Notable Oregonians: Matthew Deady - Judge, Politician
Matthew Deady was born in Maryland on May 12, 1824 to parents of Irish descent. He attended public schools in West Virginia; trained as a blacksmith; studied at Barnesville Academy in Ohio; and passed the bar in 1847. Deady came to Oregon in 1849 where he taught and practiced law at Lafayette before being elected to the legislature in 1851.
He gained an appointment as associate judge of the Territorial Supreme Court on which he served from 1853 to 1859. He also presided over the State Constitutional Convention in 1857. Deady successfully advocated for provisions in law to set six year terms for judges, four year terms for state officers, and biennial sessions for the legislature. See the Crafting the Oregon Constitution Web exhibit for more information.
In 1859 he was appointed U.S. District Judge for Oregon and moved to Portland where he was a founder of the Multnomah County Library. Deady served as president of the Board of Regents of the State University (University of Oregon in Eugene) from 1873 to 1893.
He was a popular public speaker and a prolific writer on the law and other subjects. Among his work is the General Laws of Oregon, which he compiled and annotated in 1866. Deady Hall on the University of Oregon campus was built in 1876 and named in his honor.