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M. J. Cochran

M. J. COCHRAN, lawyer and journalist, is a • member of the Nome bar and has filled the office of United States Commissioner for the Kougarok District. He was born April 1, 1854, at Evansville, Indiana. His grandfather was a pioneer who came from East Tennessee to this region before Indiana was a stale. Mr. Cochran belongs to an old Scotch family that was forced to leave the old country on account of the persecution of the Covenanters in the days of King Charles. He was educated in the public schools. He studied law at Rockville, Indiana, under David H. Maxwell, late Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Indiana, and was admitted to the bar in May, 1875. He went to Kansas in 1877, locating in Woodson County; thence he went to Medicine Lodge, Kansas, where he edited a newspaper for the period of a year, and was assistant prosecuting attorney. In 1879 he was in New Mexico, and subsequently was deputy clerk of the District Court of the Fifth Judicial Division at Buena Vista, Colorado. After the election of 1882, he practiced law in Buena Vista for six years, and was also associated with A. R. Kennedy in the publication of the Buena Vista Herald.

In 1880 he went to Washington Territory, and was nominated as one of the candidates for the first legislature, but was defeated. In the spring of 1890 he located in Aberdeen, and practiced law there for six years. In 1896, when the Populists elected a superior judge, he moved to Spokane, preferring to seek new fields rather than practice in a court presided over by a Populist. He was subsequently associated with C. S. Warren of Butte, in mining. He came to Alaska in January. 1898. locating first at Fort Wrangell, where he practiced law. In 1 899 he went over the trail to Atlm. and the following season he came to Nome. He was appointed United States Commissioner for the Kougarok District in the spring of 1901, and held the office one season. The balance of his time in Nome has been devoted to the practice of law.

During the first legislative session of the State of Washington Mr. Cochran was clerk of the Senate Committee on Education and the Joint Committee on Tide Lands. He reported this session of the legislature for the Tacoma Globe. He has enjoyed [the distinction of an acquaintance with some noted men in the literary world, among them Eugene Field, Bill Nye, Opie Reid and Col. Vischer. Mr. Cochran has been I very successful lawyer, and has made an exceptional record in criminal practice. In eighteen murder cases which he defended, there was only one conviction, but there were three reversals by the Supreme Court.  

Source: Nome and Seward Peninsula by R. S. Harrison. Seattle: The Metropolitan Press, 1905.




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