Richard Henry Alvey

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Richard Henry Alvey

Richard Henry Alvey (March 6, 1826 – September 14, 1906) was an American jurist who served as chief judge of the supreme court of the U.S. state of Maryland, the Court of Appeals, and the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.

Alvey was born in St. Mary's County, Maryland to George and Harriet Wicklin Alvey. He read law and was admitted to the bar in 1849, and began private practice in Hagerstown, Maryland the next year. From 1844 to 1850, Alvey served as a Deputy within the clerk's office of Charles County, Maryland. He was a Presidential Elector from the state of Maryland during the election of 1852. In 1861, At the outbreak of the American Civil War, he authored the Alvey Resolution, which took a strong position in favor of states' rights. As a southern sympathizer, Alvey was arrested by Union soldiers and detained.

After the Civil War, Alvey served as a delegate to the Maryland Constitutional Convention of 1867, where he was chairman of the Committee on Representation. That same year he was a member of the Maryland State Legislature, was appointed to the Maryland Court of Appeals as an associate judge, and also as chief judge of the Fourth Judicial Circuit of Washington, Allegany, and Garrett Counties. He served in that position until 1883, when he was appointed Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals.

On April 14, 1893, President Grover Cleveland nominated Alvey as Chief Justice of the D.C. Circuit, to a new seat created by 27 Stat. 434. He was confirmed by the United States Senate on April 15, and received his commission the same day. He served in that position until his retirement on January 1, 1905. In 1896, as Chief Justice, Alvey served as a member of an American commission tasked with resolving a boundary dispute between Venezuela and British Guiana. He also served as chancellor of National University in Washington, D.C. from 1897-1904.

Alvey married Mary Wharton in 1856, with whom he had one child. After her death in 1860, Alvey remarried to Julia Jones Hays in 1862, with whom he had nine children. Richard Henry Alvey died in 1906 in Hagerstown.

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Legal offices
Preceded by
James Lawrence Bartol
Chief Judge of the Maryland Court of Appeals
1883–1893
Succeeded by
John Mitchell Robinson
Preceded by
new seat
Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit
1893–1905
Succeeded by
Seth Shepard