Erasmus D. Shattuck Biography

        Erasmus D. Shattuck was born at Bakersfield, Vermont, December 31, 1824, spending his childhood and youth on a farm. Fitting himself for college at the academy in his native village, he entered Vermont University at Burlington in 1844, and finished the course within the prescribed four years. During college days he assisted himself by teaching school in the neighborhood. Upon graduating he was employed as assistant in Bakersfield Academy, and in 1849 obtained a situation in the Newman Seminary, within some twenty-five miles of Atlanta, Georgia, and the next year was likewise engaged at Laurel, Maryland. He devoted his leisure to the study of law, and upon his return north in 1851 entered the law office of Parmelee & Fitch of Malone, New York, and finished his preparation for admission to the bar in the office of Abner Benedict of New York City. Being admitted to the bar of New York in 1852, and casting about for a permanent location, he decided upon Oregon, as his field, -- then an almost unknown region. In December of the same year he was married to Miss Sarah A. Armstrong of Fletcher, Vermont.

        The couple made immediate preparation for the journey to their new home, leaving New York January 5, 1852 by steamer via Panama, arriving at Portland February 15, 1853. For about four years after his arrival Mr. Shattuck engaged in teaching, being for a part of the time professor of ancient languages at Tualatin Academy and Pacific University.

        While in Washington County, he served one year as superintendent of public schools, and in 1856 was elected probate judge. That was the beginning of the public life from which he was but little absent. In 1857 he was chosen delegate from Washington County to the constitutional convention of Oregon, and took an active part in framing the constitution of Oregon.After finishing his work at the convention, he located at Portland, forming a partnership with David Logan, at that time a brilliant lawyer and a man of great promise, son of Judge Logan of Illinois. Judge Shattuck entered earnestly upon the practice of his profession, and in 1858 became the choice of Washington and Multnomah Counties as joint representative to the last territorial legislature of Oregon. In 1861 he was appointed United States District Attorney, and held the office about one year. In 1862 he was elected judge of the supreme court and circuit court for the fourth judicial district, and served in that office until November 1867, when he resigned the position. In 1874 he was again elected judge of the supreme and circuit court, and served until the act of 1878 reorganizing the judiciary of the state. In 1886 he was elected judge of the circuit court in the fourth district, a position he held until 1898, when he resigned on account of failing health. Besides these high offices, the Judge served in various minor capacities with honor. He was at one time a member of the Board of School Directors, and was one of the founders of the Public Library in Portland.

        In 1881 he followed a course which might be recommended to half or more of our business men. Finding his health impaired by severe mental labor and confinement at his office, he purchased a farm a little distance from Portland, and for about three years devoted himself to agriculture. The experiment was a complete success, and restored health enabled him to enter again upon public life, and he felt himself able for many years of activity.

       In politics Judge Shattuck passed from the Whig to the Republican party, with which he acted until 1872, when he favored the election of Greeley, and ran as elector on the Independent ticket. Since 1872 he acted for the most part with the Democratic party, but was regarded as an Independent rather than as a partisan.

        Judge Shattuck was one whose career had been marred by no reverses or great misfortunes, who kept up a life of activity, and Whose success in any field he wished to enter was a foregone conclusion.

        Judge Shattuck died in 1900.

Arthur F. Benson's Original Biography Document