Biography of Hon. John Cadman


History of Columbia County, New York

By Captain Franklin Ellis

Published by Everts & Ensign

Philadelphia, PA



Pages 345 & 346




      Hon. John Cadman was born in Austerlitz, Columbia Co., N. Y., on the 5th of October, 1830.  His birthplace was on a farm which he now owns, and which was originally the estate of his father, William J. Cadman.

     Christopher Cadman, his great-great-grandfather, came from England in the early part of the eighteenth century, and settled in Rhode Island, where his great-grandfather, Edward, was born about 1725.  The latter, when a young man, removed from Rhode Island and settled in Austerlitz, about two miles north of Austerlitz village, and about one mile south of where John Cadman, the subject of this sketch, was born.  Here his grandfather, John Cadman, was born and reared his family.  He was a soldier in the Revolutionary war, and died in the year 1803.  His great-grandfather outlived him, departing this life in the fall of 1816, about ninety years of age.  His father, William J. Cadman, was born on the same place in 1796.  He was brought up there to the occupation of a farmer, receiving his education, as was then customary for farmers' boys, in the common schools.  He married for his second wife Ruhamy Burrows, of Austerlitz, by whom he had seven children, of whom the subject of this biography is the youngest living.  He was brought up in Austerlitz on a farm, attending in boyhood the common schools, and as a young man, ambitious to secure a good education, having recourse to that expedient of many a self-made man, school-teaching during the winter months, by the aid of which he secured the means of pursuing the classics and the higher branches of the English in the academies of Austerlitz and Spencertown.  He thus acquired the rudiments of a thorough practical education, and in 1851 entered as a student-at-law the office of Messrs. Payn & McClellan, at Chatham village.  He was admitted to practice as attorney and counselor May, 1853, and about 1860 as attorney and solicitor in the United States district and circuit courts.

     On his admission to practice, in 1853, he formed a law partnership with Hugh W. McClellan, Esq., of Chatham village, the present county judge, and remained in that relation till the latter moved out of the county, in 1856.  He continued in successful practice at Chatham village till June, 1878, when he removed his office to Hudson, N. Y.

     He is a Republican in politics, ardently devoted to the principles of that party, and was an earnest worker in behalf of its measures during the late Rebellion.  During the first year of the war he spent most of his time in addressing war meetings and enlisting soldiers for the defense of the Union, till offers of large bounties for enlistments superseded the necessity for that kind of work.  He has attended most of the Republican State and National Conventions since the organization of the party, and was a delegate to the National Convention at Baltimore which renominated Mr. Lincoln for his second presidential term in 1864.  In 1871 he was elected judge of the county court of Columbia county, and held the office during a term of six years.  At the expiration of his term he declined a renomination, and in the convention nominated his successor, Judge McClellan.  He made an excellent record on the bench.  As a lawyer he is remarkably candid and judicial, impressing all who hear him or seek his advice with the justness of his positions and the fairness and force of his arguments.  As a careful student he has sought to know the law, and, as an administrator, to enforce it in its intention and spirit.  He is well informed in his profession, and having practiced extensively in most of the courts of the State, adds to his information a ripe experience in all legal matters.  These qualifications, together with his [p. 346] candor and good judgment, render him a safe counselor and a good advocate.  As a speaker he is clear, logical, and forcible.  His practice has been successful, and all its profits have been made in the legitimate line of his profession.  He has not realized a dollar by an outside speculation whatever, except it may be in the purchase of a piece of real estate which has increased in value.

     Judge Cadman is a member of the Reformed church of the village of Chatham, and has been an earnest worker in the interest of the Sunday-school, thus giving his example and influence in aid of the cause of Christianity, and the moral well-being of society.

     He was married, May 2, 1854, to Ann Augusta Payn, eldest daughter of Hon. Elisha Payn, of the firm of Payn & McClellan, of Chatham village,--a lady of high intelligence and of exemplary Christian character, who is also a member of the Reformed church.  Their marital relations have been blessed with seven children, all living at this writing, July, 1878.