Henry E. Davies (judge)

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Henry Ebenezer Davies (February 8, 1805 Black Lake, near Ogdensburg, St. Lawrence County, New York – December 17, 1881 New York City) was an American lawyer and politician from New York. He was Chief Judge of the New York Court of Appeals from 1866 to 1867.


He was the son of Thomas J. Davies and Ruth (Foot) Davies (ca. 1772-1852). He was educated in the public schools and at age 14 went to live with Judge Alfred Conkling in whose office he studied law, and was admitted to the bar in 1826. He commenced practice in Buffalo, New York and entered politics as a Whig.

In 1830, he removed to New York City, and practiced law in partnership with Samuel A. Foote. In 1835, Davies married a daughter of John Tappan (brother of Lewis Tappan, Benjamin Tappan and Arthur Tappan), and they had six children, among them Henry Eugene Davies.

In 1840, he was a Whig alderman of the New York Common Council. In 1848, he dissolved the partnership with Foote, and formed a new one with William Kent (son of Chancellor James Kent). In May 1849, Davies was appointed Corporation Counsel of New York City, to fill the vacancy caused by the resignation of Willis Hall. In November 1849, he was elected to succeed himself, and remained in office until the end of 1852.

He was a friend of Millard Fillmore, and was his confidential adviser during his term as U.S. President.

In 1855, he was elected to the New York Supreme Court to fill the vacancy caused by the death of Justice Robert H. Morris, and remained on the Supreme Court bench until the end of 1859.

In 1859, he was elected to the Court of Appeals on the Republican and American tickets, defeating the Democratic incumbent Alexander S. Johnson. Davies was an associate judge of the Court of Appeals from 1860 to 1865, and Chief Judge from 1866 to 1867.

He died on December 17, 1881, at his residence at 60 West Fifty-first Street in New York City. He was buried at the St. Luke's Episcopal Church cemetery in Beacon, New York, the same place where Chancellor James Kent (1763–1847) is buried.


  • [1] Political Graveyard
  • [2] Listing of judges, with portrait
  • [3] Obit in NYT, on December 18, 1881 (giving erroneously "Blackford Lake" as birthplace)
  • [4] His mother's obit, in NYT on September 23, 1852 (giving correctly "Black Lake" as residence)
  • Henry E. Davies at Find a Grave
Legal offices
Preceded by
Hiram Denio
Chief Judge of the New York Court of Appeals
Succeeded by
William B. Wright