Samuel Rossiter Betts

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Samuel Rossiter Betts
Samuel Rossiter Betts.jpg
Judge of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York
In office
December 21, 1826 – April 30, 1867
Appointed byJohn Quincy Adams
Preceded byWilliam Peter Van Ness
Succeeded bySamuel Blatchford
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New York's 7th district
In office
March 4, 1815 – March 3, 1817
Preceded byAbraham J. Hasbrouck
Succeeded byJosiah Hasbrouck
Personal details
BornJune 8, 1786 (1786-06-08)
Richmond, Berkshire County, Massachusetts
DiedNovember 2, 1868 (1868-11-03) (aged 82)
New Haven, New Haven County, Connecticut
Citizenship United States
Political partyDemocratic Party
Spouse(s)Caroline Abigail Noble Betts
ChildrenGeorge Frederic Betts
Alma materWilliams College


Military service
Branch/serviceUnited States Army
Rankjudge advocate
Battles/warsWar of 1812

Samuel Rossiter Betts (June 8, 1786 – November 2, 1868) was an American politician, a U.S. Representative from New York, and a long-serving United States federal judge.


Betts practiced in Monticello, New York from 1809 to 1812. During the War of 1812, he served as judge advocate of Volunteers in the U.S. Army.

Betts was elected as a Democratic-Republican to the 14th United States Congress, as a U. S. Representative for the seventh district of New York holding office from March 4, 1815, to March 3, 1817.[1]

Afterwards Betts moved to Newburgh, New York, where he continued the practice of law. He was a District Attorney of Orange County, New York from 1821 to 1823, and was the Judge of the Second Judicial Circuit from 1823 to 1827.

On December 19, 1826, Betts was nominated by President John Quincy Adams to the seat on the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York vacated by William P. Van Ness. Betts was confirmed by the United States Senate on December 21, 1826, and received his commission the same day. Betts served for over forty years, by far the longest tenure of any judge appointed by John Quincy Adams. He resigned on April 30, 1867.

Family and education[edit]

Born in Richmond, Berkshire County, Massachusetts, Betts graduated from Lenox Academy around 1803, being the first from that institution to enter college. He went on to Williams College, graduating 1806.[2] He then read law in Hudson, New York. He was admitted to the bar in 1807.

Samuel Rossiter Betts married Caroline Abigail Dewey (maiden; 1798–1882), daughter of Daniel Dewey (1766–1815) and Maria Noble (1770–1813). Some sources give Noble as Caroline's maiden name – the maiden name of her mother. Samuel Rossiter Betts and Caroline Abigail Dewey had five children: Maria Caroline Betts (1818-1909); Charles Dewey Betts (1820-1845); Frances Julia Betts (1822-1907); George Frederick Betts (1827-1898); and Emily Betts (1830-1916).


Betts died in New Haven, New Haven County, Connecticut, on November 2, 1868 (age 81 years, 147 days). He is buried at Woodlawn Cemetery, in The Bronx, New York.[3]


  1. ^ "Samuel Rossiter Betts". Govtrack US Congress. Retrieved 31 August 2013.
  2. ^ History of the Bench and Bar of New York (Vol. 2), David McAdam, Henry Bischoff, Jr., Jackson O. Dykeman, Joshua M. Van Cott, George G. Reynolds, Richard Henry Clarke (eds.), New York History Company (1897), pps. 43–44
  3. ^ "Samuel Rossiter Betts". The Political Graveyard. Retrieved 31 August 2013.

External links[edit]

U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
Abraham J. Hasbrouck
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New York's 7th congressional district

Succeeded by
Josiah Hasbrouck
Legal offices
Preceded by
William Peter Van Ness
Judge of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York
Succeeded by
Samuel Blatchford