May 2016 Bar Bulletin
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May 2016 Bar Bulletin

McMicken, Rupp & Schweppe — A Memoir

(Third in a Series)


When we last left you in February, Mr. Rupp had reached 1909, when his father joined the firm.

Six years after Mr. Dovell and Mr. Ramsey came into the firm my father, Otto Burton Rupp, came into the office. That was 1909. Dad was admitted to the Bar in Walla Walla in 1903. He was virtually unique in that he never went to law school and never “read law” in a law office.

After his graduation from Whitman College in 1898 he worked in the County Auditor’s office and studied law on his own until he could pass the Bar examination. I know very little about his practice in Walla Walla except that he was once Prosecuting Attorney there and that once he had a partner named McDonald. That partnership gives rise to an engaging anecdote — engaging anyway to anyone who knew my father. The firm had earned a pretty good fee, and they decided to add to their library. Mr. McDonald wanted to buy a practical text book on the law of garnishment (Rood on Garnishment, it was), but Dad held out for the Codes of Justinian. What they bought I do not know, but I have Dad’s copies of Justinian at home.

Anyway in 1909 Dad had decided to move to a larger city and was thinking of going to Portland. He knew our firm, however, for he used to go to Seattle occasionally to help the firm with its trial work. They used to represent the Seattle Electric Company, and personal injury suits against “the streetcars” were a great indoor sport. One day in Walla Walla he encountered on the street Mr. Tom Dovell whom he admired very much. When Mr. Dovell heard that Dad was contemplating going to Portland; “Well, we sat right down on the curb with our feet in the gutter, and when we got up I had agreed to go to Seattle.”

He came to the firm at first as a salaried associate, but on Mr. Dovell’s death in 1916 he became a partner, and the firm name was changed to Hughes, McMicken, Ramsey & Rupp. In the meantime he married Cornelia Norris of Tacoma, my sister Jane was born in 1911, I was born in 1913, and my sister Betty was born in 1915.

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