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Mahlon Dickerson Passes Away

Today in Masonic History Mahlon Dickerson passes away in 1853.

Mahlon Dickerson was an American politician.

Dickerson was born on April 17th, 1770 in Hanover Township, New Jersey. His primary education came from private tutors. He graduated from the College of New Jersey, now Princeton University, in 1789 with a Bachelor of Arts. After graduation he read law and was admitted to the bar in 1793. In 1791 he served during the Whiskey Rebellion, also known as the Whiskey Insurrection, in the Second Regiment Cavalry, New Jersey Detached Militia. The Whiskey Rebellion was a protest against the first tax levied by the United States Government on a domestic product. The Rebellion ended in 1794.

After Dickerson completed his military service, he moved to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. There he began practicing law in the Pennsylvania courts in 1797. He lived in Philadelphia until 1810. During his time there he held various offices on the state and local level. Those offices included state commissioner of bankruptcy in 1802, adjutant general of Pennsylvania from 1805 to 1808, attorney general of Pennsylvania from 1808 to 1809 and Philadelphia City Recorder from 1808 to 1810.

After returning to New Jersey in 1810, Dickerson was elected to the New Jersey General Assembly in 1811, serving only one term. From 1813 to 1815 he was a Justice on the New Jersey Supreme Court. During the same period he served as Law Reporter for the court from 1813 to 1814. In 1815 he was elected as Governor of New Jersey. He served until 1817.

In 1816, Dickerson was elected to the United States Senate. He served until 1829 when he resigned his seat. He almost immediately was appointed to the other United States Senate seat when it was vacated by the other Senators resignation. Dickerson served until 1833. The same year he was elected to the New Jersey Legislative Council, the upper house of the New Jersey Legislature.

In 1834, Dickerson declined an appointment as the Minister to Russia. Later the same year President Andrew Jackson appointed him as Secretary of the Navy. President Martin Van Buren re-appointed him during his administration. He served until 1838.

In 1840, Van Buren appointed Dickerson to the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey. It was a temporary posting. Dickerson was a place filler while his brother, Philemon, was finishing out his term in the United States House of Representatives. The House was evenly split at the time and Van Buren wanted Philemon to remain in Congress until Van Buren's term was almost up. Dickerson was in the appointment for less than a year.

Dickerson passed away on October 5th, 1853 in Succasunna, New Jersey.

Dickerson was a member of Cincinnati Lodge No. 17 in Morristown, New Jersey. He later demitted from the lodge, affiliating with St. Tammany Lodge No. 28, also in Morristown.

This article provided by Brother Eric C. Steele.