Samuel Beardsley

Samuel Beardsley (February 6, 1790 – May 6, 1860) was an American attorney, judge and legislator from New York. During his career he served as a member of the United States House of Representatives, New York Attorney General, United States Attorney for the Northern District of New York, a member of the New York State Senate, and a justice of the New York Supreme Court.

Samuel Beardsley
Samuel Beardsley.jpg
Member of the
U.S. House of Representatives
from New York
In office
March 4, 1843 – February 29, 1844
Preceded bySamuel Gordon
Succeeded byLevi D. Carpenter
Constituency20th district
In office
March 4, 1831 – March 29, 1836
Preceded byHenry R. Storrs
Succeeded byRutger B. Miller
Constituency14th district (1831–33)
17th district (1833–36)
Chair of the House Judiciary Committee
In office
Preceded byThomas Flournoy Foster
Succeeded byFrancis Thomas
14th New York Attorney General
In office
January 12, 1836 – February 4, 1839
GovernorWilliam L. Marcy
William H. Seward
Preceded byGreene C. Bronson
Succeeded byWillis Hall
Member of the New York Senate
from the 5th district
In office
January 1, 1823 – December 31, 1823
Preceded byNew district
Succeeded byPerley Keyes
Personal details
BornFebruary 6, 1790 (1790-02-06)
Hoosick, Rensselaer County, New York
DiedMay 6, 1860 (1860-05-07) (aged 70)
Utica, Oneida County, New York
Citizenship United States
Political partyJacksonian, Democrat
Professionlawyer, politician
Military service
AllegianceFlag of New York.svg State of New York
United States United States of America
Branch/serviceNew York Militia
United States Army
Battles/warsWar of 1812

Early lifeEdit

Born in Hoosick, New York on February 6, 1790, the son of Obadiah Beardsley and Eunice (Moore) Beardsley.[1][2] His siblings included Levi Beardsley, who served in both the New York State Assembly and New York State Senate.[2]

Beardsley's family soon moved to Monticello, an unincorporated village of Richfield, and he was educated in the local schools of his new hometown.[1] He taught school and began the study of medicine with Dr. Joseph White of Cherry Valley, but later decided to pursue a legal career, and moved to Rome, New York to study law with Judge Joshua Hathaway.[1]

Beardsley served in the 157th Regiment of the New York State Militia during the War of 1812, he rose through the ranks to become the regimental adjutant with the rank of captain.[3] He was later commissioned as a quartermaster in the United States Army, and took part in the Defense of Sacket's Harbor in 1813.[4] Beardsley was admitted to the bar in 1815 and commenced practice in Watertown, New York.[1] After his admission to the bar, he continued to serve in the militia as judge advocate of the 13th Brigade.[5]

Early careerEdit

In 1816 Beardsley returned to Rome, New York, and continued the practice of law.[1] From 1821 to 1825, he served as district attorney of Oneida County.[1] In 1822 he was elected to a one-year term in the New York State Senate (1823), and in 1823 he moved to Utica.[1] He was United States Attorney for the Northern District of New York from 1823 to 1830.[1]

Elected as a Jacksonian to the 22nd Congress, Beardsley was U. S. Representative for the fourteenth district of New York from March 4, 1831 to March 3, 1833.[1] During the 23rd and 24th United States Congresses Beardsley served as U.S. Representative for the seventeenth district from March 4, 1833 to March 29, 1836, when he resigned.[1] During the Twenty-fourth Congress he was chairman of the Committee on the Judiciary.[6] He was one of the "principal citizens" participating in the anti-abolitionist mob that broke up the 1835 meeting in Utica, called by Beriah Green, to set up a New York State Antislavery Society.[7]:32

In 1836, Beardsley was elected by the New York State Legislature to the office of New York State Attorney General after his predecessor Greene C. Bronson became a justice of the New York Supreme Court, and he served until 1838.[1]

Later careerEdit

Elected as a Democrat to the Twenty-eighth United States Congress, Beardsley served as U. S. Representative for the twentieth district from March 4, 1843, to February 29, 1844, when he resigned to accept the appointment as associate justice of the New York Supreme Court.[1] He sat on the bench from 1844 to 1847, and was Chief Justice from June 29 to July 5, 1847.[1] Afterwards he resumed the practice of law in Utica and New York City.[1]

Death and burialEdit

Beardsley died in Utica, Oneida County, New York on May 6, 1860.[1] He was interred at the Forest Hill Cemetery, Utica, New York.[8]


In 1816, Beardsley was married to Sarah Hathaway (1793-1869), the daughter of Joshua Hathaway, under whom Beardsley had studied law.[9] They were the parents of one child who lived to adulthood, Arthur.[2] Arthur Moore Beardsley became an attorney, and had a successful career in Utica and New York City.[2]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o Memorial History of Utica, N.Y.: From Its Settlement to the Present Time.
  2. ^ a b c d A History of the Old Town of Stratford and the City Bridgeport.
  3. ^ Our County and Its People: A Descriptive Work on Oneida County, New York.
  4. ^ History of Oneida County, New York.
  5. ^ Military Minutes of the Council of Appointment of the State of New York.
  6. ^ A History of the Committee on the Judiciary, 1813-2006.
  7. ^ Sorin, Gerald (1970). The New York Abolitionists. A Case Study of Political Radicalism. Westport, Connecticut. ISBN 0837133084. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  8. ^ "Haunted Utica: Mohawk Valley Ghosts and Other Historic Haunts".
  9. ^ DAR Lineage Book.



External linksEdit

New York State Senate
Preceded by
new district
New York State Senate
Fifth District (Class 1)

Succeeded by
Perley Keyes
Legal offices
Preceded by
Jacob Sutherland
U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of New York
Succeeded by
Nathaniel S. Benton
U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
Henry R. Storrs
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New York's 14th congressional district

Succeeded by
Ransom H. Gillet
Preceded by
John W. Taylor
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New York's 17th congressional district

Succeeded by
Rutger B. Miller
Legal offices
Preceded by
Greene C. Bronson
New York Attorney General
Succeeded by
Willis Hall
U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
Samuel Gordon
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New York's 20th congressional district

Succeeded by
Levi D. Carpenter