Franz C. Eschweiler (1863-1929)
Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice (1916-1929)
"His love for his fellow men and his love for justice were closely linked together, and he wanted to humanize the law." - Justice Burr W. Jones, Eschweiler's funeral service (1929)
Franz Chadbourne Eschweiler was born September 6, 1863, in Houghton, Michigan. He attended college at the University of Michigan and the University of Iowa. In 1889, he was admitted to the bar in Milwaukee, where he practiced law for 21 years.
Eschweiler was appointed special prosecutor for Milwaukee County in 1907. Three years later, he was elected to Milwaukee County circuit court and served for six years. In 1912, he was chosen by his colleagues to preside in juvenile court. He once told a friend that the happiest moments of his official career were spent with children who had come before him while he was juvenile judge. He enjoyed giving advice and suggestions to help them rebuild their lives.
Attorney S. C. Backus said of Eschweiler's work as juvenile judge: "He moved among these young men and women with a kind, gentle, yet dignified spirit, always with the thought of saving and assisting human souls."
Along with his work in juvenile court, Eschweiler taught at Marquette University Law School for 20 years. It was said at his memorial: "His considerate treatment and encouragement of his students, and his sincere parental interest in their welfare, in class and life after, resulted in many treasured friendships."
In 1916, he was appointed to the Wisconsin Supreme Court. He received an honorary doctor of law degree from Marquette University in 1918. He was twice elected to the Supreme Court and served for 13 years.
He was married to Ida Kindt and had four children: Elaine, John, Paul and Mary. He died November 14, 1929.