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Ambrose L. Jordan

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Title: Ambrose L. Jordan  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
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Subject: Anti-Rent War, Political party strength in New York, New York Constitution, New York Attorney General, John Van Buren, New York state election, 1847, New York special judicial election, 1847
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Ambrose L. Jordan

Ambrose Latting Jordan (May 5, 1789 Hillsdale, Columbia County, New York - July 16, 1865 New York City) was an American lawyer, newspaper editor and politician.

Early life

Jordan was admitted to the bar in 1812, and practiced law in Cooperstown, New York. He was Surrogate of Otsego County from 1815 to 1818, and District Attorney of Otsego County from 1818 to 1820. In 1820, he removed to Hudson, New York, and took over the Columbia Republican newspaper. From 1821 to 1827, he was Recorder of The City of Hudson.

He was a member of the New York State Assembly (Columbia Co.) in 1825; and a member of the New York State Senate (3rd D.) from 1826 to 1829, sitting in the 49th, 50th and 51st New York State Legislatures. He resigned his seat on January 7, 1829, the second day of the session of the 52nd New York State Legislature.

In February 1837, Jordan was the Whig candidate for U.S. Senator from New York, but was defeated by the incumbent Silas Wright, Jr..

Anti-Rent War trial

In 1845, Jordan was the leading counsel for the defense of some leaders of the Anti-Rent War at their trial for riot, conspiracy and robbery. John Van Buren, the state attorney general, personally conducted the accusation. At the first trial the jury disagreed. At the re-trial, in September 1845, the two leading counsels started a fist-fight in open court, and were both sentenced by the presiding judge, Justice John W. Edmonds, to "solitary confinement in the county jail for 24 hours." Governor Silas Wright refused to accept Van Buren's resignation, and both counsels continued with the case after their release from jail. The defendant, Smith A. Boughton ("Big Thunder"), was sentenced to life imprisonment. At the next state election Governor Wright was defeated by John Young who had the support of the Anti-Renters, and Young pardoned Jordan's client who was released from jail.

Later life

In 1846, Jordan was a member of the New York State Constitutional Convention, and in 1847, as the candidate of the Whigs and Anti-Renters, he was the first New York State Attorney General elected by popular ballot under the provisions of the new Constitution, succeeding his antagonist of the Anti-Renters' trials. He served from January 1, 1848 to December 31, 1849. Afterwards he resumed his private practice.

Jordan was buried at the cemetery in Hudson, New York.


  • [1] Bio
  • [2] Obit in NYT, July 19, 1865
  • [3] History of Columbia County, New York by Captain Franklin Ellis (Everts & Ensign, Philadelphia PA, 1878)
  • [4] List of New York Attorneys General, at Office of the NYSAG (erroneosly giving party affiliation as Democratic)
  • Google Book The New York Civil List compiled by Franklin Benjamin Hough (pages 36f, 379, 416; Weed, Parsons and Co., 1858)
  • [5] An account of the Anti-Rent trial in 1845, in NYT on February 23, 1896
  • [6] List of newspapers from the Gazetteer of the State of New York by J. H. French (published by R. Pearsall Smith, Syracuse NY, 1860, pg. 241f), at usgennet
  • [7] Whig Convention on October 16, 1847, transcribed from Niles' National Register (Vol. 73, September–October 1847, pg 108f) at Vermont History
Preceded by
Charles E. Dudley
New York State Senate
Third District (Class 3)

1826 - 1829
Succeeded by
William Dietz
Legal offices
Preceded by
John Van Buren
New York State Attorney General
1848 - 1849
Succeeded by
Levi S. Chatfield

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