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Henry Dutton

DUTTON, Henry, jurist, born in Plymouth, Connecticut, 12 February 1796; died in New Haven, Connecticut, 12 April 1869. His grandfather, Thomas, was a captain in the Revolutionary army. He was brought up on a farm, prepared himself under difficulties for College, entered the junior class at Yale, and was graduated with honor in 1818. He then taught school, and at the same time studied law in Fairfield, Connecticut, was a tutor in Yale in 1821'3, and after that established himself in practice at Newtown, where he remained fourteen years, and was twice elected to the legislature. The next ten years he practiced at Bridgeport, where he was prominent in his profession, became state attorney, and was for two terms a member of the legislature.

In 1847 he became professor of law in Yale, and removed to New Haven. He was elected to the state senate in 1849, once again to the lower house of the legislature, was for one year judge of the New Haven comity court, and in 1854 was elected governor of Connecticut. He was judge of the superior court and of the Supreme Court of errors from 1861 to 1866, at the same time retaining his professorship. After he was retired from the bench at the statutory age of seventy years, he restarted the practice of law till compelled to retire by failing health. He served on the commissions of 1849 and 1866 to revise the state statutes, and was chairman of the committee that made a new compilation of them in 1854. Judge Dutton was instrumental in the passage of the law allowing parties to a suit to testify in civil cases. He advocated the law allowing the prisoner's counsel the right of a closing argument before the jury, introduced in the legislature the bill giving the superior court sole jurisdiction in divorce cases, and aided in the passage of bills to secure more effectually the rights of married women. He published a "Digest of the Connecticut Reports" (1833), with an analytical instead of an alphabetical arrangement of subjects, and a revision of Swift's "Digest" (1848).

His cousin, George Washington Dutton, physician, born in Sheldon, Vt.. 18 December 1826, is also a grandson of Captain Thomas. He studied at Oberlin College, Ohio, in 1844'5, enlisted in 1846 in an Ohio regiment of volunteers, and served during the Mexican war in the commissary and medical departments. After studying medicine three years, and attending a course of lectures in the University of Pennsylvania, he began practice at Independence, Ohio, and in 1860 removed to Tomales, California In 1869 he attended a second course of lectures in Philadelphia, and received his doctor's degree. Among his contributions to medical literature is a paper on " Treatment of Fracture of the Femur," printed in the "Transactions" of the California medical society for 1874, in which he first called attention to the fact that the sound limb must be stretched equally with the broken limb as a criterion of measurement in order to avoid inequality of length upon recovery.

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