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Thomas Sowers Aspinwall

March 4, 1793
December 21, 1813
Home Town:
New York, NY
Later Residences:
New York, NY
Biographical Notes:
Thomas Sowers Aspinwall was the grandson of John Aspinwall, a sea captain and merchant born in New York City in 1705 who served as a New York City Alderman in 1735 and was a founder of the New York Society Library. His father, Gilbert Aspinwall, was also a prominent merchant and ship owner, and served as the director of Eagle Fire Insurance in New York. Aspinwall's mother was Ann Sowers, the daughter of Captain Thomas Sowers. Aspinwall attended Columbia College in 1809 and then the Litchfield Law School in 1810. After leaving Litchfield, he studied law with Counselor Slawson in New York.

On December 21, 1813, he died at the age of 20 as "a young man of much promise."
Additional Notes:
In February 1811, former Litchfield Female Academy student Elizabeth S. Wolcott, accused Aspinwall and fellow students William Channing Gibbs and James Gore King of eating her sister Laura Wolcott Gibbs' wedding cake. Elizabeth wrote to her uncle Frederick Wolcott asking him to detain the men in jail and, if necessary, impose a sentence on them for the offense.

The letter is considered an excellent parody of legal procedures being studied at Litchfield Law School and shows the familiarity of young women with legal terminology.

Elizabeth S. Wolcott, NYC
[Uncle] Frederick Wolcott, Litchfield
24 Feb 1811

Dear Uncle,
I sent by Mr. W. Gibbs a small trunk containing pieces of Laura's wedding Cake, directed to Aunt Wolcott Mrs. Reeve & Miss ...

Years at LLS:
Other Education:
Attended Columbia College in 1809.

Profession / Service
Training with Other Lawyers:
After attending the Litchfield Law School Aspinwall studied with Counsellor Slawson in New York.

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.
Ledger, Journals of the Bar - Litchfield County. Litchfield Historical Society.

Bond, William Key. Lectures on law by the Honable. Tapping Reeve and James Gould esquire at Litchfield, Connecticut, An. Dom: 1811 & 1812 Rare Book Collection, Lillian Goldman Law Library, Yale University.

Catalogue of the Litchfield Law School, Hartford, CT: Press of Case, Tiffany and Company, 1849, 9.

Litchfield County Bar Association Records, 1810, Litchfield Historical Society, Helga J. Ingraham Memorial Library.
Secondary Sources:
Aspinwall, Algernon Aikin. The Aspinwall Genealogy. Rutland, CT: The Tuttle Co. Printers, 1901.

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