Courts in the Classroom
Supreme Court of Indiana
Division of State Court Administration
30 S. Meridian Street, Ste 500
Indianapolis, IN 46204
Dr. Elizabeth R. Osborn
Court History and
Public Education Programs
History Project Award
from the National Council
on Public History
Justice Dewey was born March 6, 1784, in Sheffield, Massachusetts, and
died April 25, 1862, in Charlestown, Indiana.127
He graduated from Williams College with high honors and received an honorary LL.D. from Indiana University in 1844.128 He studied and practiced law in Massachusetts before coming to Indiana at age thirty-two.129 He held many public offices, including Indiana State Representative from 1821 to 1822, U.S. District Attorney for Indiana from 1825 to 1829, Second Circuit Prosecuting Attorney from 1833 to 1836, and Indiana Supreme Court Justice from 1836 to 1847.130 He ran twice unsuccessfully for both the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate.131 He was a trustee for Indiana University in 1820.132 In an era of state history when one would expect to find rough and rugged characters, Charles Dewey did not disappoint. Even in middle age, he was fond of wrestling and would engage his opponents in brawls.133 As a lawyer, he was not discreet in his displeasure with judges.134 On one occasion when he was displeased with the ruling of a court, he lost his patience, and after a verbal lashing, entreated the court with, "Now, damn you, fine me; send me to jail, too; you ought to if you have any respect for
127. 1 MONKS, supra note 25, at 198, 200.
128. MYERS, supra note 60, at 104.
129. WILLIAM W. WOOLEN, BIOGRAPHICAL AND HISTORICAL SKETCHES OF EARLY INDIANA 360 (Indianapolis, Hammond & Co. 1883).
130. 1 BIOGRAPHICAL DIRECTORY, supra note 55, at 100; but see 1 MONKS, supra note 25, at 199 (listing service as U.S. District Attorney from 1821 to 1829).
131. 1 BIOGRAPHICAL DIRECTORY, supra note 55, at 100.
132. 1 id.
133. 1 MONKS, supra note 25, at 200.
134. 1 id.
135. 1 id.
Source: Browning, Minde C., Richard Humphrey, and Bruce Kleinschmidt. "Biographical Sketches of Indiana Supreme Court Justices." Indiana Law Review: Vol. 30, No. 1, 1997. View this source in PDF format.