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Trask, Israel Elliot, 1773-1835



Israel Elliot Trask was the eldest son of Dr. Israel and Sarah (Lawrence) Trask, and was born at Brimfield, Mass., March 18, ITT 3. While engaged in the study of law at Richmond, Va., during the spring of 1794, the insurrection in Western Pennsyl vania took place ; occasioned by the unpopularity of the excise laws passed by Congress. When the militia of Virginia and the neighboring States were ordered out by the President, and under Gen. Lee marched to the insurgent district, Mr. Trask volun teered, and when at the close of the expedition the troops were disbanded, he returned to New England and finished his law studies in the office of Judge Jacobs of Windsor, Vt. He then entered the United States Army with the rank of Captain. He resigned his commission in 1801, and was about sailing for France in company with some College friends, to enlist in the French army; but while in New York, Gen. Alexander Hamilton, to whom he had letters, strongly advised him to give up his project and go to Natchez, in the then Territory of Mississippi, and com mence the practice of law. In pursuance of this advice he went to Natchez in the year 1801, and entered into partnership with Harding, the Attorney-General. About two years after his arrival at Natchez he wasmarried to Elizabeth Carter, daughter of Jesse Carter, a planter at Second Creek, near Natchez, and settled on a plantation in that neighborhood. At the time that Louisiana was purchased from France, in 1803, by the United States, he was sent by the Governor of the Territory (Claiborne) to attend to the negotiations with the French authorities, for the trans fer of the new Territory. And when Gov. Claiborne went on with the United States troops to take possession, Col. Trask ac companied him as his Aid. He opened a law office in New Or leans (the first by an American), but after a short residence his health failed and he returned to plantation life. About 1812 he disposed of his plantations in Mississippi and Louisiana and re turned to Brimfield, Mass. During his residence in Brimfield he interested himself in the manufacture of cotton cloth, and built one of the first factories for that purpose in Western Massa chusetts. He was elected for several successive years to the State Legislature, and was a member of the convention for revising the State Constitution in 1820; serving on the Judi ciary Committee. In the spring of 1821 he removed to Spring field, Mass. After his removal to Springfield, the state of his health and his business affairs requiring him to pass his winters at the South, prevented him from taking any part in public affairs. His death took place at the plantation of his brother, near Woodville, Miss., November 25, 1835, in the sixty-third year of his age.

Citation: Tyler, W.S. History of Amherst College During the First Half Century, 1821-1871. Clark W. Bryan and Company, 1873.

Found in 1 Collection or Record:

Israel E. Trask Papers

 Collection — Box: 1
Identifier: MA.00339

The Israel E. Trask Papers document the professional and personal life of Israel E. Trask (1773-1835), early Amherst College Trustee (1821-1835) and Mississippi plantation owner.

Dates: 1812-1855; 1938