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History of the Mohawk Valley: Gateway to the West 1614-1925
Hon. Pascal C. J. De Angelis

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[This information is from Vol. IV, pp. 40-43 of History of the Mohawk Valley: Gateway to the West 1614-1925, edited by Nelson Greene (Chicago: The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1925). It is in the Reference collection of the Schenectady County Public Library at R 974.7 G81h. This online edition includes lists of portraits, maps and illustrations. As noted by Paul Keesler in his article, "The Much Maligned Mr. Greene," some information in this book has been superseded by later research or was provided incorrectly by local sources.]

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Portrait of Hon. Pascal C. J. De Angelis

Portrait: Hon. Pascal C. J. De Angelis

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Hon. Pascal C. J. De Angelis, who was admitted to the New York bar a half century ago, has long occupied a position of leadership in the ranks of the legal profession in Utica. He served on the bench as justice of the supreme court from 1907 until 1916, when he was appointed by Governor Whitman one of the justices of the appellate division in the fourth judiciary department, in which office he continued to the time of his retirement, in December, 1920. He was born in Holland Patent, Oneida county, New York, on the 27th of January, 1850, his parents being William W. and Elizabeth (Burlingame) De Angelis. His grandfather, Pascal C. J. De Angelis, who was one of the earliest settlers in the town of Trenton, New York, was captured by the British while in the naval service at the time of the Revolutionary war and was confined in Dartmoor prison.

Pascal C. J. De Angelis, whose name introduces this review, attended Cary Collegiate Seminary of Oakfield, New York, prior to entering Hobart College of Geneva. Leaving the latter institution, he became a student in Cornell University, from which he was graduated with the degree of Bachelor of Arts in 1871. Subsequently he read law at Towanda, Pennsylvania, and in 1873 was admitted to the bar of that state, while two years later, following his admission to practice in the courts of New York, he took up the work of his chosen profession in Utica. For a time he was associated with William A. Matteson as junior member of the firm of Matteson & De Angelis. The following is an excerpt from a review of his career which appeared in one of the local papers at the time of his retirement from the bench:

"He was a diligent worker of the profession and gave to it the best that was in him. In every case, whether it was small or large, he made an exhaustive study of all the laws bearing on it, and when it came to trial he had clearly in mind all the principles of law involved in it. He has a very retentive memory and remembers for use what he has learned. One of his friends who has tried many cases before him describes him as a perfect encyclopedia of law. Besides his long and successful legal practice, he did long and valuable service in two public positions in which there was no financial reward. The first was as a member of the board of managers of the State Lunatic Asylum, now the Utica State Hospital, which he thus served from 1886 until 1893; and the second as a member of the board of commissioners of common schools in Utica, in which capacity he continued from 1900 until 1906. After serving in the latter position for one term he was reelected and had not completed his second term when he was called to the bench. In 1906 he was nominated for justice of the supreme court, was elected with a plurality of over fifty-three hundred and entered upon his duties on January 1, 1907. No one ever came to the bench with a higher sense of the duties of his office or a more sincere determination to perform these duties to the best of his ability. Always courteous and kindly, he insisted on attorneys conducting their cases with the respect due to the court rather than to himself personally. He did his work conscientiously, no matter how much labor it involved or what the consequences might be. His aim was to do justice under the law, uninfluenced by public clamor or criticism. In his view the rich and poor alike were entitled to justice and they all received from him the same consideration. He is an indefatigable worker, and holidays or anniversaries found him in his office working as usual. By his fairness and sincerity he achieved a high reputation among the attorneys called to try cases before him in the various counties of the fifth judicial district. On the 7th of March, 1916, he was appointed by Governor Whitman of the justices of the appellate division and he served with ability and fidelity. This court sits in Rochester, and although its duties took him away from home much of the time, Judge De Angelis has retained his home and interests in Utica. He has heard hundreds of cases argued, and after studying the laws applicable, he has given his decisions. But very few of them have been reversed on appeal."

The 31st of December, 1920, marked the retirement of Judge De Angelis from the supreme court bench, for he was then seventy years of age and had reached the end of his term. Early in 1921, by appointment of the appellate division of the fourth department, he was made one of the official referees and is thus serving at the present time. He acted as secretary of the Utica Law Library Association from 1880 until 1884.

In early manhood Judge De Angelis was united in marriage to Miss Annie Jackson, daughter of William B. Jackson of Utica. Their children are four in number, namely: Pascal, Charles, Marshall and Annina. Judge De Angelis is a stanch republican in politics and has membership in the Fort Schuyler Club of Utica, the University Club of New York and the Genesee Valley Club of Rochester. His record is one which brings added luster to the judicial history of the Mohawk valley.

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