Thomas Sherwood

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Served from 1883 through 1889
Chief Justice: 1886, 1887, 1888, 1889


Thomas R. Sherwood was born in Pleasant Valley, New York, on March 28, 1827. His ancestors were Quakers and his early years were spent on a farm. For several years, Sherwood attended the Macedon Center and Canandaigua academies, where he received a thorough education.

He was admitted to the Bar in Rochester, New York, in 1851. He moved to Kalamazoo in 1852, where he made his home until disease prevented him from further pursuing his labors. He was elected as a member of the Michigan Supreme Court in 1882, and served in that capacity until the close of his term on December 31, 1889.

Sherwood was eminently a self-made man and rose to the distinction. As a practicing attorney, he was careful and diligent, and ever faithful to the cause of his client. As a citizen, he lived a life of purity and honor, and acquired the esteem of all of his acquaintances. As a judge, he gained the respect and confidence of the State Bar through his painstaking and conscientious labors, his eminent abilities, his courteous manner, and frankness of heart. Often, it was necessary to take more time to accomplish his task than was required of other members of the Court, but his associates never complained that he did not do his full share.

Having himself arisen from humble surroundings, Sherwood was always ready to extend a helping hand to those in distress and need.

Thomas R. Sherwood died on March 28, 1896, in Chicago, Illinois. (Michigan Supreme Court. Michigan Reports: Cases Decided by the Supreme Court of Michigan. Chicago: Callaghan and Co., 1879–1949, Vol. 117.)

Portrait presented on: (Click link to read transcript)
January 21, 1890

Portrait Artist:
Ives, Lewis Thomas

Oil on canvas

74.61cm X 62.23cm (29 3/8″ X 24 1/2″)

Owned by:
State of Michigan

Current location:
Hall of Justice – 6th Floor:
Justice Welch’s Suite

Portrait photo by:
Doug Elbinger, Lansing – June 1996