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American Biographical History of Eminent and Self-Made Men with Portrait Illustrations on Steel, Volumes I-II
Name: Jonathan Kearsley
Detroit, a Veteran of the War of 1812, was born in 1786, and died in 1859. He was, by birth, a Virginian, and graduated at Washington College in 1811. The following year, he was appointed, by President Madison, First Lieutenant of the Second Artillery Corps. During the war, he was commissioned Assistant Adjutant-General, Captain, and Major. He was engaged in the battles of Stony Creek and Chrysler's Field, in 1814, and in the sortie from Fort Erie. In the latter engagement, he received a wound which resulted in the loss of a leg. This was a source of life-long pain to him; the amputation was delayed by the surgeons in the hope of saving the limb, and was then improperly performed. In this connection, he many times remarked upon a phenomenon peculiar to such cases, namely: the existence of seeming pains in the lost portion of the limb. Major Kearsley was held in high estimation in the army for his attainments and bravery; and it was much regretted when his wounds compelled him to retire to private life. His services in behalf of the country were acknowledged and rewarded by the Government. In 1817 he was appointed Collector of Revenue Taxes in Virginia, which position he held until 1819, when he was appointed Receiver of Public Moneys for the District of Michigan. He then removed to Detroit, where he continued to reside until the time of his death. He held the office of Receiver, consecutively, under various administrations, for a period of thirty years. Although a stanch Democrat and an active partisan, of the type found in the era of President Jackson, the Whig regime of 1840 respected the old soldier too much to displace him. The name of Major Kearsley was intimately associated with our early territorial and State history. He was, at one time, Mayor of Detroit; and was a Regent of the University during the whole of the territorial administration, after the administration passed into the second or representative grade, in 1824. He was a man respected for his upright and honorable character, and for his ability and fidelity in the administration of his public trusts. The old Kearsley mansion, a two-story brick house, still standing on the corner of Jefferson avenue and Randolph street, in Detroit,--but now occupied for business purposes,--was his residence at the time of his death, and for many years previous. In the minds of the older residents, he is still associated with the old homestead. No man was better known than he, and few have left a better record; for, while in his public life he was guided by exact business habits, in his social life he was governed by a conscientious and rigid devotion to his religious principles.
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