Charles Cleveland Convers
b. July 28, 1810
d. Sept. 10, 1860
37th Justice of the Supreme Court of Ohio
Term
Feb. 9 to May 26, 1856

CHARLES CLEVELAND CONVERS

Charles Cleveland Convers, a state senator, speaker of the Ohio Senate and judge of the Muskingum County Court of Common Pleas, had the misfortune of being sworn into office as judge of the Supreme Court of Ohio in February 1856, then being forced to resign in May due to illness. Convers, who was well educated and read in the law, as well as a successful trial and equity lawyer, left the Court without hearing arguments or rendering an opinion.

Convers was born in Zanesville, Ohio on July 26, 1810, to Daniel and Sarah Munro Convers. He received his early education in Zanesville at the McIntire Academy and later graduated from Ohio University in 1829. He returned to Zanesville after graduation and studied law in the office of his brother-in-law, Charles B. Goddard. Convers also studied at Harvard Law School, along with notable classmates, including future U.S. Supreme Court Justice Benjamin Robbins Curtis and Charles Sumner, U.S. Senator from Massachusetts. Convers took from his Harvard education a belief that law was a science and sought to impart this idea to students who came to him to read and study law. Convers was admitted to the bar in Ohio in 1832 and joined Goddard in the practice of law.

In 1849, Muskingum County voters elected Convers to the Ohio Senate, where he served from Dec. 2, 1849 to March 31, 1851. While in the Senate, Convers became its speaker following the resignation of Harrison Blake in January 1850. In October 1851, Convers was an unsuccessful candidate on the Whig Party ticket for a seat on the Supreme Court, the first statewide election of judges to the Supreme Court.

Convers returned to Zanesville after leaving the Ohio Senate and rejoined Goddard in law practice and he campaigned successfully for a seat on the Muskingum County Court of Common Pleas in October 1854. The following year, the newly formed Ohio Republican Party, gave Convers a second opportunity to campaign for a seat on the Supreme Court. Convers and Jacob Brinkerhoff, who earlier left the Democratic Party, were elected by Ohio voters in October. Convers took his seat in February 1856, but by May, was forced to resign because of illness. He submitted his letter of resignation to Gov. Salmon P. Chase on May 26, 1856, and informed the governor he would not accept his salary because of his illness and his inability to perform the duties of his office. Convers returned to Zanesville and retired from public life and the practice of law. He died at his home on Sept. 10, 1860.

Convers married Catherine Buckingham in Zanesville on April 14, 1839 and the couple raised four children. From 1846 to 1850, Convers served as a trustee of the Putnam Female Academy in Zanesville; and from 1846 to 1849, Convers also served as a member of the board of trustees of Ohio University. Convers and others founded Woodlawn Cemetery in Zanesville, where he is buried.