Biography of Charles H. Sturges

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Sturges, Charles H. -The legal profession has for centuries attracted some of the brightest minds of all civilized nations and the profoundest of these have constantly added and are still adding to the perfections of the codes that regulate and control the acts of men. The bar of Saratoga county has produced some illustrious names and among the active practitioners of to-day the subject of this sketch has already achieved distinction as an able counselor and reconstructor, of which the books bear evidence. Charles H. Sturges was born May 25, 1846, at Pittstown, Rensselaer county, N. Y. He was educated in .the common schools and the Saratoga High School, which was then in reality a select school, but bore its present name. After leaving this institution his education was completed by private tuition under competent tutors. Mr. Sturges at first entered commercial life through the contingencies of environment and it was not until late years that he found his natural field in the legal profession. His father owned a tannery, and while completing his education Charles H. Sturges learned this trade and subsequently went into partnership with his father at the age of nineteen years. Almost immediately after the partnership was formed his father died, in 1865, and the management of the entire business fell into his hands; as well as that of a hide and leather trade which was conducted along with the tannery. These interests he managed successfully up to 1870, when the tannery was destroyed by fire and that branch of the business was discontinued. From 1870 to 1879 Mr. Sturges was engaged in the hide and leather business and also dealt in wool. In the year 1879 he entered the surrogate's office as clerk, having previously perfected himself in stenography, which position he held until 1885. In 1881 he was appointed superintendent of public works for Saratoga Springs, which at that time embraced the superintendency of both the streets and the water works. His appointment was for two years, but in 1882 a separate superintendent was appointed for the water works and Mr. Sturges resigned his position. While acting as surrogate's clerk he applied himself assiduously to the study of law and was admitted to the bar in 1886. Immediately thereafter he opened his present offices in the town hail, where he has since been actively engaged in the practice of his profession, principally as counsel, and has established a reputation for legal knowledge and sound judgment, which places him among the foremost lawyers of the Empire State. Among the many cases in which he has achieved distinction was the defense of John H. W. Cadby of Hudson, who was extradited from Canada on the charge of uttering forged paper. The prosecution undertook to put him on trial on twelve indictments of forgery. Mr. Sturges contended that this could not be done legally and the case continued for over a year on his overruled plea that Cadby could not be tried for forgery when he had been extradited for uttering forged paper. At this juncture the Supreme Court of the United States came out with a decision on a similar case sustaining Mr. Sturges's contention, and the wording of the Supreme Court's findings was so similar to the plea of Mr. Sturges that the untenable suggestion was made that he had seen the finding of the court before it was handed down. In the case of George Clements, who had been cashier of the State Bank of Fort Edward, Mr. Sturges established the people's right to appeal to the Court of Appeals after the discharge of the prisoner by the General Term. In the municipal case Glazier vs. Hebron (town) Mr. Sturges established the law that it is not negligence for town authorities to fail to erect a barrier where nature had placed trees along the side of a highway to take the place of a barrier. These and other important cases are recorded in the books and. furnish conclusive evidence of the high standing of Mr. Sturges as an able lawyer and sound counselor. In politics Mr. Sturges has always adhered to the Republican party, but has never sought office, the demands of his practice requiring all his attention. Notwithstanding this he accepted the presidency of the village for two years in the cause of good government. The town was wide open and a strong than and strong measures were necessary to restrain the gambling and sporting elements. To this end the village charter was changed and Mr. Sturges chosen president. and during the two years of his administration he not only curbed, but absolutely stopped gambling in the village, not even the famous Club House being exempted. Mr. Sturges is a prominent Mason, a member of Rising Sun Lodge No. 103, Rising Sun Chapter No. 131, Royal Arch Masons, Cryptic Council No. 37, Royal and Select Masters and Washington Commandery No. 33, Knights Templar. He has held all the chairs from master of the Blue Lodge, except high priest, and is the prelate of Washington Commandery, which he has now been for twenty-two consecutive terms. In 1866 Mr. Sturges married Florence S. Hartwell, who died in 1878 without issue. In 1882 he married Emma A. Deal, daughter of Alexander and Martha (Ostrom) Deal of Dobbs Ferry. They have two children, Harold H. and Raymond Sturges. Mr. Sturges's parents were William and Charlotte (Sherman) Sturges. William Sturges was a native of Rensselaer county. His father, Rufus Sturges, was a native of Connecticut, where the family had resided for some generations. The Deal family came into Montgomery county in its early settlement days.

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