Pease, Calvin, 1776-1839

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Lawyer, legislator and judge, of Ohio. He served as judge of the Third Circuit, Court of Common Pleas (1803-10), and justice of the Ohio Supreme Court (1816-30).

From the description of Papers, 1798-1841. (Rhinelander District Library). WorldCat record id: 22419748

Calvin Pease was a lawyer, legislator and judge, of Warren, Trumbull County, Ohio, in the Connecticut Western Reserve. Pease came to the Western Reserve from Connecticut in 1800. He was admitted to the bar and was appointed the first clerk of the court of quarter sessions, a position he held until 1803. He served as judge of the Third Circuit, Court of Common Pleas (1803-10), and justice of the Ohio Supreme Court (1816-30). Pease also served as a tax collector, primarily in Trumbull County, from 1801-1819. He served in the Ohio state legislature from Trumbull County, and also was the official agent for the U.S. postmaster-general in northeastern Ohio. He was a delegate to the canal convention meeting in Warren in 1833. Pease continued the private practice of law until his death at Warren in 1839.

From the description of Calvin Pease papers, series II, 1817-1837. (Rhinelander District Library). WorldCat record id: 43963395

Calvin Pease was born in Canaan, Conn., on August 12, 1813, the fifth child in a family that claimed New England Puritan ancestry. Pease was raised as the middle child in a flock of nine sons and one daughter. His mother was the daughter of Dr. Thomas Huntington, his father, Salmon, was a farmer. In 1826, the family moved to Charlotte, Vt., where Pease worked on his father's farm and attended the common school before enrolling in the Hinesburg Academy in 1832. In the following year, he entered the University of Vermont and under the sway of the religious enthusiasm of the Second Great Awakening, pursued a course in theology. He was a distinguished scholar, standing first in his class at the time of his graduation in 1838. In 1851, Pease was licensed to preach by the Winooski Association of Congregational Ministers and embarked on a ministerial career characterized by an adherence to Calvinistic orthodoxy.

For four years following his graduation from the University of Vermont, Pease acted as principal of an academy in the state capital of Montpelier. While there, he met Martha Howes (1823-1903), and one year after he was elected to the Professorship of Greek and Latin languages at the University of Vermont (1842), the couple were married.

A brilliant philologist, Pease became well known for conscientious linguistic accuracy in his instruction. He was awarded a Doctor of Divinity from Middlebury College in 1855, and the next year he was selected as president of the University of Vermont -- the first alumnus and first University of Vermont professor to rise to the office. Throughout his tenure, Pease emphasized the merits of the classical curriculum, and as a member of the State Board of Education and President of the Vermont Teachers' Association, he took an active role in shaping state educational policy. Amid all this activity, he continued with an active scholarly career, regularly contributing to the Bibliotheca Sacra and publishing a large number of works, including The Import and Value of the Popular Lecturing of the Day (1842) and The Idea of the New England College and its power of culture (1856). He often preached in the college chapel, publishing several of his sermons, and his close interest in the personal welfare of each student made him one of the University's most revered presidents.

Calvin Pease labored to place the University on a firmer financial standing, and he guided it successfully through the monetary crisis of 1857-1858. With the onset of the Civil War, the University entered its most serious economic crisis due to a drastic reduction in enrollment. The roster of graduates shrank from 25 in 1861 to only 3 in 1866. At least 190 University students and alumni served in the Civil War, the greatest number (16) with the 1st Vermont Cavalry. The 1st Vermont fought in 75 battles and skirmishes, and lost 392 men out of 2,304 who passed through its ranks. In 1861, poor health and disputes over the curriculum led Pease to resign the presidency of the University and to accept the pastorship of the First Presbyterian Church of Rochester, N.Y. (1861-63).

A committed abolitionist, his first mention of slavery was in a sermon on April 4, 1850, when he delivered a stinging denunciation of the Fugitive Slave Act. Other recurring themes in his sermons were temperance, the duties of Christian citizens to state and nation, the unconditional authority of the Bible, and the attainment of personal holiness in this life. Pease died of dysentery in Burlington on September 17, 1863.

From the guide to the Calvin Pease papers, Pease, Calvin paperss, 1839-1863, (William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan)

Calvin Pease (1776-1839), although perhaps not as well known as his brother Seth Pease, one of the surveyors with the Moses Cleaveland expedition, nonetheless pursued a career worthy of interest on its own merits. In one respect, Calvin Pease's life is the more significant of the two for historians of northeast Ohio, for unlike Seth Pease, who eventually returned to Connecticut, Calvin Pease remained in the Western Reserve from the time of his arrival in 1800 until his death in 1839. In the course of these forty years, he became a well-known figure in Ohio's first courtrooms as both a lawyer and judge, eventually sitting on the bench of the Ohio state supreme court.

Calvin Pease was born in Suffield, Connecticut, on September 9, 1776. There is some question as to whether or not he attended college, but it is known that he studied law with Gideon Granger, who was to become postmaster-general of the United States under President Jefferson. Pease's association with Granger, who, incidentally, married Pease's sister, was to last throughout a lifetime. In 1798 Pease was admitted to the Connecticut bar and began practice in New Hartford. In 1800 he migrated west to the Western Reserve and settled in Warren, Ohio. He was admitted to the bar and in the same year was appointed the first clerk of the court of quarter sessions, which position he held until 1803. Now twenty-six years of age, he was elected president-judge of the court of common pleas of the third circuit by the legislature. He continued in this capacity for seven years, resigning in 1810 to resume the practice of law. Pease served as an agent in numerous financial transactions contemporaneously with his various other pursuits throughout his adult life, and collected taxes between 1801 and 1819, primarily in Trumbull County.

In 1812 he began a term in the Ohio legislature as a state senator. Also beginning at this time, he served for three years as the official agent for the postmaster-general, Granger, and oversaw the operations of the postal service in the northeastern Ohio region. In 1816, Pease was elevated to the bench of the Ohio Supreme Court, where he sat for two seven-year terms. At one point, he and another justice, George Tod, had impeachment proceedings unsuccessfully brought against them in the state senate. The charges resulted from the Supreme Court's reversal of a lower court decision, on the grounds that laws enacted by the legislature were invalid when in conflict with the state constitution.

Pease retired from the judiciary in 1830 to again resume private practice. He was elected to the state legislature from Trumbull County in the following year, serving one term and then declining re-election. He was a delegate to the canal convention which met at Warren, Ohio, in November 1833 for the purpose of considering the construction of a canal to connect the already extant Ohio and Pennsylvania Canals, and was appointed to the convention's secretary. Pease continued the private practice of law until his death at Warren on September 17, 1839.

During his forty years in the Western Reserve, Pease had a number of occupations, some of which he pursued simultaneously, and some of which he abandoned after a certain number of years only to resume at a later time. His personal accounts, in which purchases of large quantities of tea, silk, and brandy are recorded, present a picture of needs more than amply satisfied, especially as seen against the rather grim background of widespread scarcity in the Western Reserve in its early years. Though reputed in his lifetime as a great wit and practical joker, his own sense of the dignity and importance of his station was also impressed upon contemporary observers, and it is evident that he lived in a manner commensurate with this sense.

View the Encyclopedia of Cleveland History entry for Seth Pease (brother of Calvin Pease)

From the guide to the Calvin Pease Papers, 1798-1841, (Western Reserve Historical Society)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
creatorOf Whittlesey, Elisha, 1783-1863. Papers, 1811-1863. Western Reserve Historical Society, Research Library
creatorOf Skinner, Abraham, 1755-1826. Papers, 1786-1857 / [Abraham Skinner, et al.]. Western Reserve Historical Society, Research Library
creatorOf Calvin Pease Papers, 1798-1841 Western Reserve Historical Society
creatorOf Walworth family. Walworth family papers, 1774-1884. Western Reserve Historical Society, Research Library
creatorOf Pease, Calvin, 1776-1839. Calvin Pease papers, series II, 1817-1837. Western Reserve Historical Society, Research Library
creatorOf Tiffin, Edward, 1766-1829. Papers, 1779-1827, 1888, 1964. Library of Congress
creatorOf Pease, Calvin, 1776-1839. Papers, 1798-1841. Western Reserve Historical Society, Research Library
creatorOf Calvin Pease papers 1839-1863 Pease, Calvin paperss William L. Clements Library
creatorOf Huntington, Samuel, 1765-1817. Samuel Huntington correspondence, 1801-1817 [microform]. Western Reserve Historical Society, Research Library
creatorOf Walworth family. Walworth family papers, 1774-1884 [microform]. Western Reserve Historical Society, Research Library
creatorOf Huntington, Samuel, 1765-1817. Correspondence, 1801-1817. Western Reserve Historical Society, Research Library
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith Angell, James Burrill, 1829-1916 person
associatedWith Atkins, Quintus Flaminius, 1782-1859. person
associatedWith Commercial Bank of Lake Erie (Cleveland, Ohio) corporateBody
associatedWith Giddings, Joshua R. (Joshua Reed), 1795-1864. person
associatedWith Granger, Gideon, 1767-1822. person
associatedWith Huntington, Samuel, 1765-1817. person
associatedWith Marsh, James, 1794-1842 person
associatedWith Ohio. Supreme Court. corporateBody
associatedWith Pease, Royal. person
associatedWith Pennsylvania and Ohio Canal. corporateBody
associatedWith Perkins, Simon, 1771-1844. person
associatedWith Phelps, Oliver, 1749-1809. person
associatedWith Skinner, Abraham, 1755-1826. person
associatedWith Tiffin, Edward, 1766-1829. person
associatedWith University of Vermont. corporateBody
associatedWith Walworth family. family
associatedWith Walworth family. family
associatedWith Warren Convention 1833 : Warren, Ohio) corporateBody
associatedWith Warren Library Company (Warren, Ohio). corporateBody
associatedWith Western Reserve Bank of Warren, Ohio. corporateBody
associatedWith Western Reserve Bank of Warren, Ohio. corporateBody
associatedWith Whiting, Elisha. person
associatedWith Whittlesey, Elisha, 1783-1863. person
Place Name Admin Code Country
Ohio--Warren
Ohio--Cleveland
Ohio--Western Reserve
Trumbull County (Ohio)
Ohio
Ohio--Western Reserve
Trumbull County (Ohio)
Ohio
Ohio--Trumbull County
Western Reserve (Ohio)
Western Reserve (Ohio)
Subject
Pease, Calvin, 1776-1839
Pennsylvania and Ohio Canal
Postal service
Postal service
Real property
Real property
Real property tax
Real property tax
Sermons
Temperance
Trumbull County (Ohio)
Western Reserve Bank of Warren, Ohio
Western Reserve (Ohio)
Banks and banking
Banks and banking
Banks and banking
Banks and banking
Conduct of life
Court records
Court records
Deeds
Deeds
Judges
Judges
Judges
Lawyers
Lawyers
Lawyers
Occupation
Activity

Person

Birth 1776-09-09

Death 1839-09-17

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