William Appleton (politician)

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For the New Zealand mayor, see Will Appleton.
William Appleton
William Appleton by Southworth & Hawes c1852.png
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Massachusetts's 1st & 5th district
In office
March 4, 1851 – March 3, 1855
March 4, 1861 – September 27, 1861
Preceded by Samuel A. Eliot (1st)
Charles Allen (5th)
Anson Burlingame (1st)
Succeeded by Zeno Scudder (1st)
Anson Burlingame (5th)
Samuel Hooper (1st)
Personal details
Born (1786-11-16)November 16, 1786
Brookfield, Massachusetts, U.S.
Died February 15, 1862(1862-02-15) (aged 75)
Longwood, Massachusetts, U.S.
Political party Whig, Constitutional Union
Spouse(s) Mary Ann Appleton
Profession Politician, Banker, Merchant

William Appleton (November 16, 1786 – February 15, 1862) was a congressman from Massachusetts from 1851 to 1855 and briefly during the Civil War. Prior to his political career, Appleton had established William Appleton and Company, a successful participant in the California hide trade.


Born in Brookfield, Massachusetts, the son of the Reverend Joseph Appleton, he attended schools in New Ipswich, New Hampshire, Francestown, New Hampshire and Tyngsborough, Massachusetts. At fifteen years of age he started work at a country store in Temple, New Hampshire and later moved to Boston, Massachusetts in 1807 to engaged in mercantile pursuits. He became President of the Boston Branch of the United States Bank in 1832 and served until 1836. He was also at one time president of the Provident Institution for Savings and Massachusetts General Hospital. He gave $30,000 to the latter institution, and was noted for his benevolence.

In 1850, Appleton was elected a Whig to the 32nd Congress to represent Massachusetts's first district. He won reelection to the 33rd Congress, this time representing Massachusetts's fifth district, however lost the elections to the two following congresses in 1854 and 1856. He was later re-elected to the congress in 1860 as a Constitutional Unionist and started in 1861, but resigned later the same year due to failing health.

Appleton died the year after his resignation on February 15, 1862 in Longwood, Massachusetts. He was interred in Mount Auburn Cemetery in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

His diaries were published in 1922 entitled Selections from the diaries of William Appleton, 1786-1862. Appleton was the first cousin of congressman Nathan Appleton and first cousin, once removed of writer and artist Thomas Gold Appleton.

External links[edit]

United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Samuel A. Eliot
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Massachusetts's 1st congressional district

March 4, 1851 – March 3, 1853
Succeeded by
Zeno Scudder
Preceded by
Charles Allen
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Massachusetts's 5th congressional district

March 4, 1853 – March 3, 1855
Succeeded by
Anson Burlingame
Preceded by
Anson Burlingame
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Massachusetts's 5th congressional district

March 4, 1861 – September 27, 1861
Succeeded by
Samuel Hooper