Page 20 - Cornelius Hedges Story
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7 The Cornelius Hedges Story

    To Cornelius, like any male matriculate of the Twentieth Century,
the fairer sex was a distracting attraction. On November 5, 1851, he
related one such distraction:

  “I returned With Carie and Augustus’ Wife to their home, there
   I fell in with Miss Sheldon and was prevailed upon to stay for
   tea in spite of prayers - Oh! Who can stand before a woman’s
   solicitations, her words are logic of the heart and cannot be
   refuted - suffice it to say I fell victimized before them and
   remained conversing till half-past six, returned and got out my
    He also met another young lady, a student at York Ladies’
Seminary in New Haven, who was to play a much greater role in
his life than the charming Miss Sheldon. The young lady was Edna
Layette Smith, his future bride.9
    As his college days neared completion, Hedges’ views became
more stabilized and mature. But his journal entries for the remainder
of his life show decisively that he did not leave his self-criticism and
impatience with himself behind when he received his Bachelor of
Arts degree from Yale in 1853. Usually he had boundless patience
while dealing with others, but he was not so lenient with himself.
Cornelius Hedges was not the only member of Yale’s Class of 1853
who left a distinct impression on our country, his famous classmates
included Andrew D. White, Cornell’s famous president, U.S.
Supreme Court Justice George H. Shiras, and U.S. Attorney General
Wayne MacVeagh of President Garfield’s cabinet.10
    Upon graduation from Yale, he taught in an academy at Easton,
Connecticut, west of New Haven near Bridgeport. Then he returned
to Westfield, where he studied law prior to entering Harvard Law
School.11 In 1855, he completed law studies at Harvard and later
on was examined and admitted to the Massachusetts Bar, upon the
motion of the Honorable Benjamin F. Butler.12 Hedges interest in
the fortunes of Ben Butler continued for many years; in November,
1878, he noted in his journal, “Little news from the states in the
evening Butler beaten.”13 The significance of and interest in Ben
Butler may be seen in the following; In 1878 Butler unsuccessfully
ran for Governor of Massachusetts as an independent, and ran
unsuccessfully again in 1879 as a Democrat. He finally won in 1882,
serving from 1883 until 1884.
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