Brief Biographies from the Jackson/Van Buren Era (P):
Page, Charles Grafton
1812 - 1868:
Early developer of electromagnetic machinery. Born in Salem, MA.
Page, Thomas Jefferson
1808 - 1899:
An explorer and naval officer; grandson of John Page, a minor figure of
the American Revolution, and friend of Jefferson.
Page, William 1811 - 1885:
Known for his portraits of John Quincy Adams, William Lloyd Garrison, and
others, some of which can be seen in the Boston Art Museum. Also painted
dramatized scenes. Born in Albany, NY.
Paine, Elijah 1857 - 1842:
Senator from Vermont, 1795-1801, and from then until his death in 1842,
was judge of the U.S. District court for Vermont.
Paine, Thomas 1737 - 1809:
Palfrey, John Gorham 1796
Unitarian minister. Owner of the North American Review, which he
edited from 1835-43. In Congress 1847-9. Boston Postmaster 1861-7. Wrote
a history of New England which was issued in four volumes from 1858 - 1875.
Palmer, Ray 1808 - 1887:
Congregationalist hymn writer and minister. Born in Little Compton, RI.
Parker, Isaac 1768 - 1830:
Did much toward establishment of the Harvard Law School. Was chief justice
of the Mass. Supreme Court 1814-30; prof. of law, Harvard, 1816-27.
Parker, John 1729-1775:
Commanded minutemen at the Battle of Lexington, April 19, 1775. Grandfather
of Theodore Parker.
Parker, Theodore 1810 - 1860:
Unitarian minister of strong Transcendentalist beliefs, who went too far
for the Unitarian association of his time, and was ostracized. In 1845,
however, a group of Boston gentleman helped him to establish, as his church,
the "old melodeon" (or music hall) on Washington St., and there he became,
for a while, one of the, if not the most famous minister in the
Was involved in the attempted rescue of Anthony
Burns, and generally very active in the abolitionist cause. Indeed
he encouraged, and may have helped fund, John
Brown, though he probably did not have a very clear idea of just what
he was funding.
Grandson of John Parker.
Parmly, Eleazar 1797 - 1874:
Practiced dentistry in New York (1821-66), and did much to get his profession
organized. Born in Braintree, VT.
Parrott, Robert Parker
1804 - 1877:
In army til 1836, after graduating West Point class of 1824. He then started
a foundry from which he sent a very superior sort of cannon, known as the
"Parrott gun", used by the Union in the Civil War.
Theophilus Parsons 1750-1813:
Theophilus Parsons 1797-1882:
Parton, James 1822 - 1891:
English-born "Father of American biography".Brought to U.S. from Brittain
as a child. Schooled at an academy White Plains NY ("acquired an
enthusiasm for Homer and a distaste for orthodox Christianity").
Acquired a legacy and travelled (in England and/or the continent) in 1842.
Taught in private school in Phila next 4 years. Hired to the New
York Home Journal by Nathaniel P. Willis in 1848. Wrote his
first biography, Horace Greeley 1855, after a chance remark to the
publishing Mason brothers led them to take a chance on him. It sold
30,000 copies within a few months. There followed, among other works,
Aaron Burr (1857), and perhaps his most enduring work, Andrew
In 1856, he married Sara Willis, sister of his (former?) editor, 11
years his senior, and on her way to being a more famous writer than him,
as "Fanny Fern". Prior to this he argued for some time with N.P.
Willis in favor of Sara's literary merits, and left N.P. Willis over this.
She was described in DAB
as "hopelessly neurasthenic"; apparently it was an unhappy marriage.
Five years after Sara's death, he married his step-daughter, Ellen Willis
Eldredge (previously married daughter of his wife?). Though he had
difficulty legitimizing the marriage, it appeared to be a happy one.
Parton, Sara Payson
An enormously popular author of generally sentimental work - essays and
fiction for adults and children.
The daughter of Nathaniel
Willis (Deacon of Park Street
Church, Boston) and brother of Nathaniel
Parker Willis, she attended Catharine
Beecher's girls school in Hartford,
CT; remembered as a "natural unitarian" despite her connection with
"Brimstone Corner" (see Park
Street Church). In early adulthood, she dabbled in writing in
her father's Youth's Companion.
She was apparently happily married to a Boston bank cashier from 1837
til 1846(?) when he died. She was then left in dire economic straits
until by chance she discovered that she could be an popular writer. By
1853, Fern Leaves from Fanny's Portfolio was published, which sold
80,000 copies. In 1849 she remarried to a Boston merchant, but they were
soon apart, and remarried ( DAB
was, apparently unable to confirm their divorce, but they both remarried).
In 1856, she married the very successful biographer James Parton, eleven
years her junior. The marriage lasted until her death in 1872;
Partridge, Alden 1785 - 1854
Founder of the "American
Literary, Scientific, and Military Academy", later to become Norwich
University. He was fired as superintendent of West
Point, for overbearing, and at the same time sloppy, administration
and running the school as a "sort of aid society for hungry Partridges
and impecunious friends."
In the year Gideon Welles attended
(1824-5), the heavily promoted school's enrollment went from 162 to 400.
Meanwhile, Welles found the atmosphere rowdy and overcrowded, the courses
in the catalogue mostly nonexistent, and the library poor and grossly misrepresented.
p17-19; and DAB)
Patch, Sam 1807 - 1829:
d.11/13 (year of birth actually uncertain)
Born in Rhode Island and a sailor for a while.
While a factory cotton-spinner in Paterson,
NJ, he made a public leap 75 feet into the Passaic River. Therafter
he continued to make daredevil jumps until Friday, 11/13/29, when he dived
125 feet from the brink of the Genessee River, and did not reappear until
March 17, when his body appeared, embedded in ice.
Paulding, Hiram 1797 - 1878:
Hero of the Ticonderoga in the Battle of Lake Champlain, as a young
teenager. Continued his career at sea right up to 1857, when he stopped
Walker's attempt to conquer Nicaragua. Commandant of the NY navy yard all
through the Civil War.
Paulding, James Kirke
1778 - 1860:
Payne, John Howard 1791 -
Actor and playwright, including work done with Washington Irving. Wrote
the song Home, Sweet Home for Clari, of the Maid of Milan,
Payson, Edward 1783-1827:
Congregational minister of the Second
Congregational Church, Portland
ME, with Elijah Kellogg from 1807, and solely from 1811-1827.
A revivalist, extremely devout, scholarly, and introspective (DAB:
"Twelve hours of each day he gave to study, never less than two to devotions,
and at least one day a week .. in fasting and prayer ... his preaching
was frequently dark and menacing ... unregenerate hearers would address
each other on a Monday morning as "Brother Devil"). He became a mentor
to Nathaniel Willis,
who thereafter became so devout as to be ousted by the Portland Argus,
which he had founded in 1803.
Peabody, Andrew Preston
1811 - 1893:
Edited the North American Review from 1853-63, in addition to pursuing
the Unitarian ministry. Taught at Harvard from 1860-81, and wrote on morals
Peabody, Elizabeth Palmer (1804-1894):
Member of the transcendentalist circle. Ran private schools from 1820-1834.
Assisted Bronson Alcott in conducting
the Temple School from 1834-6, and edited his conversations with children
on the gospels into the book, and also wrote Records of a School,
in 1835, concerning the school and its methods.
Opened a bookstore in Boston in 1839. Published elementary textbooks
in grammar and history. Opened first American kindergarten in 1860, and
published the magazine Kindergarten Messenger from 1873-5.
Notable American Women calls her, for some reason, a "staunch
supporter" of Delia Bacon.
Palmer 1804 - 1894:
Peabody, George 1795 - 1869:
Highly successful merchant who put J.P. Morgan's father on the path to
financial glory. Founded and endowed Peabody Institutes of Baltimore and
Massachusets. Peabody Museums of Yale and Harvard, and a fund for education
in the south. Born in present Peabody MA, which used to be South Danvers.
Peale, Anna Claypool 1791
Miniaturist. Great-niece of Charles Wilson Peale.
Peale, Charles Wilson
1741 - 1827:
Engraver and portrayer of Washington.
Peale, Rambrandt 1778 - 1860:
Painted many famous portraits of national figures. Son of Charles Wilson
Peale, Sarah Miriam 1800
Portrait artist to Thomas Hart Benton, Caleb Cushing, and others. Great-niece
of of Charles Wilson Peale.
Peale, Titian Ramsay 1799
Painter and naturalist who accompanied Major Long on his voyage to explore
the Upper Mississippi. Son of Charles Wilson Peale.
Pease, Edward 1767 - 1858:
Constructed the first locomotive railway in England, in 1825.
Peirce, Banjamin 1809 - 1880:
Astronomer, mathematician, and Harvard professor from 1833-80.
Peirce, Cyrus 1790 - 1860:
Teacher at and promoter of normal schools.
Pendleton, Edmund 1721 - 1803:
Lawyer, member of Virginia House of Burgesses, and Revolutionary partriot,
though a relatively conservative one, who concidered Patrick Henry a demagogue.
Funk 1804 - 1888:
Quaker abolitionist, and underground railroad conductor, near Phoenixville,
PA. Born in Chester County, PA.
Pepper, George Seckel
1808 - 1890:
Philadelphia lawyer and philanthropist who endowed a professorship and
a public library.
Percival, John 1779-1862:
A heroic, reckless naval hero known as "Mad Jack" or "Roaring Jack", with
many victories in th War of 1812, and against Pirates in the 1840s. Born
in West Barnstable, MA.
Perkins, Jacob 1766 - 1849:
Inventor of factory equipment; active into the 1840s (his seventies).
Perkins, James Handasyd
1810 - 1849:
Primarily a writer, especially active in publishing periodicals in
Cincinnati, where he lived from 1831 (32?) until his death by suicide in
1849. He was connected with James Hall's Cincinnati-based Western
Perkins, Mary Beecher (1805-1900):
Led a quiet life in Hartford, CT, married to a prominent attorney, Thomas
Perkins, Thomas Handasyd
1753 - 1854:
Merchant and philanthropist; donated his Pearl St (Boston) house to serve
as school for the blind in 1833; the school was later named for him.
Perry, Benjamin Franklin
1805 - 1886:
b.11/20,d.12/3 A strong South Carolina unionist, prominent from the nullification
era through the civil war. After opposing secession, he remained loyal
to his state and held offices under the Confederacy. In 1832 became the
editor of the Greenville
Mountaineer. Continued as editor til? Reluctangly accepted a challenge
to a duel from
editor of the Greenville Sentinel
in the early 1830s, and fatally wounded Bynum.
Perry, Matthew Calbraith
1794 - 1858:
Early advocate of steam powered navy vessels. Brother of Oliver Hazard
Perry. Helped suppress the slave trade among many other exploits.
Perry, Oliver Hazard 1785
During the war of 1812, he built and equipped a naval fleet Lake Erie,
and defeated the British forces on that lake. Born in S. Kingston, RI.
Peterson, Henry 1818 - 1891:
Edited Saturday Evening Post,
in Philadelphia, from 1846-74. Also wrote novels and poetry.
Phillips, John, 1719 - 1795:
Merchant, and founder of Phillips
Exeter Academy in Exeter, NH
(where he died). Uncle of Samuel
Phillips, Samuel 1752 - 1802:
Nephew of John Phillips (1719-95),
and principal founder of Phillips
Phillips, Wendell 1811 - 1884:
Phiquepal, William S.
See D'Arusmont, William
Physick, Philip Syng 1768
Pickering, John 1777 - 1846:
Lawyer; son of Timothy Pickering.
Grad Harvard 1796, wrote the
1st collection of American word usages; Authority on Indian languages;
wrote "the outstanding" Comprehensive Lexicon of the Greek Language,
published in 1826, 29, and 46.
Pickering, Timothy 1745 -
b.7/17,d.1/29 Adjutant General and Quartermaster General in the Revolution;
Indian negotiator in Pennsylvania (and elsewhere?) in the years around
1790; Secy of war during part of 1795, and Secy of State 1795-1800. Senator
1803-11 and Representative 1813-17. Violently against the War of 1812,
came to hate theAdams family, and tried to help the Jacksonians (e.g. trying
to establish that JQA was a Freemason during the Anti-Masonic excitement.
Adams wasn't a Mason, as Pickering reported)
Born and died in Salem.
of V.C. Family, p149-152.
Pierce, Franklin 1804 - 1869:
U.S. President 1853-57; H or R 1833-37; Senator 1837-1842 (resigned)
Born in Hillsborough, N.H., November 23, 1804; attended the academies
of Hancock and Francestown, N.H.; prepared for college at Exeter and graduated
from Bowdoin College, Brunswick, Maine, in 1824; studied law; was admitted
to the bar and commenced practice in Hillsborough in 1827; member, State
general court 1829-1833, and served as speaker 1832-1833; elected as a
Democrat to the Twenty-third and Twenty-fourth Congresses (March 4, 1833-March
3, 1837); elected as a Democrat to the United States Senate and served
from March 4, 1837, to February 28, 1842, when he resigned; chairman, Committee
on Pensions (Twenty-sixth Congress); resumed the practice of law in Concord;
district attorney for New Hampshire; declined the appointment as Attorney
General of the United States tendered by President James Polk; served in
the Mexican War as a colonel and brigadier general; member of the New Hampshire
State constitutional convention in 1850 and served as its president; elected
President of the United States on the Democratic ticket and served from
March 4, 1853, to March 3, 1857; resumed the practice of law; died in Concord,
N.H., October 8, 1869; interment in Minat Inclosure, Old North Cemetery.
Bisson, Wilfred J., comp., with assistance of Gerry Hayden.
Pierce: A Bibliography. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1993; Nichols,
Roy. Franklin Pierce: Young Hickory of the Granite Hills. 1931.
Reprint. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1958.
Above from Biog.
Dir of Am. Congress.
It well illustrates the characteristic blandness of that source.
Pierpont, John 1785 - 1866:
Pillsbury, Parker 1809 - 1898:
Pinckney, Henry Laurens
1794 - 1863:
Editor, from 6/23 - 10/32, of the Charleston
Mercury. Served in the SC House of Representatives for 17 years
beginning 1816; was speaker from 1830-32. Intendant, or mayor, of Charleston,
elected 1829, 1831, and 1832. Congressman 1833-37. Elected mayor again
1837, 38, 39, during which time he constructed the "White Point or Battery
Gardens, the most distinctive feature of Charleston's topography" (Source:
His "slashing style (as editor of the Mercury) still makes for exciting
reading" (Freehling, Prelude
to Civil War, p374).
1764 - 1822:
PINKNEY, William, a Representative and a Senator from Maryland;
born in Annapolis, Md., March
17, 1764; pursued classical studies; studied medicine but did not practice;
studied law; was admitted to the bar in 1786 and commenced practice in
Harford County, Md.; member of the State constitutional ratification convention
in 1788; member, State house of delegates 1789-1792; elected to the Second
Congress and served from March 4, 1791, to November of that year, when
he resigned due to questions of ineligibility; member, executive council
of Maryland 1792-1795; member, State house of delegates 1795; appointed
by President George Washington as one of the commissioners to London under
the Jay Treaty 1796-1804; attorney general of Maryland 1805; Joint Minister
to Great Britain with James Monroe 1806-1807, and Minister Plenipotentiary
1807-1811; returned to Baltimore,
Md.; appointed Attorney General of the United States in the Cabinet
of President James Madison 1811-1814; served as a major in the Maryland
militia during the War of 1812 and was wounded at the Battle of Bladensburg,
Md., in August 1814; elected to the Fourteenth Congress and served from
March 4, 1815, to April 18, 1816, when he resigned to accept the position
of Minister Plenipotentiary to Russia, with a special mission to Naples
1816-1818; elected as a Republican to the United States Senate to fill
the vacancy caused by the death of Alexander Contee Hanson and served from
December 21, 1819, until his death in Washington, D.C., February 25, 1822;
interment in Congressional Cemetery. (Quoted from Biog.
Dir of Am. Congress).
DAB; Ireland, Robert. The Legal Career of William Pinkney, 1764-1822.
York: Garland, 1986; Pinkney, William [1810-1883]. Life of William
1853. Reprint. New York: Da Capo Press, 1969.
Placide, Henry 1799 - 1870:
One of the most popular comic actors in America. Member of a large
stage family. "After his debut at the Park Theatre (New York) in 1823,
... he was the center of attraction of the New York theatrical world."
He played over 500 characters, and was the first to play over 200 of these.
"His range extended from clowns of broadest Yorkshire dialect to garrulous
Frenchmen, from clumsy hobbledehoys and senile old men to high-bred English
gentlemen. He also sang boffo roles in English opera. ... 'He was not broadly
funny like Burton of Holland ... but ... the owner of a rich vein of eccentric
humor ... expert at the Gallic parts where the speech is a struggle between
French and English, and indeed, since his departure they, too have vanished
from the stage.'". He was, for a while, manager of the Park St. Theatre.
Placide, Thomas 1808 - 1877:
Brother of Henry Placide, and
a somewhat less successful comic actor.
Pleasants, John Hampton
1797 - 1846:
Founded the Richmond Whig,
and edited it until 1846, when he was killed in a duel by Thomas
Richie Jr. (Source: DAB
Journalism, p189, 257).
Plumer, William 1759 - 1850:
Senator from 1802-7, governor of New Hampshire 1812-3 and 1816-9. Recommended
to the legislature the attempt to change the charter of Dartmouth College.
This was defeated by Daniel Webster, setting a constitutional precedent.
Born in Newburyport, MA.
Poe, Edgar Allen:
Poindexter, George 1779 -
Congressman 1817-1819; Gov. of Mississippi 1819-1821; (appointed) Senate
10/15/1830-3/3/35 (unsuccessful in run for reelection). Introduced the
phrase "kitchen cabinet" into the national vocabulary in an article written
in the Telegraph 3/27/32. (Source: Biog.
Dir. of Am. Congress) "a sinister-looking profligate who abandoned
Jackson for Calhoun and hated Van Buren". (Source: Remini,
vol 2, p327)
Poinsett, Joel R. 1779 - 1851:
Polk, James Knox (Nov. 2, 1795 - June 14, 1849):
Eleventh president of the United States.
Born in Mecklenburg County, NC toa prominant man who died in his early
childhood. His widowed mother, with heroic energy, moved the family to
the wilds of Western TN to occupy some land her husband had bought.
Graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1818.
Admitted to the law in 1820. Chief clerk of the state senate, known for
his efficiency, from 1821-1823. Member of the State House of Representatives
from 1823-25. Elected and served in Congress 1825-1839, serving as speaker
in his last two terms. Governor of TN 1839-1841. Elected president, and
served 1845-1849, declining to run for a second term, and he died a few
months after he left office.
He was extremely meticulous and cautious and knew the law to the letter.
In Congress, he was an important Jackson man, and was quite valuable to
the Democrats when serving his Speakership.
During his presidency, he got Texas accepted as a state, and fought
the Mexican-American war over supposed hostile actions by Mexico against
Texas. This resulted in huge land acquisitions for the U.S.
Poor, Henry Varnum 1812 -
Edited American Railroad Journal from 1849-62; published railroad
statistics and manuals. Born in Andover, ME.
Poore, Banjamin Perley
1820 - 1887:
Regularly wrote pieces on Washington
life for several newspapers, beginning around 1854. Known to historians
Reminiscences, a book of vignettes - probably taken from his newspaper
work. Wrote biographical and historical works, and edited the first Congressional
Directory in 1869. Born near Newburyport,
Pope, John 1822 - 1892:
Attained the rank of major general in the Civil War. Briefly in charge
of the (union) Army of Virginia; lost the second Battle of Manassas Aug
Son of Nathaniel Pope.
Pope, Nathaniel 1784 - 1850:
U.S. District judge for Illinois from 1819 -50. Born in Louisville, KY.
"tried many of Lincoln's cases" according to [Thomas,
Father of John Pope.
Porter, David 1780 - 1843:
Naval officer who commanded the ship Essex against British trade
ships in the War of 1812. Was courtmartialed and suspended for excessive
action, upon which he entered the Mexican navy. Died in Constantinople,
where he went in 1839 as U.S. minister to Turkey. Born in Boston.
Porter, Noah 1811 - 1892:
Congregationalist minister. Was made prof. of philosophy at Yale in 1846;
president of Yale from 1871-86. Wrote on science and philosophy, and edited
Porter, Peter Buell 1773
A lawyer in Canandaigua, NY, and Buffalo, he became a congressman from
1809-13; served in the war of 1812, and reentered congress for two years
after that. He returned to national politics as Secretary of War from 1828-29.
Posey, Thomas 1750 - 1818:
Revolutionary War Brig. Gen.; served with Anthony
Wayne in the campaign that led to Fallen Timbers, but missed that battle.
State Senator and Speaker (of State Senate?) in KY, and later Lt. Governor.
In Louisiana at outbreak of War of 1812, he served as U.S. Senator (appointed)
from 10/8/12 - 2/4/13; left the Senate when appointed Governor of the Indiana
Territory to succeed Wm
Henry Harrison. Father-in-law of Joseph
Potter, Alonzo 1800 - 1865:
Established a Episcopal Divinity School and Hospital in Philadelphia. Bishop
of Philadelphia from 1845. Born in Dutchess County, NY.
Poulson, Zachariah 1761 -
Edited and published the Philadelphia Poulson's American Daily Advertiser
from 1800 - 39, and other publications. A Philadelphia native.
Power, Tyrone 1797 - 1841:
Irish comic actor who was drowned when the President sunk on its
way to the U.S.
Great grandfather of the American movie actor of the same name.
Powers, Hiram 1805 - 1873:
Sculptor of portrait busts, as well as Greek Slave (Ency.
Am. Art, p446), Eve Before the Fall, etc. In Washington
DC 1834-37, and Italy after that. Born near Woodstock,
VT, he was in Cincinnati in the late 1820s when Francis
Trollope came to town. His but of John C. Calhoun can be seen opposite
p183 in Peterson:
Great Triumvirate. The Greek Slave, which looks rather like
Venus in handcuffs, was highly praised in his time.
A self-taught artist, powers started his career in Cincinnati
as a mechanic. Soon, however, he was helping Joseph
Dorfeuille, of the Western Museum, with various things, including the
repair of waxwork statues.
Pratt, Enoch 1808 - 1896:
In Baltimore from 1831 on, he became a large dealer in iron and steel products;
diversified in to insurance, Banking, transportation. Founded the Baltimore
library, a "House of Reformation and Instruction for Colored Children",
and the Maryland School for the Deaf and Dumb; all in Maryland. Born in
Prentice, George Dennison
1802 - 1870:
"One of the greatest editors of the middle 19c." acc. to J.M. Lee's History
of American Journalism, 1917 (Quoted in DAB).
The first editor of the New
England Weekly Review, and, starting on 11/24/1830, of the Louisville
Daily Journal, he made the latter the "most influential Whig paper
in the South and West", and the former as well a very superior paper. Though
two of his sons joined the Confederate army, he was "largely responsible
for Kentucky's refusal to secede".
He wrote a campaign biography of Henry
Clay in 1830, enlisting help from John
Greenleaf Whittier; he was also instrumental in getting Whittier hired
as his replacement editor of the New
England Weekly Review.
"slightly above medium height, with a pleasing face of irregular features...
his nature was generous and impulsive". (Source: DAB).
Prentiss, George Lewis
1816 - 1903:
New School Presbyterian Minister. Graduated Bowdoin
College, 1835. Wrote Memoir of Seargent S. Prentiss (1855),
about his brother, who died in 1850 at the age of 42.
Prentiss, Seargent Smith
1808 - 1850:
Born in Portland Maine, he achieved
fame as an orator, especially for the Whig cause, in Natchez
MS, and later in New Orleans.
He practiced law in Natchez and Vicksburg,
MI, from 1828 - 1845, and spent his last 5 years in New Orleans.
Priestly, Joseph 1733 - 1804:
English Unitarian, political radical, as well as one of the greatest
chemists of his day. Emmigrated to the U.S. in June 1794 and lived near
Prince, Hezekiah Jr. 1800
Mostly significant for the light he shed on life in a small Maine coastal
town in his diary, kept from 1822-1828. He was a customs official
who lived in Thomaston, and spent
much time trying to prevent shipments of liquor and other commodities from
slipping by customs.
He also became closely connected with Jonathan
Cilley (a classmate and friend of Nathaniel
Hawthorne who later went to congress and there got into a fatal duel),
who came to read law with John Ruggles after he graduated Bowdoin
in 1825 (Prince gives a fairly detailed description of the commencement
festivities -- he had gone down to meet Cilley and transport him to Thomaston).
of Hezekiah Prince.
Pugh, Achilles ? - ?:
Was acting as printer for James
G. Birney's Philanthropist
in 1836, when mobs ransacked his printing establishment. Pugh and Birney
continued to print the paper, however.