One of the firm’s founders, Isaac Wayne MacVeagh, was appointed U.S. Attorney General by President Garfield in 1881. Struck down by an assassin’s bullet just one hundred days after his inauguration, Garfield had little time to achieve much beyond naming his advisers. Because of Garfield’s assassination, Mr. MacVeagh remained in his post until December 1881, resigning after securing an indictment against President Garfield’s assassin, Charles J. Guiteau.
Isaac Wayne MacVeagh was born in 1833 in Pennsylvania. He graduated from Yale University with a law degree in 1853, and began his own practice after being admitted to the Pennsylvania bar in 1856. By 1859, Mr. MacVeagh was serving as district attorney for Chester County, Pennsylvania.
During the Civil War, he became a captain in an emergency infantry, ultimately becoming a major of cavalry in 1863. That same year he served as chairman of the Republican State Committee. When the war ended, Mr. MacVeagh moved his law practice to Harrisburg, and in 1870, President Ulysses S. Grant appointed him U.S. minister in residence to the Ottoman Empire (known as Turkey). Mr. MacVeagh served in this position for one year but was so disturbed by Grant’s handling of the Republican Party that he resigned his position and joined the Republican opposition against Grant.
In 1872, Mr. MacVeagh served as a delegate to the Pennsylvania State Constitutional Convention and by 1876 had relocated his law practice to Philadelphia.