US Congressman, US Senator, Presidential Cabinet Secretary. After studying law, he was admitted to the Pennsylvania Bar in 1801, and eventually served seven years (1824 to 1831) as United States District Court Judge for Pennsylvania's Western District. In 1828 he had been elected as a Democrat to represent Pennsylvania's 16th Congressional District in the United States House of Representatives, but he resigned before his credentials to hold the office were accepted. In 1831 he was elected as a Jacksonian Senator from Pennsylvania to the United States Senate, serving from 1831 until his resignation in 1834 to accept the post of United States Minister to Russia. He served in that diplomatic position from 1834 to 1835, then returned to Pennsylvania to practice law. He would go on to be elected as a Democrat to represent Pennsylvania's 21st Congressional District in the United States House of Representatives, serving from 1843 to 1844, when he was appointed by President John Tyler as United States Secretary of War, a position he served in until 1845. In his later years he served in the Pennsylvania State Legislature, and during the Civil War he was a Major General in the Pennsylvania State Home Guard. The Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania suburb of Wilkinsburg is named for him.
Bio by: RPD2