A well-known jurist of Illinois has said: "In the American state the great and good lawyer must always be prominent, for he is one of the forces that move and control society. Public confidence has generally been reposed in the legal profession. It has ever been the defender of public rights, the champion of freedom, regulated by law, and the firm support of good government. No political preferment, no mere place can add to the power or increase the honor which belongs to the educated lawyer." Judge Lane is one who has been honored by and is an honor to the legal fraternity of Montgomery County. He stands to-day prominent among the leading members of the bar of this portion of the state, a position to which he has attained through marked ability.
A native of Cleveland, Ohio, he was born on the 27th of March, 1842. His father, John Lane, also a native of Ohio, was a merchant and in his political affiliations was a Democrat. He married Catherine Barry, who was of Scotch-Irish descent, and they became the parents of five children, but Judge Lane is the only one now living. The father died during the infancy of his son and the mother's death occurred during his boyhood.
Edward Lane was only sixteen years old when he came to Hillsboro, Illinois. Here he worked at any occupation that would yield him an honest living. Desirous of obtaining an education he entered the academy, in which he spent five years as a student, meeting his expenses through his earnest, persistent labor. Hardships and difficulties confronted him, but it is only through the pressure of adversity and the stimulus of opposition that the best and strongest in man is brought out and developed and the latent powers of Judge Lane were called into use and the foundation of a self reliant character was laid. He pursued a full academic course, including languages, and, leaving that institution, he engaged in teaching for one term, but he had become imbued with a desire to enter the legal profession and made arrangements whereby he entered the law office of Davis & Kingsbury as a student. In the fall of 1864 he was admitted to the bar and entered upon practice with his former preceptor, Mr. Davis, this association being maintained until the death of the senior member two years afterward. Judge Lane then began practice alone, in which he continued until 1882, when he formed a partnership with George R. Cooper, with whom he is still associated. The political positions which he has filled have all been in direct line with the law. In 1866 he was chosen as city attorney for a term of two years, and when but twenty-seven years of age he was elected county judge of Montgomery County, entering upon the duties of the office in 1869 for a four years' term. In 1886 he was elected to congress, where he served for eight years, during which period he was a member of the judiciary committee and was widely recognized as one of the most active working members of that body. He gave close and earnest attention to every question which came up for consideration and supported with unfaltering loyalty the measures in which he believed. On his return from the legislative halls of the nation he resumed the active practice of law in Hillsboro, where he has since remained. This has been his real life work, and at the bar and on the bench he has won distinction. His preparation of cases is most thorough and exhaustive and he seems almost intuitively to grasp the strong points of law and fact.
To other fields of activity Judge Lane has extended his efforts and with equal success. He is an agriculturist, giving personal supervision to his farming interests. He is also a director of the Hillsboro National Bank, of which he was one of the organizers, and is a stockholder in the Montgomery Loan & Trust Company. He likewise has a beautiful home in Hillsboro, which is numbered among his valuable realty possessions.
In 1870 Judge Lane was united in marriage to Miss Tucie Miller, a daughter of Samuel K. Miller, of Lawrenceville, Illinois. Mrs. Lane was born there in 1850, and is descended from a Kentucky ancestry. By her marriage she has become the mother of two children: Guy C., who is a graduate of Yale College and is now a practicing attorney connected with his father; and Bessie, the wife of Howard Boogher, an attorney of St. Louis. Judge and Mrs. Lane hold membership in the Lutheran church. He is a man of strong intellectual endowments and of high character, standing at the head of his profession in Montgomery County. In his habits he is temperate and disposition kindly, and as a judge and statesman he made a reputation which ranks him with the distinguished residents of central Illinois.
Taken From: Past and Present of Montgomery County, Illinois (1904)