Presidents and Political Leaders

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Arthur, Chester

Signed petition to Edwards Pierrepont requesting him to a public dinner in his honor as President Grant’s new Attorney General. The large lined sheet carries the short formal invitation from the New York City Bar and is signed over three pages by more than 80 members of the Bar. Former Attorney General William Evarts is the first signer and probably honorary Chairman of the event. Other signers on the first page include “C. A. Arthur” in a large signature (slight smudge to the last letter), Joseph H. Choate (prominent attorney and future diplomat), Wheeler H. Peckham (nominated by Cleveland to the Supreme Court but blocked by the Senate), George H. Sharpe who along with Arthur was purged from the New York Customs position by President Hayes, John K. Porter who helped prosecute Garfield’s assassin Charles Guiteau. It also carries the unusual combination of Judge Charles Donahue and N. Y. Supreme Court Justice John Brady who were summoned to Arthur’s home to administer the Presidential Oath of Office the night Garfield died. Brady was the first to arrive and therefore performed the duties of swearing Arthur in as the new president. The names are worth further study. They are sure to be a Who’s Who of the New York legal world in that period and many people who would have been in Arthur’s political orbit. A very interesting piece of NY City history and Arthur associates.

Partial list of signers

Hooper Cumming Van Vorst – Superior Court Judge of New York City
Samuel L.M. Barlow – instrumental in removing Jay Gould’s control of the Erie Railroad. (p 1, left side 2nd from bottom)
George H. Sharpe – Civil War general, U. S. Marshal in New York that helped break the Tweed Ring. Surveyor of the Port of New York, until he was purged along with Arthur and key subordinates by President Hayes.
Stephen P. Nash Founding member of the New York City Bar Association and noted authority on church law.
John K. Porter – assisted in the prosecution of Charles Guiteau, defended Grant’s personal secretary Orville E. Babcock in the Whiskey Ring scandal.
Edward Delafield Smith U. S. Attorney for southern district of NY – helped prosecute a leader of the draft riots.
John R. Brady – swore in Chester Arthur as President
Charles D. Donohue- New York Supreme Court, present for the late night swearing-in of Chester Arthur as President.
Wheeler H. Peckham (nominated by Cleveland to the Supreme Court but blocked by the Senate)
John McKeon – (P 2 right side 7th down) NY D.A., Member of Congress, U.S. Attorney for NY under Pierce
Isaac Dayton