[From Manx Quarterly, #11 Oct 1912]


The following is from the " Cleveland Plain Dealer " of October 30th, 1911 :-The eightieth birthday anniversary of William S. Kerruish, the oldest practitioner of law in Cleveland, will be celebrated today. After eighty years of activity, fifty-four of which have been spent in the practice of law, the old lawyer still goes to his office every morning, and as head of the law firm of Kerruish, Kerruish, Hartshorn and Spooner, wrestles with the legal problems of the day.

William Kerruish is a Manxman and an American, and is proud of both facts. He was born at Warrensville four years after his parents had settled there on a farm, following their migration to this country from the Isle of Man. He still owner the old farm on Lee-road, and refuses to allow fifteen acres of timber, which has been standing there since before the day of his birth, to be cut.

He spent his boyhood days on the farm, and at Twinsburg Academy, where he received the equivalent of a grammar and high school education. So good a student was he that when he made up his mind to enter college he was admitted to the Sophomore Class of Western Reserve College, at Hudson. There he remained two years, finishing his education at Yale. Then he returned to Cleveland to study law. He earned every cent that was spent on his education by making beds, sawing wood and doing anything else that he could find to do.

"Examinations for admission to the Bar were not as hard in those days as today," he said last night, chuckling as he recalled the incidents of his admission to the Bar. " After leaving Yale I taught languages at Twinsburg and registered at a law office. Then I came to Cleveland and registered at the office of Ranney, Bachus and Noble. I had been registered the required two years, but had not studied law very long when I heard that there was to be an examination, and immediately went to Columbus to appear before the supreme court.

I was asked just two questions: `How you start suit on a promissory note and big a law practice has Ranney, Bachus and Noble?' I passed, and immediately began to practice in Cleveland."

Mr Kerruish is proud of his Gaelic lineage and speaks and reads the ancient language easily. He taught his language teachers at Western Reserve and at Yale to speak Gaelic. He tells of how the Manxmen came to Cleveland, impelled by the stories of a wandering romantic Manxman who returned to the Island after going to Arabia, joining the English army and engaging in the war of 1812.

After the war this wanderer left the army at New Orleans, and came north to see Niagara Falls. He went back to his native land with tales of the great country on the banks of Lake Erie, and immediately seventy Manx families set sail for this country. Mr Kerruish's father and mother were of that band.

Mr Kerruish resembles his father, who was a strong Abolitionist. While at Western Reserve College, the young student preached Abolition, and brought upon himself the ire of the Cleveland newspapers, as well as the displeasure of his college professors, by persuading the students to get Frederick Douglas, a negro speaker, to deliver an address at commencement exercises.

Mr Kerruish married a Manx girl, who also lived in Warrensville, and is the father of eight children, six of whom are still alive. His only living son is a member of the law firm. His wife died two years ago. He has lived for nine years at his present home, 3812 Euclid-avenue.

Today, at the home of his daughter, Mrs C. W. Stage, his children and children-in-law and his grand-children will gather around the table spread in honour of his birthday. He is hale and hearty, and insists that he is still young.


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