Chase, Samuel

Samuel Chase was born in 1741 in a Maryland farm house. Between the age of eighteen and twenty he studied law with a firm in Annapolis. He opened his own practice in 1761. In 1764 he joined the colonial /state legislature, and stayed on for the next decade. When the Stamp Act was passed, he was condemned by Annapolis officials for his involvement in the Sons of Liberty. Between 1774 and 1775 he was active in a multitude of patriot organizations, including the Maryland Committee of Correspondence, Council of Safety, and the Provincial Convention.

He played an active role in the Continental Congress, advocating an embargo on trade with Britain and defending George Washington from his opponents. In 1776, he traveled to Montreal as part of a committee seeking to form a union with Canada. The effort was unsuccessful, however. Upon his return to Philadelphia in June, he found Maryland vacillating on the issue of the Lee independence resolution. Determined to get the resolution passed, he departed for Maryland accompanied by Charles Carroll and William Paca. The three battled against opposition to the resolution, managed to win the necessary commitment to independence, and then hurried back to Philadelphia on July 1, barely in time for the first congressional vote.

Later on in life, between 1788 and 1795 he served as chief judge of the Baltimore County criminal court. And while initially opposing the Constitution at the convention, he went on to become a strong supporter of the Federalists. He held judicial seats at both the county and state level, and between 1796 and 1811 he was an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court. He died at the age of seventy in 1811 and was buried in St. Paul's Cemetery.