Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
He was born in Auburn, New York, where his father was a well known attorney and friend of Daniel Webster. He was educated at Columbia University, graduating when he was 17 years old. In 1840, he served as the private secretary to Governor William H. Seward.
He studied law while working for the governor and then entered into private practice with his father and uncle. In 1854, he moved to New York City and started a practice, Blatchford, Seward & Griswold. He became well known for preparing summaries of United States Circuit cases and developed a lucrative practice in admiralty law.
In May 1867, he was appointed by President Hayes to be a United States District Court judge, and five years later, to the Second Circuit, succeeding Alexander S. Johnson. He served as a trustee of Columbia College and enjoyed collecting calendars and almanacs.
He was appointed to the Supreme Court by President Chester A. Arthur after two other men turned down the job: the current Senator George F. Edmunds and the ex-Senator Roscoe Conkling. When he was appointed to the Supreme Court, March 13, 1882, it was estimated that his personal wealth exceeded $3 million, mostly held in real estate.
He was an expert in admiralty and patent law. He had published a book, Blatchford and Howland's Admiralty Cases that was considered the most complete work of its kind.
He married Caroline F. Appleton in Boston in 1844. They had one son, Samuel Appleton Blatchford.
- Judge Blatchford Dead, New York Times, July 8, 1893.
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