Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
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BLATCHFORD, Richard Milford, lawyer, born in Stratford, Connecticut, 23 April 1798; died in Newport, Rhode Island, 3 September 1875. He was graduated at Union in 1818, taught school in Jamaica, L. I., and studied law at the same time. After being admitted to the bar he settled in New York, and rose rapidly in his profession. In 1826 he was appointed financial agent and counsel for the bank of England, later he held the same appointment from the bank of the United States, and in 1836, when the charter of that bank expired, he satisfactorily settled the affairs between it and the bank of England. In 1855 he was elected to the state legislature. At the beginning of the civil war he was a prominent member of the union defense committee, and President Lincoln appointed him on the committee charged with the disbursement of the large sums of money appropriated for obtaining soldiers for the union army. The other members of the committee were General John A. Dix and George Opdyke. In 1862 he received the appointment of minister-resident to the States of the Church, and remained in Rome until October 1863. He was a commissioner of Central Park from April 1859, till April 1870, when he was removed by the operation of the new charter. In 1872 he was appointed a Commissioner of Public Parks, but was afterward removed by the enactment of a new charter. He was a warm personal friend of Daniel Webster, and one of the executors to his will.*His son, Samuel, jurist, born in New York, 9 March 1820, was graduated at Columbia in 1837. Two years later he became private secretary to Governor William H. Seward, and he was military secretary on the governor's staff till 1843. In 1842 he was admitted to the bar, and in 1845 was made a counselor of the Supreme court of New York state. During the latter part of the same year he settled in Auburn, and became associated with W. H. Seward and Christopher Morgan in a law partnership. In 1854 he removed to New York City, and resumed the practice of his profession. He was appointed in May 1867, district judge of the United States court for the southern district of New York, and in March 1882, became an associate justice of the Supreme court of the United States. Since 1867 he has been a trustee of Columbia College. For several years he published reports of cases in the circuit courts of the United States.
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