JOSEPH GLOVER BALDWIN
GENEALOGY and BIOGRAPHY
(1815 – 1864)
Sumter County, Alabama
Joseph Baldwin was a Virginian, born January 21, 1815 in Winchester, Virginia. He received his education in Stanton, Virginia. In 1835, he edited the ‘Buchanan Advocate. Joseph moved to DeKalb County, Mississippi in 1836 then to Gainesville, Alabama in 1838 where he practiced law with J. Bliss, Esquire.
He was a Whig in politics and was elected to the House of Representatives in 1843 for the Democratic county of Sumter. Mr. Baldwin was a skillful debator in the House. “He was courteous and always confined himself to parliamentary rules in his efforts on the floor and respected the personal rights and feelings of others in discussion, at the same time demanded the like civilities for himself.
He was a candidate for Congress in 1849 but his Democratic rival Hon. S. W. Inge, in the Tuscaloosa district had the advantage of having knocked down an abolitionist on the floor of Congress which gave him decided prestige. Mr. Baldwin was defeated by a small majority. In 1850, he moved to Livingston, Alabama.
Joseph Baldwin was the author of Flush Times of Alabama and Mississippi which was written to show the evil effects of an inflation of paper currency from 1833 to 1840 when paper money was so abundant. “The work was quite dramatic and described many transactions and scenes in and out of court, of wonderful originality and humor. It had an extensive sale. His other work was Party Leaders, in which Jefferson, Hamilton, Adams, Randolph and Clay were introduced as representative men, with contrasts and parallels well delineated, showing a great fund of information, and remarkable power of analysis in the writer.”
In 1854, Baldwin moved to California where he gained a seat on the bench of the Supreme Court from October 1858 to January 1862 when he resumed the practice of law in San Francisco.
“From the book “Lincoln’s Stories”, Chicago 1879, is the following anecdote: Judge Baldwin, of California, being in Washington, D.C., called one day on General Hallock, and presuming as a familiar acquaintance in California, a few years before, solicited a pass outside our lines to see a friend in Virginia, not thinking he would meet with a refusal, as both his brother and himself were good Union Men. “We have been deceived too often,” said General Hallock, “and I regret I can’t grant it. Judge Baldwin then went to Stanton, and was very briefly disposed of with the same result. Finally he obtained an interview with Mr. Lincoln, and stated his case. “Have you applied to General Hallock?” inquired the president. “Yes, and met with a flat refusal,” said Judge Baldwin. “Then you must see Stanton,” continued the president. “I have, and met with the same result,” was the reply. “Well, then,” said Mr. Lincoln, with a smile.” I can do nothing, for you must know that I have very little influence with the administration!”
His wife, Sidney White, daughter of John White, (above) lived with her daughter, Mrs. Judge Felton of Oakland, California in one of the finest residences in the city of Oakland around 1880. Judge Felton died in 1878. Judge Felton was one of the best lawyers in California and his practice was said to amount to one hundred thousand dollars per annum. It was reported that even in 1880, Sidney retained much of her youthful beauty and vivacity.
Joseph and Sidney (White) Baldwin had the following children:
- Alexander White Baldwin– (1835-1869) –a lawyer and leader of the Nevada Bar at 21; U. S. District Judge. He was killed in a railroad collision near San Francisco – of Virginia City, Storey County, Nev. Born in Gainesville, Sumter County, Ala., 1835.Lawyer; U.S. District Judge for Nevada, 1865-69; died in office 1869. Died in Alameda, Alameda County, Calif., November 14, 1869 (age about 34 years). Buried at Mountain View Cemetery, Oakland, Calif.
- Kate Baldwin (b. 1842-1877) m. John B. Fenton, a very wealthy and leading lawyer in San Francisco and partner with his father-in-law.
- Joseph G. Baldwin(d. 1864 age 22) – distinguished himself by gallantry in an Indian encounter
- John Baldwin(b. 1846 – 1868 age 22) educated in Switzerland.
- Sidney Baldwin(d. 1876- age 22)
- Cornelia Baldwin
Joseph Glover Baldwin died in California and is buried at Mountain View Cemetery in Oakland, California.
- EARLY SETTLERS OF ALABAMA NOTES AND GENEALOGIES by Col. James Edmonds Saunders LAWRENCE COUNTY, ALA VOL I
- by his granddaughter Elizabeth Saunders Blair Stubbs NEW ORLEANS: L Graham & Son Ltd., Printers, 207-211 Baronne St. 1899 Reprinted by Willo Publishing Company Tuscaloosa, Alabama 1961)
This biography is included in the book Biographies of Notable and Not-so-Notable Alabama Pioneers Volume I