William P. Van Ness
|William P. Van Ness|
|Judge of the United States District Court for the District of New York|
May 25, 1812 – April 9, 1814
|Appointed by||James Madison|
|Preceded by||New seat|
|Succeeded by||Seat abolished|
|Judge of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York|
April 9, 1814 – September 6, 1826
|Appointed by||James Madison|
|Preceded by||New seat|
|Succeeded by||Samuel Rossiter Betts|
February 13, 1778|
Ghent, New York
|Died||September 6, 1826
New York City, New York
|Spouse(s)||Anne McEvers (m. 1800)|
|Relatives||John Peter Van Ness (brother)
Cornelius P. Van Ness (brother)
James Van Ness (nephew)
|Alma mater||Washington Seminary
|Religion||Dutch Reformed Church|
Early life and education
William P. Van Ness was born in Ghent, New York to Judge Peter Van Ness (1734-1804), a wealthy lawyer and farmer who owned the property in Kinderhook on which William Van Ness constructed a mansion in 1797. Martin Van Buren later purchased the home and land and renamed the estate Lindenwald. Peter Van Ness is buried on the Lindenwald estate.
Van Ness attended Washington Seminary and graduated from Columbia College in 1797. After graduating, Van Ness read law in the office of Edward Livingston, attaining admission to the bar in 1800.
Van Ness, a friend of Aaron Burr, was an active participant in the 1800 presidential campaign as a vocal supporter of the Democratic-Republican candidates, Burr for Vice President and Thomas Jefferson for President.
In 1801 Van Ness served as a delegate to the New York Constitutional Convention, which was called to amend the state constitution of 1777.
On May 25, 1812, President James Madison nominated Van Ness to a new seat on the United States District Court for the District of New York. He was confirmed by the United States Senate on May 26, 1812, and received his commission on May 27, 1812. On April 9, 1814, he was reassigned by operation of law to the newly subdivided United States District Court for the Southern District of New York.
In 1818 Congress appointed a special committee to look into the official conduct of Van Ness and his judicial colleague, Matthias B. Tallmadge, who apparently did not work well together. The committee investigated and recommended that no action be taken against Van Ness or Tallmadge.
Van Ness was the author of several political and judicial works, including: Examination of Charges against Aaron Burr (1803); The Laws of New York, with Notes, (with John Woodworth), (2 vols. 1813); Reports of Two Cases in the Prize Court for New York District (1814); and Concise Narrative of Gen. Jackson's First Invasion of Florida (1826).
Death and burial
In 1800 Van Ness married Anne McEvers (1767-1829) in Red Hook. They were members of the Dutch Reformed Church, and the parents of five children: Edward (November 3, 1801 – March 11, 1879), married Catherine Holcomb; Harriet Mary (August 16, 1803 – March 28, 1825), the wife of William Maury of England; Eugene (December 6, 1804 – May 28, 1862), who married Julia A. Brush; Martha Eliza (April 10, 1806 – 1869), who never married; and Charles William Van Ness (October 1, 1807 – March 13, 1883).
Ness is mentioned in the song "The World Was Wide Enough" in the hit musical Hamilton.
- William Peter Van Ness. Federal Judicial Center. Retrieved 2011-05-21.
Born February 13, 1778, in Claverack, NY. Died September 6, 1826, in New York City, NY. Federal Judicial Service: Judge, U. S. District Court, District of New York. Nominated by James Madison on May 25, 1812, to a new seat created by 2 Stat. 719; Confirmed by the Senate on May 26, 1812, and received commission on May 27, 1812. Service terminated on April 9, 1814, due to assignment to another court. Judge, U. S. District Court, Southern District of New York. Reassigned April 9, 1814; Service terminated on September 6, 1826, due to death.
- New York, a Guide to the Empire State, sponsored by New York State Historical Association, published by Oxford University Press, New York, 1940, pages 564 to 565
- The Life and Times of Martin Van Buren: The Correspondence of his Friends, Family and Pupils, by William Lyon Mackenzie, 1846, page 23
- Early History of Vermont, LaFayette Wilbur, Volume 4, 1903, page 124
- The Parsonage Between Two Manors: Annals of Clover-Reach, by Elizabeth Louise Gebhard, 1910, page 45
- Officers and Graduates of Columbia University, published by Columbia University, 1916, page 88
- Biographical sketches of the distinguished men of Columbia County, by William Raymond, 1851, page 33
- A Group of Great Lawyers of Columbia County, New York, by Peyton Farrell Miller, 1904, pages 133 to 135
- American Biographical Notes, edited by Franklin Benjamin Hough, 1974, page 404
- History of the United States of America during the administrations of Thomas Jefferson, by Henry Adams, 1986 edition, page 417
- The Democratic Party of the State of New York, by Martin Wilie Littleton, Volume 1, 1905, page 47
- US Presidents and Foreign Policy, by Carl Cavanagh Hodge and Cathal J. Nolan, 2007, page 73
- Affairs of Honor: National Politics in the New Republic, by Joanne B. Freeman, 2002, page 180
- History of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, by H. Paul Burak, 1962, pages 3 to 4
- Lamb's Biographical Dictionary of the United States, edited by John Howard Brown, Volume 7, 1903, page 430
- Baltimore: Its History and Its People, by Lewis Historical Publishing Co., Volume III, 1912, page 533
|Judge of the United States District Court for the District of New York
|Judge of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York
Samuel Rossiter Betts