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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ATHERTON, Joshua, lawyer, born in Harvard, Massachusetts, 20 June 1737 ; died in Amherst, New Hampshire, 3 April 1809. He was graduated at Harvard in 1762, studied law, and began practice in Petersham. Shortly afterward he removed to Litchfield, and in 1773, having been appointed register of probate in Hills-borough County, he settled in Amherst. Here he accumulated much property and was successful in his profession. During the revolutionary war he was a firm loyalist, and suffered in consequence both from loss of property and from cruel indignities. In 1779 he took the oath of allegiance to New Hampshire, and was admitted to practice in the Supreme Court. Later he became a member of the convention appointed to consider the federal constitution, and opposed its adoption on account of the provisions concerning slaves and slavery. Subsequently he was elected to the New Hampshire legislature, and in 1793 he was made attorney general of the state. He was also for a time commissioner for the United States direct tax.
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