or bar, he will not allow himself to violate the letter or spirit of any engagement upon any technicality or quibble; but he is slow to make any engagement or contract affecting other persons without their full concurrence and approval, but when once made, it must be honestly and fully maintained.  He has always been temperate and moral; is a man of generous, kind impulses, and has secured a large circle of warm, sincere friends, who are [?] devoted to him, and in the social circle his fine qualities and jolly good humor cast a glow of sunshine over all who come in contact with him.
History of Shelby County, Indiana, Brant & Fuller, 1887, "Shelbyville Sketches,"  page 502-505.
Contributed by Phyllis Miller Fleming

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