Preserving the Past, Informing the Future
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Stephen Wright Kellogg was born in Shelburne, Massachusetts, April 5th, 1822, and died at his home in Waterbury, January 27th, 1904. Near the end of his eighty-second year and the fifty-sixth of his professional career, he was the oldest practicing lawyer at the bar. Both his great-grandfather and his grandfather were soldiers in the Revolutionary War. He worked upon his father's farm until he was twenty, in the winter attending or teaching school. In the fall of 1842 he entered Amherst College, but remained there only two terms; then he joined the class of 1846 at Yale and was graduated with highest honors. Among his classmates was the Hon. Henry B. Harrison, his lifelong friend. After a few months of school teaching he entered the Yale Law School, and was admitted to the bar in June, 1848. First he began to practice in Naugatuck, where he remained until 1854, and then having been elected judge of probate for the district of Waterbury, he removed to that then small city. He held this office for seven years. In 1854 the legislature appointed him judge of the New Haven County Court. From 1866 to 1869, and 1877 to 1883, he was the City Attorney of Waterbury; and until a short time before his death he was constantly occupied in the practice of his profession.
Meantime his active mind and restless energy found congenial occupation in the stirring political events of the times. In 1851 he was clerk of the State Senate; in 1853 a senator; in 1856 a member of the House; and he was a delegate to the Republican National Conventions of 1860, of 1868, and of 1876. Three times he was elected to Congress from the usually Democratic second district, and his perseverance and success in protecting and advancing both the public and personal interests of his constituents were remarkable.
He was Colonel of the Second Regiment, Connecticut National Guard, from 1863 to 1866, and Brigadier-General from 1866 to 1870. He was the author and promoter of legislation organizing the active militia in an efficient body known as the Connecticut National Guard. He never lost interest in public affairs, and to them, until within a few weeks of his death, his voice and pen were often devoted.
Of Stephen W. Kellogg's life work this is the incomplete, meager, and colorless outline. He did much in other fields of action and usefulness, in which he gave generously and effectively of his time, of his abilities, and of his means. To him, in no small measure, is due the credit for the excellent military record of Waterbury in the Civil War; and his skill and influence framed and erected the structure of municipal government in that city, and were potent in guiding its development from the beginning to its present prosperous state. In religious and social activities, he was earnest and sincere, courteous and kindly.
He left surviving, his wife, a granddaughter of Chief Justice Hosmer, and six children : - Mrs. Lucy K. English; Mrs. Frank C. Plume; Commander Frank W. Kellogg, United States Navy; John P. Kellogg, City Attorney of Waterbury and Assistant State's Attorney for New Haven County; Mrs. Irving H. Chase; and Charles P. Kellogg, Secretary of the State Board of Charities.
By his death the State of Connecticut lost one of its most useful and eminent citizens, and the bar one of its most respected practitioners. It is just and fitting to express recognition and admiration for the qualities of intellect and character that made Stephen W. Kellogg a conspicuous example of the patriotic citizen and of the successful lawyer. A strong intellect, well trained and well directed; an intelligent and unceasing activity in all public affairs in which the welfare of the State and Nation was vitally concerned; a quick perception of legal principles, a shrewd common sense, a conscientious industry; a sagacity, persistence and subtlety of method of trial; a power of clear and eloquent statement; genial kindness, courtesy, fidelity and integrity, in all the relations of private life - these were the characteristics that made the result of his fifty-five years of professional and public labor successful, useful, admirable, and worthy of commemoration.