Preserving the Past, Informing the Future
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Alfred C. Baldwin came from a typical, rugged Connecticut family whose philosophy of life led them to take a vigorous part in the community where they lived. This often led to service in the legislature. So it was with Judge Baldwin's father. He served his country in the great war of secession and later served his town, Beacon Falls, in many terms of the legislature. From the same family tree is Justice Raymond E. Baldwin of the Supreme Court of Errors, the former governor.
It was in Beacon Falls, on a hilly, rocky farm, that Alfred C. Baldwin was born on December 5, 1872. His parents' frugality enabled him to obtain a high school and law school education. He attended Seymour High School, six miles from his home. In those days there were no school busses. From there he entered Yale Law School, where he was graduated in 1894. Thus, unlike most lawyers coming to the bar in later years, he never had the advantages of a college education. Neither was he handicapped by inherited riches.
As a young lawyer he started the practice of law the hard way, on his own in a small community. Soon he became prosecuting attorney in the Borough Court of Shelton and later he became prosecutor and judge of the City Court of Derby, where he also served as corporation counsel. It was in this work, through actual experience, meeting all kinds of men and gaining knowledge of their ways, that he acquired his real education. This broadening experience, plus his early training and his capacity for hard work, made him a most successful trial judge. He found out early in life that analytical thinking is hard work, but he was ever willing to work, and did so throughout his life.
Like his father, he took part in public affairs and worked effectively as a loyal Republican. He was assistant clerk of the House of Representatives, clerk of the senate, clerk of bills and, later, engrossing clerk of the legislature. He became affiliated with various Masonic organizations: King Hiram Lodge No. 12, Hamilton Commandery No. 5, Knights Templar, and Pyramid Temple, Ancient Arabic Order of the Nobles of the Mystic Shrine. Golf and trout fishing furnished him his principle recreation. He was a member of Race Brook Country Club and several fishing clubs.
He was married three times and left six children surviving: Harriet Evans, Alfred C. Baldwin, Jr., Ralph V. Baldwin and Herbert E. Baldwin, children of his first marriage, and Harlan R. Baldwin and Gail T. Baldwin, children of his surviving wife, the former Emma Lou Reeves.
When he took office as a Superior Court judge on October 18, 1925, he did not affect mastery of the theoretical side of the law or presume to intellectual superiority over others in his profession. However, superficial brilliance is easily come by, but trustworthiness and evenness of judgment are not be had in every market place. Thus, he brought to his new undertaking two things which only the best trial judges have, a keen insight into the ways of men and an extraordinary willingness to work. Because of these attributes he became one of our most successful trial judges. He was one to whom study of details of evidence far into the night was all in the day's work, and night after night he gladly did it as a part of his contribution to the welfare of society.
On December 5, 1942, he reached retirement age and became a state referee. Nevertheless, retirement was not to him a giving up of activity. His vigor and willingness to work carried him on for many years. He rendered valuable services to the state in hearing, listening, questioning and deciding differences between men, as is always necessary in a civilized society. In that way he became the most active state referee of recent years, continuing into his eighties. He died December 20, 1957, at the age of eight-five.
Because of all these things, those who came to know him could readily join in saying, "Well done, thou good and faithful servant."[footer.htm]