Robert Holland Duell was a native of the State of New York, born in Warren, on December 20, 1824. He studied in Syracuse Academy and took up the profession of law, being admitted to the bar in 1845. Three years later he removed to Cortland and established himself in law there, continuing to make this his home for the greater part of his later life, to the time of his death on February 11, 1891.

Mr. Duell early became interested in politics and became District Attorney of Cortland County in 1850, which office he held until 1855, when he became District Judge. After serving four years in this capacity he was elected as Republican representative to Congress. In all, he spent eight years in Congress, 1859-1863, and 1871-1875.

In October of 1875 he became Commissioner of Patents, his appointment being heartily endorsed by the Republican press, and it is not recorded that there was opposition elsewhere.

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