110. Oct. 7, 1990 - Law firm celebrates 150 years:
Journal-News, Sunday, Oct. 7, 1990
Local law firm celebrates 150 years
By Jim Blount
In 1840 Thomas Millikin, an 1838 Miami University graduate, rode a horse to Columbus to take the Ohio bar exam. He passed the test and a few weeks later, the 21-year-old Rossville native opened his law practice in Hamilton.
That was the start of what today is the Millikin & Fitton Law Firm, which will celebrate its 150th anniversary this week. It is the oldest law firm in Butler County and, according to a 1980 survey by the Ohio State Bar Association, the third oldest in the state.
Its founder. Thomas Millikin was born Sept. 28, 1819, in Rossville, a son of Dr. Robert B. Millikin and Sarah Gray Millikin. After graduating from Miami, Thomas Millikin studied law in the office of Elijah Vance in Hamilton.
A faithful Democrat, Millikin shunned elective offices in favor of practicing law. He was appointed to a one-year term as Butler County prosecutor in 1843. But in 1874 he declined an appointment to the Ohio Supreme Court
His varied client list included several railroads that served the area. Millikin represented the Cincinnati, Hamilton & Dayton Railroad, the first line to serve the city, since shortly after it entered Hamilton in 1851.
Millikin, a popular speaker for civic and patriotic events, had a part in arranging the 1855 merger of his native Rossville into Hamilton. He also chaired the committee that planned Hamilton's 1891 centennial celebration.
He was a founder of both the Hamilton Gas Light Company and the Hamilton and Lindenwald Electric Transit Company.
Millikin and Mary Van Hook who became the parents of sever, children - were married in 1841, in an unusual location in Columbus. The ceremony was in the office of the Ohio Penitentiary, where her father was warden. The wedding party included two future Ohio governors, William Bebb and John Brough.
Millikin made his last court appearance two weeks before his death Nov. 10, 1899, at age 80.
A Dayton newspaper, commenting on his career of nearly 60 years, called Millikin "one of the best lawyers ever at the bar of the state." A Butler County Bar Association memorial said "in his own county, his name appears as counsel in nearly every important case in the court records for over 50 years."
Twenty-five years later, James K. Campbell - whose law practice took him from Hamilton to a term as governor of Ohio and legal service in Washington, DC. - recalled Millikin as "the greatest lawyer I have ever known."
In 1876, Robert N. Shotts had joined his law tutor in the practice. He was part of the firm until his death in 1928.
The continuity of the Millikin name was assured in 1891 when Brandon R. Millikin, a grandson of the founder, became a partner. He was a member of the firm until his death in 1958, a year after Thomas J. Millikin, a great-great grandson of the founder, joined the practice and remained until
The other part of the firm name was added in 1943 when Stuart Fitton joined the office. Fitton -- whose father, Sam Fitton, handled the incorporation of Champion Papers in the 1890s -- remained until his retirement in 1981.
Other deceased and retired members of the firm have been Millikin P. Shotts (1907-1943), Frederick A. Reister (1928-1967), John T. Latimer (1949-1973) and E. Hjalmar Persson (1964-1981).
Members of the firm today are James S. Irwin, John G. Rosmarin, Stanley D. Rullman, William C. Keck, James E. Michael, John H. Clemmons, Michael A. Fulton, John J. Reister, Michele M. Gressel, Jeffrey L. Rulon, Gregory E. Hull, Keith M. Spaeth, Patricia A. Reilly, Kathryn Holden, Paul G. Franke, and, of counsel, Louie J. Hofstadter.
Until 1972, the firm periodically altered its name to reflect changes in its membership. Since 1972, it has been known as the Millikin & Fitton Law Firm.
Thomas Millikin, the founder, had his office at 117 S. Second Street. In 1906, the law firm moved to the new Rentschler Building at the corner of High and S. Second streets, becoming the first tenant above the first floor.
Its Hamilton office remains in the same location, now known as the Society Bank Building, 6 S. Second St. In 1981, a Fairfield office was opened in Clock Tower Place at 1251 Nilles Road.