|Speaker of the New York State Assembly|
January 6, 1819 - June 30, 1819
|John C. Spencer|
|United States Senator from New York|
March 4, 1809 - March 3, 1815
|Samuel L. Mitchill|
|Member of the New York State Assembly|
|Born||April 22, 1766|
Amenia, New York
|Died||September 24, 1842 (aged 76)|
Norwich, Chenango County, New York
|Resting place||North Norwich Cemetery, North Norwich, New York|
|Spouse(s)||Mary Ann Lewis (d. 1829)|
Mary Ann Knight (d. 1861)
He was born on April 22, 1766 in Amenia, New York. He was admitted to the bar in 1792, and commenced practice in Norwich. He was a member of the New York State Assembly in 1798-99, from 1804 to 1805, and from 1807 to 1809.
In 1809, he was elected a U.S. Senator from New York, and served from March 4, 1809 to March 3, 1815. German was known as a critic of the lack of military preparations made in advance of the War of 1812, and voted against the declaration of war. In 1812, German was one of the founding trustees of Hamilton College. He was First Judge of the Chenango County Court from 1814 to 1819. He was also a State militia officer, eventually becoming a major general.
Supporting DeWitt Clinton's Erie Canal project, German took part in planning and overseeing its construction after being appointed State Commissioner of Public Works in 1817. German returned to the Assembly in 1819 as a member of the Clintonian faction of the Democratic-Republican Party and was chosen to serve as Speaker. Afterwards he resumed the practice of law. German became a Whig when that party was organized.
Obadiah German was married twice. He had five children with his first wife, Mary Ann Lewis, known as Ann, who died in 1829.
After the death of his first wife he married Mary Ann Knight, a woman much younger than he. They had three children, and by some accounts the marriage was not a happy one, with Mary Ann Knight and the children living in Syracuse while Obadiah German continued to reside in Norwich.
Obadiah German's widow Mary Ann Knight claimed to have been defrauded by her brother (some accounts say German's brother) of German's estate, worth $70,000 (about $1.7 million in 2014). She took up residence in Syracuse, and became a public charge, her efforts at earning a living through painting and "fancy work" having failed. Her claim to be the widow of Sen. German was not believed in Syracuse until it was confirmed after her death "in a state of great destitution," according to the Syracuse Journal.
German, Obadiah, a Senator from New York; born in Amenia, Dutchess County, N.Y., April 22, 1766; attended the district schools; studied law; admitted to the bar in 1792 and commenced practice in Norwich, N.Y.; member, State assembly 1798, 1804-1805, 1807-1809; elected as a Democratic Republican to the United States Senate and served from March 4, 1809, to March 3, 1815; judge of Chenango County 1815-1819; appointed commissioner of public works in 1817; member, State assembly 1819, and served as speaker; affiliated with the Whig Party on its organization; died in Norwich, N.Y., September 24, 1842; interment in North Norwich Cemetery (formerly Riverside Cemetery), North Norwich, N.Y.