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09/24/2021 12:06 PM
Pennsylvania State Senate

Samuel John Milton McCarrell



Session Position District Party
1893-1894 15 Republican
1895-1896 15 Republican
1897-1898 15 Republican
1899-1900 15 Republican
 Counties   Dauphin


1842 - 1920

Referred to as “a man of comprehensive culture,” the Honorable Samuel John Milton McCarrell was born in Buffalo Township, Washington County on October 19, 1842.  He was the son of the Reverend Alexander and Martha McClain McCarrell, his father, the 35-year pastor of the Claysville Presbyterian Church.  Samuel attended common schools and clerked at his uncle’s store in Claysville, while his father prepared him for college through home tutoring.  He entered Washington College in 1860, graduating first in his class in 1864.  While completing studies, Samuel enlisted in the Washington County Home Guard.  McCarrell meanwhile served as assistant principal at Linsey Institute, Wheeling, West Virginia, 1864-1865, while studying law at the firm of Richardson and McKinnan in the same town. McCarrell moved to Harrisburg in August 1865, continuing his preparation for the bar under the Honorable David Fleming, a past Speaker of the Pennsylvania Senate. After admittance to the Dauphin County bar in 1866, Samuel became Fleming’s law-partner, an association lasting until the death of his mentor in January 1890. In the meantime, he served a two-term stint as Dauphin district attorney from 1880 through 1887. Samuel prevailed in the 1892 state Senate election, eventually serving eight years in the upper house.  He chaired the committees on Constitutional Reform and Judiciary Special, served as a member of Corporations, Elections, Judiciary General, Legislative Appointments, and Railroads, and earned an appointment to the New Capitol Building Commission in 1897.  Through McCarrell’s efforts, the plan to construct a Capitol Park, consisting of several freestanding buildings, gave way to the construction of a single Capitol Building.  The senator backed the 1897 labor arbitration bill, the Brewers and Distillers Act, Pennsylvania’s Free Election Bill, and its companion state convention regulatory measure.  His “Joint Appeals Bill,” a major accomplishment, extended the privilege to appeal unfavorable decisions from lower courts to labor grievance claimants, granting those individuals “joint or several assignments of error on such appeal.” Senator McCarrell opposed occupation and poll taxes, employers who demanded campaign contributions as a requirement of employment, the state’s weak voting fraud penalties, and backed the 1895 Superior Court Act. A lifelong Republican, the senator represented the party as a delegate to numerous state and national conventions, and figured as a key member in the McKinley nominating caucus. After retiring from politics in 1907, McCarrell established himself as one of the most distinguished attorneys in the history of the Harrisburg bar.  Samuel served as a U.S. Attorney for the Middle District, a Dauphin County Judge, and succeeded George Kunkel as president judge of Dauphin County. Active his entire life in city civic affairs and fraternal organizations, the Honorable Samuel John Milton McCarrell passed away at his Harrisburg home on June 25, 1920, “full of years and of honors.”