James Wilkinson: (1757 - 1825)
     He was the son of Joseph Wilkinson & Althea (Betty) Heighe,  born in Benedict, Calvert Co., Maryland. He married 1st to Ann Biddle (daughter of John Biddle & Sarah Owen) in 1778 at Philadelphia and 2nd to Celestine Trudeau (daughter of Charles Laveau Trudeau) in 1810 at New Orleans. His children were: John (1780-1796), James B. (1783/84-1813) (m.Hannah Toulmin/Coleman in 1810), Joseph B. (1785-1865) (m. Catherine Andrews in 1807), Margaret (m. Benjamin Rogers) & Elizabeth S. (b.1816) (m. Toussaint-Francois Bigot).
     James was enrolled in the Medical College of Pennsylvania in 1773, but his education was interrupted by the Revolutionary War in 1775 when he became a captain in the Continental Army serving under Benedict Arnold (he also served under Gen.George Washington & Gen. Horatio Gates). James saw action at the unsuccessful attempt to take Montreal, the Siege of Boston and the battles of Saratoga, Trenton & Princton. In 1777 he was Brevet Brigadier General and the Secretary of the Board of War, a position he held until 1778 when he was forced to leave because of his involvement in a move to remove Gen.George Washington as the Commander in Chief of the Continental Army.
     From 1781 to 1783 Wilkinson tried farming in Pennsylvania while also assuming the responsibilities of Brig.Gen.of the Pennsylvania Militia in 1782. In 1783/84 he moved to Kentucky and establish trading connection with New Orleans where in 1784 he swore allegiance to the Spanish government there. He apparently again took the oath of allegiance to Spain at New Orleans in 1787, becoming Spanish Secret Agent #13 in his attempts to keep Kentucky from joining the Union.
     In March of 1791 he led a force of Kentucky Volunteers (2nd in command to Gen.Charles Scott - William Clark is a lieutenant under Wilkinson in this action) on a punitive campaign against the Ohio Valley tribes and the next year given the rank of Major General in the U.S.Army. By August of 1794 he is again a Brig.Gen.under Gen.Anthony Wayne at the Battle of Fallen Timbers (Wilkinson intentionally delayed sending a supply train to Wayne in an attempt to undermine Wayne, according to Clark) and in 1796 is given the command of Detroit. From 15 December 1796 to 13 July 1798 he held the position of Commander in Chief of the U.S.Army (replacing Anthony Wayne). [He replaced Alexander Hamilton as the senior U.S.Army officer and Commander in Chief of the U.S.Army in June of 1800 - Hamilton was killed in a duel with Aaron Burr in July of 1804].
     James was transferred to the Southern Frontier in 1798 and in December of 1803 took possession of the Louisiana Purchase (from the Com.of France - Laussat) on behalf of the United States with Gov.William Claiborne. On 30 July 1805 he was at St.Louis, Missouri (as the newly appointed U.S.Military Gov.of Louisiana Terr.), commanding Zebulon Pike to take a force up the Mississippi River, exploring the river to its source and to establish an American presents in the area in a attempt to wrestle control of the fur trade from the British. Pike arrived at the Canadian controlled Prairie du Chien on the 4th of September where he began to meet the British & French traders who controlled the trade out of the Great Lakes S.W. trade route (Fazer, Aird, Cameron & Woods) then ascended the Mississippi to the destination of the British traders from the L.Superior trade route (Dickson, Grant & McGillis) while also meeting with the Chiefs of the Dakota & Ojibwe Nations (Wabasha, Red Thunder, Broken Tooth & Flat Mouth). In July of 1806, Wilkinson sent Pike on another exploratory expedition (Wilkinson's son James Jr. accompanied the expedition) to the S.W. where he became a prisoner of the Spanish Gov.
     During this period, ex-Vice President Aaron Burr was allegedly (with James Wilkinson) intending to invite the western subjects of Spain to form an independent empire in the west, with it's capital being New Orleans. In 1807 Burr surrendered to American officials after Wilkinson informed President Jefferson of his designs and in March of 1807 James is replaced by Meriwether Lewis as Governor. Not long after this occurred, the Missouri Fur Company was formed with its headquarters in St.Louis, Mo. with James brother, Benjamin Wilkinson among its founding partners (also P.Chouteau, M.Lisa, A.Chouteau, Wm.Clark, Wm.Morrison, R.Lewis, S.Labbadie, P.Menard & A.Henry).
     Wilkinson was court martialed by order of President Madison and found not-guilty of the charges, on 25 December of 1811. So being the senior U.S.Army officer  at the beginning of 1812, he was given the task of the invasion of Canada at the out break of the war. He had under his command 8000 men (and Gen.Zebulon Pike) who left Ft.George for the north, but the campaign turned to a retreat and the death of Pike. Again, Wilkinson was tried & acquitted in the disastrous Canadian invasion, but this time it ended his U.S.Army career.
     Wilkinson spent his remaining years in Mexico where he traveled in 1821 in an effort to gain a Texan land grant. He died in Mexico City on 28 December 1825, from the effects of smoking Opium.