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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HASTINGS, Serranus Clinton, jurist, born in the state of New York, 14 November, 1814. He was educated at the Gouverneur academy, St. Lawrence county, and was principal of the Norwich academy for one year. He then studied law, was admitted to the bar, and began practice in Iowa. He was a member of the Iowa legislature for several years, president of the council during one session, and one of the first Iowa representatives to congress, serving from 29 December, 1846, to 3 March, 1847. In 1848 he was appointed chief justice of the supreme court of the state, and served one year. He then removed to California, and was elected chief justice of that state by the unanimous vote of the legislature. After serving two years he was elected by the people attorney-general of the state, and in 1878 founded and endowed Hastings college of the law in the University of California. He also paid into the state treasury of California $100,000 in gold, on condition that the sum should be used for the legal education of students in every vocation of life. Judge Hastings also gave about $6,000 in property, and otherwise contributed to the foundation of St. Catherine academy in Benicia, California He gave and procured funds to classify, print, and publish two volumes of the botany of the Pacific coast. For several years preceding 1887 he was professor of comparative jurisprudence in the Hastings college of law.
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