Jesse Appleton

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Jesse Appleton
Jesse Appleton second President of Bowdoin College 1880.jpg
2nd President of Bowdoin College
In office
Preceded by Joseph McKeen
Succeeded by William Allen
Personal details
Born November 17, 1772
New Ipswich, New Hampshire
Died November 12, 1819(1819-11-12) (aged 46)
Brunswick, Maine
Residence Brunswick, Maine
Alma mater Dartmouth College
Profession professor

Jesse Appleton (November 17, 1772 – November 12, 1819), son of Francis Appleton and Elizabeth Hubbard, was the second president of Bowdoin College and the father of First Lady Jane Pierce.

Life and career[edit]

After having graduated from Dartmouth College in 1792, Appleton taught at several institutions including Amherst College and then worked at a parish in Hampton, New Hampshire. In the early 19th century, he received the honorary degree of Doctor of Divinity from both Dartmouth and Harvard University. In 1807, he was appointed president of Bowdoin, where he remained until he died of tuberculosis in 1819. A congregationalist minister and prominent Christian lecturer, Appleton was notably determined to make Bowdoin students more pious. He worked at the school, right before it reached its full prominence in the 1820s, when Nathaniel Hawthorne, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, and Franklin Pierce attended. He was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1810,[1] and was elected a member of the American Antiquarian Society in 1813.[2]

He married Elizabeth Means, daughter of Robert Means (Stewartstown, County Tyrone, Ireland, August 23, 1742 – Amherst, New Hampshire, January 24, 1823[3]) and wife (m. November 24, 1774) Mary McGregor (December 6, 1752 – January 14, 1838), and was the father of five children who survived through infancy, including Jane who would become First Lady to President Franklin Pierce, and Frances who would marry famed Bowdoin professor Alpheus Spring Packard, Sr. In 1837, Packard went on to edit The Works of Rev. Jesse Appleton, D.D., with a Memoir of His Life and Character. His wife's sister was Mary Means (Amherst, New Hampshire, October 20, 1777 – April 12, 1858), married on November 6, 1799 to Jeremiah Mason.


  1. ^ "Book of Members, 1780-2010: Chapter A" (PDF). American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Retrieved 19 April 2011. 
  2. ^ American Antiquarian Society Members Directory
  3. ^ Daniel F. Secomb, History of the Town of Amherst (1883), p. 689

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Joseph McKeen
President of Bowdoin College
Succeeded by
William Allen