Hon. Henry Hogeboom, late judge of the Supreme Court,
was prominently before the public in various legal and judicial capacities
from more than thirty years, and came of distinguished ancestry. His
grandfather, Hon. Cornelius Hogeboom, was a descendant of the oldest
Knickerbocker stock of the State. He was for several years
high-sheriff of Columbia county, and while an incumbent of that office, and
in the discharge of official duties, he was killed in the town of Hinsdale,
in the year 1791. Hon. John C. Hogeboom, the father of the judge, was
a gentleman of the purest integrity, and of commanding influence in the
county. He was high-sheriff for two terms, and discharged the duties
of that position with an energy, fidelity, and promptitude which won him
universal commendation and respect. He was twice elected member of
Assembly from his native county; was once elected State senator; was a
member of the old council of appointment; was presidential elector an cast
his electoral vote for Hon. George Clinton, with whom he sustained relations
of warmest personal friendship. He was also the first president of the
the old Bank of Hudson, whose banking house was the same building occupied
by the subject of this biography until the time of his death.
Hogeboom was born in Ghent, Columbia county, N. Y., on the 25th of February,
1809. He pursued his academic studies preparatory to entering college
at the old academy in Hudson, and graduated at Yale College, after a full
course, at the early age of eighteen years. Soon after he left college
he began the study of law in the office of Messrs. Power and Day, eminent
legal practitioners in the village of Catskill, and completed his course of
legal reading with Hon. Mr. Bushnell, then a prominent lawyer of Hudson.
He was admitted to practice in 1830, and in 1831 was appointed by his
excellency, Enos Throop, then governor of New York, a master in chancery and
one of the county judges of Columbia county. Immediately after this
appointment to this position he was chosen by his associates presiding judge
of the county, which office he filled with dignity and universal acceptance
for three years.
expiration of his judicial term he resumed the active practice of his
profession, becoming the law partner of Hon. Abraham Van Buren, in 1836.
He then formed a copartnership with Hon. Joseph D. Monell, which continued
until 1845. While a partner with Mr. Monell, Judge Hogeboom was
elected a member of Assembly from Columbia county, and immediately upon the
meeting of the Legislature took rank with the ablest, purest, and most
influential members of that body. Soon after the dissolution of the
partnership with Mr. Monell, he became a partner with Casper P. Collier,
Esq., of Hudson; subsequently with his favorite nephew, Hon. William A.
Porter, late chief justice of the superior court of Chicago; and after the
election of Mr. Porter to the office of district attorney of Columbia
county, Judge Hogeboom became connected in law business with the late
William Boies, Esq. his son-in-law, under the firm name of Hogeboom & Boies.
During this period that law firm opened an office in the city of Albany.
This partnership continued until the removal of Mr. Boies to the city of New
York, when Judge Hogeboom formed a law partnership with the late P.
Bonesteel, which continued until the elevation of the former to the bench of
the Supreme Court in 1858.
Hogeboom had been from his earliest manhood a member of the Democratic
party, and by that party was nominated for judge of the Supreme Court in
1847, his opponent being the late Hon. William B. Wright, who received the
certificate of election. In 1849 he was again nominated by the same
party and opposed by the same candidate, and although the result was the
Judge Wright received the certificate of election, yet a legal investigation
proved the existence of frauds in Rensselaer county which more than
nullified the one hundred majority claimed and finally conceded to Judge
Judge Hogeboom was made the candidate of a popular nomination in favor of an
anti-partisan judiciary. He was indorsed by the Republican
organization of the Third Judicial district, and elected by the overwhelming
majority of twelve thousand in the district, his own county giving him a
majority of two thousand nine hundred, and the town of Austerlitz, in the
county, out of a popular vote of two hundred and four, gave him a majority
of two hundred and two.
In 1865 he
was again elected by a large majority, and in a district whose party was
several thousand against candidates on the same ticket.
Hogeboom married in early life Miss Jane Eliza Rivington, daughter of
Colonel James Rivington, of New York, and granddaughter of John Rivington,
Esq., of Revolutionary memory. She was one of the most charming women,
a lady of refinement, culture, grace, and great personal beauty. The
peculiar elegance of her manners; the soft and gentle graces of her
character; the sweetness and spotless purity of her Christian life; and the
delightful and fascinating amenity of her disposition, made her a favorite
in every social circle, the favored object of devoted friendship and
respectful admiration, and the pride of her noble husband. With the
departure of his companion, in 1858, went all the joy and light of his life
for a time, and in the grave of that loved one he laid away that sacred
affection of his heart, free from all other earthly love except that next
akin to it which he bore for his and her children.
early period in his professional career Judge Hogeboom excelled as a nisi
prius lawyer and advocate, and he soon attained high distinction.
His mind, cultivated and affluently stored with all rich and rare thought
from the classic lore of the past, from the "wells of English undefiled,"
from rhetoric, history, philosophy, and poetry of ancient and modern times,
poured forth its glittering and jeweled abundance whenever a fitting
occasion offered. He possessed a voice of mellow cadence and rich
compass; his language was rich, ornate, and fluent, yet chaste and
appropriate; his fine figure, his dignified bearing, the grace, force, and
eloquence of his gesticulation, all made his forensic efforts masterpieces
He was a
profound lawyer, most skillful in his analysis and felicitous in his
application. His views on all legal questions were broad, and he
seemed equally at home before the court in banc or before a jury.
No one who ever heard him when fully aroused could forget the
impressiveness, grace, and power of his efforts. He awed, captivated,
and charmed, all in one. Perhaps his grandest forensic effort was upon
the trial of Mrs. Robertson,---known as the "veiled murderess." His
effort then was masterly, and carried the case to a conviction.
and perhaps his greatest exhibition of judicial ability was upon the trial
of the notorious murderer, Ruloff, at Binghamton, in January, 1871.
Never will his charge to the jury in that case be forgotten by an one who
heard it. "It possessed the grand conciseness of Lord Mansfield, with
the same majesty, serenity, and all the implacability of incarnate justice
itself, equally devoid of favoritism or fear."
he was upright and unapproachable, yet suave, courteous, and conciliatory.
No one suspected him of favoritism or partiality; no one accused him of fear
of timidity. Above all, he believed when placed upon the bench the
judge should sink the politician, and ignore all the arts of the partisan
and the demagogue. His judicial ability is certified to in every
volume of our State reports; is universally recognized wherever he has borne
aloft the scales of justice; and was attested at his death-hour by the sad
yet unanimous acclaim of the bar and bench of the whole State and city, and
by all the litigants who had ever been before him.
As a man
and a friend he was the kindest and truest. Tender in his domestic
relations, and generous and kind towards all, he loved right better than
success, and the promotion of justice better than to wear the laurels of
glory. He was loved by every young member of the bar, for he never
wantonly injured their feelings, or unnecessarily checked any laudable
ambition for advancement. On the contrary, he unselfishly recognized
and encouraged merit and talent wherever found, and gave a helping hand to
aspiring youths in the rugged and difficult paths of their profession.
departed this life Sept. 12, 1872, in the sixty-third year of his age, ripe
in experience and wisdom, and universally mourned as one whose place cannot
be easily filled. His heart was large with all,---embracing
beneficence, warm with tenderest love for family and friends, liberal
towards all charities, and trustful in simple Christian faith in the
goodness and unfailing care of his God. His funeral obsequies were
among the most imposing ever witnessed upon the decease of any citizen,
being attended by nearly the whole bench of the State, and a large concourse
of distinguished citizens from abroad.
three children, ---John C. Hogeboom, a well-known citizen of this county;
Susan R., wife of the late William Boies; and Margaret, wife of Hon. Herman
V. Esselstyn, recent surrogate of the county. John C. Hogeboom has one
son, who bears the name of his grandfather.