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Cranch, William(1769–1855) jurist; born in Weymouth, Mass. Nephew of John Adams, classmate of John Quincy Adams, he served 54 years on the U.S. Circuit Court of the District of Columbia, the last 50 (1805–55) as its chief justice. He was also reporter of the U.S. Supreme Court (1802–17), and his clear and accurate reports remain important for understanding many of Chief Justice John Marshall's important decisions. He published decisions of his own court (1801–41) in six volumes (1852–53).
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.