Skip to main content

The Navy Department Library

Related Content

Adapted from "Mahlon Dickerson" [biography, dated 3 September 1918] in ZB Files collection, Navy Department Library.

Document Type
  • Biography
Wars & Conflicts
File Formats
  • Image (gif, jpg, tiff)
Location of Archival Materials

Mahlon Dickerson

17 April 1770 - 5 October 1853

Portrait of Secretary of the Navy Mahlon Dickerson

PDF Version [647KB]

Mahlon Dickerson served as Secretary of the Navy from 1834 until 1838, under two administrations.

He was born in Hanover, New Jersey on 17 April 1770 and died in Suckasunny, Morris County, New Jersey on 5 October 1853.

He graduated from Princeton in 1789, studied law, and was admitted to the bar in 1793, practicing with success in Philadelphia. In 1805-8 he was quartermaster-general of Pennsylvania, and in 1809-10 recorder of the city court of Philadelphia.

He returned to New Jersey, becoming a judge of the Supreme Court and chancellor, and was selected a member of the legislature, 1811-13. In 1815 he was elected Governor of New Jersey, and at the close of his term was sent to the US Senate. He was repeatedly re-elected, serving from 1 December 1817 till 2 March 1833.

President Jackson appointed him on 30 June 1834 as Secretary of the Navy, in which post he was continued by President Van Buren, serving till 30 June 1838, when he was succeeded by James K. Paulding. He subsequently served for a few months on the bench of the US District Court for the district of New Jersey, and was a delegate to the State constitutional convention in 1844.

In 1846-8 he was president of the American Institute. He was largely interested in the mining and manufacture of iron in Morris County, and although a states-right democrat, advocated the Protective tariff in Congress. He published "Speeches in Congress, 1826-46."


Published: Fri Aug 25 09:28:55 EDT 2017