Strangers to Us All
Lawyers and Poetry

Aaron Barlow Olmstead

New York

"Aaron Barlow Olmstead was bom on February 4, 1812, in Malta, Saratoga County, N. Y., being the fourth child of a family of thirteen. His father, Zalmon Olmstead, and his mother, Rebecca Barlow, niece of Joel Barlow, author of 'The Columbiad,' were of sturdy Anglo-Saxon lineage . . . . His boyhood was marked with a thirst for knowledge, and in course of time he entered Union College from which he was graduated with honors. Not satisfied with his literary attainments, he became a student in the Troy Polytechnic Institute, graduating from that famous School with distinction. His great proficiency in natural sciene won for him high commendation, and he was chosen Professor of Chemistry in the same institution, succeeding the late Professor Emmonds. Having a natural love for legal study, he at length entered the Yale Law School and fitted himself for the Bar. At his graduation he took high rank among his fellow students. He commenced his practice in Saratoga Springs, where he entered into partnership with the late Hon. William A. Beach. In 1843 he was admitted as attorney in the Supreme Court of New York, and in the same year solicitor in the Court of Chancery. In 1846 he was admitted as counsellor in the latter court, and in 1847 as counsellor in the New York Supreme Coart. IN 1885 he became attorney and solicitor in the United States Supreme Court, and in 1878 he became attorney and solicitor in the United States District of Northern New York,

In the year 1847 he began to practice law in New York City, making his home in Brooklyn, and this he continued to do until 1868, when he was made Deputy Collector in the New York Custom House. In 1867 he returned to Saratoga, where he continued to practice law until his last illness. As a lawyer he was noted for his wise counsel and he was considered one of the best read lawyers at the Bar of his county. During his long life he was ever identified with the Protestant Episcopal Church, of which he was a warden from 1889 until his death in 1889. In 1849 he married Caroline Clement, of Saratoga, who survives him. He also left two daughters and two grandsons. He died on the twentieth of May, 1889." [Annual Report of the American Bar Association 359-360 (1889)]

Research Resources

The New York Historical Society, New York, New York has a collection of Aaron Barlow Olmstead papers that include a "commonplace book" of Olmstead's poems, letters, essays, and misc. writings.