Ernestine E. Breisch

From Ohio History Central

Ernestine Elma (Breisch) Powell was born on February 16, 1906, in Moundsville, West Virginia. Soon after Breisch's birth, her family moved to Bloomsburgh, Pennsylvania. In 1910, the Breisch family relocated to Martins Ferry, Ohio. Breisch remained in Martins Ferry from 1910 to 1925, attending public school there.

Upon graduating high school, Breisch enrolled in the Y.M.C.A. Law School in Dayton, Ohio. She became a member of the Ohio bar in 1929. She then embarked upon a career in corporate and tax law. Breisch first found employment with Wall, Cassel & Eberyl, an accounting firm in Dayton, where she worked as a tax counselor. In 1931, Breisch opened her own legal practice in Dayton. By the late 1930s, she had become the chief attorney for the Dayton Jobbers and Manufacturers Association and for the Retail Grocery Association in this same community.

While practicing law in Dayton, Breisch was appointed as a temporary acting judge in this city. She was the first woman to hold a judge's seat in Dayton's history.

Breisch was an active member of the National Woman's Party. She also participated in the Dayton Press Club and was an active flyer, belonging to the 99ers, a national women's flying club. In 1935, she married Roger K. Powell, a judge on the Ohio Court of appeals. Breisch remained active in the legal profession until the 1970s.

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