WILMOT, David, a Representative and a Senator from Pennsylvania; born in Bethany, Pa., January 20, 1814; completed preparatory studies in the academy at Aurora, N.Y.; studied law; admitted to the bar of Bradford County, Pa., in 1834 and commenced practice in Towanda, Bradford County, Pa.; elected as a Democrat to the Twenty-ninth, Thirtieth, and Thirty-first Congresses (March 4, 1845-March 3, 1851); was not a candidate for renomination in 1850; was the author of the 'Wilmot Proviso' relative to slavery in newly annexed territory; took a leading part in the founding of the Republican Party in 1854; presiding judge of the thirteenth judicial district 1851-1861; unsuccessful Republican candidate for governor of Pennsylvania in 1857; elected as a Republican to the United States Senate to fill the vacancy caused by the resignation of Simon Cameron and served from March 14, 1861, to March 3, 1863; was not a candidate for reelection in 1862; member of the peace convention of 1861, held in Washington, D.C., in an effort to devise means to prevent the impending war; appointed by President Abraham Lincoln a judge of the United States Court of Claims in 1863 and served until his death in Towanda, Pa., March 16, 1868; interment in Riverside Cemetery.

View Record in the Biographical Directory of the U.S. Congress

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External Research Collections

Dickinson College Library

Carlisle, PA
Papers: 1841. 2 letters.

Library of Congress
Manuscript Division

Washington, DC
Papers: 1851-1863. 6 items.

Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission

Harrisburg, PA
Papers: 1844, 1862. 3 items. Finding aid.

Pierpont Morgan Library

New York, NY
Papers: 1858. 1 item.
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Bibliography / Further Reading

Duff, James H. "David Wilmot, the Statesman and Political Leader." Pennsylvania History 13 (October 1946): 283-89.

Going, Charles Buxton. David Wilmot, Free-Soiler: A Biography of the Great Advocate of the Wilmot Proviso. 1924. Reprint. Gloucester, MA: Peter Smith, 1966.

O'Brien, Harold J. "A Comprehensive Study of the Oratory of David Wilmot." Ph.D. dissertation, Pennsylvania State University, 1952.

Stenberg, Richard R. "The Motivation of the Wilmot Proviso." Mississippi Valley Historical Review 18 (March 1932): 535-41.

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