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History and GovernmentCongressional BiographiesPennsylvania

William WILKINS

(1779-1865)
Senate Years of Service:
1831-1834
Party:
Jacksonian

WILKINS, William, a Senator and a Representative from Pennsylvania; born in Carlisle, Pa., December 20, 1779; attended Dickinson College, Carlisle, Pa.; studied law; admitted to the bar in 1801 and commenced practice in Pittsburgh, Pa.; assisted in organizing the Pittsburgh Manufacturing Co. in 1810; first president of the Bank of Pittsburgh; president of the common council 1816-1819; member, State house of representatives 1820; appointed judge of the fifth judicial district of Pennsylvania 1821-1824; judge of the United States District Court for western Pennsylvania 1824-1831; unsuccessful candidate for election in 1826 to the Twentieth Congress; elected as a Democrat to the Twenty-first Congress, but resigned before qualifying; elected as a Jacksonian to the United States Senate and served from March 4, 1831, to June 30, 1834, when he resigned; chairman, Committee on the Judiciary (Twenty-second Congress), Committee on Foreign Relations (Twenty-third Congress); appointed United States Minister to Russia 1834-1835; unsuccessful candidate for election to the Twenty-seventh Congress in 1840; elected as a Democrat to the Twenty-eighth Congress and served from March 4, 1843, to February 14, 1844, when he resigned; chairman, Committee on the Judiciary (Twenty-eighth Congress); appointed Secretary of War by President John Tyler 1844-1845; member, State senate 1855-1857; major general of the Pennsylvania Home Guards in 1862; died in ‘Homewood,’ near Pittsburgh, Allegheny County, Pa., June 23, 1865; interment in Homewood Cemetery, Wilkinsburg, Pa., a town named for him.

Bibliography

Dictionary of American Biography; Slick, Sewell E. “William Wilkins: Pittsburgher Extraordinary.” Western Pennsylvania Historical Magazine 22 (December 1939): 217-36.

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

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