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James T Brady

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Occupation  Lawyer
Years active  1835/6–1869
Name  James Brady

James T. Brady
Full Name  James Topham Brady
Born  April 9, 1815 (1815-04-09) New York City, New York, U.S.
Died  February 9, 1869(1869-02-09) (aged 53) New York City, New York, U.S.

James Topham Brady (April 9, 1815 – February 9, 1869) was an American lawyer. Born in New York City, Brady studied law in his father's practice before being admitted to the New York bar himself. He is most notable for his career as a criminal lawyer, being involved in numerous high-profile proceedings. He tried fifty-two criminal cases and only lost one. Brady died at his home after having the left side of his body paralyzed for several days, and was interred at Calvary Cemetery in New York.


Early life

Brady was born on April 9, 1815, in New York City, the eldest son of Thomas S. Brady and his wife. Later, Brady would have seven siblings, two boys and five girls. The senior Brady had emigrated from Ireland to the United States while the War of 1812 was ongoing, and started a boys school in New York. When James was seven, he attended his father's school. In 1831 James's father had left teaching to become a lawyer, and he helped his father in his practice and in trials. In his father's office, James studied legal material tirelessly, and soon operated most of the firm's managerial affairs.


Brady was admitted to the New York Bar in either 1835 or 1836, when he was about twenty years old. His first case was an insurance proceeding, where he opposed the prominent lawyer, Charles O'Connor. The plaintiff staked a claim for insurance money from a property allegedly burned down by a fire. Though Brady lost that case, his proficiency for law and oration was immediately noted.

Brady received his first taste of legal notoriety during the Goodyear v. Day patent case, where he worked under Daniel Webster and delivered the opening arguments for the plaintiff. Nevertheless, Brady is best known for his work as a criminal lawyer. In the quarter century preceding his death, he was involved in nearly every notable criminal proceeding in the Eastern United States. Among his most famous legal undertakings was the defense of Daniel Sickles during his trial for the murder of Philip Barton Key, the then Attorney General of the District of Columbia. During this trial, Brady worked with Edwin Stanton, who would go on to become the United States Secretary of War. Brady also defended Lew Baker at the murder trial of the infamous William "Bill the Butcher" Poole, whom Baker shot to death in 1855 at Stanwix Hall, a bar on Broadway in Manhattan. Over his career, Brady tried 52 criminal cases and lost only one, the case of Confederate privateer John Yates Beall.

Though he professed membership in the Democratic Party, Brady was notably disengaged from politics. In 1843 he was made the interim district attorney for New York County. Two years later, Brady was appointed the city's corporation counsel, a position in which he served two terms, each term lasting for a year. In 1850 Brady ran for, but was not elected to, the position of Attorney General of New York. Brady was on John C. Breckinridge and Joseph Lane's 1860 Democratic ticket for Governor of New York. When the American Civil War began, Brady switched sides and became an ardent supporter of Abraham Lincoln and his Republican Party. He deeply disdained Southern politics and policy.

Personal life and death

Brady remained a lifelong bachelor. When a friend asked why, he said, "When my father died, he left five daughters who looked to me for support. All the affection I could have had for a wife went out to those sisters; and I have never desired to recall it." On Sunday, February 7, 1869 the left side of Brady's body was paralyzed. He died at the age of 53 at his home in New York on February 9 at 4:45 pm. Brady's funeral occurred at St. Patrick's Cathedral, and he was interred at Calvary Cemetery.


James T. Brady Wikipedia

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