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John Samuel Sherburne

John Samuel Sherburne (1757 – August 2, 1830) was a lawyer, politician, and United States federal judge from Portsmouth, New Hampshire.

Born in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, Sherburne was a descendant of John Sherburne, an early New Hampshire pioneer who arrived from England in 1632. John Samuel Sherburne graduated from Dartmouth College in 1776 and attended the law department of Harvard University. He read law to be admitted to the bar and commenced private practice in Portsmouth in 1776. He served in the Continental Army as a member of the New Hampshire Militia during the Revolutionary War, rising to become brigade Major on the staff of General William Whipple. He left the service after he lost a leg in the engagement at Butts Hill in Rhode Island in August 1778. His private practice continued until 1789, when he became the United States Attorney for the District of New Hampshire from 1789 to 1793, and again from 1801 to 1804.

Sherburne served in the New Hampshire House of Representatives from 1790-c.1793, and then represented the state in the United States House of Representatives from 1793 to 1797. Following his congressional service, he resumed his private practice in Portsmouth until 1801, when he returned to the New Hampshire House of Representatives, and began his second stint as U.S. Attorney for the District of New Hampshire, until 1804.

On March 22, 1804, Sherburne was nominated by President Thomas Jefferson to a seat on the United States District Court for the District of New Hampshire vacated by John Pickering. Sherburne was confirmed by the United States Senate on March 24, 1804, and received his commission on March 26, 1804. He served thereafter until his death, in Portsmouth, in 1830.


  • Federal Judicial Center.

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