Samuel Elliott Perkins


Samuel Elliott Perkins



Samuel Elliott Perkins holds the distinction of being the only person to serve on both Indiana Supreme Courts created by the state’s first and second constitutions. Perkins was born on December 8, 1811 in Brattleboro, Vermont. An orphan at age five; Perkins was raised by family friends in Massachusetts. Perkins developed an interest in law at an early age and studied with an attorney in rural New York, before migrating to Indiana, in 1836, where he completed his studies under Richmond attorney J. W. Borden.

Perkins briefly served as Wayne County’s prosecuting attorney (1843) before appointed to the Indiana Supreme Court in 1846. He had been nominated to the court twice before, but failed to win appointment by the Indiana Senate. Once appointed, he served for twenty-two years, but not consecutively. He taught law at Northwestern Christian University (Butler University) in 1857 and later joined the faculty of the Indiana University Law Department in 1870. He remained at IU for two years and then served three years as a judge on the Marion County Superior Court. He returned to the Supreme Court in 1877 and was a sitting justice at the time of his death on December 17, 1879.


Indiana University Maurer School of Law Faculty, Indiana Supreme Court


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To learn more about Samuel E. Perkins, see the links and files below:

Also see:

“Samuel E. Perkins,” by Marisol Sanchez, in Justices of the Indiana Supreme Court, edited by Linda C. Gugin and James E. St. Clair, pp.33-36. Available in the Jerome Hall Law Library, KF 354 .I56 J87 2010.


Samuel Elliott Perkins