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Portrait of James Wilkinson (1757-1825) by James Sharples (1752-1811) circa 1795.
James Wilkinson was born in Calvert County, Maryland, in 1757. He served as an army officer at the seige of Boston in 1776. He also served under Benedict Arnold, Horatio Gates, and George Washington. He was involved in various intrigues and he was forced to resign his military appointments in 1781 after which he became a farmer in Pennsylvania and was elected to the state Assembly. Later, he was active in land and business speculation in Kentucky and Louisiana, but then returned to the army iun 1791. He was appointed governor of the Louisiana Territory in 1805. An associate of Aaron Burr, he narrowly escaped indictment by serving as chief witness at Burr's trial for treason. He died in Mexico City in 1825.