JAMES WILKINSON was transferred to the southern frontier in 1798 and was designated to treat with the regional Indian tribes; was again the senior officer of the United States Army, 15 June 1800-27 January 1812; with Governor William C. C. Claiborne, shared the honor of taking possession of the Louisiana Purchase on behalf of the United States, 1803; was appointed governor of Louisiana Territory, 1805; was the subject of a congressional inquiry prompted by his continuing private ventures and intrigues, and was cleared by a court-martial ordered by President Madison in 1811; married his second wife, Celestine Laveau, 1810; was commissioned a major general in the War of 1812 and assigned to the St. Lawrence River sector, 1813; was relieved from active service but cleared by a military inquiry for the failure of the Montreal campaign; published his memoirs, 1816; visited Mexico in pursuit of a Texas land grant, 1821; died in Mexico City on 28 December 1825. (For details of General Wilkinson's early life, see page 60.)

The Artist

John Wesley Jarvis (1780-1840), painter, engraver, and sculptor, was born at South Shields near Newcastle-on-Tyne, England. His parents immigrated to the United States and settled at Philadelphia, and as he came of age he was apprenticed to Edward Savage, an engraver, and learned drawing and painting from his more advanced co-workers in Savage's shop. He began painting portraits while in his early twenties and established a studio in New York City, where Henry Inman and John Quidor studied and Thomas Sully was his assistant for a brief period. By the time paralysis struck him in 1834, Jarvis had become one of the leading portrait painters of the day. This Jarvis-attributed portrait of Maj. Gen. James Wilkinson hangs in The Filson Club in Louisville, Kentucky.


Image Currently Unavailable

James Wilkinson
Attributed to John Wesley Jarvis
Oil on canvas, 291/4" x 241/4", date unknown


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Last updated 24 February 2006