Born in Otsego County, New York, on January 27, 1810. Attended Hamilton Academy from earnings as a part-time teacher. At age 21, entered law office at Painted Post, New York, and was admitted to practice 3 years later. In New York at that time 3 years' study was required for admission to practice in county courts and 7 years' study was required for admission to the Supreme Court. Served in the Legislature and was chairman of the Judiciary Committee in 1845. Resigned as Judge of Racine County, Wisconsin, to accept appointment by President Pierce to the Minnesota Territorial Supreme Court on April 7, 1853. Served on the court until April 23, 1857. Received the nomination of his party for Chief Justice, Attorney General, and member of Congress. In 1870, was appointed Judge of the Eighth Judicial District and served until his death on October 3, 1875, at his rural home in Belle Plaine, Minnesota.