Sunday, August 3, 1997

Garret Dorset Wall

Attorney and Senator

Garret Dorset Wall was born in 1783, in Middletown, New Jersey. After earning his attorney's license at the age of 19, he served in the war of 1812, and also served as clerk of the State Supreme Court. In 1822, he was elected to the New Jersey Assembly as a Federalist, only to cause a stir in 1824 by supporting Andrew Jackson, Democratic candidate for the presidency.

In 1828, Wall bought the former home of Lydia Ritchie, on High Street in Burlington. A year later, he was elected Governor of New Jersey, but declined the position, stating that he was too busy with personal pursuits and did not wish to become further entangled in the State's politics. Later in the year, President Jackson appointed him U.S. District Attorney for the state. As District Attorney, Wall played a key role in breaking up a system of land piracy.

In 1834, Wall was elected to the U.S. Senate, where he represented New Jersey for six years. His final position as a public servant was that of a state court judge, from 1848 until his death in 1850. He is buried at St. Mary's Church in Burlington. During the decades he spent in the city, Wall played a central role in molding the local Democratic party, and was instrumental in establishing the short-lived Burlington College.

Garret Wall's son, James Walter Wall, followed in his father's political footsteps, and his daughter Matilda married Peter Dumont Vroom, governor of New Jersey between 1829 and 1836. Wall Street in Burlington was named in honor of the family's contributions to the City.

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