Hand, John P.

John P. Hand was born in Henry County, Illinois on November 10, 1850. Hand began his studies at Rock River Seminary in Mount Morris, Illinois. Hand went on to attend Iowa State University and graduated in 1872. After graduation, Hand resolved to pursue a career in law and was admitted to the Bar in 1875.

Hand opened an office in Cambridge, and quickly established a high number of clients and became a respected person in the legal field. Consequently after residing in Cambridge for ten years, Hand was nominated and elected to serve as a Judge for Henry County. Hand served from 1885-1890. After his term was up, Hand stepped down from the bench, and served as the Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois. Hand practiced as the Assistant U.S. Attorney for four years, serving from 1890-1894.

In 1894, Hand returned to his own private practice of law. However, he soon reacquainted himself with serving as a judge, and on June 4, 1900, Hand became a member of the Illinois Supreme Court. Hand stayed on the Supreme Court for 13 years, and finally resigned on July 16, 1913. In this time period, Hand served as Chief justice in 1903, and again in 1907.

Hand spent his life with his wife Elizabeth (Brayton) Hand. The two were married on October 26, 1871. They had one son who later moved to Chicago, while Hand and his wife remained in Cambridge. It was in Cambridge that John P. Hand died on May 22, 1923.

Next: Benjamin Drake Magruder


  • Ed. John M. Palmer. The Bench and Bar of Illinois: Historical and Reminiscent. Volume II. Lewis Publishing Company: Chicago, 1899.
  • “John P. Hand.” www.state.il.us/court/supremecourt/justicearchive/Bio_Hand.asp