Thomas R. Whitney

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Thomas Richard Whitney (May 2, 1807 – April 12, 1858) was a nineteenth-century politician and writer from New York.



Born in New York City, New York, Whitney was the son of a silversmith. He pursued classical studies and worked as a jeweler, engraver and watchmaker before turning to journalism and politics as editor of the New York Sunday Times. He later published his own paper, the Sunday Morning News, and a magazine, The Republic.

A silversmith is a craftsman who crafts objects from silver. The terms "silversmith" and "goldsmith" are not exactly synonyms as the techniques, training, history, and guilds are or were largely the same but the end product may vary greatly as may the scale of objects created.

Engraving practice of incising a design on to a hard, usually flat surface, by cutting grooves into it

Engraving is the practice of incising a design onto a hard, usually flat surface by cutting grooves into it with a burin. The result may be a decorated object in itself, as when silver, gold, steel, or glass are engraved, or may provide an intaglio printing plate, of copper or another metal, for printing images on paper as prints or illustrations; these images are also called "engravings". Engraving is one of the oldest and most important techniques in printmaking. Wood engraving is a form of relief printing and is not covered in this article.

Watchmaker artisan who makes and repairs watches

A watchmaker is an artisan who makes and repairs watches. Since a majority of watches are now factory made, most modern watchmakers only repair watches. However, originally they were master craftsmen who built watches, including all their parts, by hand. Modern watchmakers, when required to repair older watches, for which replacement parts may not be available, must have fabrication skills, and can typically manufacture replacements for many of the parts found in a watch. The term clockmaker refers to an equivalent occupation specializing in clocks.

He was a member of the Silver Gray (pro-Millard Fillmore and anti-William H. Seward) faction of the Whig Party, and served as Clerk of the city's Board of Assistant Aldermen. He ran unsuccessfully for the New York State Assembly in 1852. He served as a Whig member of the New York State Senate (4th D.) in 1854 and 1855. [1]

Francis Granger American politician

Francis Granger was a Representative from New York and United States Postmaster General. He was a Whig Party vice presidential nominee in 1836 and is the only person to ever lose a contingent election in the U.S. Senate for Vice President.

Millard Fillmore 13th president of the United States

Millard Fillmore was the 13th president of the United States (1850–1853), and the last to be a member of the Whig Party while in the White House. A former U.S. Representative from New York, Fillmore was elected the nation's 12th vice president in 1848, and was elevated to the presidency by the death of Zachary Taylor. He was instrumental in getting the Compromise of 1850 passed, a bargain that led to a brief truce in the battle over slavery. He failed to win the Whig nomination for president in 1852; he gained the endorsement of the nativist Know Nothing Party four years later, and finished third in that election.

William H. Seward American lawyer and politician

William Henry Seward was United States Secretary of State from 1861 to 1869, and earlier served as Governor of New York and United States Senator. A determined opponent of the spread of slavery in the years leading up to the American Civil War, he was a dominant figure in the Republican Party in its formative years, and was praised for his work on behalf of the Union as Secretary of State during the American Civil War.

He later became a member of the American Party, also called the Know Nothing Party, and authored 1856's popular A Defence of the American Policy, a book which provided an explanation of the Know Nothing platform and policy objectives. As a Know Nothing, in 1854 Whitney was elected to the 34th United States Congress, and he served from March 4, 1855, to March 3, 1857. During the extended balloting for Speaker of the House in December 1855, Whitney consistently received one vote, that of Henry Mills Fuller.

Know Nothing American political movement and party in the 19th century with anti-catholic tendency

The Native American Party, renamed the American Party in 1855 and commonly known as the Know Nothing movement, was an American nativist political party that operated nationally in the mid-1850s. It was primarily anti-Catholic, xenophobic, and hostile to immigration, starting originally as a secret society. The movement briefly emerged as a major political party in the form of the American Party. Adherents to the movement were to reply "I know nothing" when asked about its specifics by outsiders, thus providing the group with its common name.

34th United States Congress

The Thirty-fourth United States Congress was a meeting of the legislative branch of the United States federal government, consisting of the United States Senate and the United States House of Representatives. It met in Washington, D.C., from March 4, 1855, to March 4, 1857, during the last two years of Franklin Pierce's presidency. The apportionment of seats in the House of Representatives was based on the Seventh Census of the United States in 1850. The Whig Party, one of the two major parties of the era, had largely collapsed, although many former Whigs ran as Republicans or as members of the "Opposition Party." The Senate had a Democratic majority, and the House was controlled by a coalition of Representatives led by Nathaniel P. Banks, a member of the American Party.

Speaker of the United States House of Representatives position

The Speaker of the United States House of Representatives is the presiding officer of the United States House of Representatives. The office was established in 1789 by Article I, Section 2 of the U.S. Constitution. The Speaker is the political and parliamentary leader of the House of Representatives, and is simultaneously the House's presiding officer, de facto leader of the body's majority party, and the institution's administrative head. Speakers also perform various other administrative and procedural functions. Given these several roles and responsibilities, the Speaker usually does not personally preside over debates. That duty is instead delegated to members of the House from the majority party. Neither does the Speaker regularly participate in floor debates.

Whitney became ill during his term in Congress, and traveled to South America in an effort to regain his health. He died in New York City on April 12, 1858, about three weeks after returning home. He was interred in Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn, New York. [1] [2]

South America A continent in the Western Hemisphere, and mostly in the Southern Hemisphere

South America is a continent in the Western Hemisphere, mostly in the Southern Hemisphere, with a relatively small portion in the Northern Hemisphere. It may also be considered a subcontinent of the Americas, which is how it is viewed in the Spanish and Portuguese-speaking regions of the Americas. The reference to South America instead of other regions has increased in the last decades due to changing geopolitical dynamics.

Green-Wood Cemetery cemetery in Brooklyn, Kings County, New York; National Historic Landmark

Green-Wood Cemetery is a cemetery in Brooklyn, New York City, founded in 1838 as a rural cemetery. Like other early rural cemeteries, Green-Wood was founded in a time of rapid urbanization when churchyards in New York City were becoming overcrowded.

Brooklyn Borough in New York City and county in New York state, United States

Brooklyn is the most populous borough of New York City, with an estimated 2,648,771 residents in 2017. Named after the Dutch village of Breukelen, it borders the borough of Queens at the western end of Long Island. Brooklyn has several bridge and tunnel connections to the borough of Manhattan across the East River, and the Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge connects Staten Island. Since 1896, Brooklyn has been coterminous with Kings County, the most populous county in the U.S. state of New York and the second-most densely populated county in the United States, after New York County.


Works: [3]


  1. 1 2 United States Congress. "Thomas R. Whitney (id: W000425)". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress .
  2. Thomas R. Whitney at Find a Grave
  3. Wilson & Fiske 1900.

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New York State Senate
Preceded by
Obadiah Newcomb
New York State Senate
4th District

Succeeded by
Joseph H. Petty
U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
William M. Tweed
Member of the  U.S. House of Representatives
from New York's 5th congressional district

Succeeded by
William B. Maclay