Brief Biographies from the Jackson/Van Buren Era (F):
Fairbanks, Thaddeus 1796
Inventor of the Platform scale - patented 1831. His brother Erastus (1792-1864)
was a business associate. Born in Brimfield, MA.
Fairchild, James Harris
1817 - 1902:
Educated at Oberlin, and taught there until 1898. Wrote Moral Philosphy
or the Science of Obligation in 1869. Born in Stockbridge, MA.
Faraday, Michael 1791 - 1867:
Very prominent English physicist and chemist. Important discoveries about
electricity and magnetism.
Fargo, William George
1818 - 1881:
aFounded the first express company west of Buffalo, untimately, in 1852,
it became Wells, Fargo & Company, handling express between New York
and California. Born in Pompey, NY.
Farmer, John 1789 0 1838:
Wrote A Genealogical Register of the First Settlers of New England
in 1829. Born in Chelmsford, MA.
Farmer, Moses Gerrish
1820 - 1893:
With Wm F. Channing, invented the electrical fire-alarm which was first
put in use at Boston in 1851. Many other electrical inventions. Born in
Eliza Woodson 1815 - 1864 (Formerly Burhans):
Philanthropist and writer. Born in Rensselaerville, NY.
Farnham, Thomas Jefferson
1804 - 1848:
Wrote Travels in the Great Western Praeries in 1841.
Farren, William 1786 - 1861:
English theatre manager and actor - ultimately established a theater in
St. Louis, MO.
Farwell, Charles Benjamin
In real estate and dry-goods business. Served in congress 1871-6, 81-3;
Senator 1895-1903. Born in Steuben County, NY
Fay, Theodore Sedgwick
1807 - 1898:
Novelist, trained in the law; diplomat between 1837 and 61. Wrote The
Countess Ida in 1840, Hoboken in 1843.
Felch, Alpheus, 1804-1896
Years of Service: 1847-1853 Party: Democrat
Senator from Michigan; born in Limerick, York County, Maine, September
28, 1804; prepared for college in Phillips Academy, Exeter, N.H., and was
graduated from Bowdoin College, Brunswick, Maine, in 1827; studied law;
was admitted to the bar and practiced in Houlton, Maine, from 1830 to 1833;
moved to Monroe, Mich., in 1833 and continued the practice of law; member,
State house of representatives 1835-1837; State bank commissioner 1838-1839;
state auditor general 1842; appointed associate justice of the Michigan
supreme court in 1842 and served until his resignation in 1845, having
been elected Governor; Governor of Michigan 1846-1847; elected as a Democrat
to the United States Senate in February 1847 and served from March 4, 1847,
to March 3, 1853; chairman, Committee to Audit and Control the Contingent
Expense (Thirtieth Congress), Committee on Public Land (Thirty-first and
Thirty-second Congresses); president of the commission to settle Spanish
and Mexican war claims 1853-1856; died in Ann Arbor, Mich., June 13, 1896;
interment in Forest Hill Cemetery.
Felton, Cornelius Conway
1807 - 1862:
Taught Greek at Harvard 1834-60. President of Harvard from 1860-2. Born
in Newbury, MA.
Fenton, Reuben Eaton 1819
Helped found the Republican Part in NY state. Governed NY in 1865-8 Born
in Carroll, NY.
Fenwick, Edward Dominic
1768 - 1832:
Bishop of Cincinnati from 1822.
Fessenden, Thomas Green
1771 - 1837:
Satirical writer of Democracy Unveiled, or Tyranny Stripped of the Garb
of Patriotism in 1805, an anti-Jeffersonian polemic. Edited Brattleboro
(VT) Reporter from 1815-6, and Bellows Falls Advertiser from
1817-22. In Boston, from 1822 - 37, edited the New England Farmer.
Born in Walpole, NH.
Fessenden, William Pitt
1806 - 1869:
In House of Rep. from 1841-3. Senator from 1854-64. Opposed Buchanan and
supported Lincoln. Secy. of the Treasury to Lincoln from 1865-6. Born in
Field, Cyrus West 1819 - 1892:
Made a fortune manufacturing paper from 1841-53. Promoted the transatlantic
cable from 1854; the laying began in 1857.
Field, David Dudley 1781
Congregational minister. Yale class of 1802. Served in Haddam, CT, 1804-18
and 1837-44. In between, in Stockbridge, CT; later (1844-51) in Higganum,
Field, David Dudley 1805
Lawyer; son of namesake. Practiced in New York City and helped to write
codification of the laws.
Field, Henry Martyn 1822
Minister to Third Presbyterian Church in St Louis, MO from 1842-47; Congretational
church of West Springfield. He edited the Evangelist, in New York,
from 1854-90. Son of David Dudley Field. Born in Stockbridge, MA.
Field, Stephen Johnson
1816 - 1899:
Son of David Dudley Field. Born in Haddam, CT. Rose in the judicial profession
to Associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court 0 1863-97.
Fields, James Thomas 1817
Author and publisher. Went into Ticknor, Reed, and Fields in Boston MA
from 1838-54. Ticknor and Fields from 1854-64. Edited the Atlantic Monthly
from 1861-70, following James Russell Lowell.
Fillmore, Millard 1800 - 1874:
Practiced law in Erie County NY from 1823, in Buffalo from 1830. Daniel
Walker Howe [Political Culture of the American Whigs] says the "colorless"
Fillmore seems to have "cast his lot with Antimasonry out mere careerism.
He was elected to the New York legislature on the Antimasonic ticket in
1828. He served in congress from 1833-35 and 1836-43, and
Vice President of the U.S. from 1849-50; he finished out Zachariah
Taylor's term. Failed as Whig candidate in 1852, and American Party, or
"Know Nothing" in 1856. Born in Locke, NY
Finney, Charles Grandison (1792-1875):
Trained as a lawyer, he became converted to evangelical Christianity, and
thereafter became the greatest evangelist of his day. From 1824-32 he was
an itinerant revivalist, conducting revivals of religion wherever he was
invited. He was connected with Arthur
and Lewis Tappan, successful New
York merchants and funders of the "benevolent empire", and helped set the
great anti-slavery agitator, Theodore
Weld, on his path.
Finney did more than anyone to bring into being the very energetic coalition
of causes known as the "belevolent empire", which grew out of the evangelical
movement within the Presbyterian church. In addition to converting, guiding,
and training many of the most successful preachers of his day, he wrote
a book explaining how to preach a revival so as to move mens souls
In 1834, the Tappan brothers brought him to New York City to preach
in an enormous church - the Broadway Tabernacle, which they created for
He remained at the Broadway Tabernacle until 1837. In 1836, he split
with the Presbyterian church, or the church split with him. In 1837 (or
earlier?) he was made Professor of Theology of Oberlin College, where he
was later the president from 1851-1866.
Oberlin was founded somewhat earlier in the part of Ohio called the
Western Reserve, an area heavily settled by New Englanders. It gained the
strong financial support of the Tappan brothers, and a huge injection of
energy, when the anti-slavery faction which was most of the student body,
of Lyman Beecher's Lane Theological seminary, excited by Theodore Weld's
panegyrics, quit Lane en masse. They joined Oberlin, bringing Tappan's
dollars, under condition that Oberlin would henceforth accept free negroes
as well as whites.
To a large part, Finney brought to Presbyterianism, a thorough rejection
of the Calvinist doctrine of mans inability to come to God, or bring others
((To me it is curious just how they managed to draw the line that they
drew. To say, in effect, that the "new measures" or emotional evangelism
involved an attempt to take over of God's prerogative of choosing who to
save and who not to save; meanwhile saying that the cooler, more intellectual
approach to the ministry was fine. It seems to imply that their ministers
were not supposed to endeavor or intend to convert people, on the grounds
that God's business is to convert people. If that was so, what was
a ministers job supposed to be? It almost seems as though intending to
do anything would be a sort of hubris and blasphemy towards God.
What then is the minister's (and man's) province? Only to see and respond
to God? To be a passive receptacle, if one should be so blessed, for God's
goodness? To me it seems that taking the doctrine to its logical conclusion
would lead one to sit down in the middle of a meadow and just wait.))
What was the essence of the new kind of energy in this combined religious
and social movement called the "benevolent empire"?
((I am grappling with this, and suspect strongly that freedom
was at the core of it. The idea was essentially, I suspect, that whenever
any person is unfree in any sense, it diminishes God's creation. It fitted
in with the abhorrence of slavery. It viewed alcohol as an enslaver of
souls. It insisted that men are free to come to God, or to bring others
Fish, Hamilton 1808 - 1893:
Practiced law in New York City from 1830. In congress 1843-4. Governed
NY State from 1849-50. U.S. Secretary of State from 1869-77. Born in New
Fisher, Alvan 1792-1863:
Portrait painter in Boston. Brother of John Dix (1797-1850), educator of
Fisher, Clara 1811 - 1898:
English-born actress, in New York after 1827.
Fisher, John Dix 1797 - 1850:
Established the Perkins Institution and Massachusetts School for the blind
in 1829. Brother of Alvan (1792-63). Born in Needham, MA.
Fisk, Wilbur 1792 - 1839:
Methodist minister and first pres. of Wesleyan U., Middletown, CT from
Fitch, Ebenezer 1756 - 1833:
Minister and first president of Williams College, from 1793 - 1815. Born
in Norwich, CT.
Fitzpatrick, Thomas 1799
Irish-born wilderness guide, Indian agent, and fur trader. Guided Fremont's
expedition in 1843-4.
One of Van Buren's Albany Regency.
"Tiny, dark-complected" (Cole, MVB, p93).
Born in Vermont, worked his way through college. "Made name for himself
in the War of 1812" (Cole, MVB, p93).
Edited the Plattsburgh
Republican at least until 1823 when he entered the NY state assembly.
Became NY Secretary of State in 1826. In the 30s he and Marcy ran the Albany
Plattsburg, NY is about as far "upstate" as one can get; north of most
of the Adirondacks, just across Lake Champlain from Flagg's home state
Flagg, George Whiting
1816 - 1897:
Painter of historic scenes. Brother of Jabez.
Flagg, Jabez Bradley 1816
Painter, with a studeo in New York after 1849, and minister at Grace Church
in Brooklyn Heights, NY from 1855-63. Brother of George.
Fletcher, Robert 1823- 1912:
British-born surgeon in Cincinnati from 1847.
Flint, Austin 1812-1886:
Medical doctor and educator. Harvard class of 1833. Founded Buffalo Medical
College in 1847 and taught there til 1861. Professor of U. of Lousville
from 1859-61 and New Orleans from 1859-61 (a long commute). Born in Petersham,
Flint, Timothy 1780 - 1840:
Congregational minister who spent early years of his career in the western
fronteir, and wrote notes on his travels which are frequently used by historians
Flower, George 1788 - 1862 :
Born in Hertford England, son of Richard
Flower, he joined his father
and Morris Birkbeck
in the founding and promoting of Albion.
Fought against the establishment of slavery in Illinois.
Initially he was very actively engaged with Frances
Wright in Nashoba but he dropped
the enterprise abruptly, leaving Wright in a difficult position. It is
a plausible speculation that they might have had an affair and that the
jealousy of Flower's wife may have wrecked Flower's intention of working
with Wright. (source for this: p132 Eckhardt,
Wright; also see picture of George Flower on p 125).
Flower, Richard 1761 - 1829 :
Born in England, he came to Illinois in 1819 with his son George,
and Morris Birkbeck; purchased land, and founded the town of Albion.
Floyd, John 1783 - 1837
b 4/24, d 8/16
Surgeon, Gov. of Virginia. Surgeon on the War of 1812. In Congress
1817-1829, representing the Abington District; upon retirement from Congress,
was best known for his Oregon proposals. Served as Governor Jan. 9, 1830
- 1834, which included the time of the Turner rebellion. After the rebellion,
he was first in sympathy with western Virginians who wanted to abolish
slavery in the state, but later accepted proslavery arguments and strongly
supported states rights. (Source: DAB)
Floyd, John Buchanan 1806-1863:
Governor of Virginia from 1849-52.Secretary of War under Buchanan until
resignation in 1860. Briefly a Confederate Brig. general. Born in Smithfield,
Folsom, Charles 1794 - 1872:
Librarian of the Boston Athenaeum from 1846. Harvard class of 1813. Born
in Exeter NH.
Foote, Andrew Hull 1806 -
Naval officer active in breaking up the slave trade, and a temperance activist
who successfully campaigned to abolish the navy's liquor ration. Born in
New Haven, CT.
Foote, Julia A. J. 1823 -
An evangelist and former slave "I shall praise God through all eternity
for sending me to Cleveland."
... Autobiography..., p22, quoting A
Brand Plucked From the Fire: An Autobiographical Sketch, by Julia Foote.
Foote, Henry Stuart 1804
Governor of Mississippi 1852-4. Member of the Confederate congress. Author
of Casket of Reminiscences, a set of useful sketches of men in politics
going back to the Jackson era. Born in Fauquier County, VA.
Force, Peter 1790 - 1868:
Printer at Washington DC, and editor of American Archives, original
sources covering 1774-76 (9 vols), and other historical works.
Ford, John Thompson 1829-1894:
Theatre manager of the famous Ford's Theatre where Lincoln was shot.
Forrest, Edwin 1806 - 1872:
One of the most famous actors in America. A feud with a fellow actor resulted
on a mob attack of the Astor Place Opera house where the other disputant,
Macready, was performing, in which 22 people died and 36 were wounded.
Sometimes characterized as insane. Born in Philadelphia.
Forrest, Nathan Bedford
1821 - 1877:
Brilliant confederate cavalry officer. Made his fortune selling slaves
in Memphis, TN.
Forsyth, John 1780-1841:
In House of Rep. from 1813-18 and 23-27. Senator from 1818-9 and 1829-34.
Also minister to Spain under Monroe, and governor of Georgia from 1827-9,
and finally Secretary of State from 1834-41, under Jackson and Van Buren.
Forward, Walter 1786 - 1852:
U.S. Secretary of the treasury 1841-43. Had a career in politics and law,
in Pittsburgh, PA. Born in East Granby, CT.
Foster, John Wells 1815 -
Helped perform geological survey of Ohio, in 1837. Did studies of the paleontology
and prehistory of the Mississippi valley.
Foster, Randolph Sinks
Methodist minister. President of Northwestern U. 1857-60.
Foster, Stephen Collins:
Wrote for minstrel troups. Lived in Pittsburgh, near which he was born,
until 1860. Then in New York City. Wrote many famous songs such as My
Old Kentucky Home.
Fowler, Orson Squire, 1809-1887:
A phenomenally successful American phrenologist. He established a successful
publishing house in New York (Fowler and Wells, 135 Nassau St).
Classmate, at Amherst,
of Henry Ward Beecher (class
of 1834). DAB,
in fact, says Beecher got him interested in phrenology.
The significance he attributed to phrenology knew no bounds; cf. his
natural and revealed : or, The natural theology and moral bearings of phrenology
and physiology including the doctrines taught and duties inclulcated thereby,
compared with those enjoined in the Scriptures : together with the phrenological
exposition of the doctrines of a future state, materialism, holiness, sin,
rewards, punishments, depravity, a change of heart, will, foreordination,
fatalism, etc., etc.
Discussed extensively in Branch,
Years, pp 279-286, with illustrations of his New York establishment
(museum and examining room), and Fowler's phrenological chart.
Francis, Convers 1795 - 1863:
Harvard Class of 1815; Professor
of Harvard Divinity School, after Henry
Ware, from 1842-63. Unitarian minister, and scholar, advocate of the
new German scholarship.
Brother of Lydia
Francis, James Bicheno
English-born engineer involved in Locomotive design in Lowel MA, and later
called "the father of modern hydraulic engineering". Wrote
Experiments in 1855.
Francis, John Wakefield
Prominent obstretician and founder, in 1846, of New York Academy of Medicine.
Franklin, Benjamin 1706-1790:
Franzee, John 1790-1852:
Created busts of Daniel Webster, John Marshall, and others for the Boston
Atheneum (library). Born in Rahway, NJ.
Frazer, John Fries 1812-1872:
Chemist and naturalist; taught at U. Pennsylvania from 1844-72, and helped
found the National Academy of Sciences. Born in Philadelphia.
Freeman, James 1759 - 1835:
Episcopalian minister who was theologically unitarian, and who made his
church, King's Chapel,
in a sense the first Unitarian church in the U.S. in 1787. Harvard
class of 1777. Began quarrelling with trinitarianism as early as 1785.
Remained at King's Chapel, Boston until 1826, after which he retired to
Stepfather of James
Freeman Clark's father Sam, and acted as a father to J.F.C. for several
Freeman, James Edwards
1808 - 1884:
Canadian born American painter.
1787 - 1862:
U.S. Senator for NJ, 1829-35. Educator and politician. Princeton class
Fremont, John Charles 1813-
Explorer of California. First Republican candidate for President in 1856,
and an obstreperous general under Lincoln. Married the daughter of Thomas
Hart Benton, Jessie Benton Freemont.
French, Aaron 1823 - 1902:
Invented a superior suspension system for railroads.
Frisbie, Levi 1784 - July
Born in Ipswich, MA, the son of a clergyman
there. Graduated at Cambridge in 1802; became Latin Tutor at Harvard
in 1805, Professor of Latin in 1811, and Professor of Moral Philosophy
from 1817 til in death in 1822. He suffered from a blinding disorder in
Mentioned on p81 of Rusk,
as a teacher of Ralph Waldo Emerson
when the latter was at Harvard.
Some of his poetry appears pp159-162, vol 3, of
Specimens of American Poetry.
Specimens of American Poetry.
Froebel, Friedrich 1782 -
German founder of the kindergarten.
Nathaniel Langdon 1793 - 1870:
Unitarian minister. Harvard class of 1811. Pastor of First
Church of Boston from 1815-50. Opposed to Theodore
Parker and the injection of transcendentalism into the church. Born
in Boston. Classmate of Edward
Everett, and like Everett, and Charles
Francis Adams, a son-in-law of Peter
"sufficiently conservative to exclude Theodore
Parker from the "Thursday Lecture" ... sufficiently humane to develop
a warm regard for Parker himself. ... greatly admired by Ralph
Waldo Emerson. [R.W.E. said of him 'nothing vulgar is connected with
his name ... There is a scholar doing a scholar's office']".
Unitarian minister and son of Nathaniel
L. Frothingham who embraced transcendentalism and became a protege
of Theodore Parker.
Graduating Harvard in 1843, and the Divinity
School in 1847, he was ordained in 1847 to the North Church of Salem. Under
the influence of Parker, he became a radical on slavery and religion. To
his cousin Henry Adams, his faith seemed "skepticism". He later, in 1867,
helped found the Free Religious Association.
Wrote biographies of Parker, Gerrit
Smith, George Ripley, and Wm
Henry Channing, Transcendentalism in New England (1876), Boston
Unitarianism: A Study of the Life and Work of Nathaniel Langdon Frothingham
(1890), and Reflections and Impressions: 1822-1890.
Frothingham, Paul Revere
1864 - 1926:
Boston Unitarian minister, and biographer of Edward
Everett, his great-uncle by marriage.
Grandson of Nathaniel
L. Frothingham, and son of Thomas Bumstead Frothingham (a Boston merchant).
Frothingham, Richard 1812-1880:
Author of the Rise of the Republic of the United States (1872).
Born in Charlestown, MA.
Fry, William Henry 1815 -
Leonora, the opera which he wrote was, in 1845, the first performed
grand opera by an American. Also a music critic.
Fuller, George 1822 - 1884:
Painter most of his career, with an unsuccessful stint at farming from
1860-75. Born in Deerfield, MA.
Fuller, Margaret (1810-1850):
Most successful as a literary critic; as editor of the transcendentalist
magazine The Dial, and later (1844-6)
literary critic for Horace
Greeley's New York Tribune. She is quoted
Transcendentalists saying that the principal purpose of
her life was "to introduce here the works of those great geniuses (of Europe),
the flower and fruit of a higher state of development, which might give
the young who are soon to constitute the state, a higher standard in thought
and action than would be demanded of them by their own time."
For the Tribune, she went to Europe, but there met and married
a Marquis involved in the unsuccessful revolution in 1848. Emmigrating
with her to America, he, she, and their child died in a shipwreck.
She wrote Women
in the Nineteenth Century (1845), Papers
on Literature and Art (1846), was a brilliant linguist and translator.
She has been called "in part the original of the character Zenobia in Hawthorne's
Romance" (according to W.B.D. -- Who??),
though I think it may be quite a silly and unfair portrayal.
Also click on Fuller,
in the Nineteenth Century (1845)., and browse around there for
collections of her writings.
Fuller, James C. ? - ?:
"Quaker Englishman who settled in upstate New York", who called on Daniel
O'Connell to make an antislavery appeal to Irish-Americans.
Source: p9, Ignatiev,
the Irish Became White.
Fulton, Robert 1765-1815:
A portrait artist and inventor; the first to build a steamboat suitable
for commerce. Financed by Robert R. Livingston. Livingston and Fulton were
granted a monopoly on steam boat navigation of the Hudson river for over
a decade. Born in Lancaster County, PA.
Furness, William Henry (1802-1896):
Unitarian minister and abolitionist Served a Unitarian church in Philadelphia
from 1825-75. (W.B.D.)
Furness, William Henry
1802 - 1896:
Abolitionist and Unitarian minister. Served church in Philadelphia from
Also friend of R.W. Emerson from the age of 2 or 3 when they attended
the same "dame school". (Source: McAleer,