Abraham Baldwin Olin
Abraham Baldwin Olin

Information on this page is from History of Rensselaer Co., New York by Nathaniel Bartlett Sylvester, published in 1880.

ABRAHAM BALDWIN OLIN was born in Shaftesbury, Vt., on Sept. 21, 1809; fitted for college at the academy, at Williamstown, Mass., under the Rev. Ebenezer Canning, and graduated at Williams College as a member of the class of 1835. He read law with A. G. Whittemore; continued his studies in this city after 1836; was admitted to the bar in 1840, and thereupon formed a copartnership in the law business, in Troy, with his esteemed brother, Job Olin, who died, greatly lamented, in 1854. From 1844 to 1848, Abraham B. Olin was recorder of the city, which position he filled with ability. He was distinguished as an advocate; also for his legal acquirements, and for his devotion to the cause of the persecuted and distressed. On the arrival of Kossuth, on June 3, 1852, the hospitalities of the city were tendered him by Mr. Olin, in the court-house. Among the noted cases in which he took part as a lawyer was the case of Mrs. Robinson (the veiled murderess), who was tried for murder in 1854. On that occasion Mr. Olin appeared, with other eminent lawyers, for the defendant. He was elected to Congress from this congressional district, which was then limited to Rensselaer County, in the fall of 1856, and served in that position for three successive terms, - from March, 1857, to March, 1863. During the first two years of the Rebellion he rendered important services to his country as chairman of the house committee on military affairs. In 1863, on retiring from congressional service, he was appointed a judge of the Supreme Court of the District of Columbia, being one of the four judges designated to that position at the organization of the court. He received his appointment from President Lincoln, and continued to serve in that position until a few months ago, when, at his own request, he was retired, on full pay. In December, 1838, Judge Olin married Miss Mary Danforth, daughter of Keyes Danforth, Esq., of Williamstown. In 1865, Williams College conferred upon him the degree of LL.D. About three years ago Judge Olin was stricken with paralysis, from which he never fully recovered. He died at Washington, D. C., in the year 1879.

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