Samuel Young


Samuel Young, born in 1779 in Lenox, MA, moved with his family to Saratoga County, New York as a young child. He worked on his family’s farm and was educated at the local common school. Studying law in the office of Levi H. Palmer, Young was admitted to the bar in August 1807. He set up a very successful law practice in Ballston, NY and was commissioned a justice of the peace. Other lawyers acknowledged his excellent legal acumen and, when attorney Henry Swift recognized that his young law clerk, Freeborn Jewett, would become an exceptional lawyer, he arranged for Jewett to continue his legal studies with Samuel Young. Jewett fulfilled his early promise and became the first Chief Judge of the New York Court of Appeals.

When Young was elected to the New York State Assembly in 1813, he made a speech in favor of the war that resonated with the public, and was printed and widely distributed in the State. He came to the attention of Governor Smith Thompson, who appointed him Military Aide with the rank of colonel.

When Young was elected to the Assembly in 1815, he was chosen as Speaker. In 1819, he was elected to the New York Senate and in 1821 was a delegate to the New York State Constitutional Convention.

In 1816, Young was appointed a New York Canal Commissioner and the following year, at the request of the other commissioners, he wrote A Treatise on Internal Navigation to familiarize New Yorkers with the standard engineering technique employed in Europe. It became a classic work and was used by canal engineers throughout the United States. In 1823, he successfully represented two engineers who, under contract with the Canal Commission, had gone on land needed for a turnpike and cut down trees (Bradshaw v. Rogers and Magee).

Colonel Young was the Democratic candidate for Governor in 1824, but was defeated in the election. He was returned to the Assembly in 1826, and again was chosen to be the Speaker. In 1833, he was appointed first judge of the county courts of Saratoga County and in 1834 he was again elected to the Senate. Chosen by the Legislature to hold the office of Secretary of State in 1842, he served in that office until 1845. Once more elected to the New York State Senate, his term of office expired at the close of session in 1847 as provided by the constitution adopted by New York in 1846. Samuel Young retired to his residence in Ballston, New York, where he died on November 3, 1850.



Our County and its People: A Descriptive and Biographical Record of Saratoga County, New York (1899).


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