Biography of John Willard
FROM OUR COUNTY AND ITS PEOPLE
A DESCRIPTIVE AND BIOGRAPHICAL RECORD
OF SARATOGA COUNTY, NEW YORK
PREPARED AND PUBLISHED UNDER THE AUSPICES OF THE SARATOGIAN
THE BOSTON HISTORY COMPANY, PUBLISHERS 1899

T-Saratoga Springs, New York Directories, 1888-92

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JOHN WILLARD.

HON. JOHN WILLARD was born at Guilford, Conn., May 20, 1792, and died at his home in Saratoga Springs, September 4, 1862, after a life of purity and integrity as a man and of enviable eminence in the legal profession. Judge Willard descended from Puritan ancestors. He was a nephew of Mrs. Emma Willard who became famous as the pioneer of women's education in this country. He was educated at Middle bury College where he was graduated in 1813, and after reading law was admitted to the bar of the Supreme Court of New York in 1817. He began practice in the village of Salem, Washington county, where he became first judge of the Court of Common Pleas and surrogate. In 1836, on the elevation of Esek Cowen to the Supreme Court bench,
he was appointed circuit judge and vice.chancellor of the Fourth Judicial district, filling that office until 1846, when by the change of the judiciary constitution he was elected a justice of the Supreme Court, serving with finest ability, until 1854, when he retired from the bench. During his service as a judge he was especially distinguished by his infinite courtesy and kindness to the profession which won for him the regard of all who practiced in his district.

In politics Judge Willard was a Democrat of the strongest partisanship. In 1861 he was elected State senator without opposition. He took at once a prominent part in the deliberations of that body and was instrumental in bring about needed changes in the statutes respecting murder and the rights of married women. During the latter years of his life he prepared several legal treatises which bore the stamp of his unmistakable legal genius and profound learning, and now form valuable contributions to our jurisprudence.

One who knew him has paid the following tribute to his memory: "Judge Willard was a shining example of candor and integrity joined with great learning and ability, the pureness of his character commanding unusual respect and esteem; as an advocate, judge and legislator he was alike eminent and accomplished, and in his private life irreproachable and blameless. It has fallen to the lot of few men to acquire and leave behind them such an unsullied name."


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