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Benjamin Franklin Tracy

Tracy, Benjamin Franklin, 1830–1915, American lawyer, cabinet member, and soldier, b. Owego, N.Y. He was admitted to the bar in 1851 and later served (1853–59) as district attorney of Tioga co., N.Y. He helped organize (1854) the Republican party in his county and served (1862) in the state assembly. In the Civil War he recruited volunteers for the Union army, was wounded in battle, and was mustered out as brigadier general. Tracy served as U.S. district attorney (1866–73) for the eastern district of New York and was defense counsel to Henry Ward Beecher in the adultery suit brought against him by Theodore Tilton. He was (1881–82) judge of the New York court of appeals before becoming Secretary of the Navy (1889–93) under President Benjamin Harrison. Tracy was (1896) chairman of the commission that drafted the charter for Greater New York and served (1899) as counsel for Venezuela in the arbitration of the boundary dispute with Great Britain.

See study by B. F. Cooling (1973).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

See more Encyclopedia articles on: U.S. History: Biographies


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