JOHN WAYNE CHAMPLIN was born at Kingston, New York, February 17, 1831, son of Jeffrey Clark and Ellis Champlin. The ancestor of the Champlins came from England and settled in Rhode Island in 1638. His education was begun in the village school and was completed at the academies of Stamford, Rhinebeck, and Harpersfield, New York. On leaving the last institution he took a course of Civil Engineering at the Delaware Literary Institute, New York, and afterwards followed that line of work for three years. At the age of twenty-three he came to Grand Rapids, Michigan, took up the study of the law, and was in due course admitted to the Bar. In 1856 he was chosen to prepare a revision of the charter of the city of Grand Rapids. At various times he filled the offices of City Recorder and City Attorney, and in 1867 he was elected Mayor. In the spring of 1883 he received the Democratic nomination for Judge of the Supreme Court, was elected by a substantial majority, and served the full term of eight years from January 1 following. In 1887 the Regents of the University conferred upon him the degree of Doctor of Laws. From 1891 to 1896 he was professor of Law in the University of Michigan. He was married October 1, 1856, to Ellen More. Three children survive: Kate (Mrs. M. W. Butts), Frederick More, and Estelle. He died at Grand Rapids, July 24, 1901.
From "History of the University of Michigan" by Burke Aaron Hinsdale. Published by the University of Michigan in 1906.
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