George Tod (judge)

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George Tod
George Tod (judge).jpg
Associate Justice of the Ohio Supreme Court
In office
May 13, 1806 – February 10, 1810
Preceded by William Sprigg
Succeeded by Ethan Allen Brown
Personal details
Born (1773-12-11)December 11, 1773
Suffield, Connecticut
Died April 11, 1841(1841-04-11) (aged 67)
Brier Hill, Youngstown, Ohio
Resting place Oak Hill Cemetery, Youngstown
Spouse(s) Sallie Isaacs
Children five
Alma mater
Military service
Allegiance United States
Service/branch United States Army
Rank Lieutenant colonel
Battles/wars War of 1812

George Tod (December 11, 1773 – April 11, 1841)[1] was a politician in the U.S. State of Ohio in the Ohio State Senate, and an Ohio Supreme Court Judge 1806-1810, and a soldier who fought in the War of 1812.

Early life[edit]

George Tod was born in Suffield, Connecticut, and graduated from Yale in 1797. He taught school, studied law at Litchfield Law School, and was admitted to the bar in Connecticut. He married Sallie Isaacs in 1797. She was sister in law of Governor Ingersoll. Children Charlotte and Jonathan were born in Connecticut.[2]

The West[edit]

Tod came to the Western Reserve in 1800. He was appointed Prosecuting Attorney of Trumbull County that year. He was a township clerk 1802-1804.[2] Tod was elected to the Ohio Senate for the third and fourth General Assemblies, 1804-1806.[3] In 1806 the Ohio Legislature appointed him a judge of the Ohio Supreme Court.[4]


While Calvin Pease was Judge of the Third Circuit, the Ohio Legislature passed a law that "justices of the peace should have jurisdiction in civil cases to the amount of $50, without the right of trial by jury." In Rutherford v. M'Fadden, Pease held that this was in conflict with the United States Constitution, which stated "in suits of common law when the value shall exceed $20, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved," and the State Constitution, which stated "the right of trial by jury shall be inviolate."[5] This decision established judicial review of legislative decisions.[4] Supreme Court Judges George Tod and Samuel H. Huntington upheld Pease's decision, and all three were impeached by the legislature. Huntington's case was dropped when he resigned to become Governor, and Pease and Tod were acquitted by a single vote.[4][6] One author says "From that day, the right of the Supreme Court to pass on the constitutionality of laws has seldom even been questioned."[5] Another says "The Ohio legislature, however, would continue to try to establish itself as the dominant force in state government at the expense of the judicial branch."[4] The legislature voted to end all judicial terms in 1810.

Post Impeachment[edit]

Tod was elected to the Ohio Senate again in the 9th and tenth General Assembly, 1810-1812[7] In the War of 1812, Tod served as a lieutenant-colonel[2] including action at Fort Meigs.[4] After the war, he was a Common Pleas Judge from 1815 to 1829, and Prosecuting Attorney for one term. He died in 1841. He died at his farm called Brier Hill and was buried at Oak Hill Cemetery in Youngstown. His wife died September 29, 1847 at Brier Hill, and was buried with him.[1]

Tod's son, David Tod was born in 1805, and went on to be Civil War era Governor of Ohio. George and Sallie Tod had five children.[1]


  1. ^ a b c "George Tod". The Supreme Court of Ohio and the Ohio Judicial System. 
  2. ^ a b c Upton 1910 : 80
  3. ^ Ohio 1917 : 217
  4. ^ a b c d e "George Tod". Ohio History Central. July 1, 2005. 
  5. ^ a b Upton 1910 : 84
  6. ^ Neff 1921 : 50-53
  7. ^ Ohio 1917 : 218


Ohio Senate
Preceded by
Benjamin Tappan
Senator from Trumbull County
Succeeded by
Calvin Cone
Preceded by
Calvin Cone
Senator from Trumbull County
Succeeded by
Calvin Pease