Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton
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ROELKER, Bernard, lawyer, born in Osnabriick, Hanover, Germany, 24 April, 1816 ; died in New York city, 5 March, 1888. He was graduated in 1835 at the University of Bonn, where he had devoted himself to the study of law and philology. Later he came to this country, and after teaching German and music in Bridgeport, Connecticut, was appointed to a tutorship at Harvard in 1837, was admitted to the bar, and practised for several years in Boston. In 1856 he removed to the city of New York, and entered the firm of Laur and Roelker. He soon established a large practice among the Germans, and when his partner died he had gained a reputation as an authority on wills and contracts. In 1863 he won the suit of Meyer vs. Roosevelt, the first of the legal-tender cases before the United States supreme court, which attracted general attention. He continued to practise until advancing age compelled him to relinquish a large part of his business. His last important argument was made before the New York court of appeals in October, 1887. Mr Roelker was a personal friend of Samuel J. Tilden, and was associated with him in the organization of the Prairie du Chien railroad. He published " Constitutions of France" (Boston, 1848) : "Argument in Favor of the Constitutionality of the Le-gal-Tender Clause in the Act of Congress, February 25, 1862" (New York. 1863) ; and "Manual for the Use of Notaries Public and Bankers" (3d ed., 1853; edited by J. Smith Homans, New York, 1865). He also translated from the Swedish " The Magic Goblet," a novel, and made a German adaptation of Cushing's " Manual of Parliamentary Practice."
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