Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
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CATRON, John, jurist, born in Wythe county, Virginia, in 1778; died in Nashville, Tennessee, 30 May, 1865. He was educated in the common schools of Virginia,, and early developed a fondness for history. He removed to Tennessee in 1812, and entered upon the study of law, devoting to this purpose sixteen hours of the day for nearly four years. After serving in the New Orleans campaign under General Jackson, he was elected state attorney by the Tennessee legislature. He removed to Nashville in 1818, and soon attained high rank as a chancery lawyer. He was especially famous for enforcing the seven years' act of limitations in real actions. In December, 1824, he was chosen one of the supreme judges of the state, and was its chief justice from 1830 till 1836, when he was retired in accordance with a provision of the new state constitution. While on the bench he did his utmost to suppress the practice of duelling, although he had been himself a noted duellist. He was made an associate justice of the United States Supreme Court in March, 1837, and held the office till his death. He was noted for his familiarity with the laws applicable to cases involving titles to western and southern lands. Judge Catron was a democrat, but strongly opposed secession in 1861, and used his influence with members of congress and others to prevent the civil war. When it came, he was virtually banished from his state for his opinions, but returned and reopened court in 1862. CATTELL CATTELL, Alexander Gilmore, senator, born in Salem, New Jersey, 12 February, 1816. He received an academical education, and when a boy was a clerk in his father's store. He was elected to the legislature in 1840, was clerk of the house of assembly in 1841-'2, and in 1844 a delegate to the State constitutional convention. He became a merchant in Philadelphia in 1846, a director of the mechanics' bank, and a member of the City council from 1848 till 1853. He returned to New Jersey in 1855, but continued his business in Philadelphia. He was one of the first presidents of the corn exchange association there, organized the corn exchange bank in 1858, and was its president from that year till 1871. He was elected United States senator from New Jersey in 1866, in place of John P. Stockton, who had been unseated, and served till 3 March, 1871, declining a re-election on account of impaired health. He was appointed by President Grant a member of the first civil-service commission, and served two years. He was financial agent of the government in London from 1873 till 1874, and engaged there in refunding the government loans at a lower rate of interest. While holding this office, he opened negotiations with the governing committee of the royal exchange, and succeeded in altering the method of quotations of exchange between the two countries, and also of American securities, from the old, inaccurate, and confusing method to the present simple and approximately accurate system. During the same year he suggested to a syndicate of eminent English bankers a plan for the payment of the Geneva award of $15,500,000 without disturbance to the rate of exchange. The plan was adopted by both governments, and the amount successfully transmitted through Mr. Cattell's hands. He is one of the New Jersey state board of assessors charged with the taxation of railroad and corporate property, and is the author of the two exhaustive reports on railroad and other corporate taxation, submitted to the legislature in 1884 and 1885.--His brother, William Cassidy, educator, born in Salem, New Jersey, 30 August, 1827, was graduated at Princeton in 1848, and at Princeton theological seminary in 1852, where he remained a year longer, pursuing oriental studies under Prof. J. Addison Alexander. During 1853-'5 he was associate principal of Edgehill seminary, and from 1855 till 1860 professor of Latin and Greek in Lafayette College. He then accepted a call to the Pine street Presbyterian church in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, where he remained for three years. In 1863 he returned to Lafayette as its president, and in that capacity accomplished his great life-work as a successful educator. Through his exertions more than $1,000,000 was obtained for the institution, extensive grounds were added, and commodious buildings were erected. The equipments were made of the highest order, and the system of instruction much enlarged and made thoroughly efficient. In 1880 he was appointed superintendent of public instruction for Pennsylvania, but declined the office. In 1864 he became a director of Princeton theological seminary. He has received the honorary degree of D. D. from Hanover College and from Princeton, and that of LL.D. from Wooster. Dr. Cattell has published numerous articles on educational topics, and also many sermons and addresses. Since 1883 he has made Philadelphia his residence, where he holds the office of corresponding secretary of the Presbyterian board of ministerial relief.
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