Amasa J. (Amasa Junius) Parker.

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they were set at liberty, and it is but justice to them to say that they became the
best possible conservators of the peace, and that no resistance of process by violence
has ever sirrce occurred in that county.

At the close of the third week of the court all the cases had been disposed of. No
prisoners were left in jail, except those awaiting execution or transportation to the
State prisons. The military were soon after discharged and the log jails taken down,
and peace and good order have since reigned in the county.

A report of the trial of Van Steenbergh, with a note referring to the business of
that court, will be found in 1 Park. Cr. Rep., 39.

The sentences of Van Steenbergh and O'Connor were subsequently commuted by
Governor Wright to imprisonment for life, and about a year later all those in the
State prison were pardoned by the successor of Governor Wright.

Great credit was awarded to Judge Parker for his successful discharge of the
delicate and difficult duties devolving upon him at the Delaware Oyer and Terminer,
and the next commencement the degree of Doctor of Laws was conferred on him by
Geneva College.

As has been stated. Judge Parker's services as circuit judge and vice-chancellor
terminated in 1847 by the adoption of the new State Constitution of 1846, under
which an elective judiciary succeeded to the exercise of the judicial power of the
State. In all the counties of the Third judicial district meetings of the bar were held
and complimentary addresses to Judge Parker were signed, approving his judicial

Judge Parker's term of service as a justice of the Supreme Court expired on the
i'.lst of December, 1855. His opinions in cases pending in that court will be found
in the first twenty-one volumes of Barbour's Supreme Court Reports. In the year
18.54 Judge Parker served in the Court of Appeals and was there associated with
Judges Gardner, Denio, Alexander S. Johnson, Allen and others. His opmions in
that court are reported in the one and two volumes of Kernan's Reports. Among
those most worthy of reference is the case of Snedeker vs. Warring, reported in 2
Kernan, 170, a case which attracted much attention at the time, for the reason that
it presented a very nice question and one that had not been before decided either in
this country or in England. It was finally decided on the authority of cases adjudged
under the civil law on the continent of Europe. It involved the question whether a
statue, colossal in size, erected as an ornament on the grounds in front of a country
residence and securely attached to the earth by its weight, was real or personal
property. The case was argued by very able coimsel and it happened, by the prac-
tice of the court in turn to fall to Judges Johnson and Parker to write opinions. At
the close of the argument, as the judges were separatmg for the day, in a few words
of consultation that took place between the judges who were to write. Judge Johnson
said he had an impression that the statue was real property. Judge Parker said
his impression was that it was personal. A month later, after both the judges had
spent much time at the State Library in examining the authorities, but without hav-
ing again spoken together on the subject and after each had written his opinion
ready to be read and discussed at the next meeting of all the judges, Judge Parker


met Judge Johnson and said to him, " I have changed ray opinion and have come to
the conlusion that the statue is veal property;" and Judge Johnson said in answer,
"and I have changed my opinion and have concluded it is personal property."
When the meeting of the judges was held for consultation soon afterwards both
opinions were read and after discussion, the vote stood four and four, and thus it re-
mained till near the end of the year when on further discussion and consideration,
five voted with Judge Parker and two with Judge Johnson, and the case was decided.

Judge Parker was nominated by the Democratic convention for re-election in the
autumn of 1835. Ambrose L. Jordan was the candidate of the Republican party,
then newly organized, and George Gould was nominated by the " Know-Nothing" or
American party. Prominent members of the last named party proposed to nominate
Judge Parker, but he declined being a candidate for a nomination by that party. A
very small vote was cast for Mr. Jordan, but Judge Gould was elected. That was the
year when the American or "Know-Nothing" party, suddenly springing up, swept
the State by large majorities. Judge Parker ran very largely ahead of his ticket,
being beaten by the American candidate by only about a thousand votes, while the
State officers on the American ticket in the same judicial district had a majority
of several thousand.

Judge Parker then resumed the practice of his profession at Albany and he con-
tinued in it. He was repeatedly offered nominations afterwards for the Supreme
Court and the Court of Appeals, when the Democratic party, to which he belonged,
was in the majority in his district and in the State, but he always declined, saying he
had done his share of judicial service and preferred thereafter the independent prac-
tice of his profession.

In the fall of 1856 Judge Parker was nominated by the Democratic State Conven-
tion for the office of governor. The opposing Republican candidate was John A.
King. Erastus Brooks was the "American" candidate. Though Judge Parker re-
ceived several thousand majority in the judicial district where he was beaten the year
before by about a thousand majority, he was defeated in the State and Governor
King was elected in the State by a heavy majority. Mr. Buchanan, who was elected
president that year by the votes of the other States and against whom the majority
in the State of New York vi'as nearly ten thou.sand votes more than the majority
against Judge Parker, who ran largely ahead of his ticket, tendered to the latter
offices of distinction, which the latter declined, and later in his administration he
nominated him for United States district attorney for the Southern District of New
York, and the nomination was confirmed by the United States Senate, without refer-
ence, but Judge Parker refused to qualify, preferrmg his own private professional

In the fall of 1858 the Democratic State convention again nominaied Judge Parker
for the office of governor. His Republican opponent was E. D. Morgan, and Gov-
ernor Morgan was elected by about 17,000 majority, though Judge Parker was again
largely in advance of the rest of the ticket. After that time Judge Parker was not a
candidate for any office, except that he was elected, in 1867, a delegate from the
county of Albany to the State Constitutional Convention, in which he figured in the
years 1867 and 1868 as a member of the judiciary and other committees. The judi-
ciary article framed by that convention was the only portion of the constitution finally
adopted by the people.


On Judge Parker's retirement from the bench, he engaged at once in the practice
of tiis profession at Albany, taking into partnership, in 1865, his only son, Amasa J.
Parker, jr., and adding to the firm, in 1876, ex-Judge Edwin Countryman, under the
name of Parker & Countryman. He devoted himself with great industry and success
to his professional duties. He had a great love for his profession and for the princi-
l)les upon which the law and its administrations are founded. He was engaged in a
large professional practice and in many of the most important cases that have come
into the courts, as is shown by the State and Federal Reports. Among the most
notable litigations in civil cases was the question of the right to tax National Banks,
which he argued before the Supreme Court of the United States, on the employment
()f the city of New York, reported in 4 Wallace Rep., 344, and in this State the title
of Trinity church to property in the city of New York, the Levy will case, reported
in 23 N. Y., 97, the famous controversy between the Delaware and Hudson Canal
Company and the Pennsylvania Coal Company, and that of the boundary line be-
tween the States of New York and New Jersey, reported in 42, N. Y. Rep., 283. He
early engaged in criminal cases and his defense of Cole for the murder of Hiscock,
and his acting in two or three other murder cases were exceptional. He declined a
retainer of §5,000, offered him to act as council in the defense of Tweed.

With the late Judge Ira Harris and Amos Dean, he engaged, in 1851, in the found-
ing of the Albany Law School, which established a high reputation under their
government and care, and he continued for about twenty years one of the professors
of that institution, and resigned only because of the pressure of his professional
practice. He had found time, while on the bench and afterwards, for preparing for
the press some law books, which he thought needed, among which were six volumes
of Reports of Criminal Cases. He also, assisted by two other gentlemen of the pro-
fession, edited the fifth edition of the Revised Statutes of the State.

He was an earnest advocate of the reforms inaugurated in the State Constitutional
Convention of 1847, by which the Court of Chancery was abolished and law and
efjuity powers were vested in the same tribunal, and the practice of the courts sim-
plified. He visited Europe in 1853, while similar reforms where under consideration
in England, and at the request of Lord Brougham, he addressed the Law Reform
Club of England, at its annual meeting, and explained to its members the results of
his experience on the bench in regard to the changes that had been made in this
State, and especially as to the administering of law and equity in the same court.

In politics he was, throughout his whole life, a Democrat, and before he went on
to the bench, and after he left it, an active member of the party. Believing thor-
oughly in the principles of that party, as founded by Jefferson, and that their success
was indispensable to the welfare and prosperity of the country, he advocated them
with earnestness, and always with due respect for the judgment of those who differed
from him.

He labored strenuously to avert the catastrophy of civil war, and presided at the
famous State Democratic Convention held at Tweddle Hall in Albany, in February,
1861. He always believed afterwards, as he believed then, that with temperate
council on the part of the Republican leaders, then about entering upon the control
of the Federal government, civil war could have been avoided; but when the first
blow was struck at Fort .Sumter, and the Rebellion was thus inaugurated, he did not
hesitate to regard the die as cast and became at once an earnest advocate of a vig-


orous prosecution of the war on the part of the government, and freely contributed
his own money and time to the raising of men and means for that purpose.

But while he did that he protested earnestly against what he deemed the gross
abuse of power practiced for merely partisan purposes, by high Federal officials, in
the makmg of unnecessary arbitrary arrests of northern men. whose only offense
was an honest and independent difference of opinions and a free expression of it on
subjects of mere party differences, in no way involved in the prosecution of the war
to put down the Rebellion. This tyranical exercise of power and gross violations of
the right af personal liberty he stoutly resisted and not only denounced it on the
stump, at the hazard of his own personal hberty, but he freely gave his own profes-
sional services to obtain redress for such wrongs.

A notable mstance of this character occurred in the case of Palrie vs. Murray,
tried at the Greene Circuit in June, 1864, by Judge Parker as counsel for plaintiff, in
which a jury, composed of men of both political parties, gave to the plaintiff for
such an arrest and false imprisonment a verdict of §9,000 damages. An attempt
was made to remove this case, after verdict and judgment, for retrial into the United
States Circuit Court, under an act of Congress that had been conveniently passed
for the purpose of defeating such recoveries. Judge Parker insisted that the act
was unconstitutional, being in violation of the seventh article of the amendments of
the United States Constitution, and under his advice the State authorities refused to
make a return to the writ of error. Application was then made to the I'nited States
Circuit Court to compel the return, and on demurrer peremptory mandamus
was adjudged. To review that judgment a writ of error was brought by Judge
Parker and the case was removed into the United States Supreme Court, held at
Washington. It was first argued in that court in February, 1869, by Judge Parker
for the plaintiff in error, and Mr. Evarts, then attorney-general of the United States,
for the defendant in error. The judges were divided upon the question and ordered
a reargument, which took place in February, 1870, Attorney-General Hoar then ap-
pearing for the defendant in error. The judgment of the United States Circuit
Court was then reversed and the unconstitutionality of the act of Congress was
established. The case is reported in 9 Wallace, U. S. Rep., 274.

During a long life of professional labor Judge Parker never lost the tastes ac-
quired early in life for classical study and literary pursuits, and he w^s in the habit
of setting apart a stated portion of his time for such purposes He enjoyed an oc-
casional return to the reading of the Greek and Roman authors and those, with the
attention given to the current literature of the day, and a mingling in the duties of
social life, afforded him an agreeable relaxation from the severer studies and a
healthful change to the mind. These tastes brought him into connection with the
educational institutions of the State, in several of which he served for many years
as a trustee.

Among other duties of that character he was for many years president of the board
of trustees of the Albany Female Academy, president of the board of trustees of
the Albany Medical College, a trustee of Cornell University and one of the gov-
ernors of Union University.

Judge Parker married, in 1834, Miss Harriet Langdon Roberts, of Portsmouth,
N. H., and of a large family of children— Mrs. John V. L. Pruyn, Amasa J. Parker,



jr., Mrs. Erastus Corning and Mrs. Selden E. Marvin, all residents of Alliany, still

When a member of the assembly in 1834 Mr. Parker, as chairman of a select com-
mittee, made an elaborate report urging the establishment of a State hospital for
the insane, which led' to a more full consideration of the subject by the people,
though it was not until several years afterwards that the first State hospital for the
insane was established. it was owing to the interest Mr. Parker had
taken in the subject that he was afterward appointed by Governor Fenton in 18'i7
one of the managers of the Hudson River State Hospital for the Insane at Pough-
keepsie, a trust which he held till 1881, when he resigned, and Governor Cornell ap-
pointed his son, Amasa J. Parker, jr., in his place, who served until January 1, 1807,
and he was then succeeded by his second son, Lewis R. Parker.


Amasa J. P akker, the only surviving son of the late Judge Amasa J. Parker and
Harriet Langdon Parker, was born in Delhi, Delaware county, N, Y., on May 0.
1843. In the following year. Judge Parker having been appointed Circuit Judge
and Vice Chancellor of the Third Circuit, moved to Albany, where the son has
ever since resided.

His early education was pursued in the schools of Miss Margaret Cassidy and
Messrs. Wrightson, and later at the Albany Academy, and in the fall of 1860 he en-
tered the sophomore class at Union College, graduating in July, 1863. Mr. Parker
began the study of the law at the end of his junior year at college and in September,
1863, he entered, as a student, the law oflfice of Cagger, Porter & Hand at Albany,
with whom he remained for nearly two years.

Mr. Parker graduated from the Albany Law School in 1864 and in the latter part
of the same year was admitted to the bar, and became the law partner of his father
on the first day of May, 186.5, which continued until the death of Judge Parker on
May 13, 1890, in all a period of over twenty-five years. From 1876 until 1888, ex-Judge
Edwin Countryman of Cooperstown, N. Y., who had moved to Albany for that pur-
pose, was associated with them under the firm name of Parker & Countryman.

In 1891 Mr. J. Newton Fiero of Kingston, N. Y. , came to Albany and became the
partner of Mr. Parker, continuing as such until 1895. Since that time he has had
associated with him his two sons, Amasa J. Parker, jr., and Lewis R. Parker, though
no partnership exists between them.

Mr. Parker has been very active in the practice of his profession for over thirty
years, practicing in both the State and Federal Courts and taking part in numerous
important and well known cases, such as Jackson vs. Lake Shore and Michigan South-
ern Railroad Company, Hooghkirk vs. the D. & H., Laning vs. the New York Cen-
tral, Conway vs. Gale, Dunlop vs. Dunlop and McChesney vs. the Panama Railroad

Mr. Parker was one of the organizers of the famous Union College Zouaves, at
Schenectady in April, 1861, and served in same. After graduating from college he
was enrolled in the National (Juard at Albany and in 1866 was commissioned aide-


de-camp, with the rank of major on the staff of (".en. John Taylor Cooper, the com-
mandant of the Third Division.

In 1875 he was elected lieutenant-colonel of the Tenth Regiment and tw-o years
later was unanimously elected its colonel. He was in command of that regiment
during the railroad riots of July, 1877, and the regiment under him reached a strength
of eight hundred and fifty men.

Mr. Parker .served as president of the National Guard Association of this State, upon
its re-organization, from 1878 to 1880 and is the only officer who has filled the posi-
tion for more than one year. On the re-organization of the National Guard in Au-
gust, 1886, he was elected brigadier-general of the Third Brigade N. G. S. N. Y.,
with headquarters at Albany, and served in that capacity until the end of Uecenilier,
1890. when he resigned. During the period of his command the Third Brigade took
part in the Washington Centennial celebration in New York City, April 29, 1889, and
in that great parade of nearly fifty thousand troops, the Third Brigade was awarded
the highest credit mark for its appearance and discipline by the U. S. Army Board
sent to New York by the Federal Government. The brigade on this occasion num-
bered nearly two thou.sand eight hundred men.

Mr. Parker was elected to the Assembly in 1882, receiving a majority larger than
the number of votes cast for his opponent, and in 1886 and 1887 served in the State
Senate, and has since then been tw-ice re-elected to that body, serving in the sessions
of that body continuously from 1892 to 1895 inclusive, and siibsequently declined a
renomination. When he entered the Senate in January, 1886, he instituted public
hearings in the City Hall, Albany, on all local measures in the Legislature before the
Senator and four Assemblymen from Albany county. This plan enabled every citizen
to attend and learn all about the measures affecting Albany county or any portion of
the same and to discuss their merits or demerits.

Naturally, Mr. Parker, during his legislative services of seven years in Assembly
and Senate had much to do with military and local matters, as well as with general

In the Assembly of 1882 he was chairman of the Committee on Military Affairs,
and with the aid of the principal National Guard officers of the State revused and
greatly simplified and strengthened the Military Code.

The same year he took a prominent part in the obtaining of appropriations, build-
ing of State Armories, the adoption of the State service uniform and the establish-
ment of the State Camp at Peekskill. Later on in the Senate, during his six years
of service there, he did much for the National Guard in the way of general appro-
priations, equipment, building and repairing of State Armories, and rifle ranges, im-
proving the Military Code and in strengthening the military force in many ways.

He was, in 1887, the originator and principal projector of the new State Armory,
at Albany, obtaining an official condemnation and sale of the old State Arsenal,
procuring the first appropriation from the State for the building as well as a most
liberal sum from the county of Albany for the site for said Armory, and on his return
to the Senate in 1893, during that and the three subsequent years, he obtained further
large State appropriations for its extension, completion and equipment.

In regard to local legislation for his district, Mr. Parker was always active, and
during his service in the Legislature, never failed to give these matters his best


In 1883. in the Assembly, he introduced the first bill foi- the construction of the
Hawk street viaduct. He introduced later in the Senate the bill for the construction
of the Northern Boulevard and with others succeeded in passing the bill, and later
the amended Northern Boulevard law, which obviated the objections of several
elements, which had been hostile to this great project.

The Albany Basin bill and many other bills affecting the health and welfare of
Albany county and the cities of Albany and Cohoes, received Mr. Parker's close
attention and became laws.

Mr. Parker is president of the Board of Trustees of the Albany Law School and as
such one of the governors of Union University; a trustee of the Albany Medical Col-
lege and also of St. Agnes School; a trustee of the Union Trust Company of New
York and a director of the Albany City National Bank. He succeeded his father,
who had .served since 1867 as a manager and was made president of the Board of
Managers of the Hudson River State Hospital (for the insane) at Poughkeepsie in
1881, and remained such until January, 1897, when he insisted upon retiring.

Mr. Parker has been prominently connected with the Young Men's Association for
many years, and is a member of the Board of Life Trustees and was one of the most
active Albanians in projecting the plan and in procuring funds to build Harmanus
Bleeker Hall, and is the chairman of the Hall Committee of that Board of Trustees.

Mr. Parker married in 1868, Cornelia Kane Strong, of New Orleans, La., who died
December 17, 1883, leaving surviving six children, two sons and four daughters, of
whom a son and daughter are married.


The subject of this sketch. Dr. Albert Vander Veer, has attained a prominence in
his profession which places him far along in the ranks of its recognized leaders. He
was born in the village of Leatherville, town of Root, Montgomery county, N. Y. ,
July 10. 1841. His father was an energetic and successful business man, whose tan-
neries gave the name to the place.

Dr. Vander Veer's early education was received at the public schools of Canajo-
harie and Palatine, and at the Canajoharie Academy. When eighteen years of age
he began the study of medicine with the late Dr. Simeon Snow, of Currylown, N. Y.
Alter a year's work on the rudiments he came to Albany and entered the office of the
late Dr. John Swinburne. During the years 18'U and 1862 he attended the lectures
of the Albany Medical College, from w'hich so many pliysicians of prominence have
been graduated. In the spring of 1862 he became one of the original •' one hundred,"
was commissioned as a United States Medical Cadet, and ordered to report for duty
at Columbia College Hospital, Washington, D. C. While at this post he attended a
course of lectures at the National Medical College, from which institution he received
the degree of doctor of medicine in December, 1863, afterward receiving the same
degree from the Albany Medical College. After graduation Dr. Vander Veer was
commissioned assistant surgeon of the Si.\ty-si.\th Regiment. New York State Vol-
unteers, and joined his regiment at Falmouth, \'a. . just after the first battle of Fred-


ericksburg. During and after the battle of Chancellorsville, he was detailed as one
of the surgeons in charge of an operating table at the 1st Division, Second Army
Corps Hospital, having as his assistants men much older than himself, but who were
not accustomed to surgical work. In June, 1864, Dr. Vander Veer was promoted
surgeon with the rank of major. He served with his regiment until the close of the

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