Ambrose L. Jordan

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Ambrose L. Jordan
Ambrose L. Jordan (New York Attorney General).jpg
From 1878's History of Otsego County, by Duane H. Hurd
New York State Attorney General
In office
Preceded byJohn Van Buren
Succeeded byLevi S. Chatfield
Member of the New York State Senate
In office
Preceded byCharles E. Dudley
Succeeded byWilliam Dietz
Personal details
Ambrose Latting Jordan

(1789-05-05)May 5, 1789
Hillsdale, New York, U.S.
DiedJuly 16, 1865(1865-07-16) (aged 76)
Cornelia Caroline Philip
(m. 1811; his death 1865)
RelationsAlfred Corning Clark (grandson)

Ambrose Latting Jordan (May 5, 1789 – July 16, 1865) was an American lawyer, newspaper editor and politician.

Early life[edit]

Jordan was born on May 5, 1789 in southwest Hillsdale in Columbia County, New York.[1] He was the son of William Jordan (1751–1833) and Ruth (née Ferris) Jordan (1755–1821).[2] He was named after neighbor and fellow Baptist church member, Ambrose Latting, who "was known for his more militant leanings, joining the 1789 protest against the Van Rensselaer claim and leading the insurgency against the Livingstons in 1798 with Benjamin Birdsall, Jr."[2]

Jordan was admitted to the bar in 1812, and practiced law in Cooperstown, New York.[3]


From 1815 to 1818, he was Surrogate of Otsego County, and from 1818 to 1820, he served as the District Attorney of Otsego County. In 1820, he moved to Hudson, New York, and took over the Columbia Republican newspaper. From 1821 to 1827, he was Recorder of The City of Hudson.[4]

In 1825, he was a member of the New York State Assembly representing Columbia County in the 48th New York State Legislature. From 1826 to 1829, he was a member of the New York State Senate, sitting in the 49th, 50th and 51st New York State Legislatures representing the 3rd District. He resigned his seat on January 7, 1829, the second day of the session of the 52nd New York State Legislature.[4]

In February 1837, Jordan was the Whig candidate for U.S. Senator from New York, but was defeated by the incumbent Silas Wright, Jr.[3]

Anti-Rent War trial[edit]

In 1845, Jordan was the leading counsel for the defense of some leaders of the Anti-Rent War at their trial for riot, conspiracy and robbery. John Van Buren, the state attorney general, personally conducted the accusation.[3]

At the first trial the jury disagreed. At the re-trial, in September 1845, the two leading counsels started a fist-fight in open court, and were both sentenced by the presiding judge, Justice John W. Edmonds, to "solitary confinement in the county jail for 24 hours." Governor Silas Wright refused to accept Van Buren's resignation, and both counsels continued with the case after their release from jail. The defendant, Smith A. Boughton ("Big Thunder"), was sentenced to life imprisonment. At the next state election Governor Wright was defeated by John Young who had the support of the Anti-Renters, and Young pardoned Jordan's client who was released from jail.[5]

Later life[edit]

In 1846, Jordan was a member of the New York State Constitutional Convention, and in 1847, as the candidate of the Whigs and Anti-Renters, he was the first New York State Attorney General elected by popular ballot under the provisions of the new Constitution, succeeding his antagonist of the Anti-Renters' trials.[6] He served from January 1, 1848 to December 31, 1849. Afterwards he resumed his private practice.[7]

Personal life[edit]

In 1811, Jordan was married to Cornelia Caroline Philip (1796–1872), the daughter of Jacob H. Philip and Elbertie (née Fonda) Philip. Together, they were the parents of:

Jordan died on July 16, 1865 in New York City and was buried at the cemetery in Hudson, New York.[11]


Through his daughter Caroline, he was the maternal grandfather of Alfred Corning Clark and the great-grandfather of: Edward Severin Clark, F. Ambrose Clark, Robert Sterling Clark, Stephen Carlton Clark.[10][12]


  1. ^ History of Columbia County, New York by Captain Franklin Ellis (Everts & Ensign, Philadelphia PA, 1878.
  2. ^ a b Brooke, John L. (2013). Columbia Rising: Civil Life on the Upper Hudson from the Revolution to the Age of Jackson. UNC Press Books. p. 477. ISBN 9780807838877. Retrieved 25 April 2019.
  3. ^ a b c "Ambrose L. Jordan | New York Legal History / Antebellum, Civil War, & Reconstruction: 1847-1869". Retrieved 25 April 2019.
  4. ^ a b Hough, Franklin Benjamin (1858). The New York Civil List: Containing the names and origin of the civil divisions, and the names and dates of election or appointment of the principal state and county officers from the Revolution to the present time. Albany, N.Y.: Weed, Parsons and Co. pp. 36f, 379, 416. Retrieved 25 April 2019.
  5. ^ "SOME NOTABLE TRIALS | XIV -- The Case of Smith Boughton" (PDF). The New York Times. February 23, 1896. Retrieved 25 April 2019.
  6. ^ Niles' National Register Whig Convention on October 16, 1847, transcribed from (Vol. 73, September–October 1847, pg 108f) at Vermont History.
  7. ^ Gazetteer of the State of New York by J. H. French (published by R. Pearsall Smith), Syracuse NY, 1860, pg. 241f.
  8. ^ Official website of the Singer Sewing Company Retrieved August 4, 2015.
  9. ^ Buckman, Jack (2016). Unraveling The Threads: The Life, Death and Resurrection of the Singer Sewing Machine Company, America's First Multi-National Corporation. Dog Ear Publishing. pp. 12–14. ISBN 9781457546617. Retrieved 25 April 2019.
  10. ^ a b Clark, Edgar Warner (1892). History and Genealogy of Samuel Clark, Sr., and His Descendants from 1636-1897--261 Years. Nixon-Jones Print Company. pp. 31–37. Retrieved 25 April 2019.
  11. ^ "THE DEATH OF AMBROSE L. JORDAN | The Proceedings in the Courts and the Funeral Ceremonies" (PDF). The New York Times. July 19, 1865. Retrieved 25 April 2019.
  12. ^ Weber, Nicholas Fox. The Clarks of Cooperstown: Their Singer Sewing Machine Fortune, Their Great and Influential Art Collections, Their Forty-year Feud (Alfred A. Knopf, 2007).

External links[edit]

New York State Senate
Preceded by
Charles E. Dudley
New York State Senate
Third District (Class 3)

Succeeded by
William Dietz
Legal offices
Preceded by
John Van Buren
New York State Attorney General
Succeeded by
Levi S. Chatfield