Charles P. Daly

Charles Patrick Daly (October 13, 1816 – September 19, 1899) was a member of the New York State Assembly, Chief Justice of the New York Court of Common Pleas, president of the American Geographical Society, and an author of several books.

Charles Patrick Daly
Chief Justice, New York Court of Common Pleas
In office
First Judge, New York Court of Common Pleas
In office
Preceded byJudge Danial Ingraham
Judge, New York Court of Common Pleas
In office
Appointed byGovernor William Bouck
Preceded byWilliam Inglis
Assemblyman, New York State Assembly
In office
Personal details
BornOctober 13, 1816
New York, New York, USA
DiedSeptember 19, 1899 (1899-09-20) (aged 82)
North Haven, New York, USA
Spouse(s)Maria Lydig

Early years

The Daly ancestors were the O'Dalys of County Galway, Ireland. In 1814, two years before Daly's birth, his parents immigrated to the U.S. from Omagh, County Tyrone, Ireland. Daly was born in New York, New York, USA. His father, Michael, had been a master carpenter in Ireland, but in New York City, he worked as the manager of a hotel on Broadway. His mother, Elizabeth, died when Daly was age three. Michael remarried.

Daly attended private school in his early years. Upon his father's death, Daly was unwilling to rely on a widowed stepmother, leading him to leave school and earn a living.[1][2]

He worked first as a clerk in Savannah, Georgia, before becoming a cabin boy on a trading ship.[3] During his three years as a sailor, he was present at the 1830 capture of Algiers. When he returned to New York in 1832, he became a mechanical trade apprentice for a quill manufacturer.[2] He also joined The New York Literary Society where he learned how to debate. This led to him becoming a law student and he was admitted to practice law in 1839.[4]


In 1843, Daly was elected to the New York State Assembly, representing the Fourth Ward of New York City.[5][6] While in office, he staunchly supported the establishment of Central Park against considerable opposition.

The following year, Judge William Inglis' term on the New York Court of Common Pleas expired.[1] On a recommendation of Governor William Marcy,[7] Governor William Bouck appointed Daly to the Court, beginning his term May 1844.[5] When the position changed from an appointed one to an elected one in 1847, Daly ran for election and won, eventually becoming Chief Justice.[4][8] One of his most notable cases dealt with the Astor Place Riot involving William Charles Macready at the Astor Place Theatre.[4] He served on the court for six consecutive terms,[1] retiring December 30, 1885 because of the constitutional age limit.[4] Ten years later, the Court of Common Pleas was abolished, the judges becoming justices of the New York Supreme Court.[9]

For fifteen years, starting in 1860, he lectured on law at Columbia Law School.[2] In 1867, Daly was a member of the New York Constitutional Convention.[2] After leaving the bench, he became a partner in the firm of Daly, Hoyt and Mason.[10]


American Geographical Society

Called an "armchair explorer" by some, Daly was elected as an Ordinary Member to the American Geographical Society on February 16, 1855,[11] to the Governing Board in 1858, and to its presidency in 1864, a position he held until his death in 1899.[3] As a member, and then president of the AGS, Daly was influential in supporting Arctic expeditions.[12] Daly, a bibliophile, had a personal collection of more than 12,000 volumes.[4] He donated 700 of his geographical books to the AGS on his 75th birthday and during his tenure as President, helped with the AGS's library collection expansion.[13]

Other memberships

He was an honorary member of the Royal Geographical Society of London, England, the Berlin Geographical Society, and Russia's Imperial Geographical Society.[2] In London in 1895, he was a speaker at the 6th International Geographical Congress.[3]

In his early career years, he was a member of the New York Literary Society, the Law Association, Democratic Republican Young Men of the City and County of New York (vice-president), and New York Workingmen's Democratic Republican Association (recording-secretary).[3]

Later, Daly was a member of the New York Historical Society, the American Philosophical Society of Pennsylvania, and the Century Association, St. Patrick's Society (president), and Committee for the Relief of Ireland (chairman).[2][14]

Daly became a member of the Peary Arctic Club shortly before his death; the Daly Range in Greenland was named after him by Robert Peary.

Personal life

Daly met Maria Lydig in 1855. Born in 1824, Maria was the daughter of Philip Mesier Lydig, Esq. (1739–1872) of New York.[6] Philip Lydig was the last holder of the land that subsequently became the Bronx Park; the park now contains the New York Botanical Garden.[3] Her mother, Katherine, was the eldest daughter of John Suydam, a Knickerbocker.[10]

Like Daly, Maria was a Democrat and a Unionist. They married September 27, 1856 in West Farms, Westchester County, New York.[15] At age 37, Maria began writing a diary, published as Diary of a Union lady, 1861-1865. She was active in the Democratic Party, the Women's Central Association for the Relief for the Army,[6] and the New York Botanical Garden.[11] She died at their summer home in North Haven, New York (near Sag Harbor) on August 21, 1894.[16]

Like his wife, Daly died in North Haven in 1899, rather than at their home in New York City at 84 Clifton Place. His funeral service was held at New York's St. Patrick's Cathedral.[17]

The home in North Haven passed on to Maria's niece, Emma Hoyt.[10] Daly's papers, military record, lectures and diaries were donated to the New York Public Library by Emma.[6] A portrait of Daly, painted by Daniel Huntington, hangs at the courtroom of what was the New York Court of Common Pleas.[1]


  • 1860, LL.D. honorary degree conferred by Columbia University
  • 1902, in accordance with Daly's Last Will and Testament, the American Geographical Society established the Charles P. Daly Medal to be awarded "for valuable or distinguished geographical services or labors"[18]
  • "Daly Avenue", in The Bronx, New York, leads to the Bronx Park
  • Judge Daly Promontory in Ellesmere Island, Canada.

Partial works


  1. Brooks, James Wilton (1896). History of the Court of Common Pleas of the City and County of New York: With Full Reports of All Important Proceedings (Digitized October 2, 2008 ed.). Subscription. pp. 70–76. ISBN 0-8377-0308-5. OCLC 580562.
  2. Fitch, Charles E (1916). Encyclopedia of biography of New York, a life record of men and women whose sterling character and energy and industry have made them preëminent in their own and many other states. Boston: American historical society. pp. 132–133. OCLC 3548810.
  3. Pinther, Miklos (September 2003). "Charles Patrick Daly" (PDF). Ubique. The American Geographical Society. 23 (2): 1–6. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2009-03-04. Retrieved 2009-03-02.
  4. "Charles P. Daly Dead" (PDF). The New York Times. September 20, 1899. Retrieved 2009-03-01.
  5. Pinther 2003, p. 3
  6. "Charles P. Daly Papers" (PDF). New York Public Library. Archived from the original (PDF) on July 8, 2007. Retrieved 2009-03-02.
  7. The National Cyclopaedia of American Biography: Being the History of the United States as Illustrated in the Lives of the Founders, Builders, and Defenders of the Republic ... (Digitized June 17, 2008 ed.). J.T. White. 1899. p. 223. OCLC 1759175.
  8. Brooks 1896, p. 26
  9. Chester, Alden; E. Melvin Williams (2004). Courts and Lawyers of New York: A History, 1609-1925 (Digitized ed.). The Lawbook Exchange, Ltd. p. 898. ISBN 1-58477-424-X.
  10. "Family of Lydig". Archived from the original on 2009-08-10. Retrieved 2009-03-02.
  11. Pinther 2003, p. 4
  12. Morin, Karen M. (2008). "Charles P. Daly's Gendered Geography, 1860-1890". Annals of the Association of American Geographers. 98 (4): 897–919. doi:10.1080/00045600802262299.
  13. "History of the American Geographical Society". Archived from the original on 2009-02-26. Retrieved 2009-03-02.
  14. Curti, Merle Eugene (1988). American Philanthropy Abroad (Digitized ed.). Transaction Publishers. p. 66. ISBN 0-88738-711-X.
  15. "NYC Marriage Notices". Retrieved 2009-03-02.
  16. "Maria Lydig Daly" (PDF). The New York Times. August 22, 1894. Retrieved 2009-03-02.
  17. "Funeral of Charles P. Daly; Services at the Cathedral, Where Requiem Mass Was Celebrated". The New York Times. September 23, 1899. Retrieved 2009-03-02.
  18. "The AGS Awards Program". Archived from the original on 2009-03-16. Retrieved 2009-03-01.

Further reading

  • Hammond, H. E. (1954). A commoner's judge; The life and times of Charles Patrick Daly. Boston: Christopher Pub. House. OCLC 3425256
This article is issued from Wikipedia. The text is licensed under Creative Commons - Attribution - Sharealike. Additional terms may apply for the media files.