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Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton and Company, 1887-1889 and 1999. Virtualology.com warns that these 19th Century biographies contain errors and bias. We rely on volunteers to edit the historic biographies on a continual basis. If you would like to edit this biography please submit a rewritten biography in text form . If acceptable, the new biography will be published above the 19th Century Appleton's Cyclopedia Biography citing the volunteer editor



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William Palfrey

PALFREY, William (paulfry), patriot, born in Boston, Massachusetts, in 1741; died at sea in December. 1780. He was active in the movements that preceded the Revolution, and visited England in 1771. He was aide to Washington from March till April, 1776, when he was appointed paymaster-general, with the rank of lieutenant-colonel. In November, 1780, he was appointed consul-general in France by a unanimous vote of congress, and embarked in a ship for that country, which was never heard of after she had left the capes.--His grandson, John Gorham, author, born in Boston, Massachusetts, 2 May, 1796 ; died in Cambridge, Massachusetts, 26 April, 1881, received his elementary education at a boarding-school kept by the father of John Howard Payne at Exeter, and was graduated at Harvard in 1815. He afterward studied theology, and was ordained pastor of the Brattle street Unitarian church, Boston, 17 June, 1818, as successor to Edward Everett. His pastorate continued until 1830, when he resigned, and in 1831 he was appointed professor of sacred literature in Harvard, which chair he held till 1839. During the period of his professorship he was one of three preachers in the University chapel, and dean of the theological faculty. I[e was a member of the house of representatives during 1842-'3, secretary of state in 1844-'8, and was a member of congress from Massachusetts, having been chosen as a Whig, from 6 December, 1847, till 3 March, 1849. In the election of 1848 he was a Free-soil candidate, but was defeated. He was postmaster of Boston from 29 March, 1861, till May, 1867, and after his retirement went to Europe, where he represented the United States at the Anti-slavery congress in Paris in the autumn of 1867. After his return he made his residence in Cambridge. He was an early anti-slavery advocate, and liberated and provided for numerous slaves in Louisiana that had been bequeathed to him. He was editor of the "North American Review" in 1835-'43, delivered a course of lectures before the Lowell institute in Boston in 1839 and 1842, contributed in 1846 a series of articles on "The Progress of the Slave Power" to the "Boston Whig," and was in 1851 one of the editors of the "Commonwealth" newspaper. He was the author of two discourses on "The History of Brattle Street Church"; "Life of Colonel William Palfrey," in Sparks's "American Biography"; "A Review of Lord Mahon's History of England," in the "North American Review"; and also published, among other works, "Academical Lectures on the Jewish Scriptures and Antiquities" (4 vols., Boston, 1833-'52), "Elements of Chaldee, Syriac, Samaritan, and Rabbinical Grammar" (1835);" Discourse at Barnstable, 3 September, 1839, at the Celebration of the Second Centennial Anniversary of the Settlement of Cape Cod" (1840); " Abstract of the Returns of Insurance Companies of Massachusetts, 1 December, 1846" (1847) ; " The Relation between Judaism and Christianity " (1854) ; and "History of New England to 1875 " (4 vols., 1858-'64). -John Gorham's daughter, Sara Hammond, author, born in Boston, 11 December, 1823, was educated privately in Boston and Cambridge. MissPalfrev has written both in prose and verse, generally under the pen-name of "E. Foxton." She has published " Promices," poems (Boston, 1855); "Herman, or Young Knighthood" (1866) ; "Sir Pavon and St. Pavon" (1867) ; "Agnes Wentworth " (Philadelphia, 1869); "The Chapel" (New York, 1880) ; and "The Blossoming Rod" (Boston, 1887).--John Gorham's son, Francis Winthrop, lawyer, born in Boston, 11 April, 1831, was graduated at Harvard in 1851, and at the law-school in 1853. He served in the civil war as lieutenant-colonel and colonel of the 20th Massachusetts volunteer infantry, was brevetted brigadier-general after receiving a severe wound, and has been a register in bankruptcy since 1872. He is the author of "A Memoir of William F. Bartlett" (Boston, 1879)" "Antietam and Fredericksburg," being vol. v. of " Campaigns of the Civil War" (New York, 1882) ; parts of the first volume of "Military Papers of the Historical Society of Massachusetts "; and various articles in the "North American Review."--Another son, John Carver, soldier, born in Cambridge, Massachusetts, 25 December, 1833, was graduated at Harvard in 1853, and at the United States military academy, at the head of his class, in 1857. He was assigned to the engineers, and during the civil war served in constructing defences on Ship island, in repairing Fort St. Philip and Fort Jackson, Louisiana, at the siege of Port Hudson, and in the Red river expedition. He also had charge of the operations at the siege and capture of Fort Morgan, Alabama, and from 20 March till 12 April, 1865. he participated in the siege and capture of Mobile. He was chief engineer and assistant inspector-general of the 13th army corps from 15 March till 1 August, 1865, and was brevetted major, lieutenant-colonel, colonel, and brigadier-general, United States army, 2,6 March, 1865. He resigned on 1 May, 1866, and he has since been connected with manufacturing companies at Lowell, Massachusetts, and elsewhere. He became overseer of the Thayer school of civil engineering of Dartmouth in 1868, and is a vice-president of the Webster bank in Boston. He has contributed to the publications of the Military historical society of Massachusetts, to the "North American Review," and other periodicals.

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