Sabin, Chauncey Brewer (1824–1890)

By: Randolph B. "Mike" Campbell

Type: Biography

Published: 1952

Updated: June 1, 1995

Chauncey B. Sabin, lawyer and judge, was born on August 6, 1824, in Oneonta, Ostega County, New York, the son of Timothy and Willmet (Van Dyke) Sabin. He graduated from Delaware Literary Institute in 1840, read law in Delhi, Delaware County, New York, and was admitted to the bar at Albany, New York, in January 1846. He practiced law there until late the next year, when he moved to Houston, Texas. On May 27, 1850, he married Mary Ann Hamlin of New Albion, Indiana. They had at least two children.

Sabin continued his law practice in Houston through the 1850s. As a strong Unionist, he closed his office at the outbreak of the Civil War and in 1863 left Texas. He lived in New York until 1865 and then returned to Houston for a year. Unhappy with the direction of presidential Reconstruction, he went to Washington, D.C., and worked to have the Republicans in Congress take control from the president. After returning to Houston in 1867, he became active in the fledgling state Republican party and on August 15 received an appointment from Gen. Charles Griffin as judge of the Third Judicial District. Sabin resigned from the bench in mid-1868 and once more went to Washington, this time to support the proposed Fifteenth Amendment.

He returned to Houston in 1870 after the election of Governor Edmund J. Davis. He moved his residence to Galveston in 1871, and Davis appointed him judge of the Eighteenth Judicial District on February 1 of that year. Within less than a year Sabin resigned from the bench to become Galveston city attorney. He served in the House of Representatives of the Thirteenth Legislature, and in 1874 President U. S. Grant made him postmaster of Galveston. He held that position until March 1884, when President Chester A. Arthur appointed him judge of the United States Court for the Eastern District of Texas. Sabin remained on the federal district bench until his death at Galveston on March 30, 1890. He was buried at St. Mary's Cathedral, Galveston.

Biographical Encyclopedia of Texas (New York: Southern, 1880). Galveston News, March 31, 1890. Ocie Speer, Texas Jurists (Austin, 1936).
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The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Randolph B. "Mike" Campbell, “Sabin, Chauncey Brewer,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed July 05, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

June 1, 1995