Dexter, Samuel

Dexter, Samuel (1761-1816) Secretary of the Treasury, Secretary of War: Dexter was born in Boston, Massachusetts, on May 14, 1761. After graduating from Harvard in 1781, he studied law in Worcester, Massachusetts, and was admitted to the bar in 1784. Dexter practiced law for a few years in Worcester and Middlesex counties, he moved to Boston. He was a member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives from 1788 to 1790; served in the US House of Representatives from 1793 to 1795; and was a US Senator from December 1799 to June 1800. Dexter resigned from this post when President John Adams appointed him Secretary of War. In December of the same year, Dexter was named Secretary of the treasury, filling in until President Jefferson's inauguration. After this, he returned to his law practice in Boston, traveling to Washington, D.C. to present cases before the US Supreme Court. Dexter began politically as a Federalist, but gradually moved toward Democratic-Republican views, although he never formally joined Jefferson's party. In fact, when he was nominated as the Republican candidate, he published an address declaring that his views differed strongly from those of the Democratic-Republican party. Nevertheless, his name was kept in the election, but he was defeated. Dexter took up the cause of temperance and became the first president of the first Massachusetts society for temperance. In 1815, he declined an offer of a special embassy in Spain. The next year, he traveled to Athens, New York, to attend the wedding of his son, Franklin. Dexter died there, after contracting scarlet fever, on May 3, 1816.