JEFFERSON COUNTY NEW YORK

HISTORY OF THE SURROGATE COURTS OF JEFFERSON COUNTY NEW YORK

Source: Durant and Pearce, History of Jefferson Co., NY (published 1878)

THE SURROGATE COURT

(Information provided by volunteer Marilyn Sapienza)

Owing to the loss of the records and files of this court by fire previous to 1830, the actual date of the first session of the same cannot be obtained, nor an abstract of its early business. The records of the court were kept at the private offices of the surrogates who from time to time presided over the court, and in one of the destructive conflagrations which have laid waste the business portions of the city, the valuable documents intrusted to that tribunal previous to the year before named, are lost.

Surrogates were appointed previous to 1847 and elected thereafter. They were:

SKINNER, BENJAMIN, April 13, 1805
CANFIELD, JOHN M., March 15, 1811
CAMP, ELISHA, February 28 1813
PERRY, DAVID, June 271815
MUNSON, LYMAN, April 2, 1816
WRIGHT, BENJAMIN February 26, 1820
MUNSON, L, February 13, 1821
WRIGHT, B., March 271827
CLARKE, JOHN, February 28, 1840
WARDWELL, NATHANIEL B., February 28, 1844; he held the appointment until his death, February 15, 1847 when John Clark was re-appointed.

The first elected surrogate was:

BROWN, LEVI H. in June 1847, followed by:
PERKINS, JAMES R. A., November 1851-59
MERWIN, MILTON H. 1860-53
BENNETT, D. M., 1864-67
TAGGART, WILLIAM W. 1868-77

Local officer to discharge the duties of surrogate, called "Special Surrogate":

HUNGERFORD, GEORGE W., 1849
VAN VLECK, ISAAC, 1851-54
MERWIN, MILTON H. , 1855-57
BIGELOW, LAFAYETTE J., 1858-60
BARR, SAMUEL D., 1861-63
SAWYER, A. H., 1864-65
TAGGART, W. W., 1866-67
SCOTT, ROSS C., 1868-77
On page 158 of Durant and Pearce's work, mention is made that in the spring of 1849, (May 13) a great fire laid waste the business portion of Watertown, a conflagration still spoken of as the great fire.


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