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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CHURCH, Sanford Elias, jurist, born in Milford, 0tsego County, New York, 18 April, 1815; died in Albion, New York, 14 May, 1880. He received an academic education, studied law, and settled in Albion. In 1842 he was a member of the state assembly from Orleans County, and from that time he was active in the support of the Democratic Party. He was district attorney for his county in 1846-'7, lieutenant governor in 1851-'5, comptroller of the state, 1858-'9, and a member of the State constitutional convention of 1867, serving as chairman or the committee on finance. He was an unsuccessful candidate for congress in 1862, and for comptroller in 1863. The State constitutional convention of 1867 reorganized the old court of appeals by creating a new court composed of a chief judge and six associate judges, each to hold office for fourteen years from 1 January after his election. The first judges were chosen at a special election held in May, 1870, and Mr. Church was elected chief judge of the court. In tiffs capacity he served for ten years, until his death. As a politician, Judge Church belonged to the school of William L.Marcy and Silas Wright.
His honesty and conservatism were proverbial, and they nearly won for him the nomination for the presidency of the United States. His political power throughout western New York was remarkable. As a jurist his opinions were distinguished by solidity rather than brilliancy. He was never an advocate, and he shrank from publicity. On the bench he was as courteous to the humble attorney as to the most eminent, and no one ever charged that his earlier political activity warped in the slightest degree his decisions.
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