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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DAVIS, Noah, jurist, born in Haverhill, New Hampshire, 10 September 1818. He was educated at Albion, New York, whither his parents removed in 1825, and in the seminary at Lima, studied law, was admitted to the bar in 1841, and practiced in Gaines, and then in Buffalo. In 1844 he formed a partnership with Sanford E. Church, with whom he practiced in Albion for fourteen years, until he was appointed, in March 1857, a justice of the New York Supreme Court, to which office he was subsequently twice elected. After serving for two years as judge, he resigned in November 1868, having been elected as a Republican to the National House of Representatives, He served in congress from 4 March 1869, till 20 July 1870, when he resigned, having been appointed by President Grant U. S. attorney for the southern district of New York. He resigned that office on 31 December 1872, being elected a justice of the New York state Supreme Court for the term expiring in December 1887. The trial of the case of Edward Stokes for the murder of Fisk, and that of William M. Tweed for malfeasance in office, were held before him soon after he took his place on the bench. He sentenced Tweed to a year's imprisonment for each of the twelve counts of the indictment ; but, two years later, the court of appeals decided that this cumulative sentence was contrary to law. In 1874 he became presiding justice.In January 1887, he was retired from the bench, and resumed practice. On his retirement, he said: "It is my nature to form strong convictions, and sometimes I express them too strongly, but neither by speech nor silence have I ever designed to injure any suitor or his counsel. In searching the record of my judicial life I can find no entry that I ever decided any cause or matter contrary to my then convictions of right." A committee of lawyers presented Judge Davis's portrait by Daniel Huntington to the Supreme Court.
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