Nick Name: Old Bacon Face, the Demosthenes of Maryland
Birthday: April 17, 1741
Died At Age: 70
Sun Sign: Aries
Born Country: United States
Born in: Somerset County
Famous as: Former Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States
political ideology: Federalist
Spouse/Ex-: Hannah Kitty Giles, Ann Baldwin (1762-death)
father: Thomas Chase
mother: Matilda Walker
children: Ann Chase, Elizabeth Chase Dugan Cole, Fanny Chase, Mary Chase Barney, Nancy Chase, Thomas Chase, Thomas Chase 2
Died on: June 19, 1811
place of death: Baltimore
education: Washington College
Who was Samuel Chase?
Samuel Chase was an Associate Justice, who played an important role in the ‘US Supreme Court.’ Chase was an eminent part of the court and was involved in a number of decisions. He was one of the few judges to be impeached in view of injustice. However, he was successful in removing the charges levied against him, thereby resuming his post. He held the position of Associate Justice from January 27, 1796, to June 19, 1811. Chase also played a remarkable role in the ‘US Declaration of Independence,’ where he represented Maryland. Chase was born near Princess Anne, Maryland, where he spent the early days of his childhood. Chase was part of the ‘Maryland General Assembly’ from 1764 to 1784. He was also a member of the ‘Continental Congress’ from 1774 to 1778 and again from 1784 to 1785. Chase sealed the ‘Declaration of Independence’ as part of the ‘Continental Congress.’ He worked as a judge in the Baltimore criminal court. Thereafter, he also worked as a chief judge and served in the ‘Maryland General Court’ from 1791 to 1796. Later, he was appointed to the ‘Supreme Court’ by President George Washington.
Childhood & Early Life
Samuel Chase was born on April 17, 1741, near Princess Anne, Maryland, US. He was the only child of Thomas Chase and Matilda Walker. A clergyman by profession, Thomas migrated to Somerset County in Maryland, where he worked as a priest. Chase's mother passed away at the time of his birth.
As a child, Chase was homeschooled. His family shifted to Baltimore in 1744, where he spent most of his childhood.
At the age of 18, he left for Annapolis. Chase studied law from 1759 to 1763. He was guided by attorney John Hall.
Chase later started his own law practice. After being admitted to the bar, he became known as “Old Bacon Face.”
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Chase started his law practice in Annapolis. From 1759 to 1763, he worked under the guidance of attorney John Hall. He was admitted to the bar in 1763. He had a successful career in Annapolis and was also a distinguished face in colonial politics.
In 1764, Chase represented Maryland legislature's lower house. By 1770, he was already an established legislator and was popularly known as “Maryland Demosthenes,” named after the Greek statesman.
During his career, Chase represented Maryland in the ‘Continental Congress,’ from 1744 to 1778 and from 1784 to 1785. In 1778, he served around 30 committees in an effort to attain independence from Britain. As part of his efforts, he also advocated boycotting Britain and denouncing those who opposed his policies and opinions.
In 1776, he visited Montreal with Benjamin Franklin and Charles Caroll to coax Canada into joining American colonies in the battle against England. However, his attempts were futile. Later, in the same year, he signed the ‘Declaration of Independence.’ He also worked toward its acceptance in Maryland. He helped draft the ‘Maryland Constitution’ in 1776.
Chase served in the ‘Maryland House of Delegates’ between 1777 and 1788.
At the time when the ‘US Constitution’ was presented to the ‘Maryland Convention’ for authorization, Chase was in the minority of delegates. He promptly opposed the constitution by stating that it handed more power to the central government. At the time, Chase believed that the US government did not care about the common man and that it was completely biased and ignored the freedom of the press. Chase's rejection of the constitution resulted in him losing the state legislature seat in the year 1788. It was a low point in his career.
In 1778, Chase was thrown out of the ‘Continental Congress’ for a period of 2 years, on the charges of trying to influence the flour trade.
In 1791, Chase was appointed as the chief justice of the ‘Maryland General Court,’ where he faced several unsuccessful attempts of being taken down. Later, on January 26, 1796, he was appointed to the ‘Supreme Court’ by the then-president, George Washington, who was quite impressed with Chase's skills, zeal, work, and commitment.
Chase took his seat in the court on February 4, 1796. During his career, Chase faced many controversies. However, he managed to cut through them and stick to his seat in the court. He also faced an impeachment but was acquitted by the Senate and served in the office till his death.
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During his last years, his work took a hit due to his deteriorating health, following which Justice Marshall temporarily assumed Chase's position in the court.
Chase had many ups and downs in his career, regardless of which he survived all odds and made his way up the ladder to become the Associate Justice of the ‘United States Supreme Court.’ He signed the ‘Declaration of Independence’ as a representative of Maryland. He is remembered as the only justice of the ‘Supreme Court’ to have faced impeachment.
During the ups and downs of his career, Chase also started the construction of his house in 1769. It came to be known as the ‘Chase–Lloyd House.’ However, he sold it in 1771. It is presently a ‘National Historic Landmark’ (NHL). Chase also co-founded the Anne Arundel County's ‘Sons of Liberty’ chapter, along with his close friend William Paca.
Chase was a devoted revolutionary patriot who opposed the ‘Stamp Act’ of 1765 that imposed a direct tax on the British colonies in America and made it mandatory for the colonies to use stamped paper manufactured in Britain.
Awards & Achievements
Chase played an important part in the foundation of a new nation and the signing of the ‘Declaration of Independence.’ In 1774, at the time when Great Britain was caught up in turmoil, Chase worked as a delegate in the ‘Continental Congress,’ representing Maryland.
At the time, Chase embarked on a mission to Canada to make allies and stir a revolution. However, he failed to convince Canada to join the revolution, and the colonies were forced to form a ‘Declaration of Independence’ from Great Britain. At first, Chase refused to sign the declaration. However, he was ordered to sign the declaration and participate in the convention, thus forming a new nation.
Family & Personal Life
Chase married Ann Baldwin, the daughter of Thomas and Agnes Baldwin, in May 1762. The couple had seven children, three sons and four daughters, of which only four survived. Ann died in 1776.
In 1784, Chase got married to Hannah Kilty, daughter of a Berkshire-based physician, while in England for a business deal. They had two daughters: Hannah and Elisa.
Chase breathed his last in Washington, DC, where he died of a heart attack on June 19, 1811. He was cremated in Baltimore's ‘Old Saint Paul's’ cemetery.