Matthew Birchard was born in Becket, Massachusetts, and came to Trumbull County, Ohio, near Warren at age eight. He was admitted to the bar in 1828, and formed a partnership with future governor David Tod, and six years later was elected Common Pleas Judge.
Birchard accepted an appointment with the Federal Government for a time from his friend Andrew Jackson,first as Solicitor for the General Land Office, and then to succeed Henry D. Gilpin as Solicitor of the United States Treasury. He returned to Warren in 1841. He was elected from Trumbull County by the Ohio General Assembly as a judge of the Ohio Supreme Court for a seven year term, and served 1842-1849.
In 1867, Birchard purchased the newspaper Warren Constitution and ran it with his son until his death in 1876 in Warren.
One author appraised Birchard thusly : "His written opinions are characterized by felicity of expression and perspicuity of thought. His pertinacity has been bluntly denominated stubbornness." Another opined : "The opinions of Judge Birchard were characterized by fluency of expression and clearness of logic. He was known as a man of strong convictions, great will of power, and possessed pertinacity of the sort that causes one juror out of twelve to dissent from the opinion of colleagues." While a third stated: "...his opinions show him to have been a man of learning and research, with a strong sense of justice."
- Neff, William B, ed (1921). Bench and Bar of Northern Ohio History and Biography. Cleveland: The Historical Publishing Company. http://books.google.com/books?id=DgwwAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA59.
- Reed, George Irving; Randall, Emilius Oviatt; Greve, Charles Theodore, eds (1897). Bench and Bar of Ohio: a Compendium of History and Biography. 1. Chicago: Century Publishing and Engraving Company. http://books.google.com/books?id=4gQ9AAAAIAAJ&pg=PA21.
- "Supreme Court of Ohio". The Medico-legal journal 18. 1901. http://books.google.com/books?id=uxgCAAAAYAAJ&pg=RA1-PA179&lpg=RA1-PA179&dq=Matthew.
- Ohio General Assembly (1917). Manual of legislative practice in the General Assembly. State of Ohio. http://books.google.com/books?id=7qesAAAAMAAJ&pg=PA285.
- Perley Poore, Benjamin (1878). The political register and congressional directory: a statistical record of the Federal Officials...1776-1878. Boston: Houghton, Osgood and Company. http://books.google.com/books?id=Nn0FAAAAQAAJ&pg=PA230&dq=solicitors.
Legal offices Preceded by
Ohio Supreme Court Judges
Rufus Paine Spalding
Ohio House of Representatives Preceded by
F. E. Stone
Representative from Trumbull County
George T. Townsend
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