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Charles J. Folger: Wikis


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Charles J. Folger

In office
November 14, 1881 – September 4, 1884
President Chester A. Arthur
Preceded by William Windom
Succeeded by Walter Quintin Gresham

Chief Judge of the New York Court of Appeals
In office
May 20, 1880 – November 14, 1881
Preceded by Sanford E. Church
Succeeded by Charles Andrews

Born April 16, 1818
Nantucket, Massachusetts
Died September 4, 1884 (aged 66)
Spouse(s) Susan Rebecca Worth

Charles James Folger (April 16, 1818 Nantucket, Massachusetts - September 4, 1884 Geneva, Ontario County, New York) was an American lawyer and politician. He was U.S. Secretary of the Treasury from 1881 until his death.


Early Life

Folger was born on the island of Nantucket in 1818. When he was 12 years old, his family moved to Geneva, New York. He attended Hobart College and graduated with honors in 1836. After his graduation, he studied law with Mark H. Sibley and Alvah Worden in Canandaigua, N.Y. and was admitted to the bar three years later in 1839. He began his practice in Lyons, N.Y., but returned to Geneva in 1840, where he remained for the rest of his life. On June 17, 1884, he married Susan Rebecca Worth.

Public Life

In 1844, Folger was appointed to the bench of the Ontario County Court of Common Pleas, serving for about a year.

He was elected as a Republican to the New York State Senate, serving from 1862 to 1869. During his term he served as President pro tempore for four years and as Chairman of the Judiciary Committee. Folger served as a delegate to the New York State Constitutional Convention of 1867, and as a delegate to the 1868 Republican National Convention.

In 1869, he resigned from the State Senate when he was appointed Assistant United States Treasurer in New York City by President Ulysses S. Grant.

A year later, in 1870, he was elected one of the first judges of the re-organized New York Court of Appeals. Following the death of Sanford E. Church, Folger was appointed Chief Judge by Governor Alonzo B. Cornell on May 20, 1880, to complete the term. In November he was elected to a full 14-year term as Chief Judge.

In 1881, President James Garfield offered him the position of Attorney General, which he declined. Later that year, however, he resigned from the bench to accept an appointment by President Chester Arthur to serve as Secretary of the Treasury. In 1883 he appointed Mifflin E. Bell to the Office of the Supervising Architect.

Gubernatorial Race

As a sitting U.S. Secretary, he ran in 1882 for Governor of New York, but was defeated by Democrat Grover Cleveland.


Folger died in office in 1884 at his home on Main street in Geneva, N.Y. He was buried at Geneva, at the side of his wife who had died seven years earlier.


  • [1] Political Graveyard
  • [2] Appointed Secretary of the Treasury, in NYT on October 28, 1881, with short bio
  • [3] Obit in nYT on September 5, 1884
  • The New York Civil List compiled by Franklin Benjamin Hough (page 362; Weed, Parsons and Co., 1858)
Legal offices
Preceded by
Sanford E. Church
Chief Judge of the New York Court of Appeals
1880 – 1881
Succeeded by
Charles Andrews
Political offices
Preceded by
William Windom
United States Secretary of the Treasury
Served under: Chester A. Arthur

Succeeded by
Walter Q. Gresham


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