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Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton and Company, 1887-1889 and 1999. Virtualology.com warns that these 19th Century biographies contain errors and bias. We rely on volunteers to edit the historic biographies on a continual basis. If you would like to edit this biography please submit a rewritten biography in text form . If acceptable, the new biography will be published above the 19th Century Appleton's Cyclopedia Biography citing the volunteer editor

 



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Thomas Wharton

WHARTON, Thomas, governor of Pennsylvania, born in Chester comity, Pennsylvania, in 1735 ; died in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, 22 May, 1778. He was the son of John, some time coroner of Chester county, Pennsylvania, whose father, Thomas, of Westmoreland, England, emigrated to Pennsylvania about 1683, served in the Philadelphia common council in 1713-'18, and was the founder of the Wharton family of Philadelphia. Thomas became a merchant, was for a time a partner of Anthony Stocker, and was highly esteemed for his virtue and patriotism. On the passage of the stamp-act he took a resolute stand on the side of the opposition, and his name, with that of his grandfather and other members of the family, was among the first that were affixed to the non-importation resolutions and agreements of 1765. When the news of the closing of the Boston harbor reached Philadelphia a public meeting was held on 20 May, 1774, and Thomas Wharton was chosen a member of the committee of correspondence. On 22 June, 1774, he was placed on a committee with Joseph Reed and John Nixon to request the speaker of the assembly to summon its members to meet on 1 August and consult on public affairs. He was a deputy to the convention that was called by patriotic citizens of Philadelphia, to meet on 15 July, 1774, and was one of the twenty-five citizens that formed the committee of safety in 1775. On 24 July, 1776, he became president of the council of safety, in which the executive authority of the government was temporarily vested, and in 1777 he was elected president of Pennsylvania, which office he held till his death. He was inaugurated on 5 March, with much display, and under the title of "His Excellency Thomas Wharton, junior, esquire, president of the supreme executive council of Pennsylvania, captain-general and commander-in-chief in and over the same." During the Revolution he discharged his duties with ability and success. He owned a country-seat called " Twickenham" in Montgomery county. He removed to Lancaster with the executive council on the British occupation of Philadelphia, died there, and was buried with military honors. At the request of the vestry of the Evangelical Trinity church, of Lancaster, Pennsylvania, his body was interred within the walls of that edifice.--His brother, John, was a member of the Continental navy board in 1778-'80, and built two ships, the "Experiment" and the " Washington," for the Pennsylvania navy.--Thomas's uncle, Joseph, merchant, born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 4 August, 1707; died there in July, 1776, was a successful merchant, and the owner of "Walnut Grove," a country place on Fifth street, near Washington avenue, Philadelphia, on which the Mischianza of 1778 was held. {See HOWE, WILLIAMS.) The house, which is shown in the illustration on page 448, was the finest of its day near that city. It was torn down in 1862, to make room for a school-house. Joseph Wharton was called "Duke Wharton," because of his stately bearing.--Joseph's son, Samuel, merchant, born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 3 May, 1732; died there in March, 1800, was a partner in the house of Baynton Whatton and Morgan. At one time the Indians destroyed nearly £40,000 worth of goods, and as indemnification the chiefs of the Six Nations made over to the firm a large tract of land at the treaty of Fort Stanwix. The land bordered on Ohio river above the Little Kanawha, and included about one fourth of the present state of West Virginia. To this grant the traders gave t, he name of Indiana Mr. Wharton was sent by the firm to England to solicit confirmation of this grant, in which he so far succeeded that a day was appointed for him to attend court. Some of his correspondence with Benjamin Franklin having been discovered in the mean time, he was obliged to fly for his life, and reaching France, was joined by Dr. Franklin. In 1780 he returned to Philadelphia. He was a member of the city councils, of the committee of safety of the Revolution, of the colonial and state legislatures, and of the Ohio company, whose plan of forming a settlement on Ohio river was projected by Sir William Johnson, Governor Franklin, and others On 9 February, 1781, he took the oath of allegiance to the state, and he was a member of the Continental congress in 1782-'3. In 1784 he was chosen a justice of the peace for the district of Southwark, in which suburb he owned a country-seat.--Another son of Joseph, Joseph, born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 21 March, 1733 ; died there, 25 December, 1816, went to England about 1775, and while there wrote a number of letters on the attitude of Great Britain to the colonies. Some of these were published in the " Pennsylvania Journal," others in British journals, and attracted so much attention that when their authorship was discovered Wharton was forced to leave the country, and fled to France During his residence abroad he was much with Benjamin West, and it is said that the suggestion that West's painting of " Christ Healing the Sick" should be given to the Pennsylvania hospital in Philadelphia was made by him. He corresponded with West regarding the removal of the picture to the hospital, which was accomplished in 1817.--Another son of Joseph, Robert, mayor of Philadelphia, born in Philadelphia, 12 January, 1757; died there, 7 March, 1834, at an early age left his studies, and was apprenticed to a hatter. He entered the counting-house of his brother chant of Philadelphia, but spent much of his time in out-door sports, and until 1818 was president of the famous fox-hunting club of Gloucester that was organized in 1766. In 1790 he became a member of the Schuylkill fishing company, of which he was from 1812 till 1828. He was a member of city councils from 1792 till 1795. In 1796 he was made alderman of Philadelphia, and in that year quelled a riot among the sailors, who had organized themselves into a body and demanded exorbitant wages. After reading the riot act he requested them to disperse, and, being received with shouts of defiance, Mr. Wharton ordered each of his men "to take his man," and the sailors were captured and imprisoned. He quelled the Walnut street prison riot in 1798, and also took part in suppressing others. He was fifteen times elected mayor of Philadelphia between 1798 and 1834. He became a member of the first city troop in 1798, captain in 1803, colonel of the regiment of cavalry in 1810, and was elected brigadier-general of the state militia. He was vice-president of the Washington benevolent society, of which he was an original member.--Robert's brother, Franklin, soldier, born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 23 July, 1767; died in New York. 1 September, 1818, was appointed colonel commandant of the United States marine corps under the administration of James Madison. Colonel Wharton was intrusted with the management of an armory in Washington, D. C., in which small arms that belonged to the navy and marine corps were kept in readiness for service.--Governor Thomas's grandson, Philip Fishbourne, artist, born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 30 April, 1841; died in Media, Pennsylvania, 28 July, 1880, studied at the Pennsylvania academy of fine arts, and afterward in Paris and Dresden. His best-known pictures are "Perdita," which received a medal at the Centennial exhibition of 1876, "Eventide," " Uncle Jim," "Over the Hills and Far Away," and " Waiting for the Parade." He also painted many water-colors, chiefly scenes in Florida and Nassau.--The first Joseph's grandson, Thomas Isaac, lawyer, born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 17 May, 1791; died there, 7 April, 1856, was graduated at the University of Pennsylvania in 1807, studied : law in the office of his uncle, William Rawle, was admitted to the bar, and acquired reputation in his profession and as a reporter of the Pennsylvania supreme court, he served as captain of infantry in the war of 1812. He was a trustee of the University of Pennsylvania in 1837-'56, and a member of various philosophical and historical societies. With Joel Jones and William Rawle (q. r, .) he revised the civil code of Pennsylvania in 1830. He edited, with eot)ious notes, the 3d edition of Alexander J. Dallas's " Reports of Cases in the Courts of the United States and Pennsylvania before and since the Revolution" (4 vols., Philadelphia, 1830), and was associated with Thomas Sargeant and others in editing the "Law Library" (1833), and with Henry Wheaten in editing the 5th American edition of William Selwyn's " Abridgment of the Law of Nisi Prius" (1839). He was the author of " Digest of Cases in the Circuit Court of the United States, Third District, and in the Courts of Pennsylvania" (Philadelphia., 1822 ; 6th ed., including "A. Harris's Reports," 2 vols., 1853): " Digested Index to the Reported Decisions of the Several Courts of Law in the Western and Southern States" (1824); "Reports of Cases in the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania" (6 vols., 1836-'41); "Letter on the Right and Power of the City of Philadelphia to Subscribe for Stock in the Pennsylvania Railroad Company" (1846); and various addresses and memoirs, including one on William Rawle, LL.D. (1840). He also contributed to Dennie's "Portfolio," and was an editor of the "Analectic Magazine."--Thomas Isaac's son, Francis, lawyer, born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 7 March, 1820, was graduated at Yale in 1839, studied law, was admitted to the bar in 1843, practised in Philadelphia for fifteen years, and was assistant attorney-general in 1845. From 1856 till 1863 he was professor of logic and rhetoric in Kenyon college, Ohio, but he was ordained in the Protestant Episcopal church in 1863, and became rector of St. Paul's church in Brookline, Massachusetts He was also professor of ecclesiastical and international law in the Cambridge divinity-school, and in Boston. In 1885 he was appointed solicitor for the department of state, and examiner of international claims, which office he still holds, and in 1888 he was appointed, under a resolution of congress, editor of the Revolutionary diplomatic correspondence of the United States. The degree of D. D. was conferred on him by Kenyon college in 1883, and that of LL. D. by Kenyon in 1865 and by the University of Edinburgh in 1883. He is a member of various institutions of international and municipal law. With Charles E. Lex he edited the " Episcopal Recorder " in Philadelphia, and he has contributed to periodicals. He has edited several volumes of law reports, and is the author of "A Treatise on the Criminal Law of the United States" (Philadelphia, 1846 ; 6th ed., 3 vols., 1868) . " The State Trials of the United States during the Administrations of Washington and Adams" (1849)" "Precedents of Indictments and Pleas adapted to the Use both of the Courts of the United States and those of the Several States " (1849; 2d ed., 1857)-" A Treatise on the Law of Homicide in the United States" (1855)" " A Treatise on Medical Jurisprudence," with Dr. Moreton Stille (1855; 2d ed., with additions by Alfred Stille, 1860); "Treatise on Theism and Modern Skeptical Theories" (1859)-"The Silence of Scripture, a Series of Lectures" (1867)" " A Treatise on the Conflict of Laws" (Philadelphia, 1872)" "The Law of Agency and Agents" (1876)" and a "Digest of International Law" (1886).--Another son of Thomas, Henry, lawyer, born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 2 June, 1827; died there, 11 November, 1880, was graduated at the University of Pennsylvania in 1846, studied law under his father, and was admitted to the bar in 1849. In 1856 he became solicitor to the Philadelphia saving fund, and he was one of the three lawyers, including Eli K. Price and Edward Olmstead, whose opinions upon real estate were considered equivalent to a judgment of the supreme court, He was legal adviser of the Philadelphia bank and other corporations. With Asa J. Fish he edited the "American Law-Register," from 1852 till 1863, and wrote a "Practical and Elementary Treatise on the Law of Vicinage" (Philadelphia, 1868).--Thomas Isaac's nephew, Joseph, manufacturer, born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 3 March, 1826. His mother, Deborah Fisher (1795-1888), was an approved minister of the Society of Friends for seventy years, belonging to the branch that has been called Hicksite. She was active in charities and an interested friend to the Indians, defending their rights in Washington and visiting their reservations. After receiving a good education in his native city, the son entered a mercantile house, and afterward engaged in the manufacture of white lead and paints, bricks, copper-mining and spelter, became owner of iron-, glass-, and steel-works, and has been a director in manufacturing, railroad, and banking corporations. He was among the first to establish the manufacture of spelter, nickel, and cobalt in this country, and was the first to make magnetic needles of other substance than steel, he aided in establishing the Bethlehem iron company, particularly its steel-forging plant for government work. Mr. Wharton owns the deposits of nickel ore in Lancaster county, Pennsylvania, which he purchased in 1873, and established his works in Camden, New Jersey He early experimented to produce nickel in a pure and malleable condition, so that it could be worked like iron, and was the first to attain practical success in this direction. He sent to the Centennial exhibition of 1876, and to the Paris exposition of 1878, samples of nickel ores, nickel-matte, metallic nickel in grains and cubes, cast and wrought nickel, cast cobalt, and electro-plating with nickel and cobalt, which illustrated the progress in the metallurgical development of this substance, and excited much admiration. Mr. Wharton aided in establishing Swarthmore college, of which he is president of the board of trustees, endowing its chair of history and political economy, and also founded the Wharton school of finance and economy in the University of Pennsylvania. He is a member of the Society of Friends. Mr. Wharton has published several pamphlets on the subject of protection to home industry.-Henry's son, Thomas Isaac, author, born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1 August, 1859, was graduated at the University of Pennsylvania in 1879, studied law, was admitted to the "bar, and is the author of "'A Latter-Day Saint" (New York, 1884), and "Hannibal of New York" (1886).--The first Joseph's descendant, Anne Hollingsworth, author, born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, about 1845, has published "The Wharton Family" (Philadelphia, 1880) ; "Vigilia"; and " St. Bartholomew's Eve."

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