Justice of the New York Supreme Court of Judicature, 1698-1702
Chief Justice, 1701
Born in 1657 to a French Huguenot family that had settled in New Amsterdam, Abraham De Peyster was a wealthy merchant and ship owner. In 1685, he became an alderman of New York and the following year became a captain in the New York militia. Although allied with the Leislerites, he became Mayor of New York in 1691 and served in that office for three years. In 1693, he became colonel in the militia and a member of the Governor’s Council. On October 4, 1698, De Peyster was appointed to the Supreme Court of Judicature. Because of regular conflicts of interest that arose due to his extensive business involvement, he was recused from many cases. Despite this, he became Chief Justice on January 21, 1701. When William Atwood assumed the office of Chief Justice on August 5, 1701, De Peyster remained on the bench as an associate justice.
In 1702, following the furor that ensued from the decision in the trial of Col. Nicholas Bayard for high treason, De Peyster was removed from both the Supreme Court of Judicature and the Governor’s Council. Nonetheless, he was appointed to the new post of Provincial Treasurer in 1706, an office he held until his son succeeded him in 1721.
He died on August 2, 1734.
Hamlin, Paul M., and Charles E. Baker. Supreme Court of Judicature of the Province of New York, 1691-1704. New York, 1959.