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In 1853 William Dennison and James Lyndes began the firm in La Crosse, Wisconsin. Lyndes was an early Mayor of La Crosse, 1859 to 1860, and 1872 to 1873. In August, 1859, Dennison died as a result of an altercation with a German farmer in Mormon Coulee. Dennison and his brother-in-law, Weston, tramped across the farmer’s field to gain access to Mormon Creek one time too often. Dennison claimed that he had the right of access to a navigable stream. The German farmer and his family objected to Dennison and his companions tramping over crops. During the altercation, Dennison pulled out his revolver and the farmer’s son responded with a club and a gun. Dennison received a head injury and ended up on the ground, unconscious. He was taken back to La Crosse and died the next night. When Dennison died, Lyndes went to the various saloons in the Second Street area, trying to organize and incite a lynch mob to deal with the German farmer and his family. He was unsuccessful. Reportedly, criminal charges were filed against the German farmer and members of his family, but apparently the case never reached trial.
By 1859, Joseph W. Losey had joined Dennison and Lyndes and the firm was called Dennison, Lyndes & Losey. Joseph W. Losey was first hired by Dennison and Lyndes as a scribe, but soon he was studying law. Losey had a part in establishing the Burlington Railroad tracks on Second Street through downtown La Crosse. The railroad had been unable to secure an agreement with the city for locating the track. Losey represented the railroad. According to reports, a meeting between the railroad officials and the La Crosse city fathers, mayor and city attorney was arranged in St. Paul, Minnesota over a weekend. At about 12:01 a.m. Sunday morning, when no court was open and no injunction could be secured, railroad crews begin laying track down the middle of Second Street. By Monday morning railroad trains were running on the tracks past taverns, boarding houses and shops. Persons living or working on Second Street were startled to look out on Monday morning and see a railroad engine going by their windows. The tracks were laid so hurriedly that repairs had to be made to them for a number of years thereafter.
After Dennison’s death, James Lyndes and Joseph W. Losey continued practicing together as Lyndes & Losey.
In 1861, Attorney C. W. Bunn had joined the firm, which from 1876 to 1884 was named Cameron, Losey & Bunn. The firm was located first at Knutson’s Block on Second between Main and Pearl, and later at Second Floor, 300 Main.
Bunn eventually moved to St. Paul, Minn., and later became general counsel for the Northern Pacific Railroad. From 1876 until 1884, the firm was known as Cameron, Losey & Bunn.
In 1889, G. M. Woodward joined the firm, continuing to practice at 331 Main Street.
In 1900 Andrew W. Lees joined the firm and it was then known as Losey, Woodward & Lees, and located at 531 Main Street. From 1901 to 1914 the firm continued as Woodward & Lees with offices at 110 North 4th Street. The firm remained at 110 North 4th Street until the 1940’s.
In 1914 George W. Bunge joined the firm and it was then known as Lees & Bunge.
In 1941, Hubert B. Fuller joined the firm and it was then named Lees, Bunge & Fuller. Hubert Fuller later left the firm, and in 1945 the firm name was changed back to Lees & Bunge. From 1945 to 1950 the principals of the firm were Jonathan C. Bunge, Lawrence Engelhardt, and Otto O. Marquardt with offices at 402 Batavian National Bank Building in the 300 block of Main Street.
In 1951 Attorney John S. Coleman joined the firm and in 1953 Richard S. Moen and William E. Meyer joined. By 1958, the firm’s name was Bunge, Coleman, Moen & Meyer. In 1960, Leon E. Sheehan joined and the firm was renamed Bunge, Moen, Sheehan & Meyer. In 1962, the firm was changed to its current name Moen Sheehan Meyer.
Since World War II, a number of well-known attorneys have been associated with the firm, including A. P. Funk, Jr., M.H. Giffin, George M. Snodgrass, Charles N. Goerdt, L. A. English, Burleigh A. Randolph, and V. Downing Edwards.
At one time, in the 1940’s and 1950’s, the firm had branch offices located in Milwaukee and in Chicago.
The firm continued to be known as Moen, Sheehan Meyer until 1978. Paul W. Henke, Jr. became a partner in the firm and from 1978 to 1994, the firm name was Moen, Sheehan, Meyer & Henke, Ltd. As with other firms, Moen Sheehan Meyer & Henke, Ltd. shortened its name for marketing reasons. This occurred in late 1994 when the firm resumed using the name Moen Sheehan Meyer, Ltd.
In 2013, Moen Sheehan Meyer, Ltd. celebrated its 160th year as a select few noted continuous law firms. The firm enjoys distinction as La Crosse’s oldest law firm. Today there are 9 attorneys that offer a full range of services in the areas of estate planning, real estate, probate, elder law, business and tax law, general litigation, criminal defense, family law and adoptions, bankruptcy, employment law, worker’s compensation and personal injury. Contact one of our attorneys today to best help you with your legal needs.
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Joseph J. Skemp Jr.
Nathan P. Skemp
David F. Stickler
Attorney Sarah E. Korte