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Willliam Clay Cumming

July 27, 1788
February 18, 1863
Home Town:
Savannah, GA
Later Residences:
Biographical Notes:
William Clay Cumming was born on July 27, 1788 in Savannah Georgia to Thomas Cumming and Ann Clay. Before attending the Litchfield Law School in 1806, he attended and graduated from Princeton in 1805. After fininshing his law studies William served in the War of 1812 as a Major for the 8th US Infantry, and later as a Colonel and one of ten Adjutant Generals from 1814-1815. Throughout his life William was honored by several appointments to political office; all of which he declined. In 1818 he was offered the position of Quartermaster General, in 1822 he declined a US Senatorship offered to him by the Georgia Legislature, and in 1846 he turned down an appointment as Major General by President Polk. William also worked with others to help keep Georgia from joining the South Carolina Nullificaiton ...
"My time is still divided between the study of the Law & the perusal of books on lighter, but more interesting subjects. It is not surprizing that the latter sometimes obtain more than their lawful share. I hope I shall not disappoint your expectations of my professional learning. But I must confess that heretofore I have felt nothing like legal enthusiasm. The pursuit of knowledge seems to be endless from the infinite number, & complication of cases with which we meet & the inelegant, uncouth stile of most Law-writers renders doubly disagreeable what is in itself sufficiently dry." William C. Cumming to his father, Decebmer 28, 1806.

Years at LLS:
Other Education:
Graduated from the College of New Jersey (now Princeton University) in 1805.

Profession / Service
Military; Lawyer

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.
Ledger. "Journals of the Barr - Litchfield County." Litchfield Historical Society.; Catalogue of the Litchfield Law School (Hartford, CT: Press of Case, Tiffany, and Company, 1849), 6.

Litchfield County Bar Association Records, 1806, Litchfield Historical Society, Helga J. Ingraham Memorial Library.

Cumming, Alfred. "Alfred Cumming Papers." Duke University. 1806.
Secondary Sources:
Frederickson, John C., ed., “A Georgia Officer in the War of 1812: The Letters of Colonel William Clay Cumming,” GA History Quarterly, v. 71 (winter, 1987).

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