Lewis Cass Ledyard

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
John George Milburn and Lewis Cass Ledyard in 1915-1916

Lewis Cass Ledyard (April 4, 1851 – January 27, 1932) was a New York City lawyer, a name partner at the firm Carter Ledyard & Milburn, personal counsel to J.P. Morgan, and a president of the New York City Bar Association.

Early life[edit]

Lewis Cass Ledyard was born in Detroit, Michigan, in 1851, to an established American family. His grandfather, General Lewis Cass, had been governor of the Michigan Territory and a United States senator from the state of Michigan, and served as secretary of state under President James Buchanan. His ancestors included Major-General Joseph Spencer, who served in the American Revolution under George Washington, and William Livingston, the first governor of New Jersey.

His father, Henry Ledyard, was a lawyer, diplomat, and mayor of Detroit. His mother, Matilda Frances, was the daughter of General Cass. Lewis Cass Ledyard was the fourth child in a family of three daughters and two sons. His older brother, Henry Brockholst Ledyard, later became president of the Michigan Central Railroad and a well-known philanthropist.


Lewis Cass Ledyard matriculated at Columbia College in 1868, but transferred after his freshman year to Harvard, where he received his Bachelor of Arts degree in 1872. He subsequently attended Harvard Law School, where he graduated with Master of Arts and Bachelor of Laws degrees in 1875. He then moved to New York City, where he was admitted to the bar in 1875, becoming a sixth generation lawyer in his family.[1]


In 1875, Ledyard was introduced to the lawyer James C. Carter, and joined his firm, then known as Scudder & Carter, the same year. He was admitted to partnership in 1880. In 1904, the lawyer John G. Milburn of Buffalo joined, creating the modern firm of Carter, Ledyard & Milburn.

Ledyard, who had a personal interest in sailing, began his practice in admiralty law, but soon expanded into general practice. Following the passage of the Sherman Antitrust Act in 1890, Ledyard became a prominent adviser to the steel, petroleum, and tobacco industries. In 1911, when the United States Supreme Court ruled the American Tobacco Company to be in violation of the Sherman Act, Ledyard oversaw the company’s corporate restructuring.[2] Ledyard also served as counsel to the United States Steel Corporation and the New York Stock Exchange, as well as personal counsel to John Pierpont Morgan.[3]

In 1903, Ledyard also oversaw the passage of a bill in the New York State Legislature requiring the electrification of the rail lines at Grand Central Station following a deadly train collision in 1902. The bill and subsequent improvements resulted in the covering of the railroad tracks outside the station, the extension of Park Avenue, and the expansion of valuable real estate in the surrounding area.[4]

Civic involvement[edit]

In addition to his professional career, Ledyard was a prominent figure in New York society and civic life. Along with John Lambert Cadwalader, he was a founder of the New York Public Library. He served as a trustee of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Pierpont Morgan Library, and was a founding trustee of the Frick Collection.

He served on a number of corporate boards including First National Bank of New York, United States Trust Company of New York, Great Northern Paper Company, American Express Company, Atlantic Mutual Insurance Company, National Park Bank, and several railroads.

In 1914 he became a member of the New Hampshire Society of the Cincinnati by right of his descent from Captain Jonathan Cass who served during the American Revolution.


Lewis Cass Ledyard died at his home in New York City on January 27, 1932.

He was buried at the Island Cemetery in Newport, Rhode Island.


  1. ^ Sheldon, Edward. "Memorial of Lewis Cass Ledyard." The Association of the Bar of the City of New York. 1932. p. 363
  2. ^ United States v. American Tobacco Co., 221 U.S. 106 (1911)
  3. ^ Psi Upsilon (1932), The diamond of Psi Upsilon, 18, Psi Upsilon Fraternity, p. 170-171
  4. ^ Edward Sheldon. "Memorial of Lewis Cass Ledyard." The Association of the Bar of the City of New York. 1932. p. 368.