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Genealogical and Personal History of Centre and Clinton County, Pennsylvania, 1912

Honorable James Burnside Biography

Honorable James Burnside was born in Bellefonte, Feb. 22, 1807. He was the eldest son of Hon. Thomas Burnside.

In 1824 he was a student at the Bellefonte Academy, and in 1828 graduated with the highest honors at Dickinson College.

His study of law was prosecuted in his father's office. He was admitted in November, 1830, by the court in which his father presided, and at once commenced the practice of his profession under the same stern and impartial regime.

In October, 1844, he was elected member of the Assembly, and re-elected in 1845. While in this position he gave proof of great ability. His speech, Feb. 3, 1846, upon an amendment which he proposed to the State Constitution in favor of biennial sessions of the Legislature was a particularly able effort.

He was married June 2, 1846, to Rachel, daughter of Hon. Simon Cameron.

When the Twenty-fifth Judicial District was erected, Governor Bigler commissioned him its first judge, April 20, 1853, and in October he was elected without opposition to the same high position.

He was eminently distinguished upon the bench for his calm impartiality, yet off of it he was a lenient citizen and indulgent friend. In his private relations he displayed many qualities of head and heart which endeared him to his friends and the people.

Had he lived higher honors were apparently in store for him, but with only half of his years of usefulness expended he was called suddenly away. He was instantly killed by being thrown from a buggy, July 1, 1859, leaving a widow, since deceased, and two sons and a daughter

Source: History of Centre and Clinton Counties, Pennsylvania; John Blair Linn; Philadelphia; Louis H. Everts; 1883

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