William Darlington

William Darlington (April 28, 1782 – April 23, 1863), was an American physician, botanist, and politician who served as a Democratic-Republican member of the U.S. House of Representatives for Pennsylvania's 2nd congressional district from 1819 to 1823.[1]: 67 

William Darlington
William Darlington by John Neagle ca-1825.jpg
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Pennsylvania's 2nd district
In office
March 4, 1819 – March 3, 1823
Preceded bySee below
Succeeded bySee below
In office
March 4, 1815 – March 3, 1817
Preceded bySee below
Succeeded bySee below
Personal details
Born(1782-04-28)April 28, 1782
Chester County, Pennsylvania
DiedApril 23, 1863(1863-04-23) (aged 80)
West Chester, Pennsylvania
Political partyDemocratic-Republican

Early life and educationEdit

William Darlington (cousin of Edward Darlington and Isaac Darlington, second cousin of Smedley Darlington) was born in Birmingham, Chester County, Pennsylvania. He attended Friends School at Birmingham and spent his youth on a farm.[2] He became a botanist at an early age, studied medicine, and graduated from the medical department of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia in 1804. He went to the East Indies as ship's surgeon in 1806. He returned to West Chester, near Birmingham, in 1807 and was a practicing physician there for a number of years. He raised a company of volunteers at the beginning of the War of 1812 and was major of a volunteer regiment.[3]

Political and later careerEdit

Darlington's office was in this building of the National Bank of Chester County.
Darlington grave in Oaklands Cemetery

Darlington was elected as a Democratic-Republican to the Fourteenth Congress. He was again elected to the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Congresses. He was appointed canal commissioner in 1825, and served as the first president of the West Chester Railroad from 1831 to 1835.[2][4]

In 1823, Darlington was elected to the American Philosophical Society.[5]

He established a natural history society in West Chester in 1826 and published several works on botany and natural history. His published works include Mutual Influence of Habits and Disease (1804), Flora cestrica: an attempt to enumerate and describe the flowering and filicoid plants of Chester County in the state of Pennsylvania (1837) and Agricultural Botany (1847).[3][6] The degree of L.L.D. was conferred on him by Yale University in 1848, and he was awarded a Doctor of Physical Science in 1855 by Dickinson College.[3] The California pitcher plant, Darlingtonia californica, was described by John Torrey in 1853 and named in his honor.[7] The Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University preserves some botanical specimens that he collected — for example, of Talinum teretifolium (Phemeranthus teretifolius — the quill fameflower).[8]

He served as director and president of the National Bank of Chester County from 1830 to 1863. He died in West Chester in 1863, and was interred in Oaklands Cemetery.[9]


  1. ^ Makers of American Botany, Harry Baker Humphrey, Ronald Press Company, Library of Congress Card Number 61-18435
  2. ^ a b "DARLINGTON, William, (1782 - 1863)". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Retrieved August 2, 2013.
  3. ^ a b c Wilson, James Grant; John Fiske (1900). Appleton's cyclopaedia of American biography. New York: D. Appleton. Retrieved July 13, 2013.
  4. ^ Moore, Paul (Spring 2002). "The West Chester Railroad Company". The High Line. 18 (1): 5, 10.
  5. ^ "APS Member History". search.amphilsoc.org. Retrieved April 6, 2021.
  6. ^ "Agricultural botany [microform] : An enumeration and description of useful plants and weeds, which merit the notice, or require the attention, of American agriculturists". 1847.
  7. ^ Rice, Barry. "Darlingtonia: the cobra lily; The Carnivorous Plant FAQ v. 11.5". The International Carnivorous Plant Society. Retrieved August 2, 2013.
  8. ^ "Mid-Atlantic Herbaria". midatlanticherbaria.org. Retrieved December 1, 2020.
  9. ^ The Political Graveyard
  10. ^ IPNI.  Darl.


External linksEdit

U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Pennsylvania's 2nd congressional district


alongside: John Hahn

Succeeded by
Preceded by Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Pennsylvania's 2nd congressional district


alongside: Samuel Gross

Succeeded by