Born in Coventry, New York, on November 17, 1821, Francis R. E. Cornell graduated from Union College in 1842, and was admitted to practice law in 1846. From 1852-1853, Cornell served as New York State Senator, then relocated to Minnesota in 1854, settling in Minneapolis. Cornell served in the Minnesota Legislature in the years 1861, 1862, and 1865 and as Attorney General from 1868-1874. He was elected Associate Justice of the Minnesota Supreme Court in 1874, taking office on January 11, 1875. Justice Cornell served on the Court until his death on May 23, 1881.
You may read more about Justice Cornell in the memorial, liked below, and the book Testimony: Remember Minnesota’s Supreme Court Justices, which is the source of this brief biography.