Hon. Emory Albert Chase

From the Biographical Review, Volume XXXIII, located at the Durham Center Museum.
Transcribed by Arlene Goodwin


HON. EMORY ALBERT CHASE, of Catskill, Justice of the Supreme Court for the Third Judicial District of New York, was born on August 31, 1854, at Hensonville, Greene County, N. Y., where his parents, Albert and Laura (Woodworth) Chase, are still living. On the paternal side he is of English descent, and on the maternal of Scotch.

The ancestral home of the Chase family was at Chesham, England. Thomas Chase, a prominent resident of Chesham, had a son Richard, who married Joan Bishop at Chesham, April 16, 1564. This couple had a son Thomas, born at Chesham, who emigrated to America about the year 1639, and settled at Hampton, N. H. He was married to Elizabeth, a daughter of Thomas Philbrick, and remained in Hampton until his death in 1652. He had a son Isaac, born April 1, 1647, who is commonly referred to as Lieutenant Isaac. This son married for his second wife Mary Tilton, and lived at Vineyard Haven, Martha’s Vineyard. He died there, May 19, 1727, and is buried on the hill overlooking the head of Vineyard Haven.

Isaac Chase and his wife had a son Joseph, born February 26, 1689, who married Lydia Coffin. There first child, Abel, was born October 9, 1719. He married February 14, 1744, on Martha’s Vineyard Island, Mercy Mayhew. They had a son Zephaniah, born March 14, 1748. He married his first wife Abigail Skiff. Zephaniah Chase was a member of Captain Smith’s seaport company during the Revolutionary War. After the close of the war and in the years 1787 he sold his property in Vineyard Haven and migrated to the present town of Lexington, Greene County, N. Y., then County of Albany. His son Benjamin, born January 21, 1774, married Lydia Skiff, and had a son Albert, born January 4, 1819.

Albert Chase and Laura O. Woodworth were married on September 1, 1844. They have two sons, namely: Demont L., of Hensonville, N. Y.; and Emory A., of Catskill, the special subject of this biography. Albert Chase was engaged for many years in contracting, building, and lumbering. Since retiring he has lived on a farm.

Most of the early life of Judge Chase was spent on his father’s farm. He attended the public school at Hensonville, and continued his studies at the Fort Edward Collegiate Institute, but did not graduate. He was fitted for the legal profession in the office of King & Hallock (Rufus H. King and Joseph Hallock) at Catskill. In April, 1880, he became interested in the firm of Hallock & Jennings; and in 1882 he became one of its members, the firm name being changed to Hallock, Jennings & Chase. After Mr. Hallock’s retirement, September 1890, the business was continued under the style of Jennings & Chase until December 1896, when it was dissolved in consequence of Mr. Chase’s election as Justice of the Supreme Court for the Third Judicial District. In a district usually Democratic he was elected on the Republican ticket by a majority of about thirteen thousand. Since the 1st of January, 1897, he has devoted himself to the duties of that office.

The jurisdiction of a Supreme Court Judge extends throughout the State, but the judges are elected by districts. The Third District is composed of seven counties---Rensselaer, Albany, Schoharie, Columbia, Greene, Ulster and Sullivan. Judge Chase has always been a Republican in politics, and up to the time of his election as a Supreme Court Judge he attended as a delegate nearly every town, county, district, and State convention of the Republican party. During his career at the bar he was constantly connected with important litigations of the Third Judicial District and other parts of the State. He has been admitted to practice in the United States District and Circuit Courts and in the United States Supreme Court.

Judge Chase has long been prominent in the local affairs of Catskill, he was a member of the Board of Education for fourteen years previous to December, 1896, and for five years was its president. He served for a long period as corporation counsel of the village of Catskill, retiring from that office in 1895, and was Supervisor of the town of Catskill in 1890. He has also been conspicuously identified with several of the most representative local interests. He is now first vice-president of the Catskill Savings Bank, a director in the Tanner’s National Bank and in many other local enterprises. He is a member of the Presbyterian church.

Emory A. Chase married Mary E. Churchill on the thirtieth day of June, 1885. They have two children—Jessie Churchill Chase and Albert Woodworth Chase—and have a pleasant home at 25 Prospect Avenue.

Although Judge Chase is one of the youngest men elected to the Supreme Court in this State, he has met with a very favorable reception, as shown by the following resolutions and newspaper comments.

At the meeting of the Schoharie County bar, held at the Surrogate’s office in the village of Schoharie, the twenty fifth day of January, 1897, the following resolutions were unanimously adopted:--

"Resolved, that the bar of Schoharie County have watched with pleasure and approbation the holding of Judge Emory A. Chase’s first trial term following his recent election, and they congratulate themselves the Schoharie County has had the privilege and honor, as well, of seeing him start out in their midst of what we trust and expect will be a long and distinguished judicial career.

"Resolved, that, while hitherto he has been a stranger to many of us, yet we desire to testify to his patience and kindness; to his fairness, skill, and judicial ability, as manifested in conducting the trial of causes; to the ease and facility with which he has put off the lawyer and assumed the dignity of the judge; to his evident desire to be right and impartial in his rulings; and we congratulate the bar and the people of this State, and assure them that they have made no mistake in elevating to the bench Judge Emory A. Chase. We extend to him the pledge of our loyalty and friendship, and express the desire that he shall long continue to wear the judicial ermine."

From the Albany Daily Press Knickerbocker:--

"Judge Chase has won a very enviable reputation during his sitting for ability and in expediting the administration of justice."

From the Albany Times Union:--

"It was the first term of Justice Chase in this city, and he has made a favorable impression on the members of the bar in this county, not only as an honorable gentleman, but a fair and impartial lawyer, possessing extensive legal knowledge."

From the Albany Morning Express:--

"Justice Chase convened the March trial term of Supreme Court on the first day of March. He came to Albany for the first time as a presiding justice, and was unknown to many members of the bar. He adjourned the term yesterday, and left the city, having won a reputation for judicial ability, fairness, and courtesy that is well deserved.

"Justice Chase has been a model presiding justice. He was confronted with a calendar of three hundred and forty-four cases, and during the three weeks of the term he disposed of sixty-six cases. Of this number twenty-six were settled, twenty-eight tried, eleven referred, and a change of venue was made in one. This is a somewhat remarkable record; and, if other justices were as anxious to expedite business as is Justice Chase, many cases would not drag along in the courts for an extended period of time."

From the Albany Evening Journal:--

"The judge has proved himself to be one of the most popular men who ever have sat upon the bench in the court room in the City Hall."

From the Albany Evening Journal

"During the term most concluded Justice Chase has shown himself to be a model presiding officer. His first circuit has demonstrated him to be practically all that a judge should be."

From the Troy Times

"The Hon., Emory A. Chase, of Catskill, Justice of the Supreme Court, has just finished his first trial term in Schoharie County. The term was highly successful, and Justice Chase was congratulated by the bar on the impartiality of the rulings and the fairness of his charges. Justice Chase has a fine command of language and a thorough knowledge of the rules of evidence. The opening of his judicial career fulfills the prophecy of his nomination."

From the Hudson Republican

"The Hon. Emory A. Chase, of Catskill, Justice of the Supreme Court, Third judicial Department, has accepted the invitation of the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court in the First Department to hold a special term in New York City beginning May 17 and continuing until June 5. Justice Chase was chosen to the bench at the last election of a Supreme Court Justice in this judicial district, and he has already so thoroughly proved his efficiency as to warrant the high compliment which is contained in this invitation from the judiciary of New York City. Justice Chase has just finished holding a term of court in Hudson, where, as usual, his impartiality and judicial ability were praised by everybody. He is remarkably well fitted for the office which he fills, and it has not taken the courts, the bar, and the people long to find it out."

From the Troy Times:--

"The term of the Supreme Court just closing in the city has given the lawyers and the people an opportunity to become acquainted with the judicial qualities of the presiding justice, the Hon. Emory A. Chase, of Catskill. Acquaintance has meant admiration. In sitting as judge at civil and criminal trials of unusual magnitude Justice Chase has shown promptness, fairness, and mastery of the law and its principles that have assured to him the place of a favorite in the esteem of the people hereabout. His future visits to the city in either a judicial or a social capacity will be cordially welcomed."

The Albany Express, speaking of the October trial term of the Supreme Court, presided over by Judge Chase, says, "The term has been one of the longest and most satisfactory ever held in this county."


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