Samuel Prentiss

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Samuel Prentiss
Judge of the United States District Court for the District of Vermont
In office
April 8, 1842 – January 15, 1857
Appointed by John Tyler
Preceded by Elijah Paine
Succeeded by David Allen Smalley
United States Senator
from Vermont
In office
March 4, 1831 – April 11, 1842
Preceded by Dudley Chase
Succeeded by Samuel C. Crafts
Personal details
Born (1782-03-31)March 31, 1782
Stonington, Connecticut, U.S.
Died January 15, 1857(1857-01-15) (aged 74)
Montpelier, Vermont, U.S.
Political party National Republican, Whig
Spouse(s) Lucretia Houghton Prentiss
Profession Politician, Lawyer, Judge

Samuel Prentiss (March 31, 1782 – January 15, 1857) was a United States Senator from Vermont and later a United States federal judge.

Life and career[edit]

Born in Stonington, Connecticut, he moved to Northfield, Massachusetts in 1786; he completed preparatory studies and was instructed in the classics by a private tutor. He studied law in Northfield and in Brattleboro, Vermont; he was admitted to the bar in 1802 and practiced in Montpelier from 1803 to 1822.

Prentiss was a member of the Vermont House of Representatives in 1824-1825 and was an associate justice of the Vermont Supreme Court; he was elected chief justice in 1829. In 1831, Prentiss was elected as an Anti-Jacksonian to the U.S. Senate; he was reelected as a Whig in 1837 and served from March 4, 1831, to April 11, 1842, when he resigned to accept a judicial assignment. While in the Senate, he was chairman of the Committee on Patents and the Patent Office (Twenty-seventh Congress).

Samuel Prentiss was the originator and successful advocate of the law to suppress dueling in the District of Columbia; on April 8, 1842, he was nominated by President John Tyler to a seat on the United States District Court for the District of Vermont vacated by Elijah Paine. Prentiss was confirmed by the United States Senate on April 8, 1842, and received his commission the same day. He served on the court until his death in Montpelier, and his remains were interred in Green Mount Cemetery.

John Holmes Prentiss, Samuel's brother, was a United States Representative from New York. Theodore Prentiss, Samuel's son, was a member of the Wisconsin State Assembly.


External links[edit]

United States Senate
Preceded by
Dudley Chase
U.S. Senator (Class 3) from Vermont
March 4, 1831 – April 11, 1842
Served alongside: Horatio Seymour, Benjamin Swift and Samuel S. Phelps
Succeeded by
Samuel C. Crafts
Legal offices
Preceded by
Elijah Paine
Judge of the United States District Court for the District of Vermont
Succeeded by
David Allen Smalley