Biographical / Historical
Samuel Lewis Southard was a New Jersey lawyer and prominent politican. He served on the New Jersey Supreme Court, Secretary of the Navy, Governor of New Jersey, and on the U.S. Senate (1821-1823 and again 1833-1842. Not a member of the Society of Friends, he was retained by George H. Burr in 1828 as a legal consultant on behalf of the Hicksite position in the of Crosswicks School Fund. The School Fund of Crosswicks Preparative Meeting was claimed by both the Hicksites and Orthodox after the Separation. Before 1827, Joseph Hendrickson was Treasurer of the Fund and, in this capacity, had loaned part of the money to Thomas L. Shotwell, secured by his mortgage. When Hendrickson sided with the Orthodox faction and withdrew from the Meeting, the Hicksite majority appointed Stacy Decow his successor. Claiming to be the true Treasurer, Hendrickson attempted to call the loan. Thomas L. Shotwell denied his claim, and the former then initiated proceedings to foreclose. Bills of complainant and interpleader were filed in the Court of Chancery of New Jersey by Shotwell, Hendrickson, and Decow. Evidence of witnesses was taken at Camden before J.J. Foster, an Examiner of the Court of Chancery.
Because the Chancellor had been, while at the Bar, counsel for the Orthodox side, he selected Chief Justice Ewing and Judge Drake to decide the case. It was argued in January 1832 and separate decisions in favor of the Orthodox were rendered seven months later.
The Hicksites appealed this decision to the Court of Errors in July 1833. Garret D.Wall opened for the Appellants, and was followed by George Wood and Theodore Frelinghuysen on behalf of the Orthodox. The case was closed by Samuel Southard, who continued for four days.The Judgement affirmed the decision of the Chancery Court.
Southard was originally retained by George H. Burr (See also: Burr Manuscripts) in 1828, acting for "a number of New Jersey Friends living in [Philadelphia]" as a legal consultant in the Crosswicks case. At the beginning of this period, Southard was completing his five year term as Secretary of the Navy (and interim Secretary of War). After Jackson's Presidential victory in 1828, Southard returned to Trenton to resume his law practice. He was subsequently appointed Attorney General of New Jersey, was elected Governor in 1832, and was reelected to the U .S. Senate after three months in office. Because of his prominence and that of the other attorneys, the Crosswicks trial attracted much attention, and the proceedings were published in a number of volumes.