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 - 1881:

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 U.S.

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.

Source: Commager, Theodore 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.

Parton, James 1822 - 1891:

English-born "Father of American biography". Wrote Horace Greeley 1855, Aaron Burr (1857), Andrew Jackson 1859-60. Brought to U.S. as a child.

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.
(Source: Niven, Welles, 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.

(Source:  DAB)

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 - 1852:

Actor and playwright, including work done with Washington Irving. Wrote the song Home, Sweet Home for Clari, of the Maid of Milan, in 1823.

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 and philosophy.

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.

Peabody, Elizabeth 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 - 1878:

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.

Peale, Sarah Miriam 1800 - 1885:

Portrait artist to Thomas Hart Benton, Caleb Cushing, and others. Great-niece of of Charles Wilson Peale.

Peale, Titian Ramsay 1799 - 1885:

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.

Pennypacker, Elijah 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:

Perkins, Mary Beecher (1805-1900):

Led a quiet life in Hartford, CT, married to a prominent attorney, Thomas Perkins.

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:

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 Turner Bynum, 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 - 1819:

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 (1752-1802).

Phillips, Samuel 1752 - 1802:

Nephew of John Phillips (1719-95), and principal founder of Phillips (Andover) Academy.

Phillips, Wendell 1811 - 1884:


Phiquepal, William S.

See D'Arusmont, William Phiquepal

Physick, Philip Syng 1768 - 1837:


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.

Source: DAB

Pickering, Timothy 1745 - 1829:

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.

Source: DAB; Judd: Corr. of V.C. Family, p149-152.

Pierce, Franklin 1804 - 1869:

President of the U.S. from 1853-7. Represented NH in congress 1833-42; the last 5 years being in the Senate. Became a brigadier general in the Mexican-American war. Governed NH in 1827 and 1829.

Pierpont, John 1785 - 1866:

Pillsbury, Parker 1809 - 1898:


Pinckney, Henry Laurens 1794 - 1863:

b.9/24 d.2/3
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: DAB). His "slashing style (as editor of the Mercury) still makes for exciting reading" (Freehling, Prelude to Civil War, p374).

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 and Mott, American 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 - 1855:

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, Jackson, 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 - 1905:

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 for Perley's 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, MA.

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 1862.

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, Lincoln, p335].

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 Webster's Unabridged dictionary.

Porter, Peter Buell 1773 - 1844:

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 Street.

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 - 1844:

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 North Middleborough, MA

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 Philadelphia.

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.

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