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
Coordinator for
Court History and
Public Education Programs


Pho: 317.233.8682
elizabeth.osborn@courts.IN.gov

Sarah Kidwell
Outreach Coordinator

Pho: 317.234.3055
sarah.kidwell@courts.IN.gov

NCPH 

Outstanding Public
History Project Award
from the National Council
on Public History

More Awards

Courts in the Classroom > Justice Biographies > Justice John Pettit Justice Biographies

Justice John Pettit

(Twenty-second Justice)

Justice John Pettit

Justice Pettit was born June 24, 1807, in Sackets Harbor, New York, and died June 17, 1877, in Lafayette, Indiana.

He studied law with Judge Potter in Waterloo, New York, and then came to Indiana where he was admitted to the Indiana bar in 1833.439 He served as an Indiana State Representative from 1838 to 1839, as a U.S. District Attorney from 1839 to 1843, and as U.S. Representative from 1843 to 1849.440 In 1853, he was appointed a U.S. Senator to fill the unexpired term of James Whitcomb. He served in that capacity until 1855. He was a member of the 1850-1851 Indiana Constitutional Convention. He served as a judge in Indiana's 12th Circuit in 1855 and 1857. He traveled west to Kansas Territory and served as Chief Justice of the U.S. Courts there from 1859 to 1861.441 Returning to Indiana, he served as Lafayette City Attorney from 1861 to 1865, and as mayor of Lafayette from 1867 to 1870.442 He was elected to the Indiana Supreme Court in 1870. He completed just one term, leaving office in 1877.443



439. 1 BIOGRAPHICAL DIRECTORY, supra note 55, at 313.
440. 1 id.
441. 1 MONKS, supra note 25, at 257.
442. 1 id. at 257-58.
443. 1 id.; 1 BIOGRAPHICAL DIRECTORY, supra note 55, at 313.

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.