John G. Milburn

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John G. Milburn
Milburn in 1901
Born (1851-11-14)November 14, 1851
Sunderland, England
Died August 11, 1930(1930-08-11) (aged 78)
London, England
Nationality English, American
Occupation lawyer
Employer Carter, Ledyard & Milburn
Spouse(s) Mary Patty Stocking
Children Devereux Milburn
John George Milburn and Lewis Cass Ledyard in 1915

John George Milburn (December 14, 1851 – August 11, 1930) was a prominent lawyer in Buffalo, New York and New York City, a president of the New York City Bar Association, and a partner at the law firm Carter Ledyard & Milburn.

Early life[edit]

Milburn was born on December 14, 1851 near Sunderland, England in 1851, the son of a civil engineer. In his youth, he studied civil engineering at the insistence of his father. However, at the age of eighteen his sister wrote to him from Batavia, New York urging him to emigrate to America, which he did the following year.

Early career[edit]

In 1867, he arrived in Batavia to study law with the firm of Wakeman & Watson. Though he was initially denied entrance to the bar because he was not an American citizen, several influential acquaintances successfully petitioned the New York State Legislature for an exception based on his intention to seek citizenship. He was granted admission to the bar in 1874. The next year he married Mary Patty Stocking, a teacher at Bryan's Seminary and the daughter of farmers in Wyoming County. They had three sons: Devereux Milburn, born 1881; John G. Jr., born 1882; and Ralph, born 1888.

In 1876 the Milburns moved to Buffalo, New York, which was developing as a major industrial city. He practiced law alone until 1879, when he formed the law firm Sprague, Milburn & Sprague with Hon. E.C. Sprague and Henry W. Sprague. In 1882, after working for a year in Denver, Colorado, Milburn returned to Buffalo to form the law firm Rogers, Locke & Milburn, with Sherman Rogers and Francis Locke.

Citizen of Buffalo[edit]

Milburn was a prominent citizen of Buffalo, serving as president of the Buffalo Club, a member of the executive board of the Buffalo Public Library, and a trustee of the Erie County and City Hall in Buffalo. He was also a prominent Democrat and a personal friend of Grover Cleveland.[citation needed]

Milburn is perhaps best known as the chairman of the Pan-American Exposition, the 1901 World’s Fair in Buffalo. He prepared a suite in his house to host President William McKinley, who was coming to the Exposition. After the president was fatally shot by anarchist Leon Czolgosz at the Exposition on September 5, 1901, he was treated at the hospital and brought back to Milburn’s home. He died there nine days later.

Because of this event, the house became a popular tourist site. After it passed out of the family, it was later adapted as a hotel; it was demolished in 1957.[1]

Later career[edit]

In 1904, at the invitation of the prominent attorney Lewis Cass Ledyard, Milburn joined the New York City law firm of Carter, Ledyard & Robbins, which became Carter, Ledyard & Milburn upon his joining. There, Milburn represented many high-profile clients, including Standard Oil, the New York Stock Exchange, and the Metropolitan Street Railway. He also served as president of the New York City Bar Association from 1920 to 1921.


Milburn died on August 11, 1930, at Claridge's Hotel while on a trip to London, England. He was 78 years old.



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