Theodoric R. Westbrook

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Theodoric Romeyn Westbrook
Theodoric R. Westbrook.jpg
T. R. Westbrook, New York Congressman and Judge
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New York's 11th district
In office
March 4, 1853 – March 3, 1855
Preceded by Josiah Sutherland
Succeeded by Rufus H. King
Justice of the New York Supreme Court
In office
1873–1885
Succeeded by Alton B. Parker
Personal details
Born (1821-11-20)November 20, 1821
Fishkill, New York, United States
Died October 6, 1885(1885-10-06) (aged 63)
Troy, New York, United States
Resting place Wiltwyck Cemetery, Kingston, New York, United States
Political party Democratic
Alma mater Rutgers College

Theodoric Romeyn Westbrook (November 20, 1821 – October 6, 1885) was a U.S. Representative from New York.

Biography[edit]

Born in Fishkill, New York on November 20, 1821 (some sources indicate 1822), Westbrook attended the local schools and graduated from Rutgers College in 1838.[1] He studied law with Abraham B. Hasbrouck and Marius Schoonmaker, was admitted to the bar in 1843, and commenced practice in Kingston, New York.[2] Among the students who learned the law in Westbrook's office was Stephen Gardner Champlin.[3]

Westbrook was elected as a Democrat to the Thirty-third Congress (March 4, 1853 – March 3, 1855). He declined to be a candidate for renomination in 1854, and resumed the practice of law.

During the American Civil War Westbrook supported the Union, and organized efforts to recruit, equip and train soldiers for the Union Army.

In 1873 Westbrook was elected a Justice of the New York Supreme Court. He served as a trustee of Rutgers College, and received the honorary degree of LL.D. in 1875.[4]

Westbrook is most notable as the center of a scandal in which he was exposed for irregularities in the carrying out of his official duties. Having told financier Jay Gould that he would go to the limits of his authority to aid Gould's attempted takeover of the Manhattan Elevated Railway Company, Westbrook went so far as to conduct judicial proceedings in Gould's office.[5]

Gould was found to have used insider information and rulings from corrupt state officials to drive down the price of the company's stock, forcing it into bankruptcy and cheating shareholders out of their stock's value when he acquired the company in a subsequent court proceeding administered by Westbrook. At the urging of Assemblyman Theodore Roosevelt, in 1882 their relationship was investigated by a special committee of the New York State Assembly, but members of the committee quashed the results of the inquiry (accused of accepting bribes to do so), and Westbrook continued to serve on the bench.

He died in his hotel room in Troy, New York on October 6, 1885, while in Troy to conduct court proceedings.[6] He was interred in Kingston's Wiltwyck Cemetery.[7][8]

Westbrook was succeeded on the bench by Alton B. Parker.[9]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Found Dead in His Room: Judge T. R. Westbrook Stricken with Heart Disease". New York Times. New York, NY. October 7, 1885. 
  2. ^ Sylvester, Nathaniel Bartlett (1880). History of Ulster County, New York. Philadelphia, PA: Everts & Peck. p. 112. 
  3. ^ Plank, Will (1972). Banners and Bugles: A Record of Ulster County, New York and the Mid-Hudson Region in the Civil War. Marlborough, NY: Centennial Press. p. 104. 
  4. ^ Rutgers College (1916). Catalogue of the Officers and Alumni of Rutgers College. Trenton, NJ: State Gazette Publishing Co. pp. 357, 397. 
  5. ^ "Mornings on Horseback", David McCullough pgs. 262-265
  6. ^ "Summary of the Week's News: Death notice, Theodoric R. Westbrook". The Nation. New York, NY. October 8, 1885. p. 292. 
  7. ^ Spencer, Thomas E. (1998). Where They're Buried. Baltimore, MD: Genealogical Publishing Co. p. 256. ISBN 978-0-8063-4823-0. 
  8. ^ "Judge Westbrook's Funeral". New York Times. New York, NY. October 10, 1885. 
  9. ^ Ulster County Board of Supervisors (1910). Proceedings of the Ulster County Legislature. Kingston, NY: Kingston Freeman Printers. p. 279. 

Sources[edit]

U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
Josiah Sutherland
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New York's 11th congressional district

March 4, 1853 – March 3, 1855
Succeeded by
Rufus H. King

 This article incorporates public domain material from the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress website http://bioguide.congress.gov.