Nathan Sanford

Nathan Sanford


Chancellor of New York, 1823-1826

Nathan Sanford (sometimes spelled Sandford) was born on November 5, 1777, in Bridgehampton, Long Island, NY. He was educated at Clinton Academy in East Hampton, studied at Yale College and then in the law office of Samuel Jones. Admitted to the bar in 1799, he set up practice in New York City. He represented the plaintiff in the foxhunting case of Pierson v. Post (1805).

Sanford was appointed United States commissioner in bankruptcy in 1802 and the following year he was appointed as United States Attorney for the District of New York, a position he held until 1815. Elected to the New York Assembly in 1808 and again in 1811, Sanford was chosen Speaker of the Assembly on January 29, 1811, but ill health prevented him from holding that office for more than a few weeks.

In 1815, he was elected to the United States Senate and remained in that office until his re-election bid was defeated by Martin Van Buren in 1821. That year, Sanford served as a delegate to the New York State Constitutional Convention and, in 1823, he was appointed Chancellor of New York in place of the illustrious James Kent, who had reached the constitutionally-mandated retirement age. Three years later, Sanford, now re-elected to the United States Senate, resigned the Chancellorship. At the expiration of his Senate term, he returned to his estate in Flushing, Long Island, and resumed the practice of law.

He died on October 17, 1838.



Biographical Directory of the United States Congress

J. H. Beers. Commemorative biographical record of the counties of Dutchess and Putnam, New York, Volume 1 (1897)


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