George Wythe, August 30, 1779-March 5, 1789

George Wythe
Oil on canvas, 30 x 25 in., by Eugenie D. Saugstad, 1941, circa;
copy of a portrait of Wythe by J.F. Wear, after a sketch by John Trumbull, 1791

Location: courtroom foyer, right

Born in 1726 in Elizabeth City County, Virginia
Died June 8, 1806 in Richmond, Virginia

Elected by the General Assembly to the High Court of Chancery on August 30, 1779 and became a member, ex-officio, of the Court of Appeals on the same day. Service terminated by the reorganization of the courts in 1788, which took effect March 5, 1789.

Attended College of William and Mary, about 1746
Read law with Stephen Dewey, Prince George County

Other judicial service:
Judge, High Court of Chancery 1779-1806

Professional career:
Private practice of law in Spotsylvania County, Virginia, 1745-1755, circa
King’s attorney general, 1754-1755
Burgess, Virginia House of Burgesses, 1752-1755, 1758-1769
Chief clerk, Virginia House of Burgesses, 1769-1776
Mayor and town magistrate, Williamsburg, Virginia
Virginia representative, Continental Congress, 1775-1777
Virginia state delegate, 1777-1778 (speaker, 1777-1778)
Representative, convention to ratify the U.S. Constitution, 1788
Professor of law and police, College of William and Mary, 1779-1790
Author, Decisions of Cases in Virginia by the High Court of Chancery, with Remarks upon Decrees, by the Court of Appeals Reversing Some of those Decisions, 1795

Further reading/Research collections

Biography and career, E. Lee Shepard, “George Wythe: College of William and Mary, 1779-1790,” in W. Hamilton Bryson, Legal Education in Virginia: A Biographical Approach, 1779-1979 (Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1982), 1749-755, and A Provisional List of Alumni, Grammar School Students, Members of the Faculty, and Members of the Board of Visitors of the College of William and Mary in Virginia From 1693-1888 (Richmond: Division of Purchase and Printing, 1941), 45; King’s attorney general, 1754-1755, Imogene Brown, American Aristides (New Jersey: Fairleigh Dickinson University Pres, 1981), 38-39; portrait, Ray O. Hummel, Jr., and Katherine M. Smith, Portraits and Statuary of Virginians Owned by the Virginia State Library, the Medical College of Virginia, the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, and Other State Agencies (Richmond, Va.: The Virginia State Library, 1977), 136, and Library of Virginia portrait files. A copy of the Saugstad was made during the administration of Governor George Allen (1994-1998) and hangs in a hearing room.