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William Learned Marcy
New York

Gov. William Learned Marcy

  • January 1, 1833 - January 1, 1839
  • Jeffersonian Republican
  • December 12, 1786
  • July 4, 1857
  • Massachusetts
  • Brown University
  • Married twice—Dolly Newell, Cornelia Knower; four children
  • Senator, Cabinet secretary
  • National Guard


WILLIAM L. MARCY, the thirteenth governor of New York, was born in Southbridge, Massachusetts on December 12, 1786. His education was attained at Brown University, where he graduated in 1808. He went on to study law, and in 1811 was admitted to the bar. During the War of 1812, he served in the New York militia as a lieutenant, and later was named the militia’s adjutant general. Marcy first entered politics as the recorder of Troy, a position he held from 1816 to 1818 and 1821 to 1823. He also served as the state comptroller from 1823 to 1829; was an associate justice of the New York Supreme Court from 1829 to 1831; and served as a member of the U.S. Senate from 1831 to 1833. He next won election to the governorship on November 7, 1832, and was reelected to a second term in 1834 and to a third term in 1836. During his tenure, a New Jersey boundary question was resolved; banking reform measures were sanctioned; and the state’s first geological survey was completed. After completing his term, Marcy served as a member of the Mexican Claims Commission, a post he held from 1839 to 1842. From 1845 to 1849 he served in President Polk’s cabinet as secretary of war; and from 1853 to 1857 he served as President Pierce’s secretary of state. Governor William L. Marcy passed away on July 4, 1857, and was buried in the Albany Rural Cemetery in Albany, New York.


Sobel, Robert, and John Raimo, eds. Biographical Directory of the Governors of the United States, 1789-1978, Vol. 3, Westport, Conn.; Meckler Books, 1978. 4 vols.

Biographical Directory of the U.S. Congress

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