Philemon Dickerson was born in Succasunna in Morris County in 1788. He graduated from the University of Pennsylvania, read law, and opened a practice in the growing industrial city of Paterson. By the late 1820s, when Elijah engaged his services, he was a leading lawyer in Paterson and had been elected to the New Jersey Legislature. In the 1830s, Dickerson he was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives and then was chosen as the governor of New Jersey. After serving another term in Congress, he was appointed judge of the U.S. District Court for New Jersey in 1841 and served there until his death in 1851.
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