David J. Brewer – Kansas Jurist

David J. Brewer.

David J. Brewer.

David J. Brewer was an attorney and Jurist in Kansas and for the United States Supreme Court.

Brewer was born to a family of Congregational missionaries in Izmir, Turkey, on June 20, 1837. He returned with his parents, Josiah Brewer and Emilia Ann Hovey Field, to the United States in 1838 and settled in Connecticut. Brewer was educated at Yale College and the Albany Law School, and in June 1859 moved to Leavenworth, Kansas, where he began law practice. He was a United States Commissioner in 1861-62; judge of the probate and criminal courts of Leavenworth County from 1863 to 1865; Judge of the District Court from 1865 to 1869; County Attorney in 1869-70; associate justice of the Kansas Supreme Court from 1870 to 1884; resigned his position on the supreme bench on April 8, 1884, to become United States Circuit Judge; and on December 18, 1889, was commissioned Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court where he remained until his death.

Always a friend of and a believer in popular education, Judge Brewer was the Kansas State Teachers’ Association president in 1869 and served as a member of the Leavenworth school board. He was the author of several books on legal subjects. Judge Brewer was twice married. On October 3, 1861, he married Louise R. Landon of Burlington, Vermont. She died on April 3, 1898, and on June 5, 1901, he married Emma Minor Mott of Washington, D.C. Judge Brewer died in Washington, D.C., of apoplexy on March 28, 1910.

Compiled and edited by Kathy Alexander/Legends of Kansas, updated April 2024.

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Blackmar, Frank W.; Kansas: A Cyclopedia of State History, Vol I; Standard Publishing Company, Chicago, IL 1912.