William Plumer

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For other people named William Plumer, see William Plumer (disambiguation).
William Plumer
United States Senator
from New Hampshire
In office
June 17, 1802 – March 3, 1807
Preceded by James Sheafe
Succeeded by Nahum Parker
7th Governor of New Hampshire
In office
June 5, 1812 – June 3, 1813
Preceded by John Langdon
Succeeded by John T. Gilman
In office
June 6, 1816 – June 3, 1819
Preceded by John T. Gilman
Succeeded by Samuel Bell
Member of the New Hampshire House of Representatives
In office
Personal details
Born (1759-06-25)June 25, 1759
Newburyport, Province of Massachusetts Bay, British America
Died December 22, 1850(1850-12-22) (aged 91)
Epping, New Hampshire, U.S.
Political party Democratic-Republican
Other political
Spouse(s) Sarah Fowler Plumer (1762–1852)
Children William Plumer, Jr.
Residence Epping, New Hampshire
Alma mater Newburyport South Writing School
Profession Attorney
Religion Baptist

William Plumer (June 25, 1759 – December 22, 1850) was an American lawyer and Baptist lay preacher from Epping, New Hampshire. Born in 1759 in Newburyport in the Province of Massachusetts Bay, he represented New Hampshire as a Federalist in the United States Senate from June 17, 1802 to March 3, 1807. Plumer later became a Democratic-Republican and served as Governor of New Hampshire, 1812–1813 and 1816–1819. He also served in the New Hampshire House of Representatives.

In the 1820 presidential election, he cast the only dissenting vote in the Electoral College against incumbent President James Monroe, voting instead for John Quincy Adams. While some accounts say that this was to ensure that George Washington remained the only American president unanimously chosen by the Electoral College, others assert that he was instead calling attention to his friend Adams as a potential future presidential candidate, or protesting against the "wasteful extravagance" of the Monroe Administration. Plumer also eschewed voting for Daniel D. Tompkins for Vice President as "grossly intemperate" and having "not that weight of character which his office requires," and also "because he grossly neglected his duty" in his "only" official role as president of the Senate by being "absent nearly three-fourths of the time."[1] Plumer instead voted for Richard Rush.

In 1803, Plumer was one of several New England Federalists who proposed secession from the United States due to lack of support for Federalists, rising influence of Jeffersonian Democrats and the diminished influence of the North due to the Louisiana Purchase. Recalling his involvement in the secession scheme in 1827, Plumer said, "This was, I think, the greatest political error of my life: & would, had it been reduced to practise [sic], instead of releiving [sic], destroyed New England....Fortunately for my own reputation the erroneous opinion I formed produced no bitter fruits to myself or my country."[2]

Plumer was a founder and the first president of the New Hampshire Historical Society. He was elected a member of the American Antiquarian Society in 1815.[3] Plumer died in Epping on December 22, 1850, and was buried at the Plumer Family Cemetery in Epping.

William Plumer was the father of William Plumer, Jr., who served in the United States House of Representatives.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Daniel D. Tompkins, 6th Vice President (1817–1825)" United States Senate web site.
  2. ^ Lynn W. Turner. William Plumer of New Hampshire, 1759–1850. Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 1962, p. 150.
  3. ^ American Antiquarian Society Members Directory

External links[edit]

United States Senate
Preceded by
James Sheafe
U.S. Senator (Class 3) from New Hampshire
Served alongside: Simeon Olcott, Nicholas Gilman
Succeeded by
Nahum Parker
Political offices
Preceded by
John Langdon
Governor of New Hampshire
Succeeded by
John Taylor Gilman
Preceded by
John Taylor Gilman
Governor of New Hampshire
Succeeded by
Samuel Bell
Honorary titles
Preceded by
Asher Robbins
Oldest living U.S. Senator
February 25, 1845 – December 22, 1850
Succeeded by
David Daggett
Preceded by
Albert Gallatin
Most Senior Living U.S. Senator
(Sitting or Former)

August 12, 1849 – December 22, 1850
Succeeded by
Henry Clay
Preceded by
Morgan Lewis
Oldest living United States governor
April 7, 1844 – December 22, 1850
Succeeded by
Joshua Hall
Preceded by
Morgan Lewis
Oldest United States governor ever
December 17, 1848 – April 19, 1860
Succeeded by
Joshua Hall