Biography of Augustus Bockes

D-Descriptive guide of the battlefield of Saratoga



JUDGE AUGUSTUS BOCKES, Saratoga Springs, was born in the town of Greenfield, Saratoga county, N. Y., October 11, 1817, where his parents had resided for many years. His father, Adam Bockes, jr., was a farmer and held various town offices, among them that of justice of the peace and supervisor.

Judge Bockesís opportunities for education were confined to common schools of the town in which he lived, supplemented by two terms at Burr Seminary, Manchester, Vt. He taught school for three terms, one in his native town and two in the town of Malta. He commenced the study of law in the office of Judiah Ellsworth at Saratoga Springs in 1838; and continued his studies in the office of William A. Beach, one of the brightest lights of the Saratoga bar, from whose office he was admitted to the bar in 1843. Immediately after his admission he commenced the practice of his profession in partnership with Stephen P. Nash (deceased), late of New York city, and soon thereafter formed a partnership with Mr. Beach, which continued until 1847. He was elected the first county judge of Saratoga county under the new constitution in June, 1847, and entered upon his official duties July 1 of that year; he was re-elected for a second term at the November election in 1851 and resigned the office in. 1854. On January 1, 1855, he was appointed by Governor Clarke a justice of the Supreme Court for the Fourth Judicial District of the State, to fill the vacancy caused by the resignation of Judge Daniel Cady. At the November election, in 1859, he was elected justice of the Supreme Court, the place to which he had been previously appointed in 1855, and was re-elected at the November election in 1867 and was again re-elected in 1875. At the last two elections he was elected without opposition, and at his last election he was nominated and supported by both political parties. During the year 1867 he was a member of the Court of Appeals, pursuant to the then Constitution of the State. He was designated by Governor Dix to the General Term of the Supreme Court for the Fourth Judicial department (an appellate branch of that court under the amended constitution, which designation relieved him from circuit duty) for the years 1874 and 1875, and was thereafter redesignated to the same place on the expiration of his several designations by Governors Tilden, Cornell, Cleveland and Hill respectively. Thus Judge Bockes held judicial positions during a period of thirty-five years, six years county judge and twenty-nine years justice of the Supreme Court, one year of which latter period was under appointment by the governor and twenty-eight under elections by the people. During one year (1867) he was a member of the Court of Appeals, and during fourteen years prior to January 1, 1888, he was a member of the Appellate division of the Supreme Court under designation by the governors of the State. His last elective term of fourteen years was abbreviated two years by. constitutional limitation, inasmuch as he attained to seventy years of age on the 1st of October, 1887. The honorary degree of LL. D. was conferred upon him by Union College in 1885.

Judge Bockes married a daughter of Judge William Hay in 1844, and one son was born to them, William Hay Bockes. Judge Bockes is now living (1899) at the advanced age of eighty-two years.

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