Looking Back 10/26

David Wilmot was born January 20, 1814 in Bethany, Wayne County, but moved to Wilkes-Barre in 1832 to read law under George W. Woodward. He was admitted to the bar in Bradford County in 1834. He was elected to Congress as a Democrat in 1851. Although a loyal supporter of President James K. Polk, Wilmot came to believe that the South was dominating the national government to the detriment of the rest of the country. Wilmot opposed the extension of slavery into new territories, and in 1846 presented to the House of Representatives an amendment to an appropriations bill to be used by President Polk in negotiating a peace treaty with Mexico. The amendment proposed that neither “slavery or involuntary servitude” be allowed in any new territory acquired through the treaty. Although the “Wilmot Proviso” failed, it is considered a landmark in the fight to abolish slavery. The Wilmot birthplace in Bethany was named to the National Register of Historic Places in 1974.

From the collection of the Wayne County Historical Society, 810 Main St., Honesdale. The museum and research library are open Wednesday through Saturday, 10 a. m. to 4 p.m. and museum only 12 noon to 4 p.m. Sunday.


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