Timothy, an American statesman, born in Salem, Mass., July 17, 1745, died there, Jan. 29, 1829. He graduated at Harvard college in 1763, and in 1768 was admitted to the bar. He held many local offices in Salem, and wrote and delivered to Gen. Gage in 1774 the address of the people of Salem on the occasion of the Boston port bill. In August he with other members of the committee of correspondence was arrested at the instance of Gov. Gage, for calling.a town meeting on public grievances; but in September the warrant for the arrest was recalled. In 1775 he was appointed one of the judges of the court of common pleas for the county of Essex, and sole judge of the prize court for Suffolk, Essex, and Middlesex. He published in 1775 "An Easy Plan of Discipline for a Militia," which was ordered to be used by the militia of the colony. In the autumn of 1776 he took the command of the regiment of 700 men from the county of Essex. He was present as adjutant general in the battles of Brandywine and Germantown. In 1777 he was a member of the continental board of war, and in 1780 quartermaster general. On the return of peace he engaged in business in Philadelphia as a commission merchant.
In 1786 he removed to "Wilkesbarre in order to organize the county of Luzerne and adjust the territorial controversy between the state of Pennsylvania and the settlers of the Wyoming valley, on account of whose hostility he experienced great sufferings and dangers. In 1787 he was the delegate from Luzerne co. to the Pennsylvania convention for acting upon the proposed constitution of the United States, and in 1789 to the convention for revising the constitution of Pennsylvania. He negotiated treaties with the Six Nations collectively, and with some of them severally, in 1790, '91, and '94; and in 1793 he was one of a commission to negotiate with the Indians N. W. of the Ohio. In 1792 he again established himself in Philadelphia, having in August of the preceding year been appointed postmaster general. On Jan. 2, 1795, he was transferred to the office of secretary of war, and in December to that of secretary of state. This post he held until May 12, 1800, when he was removed by President Adams. He now retired to his wild lands in Pennsylvania, with the view of bringing a portion of them into cultivation; but his friends in Massachusetts joined in purchasing a large part of the land, in order to enable him to return to his native state, where in 1802 he was appointed chief justice of the court of common pleas for the county of Essex. In 1803 he was elected a senator in congress in place of Dwight Foster, who had resigned; and in 1805 he was reelected for six years.
In 1812 he was appointed a member of the Massachusetts board of war. From 1813 to 1817 he was a member of the United States house of representatives. In the latter part of his life he was president of the Essex agricultural society. He was an ardent federalist in politics and a Unitarian in religion. He published several addresses and reports, and a "Review of the Correspondence between John Adams and William Cunningham," and contributed to various periodicals. - See " Life of Timothy Pickering" (vol. i., by his son Octavius Pickering, Boston, 1867; vols, ii., iii., and iv., by C. W. Upham, 1873).
John, an American scholar, son of the preceding, born in Salem, Feb. 7, 1777, died in Boston, May 5, 1846. He graduated at Harvard college in 1796. In 1797 he was appointed secretary of legation to Portugal, and in 1799 became private secretary to Rufus King, minister at the court of St. James. He returned to Salem in 1801, and was admitted to the bar in 1804. In 1827 he removed to Boston, and in 1829 was appointed city solicitor, which office he held until a short time before his death. He was several times a member of the state legislature, senate, and executive council; and in 1833 he was appointed one of the commissioners to codify the general statutes of Massachusetts. He received the degree of LL.D. from Bow-doin college in 1822, and from Harvard college in 1835. He was a member of the board of overseers of Harvard college from 1818 to 1824, president of the American academy of arts and sciences, and originator and first president of the American oriental society. In 1816 he published a "Vocabulary of Americanisms," and in 1820 communicated to the American academy an "Essay on a Uniform Orthography for the Indian Languages of North America." His most important work was his Greek and English lexicon (1826), which was republished in Edinburgh, and ran through several foreign editions.
A revision of the third edition was completed by him just before his death. Among his other writings are " Remarks on the Indian Languages of North America " (8vo, Philadelphia, 1836), and " Memoir on the Language and Inhabitants of Lord North's Island " (4to, Cambridge, 1845).
Charles, an American naturalist, grandson of Timothy Pickering, born in Susquehanna co., Pa., in November, 1805. He graduated at Harvard college in 1823, studied medicine, and was naturalist to the United States exploring expedition under Commander Charles Wilkes, 1838-'42. After the termination of that expedition he went to India and eastern Africa, and published " Races of Man and their Geographical Distribution" (4to, Philadelphia, 1848; republished in London in Bonn's "Illustrated Library," 1850); " Geographical Distribution of Animals and Man " (Boston, 1854); and " Geographical Distribution of Plants" (1861). In 1858 he communicated to the American oriental society an essay on the " Invention of the Art of Writing," and read before the Boston natural history society an essay on "The Stinging Power of the Physalia".