Born in Poland, New York, he moved to Jamestown, New York in 1860, and attended Jamestown and Randolph Academies. During the Civil War, he enlisted in 1862 as a private in the One Hundred and Fifty-fourth Regiment, New York Volunteer Infantry, and at the close of the war held a commission as major.
He studied law, and was admitted to the bar in Buffalo, New York in 1866 and commenced practice in Sherman, New York. He moved to Ottawa, Kansas in 1869, held various local offices, and was a member of the Kansas Senate from 1881 to 1885.
He was a judge of the fourth judicial district of Kansas from 1885 to 1897, and was appointed as a Republican to the U.S. Senate to fill the vacancy caused by the resignation of Joseph R. Burton; he served from June 11 1906 to January 23 1907, when a successor was elected.
He was an unsuccessful candidate for election in 1907 to fill this vacancy, and was appointed and subsequently elected associate justice of the Kansas Supreme Court, on which he served from 1907 to 1915, when he resigned.