Brief Biographies from the Jackson/Van Buren Era (L):

Ladd, William 1778 - 1841:

New Hampshire sea captain and farmer, and founder of the American Peace Society in 1828. Born in Exeter; died in Portsmouth.

Wrote Essay on a Congress of Nations in 1840.

Lafayette, Marquis de 1757 - 1834:

(full name Lafayette, Marie Joseph Paul Yves Roch Gilbert du Motier, Marquis de per Concise DAB

Lamar, Mirabeau Buonaparte 1798 - 1859:

Followed Sam Houston as president of Texas. Worked for U.S.' annexation of Texas.

Lamon, Ward Hill 1828 - 1893:

Associate of Lincoln on the circuit corts of Illinois. Accompanied Lincoln to Washington, where he served as a bodyguard (but absent the night Lincoln was shot - on a mission to Richmond). Born in Frederick County VA.

Lampson, Sir Curtis Miranda 1806 - 1885:

Vermont-born English baronet important to the laying of the Transatlantic Cable.

Lancaster, Joseph 1778 - 1838:

English Quaker who developed the system of education called "Lancastrian". Resettled in U.S. after failing to get widespread adaptation in England. It did for a while become very popular in America, especially among reformers.

Lane, Henry 1811 - 1881:

Indianan who helped for the Republican Party.

Lane, John ???:

Blacksmith who invented the moldbord plow; a plow with steel plowshares, prior to the Deere plow.

Lane, Joseph 1801 - 1881:

Governer of Oregon Terr. 1849 - 50 (got the job that Lincoln didn't want). Territorial rep. in Congress 1851-9. Senator 1859-61. running mate of Breckinridge in the 4-way 1860 election.

Langstroth, Lorenzo Lorraine 1810 - 1895:

Scientific beekeeper who did much to improve the profession.

Larcom, Lucy 1824-93:

Millworker at Lowell MA from 1835-46; schoolteacher in Illinois 1846-52; Returned to New England and taught at Wheaton College from 1854-62. Author who collaborated part of the time with Whittier.

Latrobe, Benjamin Henry 1764 - 1820:

Prominent architect who practiced in Philadelphia and Washington DC.

Lawrence, William 1783 - 1848:


Lawrence, William Beach 1800 - 1881:

Lieut. Gov Rhode Island in 1851 and acting Gov in 1852. Writer on international law.

Lea, Isaac 1792 - 1886:

zoologist; studied freshwater mollusks. Also a publisher and writer.

LECOMPTE, Joseph, 1797-1851

Jacksonian representative from Kentucky from 1825-33; born in Woodford County, near the town of Georgetown, Scott County, Ky.; moved to Henry County with his parents, who settled in Lecomptes Bottom on the Kentucky River; attended the common schools; engaged in agricultural pursuits; during the War of 1812 served with the Kentucky Riflemen in the Battle of New Orleans; member of the State house of representatives in 1819, 1822, 1838, 1839, and 1844; served as a major in the State militia; in Congress from March 4, 1825-March 3, 1833; not a candidate for renomination in 1832; resumed agricultural pursuits; member of the State constitutional convention in 1850; died in Henry County April 25, 1851.

Source: Biog. Dir. of Am. Congress.

Lee, Henry 1756 - 1818


Lee, Jason 1803 - 1845: Methodist missionary in Oregon territory from 1834. Helped found the Oregon Institute which later was called Willamette University.

Lee, Robert Edward 1807 - 1870:


Leeser, Isaac 1806 - 1869:

Prussion-born Jewish Rabbi who came to U.S. in 1824; developed congregations in Philadephia between 1829 and his death. Founded The Occident and American Jewish Advocate from 1843 till year of his death. Founded Maimonides College in 1868.

Legare, Hugh Swinton 1797 - 1843:

Atorney general of the U.S from 1841-3; briefly was acting secy of state. Born in Charleston, SC.

Leigh, Benjamin Watkins 1781 - 1849:

Practiced law in Petersburg, VA from 1802-11 before moving to Richmond. Dominated the 1829-30 Virginia convention as the "representative of the wealthy, slave-holding, and conservative east". Sent to Charleston, SC in early Feb. 1833 to try to mediate the nullification crisis. U.S. Senator 1834-6. Opposed to Andrew Jackson's nationalism and his attack on the Bank of the United States. His sense of honor led him to refuse taking an oath against duelling which was mandatory for a Virginia lawyer, and successfully uphold his refusal before the state supreme court, and also to refuse to vote for the expunging resolution proposed by Benton which "expunged" the fierce castigation of Jackson by the Senate in 1834. (Source: DAB, (Source:  Freehling, Prelude to Civil War, 290)

Lenox, James 1800 - 1880:

Established and benefitted the Lenox Library. published Shakespeare's works, and other works. Born in New York.

Leslie, Frank 1821 - 1880.

A prominent periodical publisher, especially of the sort of heavily illustrated magazines that started to appear in the 1850s. Changed name from Henry Carter.

Lesueur, Charles Alexandre 1778 - 1846 :

Artist and naturalist. Accompanied William Maclure to the U.S. Teacher and engraver in Philadelphia. Taught drawing at New Harmony from 1826 - ?, and made engravings from Thomas Say's (entomologist) drawings. From then til 1837, when he returned to France, he made extensive studies of the wildlife, especially fish, of the Mississippi valley.

Lewis, Meriwether 1774 - 1809:


Lewis, Morgan: 1754 - 1844:

Revolutionary war officer and later (1804-7) Governor of New York.

Lewis, Tayler 1802-1877:

Classical and biblical scholar.

Lick, James 1796 - 1876:

Financier in South America, and later in California, who in 1874 bequeathed $700,000 for "a powerful telescope, superior to and more powerful than any telescope ever yet made". The Lick observatory was completed and given to the University of California in 1888.

Lieber, Francis 1800 - 1872:

German-born teacher and political scientist. Born in Berlin, he spent his early years fighting under Napolean briefly (at age 15), fighting for Greek independence, and other political activities that eventually made him flee Germany, but nevertheless, received a Ph.D. at Jena, and later (1822? - 1824) studied mathematics in Berlin. After 6 months imprisonment (which was supposed to have been for life) for his political activities, he fled, and eventually "landed [in Boston] in June 1827 to take charge of a gymnasium.

In 1829-33, edited and partly wrote the Encyclopaedia Americana, in 13 volumes, an immediate success. "many distinguished Americans contributed to its pages and L. made acquaintances which were mutually helpful throughout his career."

He seems to have been very energetic socially as he appears in so many people's lives -- from being a good friend of Charles Sumner, to dining with James Henry Hammond. de Tocqueville carried away a strong impression of Lieber, and Lieber, in turn, translated de Tocqueville's On the Penitentiary System in the United States.

Source: DAB

Lincoln, Abraham (Feb 12, 1809 - Apr. 15, 1865):

Born in Elizabethtown, KY to Thomas and Nancy Lincoln. They moved to the new state of Indiana in 1816. Two years later, Nancy Lincoln died, apparently of a common illness in that part of the country, which was called "the milk sick", a kind of poisoning caused by free-ranging cows eating certain poisonous plants. The cows would sicken and die, and so, often would those of the family who had been consuming milk or dairy products (Warren, Lincoln's Youth). Thomas Lincoln, within the year, married Sarah Bush Lincoln, a widow whose married name had been Johnston. She added her children to the Lincoln family. In later years, Abraham Lincoln had much warmer feelings towards his stepmother than towards his father.

In early 1830, the family relocated to Illinois. Lincoln had gotten to this point a very meagre education, probably well under a year spent in classrooms all told, but had read every book he could get his hands on, and shown particular interest in the law. He had also transported a raft full of goods to market in New Orleans for an Indiana merchant (and been responsible for the safety of the man's son), towards the end of their stay there.

In Illinois, Lincoln spent one more year with his family, during which he again took a raftload of goods to New Orleans, and returned by riverboad (Raftmen, often called, indiscriminately, 'Kaintucks' - being presumed to be from Kentucky - rode on the decks of the steamers, and jumped out at refueling points to load wood - see Trollope, beginning of Ch III). Denton Offut, whose goods Lincoln had rafted down to New Orleans, promised to make Lincoln a grocer in the town of New Salem, on the Sangamon River.

Offut mostly gave Lincoln false hopes, but Lincoln did establish himself as a grocer, and won the respect of locals for his honesty, physical strength, and, his willingness to go to great lengths to improve his learning. At one point, he attended a school full of children to learn some grammar. When an opportunity came to get a job as a surveyer, he studied mathematics with the local schoolmaster.

In 1832, at age 23, he ran for the state legislature, made a good showing, but was defeated. Between his announced candidacy and the election, he served in the militia in the Blackhawk war. He never saw any fighting, but did run across some men recently killed by Indians. He was elected captain, which in later life he claimed made him as happy as any honor before or since.

In 1834 he succeeded in getting elected to the state legislature. By 1837, he was recognized as a major Whig power there, and had been a driving force in getting the capitol moved from Vandalia to the more populous and promising Springfield, near New Salem. Lincoln planned to move to Springfield to set up a law practice.


Linder, Usher F. (???)

Described in Thomas' Lincoln (p60) as a "tall, loose-jointed lawyer from Coles County", IL. Linder was in the Illinois legislature fighting for the other side in 1836-7 when Lincoln and friends got the state capitol moved to Vandalia. Coles County is in eastern Illinois, though not on the border, and just slightly within the southern half of the state; just a little closer to Vandalia than to Springfield.

Later that year, Linder is described in Gentlemen of Property and Standing, as having a very major part in the raucous opposition to Elijah P. Lovejoy's abolition convention, which ended in such a pitch of mob frenzy that one of the rioters, and Lovejoy, were dead at the end of it.

There are several mentions of Linder in Carl Sandburg's Abraham Lincoln. As two riders of the early Illinois circuit court, they would have appeared, as a team or opposed to each other, in numerous trials.

Linton, William James 1812 - 1897:

English wood engraver came to U.S. in 1866. Write a Life of Pain. in 1839.

Lippincott, Joshua Ballinger 1813-1886:

Started a printing company, J.B. Lippincott, & Co., in Phila. in 1836; published some notable reference works. Born in Juliustown, NJ.

Livingston, Edward 1764 - 1836:

Andrew Jackson's 2nd secy of state. Born in Columbia, NY same as Martin Van Buren.

Locke, John 1632 - 1704:

Locke, John 1792 - 1856:

Geologist, scientist, and inventor of tools for surveyers.

Locke, Richard Adams 1800 - 1871:

English-born journalist, who came to U.S. in 1832; foisted the "Moon Hoax" on the american public in the NY Sun in 1835.

Logan, Stephen Trigg 1800 - 1880:


Long, Crawford Williamson 1815 - 1878:

Surgeon and physician; another claimant to be first to use ether as an anaesthetic. Performed 8 such operations between 1842 - 6, and wrote about it in December 1849.

Long, James 1873 - 1822:

Formed an early abortive "Republic of Texas" in 1819. Captured and killed in 1822.

Long, Stephen Harriman 1784 - 1864:

Explorer of the upper Mississippi in 1817, and later, the northern boundary of the U.S.

Longacre, James Barton 1784 - 1869:

Important american engraver. Born in Delaware County, PA.

Longfellow, Henry Wadsworth 1807 - 1882:


Longfellow, Stephen 1776 - 1849:

Lawyer and father of Henry Wordsworth L. Born in Gorham Maine

Loomis, Elias 1811 - 1889:

Mathematician astronomer. Taught at Western Reserve College from 1837-44, and University of the City of New York from 1844-7 and 1849-60. Later at Yale.

Loomis, Mahlon 1826- 1886:

Invented a method of making false teeth in 1854. Practiced dentestry, (in Philadelphia) but later worked on developing a wireless telegraph. Born in Oppenheim, NY.

Lord, Nathan 1792 - 1870:

Congregational minister; president of Dartmouth from 1828 - 63.

Loring, Ellis Gray 1803 - 1858:

Abolitionist and prominent Boston lawyer. Born in Boston; in the Harvard Class of 1823, but left "in May 1823, when members of his class were dismissed for resistance to college discipline". Married Louisa Gilman 10/29/1827.

Was one of the "little band who assembled" on January 1, 1831, to consider organizing the New England Anti-Slavery Society (says DAB, citing Liberator of 7/4/58 - obituary of EGL? --, but Stewart, Holy Warriors says it was founded in January 1832, which seems more likely). He remained a strong, if usually somewhat quiet, abolitionist. His house was a center of anti-slavery activity (noted by Harriet Martineau, says DAB); he sheltered fugitive slaves, and financially, helped keep the Liberator going.

Lovejoy, Elijah Parish (Nov. 9, 1802 - Nov. 7, 1837):

Born in Albion Maine. In 1833, he was licensed to preach after a course in theological study at Princeton seminary.

Rather than preach, he edited a religious newspaper in St. Louis MO, which was anti-Catholic, in one of the most Catholic cities in America (having been part of French Territory until recently). His paper, the Observer, became increasingly anti-slavery, which lead to his near lynching or at least tarring and feathering in St. Louis. After his printing press was destroyed there, and after some other harrowing experiences, he moved with his family to Alton IL.

In Alton, his press was again destroyed twice.

Defiantly, he set out to organize an abolitionist conference in Illinois. Anti-abolitionist excitement rose to a fever pitch. On November 7, a new printing press was received and stored in a secure stone warehouse. It was clear that a mob meant to break in and destroy this third press that had come to Alton. Lovejoy and friends, including his 26 year old brother went armed to defent the press. Shots were fired on both sides, and one of the attackers was killed. When Lovejoy appeared in a doorway due to an apparent lull in the fight, he received a volley of shots, and was killed.

Lovejoy, Owen (Jan. 6, 1811 - Mar. 25, 1864):

Brother of Elijah P. Lovejoy,and like him, committed to abolition. Became a Congregational minister and later, a congressman.

Graduated Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine, in 1832; studied law but never practiced; studied theology; joined his brother in Alton Illinois in 1836, and was with him when he was killed by a mob while defending his printing press.

Owen served as pastor of the Congregational Church from 1839-1856. He was a member of U.S. House of Representatives from 1857 til his death in 1864.

Lowell, James Russell 1819 - 1891:


Lowell, John 1769 - 1840:


Lowell, Robert Traill Spence 1816 - 1891:


Lundy, Benjamin 1789 - 1839:


Lynds, Elam 1784 - 1855:

Prison administrator, and regarded by some as the creator of the "Auburn system, with its solitary confinement of prisoners during the night, its labor in silence in the common workshops during the day, and its lockstep. ... He was a great believer in the lash, which he considered the least harmful and the most efficient of all disciplinary means." An excerpt from an interview with him is in  Pierson, Tocqueville, p117ff.

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