Home / General / Erik Visits an American Grave, Part 50

Erik Visits an American Grave, Part 50


This is the grave of William Paterson.


William Paterson was born in Ireland in 1745. His family immigrated to the American colonies in 1747 and settled in New Jersey. He started at the College of New Jersey (now Princeton) at the age of 14 and was admitted to the bar in 1768. He rose rapidly in New Jersey politics during the American Revolution and was one of the state’s delegates to the Constitutional Convention in 1787. There, he pushed for a unicameral legislature, which helped lead to the compromise that created the United States’ bicameral system. He became a Federalist and was named to the Senate in 1789. He then became the first senator to resign from office in 1790 to become governor of New Jersey. In 1793, George Washington named Paterson to the Supreme Court where he served until his death in 1806. He died near Albany, New York while visiting his daughter, who had married into New York’s powerful Van Rensselaer family.

William Paterson is buried in Albany Rural Cemetery, Menands, New York.

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  • Mark Centz

    Wait, my snark-o-meter is reading zero. Must be broken, Loomis doesn’t do that.

  • Todd

    I like the long form poem that is indirectly named for him

    • DAS

      My university used to be located in Paterson. When they moved out to a fancier suburb, they retconned their name to be named after William Paterson.

  • So, you went to Albany Rural Cemetery and didn’t chose Chester A Arthur to write about?

  • mikeSchilling

    He also wrote a worshipful biography of Robert Heinlein.

  • Brett

    Well, at least his push for a unicameral legislature was smart.

    • rea

      Well, not really–he wanted equal representation for each state, like the Senate.

      • mikeSchilling

        And a three-fifths vote for every camel.

  • Joe_JP

    Wikipedia says his death was work related:

    from the lingering effects of a coach accident suffered in 1803 while on circuit court duty in New Jersey

    So, Erik Loomis is of course interested in him. He’s a footnote in labor history.

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