Online Encyclopedia

TIMOTHY DEXTER (1747—1806)

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Originally appearing in Volume V08, Page 141 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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TIMOTHY DEXTER (1747—1806), American merchant, remarkable for his eccentricities, was born at Malden, Massachusetts, on the 22nd of February 1747. He acquired considerable wealth by buying up quantities of the depreciated continental currency, which was ultimately redeemed by the Federal government at par. He assumed the title of Lord Dexter and built extraordinary houses at Newburyport, Mass., and Chester, New Hampshire. He maintained a poet laureate and collected inferior pictures, besides erecting in one of his gardens some forty colossal statues carved in wood to represent famous men. A statue of him-self was included in the collection, and had for an inscription " I am the first in the East, the first in the West, and the greatest philosopher in the Western World." He wrote a book entitled Pickle for the Knowing Ones. It was wholly without punctuation marks, and as this aroused comment, he published a second edition, at the end of which was a page displaying nothing but commas and stops, from which the readers were invited to " peper and solt it as they plese." He beat his wife for not weeping enough at the rehearsal of his funeral, which he himself carried out in a very elaborate manner. He died at Newburyport on the 26th of October 1806.
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