Amasa J. (Amasa Junius) Parker.

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year named was successfully contested by, David C. Seger. In the
House he was regarded as one of the most eloquent members. In
March, 1841, he was appointed district attorney for Albany county, in
which office he officially served the interests of the community. The
management of a large estate devolving upon him in New York cit\-
in 1855, he removed thither, and was killed while crossing a railroad
track, August 26, 1865.

In the work entitled The Bench and Bar of New York, Nicholas Hill
is compared in some of his prominent characteristics, with John C.
Spencer; both were men of marked intellectual powers, energetic and
industrious and capable of a vast amount of labor. Nicholas Hill was
born in Montgomery county, N. Y., October 10, 1806. Early showing
the student's predilections, he availed himself of his opportunities to
obtain a fair education, and then took up the study of law in the office
of Daniel Cady, at Johnstown. After his admission to practice he set-
tled first in Amsterdam, whence he soon removed to Saratoga, where
later he formed a partnership with Sidney Cowen, son of Judge Esek
Cowen, who had already discovered in Mr. Hill those qualities that
afterwards gave him distinction. Associated with Mr. Cowen he pre-
pared that great work, Cowen and Hill's Notes to Phillips on Evidence^ —
a work that constitutes a monument to both of its authors. Though
somewhat retiring in his nature, Mr. Hill's ability as a speaker, and
his other qualifications as a jury lawyer, gave him early prominence in
the courts of his time, where he was successful among many eminent
men. In 1841 he was appointed law reporter, an office in which he
won distinction for accuracy and clearness. Five years later he re-
signed the office and soon formed a partnership with Peter Cagger and
James K. Porter, a firm that commanded high confidence and a large
patronage. Mr. Hill was first of all a painstaking student, and his
close application to his business at length ruined his health and he died
May 1, 1859. The event was announced in the Court of Appeals by
John A. Reynolds, in a memorable eulogium. Mr. Reynolds was him-
self one of the ablest members of the Albany bar; a man of rare argu-
mentative powers and scholarly attainments. His pure character and
large professional endowments endeared him to his professional

Peter Cagger was born in Albany July 0, 1813, coming of Irish an-
cestry. Early in life he was placed in the law office of Reynolds &
Woodruff as a clerk, in which position he evinced some of his remarka-
ble natural qualifications. He afterwards became a partner with
Samuel Stevens, as before noted, and the firm of Stevens & Cagger
soon became a power in legal circles. vShortly after the death of Mr.
Stevens Mr. Cagger became a member of the distinguished firm, Hill,
Cagger & Porter, a combination that is remembered as one of the
strongest ever formed in the State. Mr. Cagger was instantly killed
by being thrown from his carriage in New York city, July 6, 1808, at
the age of fifty-six years.

Ira Harris was born at Charleston, Montgomery county, N. Y., May
31, 1802, prepared for college at Homer Academy (the family having
removed to Cortland county), and graduated from Union College in
1824. He studied law one year in Homer and then i-emoved to Albany
where he continued with the great jurist, Ambrose Spencer. In 1827
he was admitted to the bar and at once began practice, soon forming a
partnership with Silas Dutcher, which continued until 1842. He was
elected to the Assembly in 1844, was re-elected in 1845, and in 1846
was chosen delegate to the Constitutional Convention, in which body
he occupied a conspicuous position. In the fall of 1846 he was elected
a justice of the Supreme Court and resigned the former office. At the
expiration of his four years' term as justice he was elected for another
term, which had been extended to eight years. In this high position
the great ability of Judge Harris was soon demonstrated. He exhib-
ited profound knowledge of the law, excellent judicial qualifications
and strict impartiality. His published opinions have received universal
commendation. In 1861 he was elected to the United States Senate,
in which body he was honored with appointments on important com-
mittees and became a trusted friend of President Lincoln. He took
active interest in raising troops for the army, especially of the regiment
of cavalry which bore his name. At the close of his term he retired to
private life, but was chosen a delegate to the Constitutional Conven-
tion of 1867. Having been connected with the Albany Law School
from its organization, he now accepted the professorship of equity ju-
risprudence and practice, to which he devoted his time until his death,
December 2, 1875. He was for many years president of the Board of
Trustees of Union College, president of the Albanv Medical College and


of the trustees of Vassar College. At his death the bench and bar
testified to their respect for his distinguished abilities. He was a
brother of Hamilton Harris, of Albany.

Rufus W. Peckham, the distinguished lawyer and jurist, was born at
Rensselaerville, Albany county, December 30, 1809. His boyhood was
passed in Otsego county, whither his father removed, and after prep-
aration entered Union College and was graduated in 1837. Having a
brother in the medical profession in Utica, Ijp went there to enter the
legal arena, where he entered the office of Greene C. Bronson (before
noticed) and Samuel Beardsley. The advantages of being tutored by
those eminent lawyers left a permanent impression upon Mr. Peckham's
career. Called to the bar in 1830, he soon afterward became a partner
with his brother, George W. Peckham, of Albany. The firm was
prosperous from the first and took a high position in the then brilliant
bar of the city. In 1839 he was appointed district attorney of the
county, and in 1845 was a candidate for attorney-general and was de-
feated by John Van Buren by one vote. In 1853 he was elected to
Crogress, in which body he distinguished himself by his ability and his
independence of party ties where he thought the interests of the nation
were at stake. In the fall of 1859 he was elected a justice of the .Su-
preme Court, served eight years and was unanimously re-elected.
Before the close of his term he was elected a judge of the Court of Ap-
peals. Few American judges possessed greater judicial accomplish-
ments than he. On the 5th of November he and his wife sailed on the
ill-fated Ville du Havre, which on the night of the 33d collided with
another vessel and went to the bottom in the darkness, carrying them,
with more than two hundred others to the bottom. At the moment
of the greatest peril, he took his wife's hand and bravely uttered the
words that were heralded over two continents: " If we must go down,
let us die bravely!" The profession throughout this State testified its
liigh respect and sorrow for the eminent man.

Col. Lewis Benedict was born in Albany, September 17, 1817, and
was graduated from Williams College in 1837. He then entered the
law office of John C. Spencer, at Canandaigua, and in January, 1841,
was licensed to practice. He settled in Albany and soon took a high
position. In 1845 he was appointed city attorney and at the close of
his term was reappointed. In 1847 he wa.s api)ointed judge advocate-


general on the governor's staff, and in 1848 was elected surrogate of
the county. In 185'3 and 1860 he was the candidate of his party (the
Whig) for the city recordership and shared in the defeat of its nomi-
nees. In 1854 he was appointed one of the commissioners to examine
into the condition of the State prisons, the report of whom was made
in 185G in a large volume In 1860 he was elected to the Assembly by
the Union element of his district; this was the last civil office held by
him. On his admission to the bar he was fortunate in becoming the
partner of Marcus T. Reynolds, which gave him at once a valuable
])restige. From the time of his appointment as city attorney he was
active and earnest in his political work and was often a delegate to the
various conventions, where he wielded a large influence. As early as
January, 1861, when Governer Morgan was endeavoring to impress the
Legislature with the importance of placing the State upon a war foot-
ing, Colonel Benedict saw the necessity for such action and compre-
hended the oncoming conflict. He therefore 'co-operated with the
governor in the matter. The passage of the act authorizing the embody-
ing and equipment of the vState militia was largely due to him, and after
that Colonel Benedict gave all of his time to the Union cause. The
New York Fire Department, while recruiting the 3d Fire Zouaves,
conferred on him a lieutenancy and he was commissioned in June, 1861.
The career of that body of soldiers is well known and cannot be de-
tailed here. He was captured at Williamsburg and taken to the Salis-
bury (N. C.) prison where several months later he was exchanged.
Soon afterwards he was commissioned colonel of the 162d Regiment,
and a month later, October, 1862, went with his troops to New Orleans.
In January, 1863, he was made acting brigadier-general and took part
in the fighting at and around Port Hudson. In the bloody engagement
(if June 14, 1863, he was foretnost. When it was determined to storm
the fort Colonel Benedict was given command of the 2d battalion,
wliich was to serve as the " forlorn hope. " From that time he followed
Hanks through all his movements. His last command, that of the M
Brigade of the 1st Division, 19th Corps, was composed of three New
York and two Maine regiments, and a battery, and was noted for its
gallant deeds. On the 9th of April, 1864, in the final struggle of the
Red River campaign. Colonel Benedict led his brigade in a charge and
fell pierced with several bullets. It was a heroic death to close a dis-
tinguished military career. His remains were brought to Albany and
buried with high honors.


Albany. — John J. Acker, George Addington, Daniel Adler, William A. Allen, A. L.
Andrews, Buel C. Andrews, Austin Archer, John M. Bailey, Frederic Baker, George

C. Baker, Isaac B. Barrett, R. O. Bassett, Edwin A. Bedell, James W. Bentley, Will-
iam F. Beutler, Lyman H. Bevans, John J. Brady, John J. Bradley, Richard W.
Brass, Edward J. Brennan, Charles F. Bridge, Walter M. Brown, Joseph H. Brooks,
Charles J. Buchanan, Hiram Buck, Alpheus T. Bulkley, Eugene Burlingame, Henry

D. Burhngame, F. W. Cameron, Lewis E. Carr, Raymond W. Carr, Lewis Cass, Ed-
gar T. Chapman, jr., Norton Chase, Alden Chester, William K. Clute, Jacob H. Clute,
Mark Cohn, Herbut G. Cone, Andrew J. Colvin, Martin D. Conway, Joseph A. Con-
way, John T. Cook, J. Fenimore Cooper. Joseph P. Coughlin, Edwin Countryman,
Charles E. Countryman, James H. Coyle, C. J. Crummey, Walter S. Cutler, Frank-
lin M. Danaher, S. J. Daring, Richard W. Darling, Edwin G. Day, Frank B. Dele-
hanty, John A. Delehanty, Peter A. Delaney, Abraham V. De Witt, Herman J.
Diekman, J. Murray Downs, Andrew S. Draper, C. J. Droogan, P. E. Du Bois,
Daniel J. Dugan, Patrick C. Dugan, William S. Dyer, Zeb A. Dyer, James W.
Eaton, Jerome W. Ecker, William S. Elmendorf, John F. Farrell, James J. Far-
ren, J. Newton Fiero, David C. Fitz Gerald, E. D. Flanigan, James H. Foote, Cor-
nelius E. Franklin, Charles M. Friend, J. S. Frost, Worthington Frothingham, W.
D. Frothingham, John E. Gallup W. S. Gibbons, Scott D'M. Goodwin, Edward
J. Graham, Clifford D. Gregory, J. Wendell Griffing, Stephen B. Griswold, John
Guttman, Alfred A. Guthrie, William S. Hackett, Edgar M. Haines, Matthew Hale.
Charles R. Hall, Fred C. Ham, Andrew Hamilton, R. W. Hardie, William B.
Harris, Hamilton Harris, Fred Harris, Julius F. Harris, Thomas H. Ham, S. S.
Hatt, William A. Hendrickson, Howard Hendrickson, Isban Hess, Albert Hess-
berg, D. Cady Herrick, Winfield S. Hevenor, Barnwell R. Heyward, Horace L. Hicks,
George I). Hill, David B. Hill, William J. Hillis, Galen R. Hitt, Henry T. Holmes,
Harold C. Hooker, Lansing Hotaling, William F. Hourigan, Eugene E. Howe,
Samuel T. Hull, Marcus T. Hun, Sidney A. Hungerford. G. De W. Hurlbut, Julius
lUch, William Isenburgh, Charles M. Jenkins, James B. Jermain, James C. Johnson,
Russell M. Johnston, Frank Kampfer, Jacob A. Kapps, George T. Kelley, Barrington
King, Dwight King, J. Howard King, Leonard Kip, Francis Kimball, George C.
Kimball, Edmund C. Knickerbocker, Charles Krank, Leopold C. G. Kshinka, John
R. Langan. Abraham Lansing, J. T. Lansing, William Lansing, Joseph M. Lawson,
I.saac Lawson, Joseph A. Lawson, George Lawyer, William L. Learned, Randall J.
Le Boeuf, William Loucks, Gaylord Logan, James J. Mahoney, George H. Mallory,
J. F. Manson, Joseph F. Macy, S. S. Marvin, James C. Matthews, John W. Mattice,
Peter F. Mattimore, Henry S. McCall, Archibald McClure, R. H. McCormic, jr.,
William C. McHarg, John McElroy, James A. McKown, John W. McNamara, Daniel
T. McNamara, John T. McDonough, Charles W. Mead, Edward J. Meegan, Thomas
A. Meegan, Peyton F. Miller, Charles H. Mills, John F. Montignani, J. H. Morrey, jr.,
Edgar A. Morling, Thomas A. Murray, David Muhlfelder, Max Myers, Martin T.
Nachtmann, J. F. Nash, Henry C. Nevitt, Stewart C.Newton, Munson C. G. Nichols,
Nathaniel Niles, David J. Norton, Myer Nussbaum, Edward W. Nugent, John J.
Olcott, Smith O'Brien, John J. O'Neil, Howard Paddock. Stephen Paddock, Horace
F. Palmer, Amasa J. Parker, AmasaJ. Parker, jr., Lewi.s R. Parker, Rufus W. Peck-


ham, Henry A. Peckham, J. De Witt Pelt?., Aaron B. Pratt, Louis W. Pratt, John V. L.
Pruyn, Edward W. Rankin, Albert Rathbone, William F. Rathbone, Edward T. Reed,
Hugh Reilly, Louis J. Rezzemini, Ernest W. Rieck, James A. Robinson, Edward U.
Ronan, Simon W. Rosendale. Edgar H. Rosenstock, Jacob G. Runkle, William P.
Rudd, James M. Ruso, Joseph W. Russell, Bleecker Sanders, Henry T. Sanford,
Roscoe C. Sanford, Edwin W. Sanford, John H. Sand, David S. Saxe, Thomas
Sayre, Robert G. Scherer, Jacob C. E. Scott, William M. Scott, A. G. Seelman, Ste-
phen O. Shepard. Osgood H. Shepard, Louis Silberman, A. Page Smith, Fred E.
Smith, Nathaniel Spaulding, Stuart G. Speir, David Stanwix, John D. Stantial,
George L. Stedman, George W. Stedman, Henry E. Stern. A. R. Stevens, George
H. Stevens, Thomas W. Stevens, John A. Stephens, Peter A. Stephens, Kate
Stoneman, Barent W. Stryker, J. B. Sturtevant, Charles B. Templeton, George V.
Thatcher, David A. Thompson, Newton W. Thompson, C. H. Tomlinson, James
F. Tracey, George M. True. Lucien Tuffs, jr., Thomas J. Van Alstyne, William B.
Van Rensselaer. Lansing Van Wie, Andrew Vanderzee, Newton B. Vanderzee,
Alonzo B. Voorhees, Frederick E. Wadhams. Richard B. Wagoner, John W. Walsh.
Joseph H. Walsh, Walter E. Ward, Luther C. Warner. Hiram L. Washburn, jr.,
Robert H. Wells, Thomas F. Wilkinson, Horace G. Wood, Francis H. Woods.

Bkkne.— Z. B. Dyer. •

CoEYMANS. — C. M. Barlow, W. Scott Coffin, Lindsey Green. Charles M. Tomp-

CoHOEs. — David Askworth. Israel Belanger, James H. Berns, Daniel J. Cosgro,
James F. Crawford. Charles F. Doyle. Isaiah Fellows, jr.. George H. Fitts. jr., Law-
rence B. Finn. Rosin J. House. Daniel C. McElwain. John E. McLean. E. B. Nichols,
Peter D. Niver, Smith Niver. John Scanlon, James R. Stevens, Henrj' A. Strong,
James Wallace, Walter H. Wertime.

GiiLDERLAND. — James R. Main.

Altamcint. — Hiram Griggs. John D. White.

New Scotland. — Alexander H. Crounse.

Rensselaervii.i.k.— Norman W. Faulk, Preston Hollow; William R. Tanner, Me-

Westerlo. — Alonzo Spaulding.

West Tkov.— James W. Boyle, James B. Egan, John H. Gleason, William Hol-
lands, Joseph H. Hollands, C. D. Hudson. John W. Kenny, Eugene McLean. \'ol-
kert J. Oothout, Peter A, Rogers.

Green Island. — William F. Hickey.

Court Buildings. — In early years the courts of this county were held
in the Old Stadt Huys, which was also occupied as a city hall, a State
House and a prison. Conventions and other public j,fatherings also
assembled within its venerable walls. It stood on the northeast corner
of Broadway and Hudson avenue, just inside the stockades of the city,
and was built about 1635, principally for the use of the courts, while the
jail was in the lower story, which was of stone. It was a substantial
brick structure, nearly square, and three stories hig^h, with a cupola
and belfry. .Soon after its erection a bell was brought from Holland

1 (iO

and hung in the belfry, and it was rung' on all public occasions for nearly
1(>0 years and when the old building was demolished, the bell was hung
in the cupola of the new Capitol. When it had at last outlived its
usefulness there it was taken down and is said to now hang in the
tower of a Ballston church. In the Old Stadt Huys were held, be-
sides the courts, the meetings of the Common Council after its organ-
ization under the Dongan charter of July, 1086. In front of the build-
ing the Declaration of Independence was read to the people for the
first time. A commercial building now stands on the site of the old
structure, and in it a memorial slab has been placed, appropriately in-

In December, 1805, the Board of Supervisors adopted a resolution
authorizing the county to issue bonds to the amount of $100,000,
the proceeds of which were to be used for the purchase of the Albany
Savings Bank building, corner of State and Chapel streets. The
bank had a lease of the building extending two years. In the sum-
mer of 1896, Judges Clifford D. Gregory and Alden D. Chester oc-
cupied rooms in the building, as also did the clerk of the appellate
division of the Supreme Court. Judge Gregory was appointed custo-
dian of the building and under his supervision the structure was con-
siderably improved and adapted for its new purposes above the first
floor; the latter is still occupied by the bank. After the removal of
the bank the district attorney and county treasurer will move into this
building, which will be known as the County Court House.

City flails. — The first city hall, a structure in which the courts were
held, stood on the site of the present city hall, and was erected in
18-^9-32. The site was purchased of St. Peter's church corporation
for $10,259.95. On August 31, 1830, the corner stone was laid by
Mayor John Townsend with Masonic ceremonies. The building was
finished in 1832 at a total cost of about $92,000. It was constructed of
white marble, with a large porch supported by four Doric columns, and
a large gilded dome surmounting the roof. The style of architecture
was plain in the extreme. This building was used for nearly fifty years
until on the 10th of February, 1880, when it was destroyed by fire, the
cause of which has remained a mystery. Most of the valuable records
and documents in the building were saved.

A special meeting of the Board of Supervisors was called for Febru-
ary 16, 1880, to consider what should be done to provide for a new
city hall. In the course of the proceedings the following resolution


was read, which had been previously adopted on the 11th at a meeting
of the Albany bar :

Resolved, That the site of the City Hall, recently destroyed by fire, is the most
appropriate and convenient for a building for the County Court and Court Officers,
and the members of the Albany County Bar hereby unanimously urge the Board
of Supervisors to take immediate steps toward the erection of said building or an-
other upon the City Hall site for the use of the County Courts and officers.

The board had been urged to purchase what was known as the Mar-
tin Hall as a substitute for the former City Hall, which in some meas-
ure led to the above expression from the bar. The Board of Super-
visors adopted prompt measures to ascertain the wishes of the county,
outside of the city, in the site of the new building, which duty was as-
signed to R. W. Peckham, and made provision for the copying of all
records that were damaged in the fire. An act of the Legislature was
procured creating a City Hall Commission consisting of the mayor,
Michael N. Nolan, the chairman of the Board of Supervisors, Edward
A. Maher, with Erastus Corning, Robert C. Pruyn, C. P. Easton,
Leonard G. Hun, Albertus W. Becker, and William Gould. Under
the general direction of this commission the present imposing City
Hall was built on the site of the former one during the years 1881-83.
It is is constructed of Long Meadow brown stone ; is four stories in
height, with a tower 202 feet high. The cost including the furnishing
was $325,000, of which sum $290,000 was raised on bonds of the city.
The cost was equally divided between the city and the county.

Jails. — The first Albany county jail, in the basement of the Old
Stadt Huys, was in such bad condition early in the last century that a
protest was entered by the high sherit? to the Court of Sessions in
1718, as follows:

I urge upon your worships that care may be taken to have ye same Jail sufficiently
repaired to keep such bad prisoners as I may take for debt, &c. , safelv from escap-
ing, as is now often ye case.

The court in response at once requested leave of the General Assem-
bly to expend ^140 in repairing the jail, and it is presumed that the
request was granted. Prior to this date there had been one or more
attempts to erect a separate jail. An application for this purpose, made
to the Board of Supervisors in February, 1701, was refused. At a
Court of Sessions held in Albany October 7, 1719, the following order
was entered in the records :

Pursuant to an act of the General Assembly of the Colony of New York, entitled
an Act to Authorize y= Justices of the Peace to Build and Repair Jails and Court-
houses in the Several Counties of the Province, whereby y"' Justices in each County
are Impowered (upon their own view) on any Inefficiency or Inconveniency of their
County JailorPrison, ory^ Inconveniency of theirCourt House, to Conclude and agree
upon such sum or sums of money, as, upon examination of sufficient and able
workmen, shall be thought necessary for building. Finishing and Repairing a Public
Jail, etc.

It is therefore Resolved, that any five or more of His Majestie's Justices shall
make a computation with sufficient and able workmen, what a sufficient Jail, etc.,
for y" Citty and County of Albany may cost, and bring a report thereof at the next
meeting of this Court and the Justices thereof.

This led to much discussion between two factions, one of which fa-
vored a new building, and the other the repair of the old one. The re-
sult was the repair and enlargement of the old building under the fol-
lowing resolution:

It is Resolved that the City Hall shall be repaired and an addition be made of fif-
teen foot in length to the south'd, and in breadth to the Court Hall, and joyned in
the roof of the same, made up with boards without as the present old house, with a
sufficient stone seller under y"^ same, the north end thereof partitioned off with oak
boards. To have one window with cross-iron bars therein, one cross window to the
south' ard, one to the eastward and one to the westward in the first room.

These repairs did not accomplish their purpose as far as the jail was
concerned, and within two years complaints again came from the sheriff
that his prisoners escaped with little difficulty. Another effort was
made at repairing the structure iii a far more substantial manner, and
it was used with some changes until about 1803, when it was demol-
ished. In 1791 the Legislature passed an act authorizing the city
authorities to raise ^^3,000 towards the completion of the court house
and jail. Difficulties arose between the city and the county authori-
ties, which delayed the project, and it was not until 1803-04 that the
new jail was finished. The land on which it stood extended about
eighty feet on State street ; eighty-four feet on Maiden Lane ; and IIC feet
on Eagle street. It was sold at auction August 11, 1833, in the inter-
est of the trustees of the Albany Academy. Previous to this date, on
November 1, 1831, the grand jurors visited the jail and found it in such
condition that they recommended that the Board of Supervisors erect a
new jail, "inasmuch as this building, which had stood twenty-two
years, was fast decaying, very illy constructed, and too small in order
to [secure] health, comfort and convenience, and situated in too thickly
settled a locality." The statement that the building had stood twenty-

two years is probably an error. The next and third jail, inclusive of

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