HISTORY OF

SARATOGA COUNTY, NEW YORK.

by NATHANIEL BARTLETT SYLVESTER

1878

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CHAPTER XXVII.

BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES.

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REUBEN HYDE WALWORTH.

 

Portrait of Hon. Reuben H. Walworth

 

Among the many distinguished jurists who graced the bench of the State of New York, during the palmy days of its rapidly increasing jurisprudence, no name became more like a household word on the lips of every lawyer in the land than that of Chancellor Walworth.

Reuben Hyde Walworth was born on the 26th day of October, 1788, in Bozrah, Conn. He was the third son of Benjamin Walworth, the American branch of the Walworth family tracing its origin to the historic Walworth, the Lord Mayor of London, who slew the rebel Watt Tyler in the reign of Richard II. In 1671, William Walworth, the ancestor of Benjamin Walworth, came from the city of London and settled on Fisher's island, afterwards removing to New London.

In the early part of the Revolutionary war, Benjamin Walworth, the chancellor's father, was quartermaster of Colonel Nicholl's New York Regiment in the service of the United States, and was acting adjutant-general of his regiment at the battle of White Plains.

When the chancellor was four years of age his parents removed to Hoosick, N. Y., where he was occupied with the labors of the farm, receiving such education as was then afforded by the excellent common schools of the period, together with much private instruction in his father's family. At the age of seventeen he commenced the study of law, and at twenty was admitted to practice in the county court, and two years later in the Supreme Court of the State. He settled at Plattsburg, Clinton Co., in January, 1810, and in 1811 was appointed master in chancery and one of the county judges. In the War of 1812 he was an officer of volunteers, and at the siege of Plattsburg in 1814, was acting adjutant-general of the United States forces, on the staff of Major-General Mooers, taking an important part in the battle. He was a member of Congress from 182I to 1823, being appointed in the latter year one of the circuit judges of the State, by Governor Joseph C. Yates. This office he held for five years, in which he was noted for his prompt and fearless administration of the law both in the civil and criminal branches of his court.

In 1828, Judge Walworth was appointed chancellor of the State of New York. This office he held for twenty years, and until the new constitution of 1848 abolished the court of chancery. In the office of chancellor he greatly distinguished himself. His decisions as chancellor are contained in eleven volumes of Paige's Reports and three of Barbour's Reports. The most of his opinions delivered in the court for the correction of errors, of which, as chancellor, he was the principal executive officer, were published in Wendell's Reports, twenty-six volumes ; Hill's Reports, seven volumes, and in the five volumes of Dino's Reports.

The year he was appointed circuit judge, 1823, he removed, in October, to Saratoga Springs. He purchased at that time of Judge Walton, its first occupant and builder, what has since been known as the Walworth place of Pine Grove. In these early days it was much more secluded a place than it now is, and was exceedingly beautiful. The railroad had not then marred its proportions, and a delightful wood, which bounded it on the rear, extended up westward beyond Matilda street, and to the Waterbury orchard and farm. Almost the entire block opposite was then used as a public park, and was the favorite resort for both the villagers and summer guests, which was known as Pine Grove, and was traversed by fine walks. It inclosed a ten-pin alley, which was much resorted to. Swings hung down between the tall pines in almost constant motion. In this grove the Indians sometimes encamped, offering for sale their manufactured wares, and shooting with bows and arrows to show their matchless skill in archery. And here, too, the militia sometimes met on training days.

In 1828 he removed to Albany. In that city he first occupied a house in Park Place, near the academy, and afterwards one on Washington avenue, the present residence of Judge Amasa J. Parker. In 1833, tiring of his city residence, he returned to his former home in Pine Grove, in Saratoga Springs, where he continued to reside until his death, which occurred on the 28th day of November, 1866.

Chancellor Walworth, before his death, had long been identified with the leading religious benevolent movements of the day. He was for many years president of the American Temperance Union, vice-president of the Tract Society and of the American Bible Society, and one of the corporate members of the American board of missionaries for foreign missions.

Chancellor Walworth may justly be regarded as the great artisan of our equity laws. In some sense he was the Bentham of America, without the bold speculations and fantastical theory which, to a certain extent, characterized the great English jurist. What Bentham did in removing the defects in English jurisprudence, Walworth did, in renovating and simplifying the equity laws of the United States. Before his day the court of chancery in this State was a tribunal of very illy defined powers and uncertain jurisdiction, in a measure subservient to the English court of chancery in its procedure.

Chancellor Walworth abolished much of that stolidity, many of those prolix and bewildering formalities which had their origin in the rising Mediæval Ages, and reduced the practice of his court to certain standing rules, which he prepared with great industry. These rules greatly improved the old state of equity, and though he has been charged with thus blocking the court of chancery with expensive machinery, it cannot be gainsaid that with Chancellor Walworth equity was the sole spirit of law, creating positive and defining rational law, flexible in its nature and suited to the fortunes, cares, and reciprocal complications of men. {See Reminiscences of Saratoga, by William L. Stone.}

While residing at Plattsburg, he married his first wife, whose maiden name was Maria Ketchum Avery. She was a lady of singular sweetness and benevolence of character. With her husband at the time of their marriage she united herself to the communion of the Presbyterian church, to which she always remained devotedly attached. She was gentle and pliable except where conscience was concerned, when she was as immovable as a rock. With unbounded love for little children, she delighted to minister to their wants. Among the poor and sick she was a constant daily visitor. Not an urchin in the village, however ragged, whether white or black, but knew her like a book, and felt truly at home with her. By all classes, whether old or young, she was greatly beloved. She died at Pine Grove on the 24th day of April, 1847. As a Christian, wife, mother, friend, and neighbor, she was a model in every relation of life. In the locality where she so long lived, loved, and was beloved in turn, her memory is still tenderly cherished.

By his first wife Chancellor Walworth had six children, of whom the four eldest are still living. His daughters were Sarah, now Mrs. Davison; Mary, now Mrs. Jenkins; Eliza, now Mrs. Barkus; and one deceased. His sons were Rev. Clarence Walworth and Mansfield Tracy Walworth.

On the 16th of April, 1841, {note the discrepancy in dates between death of first wife and second marriage.} Chancellor Walworth again married. His second wife was Sarah Ellen, daughter of Horace Smith, of Locust Grove, and widow of Colonel John J. Hardin. She brought with her to Saratoga three young children of her first marriage, two boys and a daughter, who is the present Mrs. Ellen Hardin Walworth, who, with her family of children, two sons and three daughters, still occupies the family mansion. The eldest daughter, Miss Nellie Hardin Walworth, at sixteen became the author of a work of much merit, entitled "An Old World as Seen through Young Eyes." The chancellor's second marriage, like his first, was eminently a happy one. The new wife was sweet and loving in her temper, and a woman of high refinement and culture. She brought with her to Pine Grove a style of southern hospitality which accorded well with her husband's disposition and station in life. It was her pleasure to keep open house, and many more familiar faces passed in and out than ever thought to ring the bell or wait in the parlors. She survived her husband only ten years, dying in the month of April, 1874.

New men have been more extensively known throughout the country than Chancellor Walworth. Perhaps no man indeed ever so well remembered his friends. He seemed never to forget faces or names. After retiring from office, the study of genealogy became his peculiar hobby, and his chief relaxation and enjoyment. The result was the publication of a volume entitled the "Hyde Genealogy," being that of his mother's family. It contains fourteen hundred and forty-six pages, in two large octavo volumes, and it is said to be the largest account of a single family ever published. His body was interred in his family plot in Greenwich cemetery. This plot had long been an object of his special care and interest. It was his custom for many years to go there on every Sunday morning before service, and when flowers were in bloom, to carry thither bouquets which he had gathered in his garden. His body now lies beside that of the wife of his youth, among the graves that he had so well cherished, and beneath the soil upon which he had so often scattered the roses of spring-time. The family mansion is still standing in the old grove, very little altered in external appearance since the day when the chancellor first came to the Springs. And now neither stranger nor villager ever sees him at work in his garden, or romping with his grandchildren under the pines. The magnet that drew thither so many feet is no longer there. The last of the chancellors of the State of New York is gathered to his rest.

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ESEK COWEN.

Upon the pages of the ten thousand volumes of legal lore which crowd the book-shelves of the lawyers of the New World and the Old, the name of Esek Cowen has long been the synonym for patient research and the most profound erudition.

Esek Cowen's father, Joseph Cowen, was the son of John Cowen, a Scotch emigrant, who settled in Scituate, Mass., in 1656. Esek was born in Rhode Island, Feb. 24, 1784. His father removed, with his family, to Greenfield, this county, about 1793. A few years later he removed to Hartford, Washington county, where, during his early years, Esek labored upon his father's farm. The only educational advantages he ever enjoyed was six months' attendance in a neighborhood school. While pursuing his labors upon his father's farm he always had a book by his side, and while tending the lime-kiln would often read all night by its lurid fires. Thus, by persevering industry, he mastered classical and English literature.

At an early age he turned his attention to the law. When but sixteen he entered the office of Roger Skinner, at Sandy Hill, continuing his studies later with Zebulon Shepherd. In 1810 he was admitted to the bar of the Supreme Court, and began the practice of his chosen profession with Gardner Stowe, in Northumberland, in this county. Subsequently he formed a law copartnership with Wissell Gansevoort. {Bench and Bar of Saratoga County, p. 268.} In 1812 he removed to Saratoga Springs. He rose rapidly in the legal ranks. In May, 1824, he was appointed "reporter in the Supreme Court and court of errors," holding the position until 1828, when he was appointed circuit judge by Governor Pitcher. His reports, embracing nine volumes, are justly prized by the profession. In 1835 he was appointed to the bench of the Supreme Court to fill the vacancy occasioned by the withdrawal of Judge Savage. Mr. Cowen continued in that office until his decease. In his early life he held the office of justice of the peace, and in 1821-1822 served as supervisor of Saratoga Springs.

Previous to his elevation to the bench (1817) he formed a law copartnership with Judge William L.F. Warren, who had formerly been a student in his office. This partnership continued until 1824. Subsequently he was associated for some years with Judiah Ellsworth.

Besides his "Reports," the other works of his pen, which remain as a monument of his industry and genius, were a, "Treatise on the Practice in Justices' Courts" and "Cowen and Hills' Notes on Phillips' Evidence," the latter of which represents eleven years' labor, and was published in 1839 in four volumes. In the writing and compilation of the "Notes" he was assisted by Nicholas Hill, one of the most able lawyers the State ever produced. In these works were written those learned opinions which have since rendered Judge Cowen's name illustrious.

After removing to, Saratoga Springs he built the "stone house" on Congress street, which was for many years his residence.

In 1811 he married a daughter of Sidney Berry. Their children were Susan Berry, Sidney Joseph, and Patrick Henry. Colonel Berry was the first surrogate of Saratoga County, and served as a colonel in the Continental army during the Revolution. "It was he who was detailed to receive, on the 30th of September, 1776, the messenger sent by Lord Howe to invite Dr. Franklin, John Adams, and Mr. Luttrage to a conference on Staten Island." {Reminiscences of Saratoga, p. 360.}

Judge Cowen was emphatically a self-made man. With an extremely limited common-school education, by his own efforts, stimulated by his energy and ambition, he rose to eminence. As a writer he was plain but accurate; as a judge, "prompt, acute, learned, and upright." But it was as a jurist that he was best known. Of his opinions, which so eminently distinguished him as a jurist, it has been said that "in their depth and breadth of research, and their strength and reason of bearing, they are not excelled by those of any judge in England or America." "His opulent mind, his love of research, caused him to trace every legal opinion to its fountain-head, to discover every variation between apparently analogous precedents. . . . Like Lord Mansfield, to whom he has frequently been compared, he was accustomed, in the preparation of his opinions, to a liberal expenditure of mental capital, - an excess of intellectual labor which renders them the triumph of a great genius, impelled by an unprecedented industry."

Judge Cowen's most marked traits of character were those naturally resultant from his indomitable energy and remarkable powers of endurance. Possessed of a splendid constitution, "his athletic frame and fine muscular development" were often remarked. His physical powers were enhanced by his abstemious habits, the rule of his life from a youth. He was one of the founders of the first temperance society in the United States, - that established at Northumberland in 1812. He was noted for his quickness of penetration, his force and originality of thought. Socially he was cheerful, often jocose. Intensely practical, he was not lacking in fine sensibility, or noble and generous actions. Material aid and kindly advice were never refused when needed, as many whom he started on the road to fame and fortune bear witness. The late Gideon M. Davison, on the occasion of his death, says, "He was my early friend and benefactor, - the one who, when I needed aid, kindly took me by the hand and led me through various trials, the one, in fact, who laid the foundation of all I have of earthly possessions." He stood ever ready to aid all meritorious enterprises; he gave the money (Dr. Clarke giving the land, and Judge Walton the timber) for the erection of Bethesda Episcopal chapel. His house, too, was the abode of kindly hospitality, where his genial manners, love of music, and rare poetic taste made him a delightful companion. He greatly delighted to hear and to sing certain plaintive Scotch ballads, among which "Bonny Doon" and "Highland Mary" were favorites.

Judge Cowen is described as having been tall, - over six feet high, - commanding of presence and bearing, but withal simple and unassuming in manner. His death occurred in the city of Albany, Feb. 11, 1844, at the age of sixty. His funeral was attended in the hall of the capitol by the clergy of the city, the governor, State officials, both houses of the Legislature, judges, members of the bar, and a vast concourse of citizens. The procession accompanied the remains as far as the Patroon's on the route to Saratoga Springs, where, on the 15th, the last obsequies were performed. {Stone's Reminiscences [original footnote has "Remiscences".] of Saratoga and Ballston.}

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JOHN WILLARD.

The village of Saratoga Spring seems to have been for many years the headquarters of legal learning, from the fact that so many eminent jurists made it their home. Prominent among these was the Hon. John Willard, who, as a circuit judge and vice-chancellor of the Supreme Court under the old constitution, and justice of the Supreme Court under the new constitution, adorned the offices which he filled, and was a shining example of candor and integrity, joined with great learning and ability.

Judge Willard was born at Guilford, Connecticut, on the 20th day of May, 1792, and descended directly from two of the noble band of Puritans who in 1639 planted that town. He graduated from Middlebury College in 1813, and while there was associated with the late Silas Wright and Samuel Nelson, and evinced at that time the same patriotic solicitude for the welfare of his country while engaged in a foreign war that he afterwards exhibited when it was rent with the civil strife caused by the Rebellion. He was a nephew, by marriage, of the late Mrs. Emma Willard, the pioneer of female education in this country, and during his college life he was an inmate of her family. She always entertained a high regard for him, and in her later years was glad to renew the intimacy of earlier days. He was admitted to practice as an attorney of the Supreme Court in 1817, under the chief-justiceship of Smith Thompson, and entered upon the practice of the law in Salem, Washington county. Bringing to the profession of his choice a well-stored and disciplined mind, he soon attained, by his untiring industry, and without any adventitious aid, an enviable eminence in his profession. He was for many years first judge of the common pleas, and surrogate of Washington county, until, in 1836, on the elevation of Esek Cowen to the bench of the Supreme Court, he was appointed circuit judge and vice-chancellor of the Fourth Judicial district, filling that office until the new organization of the judiciary under the constitution of 1846, when he was elected one of the justices of the Supreme Court. The latter office he held until 1854; and, under the regulations of our judicial system, was a member of the court of appeals during the last year of his term of service. The rapidity and ability with which he discharged his judicial duties; his uniform courtesy and kindness to the profession, and, above all, the pureness and integrity of his character as a judge and as a man, commanded universal respect and esteem, and won for him many flattering testimonials of regard from the bar in the different counties of the district.

After his retirement from the bench he was engaged for some years in the preparation of several legal treatises, which are valuable contributions to our jurisprudence, and not less distinguished for felicity and perspicuity of style than accurate and profound legal research and learning.

As a politician he was attached to the Democratic party, and strong and decided in his political opinions; but upon the breaking out of the Rebellion he sunk the partisan in the patriot, and took early and strong grounds in favor of a united support to our government in its struggle with treason.

In 1861 he was the candidate of the Union convention for senator, and subsequently endorsed by all other parties, he was elected without opposition. While in the Senate he uniformly acted with the Union Democrats and Republicans, and his opinion on all questions before that body was received with great respect. By his efforts the confusion in the laws respecting murder and the rights of married women was removed, and simple and sensible statutes passed in relation thereto.

He was wont to tell an anecdote which dates back to the violent days of the Maine liquor-law, - how he met the extreme conscientiousness of a grand jury with respect to an innkeeper who had sold a quart of brandy to be carried, contrary to his license, off his premises; although it was ordered by a surgeon, to bathe the bruises of a wayfaring man who had been thrown from a wagon. "I told them," said the judge, "why you would have indicted the Good Samaritan for taking care of the man who went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves."

The only child of Judge Willard was his daughter Sarah Elizabeth Willard, who was a young lady of rare beauty and culture. She was married to the Rev. Henry Fowler, of Auburn, but died in 1853, at the early age of twenty-three years. This great bereavement was a great shock to Mrs. Willard, and hastened her death, which occurred in 1859.

Judge Willard survived his family but a few years, and died at his residence in Saratoga Springs on Sept. 4, 1862, universally beloved and respected.

As an advocate, a judge, a legislator, he was alike eminent and accomplished; and in his private life irreproachable and blameless. It has fallen to the lot of few men to acquire and leave behind them such an honorable and unsullied name.

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NICHOLAS HILL.

Prominently identified with the history of Saratoga, and one of the most eminent members of the bar of the State of New York and the nation, was Nicholas Hill, Jr. He was born in Florida, Montgomery Co, N.Y., in the year 1805. He was of Irish descent, his grandfather, John Hill, having emigrated from county Derry, Ireland, to Florida, N.Y., as one of its earliest settlers. His father served in the Revolution, and was with Washington at Yorktown.

Nicholas was admitted to the bar of the Supreme Court in 1829. About the same time he formed a partnership with Deodatus Wright, and opened a law-office in Amsterdam. He soon after removed to Saratoga Springs. While there he assisted Judge Cowen in his elaborate "Notes on Phillips' Evidence," of which work a special mention may be found in the life-sketch of Esek Cowen. Mr. Hill removed to Albany in 1840, and the succeeding year was appointed to succeed John L. Wendell as reporter of the Supreme Court. This position he held until 1844. He published the seven volumes of "Reports" which bear his name. In Albany he was associated in legal partnership with Deodatus Wright and Stephen P. Nash, and subsequently with Peter Cagger and Hon. John K. Porter, as the head of the legal firm of Hill, Cagger & Porter, a firm occupying high rank, not only in the "capital city," but throughout the State. Mr. Hill died May 1, 1859.

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SAMUEL YOUNG.

To write a comprehensive life of Colonel Young would be in a great measure to write the history of the State of New York during the long period of his political life, or a history at least of the Democratic party of the State; for, perhaps above most men, was he identified with that party organization, its progress, and its triumphs. Yet in no sense was Colonel Young a mere party man. His integrity was never questioned, and above most men it was his delight to war against and expose both political and official corruption in whichever party it existed. In this he was no respecter of persons or political friends.

Samuel Young was born in the town of Lenox, Berkshire Co., Mass., in the year 1779. About the closing years of the Revolutionary war he came with his parents to what is now Clifton Park, in Saratoga County. Here he alternated his labors upon the farm with an attendance upon the common school, thereby acquiring a competent education in the elementary branches. He commenced the study of the law with Levi H. Palmer, then a lawyer in the town of Ballston. In due time he was admitted to the bar of the Supreme Court, when he opened an office at Academy Hill, in Ballston, and by his business energy and perseverance soon acquired a large and lucrative practice. He was early commissioned a justice of the peace, and was afterwards repeatedly chosen supervisor of his town. In the spring of 1813 he was nominated by the Democrats as a candidate for member of Assembly, to which office he was elected. Upon taking his seat, in the winter of 1814, Colonel Young took a prominent stand among the Democratic members of that body. A speech of his, made in favor of the war, was circulated extensively throughout the State, exerting a powerful influence upon the public mind. He was appointed by Governor Tompkins to the office military aide, whence his title of colonel.

In the session of 1815, to which he was returned in that year, he was elected Speaker of the House. This was a fitting compliment to the talents he had displayed during the previous session, and to his services in support of the State administration at a period of great perplexity and financial trouble, against a most vindictive opposition. In this important position he fully sustained himself. In 1815 he was again nominated by the Democrats for the Assembly, but was defeated in consequence of a defection in the Democratic ranks. The late Judge Cowen being supported by a portion of the Democrats in opposition to him, abstracted from Colonel Young sufficient votes to insure his defeat. This controversy was the origin of what was then called the old-line and the new-line parties in the politics of the county for many years.

In 1816 he was appointed one of the canal commissioners of the State, in which capacity he served about twenty years.

In 1819 he was elected senator from the eastern district, one of the four great districts in which the State was then divided. In 1821, with John Cramer, Salmon Child, and Jeremy Rockwell, he was elected a delegate to represent Saratoga County in the State convention about to assemble for the revision of the constitution. This body was composed of the best talent of the state, - the equal of which has not since been seen, and will probably not be seen again. In this body of able men, Colonel Young stood among the foremost. In April, 1824, Colonel Young was nominated by the Democratic legislative caucus for the office of governor. At this time De Witt Clinton was removed from the office of canal commissioner. This created so much feeling that an opposition ticket was nominated by what was called the People's party, the ticket being headed by Governor Clinton, who was elected by a decisive vote, - thus defeating Colonel Young, the regular candidate. The next year Colonel Young was elected to the Assembly from Saratoga County, and on the assembling of the Legislature, in 1826, he was again chosen Speaker. In 1830 he was the candidate of the Democratic party for member of Congress for the district then composed of Saratoga County. He was defeated by his competitor, J.W. Taylor, by small majority. In 1833 he was appointed first judge of the county courts of Saratoga County, which office he held until the expiration of his term, in 1838, declining re-appointment. In 1834 he was elected senator, resigning at the close of the session of 1836; and at the next election was again chosen senator, in which capacity he served until the close of the session of 1840. In 1842 the Legislature elected him to the office of Secretary of State, in which he continued until 1845. During this term of office, in which he was the acting superintendent of common schools, he laid the foundation of that masterly system of public instruction of which the people of New York are now enjoying the blessings, and for which to him they will be under everlasting obligations. Again, in 1845, he was chosen to the State Senate, remaining in that body until the close of the session of 1847, when his term expired by force of the new constitution. In 1846 he was nominated by the Democrats of Chemung county, without his knowledge, to represent them in the constitutional convention of 1846, but was defeated by a combination of Whigs and Conservatives, stimulated by influences from abroad.

Colonel Young was always a great favorite with the people, who would not allow him to remain for any length of time in private life. He was a student from his boyhood. He was an intense lover of knowledge, and the ardor in its pursuit which characterized his youth, continued unabated to the day of his death. Thus his mind became stored with a vast amount of scientific and literary knowledge. His address upon the subject of political economy, delivered at Schenectady before the Phi Beta Kappa of Union College, was celebrated for its literary merit, as well as for its comprehensive statesmanship, and the accurate and profound knowledge of the principles of that science which it exhibited.

After the close of his official career, in 1847, he retired to his residence in Ballston, where he died on the third day of November, 1850, in the seventy-third year of his age. His death was sudden and unexpected. On the day previous he was engaged in his ordinary pursuits, and in the evening he was unusually vivacious and sociable. He was found the next morning dead in his bed, having to all appearances died without a struggle. The cause of his death, it is supposed, was a disease of the heart, symptoms of which had been apparent for the last six or eight years.

Colonel Young married Miss Mary Gibson, whom he left a widow. Their children were John H., Samuel Thomas Gibson, Catharine, and Mary, now Mrs. Wayland. He was indeed cast in the larger mould of the Republicans of Grecian and Roman history. When exposing corruption in the Senate of the United States, he was styled by General Jackson "the Cato of the New York Senate." But the "impracticable," as politicians styled it, was not to be seen in his private life. He was gentle, affable, loving, fond of some amusements, society of the young, the cultivation of his garden, the beauties of the natural scenery around it. He was so free from political jealousies, and so unmindful of the contests in which he had been defeated, as often not to recollect the names of his successful opponents, and retained the vigor and serenity of his mind to the last, and after passing the age of sixty commenced the study of several of the modern languages.

Since the above was written the author has received a communication from Colonel Young's daughter, which does such credit to her head and heart, and is so excellent a tribute of filial affection, that with her permission it is inserted here to illustrate the biography of her father.

"SARATOGA SPRINGS, June 15, 1878.

"DEAR SIR, - I have already informed you that when my father was in public life I was not of an age to take the same interest in State affairs that I now do. I cannot, therefore, give you a detailed account of his political career, such as I had supposed was required of me. But, in compliance with your request, I will relate what I can recall of his peculiar characteristics and opinions. His uncompromising independence, fearlessness, and detestation of falsehood were evident to all about him.

"Believing it to be his duty to expose corruption wherever found, he was not popular with the demagogues of his own party, who could neither manage, intimidate, or use him. When a majority of the Democratic senators voted themselves a present of the then new State geological work, my father opposed and condemned their course as unconstitutional and dishonest. The following year, when he had become Secretary of State, these books were placed in his office to be delivered to the senators who might call for them. My father would not allow them to be taken away when he was there, and the owners were obliged to improve the hours of his absence to secure the present they had taxed the people to make them.

"It was, if I am not mistaken, soon after this, and if so, probably in consequence of it, that he lost by one vote a seat in the United States Senate. Defeat never seemed to disturb him; perhaps because he would assail corruption, and his doing so kept him engaged in a sort of warfare, that must, at times, have become exceedingly wearisome and disagreeable. How emphatically his occupation in that direction would not 'be gone' were he but living now! His love of the knowledge to be obtained from books was a source of delight of which the possession of a public office temporarily deprived him. And this may have been an additional reason for his evident indifference to defeat.

"His views on many subjects were far in advance of his time. I have heard him condemn the law that gave a wife's property to her husband, and the wages of a poor laboring woman to the man who owned her, years before the subject of woman's rights was discussed in the newspapers. He was opposed to slavery in all forms and under all disguises. He thought that, at the south, it should be gradually abolished, with the consent of the south, then protected by the constitution. That they should be induced to sell their slaves to the United States, and employ them again when free. He labored in the Senate for the passage of a law that became one soon after his death, allowing married women to hold their own property, and dispose of it by will; and giving to poor working women the avails of their own labor.

"Many years ago he delivered a lecture before the Young Men's Association of Albany, in which he alluded to the legal bondage of women, and criticised the laws regarding them. He argued against taxation without representation, and insisted that women were intellectually, and should be legally, the equals of men. This lecture excited much comment and surprise, and was published by request of the association. I recollect the letters received by my father from Miss Sedgwick and Mrs. Sigourney approving his opinions, and expressing their thanks for his defense of their much-abused sex.

"His interest in education, particularly in that of girls, was very great. As Secretary of State, he had the supervision of the normal schools, and it was thought that they were greatly benefited and improved while in his charge.

"A man with strong feeling, with an inborn hatred of tyranny and oppression, he had the ability so to defend himself that the repetition of an insult was not to be feared. I remember being in the Senate chamber, with some other school-girls, when my father made a speech. His opponent, a man of profligate character, who was arguing in favor of the enlargement of some canal, attacked my Father in coarse and ungentlemanly language.

"He had much to say about diving-bells and the important discoveries made by their use. I can never forget my father's towering form and indignant looks when he arose and said, 'It is a pity the senator has not a moral diving-bell with which he could go down into his own bosom and view the rottenness and corruption fermenting there. It would be a feat compared to which the descent of Æneas into hell was a holiday.'

"There are certain vices which he seemed to abhor more than others. Lying, which he always classed with stealing, and a husband's ill-treatment of his wife. These were crimes, in his opinion, too contemptible and base to be tolerated. A man of ability, residing in this county, abandoned a good wife, and my father, from that time, refused to recognize him. Afterwards a brief repentance and return to his wife was followed by a letter to my father, announcing his intention to lead a new life, and asking to be restored to his former friendly relations with him. My father replied that it would be, if ever, after years of correct conduct that he could be reinstated in his good opinion. It has often been said of my father that, were he a judge on the bench when one of his sons was convicted of murder, he would sentence him to death, believing it to be a duty he ought not to evade. I prefer to think that he would resign his office under such circumstances. And yet I must admit that there was a great deal of the old Roman in him. He was a member of the Baltimore convention at the same time with Calhoun, when Mr. Van Buren was nominated for President. Calhoun made some insulting allusions to the northern delegates, and my father retorted. Mr. Calhoun then intimated a challenge; my father accepted, but the interference of friends on both sides prevented a catastrophe.

"I have often heard my father say that there would be war between the north and south, although it would, probably, not take place in his life-time. He believed, too, that a railroad would eventually unite the two oceans, and that the submarine telegraph would, some time or other, be laid, while others were equally positive that neither of these projects could ever be accomplished.

"Having told all that I can now recall relating to my father,

"I am, very respectfully, yours,

"MARY S. WAYLAND.

"MR. N. B. SYLVESTER."

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JOHN W. TAYLOR.

Hon. John W. Taylor, a son of Saratoga, and a talented member of her early bar, was born ia Charlton (then Ballston) March 26, 1784. He was the son of Judge John Taylor. He was graduated from Union College in 1803, and studied law with Samuel Cook. About the year 1806 he opened an office at Court-House Hill in connection with that gentleman. Subsequently they resolved to try their fortunes in another field of enterprise, and embarked in the lumber business, in order to superintend which Mr. Taylor removed to Jessup's Landing, in Corinth. But he was destined for other and higher duties. In 1811 he was elected to the State Assembly, and reelected in 1812. In the fall of the same year he was chosen to represent Saratoga County (the Eleventh district) in the Thirteenth Congress. Soon after he removed back to his former residence, and in 1819 to the house now occupied by Justice John Brown, in Ballston Spa. For ten consecutive terms, ending in the year 1832, Mr. Taylor was elected to Congress, and twice during this time was chosen Speaker of the House of Representatives; namely, in 1821, as Henry Clay's successor, and in 1825, of the Nineteenth Congress, for the full term. He was elected to the State Senate in 1840, but resigned in the summer of 1842. He soon after removed to the city of Cleveland, Ohio, where he died, Sept. 18, 1854, in the seventy-first year of his age. His remains were brought to his native town, and interred in the cemetery at Ballston Spa; "and a plain slab, modestly inscribed with his name and date of birth and death, marks the last resting-place of the venerable statesman, who was the only citizen of New York who ever held the third place in our government." {Bench and Bar, pp. 142-43.}

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HARMANUS SCHUYLER

settled in Stillwater, Saratoga County, about the year 1770, and engaged in the milling business. His mill was on the river, a short distance below the present village, and consisted of a flour or grist-mill, a saw-mill, and a carding- and fulling-mill. Not a vestige now remains, except traces of the dug-way leading from the bank above to the water. He had a family of five sons and two daughters, of whose descendants no one is left in the county, except, perhaps, some children of the daughter of his youngest son, Philip Schuyler.

Previous to his settlement in Stillwater, Harmanus Schuyler had been actively engaged in business in Albany for many years. When quite a young man he held the office of assistant alderman about the same time that his relative, Philip Schuyler, held a like position. Neither of them, however, reached the dignity of alderman. He was also high-sheriff of the county of Albany from June, 1761, to October, 1770.

When the War of the Revolution commenced, Philip Schuyler was appointed major-general in command of the Northern Department, and Harmanus Schuyler was appointed assistant deputy-quartermaster-general. The latter had charge of the workmen who were engaged in building boats at the fort on Lake George, and at Skeenesborough, now Whitehall. Over forty of his letters, written during this period, are preserved among the papers of General Schuyler.

The saying that the times of the Revolution were the days "that tried men's souls," receives a peculiar emphasis in these letters. They are all addressed to General Schuyler, as though he was the only one to whom the deputy-quarter-master could apply for supplies necessary to prosecute his work. In a letter dated Fort George, Feb. 8, 1776, he asks for a keg of nails with which to erect a shop for the boat-builders. Four days after he asks for oakum and pitch, adding, "We are prosecuting the work with zeal. The workmen take their breakfast by candle-light." On the 16th he writes, "We need some good axes, - those we have are worthless; there is no steel m them." Again,, "Do please send me one stick of sealing-wax." Then follow others, all begging for nails, oakum, tar, pitch, and finally for more men and teams to procure timber and lumber. March 27 he exclaims, "The men plague my heart out for their pay. Do send me ten pounds."

At Skeenesborough, from June 12 to Sept. 2, he was superintending the building of a larger class of boats. His embarrassments for the want of supplies are simply amazing. The general was required to raise an army, and make preparations for the invasion of Canada by the way of Lake Champlain; and yet Congress failed to furnish him money or men. He must build boats, raise men, provide arms and equipments, furnish rations, the best way he could. Had he not possessed a large private fortune and unlimited credit, he must have failed utterly. By energy and perseverance, seconded by men who knew him, he succeeded in raising and equipping a force sufficient for the invasion of Canada, but not for its conquest as was hoped.

There is no record when Harmanus Schuyler left the army, but probably about the time that his general was superseded by Gates. He returned to his farm and mills at Stillwater, where he died Sept. 1, 1796.

When Washington visited the battle-fields of Saratoga he called at the residence of Harmanus Schuyler and took breakfast. There was no one of the family at home except the eldest daughter. On taking his leave the general with stately courtesy raised her hand to his lips. Nearly sixty years after she was lying on her dying bed, and when her youngest nephew, who had called to see her for the first and last time, was taking his leave, she put out her hand, saying, "Not my lips, George, {Hon. George W. Schuyler, auditor of the canal department, father of Hon. Eugene Schuyler, United States consul-general.} but kiss the hand which long ago was consecrated by the kiss of Washington."

Of Harmanus Schuyler's five sons only one was blessed with sons; but then his blessing was large and overflowing, - he had eleven. They and their descendants now (1878) number quite two hundred, and are a part of the population of eleven States and Territories of the Union.

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JOHN K. PORTER.

 

Portrait of John K. Porter

 

Judge Porter was born at Waterford, in the county of Saratoga, Jan. 12, 1819. He was a son of Dr. Elijah Porter, and grandson of Moses Porter, a Revolutionary officer, who gained high distinction by his gallantry and efficiency in the battle at Bemus Heights. Dr. Porter came from Vermont to reside in Waterford early in this century, and continued to be respected as a citizen and a physician during a long and useful life.

John K. Porter commenced his course of studies in the higher branches, under the tuition of David McNeice, an accomplished Irish professor, one of the exiles who accompanied Thomas Addis Emmet to this country, after the unfortunate issue of the rebellion of 1798, and who opened a classical school at Waterford, where William E. Cramer, Samuel R. House, and John K. Porter received an early training which proved invaluable to them all in after-life. His studies were afterwards prosecuted at Lansingburgh Academy, but his preparation for college was under the personal tuition of the celebrated Taylor Lewis, then principal of the Waterford Academy. After his favorite pupil had entered Union College, it was his good fortune to bring the extraordinary gifts and attainments of his instructor to the notice of the public, by securing to him the place of alternate orator at the annual commencement; and the inability of John C. Calhoun to deliver the principal address gave Taylor Lewis the opportunity to deliver a discourse on that occasion, which placed him at once in the foremost rank of American scholars, and brought to him within three months invitations to professorships in different colleges, he accepted such a position for the time being in the New York University; and at a later period a professorship in Union College, which he graced to the time of his death. He died full of years and honors, and it is a matter of pride to the citizens of Saratoga that this county was the birth and burial-place of one who had few peers, here or abroad, among the foremost scholars and writers of the nineteenth century.

Under such tuition it is not singular that young Porter was favorably received by Dr. Nott and Professor Alonzo Potter when he entered Union College at the age of sixteen, in September, 1835. His collegiate course of two years was one of active preparation for the duties of after-life. He received his degree in 1837, and left college with all the honors which any student could win, and with the warmest commendation of Governor Marcy, whom he had never known, but who was one of the trustees, and wrote for the Albany Argus a description of the commencement exercises. He had also the cordial regard of Dr. Nott and Professor Potter, which he retained as long as they lived, and which he was at times enabled, not only to acknowledge, but also to reciprocate.

Immediately after his graduation he entered upon his professional studies as a student in the office of Hon. Nicholas B. Doe and Richard B. Kimball, the author of "St. Leger."

He succeeded the latter as a member of the firm, having been in the mean time admitted in the court of common pleas, and being allowed by Judge Willard to practice in the court of oyer and terminer, though not yet admitted as an attorney in the Supreme Court.

The Waterford bar was one of marked brilliancy. He was brought into immediate competition in the lower courts with men like Chesselden Ellis, afterwards a distinguished member of Congress, and the strongest pillar of the Tyler administration; Joshua Bloore, one of the most graceful and accomplished orators this State has produced; George W. Kirtland, an equity lawyer, to whom Chancellor Walworth turned a more willing ear than to any other lawyer in the State save only Julius Rhodes; John Cramer and Nicholas B. Doe, old lawyers, practically retired from the profession, but whose weight was felt in counsel, and each of whom, more especially Mr. Cramer, often carried doubtful causes by the weight, in the council-chamber, of unerring sense, and an unfailing knowledge of the considerations which would control the views of the presiding judge.

When Mr. Porter came to the bar he was encountered by an array of ability which would have discouraged most young men. He had to encounter Nicholas Hill, second, even then, to no member of the American bar; William A. Beach, a man of singular prestige, power, and eloquence; Edward F. Bullard, who, in the power of presenting a difficult and complicated cause, and in pressing it through to a favorable issue, was almost, if not quite, unrivaled; William Hay, one of the most brilliant and eloquent lawyers this country has produced; Judiah Ellsworth, who had in his professional capacity the power of a steam-engine, which no obstruction could resist; and George G. Scott, who, with no pretensions to oratory, was one of the clearest-headed and ablest men the county of Saratoga has produced, wise in counsel, clear-headed and upright in judgment, and in literary accomplishments and general ability unmeasurably above most of those whose names have come down to us in the legends and traditions of the bar.

On his admission to the bar of the Supreme Court, in May, 1840, Mr. Porter at once took rank among the men who assumed the lead in the courts. From that time until 1848, when he removed to Albany, he was in collision from court to court with men like Wm. A. Beach, William Hay, Judiah Ellsworth, Geo. L. Scott, Augustus Bockes, Deodatus Wright, Nicholas Hill, Samuel Stevens, Marcus T. Reynolds, Ambrose L. Jordan, Henry G.. Wheaton, and Daniel Cady. There is not one of the number who have already passed away who was not his life-long friend, and of those who survive it is pleasant to know that, on both sides, the relations of these early competitors for the honors of the bar are those of friends whose bonds of mutual attachment will be unbroken by death; and each of whom will, as from time to time the occasion arises, render to the others the tribute justly due to them in every public and professional relation.

All the antagonisms of professional life and political hostility have never even touched the personal attachment of those whose lives have been interwoven with those of their competitors at the bar.

We cannot forego, in view of what has already been said, an expression of gratification and pride over the record of the county of Saratoga in the single department of jurisprudence. Has the country furnished, for any single county, greater names than those of John W. Taylor, Samuel Young, James Thompson, Michael Hoffman, Deodatus Wright., Alvah Worder, Judiah Ellsworth, William Hay, Augustus Bockes, Edward F. Bullard, George G. Scott., John Willard, Reuben H. Walworth, Nicholas Hill, Esek Cowen, John K. Porter. Oran G. Otis, John L. Viele, Chesselden Ellis, Joshua Bloore, and a host of others whom we would be glad to name?

During the period of his residence in the county of Saratoga there were few causes of great public interest in which Mr. Porter was not engaged, in conjunction with some of those whose names are mentioned above. There are many firesides now, in the county of Saratoga, where the remembrance of those old trials is associated with the legends and traditions of the bar.

The last of the great trials in which he was engaged, before his removal to Albany, was that of the People vs. Wilcox, for the murder of McInstry. He was associated with Judge Bockes for the defense, and the post-mortem examination of the prisoner at Demarara proved that the defense of insanity which they interposed was well founded.

In 1847 Mr. Porter married the daughter of Hon. Eli M. Todd, of Waterford, and soon after he removed to Albany. She died in 1858, and a son by that marriage now survives, who has taken the profession of his father.

Mr. Porter, on his change of residence, entered into partnership with his old and honored friend, Deodatus Wright, then recorder of Albany, and afterwards judge of the Supreme Court. Judge Wright was one of the ablest jury lawyers in the State, a brother-in-law of Marcus T. Reynolds, and as a judge second, in the estimate of Daniel Cody and Nicholas Hill, to none of his predecessors on the bench since the days of James Kent and Ambrose Spencer.

Soon afterwards Mr. Porter entered into partnership with Nicholas Hill, Jr., and Peter Cagger, and this relation continued until the death of Mr. Hill, on the 1st of May, 1859. The new firm owned the splendid law library of the late Judge Cowen, which had cost him over $25,000, and they added to it nearly as much more.

From that time until the death of Mr. Hill they were employed in more cases of public importance than any other firm in the State, and their relative success was greater than that of any other firm at the American bar.

On the death of Mr. Hill, Mr. Porter took charge of the cases in the court of appeals, and from that time it was his good fortune to be equally successful.

In December, 1864, a vacancy occurred in the court of appeals through the resignation of Henry R. Selden, one of the most accomplished judges who ever presided in that tribunal. At the earnest solicitation of Governor Fenton, and of Judges Noah Davis and Richard P. Marvin, Mr. Porter was induced to accept the position of judge of the court of appeals, and his nomination was unanimously confirmed by the Senate.

In the succeeding autumn he was re-elected to the position by an immense majority, far exceeding the party vote, over Martin Grover, his competitor for the position.

He left on the record of that tribunal a series of judicial opinions, extending from the 31st to the 37th of New York, by which his friends are content to have his reputation as a jurist judged in after-times by the bench and the bar.

He was not forgotten by his alma mater, and in 1867 the degree of doctor of laws was conferred upon Judge Porter by Union College.

In January, 1868, he resigned his position as judge of the court of appeals, and removed to the city of New York, where he became the head of the firm of Porter, Lowrey, Soren & Stone, and he has continued to this day the head of that firm.

In the intermediate period between his removal from the county of Saratoga and this time, he has been engaged in some of the most important litigations in the country.

He won more than ordinary distinction in his argument before the Senate committee in the Trinity church case.

He won high professional honors in the successful defense of Horace Greeley, vs. De Witt C. Littlejohn, for libel. He succeeded in the great case of the Metropolitan bank on the constitutionality of the legal tender act.

He succeeded also in the Parish will case, where the adverse arguments were made by Messrs. Evarts and Edmonds, and the arguments of Charles O'Conor and John K. Porter prevailed against all odds.

He was at once engaged in a variety of important controversies, including the Rock Island and Erie and the Western Union and Atlantic and Pacific litigations, and others of a kindred character.

Before a jury he has been one of the ablest advocates this State has produced. In the case of Speaker Littlejohn against Horace Greeley, a libel suit tried at the Oswego circuit before Judge Bacon, about fifteen years since, he was called in for the defense. Although his address was made first, and it was followed by able adversaries for the plaintiff, with a strong charge from the court against the defendant, yet the jury stood eleven for the defendant.

In the case of Tilton vs. Beecher, he was associated with Wm. M. Evarts for the defense. He was also called to St. Louis, and made a successful defense of General Babcock, the private secretary of General Grant.

His reputation as an advocate and a jurist is so well established that no more need be said here on that subject.

He always made politics subordinate to the profession he has so adorned. As early as 1838 he took an active part in making political speeches in his native county. In 1844 he attended the Whig convention at Baltimore, when Henry Clay was nominated the last time for the presidency.

At an immense mass-meeting, in which some of the most eminent orators of the nation participated, although not a delegate, and a stranger to the crowd, a few friends present called him out for a speech. It is enough to say that he astonished his friends as well as the mass, and the eloquence he displayed on that occasion at once placed him in the front rank of American orators.

In 1846 he was elected to the State convention to form a new constitution, from Saratoga County, upon the same ticket with James M. Cook. So great was his personal popularity in this county that he received a very large percentage of the votes of his political opponents. Since that occasion he has held no office merely political, and retired from the highest judicial position in this State to join in the more active duties of his chosen profession.

Although no longer a resident of this county, he has many friends here, who remember him with kindness and admiration.

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WILLIAM AUGUSTUS BEACH.

It has come to be said by the people of this nation that among such a list of its most able and distinguished lawyers as one could count upon his finger ends, must already be placed the name of William Augustus Beach.

He was born at Ballston Spa, to which place his father, Miles Beach, had removed from Connecticut, in the year 1786. On the maternal side, his father was related to Judge Smith Thompson, of the Supreme Court of the United States. In 1807 his father married Cynthia, a sister of Judge William L.F. Warren, and a relative of Dr. Warren, of Bunker Hill memory. His father served during the Revolution in a Massachusetts militia company, holding a commission bearing the bold signature of John Hancock. Zerah Beach, his grandfather, was one of the commissioners of the treaty of Wyoming, and was also in the Continental army, having passed the winter at Valley Forge. Miles Beach removed with his family to Saratoga Springs in the year 1809. His wife - the accomplished and venerable mother of the subject of this sketch - yet survives, being nearly ninety years of age, and enjoys in an eminent degree the possession of all her faculties, and looks as young as most people at sixty.

William A., during his boyhood, attended school at the Saratoga Springs Academy, and later Captain Partridge's military school, at Middletown, Vt. He first studied law in Saratoga, with his uncle, Judge Warren. He was admitted to the bar in August, 1833. His first legal partnership was with Nicholas Hill, Jr. Subsequently he formed partnerships successively with Sidney J. Cowen, Daniel Shepherd, and Augustus Bockes, his connection with the latter continuing until his removal to Troy. He received the appointment of district attorney in 1843, holding the same until 1847.

In April, 1851, he removed to the city of Troy, where he formed a copartnership with Job Pierson and Levi Smith, under the firm-name of Pierson, Beach & Smith. Mr. Pierson withdrew from the firm in 1853, and it was continued under the firm-name of Beach & Smith until December, 1870. During all this long interval Mr. Beach was actively engaged in his profession. In addition to the large office business of his firm he had an extensive criminal business, and was engaged in most of the important litigations of the day, and was constantly brought in contact with the most able New York lawyers, and always proved himself the equal of any of them, whenever an important controversy arose. The first thing said by the friends of either side, by way of advice, was, "Employ Beach." He was employed in the noted Albany bridge case, where the question involved was the right to bridge navigable streams emptying into the sea, where the tide ebbed and flowed, under State authority. Mr. Beach had opposed to him in this controversy William H. Seward, then a senator from the State of New York, Nicholas Hill, and John H. Reynolds; of the city of New York, all since dead, and he proved himself equal in argument and learning with these great men. The history of this case is worthy of a remark here. It was heard in the United States circuit court for the northern district of New York, before Hon. Samuel Nelson, then a justice of the United States Supreme Court, and Hon. Nathan K. Hull, district judge of New York, of the northern district of New York. These eminent judges were unable to agree, and made a certificate of disagreement to the United States Supreme Court, where the case was argued, - that court then consisted of but six members, - and the court there was also equally divided. The practice of the court in such case being that the case would be sent back to the circuit court, with directions that it be dismissed. This was done, leaving as the result, after years of earnest and expensive litigation, no actual decision either of fact or of law.

Mr. Beach was employed by Horatio Seymour, then governor of New York, to defend Colonel North and his officials, who were appointed commissioners to superintend the taking of the votes of soldiers in the field. The United States authorities claimed that their commissioners had been guilty of malfeasance in office, and ordered a military court to try them. This court sat in the city of Washington, D. C., and it was here that Mr. Beach made one of his most able and brilliant efforts. At the close of his argument a rule of the court was taken, and it was unanimous for acquittal, and the prisoners were discharged. The president of the court, a perfect stranger to Mr. Beach, after the acquittal came to Mr. Beach, gave him his hand, and congratulated him upon his masterly effort, and thanked him for the powerful aid he had rendered the court in arriving at its conclusion.

Ransom H. Gillett, then a resident of Washington, and himself a lawyer of distinguished ability, who was present at this argument, writing to the Albany Argus shortly afterwards, said in substance that he had been for many years a resident in Washington; that he had known all these great men, - Webster, Clay, Calhoun, etc., - heard them both at the bar and in the halls of Congress, and that none of them had excelled Mr. Beach in brilliancy or power.

His defense of General Cole, charged with the murder of Senator Hiscock, at Albany, is another noted professional triumph of Mr. Beach. General Cole met Senator Hiscock at the Stanwix Hall, in Albany, and at sight shot him dead. It was claimed on the part of the defense, and some evidence was given in the trial tending in that direction, that Senator Hiscock had trifled with the affections of the general's wife. while he, the general, was at the front fighting for the cause of his country, and that the general on his return, hearing the facts, meeting the senator by accident, shot him on the spot. Mr. Beach in his argument characterized the case as one of "emotional insanity," that although sane a moment before and sane a moment after the shot was fired, yet that when the fatal shot was fired, Cole was insane and wholly irresponsible for the act. The court and jury took this view of the case, and the jury promptly rendered a verdict of acquittal.

These are but a few of the important cases in which he was engaged while living in Troy. In all of his cases he brought a careful preparation, and was always great in his presentation both to court and jury.

The county of Rensselaer looked with pride upon him as one so long its resident and humble advocate. His success in the great metropolis has been equally marked. His time is wholly taken up with the most important known to our courts of justice in the State and nation.

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AUGUSTUS BOCKES.

Augustus Bockes was born in the town of Greenfield, Saratoga Co., N.Y., Oct. 1, 1817, where his parents resided, and where they had resided for many years. His father's name was Adam Bockes, Jr., his grandfather's name being also Adam Bockes. His father was a farmer, and held various town offices, among others that of justice of the peace and supervisor. He was a man of sterling worth, and died in Greenfield, Sept. 8, 1846, aged seventy-four years.

Judge Bockes' opportunities for education were confined to the excellent common schools of the town in which he lived, except two terms at Burr Seminary, Manchester, Vt. He taught school for three terms, two terms in Malta, Saratoga Co., and one in his native town. He commenced the study of the law in the office of that able lawyer Judiah Ellsworth, at Saratoga Springs, in 1838. After a time, he continued his studies in the office of Beach & Cowen, at the same place, and was admitted to practice from their office in 1843. He commenced the practice of law immediately after his admission, in partnership with Stephen P. Nash, now of New York city. He soon after formed a partnership with W.A. Beach, now of New York city, and continued such partnership at Saratoga Springs until 1847.

In the practice of the law, Judge Bockes was eminently successful. But he was destined to be called to higher fields of labor. He was elected county judge of Saratoga County under the new constitution in June, 1847, and entered upon his official duties July 1, 1847. He was reelected for a second term at the November election of 1851, and resigned this office in 1854. On the 1st of January, 1855, he was appointed by Governor Clarke a justice of the Supreme Court, for the Fourth Judicial district of the State, to fill the vacancy occasioned by the resignation of Judge Daniel Cady. At the November election in 1859 he was elected justice of the Supreme Court for the Fourth Judicial district, was re-elected at the November election, 1867, and was again re-elected to the same office at the November election, 1875. At the last two elections he was elected without opposition; and at the election in 1875 was nominated and supported by both the political parties, an honor conferred upon few judges of the State. He was appointed by Governor Dix to the general term of the Supreme Court, for the Third Judicial department, for the years 1874 and 1875, and was again designated by Governor Tilden to the same office for the ensuing five years, and consequently is now associate justice for the general term of the Supreme Court for the Third department, comprising the Third, Fourth, and Sixth Judicial districts of the State.

He married Mary P. Hay, second daughter of the Hon. William Hay, September 3, 1844. The children of this marriage are William Hay and Mary.

Around the thousand quiet homesteads of Greenfield, cluster a host of tender memories. For a hundred years her sons and daughters, nursed into sturdy manhood and kindly womanhood within the gentle influences of her Christian homes, have been going forth into all lands to fight life's battles bravely, but forever looking tearfully, longingly, back to their old Greenfield homes, where the father and the mother lie buried, and where the happy days of childhood flew all too rapidly away.

But no one among them all has more honored the place of his birth, no one among them all has lived less for himself nor more for others, than the subject of this sketch. And among the many eminent living judges whose presence now graces the bench of the Supreme Court of the State of New York, no one is better qualified to discharge the important duties of his office, and upon no one does the judicial ermine rest in more spotless purity, than upon the shoulders of Judge Bockes.

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