Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
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NYE, James Warren, senator, born in De Ruyter, Madison County, New York, 10 June, 1814; died in White Plains, New York, 25 December, 1876. He was educated at Cortland academy, Homer, New York, leaving it in 1832 to study law in Troy, New York After being admitted to the bar, he practised in his native county, gained a reputation as an effective speaker before a jury, was chosen district attorney, and in 1840 was elected county judge, serving eight years. He was a Democrat in polities up to the time of the Barn-burner campaign. In 1848 he was an unsuccessful candidate for congress as a Free-soil Democrat. Removing to Syracuse, New York, he practised there till 1857, when he went to New York city, having been appointed the first president of the Metropolitan board of police, which office he held till about 1860. He was a member of the Republican party from its formation, and was identified with its Radical wing. He was a witty and eloquent platform orator, and during the canvass of 1860 did effective service for his party in a tour through the west in company with William H. Seward. In 1861 President Lincoln appointed him governor of Nevada territory, where he counteracted the influence of the Pro-slavery party and, with Thomas Starr King, of San Francisco, did much to keep the Pacific states and territories in the Union during the early period of the civil war. On the admission of Nevada as a state, in 1865, he was elected United States senator, and drew the short term, and in 1867 was re-elected. He was noted for his humor and conversational powers. After he retired from public life his mind became impaired.
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