About Obadiah German, U.S. Senator
Obadiah German (April 22, 1766 – September 24, 1842) was an American lawyer and politician.
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, from 1807 to 1809.
In 1809, he was elected a U.S. Senator from New York, and served from March 4, 1809, to March 4, 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 canal project, German also took part in the construction of the Erie Canal after being appointed State Commissioner of Public Works in 1817. German returned to the Assembly in 1819 and, as a member of the Clintonian faction of the Democratic-Republican Party, was chosen Speaker. Afterwards he resumed the practice of law. German became a Whig when that party was organized.
He was buried at the Riverside Cemetery in North Norwich, New York.
Obadiah German's widow, Mary Ann, claimed to have been defrauded of an estate worth more than $70,000 by a brother of Obadiah German. She took up residence in Syracuse, and became a public charge, her efforts at earning at 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.
The town of German, New York is named after him.