Obadiah German as born in Amenia, Dutchess County, New York on April 22, 1766. He became a lawyer in 1792 and practiced in Norwich, Chenango County, New York. He served in the State Assembly in 1798, 1804-1805, and 1807-1809. He was a member of the Democratic-Republican party and an ally of DeWitt Clinton.
Obadiah German was elected to the United States Senate in 1808, and served from March 4, 1809 to March 3, 1815. German was known as a critic of the lack of military preparations made in advance of the War of 1812, and voted against the declaration of war. In 1812 German was one of the founding trustees of Hamilton College. After leaving the Senate, he was judge of Chenango County from 1815 to 1819. As a DeWitt Clinton supporter, German also played a role in the construction of the Erie Canal after being appointed state commissioner of public works in 1817. German returned to the Assembly in 1819, and served as speaker. Obadiah German was also a militia officer, eventually becoming a major general. After leaving the Assembly, he returned to the practice of law. German became a Whig when that party was organized, and died in Norwich on September 24, 1842. The town of German, New York is named for him.
Preceded by: Samuel L. Mitchill U.S. Senator (Class 1) from New York 1809-1815 Succeeded by: Nathan Sanford