Reuben H. Walworth

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Reuben Walworth
Walworth reuben large.jpg
Chancellor of New York
In office
April 28, 1828 – July 5, 1847
Governor Nathaniel Pitcher
Martin Van Buren
Enos Throop
William Marcy
William Seward
William Bouck
Silas Wright
John Young
Preceded by Samuel Jones
Succeeded by Position abolished
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New York's 12th district
In office
March 4, 1823 – March 3, 1825
Preceded by Ezra C. Gross
Succeeded by Lewis Eaton
Personal details
Born (1788-10-26)October 26, 1788
Bozrah, Connecticut, U.S.
Died November 27, 1867(1867-11-27) (aged 79)
Saratoga Springs, New York, U.S.
Political party Democratic-Republican (Before 1828)
Democratic (1828–1867)
Spouse(s) Maria Avery (Deceased 1848) Sarah Ellen (Smith) Hardin (his death)
Children 2 - Clarence A. Walworth (1820–1900) and Mansfield Tracy Walworth (1830–1873)

Reuben Hyde Walworth (October 26, 1788, Bozrah, New London County, Connecticut – November 27, 1867, Saratoga Springs, Saratoga County, New York) was an American lawyer and politician. He was the last Chancellor of New York, in office from 1828 to 1847, at the time the highest judicial officer in the State.


Walworth was the son of Benjamin Walworth and Apphia (Hyde Cardell) Walworth. The family removed to Hoosick, New York, when Reuben was still a child. He studied law at Troy, was admitted to the bar in 1809, and commenced practice in Plattsburgh. On January 16, 1812, he married Maria Ketchum Averill (1795–1847).

Walworth was elected as a Democratic-Republican to the 17th United States Congress, holding office from December 3, 1821, to March 3, 1823. In April 1823, Walworth was appointed as Judge of the Fourth Circuit Court, and in October removed to Saratoga Springs. In 1828, Walworth was appointed Chancellor of New York, and remained in office until July 1847 when the office was abolished by the State Constitution of 1846.

Walworth gained President John Tyler's attention because of his widely respected opinions on evidence, pleadings, civil procedure, and arbitration. Tyler nominated him to the Supreme Court of the United States three times in 1844, but the nomination was always postponed due to Tyler's lack of support from both Whigs and the Democrats.

In 1848, Walworth was the Hunkers' candidate for Governor of New York, but was defeated in a three-way race by Whig Hamilton Fish. In 1850, Walworth was asked by the Supreme Court to serve as a special master in the case of Pennsylvania v. Wheeling and Belmont Bridge Company. In 1851, he married Sarah Ellen (Smith) Hardin, widow of Congressman John J. Hardin (1810–1847).

Walworth was a Freemason, and served as Grand Master in the Grand Lodge of New York in 1853.

He was for a long period president of the American Temperance Union. He was also vice-president of the Bible Society and the Tract Society. Princeton University gave him the degree of LL.D. in 1835. He was the author of Rules and Orders of the New York Court of Chancery (Albany, 1829; several revised eds.), and Hyde Genealogy (2 vols., 1864). He was elected a member of the American Antiquarian Society in 1865.[1]

Walworth was buried at Greenridge Cemetery in Saratoga Springs.

His son Clarence A. Walworth (1820–1900) converted to Catholicism and was a founding member of the Paulist Fathers.

His other son Mansfield Tracy Walworth (1830–1873) married Ellen Hardin (the daughter of Mansfield's stepmother) and was later shot dead by their son Francis Hardin "Frank" Walworth (b. 1853).

Walworth County, Wisconsin and Walworth, New York were named for him.


  • The Oxford Companion to the Supreme Court of the United States, Kermit L. Hall ed., New York, 1992.


U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
Ezra C. Gross
Nathaniel Pitcher
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New York's 12th congressional district

Served alongside: Nathaniel Pitcher
Succeeded by
Lewis Eaton
Legal offices
New seat Judge of the New York Fourth Circuit Court
Succeeded by
Esek Cowen
Preceded by
Samuel Jones
Chancellor of New York
Succeeded by
Freeborn G. Jewett
as Chief Judge of the New York Court of Appeals
Party political offices
Preceded by
Silas Wright
Democratic nominee for Governor of New York
Succeeded by
Horatio Seymour