Samuel Dexter

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Samuel Dexter
Samuel Dexter.jpg
3rd United States Secretary of the Treasury
In office
January 1, 1801 – May 13, 1801
President John Adams
Thomas Jefferson
Preceded by Oliver Wolcott
Succeeded by Albert Gallatin
4th United States Secretary of War
In office
June 1, 1800 – January 31, 1801
President John Adams
Preceded by James McHenry
Succeeded by Henry Dearborn
United States Senator
from Massachusetts
In office
March 4, 1799 – May 30, 1800
Preceded by Theodore Sedgwick
Succeeded by Dwight Foster
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Massachusetts's 1st district
In office
March 4, 1793 – March 4, 1795
Preceded by Fisher Ames
Succeeded by Theodore Sedgwick
Personal details
Born (1761-05-14)May 14, 1761
Boston, Massachusetts
Died May 4, 1816(1816-05-04) (aged 54)
Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.
Political party Federalist
Alma mater Harvard University
Signature

Samuel Dexter (May 14, 1761 – May 4, 1816) was an early American statesman who served both in Congress and in the Presidential Cabinet.

Life[edit]

Born in Boston, Massachusetts, to the Rev. Samuel Dexter, the 4th minister of Dedham, he graduated from Harvard University in 1781 and then studied law at Worcester under Levi Lincoln, Sr., the future Attorney General of the United States. After he passed the bar in 1784, he began practicing in Lunenburg, Massachusetts.

He was elected to the Massachusetts House of Representatives and served 1788 to 1790. He was elected to the 3rd Congress by way of the United States House of Representatives and then elected as Federalist to the United States Senate. In December 1799, he memorably wrote the memorial eulogy to George Washington upon the first president's death. His house in Dedham stands to today. He was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1800.[1]

He served for less than a year as he was appointed United States Secretary of War by President John Adams in 1800. During his time at this station he urged congressional action to permit appointment and compensation of field officers for general staff duty.

Dexter depicted on US Fractional currency.

Upon Secretary of the Treasury Oliver Wolcott, Jr.'s resignation in December 1800, Adams appointed Dexter as interim Secretary. He then briefly conducted the affairs of the War Office. He administered the oath of office to Chief Justice John Marshall, and later declined the ambassadorship to Spain.

He returned to Boston in 1805 and resumed the practice of law. He left the Federalist party to espouse Republican views on the War of 1812, and he was an unsuccessful candidate for Governor of Massachusetts in 1814, 1815 and 1816. He was an ardent supporter of the temperance movement and presided over its first formal organization in Massachusetts.

He died on May 4, 1816 shortly before his 55th birthday and is buried in Mount Auburn Cemetery in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Simon Newton Dexter and Andrew Dexter, Jr. were his nephews.

Samuel W. Dexter, founder of Dexter, Michigan, was his son.

Legacy[edit]

Samuel Dexter is the namesake of Dexter, Maine.[2] The USRC Dexter (1830) was named in his honor.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Book of Members, 1780–2010: Chapter D". American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Retrieved July 28, 2014. 
  2. ^ Gannett, Henry (1905). The Origin of Certain Place Names in the United States. Govt. Print. Off. p. 105. 

External links[edit]