Mahlon Dickerson

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U.S. Navy collection portrait of Mahlon Dickerson
U.S. Navy collection portrait of Mahlon Dickerson

Mahlon Dickerson (April 17, 1770October 5, 1853) was an American judge and politician.

Born in Hanover, New Jersey, he educated by private tutors and graduated from the College of New Jersey (now Princeton University) in 1789. He then studied the law and was admitted to the bar in 1793.

During the Whiskey Rebellion, he served as a private in the Second Regiment Cavalry, New Jersey Detached Militia.

After his militia service, he settled in Philadelphia, and began practicing in Pennsylvania courts in 1797. He was named state commissioner of bankruptcy in 1802, served as adjutant general of Pennsylvania from 1805 to 1808, and as Philly city recorder from 1808 to 1810.

He returned to New Jersey, settling in Morris County in 1810. Elected to the New Jersey General Assembly in 1811, he served one term. He was law reporter for the New Jersey Supreme Court from 1813 to 1814, and a justice of the same from 1813 to 1815. He was elected Governor of New Jersey in 1815 and served until 1817, having been elected as a Republican to the United States Senate in 1816.

Dickerson served in the Senate from March 4, 1817 to January 30, 1829, when he resigned, but he was immediately reelected to fill the vacancy caused by the resignation of Ephraim Bateman and served from January 30, 1829, to March 3, 1833, for a total of 16 years of service. Dickerson served as chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on the Library during the 15th Congress, chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce and Manufactures for the 16th through 18th Congresses and the U.S. Senate Committee on Manufactures from the 19th through 22nd Congresses.

In 1834, upon leaving the Senate, he declined appointment as Minister to Russia. In June of that year, he was appointed Secretary of the Navy by President Andrew Jackson and was reappointed by President Martin Van Buren, serving until June 1838. The destroyer USS Dickerson (DD-157) was named in his honor.

In 1840, he became judge of the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey. He was also a delegate to the New Jersey constitutional convention of 1844.

Dickerson died in Succasunna, New Jersey.

See also


Preceded by:
Levi Woodbury
United States Secretary of the Navy
Succeeded by:
James K. Paulding
Preceded by:
William S. Pennington
Governor of New Jersey
Succeeded by:
Isaac Halstead Williamson
Preceded by:
John Condit
United States Senator from New Jersey
Succeeded by:
Theodore Frelinghuysen
Preceded by:
Ephraim Bateman
United States Senator from New Jersey
Succeeded by:
Samuel L. Southard
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