Levi Woodbury

December 22, 1789
September 4, 1851
Home Town:
Francestown, NH
Later Residences:
Portsmouth, NH
Elizabeth Clapp Woodbury (1819)
Biographical Notes:
Levi Woodbury was a descendant of John Woodbury who emigrated to Cape Ann, MA in 1623. He was the son of Peter and Mary Woodbury. He began his legal practice in Francestown, NH in 1812. He was one of the few New England Republicans in a mostly Federalist area. He gained great popularity for an address he made against President James Madison during the War of 1812. Woodbury consequently gained much fame and political reputation at the young age of twenty-three.

In 1816, the Republicans gained control of the state of New Hampshire. In 1817, Woodbury was appointed Judge of the New Hampshire state court and became known as the "baby" judge as he was the youngest ever appointed judge in the state at the age of only twenty-seven. While serving on the bench, he helped prepare three volumes ...

Years at LLS:
Other Education:
Attended the village school in Francestown, NH and then atended Atkinson Academy to prepare for college. He graduated from Dartmouth College with honors in 1809.

Profession / Service
Lawyer; Political Office
Admitted To Bar:
Francestown, NH in 1812
Training with Other Lawyers:
After completing his studies in Litchfield, CT he studied in Boston, MA with Samuel Dana and Jeremiah Smith.
Political Party:
Jacksonian; Democrat
Federal Posts:
U.S. Senator (NH) 1825-1831, 1841-1845
Secretary of the Navy 1831-1834
Secretary of the Treasury 1834-1841
Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court 1845-1851
Federal Committees:
Chairman of the Committee on Commerce from 1827-1828 and 1829-1830. Chairman of the Committee on Finance in 1945 and 1946.
State Posts:
Judge of the Superior Court (NH) 1816-1823
Governor (NH) 1823-1824
State Representative (NH) 1825
State Committees:
Speaker of the State House of Representatives in 1825. Clerk of the State Senate in 1816.
Local Posts:
Judge (Portsmouth, NH) 1819-1825

Related Objects and Documents
In the Ledger:
help The Citation of Attendance provides primary source documentation of the student’s attendance at the Litchfield Female Academy and/or the Litchfield Law School. If a citation is absent, the student is thought to have attended but currently lacks primary source confirmation.

Records for the schools were sporadic, especially in the formative years of both institutions. If instructors kept comprehensive records for the Litchfield Female Academy or the Litchfield Law School, they do not survive. Researchers and staff have identified students through letters, diaries, family histories and genealogies, and town histories as well as catalogues of students printed in various years. Art and needlework have provided further identification of Female Academy Students, and Litchfield County Bar records document a number of Law School students. The history of both schools and the identification of the students who attended them owe credit to the early 20th century research and documentation efforts of Emily Noyes Vanderpoel and Samuel Fisher, and the late 20th century research and documentation efforts of Lynne Templeton Brickley and the Litchfield Historical Society staff.
Catalogue of Litchfield Law School Hartford, Connecticut: Press of Tiffany, Case and Company, 1849.

Litchfield County Bar Association Records, 1809, Litchfield Historical Society, Helga J. Ingraham Memorial Library.
Secondary Sources:
Bell, Charles H. The Bench and Bar of New Hampshire. Boston: Houghton, Mifflin and Company, 1894.

Brown, Alexander. The Cabells and Their Kin. Boston, MA: Houghton, Mifflin & Co., 1895.

Chapman, Rev. George T. Sketches of the Alumni of Dartmouth College. Cambridge: Riverside Press, 1867.

Cole, Donald B. Jacksonian Democracy in New Hampshire, 1800-1851. Cambridge, Mass.: HUP, 1970.
Friedman, Leon and Fred L. Israel, eds. The Justices of the United States Supreme Court: Their Lives and Major Opinions, Vol. II. NY: Chelsea House Publishers, 1995.

Memorial Biographies of the New England Historic Gealogy Society, Vol. I, 1845-1852. Boston, Mass: Published by the Society, 1880.

Writings of Levi Woodbury, LL.D. Political, Judicial and Literary, 3 Vols., ...

Contact Us

Do you have more information for the Ledger?

If you have family papers, objects, or any other details you would like to share, or if you would like to obtain a copy of an image for publication, please contact us at curator@litchfieldhistoricalsociety.org.