Source: The Illustrated History of Montgomery and Fulton Counties, New York; New York, F. W. Beers & Co., 1878; Chapter: Town of Palatine
Place names mentioned: Johnstown, Amsterdam, Canajoharie, Fonda, New York City, Albany, Charleston (SC), Baltimore (MD), Erie County, New York County
HON. DAVID SPRAKER
David Spraker, the third son of Jost Spraker, attended the Johnstown Academy, and in 1819 entered Union College, graduating in 1822 with honor; being at the time of his death a member of the board of councillors of the college and of the Phi Beta Kappa Society. He excelled in literary composition and oratory, and participated in the commencement exercises of 1822 as one of the two orators chosen by the college literary society known as the Delphian Institute. Mr. Spraker studied law at Amsterdamwith Marcus T. Reynolds, at Albany with Judge Alfred Conkling and at Johnstown with Daniel Cady, and was admitted to practice as attorney of the Supreme Court in 1825, and as counsellor in 1828, under the rigid requirement of seven years study by the old regime. In 1842 he was licensed in the Circuit and District Courts of the United States. In 1830 he became Supreme Court commissioner, an officer who, under the law of those days, exercised much of the jurisdiction of the present Supreme Court; and in 1822 was appointed master and examiner in chancery. In 1835 and for some years previous thereto he was a judge of the Court of Common Pleas of Montgomery county, and resigned his office in the fall of that year to take his seat in the State senate and the Court for the Correction of Errors, which was then the State court of last resort; to which offices he had been elected, and which he filled for four years from the first day of January, 1836. During his career in the senate, although probably the youngest member of that body, he established for himself a reputation for eloquence, ability and integrity, which extended far beyond the borders of his native State. Of that senate, Mr. Hammond, in his Political History of New York, mentions with approbation only Senators Spraker and Young, for their efforts to prevent the squandering of public money in private schemes, and in the interest of corporations; and in the widely separated counties of Erie and New York public resolutions were adopted thanking those two senators for the intrepid devotion to the cause of honesty and the public. The judicial ability of Mr. Spraker is illustrated by the fact that upon the construction by the Court of Errors of the complicated and numerous provisions of the celebrated James will, the opinion of Judge Spraker was the only one which was concurred in by the court upon every point. Mr. Spraker resided in Canajoharie from 1825 to the time of his death, October 14th, 1873, in his 73rd year. He practiced law for many years, and for a long time acted as secretary and treasurer of the Montgomery County Mutual Insurance Company. He was postmaster at Canajoharie six years, and was a director and vice-president of the National Spraker Bank of Canajoharie, and a director of the Mohawk River National Bank of Fonda. In 1839, and again in 1842, Judge Spraker was prominently mentioned in the newspapers as the Democratic candidate for governor of the State. He was a delegate to the national Democratic conventions which met at Charleston and Baltimore in 1860, where he supported the nomination of Stephen A. Douglas. He presided at the first war meeting, in Canajoharie, to enlist volunteers and aid in suppressing the rebellion, and, throughout the war, gave unwavering support to that end.
In 1845 he married Harriet F. Rowan, youngest daughter of Rev. Stephen N. Rowan, D.D., of New York, and left her and three sons and three daughters surviving him.
In politics Mr. Spraker was a life-long and consistent Democrat, and was widely known for nearly half a century as a man of great influence at home and abroad. He adorned the many public positions held by him with grace, dignity and honor, and was classed among those accomplished gentlemen and chivalrous statesmen who, not numerous in his own day, have now almost disappeared. Judge Spraker was intimately associated with President Van Buren, Gov. March, Stephen A. Douglas, and many others of the notable men of our country, most of whom have now passed away. He united the profoundest sagacity with wonderful organizing and executive ability, and his magnanimity, benevolence, and chivalrous daring in behalf of justice won him universal popular love. His features were classic and commanding, his eyes dark and piercing, his voice musical and impressive, and his manners and movements refined, genial and graceful in the highest degree. He possessed the gift of natural eloquence and frankness, and the enthusiasm and vivacity of youth ended only with his life.
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