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Wheeler H. Peckham

Lawyer/Reformer

Centurion, 1875–1905

Full Name Wheeler Hazard Peckham

Born 1 January 1833 in Albany, New York

Died 27 September 1905 in New York (Manhattan), New York

Buried Albany Rural Cemetery, Menands, New York

Proposed by Francis F. Marbury, Gilbert M. Speir, and James C. Carter

Elected 3 April 1875 at age forty-two

Century Memorial

Wheeler Hazard Peckham belonged, in civic life, to the church militant, so profound was his belief in a high ideal and so constant was the conflict he waged against its enemies. Born in Albany, seventy-two years since, the son of Justice Rufus W. Peckham of the Court of Appeals, Mr. Peckham came to this city in 1863. His first conspicuous public service was in connection with General Barlow and Messrs. Samuel J. Tilden and Charles O’Conor in the exposure, prosecution, and punishment of the conspirators of the Tweed Ring. He was engaged not only in the civil but in the criminal pursuit of these wretched creatures, whom he regarded as guilty of double treachery toward the community and toward the Democratic party, to the principles of which he was ardently devoted. From that time he was active in politics, but usually on the lines of marked independence of ordinary party discipline. He was for three terms President of the Bar Association of the City of New York, and led in the hot fight against Judge [Isaac H.] Maynard. In 1894 he was nominated to the Supreme Court of the United States, a place he was eminently fitted to fill, but the “advice and consent of the Senate” were withheld in consequence of the opposition of the then Senators from the State of New York, in the exercise of the veto power conferred by the pernicious “courtesy of the Senate.” During the later years of his life Mr. Peckham was very active in reform movements in this city, through the City Club, of which he was President, and in public discussion. Despite his generous contributions in time and labor to public interests, he early gained and steadily maintained a place in the front rank of the bar of this city and of the country. His deepest interest was aroused by any cause that called for courage and independence, and by him the call never passed unheeded.

Edward Cary
1906 Century Association Yearbook