After teaching for a number of years in Iowa at West Branch, Council Bluffs and Glenwood, he moved to Newton, Kansas, with his family and continued to teach school while continuing his legal studies in the office of J. W. Day. He moved to Barclay, Kansas, in 1876, where he engaged in farming and teaching school. He soon decided to enter the practice of law and moved to Sterling, and there started on a legal career. He was shortly elected prosecuting attorney and moved to Lyons, the county seat. He was immediately engaged in the enforcement of the new prohibition amendment to the constitution to the extent that his life was often threatened by the liquor interests. After two terms as prosecuting attorney his wife prevailed upon him to move to Garden City, and leave the hazardous duties of prosecuting liquor violators for the more peaceful life of a farmer on a homestead. His reputation as a lawyer followed him, however, and he was solicited to take up the legal work by persons who became involved in legal difficulties. He was soon entirely occupied in legal work, leaving the farm to his sons who were then growing up and able to break the prairie, and care for the crops and livestock. In the history of all wild, lawless cities, like Dodge City, Kansas, there comes a turning point and government becomes one of law instead of man; and in two years he made the government of Dodge City a government of law and order. This task was both difficult and dangerous. He was soon appointed Judge of the 27th Judicial District upon its creation in that newly developed area of the west. He was twice elected and upon completion of his second elective term retired to private practice at Trinidad, Colorado, where he continued to practice until he moved to Santa Fe, New Mexico, in 1901, to join his son, E. C. Abbott, who had been appointed District Attorney for the 1st Judicial District of New Mexico. He was soon appointed U. S. Attorney for the Pueblo Indians of New Mexico. He continued in the private practice until his son was elected Judge of the 1st Judicial District of New Mexico at the first State election in 1911, when he retired from legal work and improved a ranch home in the Cañon de Los Frijoles where the cliff dwellers of a prehistoric race made there abode. When his health required him to lead a less active life he sold out his holdings and returned to Santa Fe where he erected a modest and comfortable home, where he lived until the date of his death, at the age of 87 years.