Richard Henry ALVEY,
jurist, was born in St. Mary's County, Maryland, March 26, 1826, son of George N. and Harriet (Weeklin) ALVEY, and descendant of John ALVEY, a Revolutionary patriot who bravely fought in the Maryland line. He studied in the schools of St. Mary's, making good use of his opportunities and being accounted a good scholar; so that when but eighteen years of age he was appointed clerk of Charles County Court, continuing to serve from 1844 to 1850.
Meanwhile, he had studied law and been admitted to practice at the Hagerstown bar. He had also come to an active part in politics, both local and national; was presidental elector on the Pierce and King ticket in 1852, and member of the Maryland constitutional convention in 1867.
The law continued to be his profession however, and in course of time, he was honored with important judicial appointments. He was elected member of the Court of Appeals of the State of Maryland in November 1867 and re-elected in 1882. He became, by appointment, the chief justice of that court, which position he held from 1883 to 1893, when he was promoted by appointment to be chief justice of the Court of Appeals of the District of Columbia, holding the same until his resignation on account of failing health, near the close of 1904, and always meeting the demands of his important office with an ability and impartiality that commanded universal respect and confidence.
In January 1896, he was also called by President Cleveland to set as a member of the Venezuelan Boundary Commission. In 1902 the degree of LL.D. was conferred upon him by Princeton University; and in 1904, St John's University, Maryland, gave him the same honorary degree.
During the period of his service as chief justice of the District Court of Appeals, he likewise discharged the duties of Chancellor of the institution in Washington, chartered as "The National University", though consisting for the time being of law, medical, and dental schools only, and he gave lectures therein upon some branches of the law.
He was married in 1856 to Mary WHARTON, who died in 1860, and afterward to Julia HAYS, daughter of Joseph C. HAYS, of Washington County, Maryland.
On September 14, 1906, Judge Alvey died at his home in Hagerstown, Maryland.