Our History

We have been proudly representing the people and businesses of this area since 1902, making us Lewiston’s oldest established law firm.

This firm has housed many of the Valley’s most distinguished lawyers of the past 100 years.  We hold these lawyers in high-regard and we are honored to continue their work of providing serious, reliable representation.

Eugene A. Cox (4/7/1875–10/4/1955): Born in Athens, Alabama and educated at Vanderbilt University, Eugene Cox came west at the turn of the last century to settle in the Lewis-Clark Valley.  Mr. Cox arrived in Lewiston at a time when the town had a population of approximately 2,500 people.  He set up his practice on the second floor of the old Lewiston National Bank, where his office would remain for over 50 years.  The old Lewiston National Bank sat on the corner of 4th St. and Main Street (it was razed in 1965) and provided Mr. Cox with a view of the activities of downtown Lewiston.

Mr. Cox developed a practice of representing private parties and public entities.  He also served as Lewiston’s City Attorney in the early 1900s.  In addition to advising the City on legal matters and representing the City in disputes, Mr. Cox helped produce a compiled Charter and Code of the City of Lewiston.  Mr. Cox made the following comments about the state of Lewiston’s ordinances when he began his task:

The only code of ordinances preceding this code [1908] was published in 1896.  At that time the City of Lewiston had passed, during a period of thirty-two years, one hundred ninety-three ordinances.  During the next ten years, nearly four hundred additional ordinances were passed.  These later ordinances were to be found only in the original records, which covered several books and were not indexed.  They were not readily accessible, and an almost inconceivable confusion in the laws of the City resulted.  So many conflicts occurred as to make it almost impossible to determine what the municipal law was, even on investigation.

Mr. Cox represented the City of Lewiston in numerous cases, locally and before the Idaho Supreme Court.

In addition to his legal practice, Mr. Cox was an accomplished writer, economist, and political scholar.  He wrote hundreds (if not thousands) of letters and articles on the state of the Country’s economic health throughout the first half of the 20th Century.  His writings were published in newspapers across the nation.  Mr. Cox often wrote his friend A.L. (Bud) Alford, who served as an editor of the Lewiston Tribune from 1928 until his death in 1968.

Mr. Cox remained an active member of the Idaho State Bar for the remainder of his life.  In his later years, firm staff would travel to his house on Normal Hill so that he could provide them instructions regarding his cases.  The firm lost its founding member when, on Tuesday, October 4, 1955, Eugene A. Cox passed away.

Noel B. Martin (8/30/1888–8/15/1968):  Noel Martin was a runaway, a sailor, and a printer before becoming an accomplished lawyer.  Mr. Martin was born in Custer City, South Dakota.  At the age of fourteen, he ran away from home and worked as a printer’s devil.  When World War I erupted, Mr. Martin served in the United States Navy.  After the War, he became a small-town newspaperman in Illinois.  It was during that time that he began studying the law, on his own, with no formal education.  Noel Martin would go on to establish himself as a respected member of the bar over a practice that spanned nearly 40 years.

Mr. Martin joined the firm in 1921 and the firm became known as Cox & Martin.  He would practice in the Valley for approximately 15 years before moving down to the warmer weather of Los Angeles, California.  Mr. Martin had a distinguished reputation in the criminal defense practice and he was a highly respected member of the Idaho State Bar.  By 1926, he was appointed to serve on the Bar’s Legislative Committee, acting as a voice for the Bar before the State Legislature.  By the early 1930s, Mr. Martin was asked to serve on the Idaho Supreme Court, which he declined to do.

Mr. Martin has the distinction of being the only member of the firm to speak before the U.S. House of Representatives’ Judiciary Committee.  On March 4, 1930, Mr. Martin testified as a witness before the Judiciary Committee on the harms of prohibition—this despite his personal abhorrence for the use of alcohol.  Mr. Martin also argued the case to repeal Prohibition before the United States Supreme Court.

Mr. Martin later moved to Los Angeles where he set up a private practice, and then joined the Los Angeles County Public Defender’s Office. Perhaps it was his rough-and-tumble youth that gave him the attributes for which he is remembered:  an attorney who was skilled in persuading even the toughest judges to consider alternatives to a state prison sentence for many of his clients.  Noel B. Martin died on Thursday, August 15, 1968 in Glendale, California.

Marcus J. Ware (3/17/1904–9/27/1996):  Marc Ware was an institution in the legal community for the greater part of the 20th Century.  Mr. Ware was born in Yakima, raised in Twin Falls and educated in Moscow.  While at the University of Idaho, Mr. Ware was a charter member of Phi Kappa Phi honor society.  Upon earning his law degree in 1927, he moved to Lewiston, where he would live for the rest of his life.  Mr. Ware joined the firm in in 1927.  Within a few years the firm became Cox, Martin & Ware.

Mr. Ware’s practice primarily consisted of representing private individuals and businesses.  However, he did serve as the Nez Perce County prosecutor when elected in 1942.  The talent, ethical standards and dedication with which he practiced were so respected that Mr. Ware received nearly every recognition that can be bestowed upon an Idaho lawyer:  He was inducted as a fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers in 1963; he was admitted to the Phi Alpha Delta law fraternity; he served as adjunct faculty member of the UI College of Law; he was commissioner of the Idaho State Bar Association from 1956 to 1962 and its president from 1961 to 1962; and he received the Idaho State Bar Centennial Award in 1963.  One particularly great mark of distinction for Mr. Ware and honor for this firm occurred in 1991, when he was named the Idaho Distinguished Lawyer, the highest honor bestowed by the Idaho Bar Association.

Mr. Ware was also a committed community member.  His dedication to helping improve the lives of the Valley’s residents is a standard we strive to uphold to this day.  He was instrumental in forming the local historical society and establishing what is now the Luna House Museum. He was the group’s president for a number of years. From 1969 to 1991 he was a member of the Idaho Historical Sites Review Board. He served on the board of trustees of the Idaho State Historical Society and was once its board chairman.  He was also a charter member of the Spalding Museum Foundation.

Mr. Ware was a member of Kiwanis International, Outlook Club, Lewiston Elks, Lewiston Odd Fellows, American Legion, the Masonic Temple and Lewiston Chamber of Commerce. For many years, he was active in Boy Scout and Camp Fire organizations.  He also served as the chairman of the Lewis-Clark Sesquicentennial Committee. In 1961 he was chairman of the Lewiston Centennial observance. He was a member of the Lewis & Clark Trail Commission, which promoted the marking and development of historic sites along the 1804 to 1806 route of the expedition led by Lewis and Clark, and was its vice chairman until 1967.  He was appointed a member of the Idaho Bicentennial Commission and served from 1972 to 1976, and of the Lewiston Bicentennial Commission from 1973 to 1976. In 1975 he became a member of the National Advisory Council on Ethnic Heritage Studies, serving until 1977.  He received the UI Alumni Service Award and the UI Regents Club Award. He received the Aletha Pabst Award for his service and support of Lewis-Clark State College in 1992.

Mr. Ware was also a lifelong student of other languages and cultures.  In fact, he accumulated one of the nation’s finest private collections of Scottish Gaelic books, monographs, periodicals, music and oral recordings. At the time of his death, he was translating Robert Louis Stevenson’s “Kidnapped” into Gaelic.  He studied Swedish and became fluent enough that he was able to examine and cross-examine clients and witnesses in a lawsuit involving individuals from Sweden.  He also studied Nez Perce, Spanish, Latin and Portuguese.

Mr. Ware was a student of people, culture and the law.  He was a dedicated husband, attorney and community member.  This firm and this community lost a great leader when on Thursday, September 26, 1996, Marcus J. Ware passed away.

Elbert A. Stellmon (5/3/1904–1/15/1995):  Elbert Stellmon was born and raised in Nez Perce, Idaho and studied at the University of Idaho.  He passed the Idaho State Bar 1928.  That same year, he was elected to serve as the Lewis County prosecuting attorney; he was only 24.  At that time, Mr. Stellmon was the youngest prosecuting attorney in the United States.  Mr. Stellmon served as the prosecuting attorney from 1928 to 1933.  “The Great Depression came on in 1929, and crime was rampant in Lewis County.”  In his memoir, Mr. Stellmon recounts his work with Sheriff A.W. Mitchell as they dealt with characters such as “Cow Thief” Campbell.
Mr. Stellmon moved to Lewiston and joined the firm in 1935.  Mr. Stellmon served during World War II and received the Certificate of Merit and the Selective Service Medal.  He also served for a time on the Selective Service Appeal Board.  Mr. Stellmon returned to his practice and the firm became Cox, Ware & Stellmon.  He would practice here until his retirement in 1984.  Mr. Stellmon’s practice included serving as the Lewiston City Attorney from 1953 to 1956.
Mr. Stellmon was active in politics and various fraternal organizations.  He was involved in Masons, and Elks Lodge, Rotary, the Chamber of Commerce and Inland Waterways Association.  In public service, Mr. Stellmon served as president of the Clearwater Bar Association, University of Idaho Alumni Association, Lewiston Rotary Club, Lewiston Knife and Fork Club and Tri-State Hospital Board.  Elbert A. Stellmon died on Sunday, January 15, 1995.

William A. Stellmon (5/2/1933–12/18/2010):  William “Bill” Stellmon spent nearly all his life in the Lewiston area.  When he was 1 year old, the family moved to Lewiston from Winchester.  Mr. Stellmon graduated from Lewiston High School in 1951 and from the University of Idaho College of Law in 1960.  Upon graduation, he moved his family back to Lewiston, where he joined the firm and worked alongside his father.  In addition to his private practice, Mr. Stellmon served as assistant Nez Perce County prosecutor and was the Lewiston city attorney from 1964 to 1971.
Like so many of the attorneys in this firm’s history, Mr. Stellmon not only served his clients, but also the community.  He was a member  on the Lewiston School Board from 1972 to 1981, director and past president of the Lewiston Roundup Association, later serving as the parade grand marshal, director on the board of the Lewiston Boy’s Club, member of the State of Idaho Parks and Recreation board, president of Lewis-Clark Legal Services, chairman of the Lewiston Vandal Boosters, an early supporter and participant in the Lewiston Civic Theatre, and a member of the Elks, the Masons, the Shriners and the Rotary Club.  He also coached area youth in football, basketball and baseball and served as a Boy Scout leader.  Mr. Stellmon served as magistrate judge from 1990 to 1997, at which point he retired from the practice of law.  William A. Stellmon died on Saturday, December 18, 2010.

Daniel W. O’Connell (7/9/1928–5/31/1988):  Daniel O’Connell was regarded as one of the most talented defense attorneys in the Northwest.  Mr. O’Connell’s success was in no small part the result of his understanding and appreciation for this area and its people.  The son of a lumberman, Dan O’Connell was born in Spokane, Washington and raised in Potlatch, Idaho.  He graduated from the University of Idaho College of Law in 1953 and served in the Air Force from 1953 to 1955.  After completing his term of service, Mr. O’Connell moved north to join the firm.  It was from this firm that Mr. O’Connell served his clients with such dedication and skill that he was soon a nationally recognized advocate. By 1958, Mr. O’Connell was a partner at the firm.  The firm became Ware, Stellmon & O’Connell.  By 1978, he was inducted as a fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers.  The firm name was changed to Ware & O’Connell in 1984 and then to Ware, O’Connell & Creason in 1985.  At the time of his death, Mr. O’Connell is reputed to have had two cases set to go to trial every month for the next two years.

Mr. O’Connell was not only dedicated to his clients, but also to the Lewis-Clark community.  He served as the president of North Idaho Children’s Home Board, a director of the Lewis-Clark Valley Boys & Girls Club, an officer of the Lewiston Junior Chamber of Commerce, an executive committee member of the Lewis-Clark Council of Boy Scouts of America, a director of the Lewiston-Clarkston Blood Bank, a director of the Lewiston Chamber of Commerce, and director of the St. Joseph Regional Medical Center Foundation (to name a few).  Mr. O’Connell was also active in local politics and taught classes at the Lewiston YWCA, assisting immigrants seeking U.S. citizenship.

Tragically, Mr. O’Connell died at the age of only 59 as the result suffering a sudden heart attack on the morning of Tuesday, May 31, 1988.  All these years later, those who worked and lived alongside Dan O’Connell still mourn the loss of a man who served so many, accomplished so much, and had plans for so much more.

Upholding A Legacy.
Those at Creason, Moore, Dokken & Geidl today consider it an honor and a privilege to serve in the same firm as these great attorneys.  We also consider it our responsibility to strive toward providing the highest level of commitment and skill to each of our clients.