Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
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DAKIN, Thomas Spencer, merchant, born in Orange County, New York, in 1831; died in Brooklyn, 13 May 1878. He was the eldest of four children, and, until he was seventeen years of age, worked on his father's farm. He then walked, about seventy-five miles, to New York, and began life as an office boy. In 1858 he established the firm of Thomas S. Dakin & Co., commission agents, continuing it until 1861, when he engaged in the oil trade, and became the head of the firm of Dakin & Gulick. In 1870 he retired from business. He was elected captain in the 13th regiment, Brooklyn, in 1862, and served in the Virginia campaign as a member of the staff of General Crook, who then commanded the 5th brigade. After the war he became major general of militia, and was widely known as a member of the American rifle team. He especially practiced shooting at long range, and took part in the first international contest at Creedmoor in September 1874, when the Irish team, under Major Leech was defeated by the American team. In the following year the Americans again defeated the Irish team at Dolly Mount, Ireland, when General Dakin made the remarkable score of 165 in a possible 180. He was afterward elected a member of the legion of honor of France. In the international match in 1876, when the Americans defeated teams from Ireland, Scotland, Australia, and Canada, their success was mainly due to the instructions of General Dakin. In the first day's shooting he made the highest score, 203. He also took part in the Irish-American return match of the same year, when his score was again the highest, reaching 208. He was the only rifleman that shot in every international contest held either in this country or in Europe. He was a director in the National and several other rifle associations. In 1876 he was the democratic nominee for congressman in the third congressional district, but was defeated by a small majority.
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