Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton
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WILKESON, Samuel, manufacturer, born in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, in 1781; died in the mountains of Tennessee in July, 1848. His father, John, a native of Ireland of Scotch descent, came to this country in 1760. settled in Delaware, and served against the British in the war of the Revolution. The son received few educational advantages, and worked on a farm till about 1806, when he began his career as a builder and owner of vessels and a trader on Lake Erie and elsewhere. During the war of 1812 he supplied General William Henry Harrison with transports for the use of the troops in invading Canada. In 1814 he settled in Buffalo and engaged in business as a merchant. In 1819 he was an active advocate of the construction of the Erie canal, and in 1822 he was chiefly instrumental in securing the selection of Buffalo as its terminus. He was appointed first judge of the Erie court of common pleas in February, 1821, though he was without a legal education, was elected to the state senate in 1842, and served in that body and in the court for the correction of errors for six years. In 1836 he was elected mayor of Buffalo. He erected and put in operation a furnace in Mahoning county, Ohio, the first in this country to "blow in" on raw bituminous coal and smelt iron with that fuel un-coked, built the first iron-foundry in Buffalo, and established in that city the business of manufacturing steam-engines, stoves, and hollow-ware. He favored a system of gradual and compensated emancipation of the slaves, and advocated the colonization of the negroes on the west coast of Africa. He afterward removed to Washington, the headquarters of the American colonization society, over which he presided, for two years edited its organ, the " African Repository," directed the affairs of the colony of Liberia, establishing commercial relations between it and Baltimore and Philadelphia, and gathered colonists wherever he could in the south.--His son Samuel, born ix, Buffalo, New York, 9 May, 1817, was educated at Williams and Union, and was graduated at the latter in 1837. He was for twelve years a staff-writer on the New York " Tribune," and its war-correspondent in the Army of the Potomac, and was the editor and owner of the Buffalo " Democracy" and of the Albany "Evening Journal," having bought out Thurlow Weed in 1865. He has been secretary of the Northern Pacific railroad company since March, 1869.--The second Samuel's son, Bayard, born in Albany, New York, 17 May, 1844; died near Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, 1 July, 1863, in the first year of the civil war solicited and obtained a commission as 2d lieutenant in the 4th United States artillery. He served with his battery in and about Fortress Monroe and Norfolk, and took part in the battle of Fredericksburg. He was promoted captain of his battery, and commanded it at the battle of Gettysburg, where he was killed. He was commissioned lieutenant-colonel of artillery after his death for gallantry in battle. --Another son, Frank, born in Buffalo, New York, 8 March, 1845, has contributed to the New York "Times," the New York "Sun," and other papers, and has published " Recollections of a Private Soldier in the Army of the Potomac" (New York, 1887).--Another son, SAMUEL, was one of the builders of Tacoma, on Puget sound.
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