He attended the common schools, and graduated from Union College in 1827. He studied law, was admitted to the bar in 1831, and commenced practice in New York City.
He was elected on the American ticket to the 29th United States Congress, holding office from March 4, 1845, to March 3, 1847. He was a justice of the Superior Court of New York City from 1849 to 1855. He was a justice of the New York Supreme Court from 1857 to 1865, and ex officio a judge of the New York Court of Appeals in 1865.
He was an author and engaged in historical work.
The Border Warfare of New York During the Revolution: The Annals of Tryon County. New York: Baker & Schribner, 1831.
(Reprint, Bowie, Maryland: Heritage Books, 1992)
An Historical Sketch of Robin Hood and Captain Kidd. New York: Scribner, 1853.
The centennial celebration at Cherry Valley, Otsego Company
New York, July 4, 1840
The addresses of William West. Campbell, esq. and Government. West.H. Seward, with letters, toasts, &c., &c.
He died on September 7, 1881, in Cherry Valley, and was buried at the Cherry Valley Cemetery.
He was a Republican member of the New York State Assembly (Otsego Company, 1st Doctorate) in 1869.