George Franklin Comstock, Sr

George Franklin Comstock, Sr

Williamstown, Oswego County, New York, USA
Death 27 Sep 1892 (aged 81)
Syracuse, Onondaga County, New York, USA
Burial Syracuse, Onondaga County, New York, USA
Plot Section 15, Lot 82
Memorial ID 57369182 · View Source
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George Franklin Comstock was born August 24, 1811, in Williamstown, New York. He graduated from Union College in 1834, was admitted to the New York bar in 1837, and received an honorary doctor of laws degree in 1858.

In 1847, Comstock began his service in the New York judiciary system as first reporter of the New York Court of Appeals, a position he held until 1851. From 1852 to 1853, he served as Solicitor General of the United States, then returned to the New York courts as justice of the New York Court of Appeals in 1855. He sat on the bench until 1861, becoming the Chief Justice in 1860. In 1868, he was a representative at the New York Constitutional Convention.

Comstock pursued interests in the field of education in addition to his legal career. He was a trustee of Hobart College from 1870 to 1877. In 1869, he initiated the establishment of Syracuse University, and donated $50,000 to its endowment fund. He was a trustee of that school from 1870 to 1890. He established the St. John's School for Boys, which is located in Manilus, N.Y., and gave $60,000 to its cause.

In the literary field, he was editor for Kent's Commentaries.



Syracuse, New York
The Daily Journal newspaper
Tuesday, September 27, 1892
Page 4, Column 3


Death of the Venerable Jurist This Morning.


The Late Judge Comstock as Lawyer, Judge and Law Maker - a Distinguished Career.

Hon. George F. Comstock died at the family residence, 504 West Genesee-st., at 5:30 o'clock this morning. It was four weeks ago yesterday that the Judge was found unconscious in bed, and it was believed at that time that death was a matter of but a few hours, but he was possessed of a wonderful vitality, which gave him a tenacous hold on life and he rallied sufficiently to sit up several times. At no time since he was stricken, however, had the family any hope of his recovery. There was a marked change for the worse yesterday morning, but the Judge was conscious up to last evening, after which he sank rapidly and, surrounded by his family, passed peacefully away in the early hours of this morning. It is probable that the funeral will be held at the family residence on Thursday afternoon.
A meeting of the Onondaga County Bar association will be held at 10 a. m. to-morrow at the General Term rooms, to make arrangements for attending Judge Comstock's funeral.
George Franklin Comstock was born at Williamstown, Oswego county, N. Y., August 24, 1811, and was therefore 81 years of age. His father, Serajah Comstock, served through the Revolutionary war. His early years were marked by a love of reading and study and he had a strong desire for higher education. He was graduated with high honor at Union college in 1834, and then for a time taught the ancient languages in a classical school at Utica. All his leisure was devoted to the study of law. In 1835 he entered the law office of Noxon & Leavenworth in this city, one of the then leading law firms in the State. Mr. Comstock completed his legal course as a student, and was admitted to the bar September, 1836. He became a member of the law firm of Noxon, Leavenworth & Comstock, which continued many years. After its dissolution he was at the head of several firms, or practiced by himself.
Devoting himself with energy to the practice of his profession, Mr. Comstock closely studied at the same time the fundamental principles of law. In 1847 he had attained such a reputation for legal acumen and research that he was appointed by Governor Young Reporter of the Court of Appeals. The first four volumes of the New York reports were his three years' work, and meanwhile he continued his law studies actively. His reputation as a lawyer was now fixed, and his counsel was often sought, especially in the higher courts. In 1840 he aided in organizing the Syracuse Savings bank, and was one of the incorporators. President Fillmore called him to the office of Soliciter of the Treasury of the United States in 1852, and he served during the remainder of the Presidential term. He later became affiliated with the Native American party, which nominated and elected him one of the judges of the Court of Appeals in1855. At the close of his term of service on the bench the country was excited with political discussions, which preceded the civil war. The old Whig party had ceased to exist and many conservative Whigs joined their political fortunes with the Democrats and acted with that party for the rest of their days. His name was presented for re-election to the Court of Appeals on the Democratic ticket in 1861, and he was defeated with all the candidates of that party. This Judge Comstock always after considered a fortunate event. With the increased distinction resulting from his judicial decisions, he was recognized throughout New York as a leader at the bar. His aid was sought in cases involving the most important principles and the largest interests, but he took time to edit a new edition of Kent's Commentaries, at the solicitation of the heirs of the Chancellor.
When the convention of 1863 for the revision of the constitution of the State was called, it was understood that the judicial system of the State required change and that Judge Comstock was, by his legal learning and experience, his breadth of mind, and his elevation above partisan influence, well fitted to aid in the work. He was elected a delegate for the State at Large. To him, in association with ex-Judge Folger, is to be accredited, chiefly, the formation of a new judiciary article, which was adopted by the convention and approved by a vote of the people. The judiciary system thus established has operated to great satisfaction, and has been the model of the judiciary of other States.
Judge Comstock was active in the movement, in 1869, to secure the establishment of a university in this city. He aided in arousing the interest of citizens at public meetings, wrote articles for the press in his favor, and donated $50,000, in addition to the $100,000 required of the city, for its location here. Since the organization of Syracuse university, in 1870, he has been one of the trustees and the first vice-president of the board. Judge Comstock was also the founder of St. John's school for boys at Manlius. The institution was incorporated in 1869, but necessary changes were made in its plan and $60,000 was presented to it by Judge Comstock. Judge Comstock was a member of St. Paul's Protestant Episcopal church; and one of the trustees of the State Institute for Feeble Minded Children, appointed by the Governor. He was for many years connected with various financial and business enterprises. In 1868 he was one of the incorporators of the Chenango & New York railroad, and became a director of the company.
Judge Comstock invested largely in the salt interest. He originated and was president of the American Dairy Salt company, and teasurer of the Union and Western Coarse Salt companies. He was a director of the Syracuse Gas company, also of the old Water company and of various manufacturing corporations. The Judge enjoyed the universal repute of a learned jurist, a true gentelman and a friend of mankind.
Judge Comstock, in 1839, married Cornelia, daughter of his friend and law partner, B. Davis Noxon, and a son and daughter are the fruits of this union.

Family Members




  • Maintained by: Robert Fickies
  • Originally Created by: Taryn DiTomasso
  • Added: 20 Aug 2010
  • Find A Grave Memorial 57369182
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for George Franklin Comstock, Sr (24 Aug 1811–27 Sep 1892), Find A Grave Memorial no. 57369182, citing Oakwood Cemetery, Syracuse, Onondaga County, New York, USA ; Maintained by Robert Fickies (contributor 46492489) .