Hon. James Maurice died at his home in Maspeth rather suddenly yesterday afternoon. He had been complaining, but was not thought to be seriously ill. Mr. Maurice was at one time the most prominent citizen of Queens County, but for the past fifteen years he has lived very retired and his name seldom appeared before the public. He was a lawyer and at one time was the partner of James T. Brady, and for a quarter of a century was prominent at the bar, but he made the larger part of his fortune out of the real estate business. He always displayed a great interest in the affairs of Newtown, where nearly all his life he resided, and to his ability as a lawyer and a financier is attributed the saving of the town from bankruptcy at a time when it was overloaded with debt. He took a leading part in all reform measures and carried every issue forward successfully.
Mr. Maurice was elected to the Assembly of this state in 1851, by the people of Queens County, and in 1853 he was elected to Congress from the First District of New York. He never had a liking for politics, and only consented to be a candidate for office when a crisis arose and the people demanded his services. His last appearance before the public as a candidate was in 1866. In that year Boss Tweed had need to increase his strength in the Legislature, being threatened with the loss of several New York City districts, and “Prince” Harry Genet was sent to reside in the Town of Newtown and become the candidate of the Democratic party for member of Assembly. He was backed by barrels of money and experienced no trouble in securing the nomination. The Republicans nominated Mr. Maurice, the citizens of the Democratic faith met everywhere and endorsed him. When the ballots were counted Mr. Maurice had a majority almost outnumbering Mr. Genet's total vote. Tweed revenged himself on the people of Queens County by favoring some pernicious legislation.
Mr. Maurice was not given to display, but detested it. He gave a great deal of money away in charity, and kept his benefactions as secret as possible. Recently, he donated fifty acres of land to the Episcopal diocese of Long Island for cemetery purposes. The land is in the Town of Newtown, and if the donor's views are carried out, the cemetery will be a considerable source of revenue for the diocese. Mr. Maurice lived and died a bachelor. He had two brothers and three sisters, and none of them ever married. But one of the family of six survives. Mr. Maurice was 70 years old. He leaves a very large estate, said to amount to not less than $1,000,000.