DeWitt Clinton

Charles DeWitt Clinton (1769 - 1828)

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Gov. Charles DeWitt (DeWitt) Clinton
Born in Little Britain, Orange, New Yorkmap
Ancestors ancestors
Brother of
Husband of — married [location unknown]
Descendants descendants
Died in Albany, Albany, New York, USAmap
Profile last modified | Created 13 Sep 2010
This page has been accessed 1,015 times.

Categories: Green-Wood Cemetery, Brooklyn, New York | US Senators from New York | New York Governors | Namesakes US Counties | New York, New York, Mayors | Notables.

DeWitt Clinton is notable.
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Preceded by
5th (Acting) Governor
John Tayler

7th Governor
Joseph C. Yates

Preceded by
John Armstrong, Jr.
DeWitt Clinton
6th Governor
of New York

Seal of the State of New York

US Senator (Class 3)
from New York
Seal of the US Senate
Succeeded by
7th Governor
Joseph C. Yates

8th Governor
Nathaniel Pitcher

Succeeded by
John Armstrong, Jr.


DE WITT CLINTON, third son of Gen. James Clinton and grandfather of Spencer and George Clinton of Buffalo, was born March 2d, 1769, at the family home in Little Britain, Orange County. His early education was gained at the grammar-school in Little Britain and at the Kingston Academy. His studies were rudely interrupted by the Revolutionary War, but in the spring of 1784 he entered the junior class of Columbia College. An address delivered by him in later years to the Columbia alumni contains a vivid description of the college building as it was at the close of the war. Young Clinton was one of the most systematic and careful of students. His custom was to read pen in hand, and he continued the practice to the end of his life. In 1786 he was graduated at the head of his class. Shortly after his graduation he began reading law with Samuel Jones, a noted lawyer of New York City. At this time an event occurred which marked an epoch in the life of De Witt Clinton, and had much to do with determining his career. This was the assembling of the convention which formulated the Constitution of the United States. The youthful law student assiduously read the publications relative to the proposed Constitution, and his attention to Constitutional subjects was intensified by his attendance, in 1788, at the New York convention which met at Poughkeepsie to ratify the United States Constitution.

About 1789, on the death of his brother Alexander, De Witt Clinton succeeded him as private secretary to Governor George Clinton, his uncle, and he held this situation till 1795. In 1797 he was elected Member of Assembly, and in 1798 became State Senator, becoming very prominent in the political controversies and legislative measures of the day.

In 1802 Mr. Clinton was elected to the United States Senate. At this time he was only thirty-three years of age. In February, 1803, Mr. Clinton took a leading part in the Senate debate on Mr. Ross's resolutions authorizing the President to take possession of New Orleans. The summer of the same year Mr. Clinton succeeded Edward Livingston as Mayor of New York, and with the exception of a year or two, continued in that office till 1815. By his acceptance of the mayoralty, Mr. Clinton was obliged to resign his place in the United States Senate, but he was elected to the State Senate and served as State Senator for several years of his mayorality, his name becoming identified with a large amount of State legislation.

In 1810 Mr. Clinton took the first step in the enterprise which was destined to link his fame with the greatest artificial waterway of the continent and to give him for all time the popular appellation of "Father of the Erie Canal." In the summer of that year he and the first Canal Commissioners, his associates, made a journey through the Mohawk Valley and Western New York in order to ascertain the practicability of constructing a canal from the Hudson to the Lakes. The following year Mr. Clinton was elected Lieutenant-Governor of New York. In 1811 he received the nomination for President of the United States. His opponent was Mr. Madison, who was elected, obtaining 128 electoral votes, the number received by Mr. Clinton being 89. In December, 1811, Mr. Clinton read before the New York Historical Society his discourse on the Iroquois Indians. This dissertation is a notable example of deep research and eloquent style.

The period immediately after the War of 1812 was marked by a revival of public interest in the project of a canal from the Hudson Eiver to the Great Lakes. Mr. Clinton was insistent in bringing the subject before the people and the Legislature. He prepared on behalf of canal construction a most able memorial, which was adopted at a meeting held by representative citizens of New York, in 1816. April 15th, 1817, the Canal Bill was passed, the work of construction being begun on the 4th of July. In the fall of the same year Mr. Clinton was elected Governor of New York by a nearly unanimous vote. This triumph was all the more signal because of the fact that two years before, Mr. Clinton's political adversaries had succeeded in depriving him of the Mayorality of New York City. In 1820 he was re-elected Governor. During both of these terms the canal enterprise was pushed with energy.

In 1822, the year of the new Constitutional Convention, Joseph C. Yates was elected Governor, but in 1824 Mr. Clinton was again elected to that office, in which he was continued, by successive re-elections, to the day of his death. In October 1825, the Erie Canal was completed. Mr. Clinton made a triumphal journey from Lake Erie to the Hudson, and in his message o.f January, 1826, he referred in characteristic and appropriate terms to the consummation of the canal enterprise. Governor Clinton's last message to the Legislature was delivered Jan. 1st, 1828. Its opening sentences were strikingly expressive of gratitude to the Providence which had guarded the destinies of the young State and nation, and it may be observed in this connection that Mr. Clinton was the first Governor who -recommended the observance of days of public thanksgiving by the people of the State.

De Witt Clinton died February 11th, 1828.


De Witt Clinton has counties named after him in six US States: Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Michigan and Pennsylvania. Illinois has both Clinton and DeWitt Counties, both named after the former New York Governor.


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DNA Connections
It may be possible to confirm family relationships with DeWitt by comparing test results with other carriers of his Y-chromosome or his mother's mitochondrial DNA. However, there are no known yDNA test-takers in his direct paternal line. Mitochondrial DNA test-takers in the direct maternal line:

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Images: 3
Dewitt Clinton Image 1
Dewitt Clinton Image 1

DeWitt Clinton Image 1
DeWitt Clinton Image 1

DeWitt Clinton
DeWitt Clinton


On 7 Jul 2016 at 04:05 GMT Elizabeth Winter wrote:

Clinton-718 and Clinton-145 appear to represent the same person because: obvious

On 9 Apr 2015 at 00:24 GMT Cathryn (Hallett) Hondros wrote:

Here is a link to a portrait of DeWitt Clinton.

On 6 Nov 2014 at 18:21 GMT Vic Watt wrote:

Clinton-145 and Clinton-699 appear to represent the same person because: These represent the same people. My research shows a first name of DeWitt, not Charles. Please merge. Thanks.

DeWitt is 22 degrees from Sharon Caldwell, 17 degrees from Burl Ives and 13 degrees from Victoria of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland on our single family tree. Login to find your connection.

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