|19th United States Secretary of War|
February 15, 1844 – March 4, 1845
|Preceded by||James Madison Porter|
|Succeeded by||William L. Marcy|
|Member of the United States House of Representatives|
March 4, 1843 – February 14, 1844
|Preceded by||Thomas M.T. McKennan|
|Succeeded by||Cornelius Darragh|
|United States Senator|
March 4, 1831 – June 30, 1834
|Preceded by||William Marks|
|Succeeded by||James Buchanan|
|Born||December 20, 1779|
Carlisle, Pennsylvania, U.S.
|Died||June 23, 1865 (aged 85)|
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S.
|Alma mater||Pittsburgh Academy|
|Profession||Lawyer, Judge, Politician|
William Wilkins (December 20, 1779 – June 23, 1865) was an American lawyer, jurist, and politician from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. During his career, he served in both houses of the Pennsylvania State Legislature, and in all three branches of the United States federal government, including service as a United States federal judge, as a member of both the House and Senate, and as a cabinet member.
Early life, education, and career[edit | edit source]
Born in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, Wilkins attended the Pittsburgh Academy, the forerunner of the University of Pittsburgh, read law in 1801 and graduated from Dickinson College in 1802. He was in private practice in Pittsburgh from 1801 to 1806, then in Lexington, Kentucky from 1806 to 1807, and again in Pittsburgh from 1808 to 1815. He was President, Pittsburgh City Council from 1816 to 1819. He was a member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives from 1819 to 1820.
Judicial service[edit | edit source]
Wilkins became a judge of the Fifth Judicial District of Pennsylvania in 1820, serving until 1824. On May 10, 1824, Wilkins was nominated by President James Monroe to a seat on the United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania vacated by Jonathan Hoge Walker. Wilkins was confirmed by the United States Senate on May 12, 1824, and received his commission the same day. He resigned on April 14, 1831, to begin his own term of service in the United States Senate.
Career in national politics[edit | edit source]
A Jacksonian, he was a United States Senator from Pennsylvania from 1831 to 1834. In the election of 1832, Wilkins received 30 electoral votes from Pennsylvania for the Vice Presidency (the other 189 votes went to the official party nominee, Martin Van Buren).
From 1834 to 1835 Wilkins was Minister to Russia.
After returning to private practice in Pittsburgh from 1836 to 1842, he was elected as a Democrat to the United States House of Representatives, serving from 1843 until resigning in 1844. He resigned to accept appointment as U.S. Secretary of War under President John Tyler.
Later life[edit | edit source]
In 1845, Willkins returned to the private practice of law in Pittsburgh. He was a member of the Pennsylvania State Senate from 1855 to 1857, and was in private practice of law in Pittsburgh until his death, in 1865. Wilkins died in 1865 in Homewood, near Pittsburgh, Allegheny County, Pa, and was buried in the Homewood Cemetery there. Wilkinsburg, Pennsylvania is named after him. His brother John Wilkins, Jr. served as a Major General in the United States Army. His nephew, Ross Wilkins, was a notable jurist in Michigan.
References[edit | edit source]
- Starrett, Agnes Lynch (1937). Through one hundred and fifty years: the University of Pittsburgh. Pittsburgh, PA: University of Pittsburgh Press. p. 45. http://digital.library.pitt.edu/cgi-bin/t/text/pageviewer-idx?c=pittmiscpubs;idno=00afj8718m;view=image;seq=71. Retrieved August 1, 2013.
Sources[edit | edit source]
- William Wilkins at the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress
- William Wilkins (U.S. politician) at the Biographical Directory of Federal Judges, a public domain publication of the Federal Judicial Center.
[edit | edit source]
- Homewood Cemetery Biography & History
- Dickinson College Biography
- Gravesite Photos
- The Political Graveyard
|United States House of Representatives|
James S. Stevenson
Robert Orr, Jr.
|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Pennsylvania's 16th congressional district
1829 (resigned before qualifying)
Thomas M. T. McKennan
|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Pennsylvania's 21st congressional district
|United States Senate|
|U.S. Senator from Pennsylvania
Served alongside: Isaac D. Barnard, George M. Dallas, Samuel McKean
James Madison Porter
|U.S. Secretary of War
Served under: John Tyler
William L. Marcy
|Oldest living U.S. Senator
May 6, 1860 – June 23, 1865
|This page uses Creative Commons Licensed content from Wikipedia (view authors).|