TIMOTHY PICKERING was born in Salem, Massachusetts, on 17 July 1745; graduated from Harvard College, 1763; was commissioned a lieutenant in the Essex County militia, 1766; studied law and was admitted to the bar, 1768; served as judge of the Maritime Court for the Boston-Salem district; wrote An Easy Plan of Discipline for a Militia in 1775, one of several guides used by the Army before von Steuben’s manual; became colonel of the Essex militia regiment and participated in military operations of the spring of 1775; married Rebecca White, 1776; participated in Revolutionary campaigns in New York and New Jersey; was adjutant general of the Army, 1777–1778, and concurrently a member of the Board of War; was quartermaster general of the Army, 1780–1785; returned to a mercantile business in Philadelphia, 1785; moved to Pennsylvania and organized the county of Luzerne, 1787; served as a delegate to the Constitutional Convention; was appointed by President Washington to treat with the Seneca Indians; was Postmaster General, 1791–1795; was called upon concurrently to negotiate with the Six Nations; served as Secretary of War, 2 January–10 December 1795; advocated establishment of a military academy at West Point and expedited naval ship construction; was Secretary of State ad interim, 20 August–9 December 1795, running the affairs of War and State concurrently; was Secretary of State, 10 December 1795–12 May 1800; returned to farming in Pennsylvania, then Massachusetts; was a Senator from Massachusetts 1803–1811; was a member of the State Executive Council, 1812–1813; was a Representative from Massachusetts, 1813–1817; died in Salem on 29 January 1829.
In the early 1870’s, when Secretary Belknap was assembling a War Department gallery, the Army acquired two portraits of Secretary Pickering. One by Walter M. Brackett, painted in 1873, was donated to the United States Military Academy because of Pickering’s instrumental role in its founding and remains in the West Point collection today. The other portrait, represented here and hanging in the secretarial gallery in the Pentagon, was painted by an unknown artist at an unknown date and place. A notation in Army records indicates that the Army purchased a Pickering portrait from George E. Daniels of Potter Brothers, New York, who acted on behalf of an unknown owner.
By an unknown artist
Oil on canvas, 28¼" x 23¼", ca. 1873
page created 1 March 2001
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