The History of Otsego County, New York


D. Hamilton Hurd

Published by Everts & Fariss, Philadelphia


STARKWEATHER, George A. - Cooperstown

George A. STARKWEATHER is a native of the State of 
Connecticut; was born on May 19, 1794. He worked on his 
father's farm until the fall of 1813, and his health having failed he 
went with a friend to Orange county, State of New York, with a 
view to spend the winter and recuperate. It resulted in his taking a 
common school, which he taught for two years, in the town of 
Wolkill, working in the summer season on a farm, before and after 
school hours. He returned to Connecticut in the fall of 1815, taking 
with him as the fruits of his labor about $600. He then commenced 
preparing for college, and in the fall of 1817 entered Union college, 
joining the sophomore class. He remained in college until the fall 
of 1819, when he came to Cooperstown and commenced his 
professional studies with his brother, Samuel Starkweather. He was 
elected by the faculty at Union one of the first six of his class as a 
Phi Beta Kapa, and had the third appointment in his class, but, his 
funds being exhausted, did not return to fulfill his appointment. In 
the fall of 1820, Mr. Starkweather went to Ithaca, taught a select 
school for six months, pursuing his studies in the mean time with 
Mr. Woodcock. He returned to Cooperstown in the spring, and 
paid up his little bills; was admitted as attorney of the supreme court 
in January, 1823, as counsel in 1826, and solicitor's counsel in 
chancery in 1831. In September, 1842, admitted as counsel in the 
district court of the United States for the northern district of New 
York, and in 1854 was admitted as attorney and counsel of the 
supreme court of the United States. Mr. Starkweather formed a 
partnership with his brother Samuel, and practiced his profession 
in the county of Otsego thrity-three years, having purchased his 
brother's interest in the business in 1831.
In 1856, he joined his eldest son, John C. Starkweather, in 
business in the city of Milwaukee, where he practiced his profession 
for two years, having sold Apple Hill to Edward CLARK, the 
present owner. Mr. Starkweather took a very active part in politics. 
He was challenger at the polls for ten years when the election was 
held three days, and never missed a day; was twenty years chairman 
of the Democratic corresponding committee of Otsego county, and 
wrote most of the addresses and resolutions; was frequently a 
delegate to county, senatorial, and State conventions; was delegated 
to the national convention at the time Mr. Van Buren was nominated, 
and was secretary of the convention. The first office he held was 
commissioner of deeds, elected by the board of supervisors. In 1833 
was appointed surrogate of the county of Otsego, and afterwards 
elected without opposition, and held the office for eight years. He 
was elected supervisor of the town of Otsego in his absence, and 
held the office for four years, and was chairman of the board; was 
appointed one of the examiners of school-teachers for the town of 
Otsego, and took a deep interest in the common-school systems, and 
visited the schools of the town without compensation. Elected to 
congress in 1846, Otsego and Schoharie forming the congressional 
district. Made a speech opposing the extension of slavery, which 
was favorably commented upon by the New York Tribune, Herald, 
and several other papers. Was commissioned adjutant, major, 
lieutenant-colonel, and colonel of the 12th Regiment of Artillery of 
the State of New York, and was honorably discharged in the fall 
of 1829. In 1850 was appointed a member of the American legal 
association. In 1834 became a life member of the colonization 
society, and in 1847, a life member of the Otsego Bible association. 
Was one of the vestry of Christ Church, Cooperstown, for twenty-
seven years. When a resident of Milwaukee, he donated one 
hundred and sixteen volumes of his congressional books to the 
Young Men's association of that city, and was made an honorary 
life member of the association. Mr. Starkweather had four sons in 
the army during the late Rebellion, all volunteers. The oldest, John 
C. Starkweather, was commissioned colonel, and was in the three-
months' service, and afterwards raised the Second regiment, and 
remained in the service until the close of the war, having been 
promoted to brigadier-general; was in six battles, the last at 
Chattanooga, and was twice wounded. At the time Mr. Starkweather 
commenced practice, and for many years after, Elisha Williams, 
of Hudson, Nicholas Hill, Sam Stevens, and other leading members 
of the bar of Albany, Daniel Cady, of Johnstown, Joshua Spencer, 
of Utica, Count Vanderlen, James Clapp, and other members of the 
Chenango bar, and members of the bar from Delaware county, were 
in the habit of attending the Otsego circuits, which were then held by 
the judges of the supreme court. The Otsego bar was then in its 
palmy days, and was considered the ablest bar in the State west of 
the Hudson. The actors of those days have passed away. The old 
familiar faces are all gone, and Mr. Starkweather in the only one 

Excerpt from History of Otsego Co., NY, page 31


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