Charles Doe

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Doe, Charles

(1830–96) jurist; born in Derry, N.H. The son of a well-to-do landowner, he graduated from Dartmouth College (1849) and was admitted to the New Hampshire bar in 1854. He built a thriving law practice in Dover, N.H., and became active in Democratic politics, but converted to Republicanism as the secession crisis boiled over in the late 1850s. As an efficient, reforming associate justice of the New Hampshire Supreme Court (1859–74), the hardworking Doe—he boasted that he had read but one novel in his life—saw his reputation rest on innovative rulings on judicial procedure rather than on interpretations of law. An insomniac and an eccentric who craved fresh air, he habitually ordered all the windows of his courtroom raised, even on the coldest days. In 1876, after a politically inspired court reorganization, he became the state's chief justice.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.