William Learned Marcy
William Learned Marcy

Information on this page is from History of Rensselaer Co., New York by Nathaniel Bartlett Sylvester, published in 1880.

WILLIAM LEARNED MARCY, the eminent statesman and diplomat, and a man of worldwide fame, who for many years was a resident of Troy, appropriately heads the list of distinguished lawyers of Rensselaer County. He was born in Southbridge, Mass., Dec. 12, 1786; graduated at Brown University in 1808; settled in Troy, and followed the profession of the law.

He served as an officer of volunteers during the war of 1812-14, capturing at St. Regis the first prisoners and the first flag taken on land in the war. In 1816 he was recorder of Troy, and for a time conducte the anti-federal organ, the Troy Budget. In 1821 he was Adjutant-General of New York; in 1823, Comptroller; a judge of the Supreme Court of the State in 1829; was subsequently chosen United States Senator, and three times filled the office of Governor of New York. During the administration of President Van Buren (1839), he was a commissioner to adjust the Mexican claims, and in 1845 he was selected as Secretary of War in the cabinet of President Polk. He displayed great ability in the settlement of intricate diplomatic questions growing out of the Mexican War, which occurred during his term of office. In 1853 he was chosen Secretary of State by President Pierce, and "added to his already-established reputation as a statesman of a high order. Many of his state papers are masterly productions. This was the last office he held, retiring on the accession of Mr. Buchanan to the Presidency in 1857." Mr. Marcy died at Ballston Spa, July 4, 1857.

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