James P Snell.

History of Sussex and Warren counties, New Jersey : online

. (page 47 of 190)
Online LibraryJames P SnellHistory of Sussex and Warren counties, New Jersey : → online text (page 47 of 190)
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For two years (182S 27) Mr. Ryerson was a mem-
ber of the Legislative < louncil of New Ji rsej , and in
January, 1834, was elected by the joint meeting a
justice of the Supreme Court, in place of Judge
Drake, whose term thru expired. Judge Drake had

jreal offense, but without g I reason for it, to

tin- Hicksite Quakers by his opinion in the celebrated
Bail between them and the Orthodox Quakers, for
which they determined, if possible, to defeat his re-
elei u ii I accomj h ih thia tin \ udsd in 18 in

electing :i large majority of I >emocrats to the LeglS-

ivhich the year before had a majority of the
father party. Judge Drake was not a Democrat, yet
Mr. Ryerson, with many other influential and leading
I lemocrats in the State, were strongly opposed to the
jdea of his retirement from the bench, especially at
inch a juncture as this. To effect his reappointment
Mr. Ryerson used all hi- influence with the four I >em-
iii-ratii- members from Sussex. He was not in Trenton
a! the time of the election, and so was not permitted
the opportunity of prevent in;: his name be in;: used its
an opposition to that of Judge Drake; ami, a- this
ose of his name was the only means by which thede-
I'.-.ii of Judge Drake was accomplished, he was very

loath to aeeept the office at the expense of SO excel-
lent and irreproachable a judge, his own warm per-
sonal friend.

The news of his election was a complete surprise to
Ryerson, and with it came letters from promi-
nent Democrats urging him to accept, and assuring
him thai his declination would not benefit Judge
Drake; that party lines bad been drawn, and he
could nol now, under an] circumstances, be re-elected.
lie held the matter under advisement till the receipt
of a letter from Judge Drake himself, -dated Feb. 3,
1884, urging him to accept, "and that promptly." Ei
gaid also, " I feel under obligation to you and my
other friends for your zeal in my behalf ; but it has
proved ineffectual, and I have no confidence in the
success of another effort." Ami again : " If the pi u e
is thrown open, nobody knows into whose bands it
ma\ go. I rejoice that it has been so disposed of that
we may still confide in the independence and integ-
rity of the bench." This letter decided him to aeeept,
ami he was sworn into office Feb. 25, 1 33 1, holding it
till his death, in August, 1838.

Judge Ryerson's course at the bar and on the bench
(ally justified the opinion of Judge Drake, i
above, as in all positions he was a man of the firmest

independence ami strietest integrity. He was an able
lawyer, well read, and was remarkable tor a discrimi-
nating and sound judgment; an earnest and su
ful advocate, with great influence in our courts and
juries in Sussex aiel Warren, to which counties be
confined his practice, although following his own
cases to the Supreme ( Hurt ; and as a judge it is be-
lieved that he enjoyed in a high degree thi
and confidence of the bench and bar, as well as of
the people, at large. For the last eight years of his
life he was a very devoted member of the Presby-
terian Church, his lirst wife having joined it some
irs earlier and dying three years before him.
Early in IKtfK he married a younger sister of his de-

eeased wile.

Judge Ryerson was very easy and affable in his
manners, delighting in social intercourse and conver-
sation, with a great fund of anecdote, very simple
and economical in his personal tastes and habits, ex-
pending, however, freely in educating his children,
and noted for his liberality to the poor around him

and to the benevolent operations of his day. So
much did he give away that he left no more e-tate
than he inherited, although in full practice for twenty
years befne his appointment as judge. He often said
to his children that he desired only to leave them a
good education and correct principles, ami that they

must expect to make their way in life with only these
to depend upon. Both as lawyer and judge he was

very painstaking and laborious, conscientiously faith-
ful in the discharge of his duties to his clients and

the public. Having astronglj nervous temperament,

this mental strain was too great, and resulted at
length in a softening of the brain, from which he
died alter an illness of three months, having three
sons, a daughter, and a widow — his lirst wife's

younger sister (as above stated— to mourn an irrep-
arable los-. Two of his children remain, -Thomas
i.M.h.. of Newton, in this county , and a
daughter, who is the widow of Theodore F. Anderson.
The youngest son, Col. Henry Ogden Ryerson, was

killed in the war of the Rebellion, in May, 1864, at

the head of his regiment, on the second day's bloody
lighting in the battles of the Wilderness, in Virginia
The eldest, Judge Martin Ryerson, died June 11, 1876.
The second son i- Thomas Ryerson, A.M., M.I >., who
at this writing is a practicing physician and surgeon
at Newton, and has been since Au

1 |.i\. 1 1 \ \ ii i II \ i \ i - W as born in the city of New
York in the year 1801. His father. Elias Haines, was

tor many years a well-known and successful merchant
in that city, and was noted a- a man of upright and

benevolent character. His ancestors were among the

first settlers of Kli/ahethtowii, where hi- grandfather.

Stephen Haines, resided, ami. with his sons, took a

distinguished part in the war >>i' the Revolution. They
were surrounded in their dwelling one night by a

Strong force, which captured them and took them :i-

prisoners to New York, where thej were imprisoned



in the "old sugar-house" and were for a long time,
with others, great sufferers. The mother of Governor
Haines was a daughter of Robert Ogden, of Sparta,
and a sister of Governor Ogden.


Daniel Haines graduated at the College of New
Jersey in 1820, having received his preparatory educa-
tion under Rev. Dr. Edmund D. Barry, a celebrated
teacher of New York, and at the academy in Eliza-
bethtown. He studied law at Newton, Sussex Co.,
with Hon. Thomas C. Ryerson, was admitted as an at-
torney in 1823, as counselor in 1826, and as sergeant-
at-law in 1837. In 1824 he settled as a lawyer in
Hamburg, Sussex Co., where he continued to reside
till his death, which event occurred Jan. 26, 1877.
His practice as a lawyer, although never very large,
soon became quite respectable. The year of his set-
tlement at Hamburg proved auspicious for his en-
trance into political life, as it brought forward Gen.
Jackson, whose cause was espoused by most of the
leading politicians of the county, both Democrats and
Federalists, as a candidate for the Presidency. Mr.
Haines, although of Federalist descent, took an active
part in promoting the success of Jackson, and secured
for his candidate the entire vote of the township of
Vernon, in which he resided. In 1839-40 he took an
active part in what was known as the " Broad Seal
War," he being that year a member of the Council.
A series of resolutions had been passed by the Legis-
lature of 1838-39, which were ordered addressed, not
to the Speaker of the House of Representatives, but
to "The Honorable Robert M. Hunter, representative
of Virginia." Mr. Hunter, as Speaker of the House
refused to receive them, justly regarding the address

as insulting to that body over which he presided.
This rejection excited the Whigs, and new resolutions
were introduced into the Legislature in the session of
1839-40, denouncing in strong terms the action of the
House of Representatives as equivalent to declaring
New Jersey out of the Union and no longer entitled
to a voice in the councils of the nation. "Amzi
Armstrong, of Newark, and Jacob W. Miller, then
members of the Council, were the leading advocates
of the resolutions, and Mr. Haines bore the brunt of
the contest in opposition. The Whigs, being at that
time largely in the majority, carried their resolutions,
but the efforts of Mr. Haines and his friends were not
lost. The testimony taken in reference to the election
which occasioned the difficulty established the fact
that the Democratic members had received a clear
majority of the votes, and their party grew stronger
and stronger in the State, until, in 1843, it carried a
majority of the Legislature. The debate in which
Mr. Haines took so prominent a part served to make
known his ability and to bring him forward as a leader.
He served a second time in the Council, and then de-
clined a renomination."*

In the fall of 1843 he was nominated by the Dem-
ocrats for Governor, and was elected by the joint
meeting. While in the executive office he sought to
advance the cause of education, and gave his influence
in favor of a new constitution. This last measure was
adopted under his administration, in 1844. He was
the last Governor under the old constitution, and
might have been the first under the new had he not
peremptorily declined the candidacy. In 1847, how-
ever, he was put in nomination by the Democrats,
and was elected by a respectable majority. " In his
inaugural address and in his message he reiterated
his recommendations in favor of education by means
of public and free schools. He strongly recommended
a normal school for the education of teachers, — a
measure which did not then obtain the favor of the
Legislature, but which not long afterwards was
adopted, and has proved of great public benefit."!
During his first term as chancellor ex-officio he de-
livered several carefully prepared opinions, which
will be found 3 Green's Chancery Reports.

At the expiration of his second term he resumed
the practice of his profession, and was occupied in it
till November, 1852, when, having been nominated as
a justice of the Supreme Court and confirmed by the
Senate, he took his seat on the bench, and, being re-
appointed, held the office fourteen years.

As a judge he was remarkably impartial, always
seeking to do justice, and he rarely failed to ascertain
and give preponderance to the merits of a cause ; by
his courteous deportment as well as by his sound
judgment he merited and received the confidence and
respect of suitors and their advocates. " Few judges

* IQimer's "Reminiscences," p. 258.

t Elmer. See Chapter VI., p. 172, of thi



w iv ever freer from the influences of passion or prij-
adice. For several years he presided in the Newark
circuit, the most important and difficult, perhaps, in
ite, and left it greatly respected by the bar,
who expressed their feelings |,y a strong testimonial
of regard.

Governor Haines was carefully educated as a Pres-
byterian, ami was fur many years a ruling elder of the
( 'liinvh. He was prominent as a member of the I }en-
eral Assembly, of the Bible society, the Sunda\ -school,
and in i- rested in other religious and benevolent pro-
Sects, which always engaged his hearty and earnest
attention. In 1845 he was appointed one of the com-
missioners to select a site for the State Lunatic Asylum,
and was a member of the first board of manager- ul
that institution. In INH.S he was appointed by joint
ballot of the Legislature "to examine the existing
system of the State prison of this State and similar
Institutions of other States, and to report an improved
plan for the government and discipline of the prison."
In October, 1870, he was one of the commissioners ap-
pointed by ( rovernor Randolph to the National Prison
Reform < Congress held at I 'incinnati, and by that bodj
Was appointed one of the committee charged with the

HUt} of organizing a national prison reform OSSOCia-
tion mid an international congress on prison disci-
pline and reform, to be held in the city of London in
1*7:;. In the organization of the National Prison
Reform Association he was made one of the corpora-
tors and a vice-president. For many years he was
one of the board of trustees of Princeton College.

Governor Maine- was twice married. His children

were Rev. Alanson A. Haines, of Hamburg; Capt.

[Thomas Ryerson Haines, killed in the late war; and

One daughter, who married Professor Guyot, of Prince-
fen < 'ollege.

Judge John Linn was a native of Hardwick

tow n -hip, and was of lii-h de-cent. The early part of
his life was spent on tin- farm where he was born until
his removal with his family to Hardyston town-hip,
where he passed the remainder ol hisdays. In L805hc
was appointed judge of the Common Pleas, and reap-
pointed in L810, 1815, and 1820. He married the
daughter of tin- senior Richard Hunt, of Hardwick.
Judgi Linn po -< ed a strong mind and sound judg-
ment ; he was endowed with talents ahove mediocrity,

and exerted more than ordinary influence in the

c munity. lie represented the Fourth District of

New Jersey in Congress two terms with honor to

himself and satisfaction to his constituents, and while
in Congress, in the winter of 1823, he was taken ill

ami died of typhoid fever. His remains were shortly
after sent for and brought home to his family. He

was an exemplary man ami an elder in tin- Presby-
terian Church of Hardyston.

Judge John Townsend was a native of Susses

County, having been horn in Vernon township, in
the year 1815. Hi- early life was spent in rural pur-
suits, and upon reaching bis majority he purchased a

rough farm in Warren County and there settled. A
few years later be sold it, much improved, and re-
moved to Newton, where his public life began; thi-
was in 1st;;, Although be bad enjoyed but limited
scholastic advantages, he possessed naturalh
administrative abilities, a powerful will, and a pecu-
liar faculty tor influencing others. Politics — at that
time the absorbing question in the county — engaged
hi- ardent and active nature; and yet his ambition

never ran in the direction of official honor- and pre-
ferment. The influential position he sustained in the
dominant party of the county and State phv i

honors within his reach, but be declined them all,
with one exception — that of the appointment of judge
of the Common Picas in 1804, which station be
tilled with usefulness to the public and with ere, lit
to himself until lSilS, when declining health impelled

him to resign it. He .lied in 1868, in hi> fifty-third

year. He brought to the bench a singularly lucid
and legal mind, and his deportment as a judge was
marked with courtesy, dignity, candor, and the strict-
est integrity.

Col. Robert Hamilton was an attorney and
counselor of more than ordinary abilities. He was
born Dec. 9, 1809, and was a son of Hon, Benjamin
Hamilton, of Hamburg, for several years a member
of the Council from this county. He was admitted
I. the Sussex bar in February, 1836, and in due
course was advanced to the rank of counselor, serving
three terms as prosecutor of the plea-. As a lawyer
hi' was very shrewd and skillful in the management

of causes, an able advocate, and a forcible and elo-
quent speaker, having a voice remarkable tor it- pe-
culiar sharpness and penetration. During the time
oi' hi- practice at this bar he was engaged in most of

the important litigations of the county, and did a
large business in the Supreme Court at Trenton, in
tlie Circuit Courts, Court of Chancery, Court of Last
Resort, and Court of Errors and Appeals. He was
very successful in business, amassing a handsome
It has been the privilege of few to enjoy a larger

share of the confidence and respect of the community
in which they have lived, — of none to sustain a more

enviable reputation in his profession. II. reo

ii ■ ianlial ciiiiimoii-~clio.il and academic educa-
tion, and came to Newton in 1881, alter the appoint-
ment of Col. .1. i".. Bdsall a- county clerk, and n>-

listed in that office for about ten year-. At that time

he commenced the study of law with Maj. William
'I'. Anderson. Hewas for several years a chosen free-
holder from Newton, and was regularly selected by
the board a- it~ director. For bis ability he was

prominently mentioned tor judge of the Supreme
Court at the time ot the reappointment '•:
Dalrymple. Ho was elected to the Assembly in 1862,

and re-elected the following term. During the ses-
sion of 1868 i.t. up in l!i. death of the Speaker. Mr.
Taylor, Mr. Hamilton was elected as hi- BUI



At the announcement of his death the Assembly
unanimously passed resolutions of respect. He was
the member of Congress from the Fourth District
from 1873 to 1877, and held important positions. At
the organization of the Merchants' National Bank in
18(55, and of the Newton Library Association in 1868,
he was in each institution chosen as a director and also
selected as president, both of which positions he held
at the time of his death. In the church, Mr. Hamil-
ton was an Episcopalian, and represented Christ
Church of Newton in the Convention of the Diocese
of New Jersey in 1837, and was a delegate almost con-
tinuously from that date for over forty years. In that
church he was a member of the vestry from 1839, and
warden from 1848. He was baptized and confirmed
in 1845, and was a communicant for nearly thirty-
three years. He was extremely liberal in his gifts
for the support of the church, and in its management
was continually looked to for judicious advice, which
was always cheerfully given and respected. It is a
pleasure to say that he was always their counselor,
but never their dictator. It is unnecessary in this
brief sketch to eulogize his professional attainments
or to weave in history the brilliant traits in his char-
acter in private life. The esteem in which he was
held has been well shown by the many positions of
trust and confidence reposed in him. From the com-
mencement of his professional career he enjoyed a
large and lucrative practice.

It only remains to record briefly a statement of his
decline and death. During the long session of Con-
gress in 1875, Col. Hamilton contracted malarial fever
at Washington ; he partially recovered, but was seized
with another attack during the next session, from the
effects of which he never rallied. He was stricken
with paralysis on Oct. 29, 1877, after which he was
unable to speak but few words, or to otherwise com-
municate his thoughts. He died March 14, 1878,
leaving a widow and only daughter. Daughter, son-
in-law, relatives, rector, physicians, many kind friends
and watchful nurses, constantly attended and tried to
minister to his relief and comfort, notwithstanding
which he gradually declined until his death, and left
many vacancies to be regretted and mourned by loved
•ones and by a sympathizing community.

ALPHETjS Gustin was a lawyer of good character
and fine legal abilities, having been prepared for the
bar at the law school in Connecticut. He was a son
of John Giistin, and was born in Augusta, Frankford
township, Sussex Co., where he began practice in
1820 and resided till the time of his death. In the
preparation of his cases he was remarkably orderly
and systematic. He was prosecutor of the pleas for
Sussex County from 1830 to 1835. Mr. Gustin's sur-
viving widow (third wife) now resides in the village
of Newton; also his daughter by his second wife,
Mrs. John J. Edwards, and daughter Miss Anna J.
Gustin. He died on the 13th of June, 1862.

WiJiTFiELD S. Johnson practiced law in Newton

for many years subsequent to his admission as an at-
torney, in May, 1828. He was a lawyer of good repu-
tation and a citizen of strict integrity. For five
years he was prosecutor of the pleas for Sussex County ;
was for twenty-one years secretary and treasurer of the
Sussex Mutual Insurance Company, and also served
as Secretary of State from 1861 to 1866.

Daniel S. Anderson was born in Newton, Nov.
1, 1819. He is a son of Thomas Oakley Anderson, an
officer in the United States navy, who was with Com.
Decatur at the sacking of Tripoli. Daniel S. studied
law with his uncle, William T. Anderson, and was
admitted as an attorney in September, 1841, when he
began practice at Newton. In 1848 he was elected
surrogate of the county, and was twice re-elected,
holding the office till 1863, — a period of about fifteen
years. He then resumed the practice of his profes-
sion, in which he continued till 1871, when he was
appointed president judge of the Court of Common
Pleas of Sussex County, under the act of April of that
year, and held the position till April, 1876.

Judge Anderson has discharged the duties of his
several offices well, and is highly respected both in
his profession and as a citizen. He was for a number
of years the law-partner of Hon. Thomas N. McCar-
ter. At one time he did a large business as executor
and administrator, his experience as surrogate having
given him great familiarity with the laws and rules
relating to Orphans' Courts. All his transactions
commanded the entire confidence of the people. He
was at one time a director in the old Sussex Bank,
and its attorney. By a too generous desire to befriend
others he became security for certain parties, involv-
ing, we are told, the loss of his property, amounting
to fifteen or twenty thousand dollars. Judge Ander-
son still resides in Newton, and is a member of the
Sussex bar, though the infirmities of age disqualify
him for active practice.

Cyrus S. Leport was admitted to the bar in 1838,
and began practice at Stanhope, Sussex Co., where ho
remained several year,s and then removed to Wiscon-
sin. In 1864, or about that time, he returned to Stan-
hope, and was for some time prosecutor of the pleas of
Sussex County. He was a son of John Leport, a
farmer of Byram township, where he was born. His
son, William T. Leport, is a practicing lawyer in Do-
ver, Morris Co., N. J.

Col. Samuel Fowler was regularly admitted to
the Sussex bar, although he never practiced the pro-
fession of the law. He was in some respects the most
remarkable man that Sussex County ever produced,
and inherited much of his native ability from his
father, Dr. Samuel Fowler, of Franklin.

Col. Samuel Fowler — or " Col. Sam," as he was
familiarly called — was born at Franklin, and was
brought up amidst these mining ideas and interests. \
He became possessed of the same strong predilection
for minerals which characterized his father. At his
father's death he inherited the mines and furnace at

it ft (I

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Franklin, made the discovery of zim- white, — now bo

well known to the chemist and the artisan,- i ied

on t lie mines ami I'nrn < inizod eompanies, pro-

cured charters for them, ami handled mining stocks
for many years, often, it is said, making a- high a-
eighty thousand dollars in a single operation. He
was engaged as a broker in the city of New York, and
made monej very rapidly there. Retiring from that
business, In- went In Port .Ii rvis, ami did more than
any other man towards the building up of thai place.
While there he was the Dcmoeratie candidate for
lieutenant-governor of the State of New York.

Col. Fowler was a man of most decided ability,
great power of will, and force of eh: ruler. "At
times," says a gentleman who remembers him well,

" he was the -i eloquent speaker I ever heard. He

had a burning eloquence, great personal magnetism,
ami I have seen him in some of bis bursts of elo-
quence cause a whole audience, instantaneously and
all at once, to spring to their feet as if he had every
man by the collar. At other times I have heard him
make dry and rather tedious speeches, bul they were
always sound and thoughtful."

Henry 0. Fowler was a son of Dr. Samuel Fow-
ler, ami youngest brother of Col. Samuel. He was
horn at Franklin, where he continued to reside, and.

although educated lor and admitted to the profession

of the law, like his brother, he never practiced.

George M. Ryerson, although admitted in 1841,
never practiced the profession of the law. l !
Surveyor and farmer by occupation, and was at one
lime engaged as n hardware-merchant and adru
lie is a -'Hi of David Ryerson, and was born in New-

Benjamin Hamilton, Jr., son of Gen. Benjamin
Hamilton, and brother of Col. Robert Hamilton;
hoi 11 at Hamburg, Sussex Co. ; studied law with his

brother, Col. Robert Hamilton, and was admitted in

try, 1 3 15. Hi , racl iced l iw tl I [amburg,
evincing good abilities m the profession, and sustain-

■ iod character. He was a member of the \
lembly in 1852 and 1853, and died while a m

During the latter year, in yOUUg manhood.

JOHS I, inn, sot, of Andrew Linn, was horn .it
llaiiiionyvale, in Hardyston township. Susses Co. J

Online LibraryJames P SnellHistory of Sussex and Warren counties, New Jersey : → online text (page 47 of 190)