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■ . GIDDINGS, JOSHUA REED.
JL HIS is a name familiar to the public ear. It has been associated with much of reputed evil, resulting from the doctrines he espouses in the matter of slavery, and from the steadfastness with which ho has promulgated and defended them. Look to the left of the speaker's chair, in the hollow, almost at its base; see a tall man, of stout proportions, with a stoop in the shoulders, the face marked, and the hair gray: that is Joshua R. (biddings. His ancestors emigrated from England about ■March, 1650, and settled at Houston, in the colony of Massachusetts. His great-grandfather removed to the State of Connecticut about the year 1725. His father left that state with his family in 1795, intending to settle in the Valley of the Wyoming, Pennsylvania. Arriving in that region of country, but not pleased with it, he left his family at a place then called Tioga Point, now Athens, and sought a more congenial spot in the State of New York. The son was born at Athens on the 6th of October, 1795, and his family removed about the 1st of October of the same year to Canandaigua, New York. Here, until the spring of 1806, being then in his eleventh year, he received a common school education. At that time his father removed to Ashtabula county, Ohio, where the son has ever since resided.
The country was then almost an unbroken wilderness, without schools, and destitute of the means by which the few youths resident upon the frontier could be educated. Hard labor was his constant lot. His father had purchased a larsre tract of land, the title to which proved defective, thus leaving him and the family poor, and dependent on their own energies. From ls0(i to lylH, the son was accustomed to almost every hardship incident to a new and rugged country. In 1812, after the surrender of the northwestern army under General Hull, our frontier was left exposed to the depredations of the Indians and the
invasion of the British. Orders were immediately issued, calling for the entire militia to defend the advanced settlements. The father of Mr. Giddings had been a Revolutionary soldier, and permitted him to join the troops, although not subject to military duty, being less than seventeen years of age. After they had marched two days, it was thought proper to discharge one half of the militia; but Mr. Giddings remained with those who went forward, and continued with them until they were relieved by the regular army, in November following. During this short campaign the first battle was fought by the militia on that frontier. It took place on the 29th of September, on the peninsula north of Sandusky Bay, between a body of some hundred and thirty Indians and sixty-five volunteers from our camp, twelve of whom were killed or wounded. In that battle Mr. Giddings participated. An account of it, written by himself some years ago, may be found in the "Western Repository."
In 1817 he was prevailed upon to engage in teaching a district school. He was not qualified for the business, but turned his attention wholly to it, and was able to effect a satisfactory completion of his engagement. He became a close student nnder a neighboring clergyman, and made rapid progress in grammar, arithmetic, and mathematics, and also acquired a pretty good knowledge of the Latin language. Having abandoned finally all further thoughts of farming, he commenced the study of the law with his friend and predecessor in Congress, Elisha Whittlesey. In February, 1821, Mr. Giddings was admitted to the bar. He settled at the county seat where he now lives, and commenced practice. He acquired business rapidly, and was soon among the leading members of the bar. In the same year he married Laura Waters, daughter of Abner Waters, of Trumbull county, farmer. He has, living, three sons and two daughters. In 1826 he was elected to the State Legislature, and in 1827 declined a re-election. Ho applied himself to his profession until 1838, when he was elected to the twentyfifth Congress, to fill the unexpired term of Elisha Whittlesey, who had resigned. Since that time he has been regularly reelected to every successive Congress. His politics are Whig.
On taking his seat as a member of the House, ho found in full operation that peculiar policy by which, under the resolu