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Guide to the Josiah Sutherland Papers
1815-1880
 MS 3061

New-York Historical Society
170 Central Park West
New York, NY 10024
Phone: (212) 873-3400


New-York Historical Society

Collection processed by Joseph Ditta

This finding aid was produced using ArchivesSpace on August 09, 2018
English using Describing Archives: A Content Standard

Descriptive Summary

Creator: Sutherland, Josiah, 1804-1887
Title: Josiah Sutherland papers
Dates: 1815-1880
Abstract: A small collection, chiefly of letters from colleagues received by Josiah Sutherland (1804-1887), a lawyer and jurist who served as District Attorney for Columbia County, New York (1832-1843), as a Democratic representative to the 32nd United States Congress (1851-1853), as a New York Supreme Court justice (1858-1871), and as a judge of the New York Court of General Sessions (1872-1878).
Quantity: 0.209 Linear Feet in one half document box
Call Phrase: MS 3061

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Biographical Note

Josiah Sutherland Jr., one of the five children of Josiah and Abigail (Dunkin) Sutherland, was born near Stissing, in the town of Stanford, Dutchess County, New York, on 12 June 1804. He attended the district school, and graduated in 1824 from Union College in Schenectady, New York. In addition to his studies at Litchfield (Connecticut) Law School in 1825, Sutherland read law at the office of Samuel G. Huntington of Waterford, New York, and then at the office of Bushnell & Stebbins of Hudson, New York. He was admitted to the bar in 1828 or 1829 (sources vary) and began practice in Livingston, New York, in partnership with Robert H. Morris (1808–1855), who would become the 64th Mayor of New York City (serving 1841–1844).

Sutherland was appointed District Attorney for Columbia County, New York, in 1832, and held that office until 1843. In 1838 he moved to Hudson, the county seat, where he continued to practice law. He was elected as a Democrat to the 32nd United States Congress, serving from 4 March 1851 to 3 March 1853.

In 1857 Sutherland moved to New York City where he continued to practice law. He served as a justice of the New York Supreme Court (1st District) from 1858 to 1871, was ex officio judge of the New York Court of Appeals in 1862 and 1870, and judge of the New York City Court of General Sessions from 1872 to 1878, when he retired from the bench.

Josiah Sutherland died on 25 May 1887 and was buried at Woodlawn Cemetery, in the Bronx, in a family plot that also holds the remains of his wife, Jane (McLellan) Sutherland (1811–1876), and the couple's five children.

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Scope and Contents

The bulk of the collection consists largely of letters written to Josiah Sutherland by fellow prominent lawyers, jurists, and congressmen, and concern legal matters, political appointments, and diplomatic negotiations (e.g., the Cuban question). Sutherland's correspondents include:

* Edwin Croswell (1797–1871), New York journalist

* Charles P. Curtis, Boston lawyer, brother of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Benjamin R. Curtis

* John Littleton Dawson (1813–1870), lawyer, U.S. Congressman from Pennsylvania

* Gilbert Dean (1819–1870), judge, U.S. Congressman from New York

* John W. Edmonds (1799–1874), Spiritualist, New York State senator

* John Stanton Gould (1810–1874), Quaker, scientist, philanthropist

* Charles K. Graham (1824–1889), lawyer, Civil War Union Brigadier General, helped lay out Central Park

* Henry Hogeboom (1809–1872), politician, New York State Supreme Court judge

* James L'Amoureux (1785–1863), judge of the Court of Common Pleas, Albany, New York

* Robert McClellan (1806–1860), lawyer, U.S. Congressman from New York

* William B. Maclay (1812–1882), lawyer, U.S. Congressman from New York

* Killian Miller (1785–1859), lawyer, U.S. Congressman from New York

* Robert Hunter Morris (1808–1855): member of Tammany Hall, recorder, 64th mayor of New York City

* Amasa J. Parker (1807–1890), U.S. Congressman from New York, New York State Supreme Court judge

* Charles A. Peabody (1814–1901), New York Supreme Court Justice, Chief Justice of the Louisiana Supreme Court

* Guy R. Pelton (1824–1890), lawyer, U.S. Congressman from New York

* Emery D. Potter (1804–1896), lawyer, Mayor of Toledo, U.S. Congressman from Ohio

* John H. Reynolds (1819–1875), lawyer, judge, U.S. Congressman from New York

* William R. Roberts (1830–1897), Irish nationalist, President of Fenian Society, U.S. Congressman from New York

* Marius Schoonmaker (1811–1894), lawyer, U.S. Congressman from New York

* Benjamin Douglas Silliman (1805–1901), lawyer, New York State Representative, U.S. Attorney

* John Vanderbilt (1819–1877), lawyer, judge, New York State Senator

* Aaron Ward (1790–1867), War of 1812 veteran, lawyer, U.S. Congressman from New York

* Nelson J. Waterbury (1819–1894), lawyer, judge, New York County District Attorney, defender of "Boss" Tweed

* Thomas I. Wharton (1791–1856), lawyer, legal author

* George H. Yeaman (1829–1908), lawyer, judge, Kentucky State Representative, U.S. Congressman from Kentucky

Just three letters in the collection were written by Josiah Sutherland; they are all to his wife, Jane, and date from 1852 and 1862. Also included are two indentures for land in Stanford, Dutchess County, New York, purchased in 1815 by Josiah Sutherland Sr., and a folder of personal and professional bills and receipts pertaining to Josiah Sutherland Jr., dated 1832–1862.

Arrangement

Material is arranged chronologically. The few letters penned by Josiah Sutherland (see Folder 1) precede those he received (Folders 2-13). Undated correspondence follows the regular sequence (Folder 14), with letters by writers other than Sutherland to recipients other than Sutherland coming next (Folder 15). Miscellaneous indentures, bills, and receipts round out the collection (Folders 16-17).

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Access Points

Document Type

  • Bills
  • Indentures
  • Letters (correspondence)
  • Receipts

Subject Topics

  • Cuban question -- To 1895
  • Homestead Law -- United States
  • Lawyers -- New York (State) -- Correspondence
  • Practice of law -- New York (State)
  • Real property -- New York (State) -- Dutchess County

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Administrative Information

Conditions Governing Access

Open to qualified researchers.

Photocopying undertaken by staff only. Limited to twenty exposures of stable, unbound material per day. (Researchers may not accrue unused copy amounts from previous days.)

Conditions Governing Use

This collection is owned by the New-York Historical Society. The copyright law of the United States governs the making of photocopies and protects unpublished materials as well as published materials. Unpublished materials created before 1 January 1978 cannot be quoted in publication without permission of the copyright holder.

Preferred Citation

This collection should be cited as the Josiah Sutherland Papers, MS 3061, The New-York Historical Society.

Related Materials

The Litchfield Historical Society holds a similar, small collection of Josiah Sutherland papers.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Purchase, Michael Brown Rare Books, LLC, March 2017.

Processing Information

Archivist Joseph Ditta processed this collection in July 2018.

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Container List

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 1 (of 1) Folder : 1 Correspondence | outgoing

Scope and Contents

Three letters to his wife, Jane (McClellan) Sutherland (1811-1876).

1852, 1862
Box: 1 (of 1) Folder : 2 Correspondence | incoming

Scope and Contents

Contains letters from Jacob Cooper, of Livingston, New York (1818); future U.S. Congressman Amasa Junius Parker (1821); and Union College professor Andrew C. Yates.

1818, 1821-1822
Box: 1 (of 1) Folder : 3 Correspondence | incoming
1831-1839
Box: 1 (of 1) Folder : 4 Correspondence | incoming
1840-1849
Box: 1 (of 1) Folder : 5 Correspondence | incoming

Scope and Contents

Includes a letter (12 August 1852) from Charles P. Curtis, a Boston lawyer and brother of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Benjamin R. Curtis, congratulating Sutherland on his Homestead Act speech.

Includes a report (for the quarter ending 16 November 1852) on Sutherland's daughter Emma's progress at Miss Draper's Seminary, Hartford, Connecticut.

1850-1852
Box: 1 (of 1) Folder : 6 Correspondence | incoming

Scope and Contents

Includes a letter to Sutherland's wife (28 March 1853) from Judge Emery D. Potter (1804-1896), lawyer, Mayor of Toledo, and U.S. Congressman from Ohio. With an engraved portrait of Potter, and his obituary.

1853
Box: 1 (of 1) Folder : 7 Correspondence | incoming
1854
Box: 1 (of 1) Folder : 8 Correspondence | incoming

Scope and Contents

Includes a letter from Salman Skinner (9 March 1855) regarding the "Ostend Manifesto," a document written in 1854 that described the rationale for the United States to purchase Cuba from Spain while implying that the U.S. should declare war if Spain refused.

1855
Box: 1 (of 1) Folder : 9 Correspondence | incoming

Scope and Contents

Includes a letter (21 November 1856) from Aaron Ward (1790-1867), congressman and War of 1812 veteran, concerning a coming meeting at Tammany Hall. With a brief biographical clipping on Ward.

1856
Box: 1 (of 1) Folder : 10 Correspondence | incoming

Scope and Contents

Includes a letter (28 April 1857) from John Littleton Dawson (1813-1870), lawyer and U.S. Congressman from Pennsylvania, regarding an appointment for a U.S. Attorney situation.

1857
Box: 1 (of 1) Folder : 11 Correspondence | incoming

Scope and Contents

Includes a letter (18 March 1858) from William B. Maclay (1812-1882), lawyer and U.S. Congressman from New York, regarding a political appointment.

1858-1859
Box: 1 (of 1) Folder : 12 Correspondence | incoming
1860-1868
Box: 1 (of 1) Folder : 13 Correspondence | incoming

Scope and Contents

Includes a letter (1 April 1872) from U.S. Congressman and Fenian Society president William R. Roberts (1830–1897), asking Sutherland for fairness in the taking of his land for the creation of Riverside Park in Manhattan.

Includes a letter (8 May 1872) from Nelson J. Waterbury (1819-1894), a lawyer, judge, New York District Attorney, and defender of "Boss" Tweed, asking Sutherland to support a certain candidate for a clerkship.

Includes a letter (16 April 1874) electing Sutherland to membership in the American Geographical Society.

1872-1877, 1880
Box: 1 (of 1) Folder : 14 Correspondence | incoming
undated
Box: 1 (of 1) Folder : 15 Correspondence | other writers and recipients

Scope and Contents

Includes a letter (25 February 1857), with accompanying envelope, addressed to President-elect James Buchanan, from Congressman James Xavier McLanahan (1809-1861), begging an invitation for Josiah Sutherland to Buchanan's inauguration.

1849-1872
Box: 1 (of 1) Folder : 16 Indentures

Scope and Contents

Two indentures for land purchased in 1815 by Josiah Sutherland Sr. at Stanford, Dutchess County, New York.

1815
Box: 1 (of 1) Folder : 17 Bills and receipts

Scope and Contents

Items of note include a list of law books purchased by Sutherland (10 May 1832); a bill for his daughter Emma's tuition at Misses Peake and Purcell's school in Hudson, New York (16 February 1849); and an undertaker's bill (14 February 1859), presumably for the funeral of Sutherland's five-year-old son, Douglas, who died 1 February 1859.

1832-1862

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