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Samuel Nelson, 1845-1872

SAMUEL NELSON was born in Hebron, New York, on November 10, 1792. He was graduated from Middlebury College in 1813, and read law in a law firm in Salem, New York. Nelson was admitted to the bar in 1817 and established a practice in Cortland, New York. Nelson served as Postmaster of Cortland from 1820 to 1823 and as a delegate to the New York State Constitutional Convention in 1821. In 1823, Nelson was appointed to the Sixth Circuit of New York. He served on the New York Supreme Court from 1831 to 1834, eight years as Chief Justice of that Court. President John Tyler nominated Nelson to the Supreme Court of the United States on February 4, 1845. The Senate confirmed the appointment ten days later. In 1871, President Ulysses S. Grant appointed Nelson to a Commission established to settle United States claims against Great Britain, arising out of the latter’s assistance to the Confederacy during the Civil War. The proceedings resulted in an award of $15.5 million in compensation to the United States. On November 28, 1872, Nelson retired from the Supreme Court after twenty-seven years of service. He died on December 13, 1873, at the age of eight-one.

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