Judge Alexander Burton Hagner


Judge Alexander Burton Hagner

Washington, District of Columbia, District of Columbia, USA
Death 30 Jun 1915 (aged 88)
Washington, District of Columbia, District of Columbia, USA
Burial Washington, District of Columbia, District of Columbia, USA
Plot Reno Hill, Lot 824.
Memorial ID 37190680 View Source

Justice, Supreme Court, District of Columbia. He was the son of Peter and Frances Hagner. He and his wife had no children.

The Washington Post Thursday, July 1, 1915
Justice Hagner Is Dead
End Comes at 88 After Illness Lasting Two Weeks
On District Bench 23 Years
Distinguished as a Lawyer Before He Became Associate Justice of the Supreme Court
Born in Washington, Where His Father Was 57 Years in Government Service
Alexander Burton Hagner, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the District from 1879 to 1902 died yesterday at his home, 1818 H Street Northwest. Death was attributed to a complication of diseases. Justice Hagner had been ill for about two weeks and last week suffered a stroke of paralysis. He was 88 years of age.

The death of Justice Hagner was called to the attention of the Justice of the Supreme Court yesterday afternoon Arrangements having been made for the adjournment of the court yesterday for the summer recess, it was agreed to call a meeting of the bench and bar early in October to take appropriate action by resolutions and by speeches of eulogy in expression of the high regard in which Justice Hagner was held by his associates.

Father Long in Public Service
Justice Hagner was born in this city July 13, 1826, the seventh son of Peter Hagner. His father was in the public service for 57 years dating from the establishment of the government of the United States. He was appointed third auditor of the Treasury in March 1817 by President Monroe, the appointment being the first to that office. His mother was Frances Randall, a daughter of John Randall, who was appointed by General Washington as first Collector of the Port of Annapolis, Maryland. She died May 13, 1863 at the age of 77 years.

After attending the primary schools of Washington and Georgetown, Justice Hagner entered Princeton University and was graduated in 1845. Later he read law in the office of his uncle, Alexander Randall in Annapolis, Maryland with whom he afterward entered a legal co partnership. The co partnership continued until 1876 when Mr. Randall retired from practice and his son, J. Wirt Randall took his place. In 1879 Alexander B. Hagner was appointed to the bench of the Supreme Court of the District and retuned to Washington.

Employed in Many Large Cases
During his practice in Maryland, Mr. Hagner was employed in many important cases. Among them were the mandamus cases of Marshall against Harwood deciding the title to the Office of State Librarian; Magruder against Swann, the question of whether a writ of mandamus should be issued against the government of the State; the Adjutant General's case of McBlair against Bond and the injunction case of Gilbert against Arnold, which involved the rival claims of the Methodist Church North and the Methodist Church South to the property of the Methodist Society of Maryland. He appeared for the defense in the prosecution of Mrs. Elizabeth G. Wharton for the murder of General Ketchum. He frequently appeared as counsel for the defense in court martial cases and was Judge Advocate of the Naval Court of Inquiry in 1850 to investigate the capture of Alvarado and of the Naval General Court in 1876 at San Francisco for the trial of Pay Inspector Spaulding.

During his service as Associate Justice of the District Supreme Court Justice Hagner presided at a number of important trials and hearings. He wrote and announced the decision of the court in the famous Potomac flats case. He also prepared the opinion by which the court decided what constituted the southern boundary of the District of Columbia.

Substance of the Opinion
The opinion was that the Alexandria Canal, Railroad and Bridge Company was liable to taxation including that part of the bridge extending as far as high water mark on the Virginia shore. The opinion held that the whole bed of the Potomac River with the islands and up to high water mark on the Virginia shore are within the terms of the Maryland charter of King Charles II and that the company's bridge from the south terminus of Lingan Street in Georgetown extending across the river to the high water mark on the Virginia shore was subject to taxation by the District.

Justice Hagner served on the Supreme Court bench several years after he was eligible for retirement. He resigned from public service June 1, 1902. He had been foremost in many projects for the public welfare since then and at the time of his death was writing a monograph having to do with the history of Washington.

Justice Hagner had no living brothers or sisters, but is survived by a number of nephews and nieces in various parts of the country. His wife died in 1905. The funeral arrangements have not been completed, but burial will be in Oak Hill Cemetery, where his wife is buried. Justice Hager was a member of the Association of Oldest Inhabitants, the Cosmos Club and President of the South River Club of Maryland. He was prominent in church circles throughout the city.


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  • Created by: SLGMSD
  • Added: 17 May 2009
  • Find a Grave Memorial 37190680
  • Find a Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Judge Alexander Burton Hagner (13 Jul 1826–30 Jun 1915), Find a Grave Memorial ID 37190680, citing Oak Hill Cemetery, Washington, District of Columbia, District of Columbia, USA ; Maintained by SLGMSD (contributor 46825959) .