Rossiter Johnson, ed., "Breese, Sidney," The Twentieth Century Biographical Dictionary of Notable Americans, vol. 1 (Boston: The Biographical Society, 1904).
BREESE, Sidney, jurist, was born in Whitesboro, Oneida county, N. Y., July 15, 1800. He graduated at Union college in 1818, studied law, and removed to Illinois in 1821, where he was admitted to the bar. He successively filled the offices of town postmaster, assistant secretary of state, state's attorney, and United States attorney for Illinois. He was a commissioned officer in the state militia and served as lieutenant of volunteers, during the Black Hawk war. He was appointed circuit judge in 1835, and judge of the supreme court of the state in 1841. In 1843 he was elected to the United States senate, as a democrat, serving until 1849, and during his senatorship, while chairman of the committee on public lands, he made a report favoring the establishment of a transcontinental railway. He was a member of the house of representatives of Illinois, and in 1850 was elected its speaker. In 1855 he was again appointed judge of the circuit court and was chief of the court. In 1857 he was elected justice of the supreme court of the state, and in 1873 became chief justice, holding the office during his lifetime. He was one of the originators of the Illinois Central railroad, and from 1845 to 1849 regent of the Smithsonian institution. He published a volume of " Decisions of the Supreme Court" (1829); a work on " Illinois " (1869); and another on the " Origin and History of the Pacific Railroad " (1869). He died at Pinckneyville, 111., June 27. 1878.