William Henry Sutton (Dickinson Chronicles)

John Osborne and James W. Gerencser, eds., “William Henry Sutton,” Dickinson Chronicles, http://chronicles.dickinson.edu/encyclo/s/ed_suttonWH.htm.
William H. Sutton was born in Haddonfield, New Jersey on September 11, 1835 to Methodist minister Henry Sutton and his wife, Ann Craig Sutton. He went to local schools, then spent a year at the Dickinson Grammar School in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. Sutton entered the college proper in 1852 with the class of 1855. He was elected to the Union Philosophical Society, but in early 1853 there was an outbreak of smallpox at the college, and Sutton did not return when classes resumed. He instead enrolled at Wesleyan College in Connecticut and graduated there in 1857. Sutton taught for a time at the American Institute for the Deaf and Dumb in Hartford and studied law. He entered law school in Albany, New York, but dropped out and finished his legal studies in Philadelphia under William Meredith.

Sutton passed the bar in Philadelphia and finally began to practice there in 1863 at the age of twenty-eight. He wasted little time in building up a large and successful career in the city and nearby Delaware and Montgomery counties. Sutton helped raise a company of emergency militia during the Confederate invasion of Pennsylvania, but the unit was not activated. He involved himself also in banking. He organized, promoted, and served as a director in the Merion Title and Trust Company and the Bryn Mawr National Bank. In addition, Sutton performed his civic duty in the area as the elected auditor in 1876 and as school director of Lower Merion Township in 1879. He also held a seat for four years as a Democratic representative in the state senate between 1882 and 1887. Subsequently, Sutton served as county judge in Montgomery County. He was also president and treasurer of the board of trustees of his local Methodist church. In 1909, Dickinson College awarded him an honorary doctor of laws degree.

Sutton married Hannah Anderson of Haverford in June 1872. The couple lived in that town and had nine children, eight of whom survived into adulthood. William Henry Sutton died on March 14, 1913 at Haverford and was buried in the West Laurel Hill Cemetery in Philadelphia. He was seventy-seven years old.
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