Alpheus Felch

Alpheus Felch

Served from 1842 through 1845

Alpheus Felch was born on September 28, 1804, in Limerick, Maine. Felch was an orphan by the time he was two years old and his primary guardian from that point on was his paternal grandfather.

Poor health plagued Felch during his youth, yet he still managed to excel in school. After completing his studies in law and being admitted to the Bar, he began practicing law in Maine. However, his ill health again intervened and forced him to relocate to a warmer climate. Felch intended to move to Mississippi, but got as far as Michigan when he stopped his travels and settled in Monroe. Shortly after his arrival in Monroe, Felch took the position of village attorney. His career as a public servant continued when he was elected to the State Legislature. Felch was also appointed to the State Bank Commission and the position of Auditor General. In 1843, he was appointed to the Michigan Supreme Court. He remained on the Bench until he was elected Governor of Michigan in 1845. Felch left this office before his term expired to run for the United States Senate. He was elected to service, and while in the Senate, President Franklin Pierce appointed Felch as the Commissioner to negotiate Spanish and Mexican land claims under the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. Felch’s investigations as Commissioner were completed in March of 1854, and the testimony of all the cases heard by Felch amassed forty volumes.

Following his service in the U.S. Senate, Felch returned to practice law in Ann Arbor but retired in 1874. Felch was a Tappan Professor of Law at the University of Michigan for five years and also served on the Board of Regents of the University.

Alpheus Felch died in 1896. (Weddon, Willah. Michigan Governors: Their Life Stories. Lansing, Michigan: NOG Press, 1994.)

Alpheus Felch

Justice’s Name:
Alpheus Felch

Years Served on Court:
1842 – 1845

Portrait presented on:
January 8, 1895

Medium:
Oil on canvas

Owned by:
State of Michigan

Current location:
MISSING FROM COLLECTION