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History and GovernmentCongressional BiographiesMassachusetts

Timothy PICKERING

(1745-1829)
Senate Years of Service:
1803-1811
Party:
Federalist

PICKERING, Timothy, a Senator and a Representative from Massachusetts; born in Salem, Mass., July 17, 1745; attended the grammar school and graduated from Harvard College in 1763; clerk in the office of register of deeds in Salem; studied law; admitted to the bar in 1768 and commenced practice in Salem; selectman and assessor 1772-1777; member of Committee on State of Rights of Colonists 1773; member of Committee of Correspondence and Safety 1774-1775; held various local offices; elected to the State legislature in 1776; entered the Revolutionary Army as colonel; appointed adjutant general and elected as a member of Board of War in 1777; became Quartermaster General of the Army in 1780; moved to Philadelphia in 1785 and to Wyoming County, Pa., in 1787; member of the Pennsylvania State constitutional convention 1789-1790; special government agent on missions to the Indians; appointed Postmaster General in the administration of President George Washington in 1791, as Secretary of War in 1795, and as Secretary of State 1795-1800; returned to Massachusetts in 1802; unsuccessful candidate for election in 1802 to the Eighth Congress; appointed chief justice of court of common pleas and general sessions of the peace in 1802; elected to the United States Senate as a Federalist in 1803 to fill the vacancy caused by the resignation of Dwight Foster; reelected and served from March 4, 1803, to March 3, 1811; unsuccessful candidate for reelection in 1811; censured by the Senate in 1811 for breach of confidence; member of the executive council of Massachusetts 1812-1813; elected as a Federalist to the Thirteenth and Fourteenth Congresses (March 4, 1813-March 3, 1817); declined to be a candidate for renomination; returned to his farm near Wenham, Mass.; returned to Salem in 1820; unsuccessful candidate for election to the Seventeenth Congress; died in Salem, Essex County, Mass., January 29, 1829; interment in Broad Street Cemetery.

Bibliography

American National Biography; Dictionary of American Biography; Clarfield, Gerald. Timothy Pickering and the American Republic. Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 1980; Prentiss, Hervey. Timothy Pickering as the Leader of New England Federalism, 1800-1815. 1934. Reprint. New York: Da Capo Press, 1972.

Source: Biographical Directory of the United States Congress, 1771-Present

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