Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
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BREESE, Sidney, jurist, born in Whitesboro, New York, 15 July, 1800; died in Pinckneyville, Illinois, 27 June, 1878. He was graduated at Union in 1818, removed to Illinois, and in 1821 was admitted to the bar. He became assistant secretary of state, and was state attorney from 1822 till 1827, when he was appointed United States attorney for Illinois. In 1829 he published the first volume of Supreme Court reports in that state. He served in the Black Hawk war as a lieutenant colonel of volunteers. In 1835 he was elected a circuit judge, and in 1841 to the Supreme Court. From 1843 to 1849 he was a senator of the United States, having been elected as a democrat to succeed Richard M. Young. He was a regent of the Smithsonian institution during the administration of President Polk, and served as chairman of the senate committee on public lands, in which capacity he made a report in favor of a transcontinental railroad to the Pacific. In 1850 he was speaker of the Illinois house of representatives. He was one of the originators of the Illinois central railroad. He again became a circuit judge in 1855, and was made chief of the court. In 1857 he was elected a justice of the Supreme Court, and in 1873 he became chief justice, in which office he continued till the time of his death. In 1869 he published a work on Illinois and one treating of the "Origin and History of the Pacific Railroad."
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