Elizabeth Breese

Sidney Breese, et al

3rd Gen Arthur Breese 3rd Gen
+ Catharine Livingston
+ Ann Carpender

Arthur Breese
Arthur Breese
[Samuel, Sidney]
Arthur Breese
(11 Sep 1770, Shrewsbury NJ)
(13 Aug 1825, NYC)


+ Catharine Livingston 4 Nov 1793
(18 Aug 1775, Poughkeepsie NY)
(21 Aug 1808, Utica NY)

Rear Admiral Samuel Livingston Breese
[married Emma Lovett and Frances Hogan Stout]
Sarah Breese [married Barant Bleecker Lansing and James Platt]
Elizabeth Breese [married William Malcolm Sands]
Catharine Walker Breese [married Capt. Samuel B. Griswold]
Chief Justice Sidney Breese [married Eliza Morrison]
Susan Breese [married Jacob Stout, Jr. and Rev Dr Pierre Alexis Proal]
Henry Livingston Breese [died at age 13]
Arthur Breese, Jr. [died unmarried at age 33]
Mary Davenport Breese [married Henry Leonard Davis]


+ Ann Carpender14 Oct 1809
(10 Nov 1783, NY)
(17 May 1857, Utica NY)

Sarah Ann Breese
Josiah Salisbury Breese [married Augusta Eloise Lawrence]
William Gregg Breese [married Adeline Wiggins]
Frances Helen Breese [died unmarried aged 28]
Robert Lenox Breese [died aged 15]
Aquila Stout Breese [died aged 1]

Transactions of the Oneida Historical Society at Utica
The year before E.K. Kane was born, in 1794, there settled in Whitesboro another lawyer, who subsequently became prominent in the politics of the county. That lawyer was a native of New Jersey, graduated at Princeton College, read law in Philadelphia with the celebrated Elias Boudinot, was admitted to the bar in 1792, and when he located in Whitesboro was but twenty-five years old. His wife was a sister [Niece] of Mrs. Jonas Platt, and as Mr. Platt was county clerk of Herkimer county in 1794, he made Arthur Breese, the lawyer alluded to, deputy county clerk. In 1796 Mr. Breese was elected to the Assembly, as successto to Jonas Platt in that body, and when Oneida county was formed, in 1798, Mr. Breese was appointed the first surrogate, and held that office for ten years thereafter; surely those brothers-in-law had their share of offices. A law partnership between Messrs. Platt and Breese was formed, and their marriage, business, social and political ties were strong indeed.

The first homestead of Mr. Breese in Whitesboro was opposite the "Green," was known later as the "Storrs House," where the late Thomas H. Flandrau lived many years, and which dwelling tradition says Mr. Breese erected. Later, Mr. Breese built a fine residence on the hill near the cemetery, where Gideon Granger resided a number of years subsequent to 1814. [p133. Mr. Curtenius died not far from 1817, and on the removal of the family in 1818 to Whitesboro, Mrs. Curtenius purchased the Arthur Breese mansion which stood on the hill, near the cemetery, giving in exchange one thousand acres of the Oswego lands. That mansion had been the residence of Gideon Granger and family during their several years' residence in Whitesboro.]

As Mr. Breese was a federalist, the council of appointment in 1808 turned him out of the office of surrogate, and about that time he moved to Utica. On Mr. Breese's removal to Utica, he was made one of the clerks of the old Supreme Court, and he was also master in chancery. He was clerk of that court from 1808 until his death.


He died in 1825, in the city of New York, where he had gone for his health. His age was fifty-five years.

Mr. Breese was not a prominent member of the bar, nor do the court proceedings show that he ever had much to do as an attorney or counsel; but he was among the most worth of the citizens of the county, and very highly respected and esteemed. While he and his family were residents of Whitesboro, they were valuable additions to the society of the place.


He had quite a large family of children, all of whom were cultivated and refined.

Transactions of the Oneida Historical Society at Utica
April 6, 1792, the Grand Lodge of New York issued a warrant to establish a lodge in Herkimer county. It was constituted by the name of Amicable Lodge, and situated in New Hartford. From 1792 to 1799, the following members were admitted to the privileges of the Lodge:
1792 - Jedediah Sanger, Jard Crittenden, Isaac Jones, Jonas Platt, Arthur Breese, Benjamin Merrills, Elias Kane...

Correspondence with President James Madison
Jan 28, 1794 From Arthur Breese Page 1     Page 2
Apr 11, 1794 From Arthur Breese Page 1     Page 2
Apr 16, 1794 From Arthur Breese Page 1
May 13, 1796 From James Madison Page 1     Page 2
Dec 17, 1796 From Arthur Breese Page 1

Pioneers of Utica
By nature inactive in temperament and easy of disposition, Mr. Breese was yet possessed of strong sense and much personal worth, of sterling integrity, of large hospitality, and generous in his care for the religious, educational and other important interests of the town and neighborhood. He bore his part among the founders of the Oneida Bible Society and the Utica Academy, and as trustee of the village corporation, and of the Presbyterian Church, of which latter he was a communicant.

He was somewhat of an epicure, and fond of the delicacies of the table, his larder and ice-house being always well supplied, and he never so happy as when surrounded by his friends, to enjoy with him his good cheer. A capital judge of wines, his cellar was liberally stocked with choice kinds, of his own important. In manners he was quiet and rather taciturn, though cheerful and genial, with the looks and bearing of a thorough gentleman. His features were regular, his eyes large and expressive, and though, in later life, a little beyond embonpoint, he was in his younger days remarked for his personal beauty.

Families of Olde Whitesborough 1784-1824 p. 33

Arthur Breese graduated from Princeton University and received his honorary Bachelor's Degree from Yale College in 1789, and following in the wake of the westward migration settled in Whitesboro in 1793. In 1808 he moved to Utica.


In 1801 Arthur Breese served jointly as the Inspector and also as Brigade Major of the 2nd Brigade of Cavalry of the New York State Militia.

His home was on Main Street opposite the Village Green. After his arrival in Whitesboro in 1793 where he became a partner with Jonas Platt, he also served as Deputy Oneida County Clerk. Jonas Platt was the Oneida County Clerk at that time.

In 1796 he was elected to the New York State Assembly. In 1798 - 1808 he served as the first Surrogate Judge of Oneida County NY.


On March 23, 1799 he was a member of the Aqueduct Association of the future Village of Whitesboro. He was one of the first Trustees of The United Presbyterian Societies of Whitestown and Old Fort Schuyler in 1804 and 1805.

Arthur had 15 children: Nine by his first wife and six by his second wife.

Family Memorials - A series of Genealogical and Biographical Monographs, on the families of ..., Breese, ...", Edward Elbridge Salisbury, 1885
At a very.early period in the settlement of the country [having received the honorary degree of Master of Arts from Yale College in 1789 he was established at Whitestown, Oneida Co., N.Y., in the profession of the law. On the creation of the clerkship of the Supreme Court for the Western District [in 1808], he received the appointment of Clerk, and remained the incumbent until his death. He was a man of much personal and private worth, sterling integrity and exemplary piety."


From 1808 onward his life was spent in Utica, N. Y., where he owned a beautiful house at the top of the hill on Genesee street, with extensive grounds attached, and at that time quite rural in its surroundings. I well remember a visit made there with my parents and sister, in our childhood, and the lively cousins we then first became acquainted with --one of whom (I need not say a lady) made this playful record of it:

"The children were held up to us as models of propriety.... I was deputed to show them the garden and the grounds, and told to pick all the fruit we wished, which they would not even taste without their mother's permission! This made a lasting impression upon me, and I wondered whether all the children in Boston were so well brought up."

To the same lady's sprightly pen I owe the following reminiscences of this home of her childhood:

"No stranger of distinction passed through the town without dining, or partaking of fruit and wine, at the house, which was one of the finest in the place at that period. My father was very hospitable, quite an epicure, and noted for his good dinners and always very choice wines.

"When the Court was in session, the judges and lawyers were frequently entertained. Although scarcely in my teens, I remember seeing Judges Savage, Woodworth, Van Ness, Sutherland and Platt - the latter was a connection of the family, and resided for a time in Utica. Among many others whom I particularly remember as constant guests were Judge Southard (formerly Secretary of the Navy), John Greig of Canandaigua, Gov. DeWitt Clinton, Commodore Melancthon Woolsey, a near relation [descended, in common with Mrs. Judge Henry Livingston, from Rev. Benjamin Woolsey of Dosoris, L. I., and, on the Livingston side, first cousin of the first Mrs. Arthur Breese],23 and several officers of the U. S. Navy, that branch of the service having been always largely represented in our family. I have an indistinct recollection of peeping through the crack of the door to catch a glimpse of Commodore Chauncey, whilst he was dining with my father, and can recall visits paid by Commodores Rogers and McDonough, the hero of the battle of Lake Champlain; Chancellor Kent, Col. Malcolm, and seeing the great American novelist J. Fenimore Cooper.

"The venerable and greatly respected Patroon of Albany, Stephen Van Rensselaer, was an occasional guest....

"My mother [the second Mrs. Arthur Breese] was an accomplished housekeeper, presiding with grace and dignity at her table, or in the drawing-room. On matters of taste she was authority in all cases. My lather used to plead, as an excuse for such constant entertaining, his 'having a fine house, a graceful and capable wife, and a well-stocked larder'"

My cousin speaks of a visit of General Lafayette at her father's house in 1824, as follows:

"My father, who was then an invalid, and unable to be present at the reception, was told by the officer of the day that the General and suite would pay him a visit, if he so desired. This exceptional courtesy enabled my parents, and a considerable number of the elite of the city who had been invited, to enjoy the honor of an introduction."

"I can well remember my mother's tasteful decoration of the drawing - rooms with flowers, the display of old-fashioned silver on the sideboard, and the table with choice wine and refreshments; and perfectly recall the personal appearance of the distinguished guest, the cynosure of all eyes -- his gracious and courtly manners, as with hat in hand he walked quietly up the broad steps of the piazza, and with much ease and apparent pleasure received the various introductions. Upon the conclusion of this ceremony I was led by my father to the General, who laid his hand gently on my head, and said 'God bless you, my dear!"

[This is the source of the family story told by my mother of my grandmother still having the glasses used when they entertained Lafayette, but no one knowing which glass had been his.]

The New York State Historical Association
ARTHUR BREESE (Princeton 1790.)
Arthur Breese was a native of New Jersey, studied law in the office of Elias Boudinot,President of the Continental Congress, was admitted to the bar in 1792 and located at Whitesboro in 1793. He was a brother-in-law [Error: nephew-in-law] of Jonas Platt and by virtue of this relation became Deputy County Clerk of Herkimer County. He was elected to the Assembly in 1796, became first Surrogate of Oneida County and held the office until 1808, when his Federalist principles made him obnoxious to the Council of Appointment, which put another in his place. Upon his removal to Utica he was made one of the clerks of the old Supreme Court and Court of Chancery. He held the latter office until his death. He does not seem to have been very active in the practice of the law, but he was a man of fine personal character, of cultivated and scholarly tastes, who left a family the members of which filled very useful and honorable positions in life. His son, Samuel,

Oneida County, NY Vol. 1
14 June 1825 - 6 June 1826

Died on Sunday morning the 14th inst. at New York, in the 53rd year of his age Arthur Breese Esq. of this place. At a very early period in the settlement of this section of the country, he established himself at Whitesboro in the profession of the law. On the creation of the Clerkship of the Supreme Court for the Western District, he received the appointment of Clerk, and remained the incumbent until his death. He was a man of much personal and private worth, of sterling integrity, and exemplary piety; and his loss is deeply felt by his friends and fellow citizens and by a numerous and interesting family.

My son in law Judge Arthur Breese died in the city of New York of dropsy on the 14th of August 1825 Aged 56 years. Of Utica.

Arthur Breese Will

arthur letter
4th Gen Rear Admiral Samuel Livingston Breese 4th Gen
+ Frances Hogan Stout
+ Emma Lovett

Rear Admiral Breese
[Arthur, Samuel, Sidney]
Rear Admiral Samuel Livingston Breese
(6 Aug 1794, Utica NY)
(17 Dec 1870, Mount Airy PA)
+ Frances Hogan Stout 1825

+ Emma Lovett 21 Jun 1855
(d: 30 Jul 1892)

Back To Top

Elizabeth Camden + Captain Penkethman
Arthur Breese + Catharine Livingston
Samuel Livingston Breese + Frances Hogan Stout
Arthur Breese + Ann Carpender
John Carpender + Elizabeth Camden
Ann Carpender + Arthur Breese
John Carpender + Sarah Stout
Frances "Fanny" Carpender + Captain Jacob Stout
Frances Hogan Stout + Samuel Livingston Breese

Which means the Rear Admiral married
the niece of his step-mother.

[The Twentieth Century Biographical Dictionary of Notable Americans]
BREESE, Samuel Livingston, naval officer, was born at Utica, N.Y., in 1794. He began his naval career as midshipman in 1810, was commissioned Leutenant in 1816, and captain in 1841. In 1845 he was attached to the Mediterranean squadron in command of the frigate Cumberland, and during the Mexican war took part in the capture of Tuspan, Tabasco, and Vera Cruz. He was assigned to special duty on the great lakes in 1848; had command of the Norfolk navy yard from 1853 to 1855; of the Mediterranean squadron from 1856 to 1859; and of the Brooklyn navy yard from 1859 to 1861. In July, 1862, he was commissioned commodore. He was created rear-admiral on the retired list in September, 1862, and appointed light-house inspector. In 1869 he was port admiral at Philadelphia, and died at Mount Airy, Pa., Dec. 17, 1870.

pay receipt

[The Pioneers of Utica]
Rear admiral of the Navy of the United States, who entered the navy in 1810, and after sixty years of duty, including the war of 1812, the Mexican war, service at the Norfolk and Brooklyn navy yards, and as commander of the European Squadron, was placed on the retired list; he died December 17, 1870.

[Encyclopedia of American Biography]
BREESE, SAMUEL LIVINGSTON, naval officer, was born in 1794 in Utica, N. Y. He was present at the battle of Lake Champlain in 1814; was present at the capture of Vera Cruz in 1847; and was promoted to rear admiral in 1862. He died Dec. 17, 1870, in Mr. Airey, Pa.

Family Memorials - A series of Genealogical and Biographical Monographs, on the families of ..., Breese, ...", Edward Elbridge Salisbury, 1885
Samuel Livingston, born Aug. 6, 1794; who married: first, Frances Hogan daughter of Jacob and Fanny (Carpender) Stout, about 1825, who died Jan. 8, 1853, without children; and secondly, Emma daughter of Thomas Lovett of New York City, June 21, 1855, who survives as his widow, without children; and died at Mount Airy near Philadelphia, Pa., Dec. 17, 1870. He was a member of the Class of 1813 in Union College, without graduation; and at an early age "received his warrant as Midshipman in the United States Navy. In 1814 he served under Commodore McDonough at the battle of Lake Champlain, and for gallant conduct at Plattsburg received a sword and a vote of thanks from Congress. He served in the Mediterranean against the pirates of Algiers and otherwise, in 1826-7, and was in the Levant during the war between Turkey and Greece. He also served with distinction in the war between the United States and Mexico, in 1846-7 -- was at the battles of Vera Cruz, Tuspan and others: of the last named place he was for a short time Military Governor. As Commodore he commanded the United States Squadron in the Mediterranean in 1856-7, during the Crimean War. In 1861, at the outbreak of the rebellion in our Southern States, he was Commandant of the Brooklyn Navy Yard. He was one of the thirteen Commodores first selected to fill the list of Rear Admirals, when that rank was introduced into the United States Navy in 1862. His last official duty was as Admiral of the Port of Philadelphia, in 1868."

Forest Hills Cemetery, Utica NY

4th Gen Catharine Walker Breese 4th Gen
+ Captain Samuel Birdsill Griswold

Captain Samuel Birdsill Griswold
(1 Mar 1796, Newburgh NY)
(12 Aug 1830, Brooklyn NY)
[Arthur, Samuel, Sidney]
+ Catharine Walker Breese 12 Jan 1820
(9 Oct 1798)
(1 Mar 1886, Poughkeepsie NY)

Rear Admiral Samuel Livingston Breese
Elizabeth Breese [married William Malcolm Sands]

Back To Top

[Descendants of Gilbert Livingston]
He was an officer in the U.S. Army in the war of 1812 and was taken prisoner at Quebec. Capt. Griswold and his wife had five children.

Family Memorials - A series of Genealogical and Biographical Monographs, on the families of ..., Breese, ...", Edward Elbridge Salisbury, 1885
Catharine Walker, born Oct. 9, 1798: who married Captain Samuel B. Griswold, an officer of the United States Army in the war of 1812-14, in 1820 (who died in 1830); by whom she had two daughters and three sons. All her sons are dead: one of them, Arthur Breese (b. 1829), left a wife and three children: the elder daughter, Cornelia (b. 1821), married and now lives as the widow of William M. Goodrich of New Orleans--"a better man never lived" -- and had several children, of whom one daughter, Mary Willis, is the wife of Edward Livingston, son of the late Rev. Dr. Henry Montgomery of New York; the younger daughter of Mrs. Griswold, Sarah Elizabeth (b. 1822), is the widow of her mother's cousin Samuel Finley Breese Morse, spoken of above. Mrs. Griswold still lives, and, though in her eighty-seventh year, recites poetry by the page, beautifully, with a youthful memory;

One of the Witness Letters gathered by the descendants of
Judge Henry Livingston, the author of "Night Before Christmas."

Mar 3, 1917
Dr. William S. Thomas

My dear Cousin.

The little incident connected with the first reading of the "Visit of St. Nicholas" was related to me by my grandmother, Catherine Walker Griswold, who was a daughter of Catherine Breese, the eldest daughter of Henry Livingston. As I recollect her story, there was a young lady spending the Christmas holidays with the family at "Locust Grove" on Christmas morning. Mr. Livingston came into the dining room, where his family and their guests were just sitting down to breakfast. He held the manuscript in his hand, and said that it was a Christmas poem he had written for them. He then sat down at table, unfolded the manuscript, and read aloud to them "The Visit of St. Nicholas"

All were delighted with the verses, and the guest, in particular, was so much impressed by them that she begged Mr. Livingston to let her have a copy of the poem. He consented, and made a copy in his own hand which he gave to her.

On leaving Locust Grove, when her visit came to an end, this young lady went directly to the home of Mr. Clement C. Moore, where she filled the position of Governess to his children.

The above is all that I remember positively as having been told me by my grandmother.

There are two further details which I think were a part of the story, although I am not so sure of my recollection of them as of the above main facts. One is that the young lady was either a Canadian or an English woman (I am inclined to think the former) and that other is that, on leaving Locust Grove, she went to join Mr. Moore's family in one of the Southern states.

I heard this spoken of by Mrs. Griswold after I had reached years of discretion (20 years). She spent the latter years of her life at my father's home at Poughkeepsie, where she died in 1881.

Yours sincerely,
Mary W. Montgomery

4th Gen Illinois Chief Justice Sidney Breese 4th Gen
+ Eliza Morrison
Judge Breese

[Arthur, Samuel, Sidney]
Illinois Chief Justice Sidney Breese
(15 Jul 1800, Whitesborough NY)
(27 Jun 1878, Pinkneyville IL)
+ Eliza Morrison 4 Sep 1823

Eliza Phillips Breese [married Richard Slade]
Commodore Samuel Livingston Breese
William Arthur Breese [died aged 12]
Charles Broadhead Breese
Mary Catharine Breese [died aged 18]
Henry Livingston Breese [died aged 23]
Sidney Samuel Breese
Edward Livingston Breese [died aged 1]
William Morrison Breese [married Julia Leightner]
Elizabeth Breese [died aged 4]
Lt. James Buchanan Breese
Elias Dennis Breese [died aged 3 1/2]
Alexander Breese [died aged 1]
Alisa Livingston Breese

Back To Top

[Congressional Biographies]
BREESE, Sidney, a Senator from Illinois; born in Whitesboro, N.Y., July 15, 1800; attended Hamilton College, Clinton, N.Y., and was graduated from Union College, Schenectady, N.Y., in 1818; moved to Illinois; studied law; was admitted to the bar in 1820 and commenced practice in Kaskaskia; appointed postmaster of Kaskaskia in 1821; prosecuting attorney of the third judicial circuit 1822-1826; United States district attorney for Illinois 1827-1829; was the first reporter of the proceedings of the State supreme court in 1831; held several commissions in the militia and served as a lieutenant colonel of Volunteers in the Black Hawk War in 1832; circuit judge of the second district 1835-1841; judge of the State supreme court in 1841-1842; elected as a Democrat to the United States Senate and served from March 4, 1843, to March 3, 1849; unsuccessful candidate for renomination in 1849; chairman, Committee on District of Columbia (Twenty-ninth Congress), Committee on Public Lands (Twenty-ninth and Thirtieth Congresses); member, State house of representatives 1851-1852, serving as speaker in the former year; judge of the circuit court of Illinois 1855-1857; judge of the supreme court of Illinois from 1857 until his death; served as chief justice 1867-1870, 1873, and 1874; died in Pinkneyville, Perry County, Ill., June 27, 1878; interment in Carlyle Cemetery, Carlyle, Ill.

[The Twentieth Century Biographical Dictionary of Notable Americans]
BREESE, Sidney, jurist, was born in Whites-bore, Oneida county, N.Y., July 15, 1800. He graduated at Union college in 1818, studied law, and removed to Illinois in 1821, where he was admitted to the bar. He successively filled the offices of town postmaster, assistant secretary of state, state's attorney, and United States attorney for Illinois. He was a commissioned officer in the state militia and served as Heutenant of volunteers, during the Black Hawk war. He was appointed circuit judge in 1835, and judge of the supreme court of the state in 1841. In 1843 he was elected to the United States senate, as a democrat, serving until 1849, and during his sen-atorship, while chairman of the committee on public lands, he made a report favoring the establishment of a transcontinental railway. He was a member of the house of representatives of Illinois, and in 1850 was elected its speaker. In 1855 he was again appointed judge of the circuit court and was chief of the court. In 1857 he was elected justice of the supreme court of the state, and in 1873 became chief justice, holding the office during his lifetime. He was one of the originators of the Illinois Central railroad, and from 1845 to 1849 regent of the Smithsonian institution. He published a volume of "Decisions of the Supreme Court" (1829); a work on "Illinois" (1869); and another on the "Origin and History of the Pacific Railroad" (1869). He died at Pinckneyville, Ill., June 27, 1878.

Family Memorials - A series of Genealogical and Biographical Monographs, on the families of ..., Breese, ...", Edward Elbridge Salisbury, 1885
Sidney, born July 15, 1800: who married Eliza daughter of William Morrison (who emigrated from Pennsylvania to Kaskasia, I11., in 1790) of Carlyle, Clinton Co. II1., a lady of French descent--now living as his widow, Sept. 4, 1823; and died June 27, 1878, a Justice of the Supreme Court of Illinois, leaving five children, two daughters and three sons, of whom Samuel Livingston is now a Commandant in the United States Navy.

Judge Breese was graduated at Union College in 1818, receiving the third honor of his Class, after Alonzo Potter, late Bishop of Pennsylvania, who had the first, and George W. Doane, afterwards Bishop of New Jersey, who had the second. Soon after his graduation, on the invitation of Elias Kent Kane, a protege of his father, and at one time a fellow-student at Union, though a graduate of Yale in 1813, who had already begun the practice of law at Kaskasia in what was then the Territory of Illinois, Sidney Breese went there in his eighteenth year, and began to identify himself with that part of our country where his name was destined to become so eminent, by commencing the study of law in Kane's office. Years later he told me that he "studied law under the trees;" by which he meant, I suppose, that the foundations of his legal learning were mainly laid by his own study, of the books. Such was undoubtedly the origin of that profound knowledge of the principles of law which afterwards distinguished him. He was admitted to practice in 1820; but, having failed, through diffidence (an infirmity which he never wholly threw off), in his first appearance in court, he came near to abandoning his profession.

Judge Henry Livingston to his grandson, Sidney Breese
Poughkeepsie January 27th 1820

To my very dear Grandson S.B. peace & health!
I felicitate you on your legal diploma. That you will soon be an HONEST lawyer I am confident. I hope & believe you will be a great one. Study hard my son, but think more. To be a compleat Jurist is a sublime character. Our celebrated Chancellor Kent began under auspices not superior to yours. In examining xx xx xx them thoroughly, but ever treat them with politeness-- xx xx with humanity. No wise no great advocate will shock the feelings of an audience by treating testimony indecorously. It is not probable that many bystanders will become pleaders, but every one may be a witness. Never let me hear that you are only a mere collector of debts. At your first xx speak, if you are even frightened of the cadence of your own voice still speak xx-- If you blush & stammer, no matter, go on. Hearers always will xxxx a beginner. It is a compliment to them if nothing disrespectable to him.

The next year, however, he took it up again; in 1822 he was appointed State's Attorney; about four years later President Adams made him United States Attorney for the State of Illinois. "In 1831 he proposed to the judges of the Supreme Court to report all their decisions. The result was 'Breese's Reports,' printed at Kaskasia in 1831, and which was the first book printed in Illinois. The reporter himself 'set up,' it is said, more than one page of the volume."

He enlisted as a private, but was soon made Lieutenant-Colonel, in the Black Hawk war. He was raised to the bench in 1835, as Circuit Judge, and retained that position till 1842, when he was elected Senator of the United States for six years from March, 1843. Upon his retirement from the Senate he resumed the practice of law, and in 1857 was elected to the Supreme Court, to fill a vacancy, and again, in 1861, for the full term of nine years. "In regular course he became Chief Justice," and this high position he held three times, continuing to be a Justice of the Supreme Court till the day of his death.

"Breese's Reports," covering "the decisions of the Supreme Court for the first eleven years of its existence," was modestly announced by the editor as prompted by "a desire to discharge in some degree that duty which one of the sages of the law has said 'every man owed to his profession.' But he did much greater service to the law, in the course of his judicial life, by his own decisions.

Said one of his associates on the Bench:
"In his long and successful career on this bench he contributed largely in establishing our system of jurisprudence. Few men have prepared and announced from the bench more opinions, in this or any other country, than have come from his pen. Many of them are marked for clearness, force, logic and finished expression. Few judges have shown more ability in constitutional, commercial, revenue, chancery, corporation, criminal and real estate questions. He was not inclined to yield assent to mere authorities, but followed the rules and maxims of the law, and never yielded assent to a proposition unless he believed it was based on sound legal principles."

Another has said:
"Judge Breese's active life covered the entire existence of the state government down to the date of his death, and like those eminent jurists Marshall, Kent and Story, as from necessity, he wrote much from first impression. His opinions on questions of the period, concerning legislative control over corporations, and the duties and liabilities of railroad and other private corporations, will take rank with the best opinions on these subjects, and become leading cases in ail the future. These questions seem to have arisen in this and other western states in advance of the decisions of courts of the older States, on the same subjects .... On the subjects discussed it may well be believed his opinions will be of equal value in their bearing on the welfare of the generations to come, with the writings of the best of the older English and American jurists .... "

"His style was singularly perspicuous. As specimens of fine writing it is my judgment his opinions will suffer nothing in comparison with the best of the most distinguished jurists of this country and of England. In clearness of expression and splendor of diction they are fashioned after the best models."

I also quote the following words of the Attorney General of Illinois in 1878:
"Consider the judicial labor performed in the last twenty years; more than three-fourths of the volumes of our reports have been written within that period. With the material progress of the State, its enlarged commerce and business complications, the tendency to collisions between corporate and private interests, and the relative rights of capital and labor, new and intricate questions have been presented for judicial decision. In the determination of these questions it has been necessary to apply the fundamental principles of the law, which in the nature of things must ever remain essentially the same, to new circumstances and combinations of facts. The vigorous intellect and profound learning of Justice Breese have enriched this field of our jurisprudence. He was a gentleman of the old school; decorous in manner, and a punctilious observer of the usages of refined society. As one of that galaxy of eminent men who constituted the 'pioneer-bar' of our State, he brought to its ranks superior culture and acquirements, an exquisite taste and disciplined mind .... The student of his judicial opinions will be impressed with his great mental endowments, his comprehensive grasp of legal principles, and his vigorous logic -- not infrequently adorned with the pleasing graces of literature. His standard of the professional ethics of the bar was high. Unworthy conduct in its members was sure to meet with severe rebuke from him whenever opportunity was presented."

If we turn from the court-room to consider Judge Breese as one of our national councillors, we find, to use again the words of an associate judge, that

"His career as a statesman was brief, brilliant, and was marked by great results. "But few possessed the sagacity to discern in the distant future those great measures and plans that would rend to 'the advantage and prosperity of the Nation.' He served but one term in the United States Senate, but it was at a time when it contained Webster, Calhoun, Benton, Clay and other great men of that period. Brief as was that period, his senatorial labors will lose nothing in comparison with those of the most distinguished men of that body, if we shall judge by the results achieved. The plan of constructing the Illinois Central Railroad from Cairo to Galena, an enterprise that has done as much as, if not more than, any other to develop the resources of the State, was first prominently brought forward by him, and its practicability demonstrated. It was his privilege, from his position in the Senate [as Chairman of the Committee on Public Lands], to first bring to the notice of the American people that other great measure, the conception of a railroad to the Pacific coast, to connect with the railroads in process of construction from the East, to con­stitute a great thoroughfare for the commerce of the world across the Continent, from ocean to ocean, an undertaking so great in its proportions that even Benton, bold and adventurous as he was, deemed it impracticable. His report made to the Senate on that subject shows a forecast of grand events, that were to affect the commerce of the entire civilized world, that was possessed by few of his contemporaries."

As to his political principles, he was a Jeffersonian Democrat, "and at an early day declared his adherence to the letter of the Federal Constitution, and his opposition to the enlargement of any of its provisions by liberality of construction;" and he denounced centralization as contradistinguished from the sovereignty of the States in the control of their own affairs. But he was not an advocate of the doctrine of secession, though I remember that he spoke to me, during the late civil war, of the burning of western crops as fuel, for want of a market, and hinted at the possibility that the Western States might yet be torn from the Union for the sake of a free passage for their harvests down the Mississippi.

"Repeatedly" was he "presented, without any action on his part, in conventions for nomination for Governor; and, had he given any encouragement to such a proceeding, might have long ago been the Executive of the State. In like manner his name" was "frequently connected with . . . the democratic nomination for the Presidency; but here also he abstained from any effort .... "

He was one of the first Regents of the Smithsonian Institution. The whole life of Judge Breese was singularly identified "with the origin, development and progress" of the commonwealth in which he cast his lot in boyhood, during a period of sixty years. Without any of the arts of a demagogue, and though sometimes imperious, he was universally held in the highest respect for his vigor and acuteness of mind, his sagacity, and his scholarship even in fields apart from his profession: and no calumny ever tarnished his name. His personal character was marked, especially in his later years, by a dignified gentleness, no less than by power of command. His more personal character was well portrayed by a member of the Illinois Bar who said:

"By nature of social habits, he loved his friends, and while conveying instruction appeared as if he were receiving it. Familiar with the best authors in the English as well as other classics, he drew upon them freely. He loved every kind of rational amusement, such as the drama and poetry, and visited the galleries and museums of art whenever he could avail himself of such opportunities. He was indeed a connoisseur as well as critic in art matters.

"He cherished no hatreds, and never manifested any malice toward individuals. When he manifested resentment, it was always toward some person whom he supposed guilty of an outrage against justice, sound morals, or the public interest.

"He never paraded his personal griefs in conversation; nor did he complain of offenses committed against himself. Fraud, duplicity, gross breaches of professional integrity and trust were ever sure to kindle his indignation; and in these cases he was frequently called upon to exercise a prudent control over his temper.

"But such was the charity of that temper toward an enemy, or any person he disliked, that he never trusted himself to speak of him except to praise some of his better qualities. And his estimate of the character of such a person would be as calm and dispassionate as if he had been pronouncing a judicial decision between some parties to a record in this court whom he had never seen to know.

He believed in the three cardinal principles of a Christian life: Faith, Hope and Charity; but he believed also that the greatest of these was Charity."

But he was not only a foremost and accomplished actor in great public affairs: his education and tastes fitted and led him to be their historiographer. In a printed memorial of his life, which I have been using freely, reference is made to a "scholarly address spoken in the Hall of the Capitol upon the earl), history of Illinois;" and he left in manuscript "a very interesting account of the first settlements within the territory now comprised in the limits of the State, containing also a graphic account of the discoveries of Marquette and other bold adventurers of that period.

5th Gen Commodore Samuel Livingston Breese 5th Gen
+ Rosa Lee
+ Elizabeth Canby McCullough

[Sidney, Arthur, Samuel, Sidney]
Commodore Samuel Livingston Breese
(26 Dec 1831, Wilmington Delaware)
(18 Jul 1899, Berkeley Springs WV)
+ Rosa Lee (1834, Maryland)
(2 Dec 1867, Baltimore MD)

+ Elizabeth Canby McCullough31 Oct 1869
(19 Apr 1843, Wilmington Delaware)
(4 Dec 1928, Washington, D.C)

Back To Top

4th Gen Susan Breese 4th Gen
+ Jacob Stout, Jr.
+ Rev Dr Pierre Alexis Proal

[Arthur, Samuel, Sidney]
Susan Breese
(20 Jun 1802, Whitesborough NY)
(April 1864)
+ Jacob Stout, Jr. 4 Sep 1823
(d: Abt. 1825)

Lt. Edward Carpenter Stout
Sarah Lansing Stout

+ Rev Dr Pierre Alexis Proal 1841
(25 Dec 1820)
(Aft. 1850)

Arthur Breese Proal [married Ermina Jane Adsit]
Samuel Livingston Breese Proal

Back To Top

Jacob Stout Jr., was a man of great energy and perseverance. He was a thorough merchant, and was very much respected. He was the founder of the house. He married a daughter of Arthur Breeze, of Utica. They had two children, a son and a daughter. The son entered the navy. He married a daughter of Commodore Aulick. He was a lieutenant, and lost in the Levant. He left a wife and two children. They are in France.

Family Memorials - A series of Genealogical and Biographical Monographs, on the families of ..., Breese, ...", Edward Elbridge Salisbury, 1885
Susan, born June 20, 1802; who married: first, in 1825, Jacob Stout of New York, son of Jacob above named (pp. 505, 510) by his first wife (consequently half-brother of the first wife of her brother Rear Admiral Breese), by whom she had four children: one of them, Edward, a Captain, U. S. N., married Julia, daughter of Commodore Aulick, U. S. N., had two daughters, and was lost at sea; another, Sarah Lansing, became deranged at an early age, and was placed in the Lunatic Asylum at Utica, N. Y., where she still lives.

Susan (Breese) Stout married, secondly, in 1841, Rev. Dr. Pierre Alexis Proal, a widower with several children, Rector of Trinity Church, Utica, by whom she had two children: one of them, Arthur Breese, survives with a wife and two children. She died in April 1864. "In early life she was distinguished beyond all her ac­quaintances for vivacity of intellect and buoyancy of feeling, and, possessing a high social position and much personal beauty, she was long 'the observed of all observers.'"

To her first husband, long an invalid, "she devoted all her youthful energies with the most exemplary assiduity . . . and nothing can speak more conclusively in her praise than that" those who became her step-children by her second marriage "respected her as much as they could have respected an own mother."

5th Gen Lt. Edward Carpenter Stout 5th Gen
+ Julia Aulick

[Susan, Arthur, Samuel, Sidney]
Lt. Edward Carpenter Stout
(Bef. 25 Aug 1826)
(1860, at sea aboard the U.S.S. Levant)
+ Julia Aulick

Back To Top

Letter from Major Henry Livingston, Jr. to his son, Dr. Charles Patterson Livingston, who was then living at Painesville Ohio.
August 25, 1826

We have recently had a 5 days visit from my Grandson (of 53), his wife, formerly Susan Breese, & their little son, Edward Carpenter Stout. He is an excellent & sensible man, she very clever, & the child fine and robust. They reside in Waterford [CT].

4th Gen Sarah Ann Breese 4th Gen
+ Admiral Thomas R. Walker

Admiral Thomas R. Walker (24 Jan 1806)
(9 Jan 1880, Dresden GER)
[Arthur, Samuel, Sidney]
+ Sarah Ann Breese19 May 1830
(11 Feb 1811, Utica NY)
(28 Jun 1882)

Louisa Johnson Walker [died aged 3]
Susan Louisa Walker [married Henry William Smith]
Annie Breese Walker [married Henry Stanley Dexter]
Mary Seymour Walker

Back To Top

[Breese book]
Mrs. Walker is the cousin to whom I owe the interesting reminiscences of her father and others included in this memorial. Mr. Walker died in Dresden, Saxony Jan. 9, 1880. He was graduated at Hamilton College in 1824, and received the honorary degree of Master of Arts from Yale College in 1881. A lawyer by profession, he took a lively interest in politics, first as a Whig then as a Republican, was distinguished for public spirit, and had a natural taste for art, which he diligently culti­vated, both for his own benefit and pleasure, and as a patron of art, byhis friendship and encouragement to artists, and by purchases to the extent of his ability. He went to reside in Europe for the sake, in part, of greater opportunities for art-culture. His home, wherever established, was the scene of frequent and graceful hospitalities.


5th Gen Mary Seymour Walker 5th Gen
+ James Eglinton Montgomery

James Eglinton Montgomery
(b: 20 Sep 1826)
[Sarah Ann, Arthur, Samuel, Sidney]
+ Julia Aulick
(b: 1845)

Back To Top

U.S. Consul Switzerland from 3 Mar 1879 to 30 Jun 1881.

[Breese Book]
Mary Seymour (b. 1845), who married Major James Eglinton Montgomery, United States Consul, brother of the late Rev. Dr. Henry Montgomery of New York, and now resides at Vevey in Switzerland, with one child, Hugh Eglinton

Elizabeth Penkethman
Breese Family

family tree


site map
Site Map

IME logo Copyright © 2002, Mary S. Van Deusen