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Sanford Moon Green (1807-1901)
Political Biography.

Biography 1892. (Added May 2008)

Portrait & Biographical Record of Saginaw and Bay Counties, Michigan
Chicago Biographic Published Co., 1892 (Page 569)


Since 1867 Bay City has been the place of residence of Judge Green, who has figured as the presiding spirit in the Supreme Court of the State. Our subject was born in Grafton Township, Rensselaer County, N. Y., May 30, 1807. Possibly the fact that he was born under the Democratic administration of Thomas Jefferson, rules the trend of his own political preference, for he has taken a prominent stand in the policy of that party since reaching his majority. Judge Green is a son of William and Nancy (Wright) Green, from old Rhode Island stock, and who were a family of farmers.

Our subject remained with his parents, and with them went to Oneida County when eight years old. Until sixteen years of age he had worked acquiring even the rudiments of an education, but at that time he made an arrangement to purchase his time of his father for $40, which he afterward earned paid. When in this way his own man, he began working independently, and studied under a private teacher, continuing for the most part on a farm until nineteen years of age, when he began teaching during the winters and working on the farm during the summer until 1826. This was at a time when our greatest statesmen were beginning to shine in all the lustre of their brilliant intellects, and stirred with a desire to distinguished himself in a legal direction, the young man began reading law with Mr. Lansing, then with George T. Sherman and for a period with Judge Ford, and then with Messrs. Sterling & Bronson, of Watertown, N. Y., with whom he remained three years, and was admitted to practice at the bar in 1832, having allowed two years for classical study and five years in the law office, it being required that the applicant for admission to the bar should show seven years' reading.

Our subject began his practice by opening an independent office in Brownville, where he remained until 1835, when he went to Rochester, N. Y., and in the spring of 1837 came to Michigan, first locating in Owosso, and at once was numbered among the enterprising pioneers of the town. He remained there helping on with the organization of various municipal branches and interests until the winter of 1842, having been elected State Senator that fall. During the session of 1843-44 Judge Green had been a member of the Judiciary Committee and also of other important committees, during which time a provision was made for revising the statutes of the State. The commission to do this work was appointed by the judges of the Supreme Court and the Chancellor. Judge Green received the compliment of the appointment and was required to report at the session of 1846, thus being granted eighteen months in which to prepare and revise the work. The statutes as revised by him were voted on and adopted by the session of 1846, going into effect in March, 1847.

The original of our sketch was re-elected to the senate in the fall of 1845, and served during the session of 1846-47. On the expiration of his legislative connection he returned to Pontiac, which he has made his home from the time of his first election. He formed a partnership with Lieut.-Gov. Richardson and continued to practice law with him until the spring of 1844. On the dissolution of this partnership our subject, whose press of business was so great that he could not care for it alone, formed a partnership with Gen. H. L. Stevens, with who he had formerly been a partner in Rochester, N. Y. This partnership lasted until 1848. March 14, 1848, Mr. Green was appointed by Gov. Ransom, and the appointment was confirmed by the Senate, to the office of Judge of the Supreme Court, being assigned to the Fourth District for holding courts. He served in that position until January 1, 1858, when the present Supreme Court was organized. From 1858 until 1867 the Hon. Mr. Green was Circuit Judge of the then Sixth District, and in the spring of that year, having arrived at the age of sixty years, he resigned his position, anticipating a few years of pleasant practice when he should retire.

Removing to Bay City, Judge Green resumed the practice of law, but his respite from official duties was of brief duration, for five years later he was called upon to fill a vacancy in the Eighteenth Judicial Court, which vacancy was caused by the death of Judge Grier. He presided on the bench for over thirty years, and during that time not the shadow of a suspicion derogatory to his honor clouded his fair name. He has ever been an honest man and an upright judge, and in his advanced years the veneration and respect of the people not only of Bay City but of the State at large, cannot but be gratifying to him, as being a tribute to his best qualities. In 1860 Judge Green published a work on the practice of circuit courts, of which twelve hundred copies were sold. In 1877 he published a treatise on the practice of common law courts in Michigan, putting it forth in two large volumes, and in 1879 he published a treatise on townships and the duties and powers of township officials. In 1882 he published a second edition of this was called for, and ten thousand copies were purchased by the State for the use of its township officials. His latest work is “Crime, its nature, causes, treatment and prevention.” This work was issued from the press of the J. B. Lippincott Company, of Philadelphia, and has met with the success that it deserves.

Judge Green has given up the arduous duties of his profession, and at the present time (1891) employs himself in such congenial work as does not make too heave a drain upon his time and strength. He is Treasurer of the Bay City Manufacturing Company, Limited, which is a stock company. Socially Judge Green was formerly a member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, but when appointed to the bench his duties were so arduous as to necessitate the relinquishment of many of his social relations. He has never been in any sense a politician, although ever striving by example and influence to arouse a greater interest in true statesmanship.

Our subject was married February 12, 1832, to Miss Mary Ann, eldest daughter of Judge Calvin McKnight, who was the Judge of the Court of Common Pleas of Jefferson County, N. Y. From this union five children have been born, of who four still live. They are: Mary Frances, now Mrs. Russell Bishop, of Flint; William C., who is engaged in real estate in Chattanooga, Tenn.; George S., of Chattanooga, and Florence, now the wife of Albert H. Van Etten, of Winnipeg, Manitoba. Mrs. Mary Ann Green died on the 28th of May, 1879, and as a woman of sterling worth and marked intellectual ability she was greatly missed by her friends as well as the members of her family, to whom she was especially endeared for her many personal excellencies.

1901 obituary. (Added Oct., 2008)

The New York Times - Wednesday, August 14, 1901


SANFORD M. GREEN, Judge of the State Supreme Court from 1848 to 1858, died at his home in Bay City, Mich., yesterday, aged ninety-four years. In 1843 Judge Green revised the Michigan State statutes, and his work stands unchanged to-day. Judge Green was a circuit Judge for thirty-four years.

1924: Michigan Political Biography.

Michigan Biographies
Michigan Historical Commission - 1924 (Page 350)


Senator from the Sixth District, 1843-4 and 1846-7;
Justice of the Supreme Court, 1848-57.
Was born in Grafton, N. Y., May 30, 1807,
his ancestors settling in R. I., in 1673.
He received a fair education, became a teacher, and worked alternately at farming and teaching until 1828.
He studied law five years, was admitted, commenced practice first at Brownville, then at Rochester, N. Y., but in 1837 settled at Owosso, Mich., in practice.
He was Prosecuting Attorney of Shiawassee County.
By appointment he made a revision of the laws of the State, known as the Revised Statutes of 1846.
In 1848 he was appointed a Judge of the Supreme Court and assigned to the 4th Circuit to succeed Judge Whipple, and
then to the 3d, in place of Ransom.
He held that position until 1857 when the present Supreme Court was organized.
He continued to act as Circuit Judge until 1867, when he resigned,
removed to Bay City and engaged in practice.
In 1872 he became Judge of the 18th circuit which he held until the close of 1887.
In 1860 he published his well known work, "Practice in the Circuit Court";
in 1866-7 his work in two volumes on practice in the courts of common law jurisdiction; and
in 1879 his work on "Township and the Powers and Duties of Township Officers," of which the State ordered 10,000 copies in 1882.
He died at Bay City, Aug. 13, 1901.

Related Note & Pages

Judge Sanford M. Green

Related Pages:
Weadock, Thomas A.E.
People Referenced
Bishop, Russel
Green, Florence (dau.)
Green, Frances (dau.)
Green, Geo. S. (son)
Green, Mary Ann (dau.)
Green, Wm. (father)
Green, Wm. C. (son)
Grier (Judge)
Jefferson, Thomas
McNight, Calvin Judge (f-inlaw)
McNight, Mary Ann (wife)
Ransom, (Gov., Judge)
Richardson, Lt. Gov.
Sherman, Geo. T.
Stevens, H.L. Gen.
Van Etten, Albert H.
Whipple, (Judge)
Wright, Nancy (mother)
Wright, Wm.
Subjects Referenced
Bay City, MI
Bay City Mft. Co., Ltd
Bay Co., MI
Brownville, NY
Chattanooga, TN
Circuit Judge
Flint, MI
Grafton Twp., NY
J.B. Lippincott Co.
Oneida Co., NY
Owosso, MI
Philadelphia, PA
Pontiac, MI
Rensselar Co., NY
Rochester, NY
Shiawassee Co., MI
State Senator
Sterling & Bronson (law firm)
Supreme Court Justice, MI
Watertown, NY
Winnipeg, Can.
WRITINGS: History As It Was Written Then.