Oakes, William, 1799-1848

Alternative names
Birth 1799
Death 1848

Biographical notes:

Oakes (Harvard, B.A. 1820) practiced law in Ipswich, Mass. Later he described the flora of the White Mountains for a geological survey report on New Hampshire.

From the description of Letters to James Watson Robbins, 1827-1847 (inclusive). (Harvard University). WorldCat record id: 40961364

William Oakes (1799-1848), botanist, of Ipswich, Mass., was born in Danvers, Mass., on 1 July 1799. He graduated from Harvard in 1820 and studied law with Leverett Saltonstall (1783-1845), of Salem, Mass. Oakes took an interest in botany while he was a student, and eventually devoted himself entirely to the subject. He was particularly interested in the region of the White Mountains. He was drowned on a ferry boat at Boston, Mass., on 31 July 1848.

From the description of Correspondence, 1823-1848. (American Antiquarian Society). WorldCat record id: 191259574

William Oakes was born on July 1, 1799. He entered Harvard in 1816 and developed a strong interest in natural history under the tutelage of William Peck. After graduating from Harvard in 1820, Oakes studied law for three years. In 1824 he moved to Ipswich, Mass., and began to practice law. A few years later he gave up law and devoted himself to the study of natural history, particularly that of New England. In 1842 he was asked to write a brief description of the flora of the White Mountains for a geological survey report on New Hampshire, and he expended much energy on this project for the rest of his life. He died on July 31, 1848, when he fell off a ferry between Boston and East Boston and drowned.

From the guide to the Letters to James Watson Robbins, 1827-1847, (Gray Herbarium Library)


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  • Botanists
  • Botany


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  • New England (as recorded)