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

Daguerre, Louis Jacques Mande 1789 - 1851:

Painter and inventor of the daguerreotype, which he worked on in the late 1820s and the 1830s, communicating it to the French Academy of Sciences in 1839.

Dahlgren, John Adolphus Bernard 1809 - 1870:

Naval officer. Created the Dahlgren gun, an 11 incher. Rear Admiral during the Civil war. Author of books on ordinance. Born in Philadelphia.

Dale, Robert William 1829 - 1895:

Congregational minister and advocate of educational reforms, and of secular education and disestablishment of the church, in England.

Dalton, John Call 1825 - 1889:

Physiologist and Professor of the College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York from 1844-83. Born in Chelmsford, MA.

Dana, Charles Anderson 1819 - 1897:

Charter member of Brook Farm 1841-6. Newspaper editor on the New York Tribune from 1847-62. Assistant secretary of war 1863-4. Coedited the New American Cyclopaedia - 16 volumes, issued from 1858 - 63. Owner and editor of the New York Sun from 1868-97. Born in Hinsdale, NH.

Dana, James Dwight 1813 - 1895:

Geologist - sent on a government expedition to the southern pacific from 1838-42. Wrote extensively on fossils, Geology, Corals, et. Born in Utica, NY.

Dana, Richard Henry 1787 - 1887:

Lawyer and author of The Bucaneer and other Poems (1827). Father of his namesake who wrote Two Years Before the Mast.

Dana, Richard Henry 1815 - 1882:

Author of Two Years Before the Mast, a classic, describing his two years as an ordinary seaman. Later practiced law, specializing in admiralty law.

Dana, Samuel Luther 1795 - 1868:

Chemist who developed new bleaching technologies, and methods of printing on cotton cloth. Born in Amherst, NH.

Dane, Nathan 1752 - 1835:

While serving in the Continental Congress in 1785-7, he co-wrote the Northwest Ordinance of 1787, praised by Daniel Webster in his first reply to Hayne. In 1823 he issued the 8-volume General Abridgement and Digest of American Law. Born in Ipswich, MA.

Danforth, Moseley Isaac 1800 - 1862:

Engraver of bank notes. Born in Hartford, CT.

Daniel, John Moncure 1825 - 1865:

Editor of the Richmond Examiner from 1847 0 53 and 1861-5, he promoted secession. Born in Stafford Counta, VA.

Daniel, Peter Vivian 1784 - 1860:

Associate Justice of U.S. Supreme Court from 1841-60. Born in Stafford Counta, VA.

Darley, Felix Octavius Carr 1822 - 1888:

Illustrated Washington Irving's Rip Van Winkle (1851), and Legend of Sleepy Hollow (1850). Also illustrated editions of Dickens and of James Fenimore Cooper.

D'Arusmont, William Phiquepal ? - ?:

Married Frances Wright after she became pregnant by him while taking the Nashoba ex-slaves to Haiti. The marriage had a very destructive affect on her life.

"Years later, Robert Dale Owen described [him] as suspicious and headstrong -- 'a man well informed on many points, full of original ideas, some of practical value, but, withal, a wrong-headed genius whose extravagance and wilfulness and inordinate self-conceit destroyed his usefulness' [and for Wright] an unwise, hasty, fanciful counselor'. ... A Quaker friend said that Fanny, who was not in the ordinary sense a man's woman, would never have married and become a mother had she not been "under the influence of a species of hallucination."

(Eckhardt, Wright, p213)

Darwin, Charles Robert 1809 - 1882:

Expositor of the theory of evolution with his 1859 On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection. Wrote The Descent of Man in 1871. He got many of his ideas from observations made on a long scientific exploration on the ship the Beagle.

Darwin, Erasmus 1731 - 1802:

Botinist, Zooligist, Physician, and poet. Founded a philosophical Society in 1784. Grandfather of Charles Darwin. Seems to have been somewhat well known in the U.S. Wrote The Loves of the Plants and Botanic Garden; The Temple of Nature_.

Davenport, Edwin Loomis 1815 - 1877:

A well known actor. Born in Boston.

Davidson, Samuel 1807 - 1898:

A controversial Irish biblical scholar.

Davinport, George 1783 - 1845:

English-born fur trader. Came to U.S. in 1804. Helped found Davenport, Iowa.

Davis, Alexander Jackson 1803 - 1892:

Architect of the U.S. Patent Office, and other famous buildings, including the Indiana state capitol. Worked with Ithiel Town from 1829-43 and by himself thereafter. Born in New York City.

Davis, Charles Augustus ? - ? :

Appropriated Seba Smith's pen name, "Major Jack Downing", and wrote a series of supposed letters by Downing, published in the New York Daily Advertiser from 1833 on. A friend of Nicholas Biddle and a director of the New York Branch of the United States Bank.

For easy access to a couple of Davis' Jack Downing sketches, satirizing the controversy over the Jackson's dismantling of the 2nd Bank of the United States, see The Annals of America, vol 6, selection 10 (p41).

Davis, Charles Henry 1807 - 1877:

Important naval officer, especially in the Mississippi River campaign. Born in Boston.

Davis, Edwin Hamilton 1811 - 1888:

Studied and wrote on the works of the native American Mound Builders. in Ancient Monuments of the Mississippi Valley in 1847. It was the first book to come out of the Smithsonian Institute.

Davis, George R.

Democratic member of the New York legislature around 1830 - supposed to have pleaded for and gotten "a good blowing up" from the good natured Thurlow Weed in his Whiggish Albany Evening Journal -- in order to be in good stead with his own party.

(Source: Van Deusen, Weed, p58).

Davis, George Thomas 1810 - 1877:

Grad. Harvard 1829; established a Whig paper, the Franklin Mercury, in 1833 in Greenfield, Franklin County, where he practiced law. Served in Congress 1851-53.

A distant cousin of Margaret Fuller, and a very attractive youth at that time, on whom she had a crush (just as James Freeman Clarke was mooning over Margaret). Described by her as

Davis, Henry Gassett 1807 - 1896:

Pioneer of orthopedic surgery.

Davis, Jefferson 1808 - 1889:


Davis, John Chandler Bancroft 1822 - 1907:

Assistant Secretary of State 1869-71 and 1873-4. Born in Worcester, MA.

Davis, Nathan Smith 1817 - 1904:

Helped to organize the American Medical Association. Practiced as a doctor in Binghamton, NY from 1838 - 47, then in New York City until 1849. Thereafter, spent his career as a medical educator: first at Rush Medical College in Chicago from 1849 - 59. Born in Greene, NY.

Davis, Warren Ransom 1793 - 1835:

Served as "states rights Democrat" in Congress from 3/4/27 until his death. Aligned in states rights and nullification radicalism with George McDuffie.

Davis, William 1812 - 1868:

Inventor who developed refrigerations cars for trains.

Davis, William Augustine 1809 - 1875:

Devised method of sorting mail while it was in transit by locomotive. Postmaster at St. Joseph MO. Born in Barren County, KY.

Davy, Sir Humphrey 1778 - 1829:

English chemist some of whose works also pertained to electricity. One of the most important scientists.

Day, Benjamin Henry 1810 - 1889:

Founded the first penny daily paper, the New York Sun, in 1833. Born in West Springfield, MA.

Day, Jeremiah 1773 - 1867:

Professor of Mathematics and Natural philosophy at Hale from 1803-17, and president of the college from 1817 - 46. Born in New Preston, CT.

De Bow, James Dunwoody Brownson 1820 - 1867:

Founded and edited the Commercial Review of the South and Southwest, or De Bow's Review, published in New Orleans from 1846. Pressed for diversification of the southern economy into manufacturing, and also a longtime advocate of secession. A bookish intellectual, he prepared the 1850 U.S. census, and wrote Statistical View of the United States in 1854, which is often cited in modern works. Generally known as J.D.B. De Bow.

DePauw, Washington Charles 1822 - 1887:

Banker and manufacturer. Endowed Indiana Asbury University, later known as DePauw U. Born in Salem, Indiana.

Descartes, Rene 1596 - 1650:

DeSmet, Pierre Jean 1801 - 1873:

Jesuit missionary to western fronteir indians from 1838. Came to U.S. in 1821. Born in Belgium.

DeVinne, Theodore Low 1828 - 1914:

Printer who started in New York in 1850 with a partner. Incorporated the De Vinne Press in 1908 (Theo. L. De Vinne & Co.) Born in Stamford CT.

De Witt, Charles Gerrit 1789 - 1839

A Representative from New York; born in Greenhill, Ulster County, N.Y., November 7, 1789; studied law and practiced; clerk in the Navy Department; edited the Ulster Sentinel; elected as a Jackson supporter to the Twenty-first Congress (March 4, 1829-March 3, 1831); was not a candidate for renomination in 1830; resumed the practice of law; appointed Chargé d’Affaires to Central America January 29, 1833; returned home in February 1839; died on board a river steamer opposite Newburgh, N.Y., April 12, 1839; interment in Dutch Reformed Cemetery, Hurley, N.Y.

Source: Biog. Dir of American Congress.

Dearborn, Henry 1751 - 1829:

Secretary of state 1801-9; Major general in the War of 1812, but served the cause poorly.

DEBERRY, Edmund, 1787-1859

Representative from North Carolina; born in Lawrenceville (now Mount Gilead), Montgomery County, N.C., August 14, 1787; attended school at High Shoals; engaged in agricultural pursuits and also in the operation of cotton mills and flour mills; member of the State senate 1806-1811, 1813, 1814, 1820, 1821, and 1826-1828; served as justice of the peace; elected to the Twenty-first Congress (March 4, 1829-March 3, 1831); unsuccessful candidate for reelection in 1830 to the Twenty-second Congress; elected as an Anti-Jacksonian to the Twenty-third Congress and as a Whig to the Twenty-fourth through Twenty-eighth Congresses (March 4, 1833-March 3, 1845); chairman, Committee on Agriculture (Twenty-fifth through Twenty-eighth Congresses); was not a candidate for renomination in 1844; elected as a Whig to the Thirty-first Congress (March 4, 1849-March 3, 1851); was not a candidate for renomination in 1850; resumed his former agricultural and business pursuits; died at his home in Pee Dee Township, Montgomery County, N.C., December 12, 1859; interment in the family cemetery on his plantation near Mount Gilead.

Source: Biog. Dir. of Am. Congress.

Decatur, Stephen 1779 - 1820:

An outstanding naval hero before and during the War of 1812. Killed in a duel with James Barron, another naval officer on May 22, 1820, near the capitol, which was a considerable sensation at the time. Born i Sinepuxent MD.

Deems, Charles Force 1820 - 1893:

Methodist minister who founded the "Church of Strangers" in New York City in 1868. Authored Life of Jesus in 1872.

Deere, John 1804 - 1886:

Manufacturer famous for steel plows which were necessary for plowing the midwestern prairie soil, which would break older style plows. Born in Rutland, VT.

Deering, William 1826 - 1913:

Manufacturer who began making harvesters after the Civil War. Born in South Paris, ME.

Delafield, Edward 1794 - 1875:

A prominent eye specialist. Founder and first president of the American Opthalmological Society.

Delamater, Cornelius Henry 1821-1889:

Mechanical enginer who helped build the ironclad Monitor, and the first iron boats and self-propelled fire engines.

Delano, Columbus 1809 - 1896:

Secretary of the Interior 1870-75. Practiced law before that Born in Shoreham, VT.

Dennison, Aaron Lufkin 1812 - 1895:

Watch manufacturer who created a system of using interchangeable parts. Born in Freeport, ME.

Dennison, William 1815 - 1882:

Governor of Ohio from 1860-2. Practiced law before that U.S. Attourny General 1864-66. Born in Cincinnati Ohio.

Devens, Charles 1820 - 1891:

Officer in the Civil War. U.S. atty general 1877-91. Born in Charleston, MA.

Dickens, Charles John Huffam 1812 - 1870:

The english novelest. Toured America in the 30s or 40s, and gave some of the least flattering reports of such travelors.

Dickenson, John 1732 - 1808:

Conservative member of the Continental Congress during the Revolution. Delegate to the Constitutional convention. Born in Talbot County, MD.

Dickenson, Jonathan 1688 - 1747:

Grad Yale 1706. Pastor at Elizabethtown, NJ, from 1708 until his death, and president of the College of New Jersey (Princeton) at its founding, May 1747 until his death less than six months later. During this period his pastorage comprised the whole school.

Dickson, Samuel Henry 1798 - 1872:

Doctor and medical educator. Founder of the Medical College of South Carolina in 1833. Born in Charleston, SC.

Dix, Dorothea Lynd 1802 - 1887:

Established a girls school in Bostin from 1820 - 35. Crusading reformer for better treatment of the insane. Superintendent of women nurses during the Civil War. Wrote Childrens books. Born in Hampden ME.

Dix, John Adams 1798 - 1879:

Fought as a mere boy in the war of 1812. Secy of state of NY 1833-39. Senator from 1845-49. Later Secretary of the treasury in 1861 only. Became a major general in the Civil war, and governed the state of NY from 1873-5.

Doane, George Washington 1799 - 1859:

Protestant Episcopal bishop. Lead the high church party. Wrote many hymns. Born in Trenton, NJ.

Dobbin, James Cochran 1814 - 1857:

Secretary of the navy from 1853 - 57, who did much to enlarge it and reform its organization. Previously practiced law. Born in Fayetteville, NC.

Dodd, Moses Woodruff 1813 - 1899:

Publisher, in business with John S. Taylor from 1839-40 and by himself from then until 1870. Born in Bloomfield, NJ

Donelson, Andrew Jackson 1799 - 1871:

Unofficially adopted son of Andrew Jackson; served with Jackson in the Seminole War in Florida. Secretary to Jackson during Jackson's presidency. Negotiated the treaty annexing Texas (at the request of the then Republic of Texas) from 1844-5. Ran for vice-presidency in 1856. Born near Nashville TN.

Donohoe, Patrick ? - ?:

Editor of the Irish-American Boston Pilot, at least in 1840.

Doremus, Sarah Platt 1802 - 1877:

Helped found the New York Woman's Hospital, Woman's Union Missionary Society and various shelters for the homeless, in New York City, where he was born.

Dorfeuille, Joseph ? - ?:

Described in [Trollope, introduction, p xxv] as a "naturalist of some attainments from New Orleans", who assumed the curatorship of the Western Museum in Cincinnati. Initially he tried to put on serious exhibits of scientific artifacts, but the stockholders pressed him to make money, so that he had to make it like most museums of the time, filled with entertaining waxworks, hoaxes, and freaks of nature.

Francis Trollope helped with a couple of projects: an invisible girl who made prophecies, and a panorama of Hell, the latter being a moneymaker and favorite Cincinnati attraction for decades afterwards.

DORSEY, Clement, 1778-1848

Representative from Maryland March 4, 1825-March 3, 1831. (19th-21st congresses). Born near Oaklands in Anne Arundel County, Md., in 1778; attended St. John’s College, Annapolis, Md.; studied law; was admitted to the bar and commenced practice; major in the Maryland Militia 1812-1818. Resumed the practice of law in 1831 after leaving congress; unsuccessful candidate for congress in 1832; judge of the fifth circuit court of Maryland until his death in Leonardtown, St. Marys County, Md., August 6, 1848.

Douglas, Stephen Arnold (Apr. 23, 1813 - Jun. 3, 1861):

Best known for the "Lincoln - Douglas Debates", conducted in 1858 when Douglas and Abraham Lincoln ran for an Illinois senate seat. Douglas, a U.S Senator from 1847-1861, and a prominent leader in the Senate at that, was not defeated by Lincoln this time.

The debates, between two men, representing two shades of thought near the center of public opinion, were reported throughout the nation, and made into a book. As it turned out, Lincoln, the unknown with no formal education, eloquently expressed the opinion of the majority of northerners. It was enough to make him a compromise candidate, representing the new Republican Party, for president (the better-known Republicans had all compromised themselves with public opinion in one way or another). Of course Lincoln was elected in 1860.

After the election, Douglas did all that he could to uphold Lincoln, and prevent the splitting of the Union.

Douglas was born in Brandon, VT, about 15 miles from the New York border, marked at that point by Lake Champlain. It is just opposite Ticonderoga, NY. He was educated in the public schools, attended the Brandon Academy, learned to be a cabinet-maker, but aspired so something higher. He moved with his family to a farm near Lake Canandaigua, NY, and attended Canandaigua Academa in 1832, and studied law.

Douglass, Anna Murray (1813? - 1882):

Wife of Frederick Douglass. A free woman, who, like Douglass began life on Maryland's eastern shore of. Five years older than him, she was a housekeeper and never became literate.

Douglass, Frederick (Feb. 1818 - Feb. 20 1895):

Black anti-slavery orator and editor of The North Star and later Frederick Douglass' Paper. Also consistently spoke for equal rights, and campaigned against lynching in the south after the Civil War.

He escaped from slavery in Baltimore, MD, in September 1838. Settling in New Bedford, MA, and working as a laborer, he was soon a vocal participant in the African Methodist Episcopal Zion church there. He received William Lloyd Garrison's Liberator, initially for free. Very outspoken against slavery, he was noticed by the Quaker abolitionist William C. Coffin, and invited to speak to an anti-slavery convention in Coffin's home, Nantucket.

Douglass' speech in Nantucket brought him to the attention of Garrison

Downing, Major Jack 1829 - ? :

Pseudonym of Seba Smith, and later of Charles Augustus Davis (and perhaps others). Both wrote pretending to be a provincial Maine "down-easterner", using very broad dialect, pretending to be a close chum of Andrew Jackson, and satirizing the goings-on in Washington. Jackson, in complementing Martin Van Buren's wit, pretended to believe that Van Buren wrote the articles.

Drake, Francis Samuel (1828-1885):

(Born and died on Feb 22) historial, author of an 1872 Dictionary of American Biography (not the work of the same title noted below), The Town of Roxbury, and other works. Son of Samuel Gardiner Drake; brother of Samuel Adams Drake.

Source: Dictionary of American Biography.

Drake, Joseph Rodman (1795 - 1820):

A popular poet in his day, especially known for the 640 line "Culprit Fay". A close friend and sometime collaborator of Fitz-Greene Halleck, especially on the "Croaker Papers"

Source: Dictionary of American Biography, Reminiscences of New York, Kettell, Specimens of American Poetry.

Drake, Samuel Adams (1833-1905):

(b.dec 19, d. dec 4) Historian, and at various times newspaperman and soldier. Author of Old Landmarks and Historic Personages of Boston (1873), and A Book of New England Legends and Folk Lore (1872).

Son of Samuel Gardiner Drake; brother of Francis Samuel Drake.

Source: Dictionary of American Biography.

Drake, Samuel Gardiner (1798-1875):

Antiquarian bookseller, historian, collector of tens of thousands of books and pamphlets dealing with, mostly, Indians, and the early Colonial period.

Father of Francis Samuel Drake and Samuel Adams Drake, the historians.

After successfully reprinting Church's History of King Phillip's War, he (1825), and being, from 1828-30 a book auctioneer, he established a shop on Cornhill, in Boston where he was both a publisher and bookseller.

Source: Dictionary of American Biography.

Drayton, William 1776 - 1846:

b.12/30, d.5/24
Representative to Congress for SC: 5/17/25 - 3/3/33; he opposed Nullification; turned down role as Secy. of War, and that of Minister to England under Jackson, moved to Philadelphia 8/33, was president of the Bank of the United States in 1840 and 41.

Born in St Augustine, FL(!); attended English Prep schools; settled in Charleston, SC; admitted to the bar 12/12/1797; fought in the War of 1812. (Source: Biog. Dict. of Am. Congress)

Dunlap, William 1766 - 1839:

Playwright, painter, historian (particularly of the arts in early America), and theater manager.

Son of an Irishman who fought in an Irish regiment in the American Revolution.

He wrote the play Andre (1798), a Life of Charles Brockden Brown (1815), History of the American Theatre (1832), and History of the Rise and Progress of the Arts of Design in the United States (1834) (which has been reprinted in recent times, and is often cited).

Source: DAB, Six Early American Plays, p1ff.

Duane, William (1760 - 1835) :

Born near Lake Champlain, NY. Spent his youth in Ireland and India. 1796, returned to U.S. and became, with Benjamin Franklin Bache co-editor of the Aurora, which he continued to edit until 1822. He was important to the success of Jefferson's run for president.

Duane, William John 1780 - 1865 :

Secretary of the treasury under Andrew Jackson from 1833-35, but let go for refusing to withdraw the federal funds from the 2nd Bank of the United States. A vigorous pamphleteer, and supporter of Jackson's campaign. Son of the elder William Duane.

Dwight, Theodore 1764 - 1846:

Brother of Timothy Dwight; grandson of Jonathan Edwards; founder of the (Albany) Daily Advertiser (1815) and New York Daily Advertiser (1817).

In 1814, he served as secretary of the Hartford Convention, and in 1833 wrote a book defending it, History of the Hartford Convention: with a review of the policy of the United States Government which led to the War of 1812.

He grew up in Northampton, MA, and practiced law in Haddam CT (1787-91) and Hartford, CT (1791-1815), before moving to New York. He also spent his later years in Hartford.

Dwight, Timothy (1752 - 1817):

Most famous for his presidency of Yale, in New Haven CT, from 1795 until his death.

The grandson of Jonathan Edwards, he graduated Yale in 1769 and from then (starting at age 17!) to 1771, was Headmaster of the Hopkins Grammar School in New Haven. From 1771-1777, he was a tutor at Yale. He served as chaplain at West Point (then an important fort guarding the Hudson against invasion from Canada), from 1777-1779. He was a pastor, teacher, and farm manager in Northamton, MA from then until 1783, and a pastor in Greenfield Hill, CT, from 1783, until he was called to succeed Ezra Stiles as President of Yale in 1795.

At Yale, he started out battling infidelity and deism, which had become popular. Deism and skepticism were for some, a part of the bundle of ideas behind the American Revolution (not to mention the French Revolution, which still had its adherants in the U.S. in 1795).

Wrote Travels in New England and New York (4 vols., 1821-22), which is often cited by historians as illustrating American customs of the time.

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