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Biddle, Clement (10 May 1740–14 July 1814), merchant and army officer, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the son of John Biddle, a shipping merchant, and Sarah Owen. Biddle’s great-grandfather, who came to America in 1681, was one of the proprietors of West New Jersey. Biddle’s father moved from Mount Hope, New Jersey, to Philadelphia in 1730. Except for some interruption from his army service, Clement Biddle was a lifelong merchant whose family eventually achieved great prominence in Philadelphia. He formed a partnership early in life with his father called John & Clement Biddle. On 6 June 1764 Biddle married Mary Richardson, daughter of Francis Richardson of Chester, Pennsylvania. They had one child, Frances, who died in infancy; Biddle became a widower in 1773. On 18 August 1774 he took as his second wife Rebekah Cornell, daughter of Gideon Cornell, who at the time of his death in 1765 was lieutenant governor and chief justice of Rhode Island. Rebekah lived until 18 November 1831, having borne thirteen children, two of whom died in infancy. Nine children married into prominent families, as did their successors, and this Biddle branch became one of Philadelphia’s most powerful and wealthy families. Clement Biddle’s sister, Ann, married General ...

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Clarkson, Matthew (17 October 1758–25 April 1825), revolutionary war soldier and businessman, was born in New York City, the son of David Clarkson and Elizabeth French. After attending boarding school in Kingsbridge, New York, he enlisted at age seventeen in a corps of fusiliers under the command of Richard Ritzema and ...

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Fiske, John (11 April 1744–28 September 1797), naval officer and merchant seaman, was born in Salem, Massachusetts, the son of the Reverend Samuel Fiske, a Christian minister, and Anna Gerrish. Besides the educational instruction he received from his father, Fiske attended local schools. At an early age, he determined to make his living as a sailor, and by the time he was twenty-one he commanded a brigantine in trade with Spanish ports. In 1766 he married Lydia Phippen, with whom he had a large family. An outgoing, garrulous man, he was appreciated by those who were employed by him because of his handsome largesse and his congenial spirit as a master....

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Folsom, Nathaniel (18 September 1726–26 May 1790), merchant and soldier, was born in Exeter, New Hampshire, the son of Jonathan Folsom and Anna Ladd Foster, farmers. When Folsom was fourteen his father died. He was apprenticed to a trade but later became a merchant and, with two partners, began his own trading firm. He had no formal or academic education....

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Glover, John (05 November 1732–30 January 1797), merchant and army officer, was born in Salem, Massachusetts, the son of Jonathan Glover, a house carpenter, and Tabitha Bacon. When he was four years old Glover’s father died. Some time thereafter the widowed mother moved with her four sons to nearby Marblehead. Glover became a shoemaker and then entered into the fishing business. He married Hannah Gale in 1754; they had eleven children. With profits from fishing Glover purchased a small coasting vessel and began trading with the West Indies and the Iberian peninsula. By 1774 Glover had accumulated considerable property and had become one of Marblehead’s leading citizens....

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Hambleton, Thomas Edward (17 May 1829–21 September 1906), blockade runner and financier, was born in New Windsor, Maryland, the son of Thomas Edward Hambleton, a dry-goods merchant and entrepreneur, and Sarah Slingluff. His parents moved in 1831 to Baltimore, where Hambleton received his early education before enrolling in St. Mary’s College, from which he graduated in 1849. He then entered into a partnership in Baltimore that manufactured agricultural implements. In 1852 he married Arabella Stansbury, with whom he had three children....

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Hazen, Moses (01 June 1733–05 February 1803), army officer, landowner, and merchant, was born in Haverhill, Massachusetts, the son of Moses Hazen, a merchant, and Abigail White. Hazen was apprenticed to a tanner and later operated independently. The outbreak of the French and Indian War lured him away, and he remained in the military during two great wars. In 1755 he enlisted in a British colonial unit and served under Colonel ...

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Mifflin, Thomas (10 January 1744–20 January 1800), merchant, soldier, and politician, was born in Philadelphia, the son of John Mifflin and Elizabeth Bagnell, Quakers. His father, a wealthy merchant, held numerous significant political posts including that of provincial councilor. Thomas graduated from the College of Philadelphia in 1760 and then spent four years learning the merchant trade with William Coleman. After visiting England and France during 1764 and 1765, Mifflin formed a mercantile partnership with his brother George and in March 1767 married Sarah Morris, a cousin. The couple quickly took a prominent place in Philadelphia’s elite social circle. Contemporaries described Mifflin as an affable gentleman and fine sportsman. Elected to membership in the American Philosophical Society in 1768, he actively participated in that organization thereafter....

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Pepperrell, Sir William (27 June 1696–06 July 1759), merchant and soldier, was born in Kittery Point, Maine, then part of Massachusetts, the son of William Pepperrell and Margery Bray. His father was a prosperous merchant, and young William grew up in a comfortable family, though he received little formal education and acquired his business knowledge from working in his father’s store. Pepperrell (sometimes spelled Pepperell) joined the militia at age sixteen, and he later became a partner in his father’s business. The firm built ships and traded lumber, fish, ships, and other products to the southern colonies, the West Indies, the Mediterranean region, and England, in turn importing European products that they sold in Boston. Father and son prospered and invested their returns in real estate; by 1729 the younger Pepperrell owned almost the entire townships of Saco and Scarboro, Maine. He was also responsible for the firm’s affairs in Boston, where he made valuable social contacts. In 1723 he married Mary Hirst, the granddaughter of ...

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Roberdeau, Daniel (1727–05 January 1795), merchant and revolutionary war general, was born on St. Kitts (St. Christopher), West Indies, the son of Isaac Roberdeau and Mary Cunyngham. Nothing is known about his parents’ occupations. His father was a Huguenot from La Rochelle, France; his mother was of Scottish ancestry. Roberdeau was sent to England for his education but on his father’s death moved to Philadelphia with his mother and completed his studies there. He soon began a successful career in the West Indian trade. He entered politics as a warden of the city and in 1756 was elected to his first of five annual terms in the state assembly. He married Mary Bostwick of Philadelphia in 1761 and, adopting her devout Presbyterianism, became an elder of the Second Presbyterian Church. The couple had nine children....