Augustus Loring Rhodes
|10th Chief Justice of California|
January 1, 1870 - January 1, 1872
|Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of California|
|Elections under 1862 amendment to California constitution and 1863 enabling law|
|Elections under new constitution of 1879|
|Born||May 25, 1821|
Oneida County, New York, U.S.
|Died||October 23, 1918 (aged 97)|
San Jose, Santa Clara County, California, U.S.
Elizabeth Greene Cavins (m. 1846)
|Alma mater||Hamilton College|
Educated at Hamilton College, Rhodes studied law and then moved to Bloomfield, Indiana, being admitted to the bar there in 1846. He served one term as the prosecuting attorney for the circuit court (1849), and departed for California in 1854. Settling in San Jose, he became district attorney in 1859 and then State Senator for the 4th district in 1860.
In 1863, a constitutional amendment meant all of the seats of the Supreme Court of California were open for election. In October 1863, Rhodes was elected to the Supreme Court of California, and served from January 2, 1864, until 1880. He served as the 10th Chief Justice from 1870 to 1872. His first term expired January 1, 1872, and the Court referred the issue of whether he would continue to serve as Chief Justice to a panel of three San Francisco attorneys. They decided that Article 6, Section 3, of the 1862 state Constitution required the justice with the shortest remaining term to serve, and so Royal Sprague replaced Rhodes as Chief Justice. In October 1871, Rhodes was elected to a ten-year term. A new Constitution adopted in 1879 required elections for all Supreme Court positions. In 1879, he ran for Chief Justice but lost to Robert F. Morrison.
From 1899 to 1907, he served as a Superior Court judge in Santa Clara County. The vacancy on the trial bench caused by Rhodes' retirement (at the age of 88) was filled by John E. Richards.
On September 30, 1846, Rhodes married Elizabeth Greene Cavins (April 7, 1829 – December 25, 1901), a judge's daughter in Greene County, Indiana. They had six children: Mary Rhodes (Barstow) (born 1848), who married the son of her father's law partner; James H. Rhodes (born 1849); Samuel R. Rhodes (born 1854), who became a doctor; Margaret Rhodes (1857-1870); Edward Livingston Rhodes (1860-1945), who joined his father's law firm of Rhodes & Barstow after graduating from the University of California, Berkeley, and later served as a justice of the peace in Chino, California; and Augusta E. Rhodes (born 1868).
Class Secretaries, Class of 1841, Augustus Rhodes
In 1859 he was elected District Attorney in this county, and in 1860 was elected State Senator to represent Santa Clara and Alameda counties.
Under the constitutional provision, on October 21, 1863, Oscar L. Shafter, Lorenzo Sawyer, Silas W. Sanderson, John Curry and A. L. Rhodes were elected Supreme Court Justices. The new court organized January 2, 1864, and in accordance with law, the Judges drew lots to determine the tenure of their official terms, with the following result: Shafter drew for ten years, Rhodes for eight. Sawyer for six, Curry for four and Sanderson for two.
At the expiration of the first term of Chief Justice Rhodes, January 1st, 1872.
Justice Rhodes, elected in 1871, to retire in 1881.
| Chief Justice of California
Elections under 1862 amendment to California constitution and 1863 enabling law
| Associate Justice of the California Supreme Court
1864-1870 and 1872-1880
Elections under new constitution of 1879