Military Wiki
William North
United States Senator
from New York

In office
May 5, 1798 – August 17, 1798
Preceded by John Sloss Hobart
Succeeded by James Watson
Personal details
Born 1755
Pemaquid, Maine
Died January 3, 1836 (aged 80–81)
New York City
Political party Federalist
Spouse(s) Mary Duane
Profession Soldier, Statesman

William North (1755 – January 3, 1836) was an American soldier and politician.


He was the son of John North, who commanded Fort Frederick in 1751, and Fort St. George in Thomaston, Maine, in 1758. He moved with his mother, Elizabeth North, to Boston, Massachusetts. He entered the Continental Army in 1775, and served under Benedict Arnold in the unfortunate expedition to Canada in that year. He was appointed in May 1777 as captain in Henry Jackson's 16th Massachusetts Regiment, with which he participated in the Battle of Monmouth. In 1779 he became aide-de-camp to Baron Steuben, whom he greatly aided in introducing his system of discipline in the Continental Army. Later he accompanied Steuben to Virginia, and was present at the surrender of Cornwallis.

Historian William Benemann believes that North was romantically involved with Steuben and another male companion, Captain Benjamin Walker.Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; invalid names, e.g. too many However, based on the limited historical record, Benemann said his research is not entirely conclusive, writing that "it is impossible to prove the nature of the relationships."[1]

He was appointed by Act of Congress a Major in the 2d United States Regiment on October 20, 1786. After the war he settled in Duanesburg, New York, where he married Mary Duane, daughter of James Duane, on October 14, 1787, and had six children. The General William North House was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1987.[2]

He was a member of the New York State Assembly from Albany County in 1792, 1794 and 1795, from Albany and Schenectady Counties in 1796, and from Schenectady County in 1810. He was Speaker in 1795, 1796 and 1810.

North was appointed as a Federalist to the United States Senate to fill the vacancy caused by the resignation of John Sloss Hobart and served from May 5, 1798, to August 17, 1798, when James Watson was elected and qualified to succeed. He was appointed adjutant general of the United States Army with the rank of brigadier general on July 19, 1798, but was mustered out on June 10, 1800, as tensions with France diminished. In March 1812, he was again appointed adjutant-general of the Army, but declined.

He was a member of the first Erie Canal Commission, from 1810 to 1816.

The bulk of Baron Steuben's property was bequeathed to General North, who divided it among his military companions. General North was a member of the Society of the Cincinnati. He died in New York City, and was buried in the crypt under the Christ Episcopal Church in Duanesburg.


  1. Benemann, p. 102
  2. "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2009-03-13. 

External links

Political offices
Preceded by
James Watson
Speaker of the New York State Assembly
Succeeded by
Gulian Verplanck
Preceded by
James W. Wilkin
Speaker of the New York State Assembly
Succeeded by
Nathan Sanford
United States Senate
Preceded by
John Sloss Hobart
U.S. Senator (Class 1) from New York
Served alongside: John Laurance
Succeeded by
James Watson
Military offices
Preceded by
Edward Hand
Adjutant General of the U.S. Army
November 5, 1783 – October 28, 1787
Succeeded by
Ebenezer Denny (acting)
Preceded by
Friedrich Wilhelm von Steuben
Inspectors General of the U.S. Army
April 17, 1784 – October 28, 1787
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Thomas H. Cushing (acting)
Adjutant General of the U.S. Army
July 19, 1798 – June 15, 1800
Succeeded by
Thomas H. Cushing

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