Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography/Hawley, William Merrill

HAWLEY, William Merrill, lawyer, b. in Delaware county, N. Y., 23 Aug., 1802: d. in Hornellsville, N. Y., 9 Feb., 1869. His father, one of the earliest settlers in western New York, was a farmer, and unable to give his children a classical education. William went to the common school, and at the age of twenty-one removed to Almond, Alleghany co., where he cleared a piece of land for tillage. In the spring of 1824 he was elected constable, and began the study of law to assist him in this office. He was admitted to the bar in 1826, removed to Hornellsville the next year, and practised his profession until his appointment in 1846 as first judge of Steuben county. He served in the state senate, was a delegate to the Democratic national convention of 22 May, 1848, which met in Baltimore, and was identified with the "Free-soil radical delegation," which culminated in the National convention of 9 Aug., 1848, held in Buffalo, N. Y., in which Martin Van Buren was nominated for the presidency. Judge Hawley was one of the committee appointed to introduce the resolutions the essential elements of which were afterward adopted by the Republican party. After his retirement from the state senate he did not again enter public life, but, devoting himself to his profession, acquired a large fortune, and practised until a short time before his death.