Isaac McConihe
Isaac McConihe

Information on this page is from History of Rensselaer Co., New York by Nathaniel Bartlett Sylvester, published in 1880. It was typed and submitted by Bob McConihe.

HON. ISAAC MCCONIHE, LL.D. His grandfather, John McConihe, removed from Argyleshire, Scotland, to Londonderry, Ireland, in 1678, in order to escape the persecution then waged against the Presbyterians, and his father, John McConihe, emigrated from the latter place in 1751, settling at Merrimac, N.H., where he was born Aug. 22, 1787.

In the year 1812 he graduated at Dartmouth College with the usual honors, and the same year came to Troy and entered as a student in the law office of the late Stephen Ross, whose partner he became on his admission to the bar in 1815. He was a practicing lawyer in his adopted city for more than fifty years, and distinguished for his integrity and ability. Early in his professional career he was appointed master in chancery and elected to the office of police justice.

In 1826 he married Sarah Sophia, daughter of Hezekiah W. and Martha (Dwight) Strong, - a lady of rare intellectual culture, and descended from families of high rank, her father being a graduate of Yale in 1800, and one of the founders of Amherst College.

Mr. McConihe was appointed at different times to many offices of trust and responsibility. In 1828 he was appointed judge of the court of common pleas of Rensselaer County, - the youngest judge who ever sat on that bench; in 1831, county treasurer; in 1832, post-master of Troy, which office he held for ten years in succession, being reappointed by President Jackson, and for the third time by President Van Buren.

At the time of his decease, Nov.1, 1867, he was the oldest bank director in Troy, and the oldest member of the bar of Rensselaer County. For many years he was a railroad director, president of the Troy Lyceum of Natural History, trustee of the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and of the Troy Orphan Asylum, and senior warden of St. Paul's Church (Episcopal). His association with public institutions - benevolent, educational, scientific, literary, and monetary - was very extensive. In his death the National American Association for the Advancement of Science lost a most devoted, keen, patient, and pains-taking adherent and member, while a large number of leading institutions of learning, including the ancient Dartmouth College, realized the departure of a wise counselor.

Judge McConihe's characteristics may be better expressed by quotations from speeches and resolutions of his associates at a meeting of the Rensselaer County bar upon the occasion of his death. Hon. Charles R. Ingalls, chairman, said, - "As a citizen he was true, faithful, and patriotic, and devoted to the best interest of the city and the country. He evinced a deep interest in the religious, educational, and charitable institutions of the city, and was indefatigable in his exertions to promote and advance all such objects. He expended money and devoted his time freely and without reward, save the consciousness that he was doing good. As a friend he was warm-hearted, sincere, reliable, and unselfish, ever untiring in his efforts to serve those who had his confidence and esteem."

"Resolved, That in the death of the Honorable Isaac McConihe we have lost an eminent lawyer, whose powerful mind was richly stored with legal knowledge which rendered him a safe and judicious counselor; that in prosecution of his professional duties he brought to the aid of his clients extraordinary abilities, a sound judgment, and untiring industry, and all regulated by a conscientious and high minded love of right and justice which won our admiration and commanded our esteem; that as a classical scholar he was erudite and brilliant; that in the promotion of general literature he was active and indefatigable, and that his connection with various institutions of learning throughout the country was as useful to them as honorable to him; that as a public man and private citizen he was kind, courteous, and amiable; that in all the varied relations of life, as our professional brother, as friend, as companion, as a politician, as a husband and father, and as a Christian gentleman, we have seen in his honest purpose and integrity of conduct much to admire and nothing to condemn."

His children are, Thomas Jefferson McConihe (deceased); Mrs. William M. Mallory, of Corning, N.Y. (deceased); Col. Isaac McConihe, ex-mayor of Troy; Maj. William McConihe; Gen. John McConihe, graduate of Union College and of Albany Law School, killed in the battle of Cold Harbor, Va., June 1, 1864; Gen. Samuel McConihe, of the regular army, United States; Thornton McConihe, lawyer (deceased); Alexander Douglass McConihe; Philander Wells McConihe; Mary C. (deceased); and Alonzo McConihe.

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