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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CRANCH, William, jurist, born in Weymouth, Massachusetts, 17 July, 1769; died in Washington, 1 September, 1855. His father, Richard, a native of England, was for many years a member of the Massachusetts legislature, was a judge of the court of common pleas, and the author of "Views of the Prophecies concerning Anti-Christ." William was graduated at Harvard in 1789, studied law, and was admitted to the bar in July, 1790. After practicing for three years in the courts of Massachusetts and New Hampshire, in October, 1794, he removed to Washington. In 1801 President Adams appointed him junior assistant judge of the circuit court of the District of Columbia. In 1805 President Jefferson made him chief justice of the same court, an office that he held till 1855. During that period but two of his decisions were overruled by the United States Supreme Court. Among the last services imposed upon him by congress was the final hearing of patent causes after an appeal from the commissioner of patents. He published nine volumes of reports of the United States Supreme Court, and six volumes of reports of the circuit court of the District of Columbia (1801 to 1841). He also prepared a code of laws for the district, published a memoir of John Adams (1827), and in 1831 an address on temperance. He was a member of the Academy of arts and sciences.--His son, Christopher Pearse, painter, born in Alexandria, Virginia, 8 March. 1813, was graduated at the school of divinity, Cambridge, Massachusetts, in 1835, but retired from the ministry in 1842 to devote himself to art. He studied in Italy in 1846-'8, lived and painted in Paris and in Italy in 1853-'63, and, returning to New York, was elected a member of the National academy in 1864; but he has not contributed to its exhibitions since 1871. His present residence is Cambridge, Massachusetts. He is a graceful writer of both prose and verse, and has published "Poems" (Philadelphia, 1844); " The Last of the Huggermuggers " (18.56), and'" Kobboltozo" (1857), tales for children illustrated by himself; a translation of the "2Eneid " into blank verse (1872); "Satan, a Libretto" (Boston, 1874); "Bird and the Bell, with other Poems" (1875). His paintings include "October Afternoon" (1867), "Washington Oak, opposite Newburg, New York" (1868); " Val de Moline, Amalfi, Italy" (1869); "Roman Citizen," "Forest of Fontainebleau," "Neapolitan Fisherman," "Venice" (1870); and " Venetian Fishing-Boats" (1871).--Caroline A., his daughter and pupil, has studied also in the Cooper institute, New York, and under William Hunt. She paints figure-pieces with success. She resides in Cambridge, his brother, who died in 1883, was a portrait-painter in Washington, District of Columbia, and was an associate of the National academy.
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