Jurist; born in Haddam, Conn.
, Nov. 4, 1816; brother of Cyrus West
and David Dudley Field; graduated at Williams College, in 1837; studied law and was admitted to the
bar in 1841.
He went to San Francisco
in 1849 and opened a law office, but got no clients.
In 1850 he settled in Yubaville (afterwards Marysville
), which in January of that year had been founded at Nye's Ranch.
He was soon made justice of the peace, and for a time was the entire government.
In the autumn of 1850 he was elected a member of the first legislature under the State
As a member of the judiciary committee he drew up a code for the government of the State
courts, and prepared civil, criminal, and mining laws, which were later generally adopted in the new Western States.
In 1857 he was elected a justice of the Supreme Court of California
, for the term of six years, but before his term began a vacancy occurred in the court and he was appointed for the unexpired term.
In September, 1859, David S. Terry
, chiefjustice of the court, resigned and Justice Field
took his place.
He remained in this office till 1863, when President Lincoln
appointed him an associate justice of the United States Supreme Court.
After holding this office for more than thirty-four years he resigned in April, 1897.
During his experience in this court he wrote 620 opinions, which, with fifty-seven in the Circuit Court, and 365 in the Supreme Court of California
, made an aggregate of 1,042 cases decided by him. He died in Washington, D. C.
, April 9, 1899.