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Amasa J. (Amasa Junius) Parker.

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with whom he was associated for four years. The firm did a large and diversified
business, Mr. McMahon being the confidential adviser of the Prelates of the Dio-
cese of the church of which he was a member, and Mr. Van Alstyne managing the
legal details of the business and the trials of causes.

In 1858 Mr. Van Alstyne formed a copartnership with Mr. Winfield S. Hevenor,
which has continued down to the present timeвАФ making the firm the oldest in con-
tinuance of any in Albany. When this firm commenced busmess Ira Harris, William
B. Wright, George Gould and Henry Hogeboom were justices of the Supreme Court
for the Third Judicial district (embracing the county of Albany), and a large pro-
portion of the court business of the firm for years was transacted before these
justices. The firm remains, and its members have survived all of the.se eminent
men, and have seen of their respective successors. Judges Peckham (the elder).
Miller, Danforth, Westbrook and Osborn yielding to the mevitable, gathered by the
scythe of death. Judges Ingalls and Learned retired from the bench on account of
age, and the younger Peckham promoted to the position of justice of the Supreme
Court of the United States, leaving at this writing Messr.s. Parker, Edwards, May-
ham, Fursman and Chester as justices of the Third Judicial District, all of whom,
except Judge Mayham, are much yovmger than the subject of this sketch. The busi-
ness of the firm of Van Alstyne & Hevenor was large from the first, embracing riiost
of the branches of the law. Both members being self-reliant and capable, they con-
ducted all matters entrusted to them without help of counsel. They adopted as
rules of action, never to give advice unfounded on actual or assured fact, or unwar-
ranted in law; never to appeal from a just verdict upon the merits, though a reversal
on account of error might be had and might result in a new trial (the final result in
such cases generally ending in mulcting the client in greater loss in money, time
and anxiety).

In politics Mr. Van Alstyne has always been a Democrat. Prior to the war of the
Rebellion he was a Freesoiler on principle, but recognized the rights of the slave-
holding States under the constitution, and approved their maintenance under the
law. War supervening, ba.sed upon the institution of slavery, he urged its vigorous
prosecution with the certain abolition of slavery as an incident.

In 18T1, at the solicitation of many citizens of the county, Mr. Van Alstyne con-
sented to become a candidate for the office of county judge on the ticket of his party,
and was elected, receiving the largest vote cast for any candidate on the ticket. (In
assuming the duties of his office he adopted strict rules for conducting the busmess
of the court, thereby eft'ecting an immediate and needed reform in that tribunal.
The court calendar during the twelve years of his service as county judge was large,
the number of causes tried before him nearly e



Online LibraryAmasa J. (Amasa Junius) ParkerLandmarks of Albany County, New York → online text (page 70 of 138)