Biography of William C. Whitney
Celebrated American Biographies

WILLIAM COLLINS WHITNEY, one of the prominent Democratic politicians of the country and ex-secretary of the navy, was born July 5th, 1841, at Conway, Massachusetts, and received his education at Williston Seminary, East Hampton, Massachusetts. Later he attended Yale College, where he graduated in 1863, and entered the Harvard Law School, which he left in 1864. Beginning practice in New York city, he soon gained a reputation as an able lawyer. He made his first appearance in public affairs in 1871, when he was active in organizing a young men's Democratic club. In 1872 he was the recognized leader of the county Democracy and in 1875 was appointed corporation counsel for the city of New York. He resigned the office, 1882, to attend to personal interests and on March 5, 1885, he was appointed secretary of the navy by President Cleveland. Under his administration the navy of the United States rapidly rose in rank among the navies of the world. When he retired from office in 1889, the vessels of the United States navy designed and contracted for by him were five double turreted monitors, two new armor clads, the dynamite cruiser "Vesuvius," and five unarmored steel and iron cruisers.

Mr. Whitney was the leader of the Cleveland forces in the national Democratic convention of 1892.

A Biographical Record
Of Schuyler County, New York
The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company
New York and Chicago 1903.


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