Biography of Joel Tyler Headley
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Historian and journalist, was born Dec. 30, 1813, at Walton, Delaware County, N. Y. He died at Newburgh, N. Y., in 1897. He was the son of a Presbyterian minister settled at Walton. Early in life he determined to follow the ministry as a life work, and after graduating at Union College in 1839, he took a course in theology at Auburn Theological Seminary. After being admitted to the ministry he was settled over a church at Stockbridge, Mass. His health failing shortly after he was compelled to relinquish his chosen profession, and in 1842 traveled in Europe. His “Letters from Italy” attracted wide attention, and on his return Horace Greeley, the veteran editor of the New York Tribune, induced him to become an associate editor of the Tribune. After a year with the Tribune he severed his connection with that paper and thereafter pursued the path of authorship, residing continuously at Newburgh until his death.
His published works are: Napoleon and His Marshals, which appeared in 1846, and was followed at various periods by Washington and His Generals; History of the War, 1812; Life of Cromwell; Life of Havelock; Life of Scott and Jackson; Sacred Mountains; Sacred Heroes and Martyrs; Headley’s Miscellanies; The Imperial Guard; Chaplains and Clergy of the Revolution; The Great Rebellion; Grant and Sherman; Life of Farragut and Our Naval Commanders; History of the Great Riots, and many other works of lesser note.
During his long life he did not lay down his busy pen until 1854, when he was elected to the New York State Assembly from the First District of Orange County. In the following year he was elected Secretary of State of New York, which office he filled with marked distinction. He did not cease active literary work until late in life, and in his declining years was active in promoting public interest in historical matters pertaining to Orange County and vicinity.