James I. Roosevelt

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For other persons with similar names, see James Roosevelt (disambiguation)
c.1855

James John Roosevelt, known as James I. (December 14, 1795 – April 5, 1875) was an American politician, jurist, businessman, and member of the Roosevelt family. His brother Cornelius Roosevelt was the father of James A. Roosevelt, Robert Roosevelt, and Theodore Roosevelt, Sr. as well as paternal grandfather of President Theodore Roosevelt.

Life and career[edit]

James I – the Roman numeral was used to distinguish him from others of the same name – was born on December 14, 1795 in New York City to James Jacobus Roosevelt and Maria Van Schaak and baptized at the Dutch Reformed Church. He was a great-grandson of Johannes Roosevelt (the founder of the Oyster Bay branch of the Roosevelt family).

Roosevelt graduated from Columbia College in 1815 and was admitted to the bar in 1818, becoming a partner of Peter Jay (son of John Jay), with a practice in New York City. An active Democrat, he campaigned for Andrew Jackson for president in 1828. He was elected alderman in 1828 and 1830, was a member of the New York State Assembly in 1835 and 1840, and served in the United States Congress from 1841 to 1843 (he declined to seek reelection). As a jurist, he became a justice of the New York Supreme Court in 1851, and during one term was ex officio judge of the State Court of Appeals. From 1860 to 1861, he was United States District Attorney for Southern New York. He studied foreign law in the courts of England, the Netherlands, and France. In business, Roosevelt followed in the tradition of his father as a hardware merchant. He engaged in farming after retiring. He was the first president of Roosevelt Hospital, which was founded by his cousin James H. Roosevelt.

On May 30, 1831 in Paris, Roosevelt married Cornelia Van Ness, a daughter of Cornelius P. Van Ness and Rhoda Savage. Cornelia was celebrated for her beauty and grace. General Gilbert du Motier was among the guests. James and Cornelia had eleven children, all but three of whom died in childhood or early adulthood. Their son Charles Yates Roosevelt had a daughter Cornelia, who married Baron von Zedlitz of Austria, who was drowned in a collision with the German emperor's yacht in 1901. James Roosevelt died on April 5, 1875 in New York City when he broke his thigh bone in a fall and was buried in Greenwood Cemetery in Brooklyn, New York. Cornelia wife died on February 14, 1876 in Paris.

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United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Moses H. Grinnell
Edward Curtis
James Monroe
Ogden Hoffman
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New York's 3rd congressional district

1841–1843
with Charles G. Ferris, Fernando Wood, and John McKeon
Succeeded by
Jonas P. Phoenix