Connecticut State Library with state seal

Memorials of Connecticut Judges and Attorneys
As Printed in the Connecticut Reports
volume 122, page(s) 671-672


James Parkhill Andrews died on September 10th, 1936. He was born in East Windsor, Connecticut, on October 23d, 1854, a son of the late Samuel James and Catherine Augusta (Day) Andrews. He graduated from Yale College in 1877 and from the Yale Law School in 1879. That same year he began the practice of law in Bristol, Connecticut, in partnership with his classmate Willis A. Briscoe, and during that time Mr. Andrews and Mr. Briscoe edited and published the "Index Digest of Connecticut Reports." In 1882 the firm was dissolved and Mr. Briscoe went to Norwich and became a partner of Jeremiah Halsey, and Mr. Andrews entered into a partnership in Hartford with Charles H. Briscoe who was the father of his former partner.

The firm of Briscoe and Andrews had a large general practice. Judge Briscoe was a very popular trial lawyer, especially of questions of fact. Mr. Andrews devoted himself more particularly to the study of legal questions and appealed cases. He was an unusual legal scholar - most thorough in research, painstaking in analysis, and very exhaustive in his examination of a legal problem. Judge Briscoe used to say that after a decision in a case by the Supreme Court, Mr. Andrews would go over the opinion, point by point, and carefully compare the points discussed by the court with the claims made in his brief. And so by practice and by study and by great industry he became a thoroughly equipped and experienced lawyer. He practiced too at a time when the bar had strong lawyers and real leaders - Richard D. Hubbard, Alvan P. Hyde and his son William Waldo Hyde, William C. Case, Henry C. Robinson, Charles E. Perkins and Arthur F. Eggleston. These men would inspire any ambitious young lawyer and give him a zest for attainment.

In 1894 Mr. Andrews was appointed reporter of the Supreme Court of Errors. The first reporter of the court was Mr. Andrews' grandfather, Thomas Day, the second reporter John Hooker, and he became the third reporter. These three men probably comprised as distinguished a group of court reporters as any State ever had. In 1896, in collaboration with George B. Fowler, he brought out another digest called "Connecticut Index Digest." Governor Rollin S. Woodruff asked him in 1907 to become a judge of the Superior Court but, feeling that his strength was not quite equal to the work, he declined the honor. In 1924, when he resigned the position that he had held for thirty-one years, Chief Justice Wheeler in a letter wrote "the accuracy of Mr. Andrews' official work has been exceptional and carried on with a zeal so unvarying and unflagging as to make it manifest to Bench and Bar that he truly loved his work." Chief Justice Prentice frequently said the same thing, and spoke of the unusual character of Mr. Andrews' work and of its great value to the court as well as to the bar. All this was true. By his work in preparing his digests, and by the year spent in his practice at the bar, he became peculiarly qualified for the position of reporter, and further it was work that by temperament he loved to do.

It is not easy to characterize the quality of his work but the bench and bar generally recognized his clear statements of fact, his keen analysis of every legal point, with distinctions and qualifications, all set forth in perfect sequence and expressed in language in which every word was nicely chosen, to the end that it might convey an exact meaning. In all that he did he took infinite pains and felt the importance of doing it well. Somehow he never seemed quite satisfied but was always trying to add a little here and there and to have his work as nearly perfect as he could make it. He lived to look back on a life of real accomplishment. In the work that he has left, he has built for himself an enduring and lifelong monument.

He was a man of convictions and had the strength of character to show them forth in his life. He stood firm on his principles, whatever the issue. All public matters interested him and he supported every movement begun in the cause of good government. The social and charitable and religious life of Hartford was enriched by his generous aid.

There was a certain distinction in his looks and bearing - the mark of the Christian gentleman that he was. He will always be remembered for his character and culture, as one whose charm of personality and sweetness of nature endeared him to a group of choice friends, and as a companion who spoke kindly words, who was always interested, and whose lively and subtle wit brought a smile and never left a sting.

Mr. Andrews was married to Julia Lincoln Ray of Chicago, Illinois, August 27th, 1895, who survives him.