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The Supreme Court of Appeals was first constituted by legislative act in May, 1779, and consisted of the judges of admiralty, chancery and general courts This arrangement continued for ten years. On December 22, 1788, an act was passed making the court to consist of five judges, specially elected, as at present continues.
JUDGES UNDER THE ACT OF MAY 1779.
Pendleton, Edmund, president (q. v.).
Wythe, George, (q. v.).
Nicholas, Robert Carter, (q. v.).
Blair, John, (q. v.).
Carrington, Paul, (q. v.).
Lyons, Peter, (q. v.).
Fleming, William, (q.v.).
Dandridge, Bartholomew, (q. v., vol. i, p. 220).
Mercer, James, (q. v.).
Tazewell, Henry, (q. v.).
Waller, Benjamin, (q. v.).
Curle, William Roscow Wilson, (q. v.)
Cary, Richard, (q. v.)
Henry, James, (q. v.).
Tyler, John, (q. v.).
Parker, Richard, (q. v.).
Tucker, St. George, (q. v.).
Jones, Gabriel, (q. v.).
JUDGES UNDER THE ACT OF DECEMBER 22, 1788, AND AS AMENDED FROM TIME TO TIME.
Pendleton, Edmund,, president (q. v.).
Lyons, Peter, (q. v.).
Carrington, Paul, (q. v.).
Fleming, William, (q.v.).
Mercer, James, (q. v.).
Roane, Spencer, son of Colonel William Roane and Elizabeth Ball, his wife, daughter of Colonel Spencer Ball, was born in Essex county, April 4, 1762. He attended private schools, and about 1777 entered William and Mary College, where he went through the usual academic courses, and in 1780 attended the law lectures of Chancellor Wythe, the professor of law. He practiced law and entered the house of delegates, and in 1784 became a member of the council of state. He soon resigned this last office and resumed the practice of law, and was elected again to the legislature. In 1789 he was made a judge of the general court, where he continued till 1794, when upon the election of Judge Henry Tazewell to the United States Henry Tazewell to the United States senate, he was appointed a judge of the Supreme Court of Appeals. He continued in that office till his death. In public estimation he stood second only to Judge Pendleton, and upon the death of that gentleman he was, beyond dispute, the ablest judge of the courts. He belonged to what was called the Republican party, and he was much engaged in the controversies of the day, and frequently wrote for the newspapers. He strongly defended the rights of his court against the decisions of Judge Marshall, in the United States Supreme Court, and Mr. Jefferson wished him, at the expiration of Mr. Monroe's term, to run as Vice-President under Mr. Crawford, with a view that he might succeed him later as President. He was twice one of the persons appointed to revise the laws of the state, and several time one of the college of electors of President and Vice-President of the United States, and was one of the commissioners for locating the University of Virginia. He married Anne Henry, daughter of Patrick Henry, September 7, 1787, and was father of William H. Roane, United States senator. He died at the age of sixty, September 4, 1822.
Tucker, St. George, (q. v.).
Pleasants, James, (q. v.), qualified as judge of the Supreme Court, January 30, 1811, but soon resigned.
Brooke, Francis T., president, was born at "Smithfield," Spotsylvania county, four miles below Fredericksburg, on the Rappahannock river, August 27, 1763, son of Richard Brooke and Ann Hay Taliaferro, his wife, daughter of Francis Taliaferro, of "Epson," in the same county. His brother was Robert Brooke, governor of Virginia; his grandfather was Robert Brooke, governor of Virginia; his grandfather was Robert Brooke a noted surveyor, who was one of Spotswood's "Horshoe Knights," and his great-grandfather was Robert Brooke, a justice of Essex county about 1700. He was well trained by private tutors, and served in the revolution as a lieutenant in 1780, in Harrison's artillery, Continental line; his twin brother John also received a similar appointment in the same regiment. He served under Lafayette in 1781, commanded a company in Colonel Febiger's regiment, and joined General Greene at Charleston, South Carolina, serving with him till the close of the war. After studying medicine a year with his brother Lawrence, he turned his attention to the law; was admitted to the bar in 1788, and practiced in Monongahela and Harrison counties. He was made commonwealth's attorney in the district court and practiced in Essex county and in the Northern Neck; elected to the house of delegates in 1794; removed two years after to Fredericksburg, Virginia; was elected to the state senate in 1800, and soon after became speaker. In 1804 he was elected a judge of the court of appeals, of which he was president eight years, from 1823 to 1831. He was again elected judge in 1831 and held the office until his death. Judge Brooke was an intimate friend of General Washington, to whose niece, Mary Randolph Spotswood, he was married in 1791. Their son, Francis T. (1802-37), was graduated at the United States Military Academy in 1826, and was killed at the battle of Okeechobee, December 25, 1837. Judge Brooke's second wife was Mary C. Carter. He died at Fredericksburg, March 3, 1851.
Coalter, John, son of Michael Coalter and Elizabeth Moore, his wife, daughter of James Moore, was born in Rockbridge county, August 20, 1771; was a tutor in the family of Judge St. George Tucker, in Williamsburg, and studied law in William and Mary College, taking a course in 1789 under Chancellor Wythe and Bishop Madison, president of that institution. He settled near Staunton and practiced law, and at first was very poor and walked to his courts with his clothes and papers in a bag on his shoulders. He was, first, attorney for the commonwealth, and in 1809 he was appointed a judge of the general court. On May 11, 1811, he was promoted to the court of appeals. About 1821 he removed to Richmond, and soon after purchased "Chatham," in Stafford county, opposite to Fredericksburg, where he resided until the time of his death, which occurred February 2, 1838. "Chatham" was formerly one of the elegant estates of the Fitzhugh family, and Charles Augustus Murray, grandson of Lord Dunmore, draws in his "Travels" (1839) a flattering picture of Judge Coalter in these noble surroundings. His face portrayed with singular force, "frankness, energy and shrewdness," a combination of qualities which had raised him to the highest rank in his profession. Judge Coalter married three times, (first) Maria Rind, daughter of William Rind, of Williamsburg, editor of one of the Virginia "Gazettes," published in that city at the time of the revolution. He married (second) Margaret Davenport, of Williamsburg, and (third) Frances Bland Tucker, daughter of Judge St. George Tucker. By the last wife he left issue surviving.
Green, John Williams, son of William Green and Lucy Williams, his wife, daughter of William and Lucy (Clayton) Williams, was born in Culpeper county, November 9, 1781. His grandfather was Colonel John Green, of Culpeper, a gallant officer of the American revolution, who served with distinction with Washington in New York and with Green in the South. He was descended from William Green, an English yeoman in the body guard of William, Prince of Orange whose son, Robert, father of Colonel John Green, came to Virginia about 1710 with his uncle, William Duff, a Quaker of large means. He was educated as a lawyer, and served in the war of 1812, He became one of the chancellors of the state, and in 1822 elected judge of the Supreme Court of Appeals. He married (first) December 24, 1805, Mary Brown, daughter of John and Hannah Ball (Cooke) Brown, of Stafford county; married (second) October 9, 1817, Million Cooke, daughter of John Cooke. By the first marriage he was father of the distinguished lawyer and learned scholar, William Green, LL. D., of Richmond. He died February 4, 1834.
Carr, Dabney, son of Dabney Carr (q. v.) and Martha Jefferson, his wife, was born three weeks before the death of his father, in Albemarle county, in April, 1733 He attended Hampden-Sidney College, and after his return home studied law and became intimately acquainted with the celebrated William Wirt, who had married a daughter of Dr. George Gilmer, and was then settled in Albemarle. Carr practiced in Albemarle county, and in 1811 became chancellor of the Winchester district, and in 1824, on the death of Judge Fleming, was made a judge of the Supreme Court of Appeals. His profound investigations of the questions which came before hm for decision made for him a great reputation. He held his office on the supreme bench till his death, January 8, 1837. He was buried in Shockoe Cemetery, Richmond.
Tucker, Henry St. George, eldest son of Judge St. George Tucker by his first wife, Frances Bland, daughter of Theodorick Bland, and widow of John Randolph, of "Matoax," in Chesterfield county, was born at that place, December 29, 1780. In 1791 he entered the grammar school of William and Mary College, conducted by Rev. John Bracken, and completed the college course of Bachelor of Arts, July 4, 1799. He took a law course under his father, the professor of law in the college, and began to practice at Winchester in 1802. He speedily attracted notice and was elected to the house of delegates in 1807, served afterwards in the war of 1812, and in 1815 was elected to Congress, where he served two terms. He served in the state senate, 1819-1823; president of the Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals, 1831-41, and law professor at University of Virginia, 1841-45. He conducted a celebrated law school for some years at Winchester, and declined the post of United States attorney-general, offered by President Jackson. He wrote "Commentaries on the Law of Virginia" (2 vols., 1836); "Lectures on Constitutional Law" (1843), and "Lectures on Natural Law and Government" (1844). He was president of the Virginia Historical and Philosophical societies, and received the degree of Doctor of Laws from William and Mary in 1837. He married Ann Evelina, daughter of Moses Hunter, and died at Winchester, Virginia, August 28, 1848. He is to be distinguished from an Anglo-Indian relative and namesake (1771-1851), who was chairman of the East India Company, and whose life was written by J. W. Kay, 1854.
Cabell, William H. (q. v.).
Allen, John J., was born at Woodstock, Shenandoah county, Virginia, September 25, 1797, son of James Allen, a distinguished lawyer and judge of the circuit court. he was educated at Washington College, Virginia, and Dickinson College, Pennsylvania. He read law with his father, and removed to Clarksburg in 1819. In 1827 he was elected to the state senate and introduced an important bill, which afterwards became a law, for the settlement of land titles in Trans-Alleghany Virginia. In 1834 he was commonwealth attorney for the counties of Harrison, Lewis and Preston. At the same time he was a member of the Twenty-third Congress from December 2, 1833, to March 3, 1835, and served on the committee of the District of Columbia. In 1836 he was appointed judge of the seventeenth circuit, removed to Botetourt county, and held his first court there September 1, 1836. In December, 1840, he was elected a judge of the state court of appeals, and in 1851 was made the president thereof. He was an ardent upholder of the doctrine of secession, his masterly defence of which may be found in "The Southern Historical Papers" for January, 1876. In 1865 he resigned and retired to private life. Judge Allen was married in 1824. He died in 1871.
Brockenbrough, William, son of Dr. John Brockenbrough, of Tappahannock, Essex county, Virginia, and of Sarah, his wife, daughter of Colonel William Roane, was born July 10, 1778; studied at William and Mary College in 1798; studied law and afterwards practiced it with much success. He represented Essex in the house of delegates in 1802-03; member of the council, May, 1803; appointed a judge of the Supreme Court of Appeals, February 20, 1834, to fill the vacancy caused by the death of Judge John W. Green. He was an able jurist, but did not serve in the Supreme Court long, as he died December 10, 1838. He was father of John W. Brockenbrough, for many years judge of the United States court for the western district of Virginia, afterwards member of the Confederate congress, and professor of law at Washington College.
Parker, Richard Elliott, was born at Rock Spring, Westmoreland county, Virginia, December 27, 1783, son of Captain William Harwar and Mary (Sturman) Parker, and grandson of Judge Richard and Elizabeth (Beale) Parker. He studied law at Lawfield, Virginia, under his grandfather, Judge Richard Parker; was admitted to the bar and settled to practice in his native county, which he represented in the Virginia legislature for several years. He was colonel of the militia in Westmoreland county at the outbreak of the war of 1812, and served as colonel of the Thirty-fifth Virginia Regiment, with which he defended the Northern Neck from British attacks, 1813-14. He was wounded in the action at White House, September 16, 1814, returning after the war to the practice of law, and was elected a judge of the general court, July 26, 1817 He was elected to the United States senate to fill a vacancy caused by the resignation of Benjamin Watkins Leigh, serving from December 15, 1836, to February 13, 1837, when he resigned to accept a seat on the bench of the court of appeals of Virginia, to fill a vacancy caused by the death of Dabney Carr, January 8, 1837. He declined the position of attorney-general in the cabinet of President Van Buren, in 1840, as successor to Felix Grundy. He married Elizabeth, daughter of Dr. William Foushee, of Richmond, Virginia. He died at the "Retreat," Snickersville, Virginia, September 9, 1840.
Stanard, Robert, son of William Stanard and Elizabeth Carter, his wife, daughter of Colonel Edward Carter, of "Blenheim," Albemarle county, was born in Spottsylvania county, August 17, 1781. He attended William and Mary College in 1798, studied law and began the practice. he met at first with little success, but encouraged by his father, he persevered and became prominent at the Richmond bar about the time that John Wickham, William Call and their contemporaries left the field of action. He was a member of the state convention of 1829-30, which revised the constitution. He made a great impression in that assembly of able men. On the death of Judge Brockenbrough, in 1839, Mr. Stanard was elected to succeed him on the bench of the Supreme Court of Appeals. His mind was lucid and direct. He understood no quibbling and despised all sophistry. He died while writing an opinion in Richmond, May 14, 1846.
Baldwin, Briscoe G., eldest son of Cornelius Baldwin and Mary Briscoe, daughter of Colonel Gerrard Briscoe, of Frederick county, was born at Winchester, Virginia, January 18, 1789. After attending a private school he entered William and Mary College, where he was the fellow student of John Tyler, William S. Archer, John J. Crittenden and others, who afterwards held distinguished public positions. he studied law under Judge William Daniel, in Cumberland county, and practiced law in Staunton. He served in the house of delegates from Augusta in 1818-20, and in 1829-30 was a member of the constitutional convention. He saw service again in the house of delegates in 1841-42, and on January 29, 1842, he was elected a member of the Supreme Court of Appeals of Virginia a position in which he continued till his death, May 18, 1852. He was a learned lawyer, an accomplished scholar, and a brilliant speaker and orator. He was father of Colonel John B. Baldwin, who was the leader of the Union party in the secession convention of 1861, but who voted for secession when the issue was presented of fighting one section of the country or the other.
Daniel, William, a descendant of James Daniel, who was born in Middlesex county, Virginia, about 1680, and son of William Daniel (1770-1839), a judge of the general court from 1813 to 1839, by his wife, Margaret Baldwin, sister of Judge Briscoe G. Baldwin, was born in Cumberland county, November 26, 1806. He was educated at Hampden-Sidney College and the University of Virginia, studied law in 1827-28, and, it is said, was licensed and practiced before he was twenty-one, and was also elected a member of the legislature and served while he was yet a minor. On December 15, 1846, he was elected a judge of the Supreme Court of Appeals; was reëlected by the people after the adoption of the constitution of 1851, and served until 1865. By his marriage with Sarah A Warwick, a daughter of Major John M. Warwick, of Lynchburg, he was father of John W. Daniel, who served with much distinction in the United States senate. Judge Daniel died at Farmville, Virginia, March 28, 1873. The Daniel family in other lines also has had many distinguished representatives.
Moncure, Richard C. L. was born in Stafford county, Virginia, in 1805. His great-grandfather, Rev. John Moncure, a native of Scotland, descended from a Huguenot refugee, settled in Virginia in the eighteenth century, and was for many years in charge of the parish of Overwharton. Richard received his early training at the local schools, and supplemented it by private reading. He was admitted to the bar in 1825, and soon attained the front rank. he practiced in Fredericksburg and neighboring counties and the Supreme Court of Appeals at Richmond. He entered politics in 1849, when a revision of the code was considered necessary. He was elected to the legislature and was placed on the committee having charge of this work, rendering valuable service. In 1851 he was appointed to fill the vacancy occurring at the death of Judge Francis T. Brooke, but, the state constitution being changed that year, the judges' commissions were vacated an elections became necessary. He was chosen as one of the five judges constituting the Supreme Court, and held the position until the close of the war. His tenure of office was temporarily suspended during the reconstruction period (1865-1870), but on the adoption of the new constitution in 1870 he was again elected, and held the position until his death. He was on the bench more than thirty years, and his decisions are found in a large number of the Virginia reports. He married in early life, Mary Washington Conway, and had a large family. His eldest son, J. C. Moncure, became a judge of the Supreme Court of Louisiana. Judge Moncure died athis home at Stafford, August 26, 1882.
Samuels, Green B., was born in Shenandoah county, February 1, 1806, and studied law under Judge Henry St. George Tucker, in Winchester. He was elected as a Democrat to the Twenty-sixth Congress, March 4, 1839-March 4, 1843. In 1852 he was elected a judge of the Supreme Court of Appeals by popular vote, in pursuance of the constitution adopted by the convention of 1850-51. He died January 5, 1859, in Richmond, Virginia.
Robertson, William J., was born in the county of Culpeper, in the year 1817. He received a classical and legal education at the University of Virginia (1834-36, 1841), from which institution he graduated with the degree of Bachelor of Arts. He settled in the town of Charlottesville and practiced law with great success. He was commonwealth's attorney for Albemarle county, and won great reputation as a lawyer and advocate. In 1859 Judge Robertson was elected to the Supreme Court of Appeals by popular election over John B. Baldwin. He served till April, 1865, when Virginia submitted to the Federal army. He then retired to private life and resumed the practice of the law, which he prosecuted with great success. He was attorney in many of the most important law cases involving the interests of Virginia and her citizens, including the famous suit affecting the Arlington property, belonging to the Lee family and confiscated by the United States. He was first president of the Virginia Bar Association. Judge Robertson married twice, (first) Hannah G., daughter of General William F. Gordon, of Albemarle, and (second) Mrs. Alice Watts Moore, a celebrated Virginia belle. He died May 27, 1898.
Lee, George Hay, was born in Winchester in 1808, studied at the University of Virginia, 1827-28, and was a student of law under Judge Henry St. George Tucker, at Winchester, Virginia. In 1854 he was elected by the people, pursuant to the convention of 1850-51, a member of the Supreme Court of Virginia. At this time he was living in what is now West Virginia. He never sat after 1861, because West Virginia was recognized by Lincoln and his cabinet as an independent state.