World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

William Wilkins (U.S. politician)

Article Id: WHEBN0021835156
Reproduction Date:

Title: William Wilkins (U.S. politician)  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Pittsburgh/On this day, William Marks (Pennsylvania), United States Secretary of War, 23rd United States Congress, John C. Calhoun
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

William Wilkins (U.S. politician)

William Wilkins
19th United States Secretary of War
In office
February 15, 1844 – March 4, 1845
President John Tyler
Preceded by James Madison Porter
Succeeded by William L. Marcy
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Pennsylvania's 21st district
In office
Preceded by Thomas M.T. McKennan
Succeeded by Cornelius Darragh
United States Senator
from Pennsylvania
In office
Preceded by William Marks
Succeeded by James Buchanan
Personal details
Born (1779-12-20)December 20, 1779
Carlisle, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Died June 23, 1865(1865-06-23) (aged 85)
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Political party Democratic
Alma mater Pittsburgh Academy
Dickinson College
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

Born in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, Wilkins attended the Pittsburgh Academy, the forerunner of the University of Pittsburgh,[1] 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

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

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

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.


  1. ^ Starrett, Agnes Lynch (1937). Through one hundred and fifty years: the University of Pittsburgh. Pittsburgh, PA: University of Pittsburgh Press. p. 45. Retrieved August 1, 2013. 


External links

  • Homewood Cemetery Biography & History
  • Dickinson College Biography
  • Gravesite Photos
  • The Political Graveyard
United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
James S. Stevenson
Robert Orr, Jr.
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Pennsylvania's 16th congressional district

1829 (resigned before qualifying)
Succeeded by
Harmar Denny
Preceded by
Thomas M. T. McKennan
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Pennsylvania's 21st congressional district

Succeeded by
Cornelius Darragh
United States Senate
Preceded by
William Marks
U.S. Senator from Pennsylvania
Served alongside: Samuel McKean
Succeeded by
James Buchanan
Political offices
Preceded by
James Madison Porter
U.S. Secretary of War
Served under: John Tyler

Succeeded by
William L. Marcy
Honorary titles
Preceded by
Littleton Tazewell
Oldest living U.S. Senator
May 6, 1860 – June 23, 1865
Succeeded by
Henry Dodge
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Hawaii eBook Library are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.