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Judges of the Circuit Court

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Justices of the Circuit Court of New Hampshire

  1. Jay, John (November 20, 1790 - May 24, 1792)
  2. Cushing, William (November 20, 1790 - November 2, 1809)
  3. Wilson, James (October 24, 1792 - October 24, 1793)
  4. Iredell, James (October 24, 1792 - May 27, 1795)
  5. Blair, John (October 24, 1793 - ?)
  6. Chase, Samuel (May 27, 1796 - May 20, 1799)
  7. Ellsworth, Oliver (May 19, 1797 - May 19, 1798)
  8. Patterson, William (November 2, 1798 - May 19, 1800)
  9. Story, Joseph (May 1, 1812 - May 8, 1844)
  10. Woodbury, Levi (September 23, 1845 - May 8, 1851)
  11. Curtis, Benjamin R. (October 8, 1852 - May 8, 1857)
  12. Clifford, Nathan (June 29, 1858 - May 8, 1874)
  13. Gray, Horace (May 12, 1882 - May 8, 1886)
Judges appointed to the Circuit Court for the First Circuit
  1. Lowell, John (February 20, 1801 - July 1, 1802)
  2. Bourne, Benjamin (February 20, 1801 - July 1, 1802)
  3. Smith, Jeremiah (February 20, 1801 - July 1, 1802)
  4. Shepley, George Foster (December 22, 1869 - July 20, 1878)
  5. Lowell, John (December 18, 1878 - May 1, 1884)
  6. Colt,LeBaron Bradford (July 5, 1884 - June 16, 1891)

John Lowell
Term: February 20, 1801 - July 1, 1802

John Lowell was born in Newburyport, Massachusetts, on June 17, 1743. A graduate of Harvard College (1760), Judge Lowell went on to study law and gained admission to the bar in 1762. He practiced law in Newburyport until 1776, when he received his commission as an officer in the militia. Lowell was an active participant in the Revolutionary War and distinguished himself in the service of his state and his country.

After moving to Boston in 1777, Lowell was elected to the Massachusetts House of Representatives in 1778. He served two terms and left the House in 1782. He was a delegate to the state constitutional convention in 1780 and then a member of the state senate in 1784 and 1785. Lowell acted as a commissioner in the dispute over the New York/Massachusetts boundary line in 1884.

John Lowell first served on the Massachusetts Court of Appeals from 1784 to 1789 and then as a Judge of the United States District Court of Massachusetts from 1789 to 1801. He was appointed as a "midnight judge" by President John Adams in 1801. Judge Lowell died in Roxbury, Massachusetts on May 6, 1802.

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Benjamin Bourne
Term: February 20, 1801 - July 1, 1802

Benjamin Bourne was born in Bristol, Rhode Island, on September 9, 1755. Like his colleague John Lowell, Bourne graduated from Harvard in 1775. He went on to study law and was admitted to the bar to begin practice in Providence. He was quartermaster of the 2nd Rhode Island Regiment in 1776. Bourne became a member of the Rhode Island General Assembly for the years 1789 and 1790, and served in the United States Congress following his state's ratification of the Constitution. He was a member of the first five Congresses, being elected to his last two as a member of the Federalist party.

Bourne was appointed Judge of the United States District Court for Rhode Island in 1801. Judge Bourne was later appointed by President Adams as a "midnight judge" and became a Judge of the United States Circuit Court for the First Circuit. He died in his home town of Bristol on September 17, 1808 and is interred in Juniper Hill Cemetery.

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Jeremiah Smith
Term: February 20, 1801 - July 1, 1802

The first United States Circuit Court judge from New Hampshire was a native of Peterborough, born on November 29, 1759. Smith attended Harvard in 1777. He then served in the Revolutionary War. He fought under the famous General John Stark at the Battle of Bennington.

Smith graduated from Queen's College, New Jersey, in 1780. Following his study of law, he was admitted to the bar in 1786 and commenced practice in Peterborough. Smith was elected to draft our nation's founding document at the Constitutional Convention as a New Hampshire representative.

Elected to the United States Congress in 1791, Smith served in the Second, Third, Fourth, and Fifth Congresses (in the last two as a Federalist). As a member of the Fifth Congress, he was a committee chairman (Committee on Revisal and Unfinished Business). Following his resignation in July of 1797, he moved to Exeter, New Hampshire.

Jeremiah Smith was the United States District Attorney for New Hampshire for the years 1797 to 1800. He was Judge of the Probate Court for Rockingham County from 1800 to 1802. Judge Smith served as the third of President Adams' "midnight judges". He then sat as Chief Justice of the Superior Court of New Hampshire from 1802 to 1809, was Governor from 1809 to 1810, and then became Chief Justice of the New Hampshire Supreme Court from 1813 to 1816. Judge Smith retired from practice in 1820. He was a bank president and the treasurer for Phillips Exeter Academy in his retirement years. Jeremiah Smith died in Dover on September 21, 1842, and is interred in the Winter Street (or Old) Cemetery in Exeter, New Hampshire.

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George Foster Shepley
Term: December 22, 1869 - July 20, 1878

George Shepley was born in Saco, Maine on January 1, 1819. He entered Dartmouth College at the age of 14 and graduated in 1837. Following his graduation, he read law with his father and then studied at Harvard. Shepley began the practice of law in Bangor, Maine in 1839, entering into a partnership. In 1844 he moved to Portland, Maine and had two successive law partners.

Shepley was appointed the United States District Attorney for Maine on November 8, 1848, but his appointment was lost the following year in the political upheaval of the time. He was reappointed in 1853 and served until June of 1861.

A Colonel in the 12th Regiment of Maine Volunteers, Shepley became the military commandant of the captured city of New Orleans and then of the state of Louisiana. In 1865, as a Brigadier-General, he was the military governor of Richmond.

General Shepley resigned his commission in July of 1865, and resumed the practice of law in Portland. On December 22, 1869, he became a United States Circuit Judge. He died of Asian cholera on July 20, 1878.

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John Lowell
Term: December 18, 1878 - May 1, 1884

Born in Boston on October 18, 1824, John Lowell went from private schools to Harvard, graduating in 1843. He graduated from Harvard Law School in 1845 and, after an apprenticeship, was admitted to the Boston bar in 1846.
After spending a year abroad, Lowell began practice with his brother-in-law. He practiced alone after 1857. He became an expert in insolvency law. In 1857, Lowell and Horace Gray were published in the Harvard Law Review (and later in pamphlets) in an article against the Dred Scott decision. John Lowell was appointed by President Lincoln as a United States District Judge for Massachusetts. In 1878 he was appointed circuit judge. He has been said to have had a keen awareness and was a leader in the implementation of practical justice. Citing few precedents in his decisions, Judge Lowell was felt by some to be a wayward judge. He resigned in 1884, drafted a new Bankruptcy Act (not adopted), was an overseer of Harvard, and was on the Massachusetts General Hospital board. He was noted for his humor and sociability. Judge Lowell died May 14, 1897.

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Colt,LeBaron Bradford
Term: July 5, 1884 - June 16, 1891

Colt was born in Dedham, Massachusettes on June 25, 1846. He attended Yale University, recieving a A.B. in 1868, and Columbia Law School, where he earned a LL.B. in 1870. Throughout his career, he had private practices in Chicago, Illinois, and Bristol, Rhode Island; served as a member of the Rhode Island State Legislature; and was a U.S. Senator from Rhode Island for 11 years.

He was appointed to the U.S. District Court, District of Rhode Island, where he served from 1881 to 1884, when he was appointed to the U.S. Circuit Court for the First Circuit, followed by 22 years in the U.S Court of Appeals for the First Circuit.

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