Alfred Conkling – Wikipedia

American judge

Alfred Conkling

Alfred Conkling crop.jpg
In office
August 6, 1852 – August 17, 1853
Appointed by Millard Fillmore
In office
December 14, 1825 – August 25, 1852
Appointed by John Quincy Adams
Preceded by Roger Skinner
Succeeded by Nathan K. Hall
In office
March 4, 1821 – March 3, 1823
Preceded by John Fay
Succeeded by Henry R. Storrs

Alfred Conkling

(1789-10-12)October 12, 1789
Amagansett, New York

Died February 5, 1874(1874-02-05) (aged 84)
Utica, New York
Resting place Forest Hill Cemetery
Utica, New York
Political party Democratic-Republican

Eliza Cockburn

(after )

Children 5, including Frederick, Roscoe
Relatives Alfred Conkling Coxe Sr. (grandson)
Education Union College
read law

Alfred Conkling (October 12, 1789 – February 5, 1874) was a United States representative from New York, a United States district judge of the United States District Court for the Northern District of New York and United States Minister to Mexico.

Early life[edit]

Conkling was born on October 12, 1789, in Amagansett, New York.[1][2] He was the son of Benjamin Conkling and Esther Hand.[3]

He graduated from Union College in 1810 and read law in 1812.[1]

He was admitted to the bar and entered private practice in Johnstown, New York, from 1812 to 1813.[1] He continued private practice in Canajoharie, New York, from 1813 to 1819.[1] He was district attorney for Montgomery County, New York, from 1819 to 1821.[1]

Congressional service[edit]

Conkling was elected as a Democratic-Republican from New York’s 14th congressional district to the United States House of Representatives of the 17th United States Congress, serving from March 4, 1821, to March 3, 1823.[4] Following his departure from Congress, he resumed private practice in Albany, New York, from 1823 to 1825.[1]

Federal judicial service[edit]

Conkling received a recess appointment from President John Quincy Adams on August 27, 1825, to a seat on the United States District Court for the Northern District of New York vacated by Judge Roger Skinner.[1] He was nominated to the same position by President Adams on December 13, 1825.[1] He was confirmed by the United States Senate on December 14, 1825, and received his commission the same day.[1] While on the bench, he moved from Albany to Auburn, New York, in 1839.[4] There were several attempts to impeach him, but they failed. His service terminated on August 25, 1852, due to his resignation.[1]

Later career[edit]

Conkling was United States Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary to Mexico for the United States Department of State from August 6, 1852, to August 17, 1853.[1] He resumed private practice in Omaha, Nebraska, from 1853 to 1861.[1] He was a writer in Rochester and Geneseo, New York, from 1861 to 1872.[1] He was a writer in Utica, New York, from 1872 to 1874.[1]

Personal life[edit]

On May 5, 1812, Conkling was married to Elizabeth “Eliza” Cockburn (1791–1851). Together, they were the parents of five children, including:[5]

  • Margaret Cockburn Conkling (1814–1890), who became an accomplished author, with works such as The American Gentleman’s Guide To Politeness and Fashion,[6]Memoirs of the Mother and Wife of Washington, Isabel; or, Trials of the Heart and a translation of Florian’s History of the Moors of Spain.[7][8]
  • Frederick Augustus Conkling (1816–1891), a United States representative from New York.[9]
  • Aurelian Conkling (1819–1861), who studied law and served as the Clerk of Court for the Northern District of New York in Buffalo until his death in May 1860.[citation needed] He married Harriet Adriana Schermerhorn (1815–1886), a daughter of Commissioner John F. Schermerhorn.[10]
  • Eliza Conkling (1820–1868), who married Reverend Samuel Hanson Coxe, the son of abolitionist minister, author, and educator Samuel Hanson Cox.[citation needed]
  • Roscoe Conkling (1829–1888), a United States Representative and United States Senator from New York.[3]

Conkling died on February 5, 1874, in Utica.[1] He was interred in Forest Hill Cemetery in Utica.[4]

Descendants and legacy[edit]

Conkling’s grandson Alfred Conkling Coxe Sr. also served as United States District Judge in the Northern District of New York, and later a judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit;[5] Coxe’s own son (Conkling’s great-grandson) Alfred Conkling Coxe Jr. was a Judge of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York.[5]

A photograph of Judge Conkling hangs in the courtroom at the United States District Court in Utica, New York.[citation needed]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o Alfred Conkling at the Biographical Directory of Federal Judges, a public domain publication of the Federal Judicial Center.
  2. ^ Genealogies of the State of New York: A Record of the Achievements of Her People in the Making of a Commonwealth and the Founding of a Nation. Lewis Historical Publishing Company. 1915. Retrieved 30 March 2020.
  3. ^ a b Conkling, Alfred Ronald (1889). The Life and Letters of Roscoe Conkling: Orator, Statesman, Advocate. C.L. Webster. p. 5. Retrieved 30 March 2020.
  4. ^ a b c United States Congress. “Alfred Conkling (id: C000679)”. Biographical Directory of the United States Congress.
  5. ^ a b c Cutter, William Richard (1913). Genealogical and Family History of Southern New York and the Hudson River Valley: A Record of the Achievements of Her People in the Making of a Commonwealth and the Building of a Nation … Lewis Historical Publishing Company. p. 57. Retrieved 30 March 2020.
  6. ^ Conkling, Margaret Cockburn (1860). The American Gentleman’s Guide to Politeness and Fashion, Or, Familiar Letters to His Nephews: Containing Rules of Etiquette, Directions for the Formation of Character, Etc., Etc., Illustrated by Sketches Drawn from Life, of the Men and Manners of Our Times. Derby & Jackson. Retrieved 30 March 2020.
  7. ^ Conkling, Margaret Cockburn (1850). Memoirs of the Mother and Wife of Washington. Derby, Miller & Company. Retrieved 30 March 2020.
  8. ^ Brown, John Howard (1900). Lamb’s Biographical Dictionary of the United States. James H. Lamb Company. Retrieved 30 March 2020.
  9. ^ “Frederic Augustus Conkling”. The New York Times. 19 September 1891. Retrieved 23 January 2018.
  10. ^ “NYC Marriage & Death Notices 1843-1856 | New York Society Library”. Retrieved 25 January 2017.