HON. ALFRED C. COXE
Hon. Alfred C. Coxe was born in Auburn, N. Y., and came of distinguished ancestry. His father was the venerable Rev. Dr. S. Hanson Coxe, for many years rector of Trinity Church, Utica, and he was the son of an eminent Presbyterian divine and a brother of Rt. Rev. A. Cleveland Coxe of Buffalo, N. Y., bishop of the diocese of Western New York. His mother was a sister of Roscoe Conkling, and a daughter of, judge Alfred. Conkling, for a long time judge of the United States District Court for the Northern District of New York, author of "Conkling's Treatise," a standard work on practice in the federal courts, and of "Conkling's Admiralty," and once United States Minister to Mexico.
Judge Coxe was educated in the common schools of' Utica, at the Oxford Academy, and at Hamilton College. He was admitted to the bar in 1868 and practiced alone in the city of Utica until 1870, when he entered the firm of Conkling, Holmes & Coxe, of Utica, composed of United States Senator Roscoe Conkling, Ex-Judge Sidney T. Holmes and Mr. Coxe. Judge Holmes retired from the partnership in owing to ill health, and was succeeded by Hon. Scott Lord, and that firm under the name of Conkling, Lord & Coxe continued until 1875, when it was dissolved on account of the election of Judge Lord to Congress. From that time until 1882 Judge Coxe remained alone in practice, retaining the clientage of the old firm.
In a sketch written by a friend and a leading member of the Oneida county bar, the following tribute is paid to judge Coxe's ability as a trial lawyer: "He was thorough in the preparation of his cases and successful in conducting them. Always attending faithfully to the details of his side of a litigation, and taking good care of the law questions arising, he was at his best addressing a jury. Having an excellent voice and a line presence, attractive, earnest, persuasive, as the occasion would justify, he was humorous, he was pathetic, or he rose to the heights o1' eloquence."
Judge Coxe has always been an ardent Republican. In 1879 and 1880 he was, president of the Young Men's Republican Club of Utica. In 1880 he was appointed by Gov. A. B. Cornell one of the managers of the Utica State Hospital. In the spring of 1882 President Arthur appointed him United States district judge for the Northern District of New York, the position held by his grandfather, Alfred Conkling, half a century before. The district is in territory and population the largest in the United States. Judge Coxe is an indefatigable worker and promptly disposes of the business of his court. Most of his time is devoted to the trial and determination of patent cases, of which, it is said, he has in his term of office tried more than any other judge now on the bench in the United States. It is stated that his decision of a patent cause has never been reversed by the Supreme Court. He has also tried many admiralty causes, and in only one instance had his decision under this branch of the law been reversed. In his handling, of a complex issue of law the judicial mind of the man is displayed to the best advantage. He goes at once to the heart of the subject, treats it in a lucid and perspicuous style, and renders just judgment upon the merits. As the writer before quoted, says: "He prefers to err on the side of equity and justice, rather than permit wrong to triumph on naked precedent or the bare letter of the law." Bred a gentlemen, by education and training a scholar, and gifted with rare judicial temperament, judge Coxe is an honor to the bench of the United States.
In 1878 Judge Coxe married Miss Maryette Doolittle, daughter of the late Judge Charles H. Doolittle, of Utica, who at the time of his death was a justice of the Supreme Court.