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Benjamin Pickman Jr.

Benjamin Pickman Jr.

American politician
The basics
Occupations Lawyer Politician
Countries United States of America
Gender male
Birth September 30, 1763 (Salem, Essex County, Massachusetts, U.S.A.)
Death August 16, 1843 (Salem, Essex County, Massachusetts, U.S.A.)
Politics Federalist Party
Education Harvard University
Authority Library of congress id Openlibrary id VIAF id
The details

Benjamin Pickman Jr. (September 30, 1763 – August 16, 1843) was a U.S. Representative from Massachusetts.


Pickman was born in Salem, Massachusetts, a descendant of Benjamin Pickman, an Englishman from Bristol. Pickman graduated from Harvard University in 1784 after having attended Dummer Academy (now known as The Governor's Academy). The descendant of a Salem merchant family dynasty related to other prominent Salem families such as the Derbys, the Pickerings and the Crowninshields, Pickman studied law in Newburyport, Massachusetts, and was admitted to the bar, but soon relinquished the practice of law to engage in commercial pursuits, becoming one of the most active merchants of his day in Salem.

Portrait of Benjamin Pickman, Sr., by John Singleton Copley

Pickman's father Col. Benjamin Pickman, Sr., one of the most important merchants in Salem, had been a Loyalist, his estates confiscated by the Colonial government and was forced to flee America for England, only returning to Salem in 1785 after the end of the Revolutionary War.

Benjamin Pickman Jr., served the new nation in several capacities. He was a member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives in 1797-1802, 1812, and 1813. Benjamin Pickman Jr. also served in the Massachusetts Senate in 1803, as well as a member of the executive council of the State in 1805, 1808, 1813, 1814, and 1819-1821.

Pickman was elected as a Federalist to the Eleventh Congress (March 4, 1809 – March 3, 1811), but he was not a candidate for renomination in 1810. He served as member of the convention to revise the constitution of the State of Massachusetts in 1820. He served as overseer of Harvard University 1810-1818. He served as president of the board of directors of the Theological School at Cambridge. He died in Salem, Massachusetts, August 16, 1843, and was interred with his Pickman ancestors in Salem's Broad Street Cemetery. He was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1815.

Pickman was instrumental in the commercial development of much of the heart of historic Salem. In 1815 he and John Derby III acquired property belonging to Derby family heirs to develop Derby Square, which would encompass three brick commercial rows. The Pickman-Derby Block, built in 1817, still stands. The Pickman Building on Derby Square, built in 1816, was part of the development. All of these buildings would be connected to a series of smuggling tunnels leading to the wharfs in town The Pickman family also owned Pickman farm. Salem's Pickman Street is named for them.

Benjamin Pickman Jr. was married to Anstiss Derby, daughter of Elias Hasket Derby and Elizabeth Crowninshield. The son of Benjamin Pickman and the former Anstiss Derby was Hasket Derby Pickman, who died in 1815, the same year he graduated from Harvard College.

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