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Amos Ellmaker

Amos Ellmaker, Pennsylvania attorney, politician and judge

Amos Ellmaker (February 2, 1787 - November 28, 1851) was a U.S. political figure from Pennsylvania. He was the Anti-Masonic vice-presidential candidate in the 1832 presidential elections.


  • Education 1
  • Public service 2
    • Pennsylvania Railroad Company 2.1
    • 1832 Presidential Campaign 2.2


Amos Ellmaker was born in Leacock Township, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, the son of Nathaniel Ignatious and Elizabeth (Fellenbaum) Ellmaker. He studied law at Princeton College in New Jersey. He attended Litchfield Law School, and continued his legal studies under the tutelage of James Hopkins, the same Lancaster attorney who trained James Buchanan. Ellmaker completed his studies in the Harrisburg office of Thomas Elder, whose daughter he later married.

In 1808, Ellmaker was admitted to the bar, and began practicing law in Harrisburg.

Public service

On Jan. 13, 1809, at age 21, Ellmaker was appointed deputy attorney general for Dauphin County, Pennsylvania.

He served in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives in 1813 and 1814, elected from the legislative district composed of Dauphin and Lebanon Counties.

He volunteered for the militia during the War of 1812 and served in 1814 as aide-de-camp to Brigadier General John Forster during the Chesapeake Campaign. While in this position, he was elected to the Fourteenth Congress from the congressional district consisting of Lancaster, Dauphin, and Lebanon Counties, but never filled that office. On July 3, 1815 Ellmaker was appointed Judge of the Twelfth Judicial District of Pennsylvania, composed of Dauphin, Lebanon, and Schuylkill Counties.

Ellmaker resigned from the bench in December 1816 to accept Governor Simon Snyder's appointment as Pennsylvania Attorney General. Governor William Findlay re-appointed him in 1818, and Ellmaker served until December 1819.

In 1817 Ellmaker declined an offer from James Monroe to serve as Secretary of War. During his career, he also twice turned down offers of appointment as Secretary of the Commonwealth, and twice as justice of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania.

In 1821 Ellmaker moved from Harrisburg to Lancaster, where he continued to practice law.

Pennsylvania Railroad Company

In 1823 Ellmaker was an original incorporator of the Pennsylvania Railroad Company. In 1826 he was an original incorporator of the Columbia, Lancaster and Philadelphia Railroad, as was James Buchanan.

In May 1828 Ellmaker returned to the office of state Attorney General, and served until August 1829.

1832 Presidential Campaign

In 1832, Ellmaker was the candidate for Vice President on the Anti-Masonic ticket, with William Wirt as the candidate for President. Wirt and Ellmaker won in Vermont, and received seven electoral votes.

In 1834 Ellmaker ran for the United States Senate, losing to James Buchanan. After this election, Ellmaker retired from partisan politics and continued the practice of law.

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