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

Fairbanks, Thaddeus 1796 - 1886:

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 Boscawen, NH.

Farnham, 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 1823- 1903:

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.

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 - 1885:

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 Boscawen, NH.

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 - 1867:

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, CT.

Field, David Dudley 1805 - 1894:

Lawyer; son of namesake. Practiced in New York City and helped to write codification of the laws.

Field, Henry Martyn 1822 - 1907:

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 - 1881:

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 to conversion.

In 1834, the Tappan brothers brought him to New York City to preach in an enormous church - the Broadway Tabernacle, which they created for him.

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 God.

((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 to God.))

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 York City.

Fisher, Alvan 1792-1863:

Portrait painter in Boston. Brother of John Dix (1797-1850), educator of the blind.

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 1830-9.

Fitch, Ebenezer 1756 - 1833:

Minister and first president of Williams College, from 1793 - 1815. Born in Norwich, CT.

Fitzpatrick, Thomas 1799 - 1854:

Irish-born wilderness guide, Indian agent, and fur trader. Guided Fremont's expedition in 1843-4.

Flagg, Azariah

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 regency together.

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 of Vermont.

Flagg, George Whiting 1816 - 1897:

Painter of historic scenes. Brother of Jabez.

Flagg, Jabez Bradley 1816 - 1897:

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, MA.

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 today.

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, Fanny 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, VA.

Folsom, Charles 1794 - 1872:

Librarian of the Boston Athenaeum from 1846. Harvard class of 1813. Born in Exeter NH.

Foote, Andrew Hull 1806 - 1863:

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 - 1900:

An evangelist and former slave "I shall praise God through all eternity for sending me to Cleveland."

Source: Malvin, ... Autobiography..., p22, quoting A Brand Plucked From the Fire: An Autobiographical Sketch, by Julia Foote.

Foote, Henry Stuart 1804 - 1880:

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 - 1873:

Helped perform geological survey of Ohio, in 1837. Did studies of the paleontology and prehistory of the Mississippi valley.

Foster, Randolph Sinks 1820-1903:

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 title: Religion, 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, Sentimental 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 Maria Child.

Francis, James Bicheno 1815-1892:

English-born engineer involved in Locomotive design in Lowel MA, and later called "the father of modern hydraulic engineering". Wrote Lowell Hydraulic Experiments in 1855.

Francis, John Wakefield 1789-1861:

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 Newton, MA.

Stepfather of James Freeman Clark's father Sam, and acted as a father to J.F.C. for several critical years.

Freeman, James Edwards 1808 - 1884:

Canadian born American painter.

Frelinghuysen, Theodore 1787 - 1862:

U.S. Senator for NJ, 1829-35. Educator and politician. Princeton class of 1804.

Fremont, John Charles 1813- 1890:

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 9, 1822:

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 his eyes.

Mentioned on p81 of Rusk, Emerson, 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.

Source: Specimens of American Poetry.

Froebel, Friedrich 1782 - 1852:

German founder of the kindergarten.

Frothingham, 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 Chardon Brooks.

From DAB: "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']".

Frothingham, Octavius Brooks 1822-1895:

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).

Sources: DAB, Frothingham, Edward Everett.

Frothingham, Richard 1812-1880:

Author of the Rise of the Republic of the United States (1872). Born in Charlestown, MA.

Fry, William Henry 1815 - 1864:

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 in Boller, American 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 Blithedale Romance" (according to W.B.D. -- Who??), though I think it may be quite a silly and unfair portrayal.


Also click on Fuller, Women 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, How 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 1825-75.

Also friend of R.W. Emerson from the age of 2 or 3 when they attended the same "dame school". (Source: McAleer, Emerson, p19)

You can support this site at no cost if you make an Amazon purchase using this link to get to Amazon: Thanks