Connecticut State Library with state seal

Memorials of Connecticut Judges and Attorneys
As Printed in the Connecticut Reports
volume 19, page(s) 158-159


REUBEN BOOTH was born in Newtown, Conn., on the 26th day of November 1794. When quite young, his parents removed to Kent, in this state. His father, though a man of considerable attainments in science, was in moderate circumstances, and required. the assistance of this son in his business, (wool-carding,) to support his family. The subject of this sketch was employed in this business until he was about seventeen years of age, when, with his father's consent, he commenced the preparatory studies of a collegiate course; and in the fall of 1813, he entered the Sophomore class in Yale-College. Shortly afterwards, he received information of his: father's death, who was drowned in the Housatonic river. He hastened home, expecting, at that time, to abandon his collegiate studies, as he was unwilling to reduce the slender means of his mother; but a few friends in Kent generously offered to loan him the amount requisite to complete his course, and he returned to college. He graduated at the commencement in 1816, being the last at which president Dwight presided. Immediately thereafter, he commenced the study of the law with David S. Boardman Esq., of New-Milford, with whom he remained about a year; and then removed to Danbury, where he continued his law studies with Moses Hatch Esq. At the same time, he was employed as an instructor in the academy in Danbury.

In 1818, he was admitted to the Bar, and opened an office for practice, in Danbury. In 1822, he was elected a representative of that town, in the General Assembly. In the same year, he was appointed judge of probate for the district of Danbury. In this office, he continued; by successive annual appointments, until 1835. In 1830, he was elected a state senator. In 1844 and 1845, he was elected Lieutenant-Governor of the state. He died at Danbury, August 14th, 1848, of the dysentery, after an illness of a little more than two days. This was during the session of the county court at that place. On Friday, August 11th, he was engaged in the trial of a cause before that court, which he argued with his usual ability; and his death occurred on the Monday night following. At his funeral, the business of the place generally was suspended. He was buried in the burying-ground of the Episcopalians in Danbury; he having been, during the latter part of his life, a member of their church.

Mr. B's professional practice, at the time of his death, was as extensive as that of any member of the bar in the county. He was distinguished for his industry; his cases were always thoroughly prepared; his knowledge of the law was accurate. He was at once zealous for his client, and courteous to his adversary.

He was well known in this state, as a leading and active politician. His policy was always conservative. During the two years that he was the presiding officer of the senate of this state, the members of that body who were his political opponents, felt and acknowledged his liberality of sentiment and conduct. He was always firm in his principles; but where principles were not concerned, he regarded and treated his political opponents as friends. He was a warm and generous hearted man. Remembering that in early life, he was indebted to others for aid, no deserving young man ever asked in vain for a loan from him, which it was in his power to make. He was simple and unostentatious in his manners ; kind and benevolent in his disposition. He loved the young; and they never feared to approach him, as they knew that his sympathies were with them. All classes mourn his loss.