Thomas H. Heard, BiographyPorter County biographical sketches . . . .

Transcribed biography of Thomas H. Heard

THOMAS H. HEARD. Porter county has reason to take pride in the high prestige maintained by its bench and bar during the entire period of its history, and among the representative members of its bar at the present time is found Thomas H. Heard, who is established in a large and important practice in the city of Valparaiso and who has been identified with much important litigation in the courts of this section of Indiana. He served with marked ability in the office of prosecuting attorney of Porter county and for about a decade was one of the valued instructors in the law department of what is now known as Valparaiso University. He is a man of high professional attainments and his powers of applying his technical knowledge have been admirably demonstrated in the course of his active practice and in connection with his official and educational work in the line of his chosen profession.

Mr. Heard claims the fine old Buckeye state as the place of his nativity and his advancement in the world stands as the concrete result of his own ability and well directed endeavors. He was born at Newport, Madison county, Ohio, on the 25th of December, 1859, and thus became a welcome Christmas guest in the home of his parents, Thomas and Martha (Higbee) Heard, the former of whom was born in England and the latter in Fayette county, Ohio, in which state her father settled in the pioneer days, upon his migration from his native state of Pennsylvania, where he was a scion of one of the staunch old German families that aided in the development and upbuilding of the Keystone commonwealth. Thomas Heard, Sr., was reared in his native land and there received excellent educational advantages. He came to the United States when a young man and finally prepared himself for the medical profession, of which he continued an able representative in Ohio until the time of his death. Thomas and Martha (Higbee) Heard became the parents of two sons and both were mere children at the time of the mother's death.

He whose name initiates this review was taken into the home of his aunt, Mrs. Sarah Higbee, after the death of his mother and was reared to adult age on a farm in Fayette county, Ohio, where he gained his early educational discipline in the public schools. That he made good use of the advantages thus afforded is shown by the fact that when twenty years of age he proved himself eligible for pedagogic honors, his personal education having included the curriculum of the high school and also that of a well ordered seminary at Xenia, Ohio. He began teaching in the district schools of Madison county, Ohio, when about twenty years of age, and he proved a successful and popular instructor, the while he formulated definite plans for a future career. For one year he was a student in the Holbrook Normal School, at Lebanon, Warren county, Ohio, and for three years he was identified with commercial pursuits, as traveling representative for a wholesale hardware house in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He then came to Valparaiso, Indiana, and entered the fine institution now known as Valparaiso University, in which he continued his studies about four years and in the law department of which he was graduated as a member of the class of 1888, in which year he duly received his degree of Bachelor of Laws and was admitted to the bar of the state.

Mr. Heard has had no reason to regret that he chose Valparaiso as the field of his professional endeavors, and here his novitiate was one of comparatively brief duration, as he soon proved his ability and manifested such ambition and such devotion to his profession that he gained a satisfactory practice, which has since grown to be one of most comprehensive and important order. He received the appointment of deputy prosecuting attorney of Porter county, under Willis C. McMahan, who is now presiding on the bench of the circuit court in this county, and in 1892 there came definite popular recognition of his professional ability and his former efficient service as deputy in that he was elected county attorney, an office of which he continued the incumbent until 1894, when further and well merited preferment was conferred upon him, in his election to the position of prosecuting attorney of the county. The best voucher for his discriminating and effective administration of the affairs of this important office was that given by his election as his own successor, in 1896, and he thus served four successive years, within which he successfully handled a large amount of important litigation and made a record that was creditable and satisfactory in all respects. Since his retirement from office he has given his entire time to the individual practice of his profession and he is recognized as one of the leading members of the bar of northern Indiana, where his practice extends into the various state and federal courts and where his clientage is one of representative character. For a period of about ten years Mr. Heard was a valued member of the corps of instructors in the law department of Valparaiso University, in which he lectured on criminal law and contracts, and incidentally he also served as judge of the moot court of the University, a fictitious but valuable tribunal in which the students gained practical experience in the various phases of legal procedure and in the details of the science of jurisprudence. Mr. Heard was one of the popular and peculiarly successful members of the faculty of his alma mater and his retirement from the educational work of his profession was greatly regretted, this action having been necessitated by the exigent demands of his large private law business.

Mr. Heard is a liberal, progressive and loyal citizen and has shown a vital interest in all that touches the welfare of his home community. In politics he has ever accorded unqualified allegiance to the Republican party, has proved an able exponent of its principles and policies and has given yeoman service in its cause. He is affiliated with the Masonic fraternity and with the local lodge of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, in which he is a past noble grand. He has maintained his home in Valparaiso since 1885 and here his circle of friends is coincident with that of his acquaintances. His church relations are with the Methodist Episcopal church.

On the 8th of November, 1888, was solemnized the marriage of Mr. Heard to Miss Myra Halladay, who was born and reared in Porter county and who is a daughter of John Halladay, long one of the sterling and honored citizens of the county. Mr. and Mrs. Heard became the parents of three children, namely: Glenn, Martha and Alice.

The son, Glenn, graduated at the Valparaiso high school with the class of 1912, and is now a student of the Valparaiso University. The older daughter, Martha, is a member of the public school and is taking private lessons in instrumental music, the younger daughter, Alice, is taking a similar course.

Source: Lewis Publishing Company. 1912. History of Porter County, Indiana: A Narrative Account of its Historical Progress, its People and its Principal Interests. Chicago, Illinois: Lewis Publishing Company. 881 p.
Page(s) in Source: 787-789

This biography has been transcribed exactly as it was originally published in the source. Please note that we do not provide photocopies or digital scans of biographies appearing on this website.

Biography transcribed by Steven R. Shook


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