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Stephen J. Field


Date Party Office Votes Result
10-07-1850 Democratic AD-14 0 Win

Candidate Biography:

Born: November 4, 1816 in Haddam, Connecticut
Married: Sue Swearingen (m. 1859)
Family: Brother of Jonathan Field (President of the Massachusetts State Senate, 1863-1865), Uncle of Anita Whitney
Died: April 9, 1899 in Washington, DC

1850: Alcalde of Marysville
1857-1859: Justice, California Supreme Court
1859-1863: Chief Justice, California Supreme Court
1863-1897: Associate Justice, United States Supreme Court

  • LEGISLATION: Author of the California Pratice Act (1851), which later became the Code of Civil Procedure, establishing a judicial system for the state.
  • At the time of his departure from the US Supreme Court, Field was the longest serving Associate Justice in Court history. Currently, only one Justice has served longer than him; William O. Douglas (who served from 1939 to 1975).
  • Former California Supreme Court Justice David Terry tried to kill Justice Field. Field's bodyguard shot and killed Terry. Terry had previously killed US Senator David C. Broderick in a duel in 1859.
  • A series of contentious legal battles with Judge William R. Turner of California's Eighth Judicial District ended with Turner calling Field a "perjured scoundrel", ordered Field disbarred, and threatening to cut off his ears. In response, Field asked a friend to communicate the following to Turner: "Tell him from me, that I do not want any collision with him; that I desire to avoid all personal difficulties with him; but that I shall not attempt to avoid him; that I shall not cross the street on his account, nor go a step out of my way for him; that I have heard of his threats, and that if he attacks me or comes at me in a threatening manner I will kill him."
  • The author of this website feels that this individual is one of the greatest people to ever serve in the California Legislature.

Source: California's Stately Hall of Fame by Rockwell D. Hunt (1950)
Source: Personal Reminiscences of Early Days in California by Stephen J. Field (1893)