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  Athens Township, Bradford County ~ Biographies

Hon. Edward Herrick

The New England family of Herrick traces its lineage to Henry Herrick, who was born in Leicestershire, England, in 1604, and came to America in 1629. The ancestral seat of the English family is at Bean Manor Park, in the parish of Loughborough. The family patronymic is said to be of Anglo-Danish origin, and belongs primarily to the period of the Danish invasion of England. Henry Herrick joined the American colony organized under royal letters patent issued in 1629 to the company of Massachusetts Bay. His name appears, with that of his wife Edith, "daughter of Hugh Larkin, of Salem, among the thirty members of the first church established at Naumkeag, then Salem, a settlement which divided with Charlestown the colonists who had landed at Cape Ann in June of the same year, in the expedition from England organized under the charter above mentioned.

The American progenitor of the family died in 1671, leaving six sons and one daughter. From Ephraim, the third son of Henry Herrick, in the seventh generation, came the subject of this sketch. A brief tabulation of this descent is given as follows:

   (1) Henry, of Leicestershire and Salem, born August 16, 1604, died 1671.
  (2) Ephraim, of Beverly (formerly Salem), born February 11, 1638, died September 8, 1693.
  (3) Stephen, of Beverly, born March 15, 1670, died (about) 1730.
  (4) Edward, of Preston, Conn., born October 16, 1695, died January 9, 1735.
  (5) Rums, of Dutchess Co., N. Y., born March 13, 1734, died January 28, 1811.
  (6) Samuel, of Amenia, N. Y., born February 23, 1757, died May 24, 1824.

Edward Herrick was born at Amenia, in Dutchess County, New York, October 26, 1787. His father, Samuel Herrick, was a merchant and farmer living on a tract of land in Amenia called the "Oblong." His grandfather held a captain's commission in the Provincial Army of New York State, and retired from the service with the rank of colonel. He was present at the assault on Ticonderoga, in April, 1775. His first commission was issued in 1775, and his name appears on the muster-roll of the Fourth or Dutchess county regiment as captain, under date of the 30th of June of that year.

Samuel Herrick, the father of Edward Herrick, served as clerk or orderly to Colonel Rufus Herrick, and at the close of his term of service retired to the " Oblong'' property, on which had dwelt in turn his own immediate ancestor. The latter married Margaret Per Lee, a daughter of Edmund Per Lee, of Amenia, born in London, England, of Huguenot parents, who had fled from France to escape persecution on the revocation of the Edict of Nantes. Of this union there were ten children, Edward Herrick being the fifth son.

Edward Herrick was placed early in life under the tuition of Rev. John Barnet, a clergyman of note, residing in Dutchess County, New York. After remaining .several years under the tuition of Mr. Barnet, he entered, December 6, 1804, at the age of seventeen, as student-at-law, the office of his cousin. Gen. John Brush, at Poughkeepsie. Here he remained a year and a half, and in June, 1806, started for the State of Ohio. On his way thither he paid a visit to his brother Walter, second son of Samuel Herrick, who had engaged in mercantile pursuits at Tioga Point, Pennsylvania. At Zanesville, Ohio, the eldest brother, Samuel, was engaged in the profession of law. He remained as a student in the office of the latter about a year, and from thence proceeded to Chillicothe, where he continued his legal studies until admitted to the bar from the office of his cousin, Henry Brush, Esq., August 8, 1808, being then some months under age. He immediately entered upon the practice of the law in Newark, in the county of Licking, and rode the circuit of the counties of Muskingum, Guernsey, Licking, Knox, and Tuscarawas. In 1810 he was appointed district attorney for the three last-named counties.

In 1812, on his return to Ohio, after a short sojourn in Athens (induced by the condition of his wife's health), the last war with England having broken out, Mr. Herrick was commissioned colonel of a militia regiment, and in the same year was elected to the Ohio legislature from the county of Licking, while still under the age required by law to qualify him for the office. In December, 1812, he took his seat in the Ohio legislature, and soon after signalized his advent to the place by introducing a resolution which proposed to organize the legislative body into a battalion for home defense. This resolution failing, he remained in his seat until the adjournment of the legislature, and then became engaged in the occupations incident to his military office.

At this time (1813) the northern border of Ohio was the field of active military operations. Mackinaw had been taken, Hull had surrendered at Detroit, and the whole peninsula of Michigan was under the enemy's control. The frontier settlements of Ohio were harassed by English and Indian allies, and the defeat of Gen. Winchester had spread consternation throughout the State. The excitement incident to these events determined the people to their own defense, and inspired the militia organizations in which Col. Herrick took part. The seriousness of the situation had prompted his action in the legislature. But the magnitude of the danger brought to the defense of the State the regular troops, and the battle of Lake Erie finally restored the arms and authority of the government.

In the summer of 1813 Col. Herrick returned to Pennsylvania, and took up his residence in Athens. Here he resumed the active practice of the law in Bradford and the adjoining counties. His first appearance professionally is of record in his admission to the Bar of Susquehanna County in August term, 1813. His first residence in Athens was in a log house built by Judge Hollenback, in 1786, which stood on the lot now (1878) occupied by the residence of Cornelius Hunsicker. In July, 1814, Col. Herrick was appointed brigade inspector, by Governor Snyder, of the counties of Lycoming, Potter, McKean, Bradford, and Tioga. In 1818, July 6, he was appointed by Governor Findley, president judge of the thirteenth judicial district, composed of the counties of Bradford, Susquehanna, and Tioga, to which were subsequently added Potter and McKean. He continued on the bench until the last of February, 1839, a period of twenty-one years. Upon the adoption of the new constitution, which limited the judicial tenure, in 1838, Judge Herrick retired from the bench, and was succeeded by Hon. John N. Conyngham. His place in the history of the judicial district of which Bradford County has been a part, is third on the list of the eminent men who have from time to time presided over the business of her courts, his predecessors being John Banister Gibson and Thomas Burnside. In 1836, among the various public duties that had been imposed upon him, Judge Herrick was appointed by President Jackson a. member of the board of visitors to the West Point military academy.

Taking an active interest in public improvements, he was a delegate in 1825 to the canal convention at Harrisburg, and strongly advocated the construction of the North Branch canal. The townships of Herrick in Bradford and Susquehanna counties were named in honor of Judge Herrick, during his occupancy of the bench.

In 1820, Judge Herrick had purchased the villa built by Michael R. Tharp on the bank of the Susquehanna, in Athens, since so well known in that vicinity as his own residence. His retirement from the bench closes Judge Herrick's active professional life; from that period down to his death, which took place on the 7th day of March, 1873, he remained in comparative retirement from public life.

Judge Herrick was married three times: first, November 5, 1810, to Celestia Hopkins, daughter of Dr. Stephen Hopkins, of Athens, who was born March 26, 1792, and died August 28, 1830; second, to Rebecca Ross, daughter of Andrew Ross, Esq., of the District of Columbia, who died April 10, 1854; and third, to Eliza H. Foote, daughter of Judge Foote, of Cooperstown, New York. His children were, Castle Hopkins, born December 10, 1811, married March 2, 1832, Rachel Meade Herrick, daughter of Samuel Herrick, of Zanesville, Ohio, and died September 22, 1865, leaving two sons and one daughter; Edward Curran, born June 22, 1814, married Eliza Tyler, and is yet living; Helen Eliza, born May 19, 1818, married Chauncey N. Shipman, and died August, 1830, leaving one daughter; Andrew Ross, born August 4, 1833, died October 21, 1852, unmarried; Edmond Perlee, born August 20, 1834, living and unmarried; and Robert Ross, born June 8, 1839, died February 12, 1860, unmarried.

Judge Herrick accumulated a handsome independence by the prudent management of his affairs, and the investment of his official salary in the vicinity of the growing village in which he died, where he had passed the largest period of his active life, and, in retirement, had watched for half a century the development of things around him, where he had lived to link the story of primeval days with the last struggle of American independence and the mighty energy of internal war that shook the continent, and called into action all the resources of the most powerful nation on the globe. In peaceful retirement he passed away, his life an example of probity and prudence, of well-appointed talents usefully exerted and fitly rewarded in every station he had been called to fill. His life, prolonged far beyond the common lot of man, covered some of the most remarkable epochs of the world's history, an age of wonder in the progress of invention and development, the spread of civilization, and the progress of events unparalleled in the history of mankind. His faculties remained clear and unclouded unto the end, and all these things it was his lot to have seen.

In person he was above the ordinary stature, graceful in carriage, and in his latter days, as in his youth, a model of comeliness and dignity. His bearing bore always the traces of that peculiar discipline to mind and manners which comes of a temperate habit and the exertion of an intelligent will, animated by an earnest principle, and a benevolent and conscientious .spirit. Of him, with all his worldly honors, his spotless life, and manly virtues, his talents of head and heart, it may be said, as justly as it was ever said of mortal man….

"He bore, without abuse, the grand old name of gentleman."

Athens Township

Bradford County Biographies

© Pennsylvania American History and Genealogy Project
Created May 2014 by Judy White