Henry Wright Strong
Henry Wright Strong

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

HENRY WRIGHT STRONG was bom at Amherst, Mass., Dec. 11, 1810. He was a descendant in the seventh generation from Samuel Strong, of Northampton, Mass., who was a son of Elder John Strong, — noticed in the records of Massachusetts as a resident there in 1637.

Members of this time-honored and old family have been representatives in State and national legislation, advocates of freedom, and soldiers and officers of rank in the war for independence, founders and promoters of educational institutions, and defenders of the Constitution and Union established by the fathers.

His father, Hezekiah Wright Strong, was one of the founders of Amherst College, having taken up bis residence at Amherst in the year 1810, where he practiced law and resided until his death. He was a near relative of Caleb Strong, Governor of Massachusetts.

Henry W. Strong was a member of the first class that took a full course of study and graduated at Amherst College in 1825. (He was then fourteen and a half years of age, and graduated with honors.) Two years afterwards, in 1827, he came to Troy and became a student of the law in the office of the late Judge Isaac McConihe.

In 1830, at the January term, he was admitted to the bar, and immediately opened an office in Troy for the practice of law, where he remained until his death, and where he rapidly rose in his profession and ranked among the most eminent of the Rensselaer County bar. He was connected with the law-firms of Baker & Strong and Strong & Kellogg. Early in life he took a deep interest in politics and was a strong advocate of Democratic principles, his addresses and writings being characterized for that maturity of judgment, soundness of thought, and ripe scholarship, more common to men of riper years. While yet only twenty-five years of age he was appointed recorder of the city of Troy, which honorary position, for one so young, he filled with ability and to the satisfaction of the people for six years. For five years he represented Troy in the State Senate, a part of which time he was chairman of the judiciary committee. In the Constitutional Convention ot 1846 he was one of the secretaries. For one year he was president of the Young Men's Association of Troy, and was one of the founders of that time-honored institution. As a speaker Mr. Strong was ready, dignified, forcible, and earnest; as a writer he was clear, terse, and correct. While a member of the Senate he married Sarah Elizabeth, daughter of Latham Cornell, of Troy. His children are Henry Wright (deceased) and Latham Cornell, a graduate of Union College in 1868, a student of law at Heidelberg, Germany, in 1869, and now a residenf of Tarrytown, N. Y., and already distinguished as a writer and a poet.

The character of Mr. Strong, as it appeared to his associatedof the profession, may be better expressed by quotations from addresses made at a meeting of the Rensselaer County bar, Feb. 29, 1848, the day after his death.

Hon. H. P. Hart was called to the chair, and A. F. Wheeler appointed secretary.

On motion of Hon. Martin I. Townsend, the Chair appointed A. B. Olin, James M. Stevenson, David L, Seymour, Gardiner Stow, and Henry Z. Hayner a committee to prepare resolutions.

"Resolved, That in the death of the Hon. Henry W. Strong the members of this bar are called to mourn the loss of one of its most honored and distinguished members; that his amenity and private worth are well known to those who have had the pleasure of an intimate acquaintance with him. In the public station he has filled, he has been alike faithful and distinguished. His rare qualities as a judge will be long remembered by those who practiced before him. No man had fewer prejudices to combat, or approached any subject for consideration and decision more free from bias. As a senator he was ever watchful, faithful, and industrious, and the legislative halls have rarely echoed to more dignified and effective eloquence than his. All regret— deeply regret— that he has been called thus early away from among us, from the midst of his high hopes and higher usefulness."

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