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Benner, Philip (19 May 1762–27 July 1832), soldier, pioneer ironmaster, and entrepreneur, was born in Chester County, Pennsylvania, the son of Henry Benner and Dinah Thomas, farmers. For Philip Benner as for many of his generation, the American Revolution was the defining experience of his early life. When his father, a vocal patriot, was imprisoned by the British, Philip went to war in the Continental army wearing a vest in which his mother had quilted guineas in case of emergency. Benner fought as a private under the command of his relative General ...

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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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Craig, Isaac (1742–14 June 1826), American revolutionary officer and Pittsburgh business and civic leader, was born in Hillsborough, Ireland, to parents whose names and occupations are not known. He came to Philadelphia in late 1765 and worked in that city for about ten years as a master carpenter and builder. He became a patriot and in November 1775 was appointed as a first lieutenant in the first company of marines. That year Craig served on the ...

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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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Graham, Joseph (13 October 1759–12 November 1836), revolutionary soldier, political leader, and iron entrepreneur, was born in Chester County, Pennsylvania, the son of James Graham and Mary McConnell Barber, farmers. Graham’s father rented the land he farmed. Upon his death in 1763, his mother joined the great Scotch-Irish migration to the South, moving her family to the Carolina back country via Charleston, South Carolina. Eventually the widow Graham and her five children—three sons and two daughters—settled in Mecklenburg County, North Carolina, where in 1771 she purchased a 200-acre farm near Charlotte....

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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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O’Hara, James (?1752–16 December 1819), revolutionary war officer, businessman, and manufacturer, was born in County Mayo, Ireland, the son of Major John O’Hara. (His mother’s name is not known.) The young O’Hara left Ireland in 1765 to attend the Jesuit College of St. Sulpice in Paris. In 1770 he briefly served in the Regiment of the British Coldstream Guards. The next year he resigned the ensign’s commission granted to him by his relative, Lord Tyrawley, and briefly worked in a ship broker’s office in Liverpool, acquiring business skills....

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Pomeroy, Seth (20 May 1706–19 February 1777), soldier and gunsmith, was born in Northampton, Massachusetts, the son of Ebenezer Pomeroy and Sarah King. The Pomeroy family had come to America in 1630 and had long played an important part in the development of Northampton, the central township of western Massachusetts. The men of the Pomeroy family had been drawn to the gunsmith and blacksmith trades, and Seth Pomeroy was no exception to this proclivity. He joined the local militia at an early age and soon showed signs of becoming a solid citizen of the Northampton community. He married Mary Hunt in 1732. The couple eventually had nine children, eight of whom would live to maturity....

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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....

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Wadsworth, Peleg (25 April 1748–12 November 1829), military officer, politician, and merchant, was born in Duxbury, Massachusetts, the son of Deacon Peleg Wadsworth and Susanna Sampson. An ancestor, Christopher Wadsworth, was one of the town’s early settlers. Peleg received his bachelor’s degree from Harvard College in 1769 and subsequently returned for a master’s degree which he received in 1772. Following his undergraduate studies, he operated a private school in Plymouth, Massachusetts. In 1772 he married Elizabeth Bartlett, a resident of that town and a direct descendant of the ...

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Wooster, David (02 March 1711–02 May 1777), soldier and merchant, was born in Stratford (now Huntington), Connecticut, the son of Abraham Wooster, a mason, and Mary Walker. He received a bachelor’s degree from Yale College in 1738. In May 1741 the Connecticut Assembly appointed him lieutenant of the armed sloop ...