Jump to content

Aaron Goodrich

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Aaron Goodrich
Goodrich c. 1859 (age 51–52)
1st Chief Justice of the
Minnesota Territorial Supreme Court
In office
March 19, 1849 – October 21, 1851
Appointed byZachary Taylor
Preceded byPosition created
Succeeded byJerome Fuller
Secretary of the
United States Legation in Brussels
In office
Appointed byAbraham Lincoln
Member of the
Tennessee House of Representatives
In office
Personal details
Born(1807-07-06)July 6, 1807
Sempronius, New York, USA
DiedJune 24, 1887(1887-06-24) (aged 79)[1]
Resting placeGenesee County, Michigan, USA
Political partyRepublican

Aaron Goodrich (6 July 1807 – 24 June 1887) was an American lawyer, jurist and diplomat.


Goodrich was born in Sempronius, New York, in 1807. In 1815, the family moved to a farm in western New York state, where Aaron attended country school and read law books with enthusiasm. At about age 20, he moved to Stewart County, Tennessee, completed his studies, and began practising the law.[2]

Goodrich, ca. 1860s; photographer noted as being Belgian.

He was a member of the Tennessee House of Representatives from 1847 to 1849. He was appointed as Chief Justice of Minnesota Supreme Court on March 19, 1849, by President Zachary Taylor.[3] He presided over the first court session in Stillwater, Minnesota Territory, in August 1849, deciding 60 cases in six days.[4] However, he failed to see out his four-year term. Several prominent Minnesota attorneys demanded Goodrich be removed for "incompetency, unfitness and improprieties committed on and off the bench",[5] in 1851.[6] After a failed attempt at impeachment, President Millard Fillmore used his executive power to remove Goodrich from office;[7] Goodrich subsequently took the matter to court in an attempt to obtain the salary for the remainder of his term.[3] He was a freemason,[8] and in July 1849, became one of the founding members of the local Masonic Lodge (Saint Paul Lodge Number Three[9]). He was also a unionist, and anti-abolitionist,[10] and a founding member of Minnesota Historical Society[11] and Minnesota Republican Party.[12] Goodrich was a Minnesota delegate to the 1860 Republican National Convention that nominated Abraham Lincoln, but cast his vote for William H. Seward.[13] At Seward's behest,[14] Goodrich was appointed secretary of the United States legation in Brussels, Belgium, by President Lincoln in 1861, remaining there until 1869.[1][10]

He died on 24 June 1887, and his body was interred at a graveyard in Genesee County, Michigan.



  • Goodrich, Aaron (1874). A history of the character and achievements of the so-called Christopher Columbus. D. Appleton and Co.


  1. ^ a b Hampton, Denis (2019-06-28). "Chief Justice Aaron Goodrich - PDF". religiondocbox.com. Archived from the original on 2019-06-28. Retrieved 2019-06-28.
  2. ^ Biographies of Judges and Justices of the Minnesota Appellate Courts Archived March 9, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ a b "58 U.S. 284". Archived from the original on 2010-05-17. Retrieved 2008-05-10.
  4. ^ "Building Location Details". Archived from the original on 2024-05-27. Retrieved 2008-05-10.
  5. ^ "MPR: Appellate court judge charged with swindling woman". Archived from the original on 2024-05-27. Retrieved 2008-05-10.
  6. ^ "MPR: For the Record". Archived from the original on 2024-05-27. Retrieved 2008-05-10.
  7. ^ "From Washington--Appointments for Minnesota". The New York Times. 25 October 1851. Archived from the original on 8 April 2016. Retrieved 23 April 2010.
  8. ^ Grand Lodge Of Minnesota Archived May 9, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
  9. ^ "Saint Paul Lodge Number Three - Minnesota's Oldest Masonic Lodge". Archived from the original on 2024-05-27. Retrieved 2009-10-07.
  10. ^ a b "Tennessee State Library and Archives: History and Genealogy - Manuscript Materials on Microfilm 100 - 199". Archived from the original on 2012-09-02. Retrieved 2008-05-10.
  11. ^ Minnesota Prehistory Archived October 8, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
  12. ^ a b Twin Cities Liver: History of St. Paul Street Names Archived August 14, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
  13. ^ "Welcome to the home of the Goodrich Family Association – Person Page 153". Archived from the original on 2024-05-27. Retrieved 2008-05-10.
  14. ^ See footnote 45 at http://www.lib.rochester.edu/index.cfm?PAGE=470 Archived 2024-05-27 at the Wayback Machine
  15. ^ Goodrich Cemetery