Gartin Building Courtroom with the Great Seal of the State of Mississippi

1902-1903 Mississippi Bench and Bar Composite donated to Supreme Court

September 7, 2018

The Mississippi Supreme Court on Sept. 5, 2018, received for display a historic photo composite of the 1902 and 1903 Mississippi Bench and Bar.

Mississippi Bench and Bar Composite donated

Attorney Richard Edmonson said the composite was found stored in a back room of his mother’s Magee home when the family began preparing it for sale. Lanelle Edmonson, 102, moved from Magee to Jackson to live with her son.

“I appreciate very much the opportunity to donate it,” Edmonson said. “I wanted to donate it to somebody who would use it.”

Chief Justice Bill Waller Jr. welcomed the addition of the 115-year-old photo to the Supreme Court’s collection. Presiding Justice Jim Kitchens, Justice Leslie King, Justice Josiah Dennis Coleman, State Law Librarian Stephen Parks, Mississippi Bar Executive Director Deanne Mosley, Bar Associate Executive Director Melanie Henry and former Mississippi Bar President W.C. “Cham” Trotter joined Chief Justice Waller at a viewing of the composite.

Mississippi Bench and Bar Composite donated

The composite hangs in the fourth floor lobby of the Supreme Court Building.

The Court and the State Law Library are working to increase the archival collection. “I hope this will generate some interest,” Chief Justice Waller said.

Trotter said the composite is one of only three known to exist. Trotter has one in his Belzoni office. His great-grandfather, Justice William Campbell McLean of Grenada, is among those in the composite. The composite is arranged alphabetically, by town, Trotter said.

Edmonson has examined the composite but can’t find his grandfather, Rich Russell of Magee, among those pictured. He recalled his grandfather two-finger typing documents on a manual Underwood typewriter. “I’m told that he was thrilled to death that I was going to law school,” said Edmonson, who has practiced law now for 55 years.