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Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton and Company, 1887-1889 and 1999. Virtualology.com warns that these 19th Century biographies contain errors and bias. We rely on volunteers to edit the historic biographies on a continual basis. If you would like to edit this biography please submit a rewritten biography in text form . If acceptable, the new biography will be published above the 19th Century Appleton's Cyclopedia Biography citing the volunteer editor





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Jonathan Elmer

ELMER, Jonathan, jurist, born in Fairfield, Cumberland County, New Jersey, 29 November 1745; died in Burlington, New Jersey, 3 September 1807. He was graduated in medicine at the University of Pennsylvania in 1771, and elected the next year a member of the American philosophical society. He began the practice of medicine, and afterward turned his attention to political affairs, raised a military company, was active in the committee of vigilance, entered the Provincial congress in 1776, and was a member of the committee that formed the first constitution of the state. He was a member of the National congress during the Revolution, and was a medical inspector of the army. After the establishment of independence he was for two years a member of the National House of Representatives, and was a member of the upper house of the state legislature in 1780, and again in 1784. He was High Sheriff, and afterward surrogate, of Cumberland County, holding the latter office from 1784 till 1802.

In 1787 he was elected to the presidency of the State medical society, and in 1789 was chosen to represent the state as a Federalist in the U° S. senate, resigning it in 1791. He was one of those who voted for establishing the seat of government on the Potomac. For many years after leaving the senate he devoted himself both to literary and legal pursuits, and was presiding judge of the County court of common pleas, which office he resigned in 1814.His brother, Ebenezer, physician, born in Cedarville, New Jersey, in 1752; died in Bridgeton, N. ,J., 18 October 1843, after receiving an academic education, studied medicine with his brother, and was admitted to practice. He entered the army as an ensign, and in 1777 was appointed surgeon of the 2d New Jersey regiment° He practiced medicine in Bridgeton, New Jersey, was a member of the state House of Representatives from 1789 till 1795, serving as speaker of the assembly in 1791 and 1795, and was thrice elected to congress, serving from 1801 till 1807. He was appointed collector of customs in Bridgeton in 1808. He was vice president of the state council from 1807 to 1815, and held the office of vice president of Burlington College from 1808 till 1817, and again from 1822till 1832.

During the war of 1812 he commanded a brigade of New Jersey militia on the eastern bank of the Delaware. He was president of the Society of the Cincinnati for New Jersey at the time of his death, and was the last survivor of the original members, as he was also the last surviving Revolutionary officer of New Jersey, Lucius Quintius Cineinnatus, son of Ebenezer, jurist, born in Bridgeton, New Jersey, 3 February 1793; died there, 11 March 1883, was educated in the schools of his native town and at Woodbury, Bordentown, and at Philadelphia. He served in the militia during the war of 1812 as lieutenant of artillery, and was promoted to the rank of brigade major and inspector. In 1815 he studied law, was admitted to the bar of New Jersey, and practiced in his native town, where he was prosecuting attorney for the state for many years, and was a member of the assembly from 1820 till 1823, and in the latter year acted as its speaker. In 1824 he was prosecutor of the pleas for Cumberland County, and in the same year he was made U. S. attorney for the state.

He was elected a representative in congress, as a Democrat, in 1842, was appointed attorney general of New Jersey in 1850, holding the office two years, and twice appointed justice of the state Supreme Court in 1852, and again in 1859. In 1866 he retired from public life. He was president of the New Jersey Society of the Cincinnati when he died. Princeton gave him the degree of A. M. in 1824, and that of LL. D. in 1865. His published works were "A Digest of the Laws of New Jersey," which became known as " Nixon's Digest" (Newark, 1838 ; 4th ed., 1868); " Genealogical and Biographical Account of the Ehner Family" (Bridgeton, New Jersey, 1860); " History of Cumberland County" (1869); "History of the Constitution and Government of New Jersey, with Biographical Sketches of the Governors from 1776 till 1845" (1872); " Eulogium on Garrett D. Wall, delivered before the Bench and Bar of New Jersey " (1872); and several historical collections.

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