Penn History

Penn in the 18th Century

Penn Trustees, 1749-1800

Read their stories…see their faces…

From Penn’s founding in 1749 until the beginning of the next century, 122 men served as trustees of the institution in its varying institutional forms, from the Academy and Charity School of Philadelphia in 1749, to the College of Philadelphia in 1755, to the University of the State of Pennsylvania in 1779, and finally in 1791, as University of Pennsylvania. The biographies of these trustees (and of four men who served as clerks or secretary to the board) reveal the achievements and nature of these varied individuals, and also a glimpse into the 18th century world in which Penn began.

Discern the trends…

Were the trustees all men of wealth and status? What were their professions? How were these men connected by family, marriage and professional ties? How did they shape first the colonial economy and then the economy of the new nation? Were they all born in America? Were they educated in America?

Did Quakers or Episcopalians dominate the board of trustees? Was the board non-sectarian? How many clergymen were included?

What was the connection between the trustees and politics? How much influence was wielded by the Pennsylvania proprietors, the Penn family? What role did trustees play in the American Revolution? How did they shape the New Republic? How many held political offices? How did they align politically? How did they influence the law?

Engage in a scavenger hunt…

Who could beat Benjamin Franklin at chess?

Who signed the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution? Who remained loyal to the king?

Who were imprisoned for debt? Who was jailed for assaulting Quaker elders?

Who designed the Seal of the United States?

Who owned enslaved people? Did anyone openly oppose slavery?

Who were NOT native English-speakers?

Did a father and son ever sit on the board simultaneously? Did two brothers ever do so?

Who were land speculators in “western” Pennsylvania?

Who died during the Yellow Fever epidemic of 1793?

Who fought in a duel?

Who was both an ordained clergyman and a combat officer?

Who asserted that drinking rum led to lead poisoning and why?

Who made a living as a brewer?

Whose mansion was the site of a Revolutionary War battle?

Who served as mayor of Philadelphia? Governor of Pennsylvania?

Biographies of All Trustees, 1749-1800

* indicates founder

Andrew Allen
John Allen
William Allen*
William A. Atlee
Joseph Ball
John B. Bayard
Charles Biddle
Edward Biddle
William Bingham
Robert Blackwell
John Bleakley
Phineas Bond*
Thomas Bond*
William Bradford
George Bryan
Edward Burd
John Cadwalader
Thomas Cadwalader
Samuel Campbell (clerk)
John Carson
Benjamin Chew
Gerardus Clarkson
George Clymer
William Coleman*
Nicholas Collin
David Conyngham
William Coxe
Alexander Dallas
John Dickinson
Jacob Duché
Andrew Elliot
John Evans
James Ewing
John Ewing
Ferdinand Farmer
Thomas Fitzsimons
Edward Fox (secretary)
George Fox
Tench Francis*
Benjamin Franklin*
P.F. Glentworth (clerk)
George Gray
James Hamilton
Robert Hare
Justus H.C. Helmuth
Henry Hill
Francis Hopkinson
Joseph Hopkinson
Thomas Hopkinson*
James Hutchinson
Jared Ingersoll
John Inglis*
James Irvine
David Jackson
Paul Jackson
Isaac Jones
John Jones (clerk)
Frederick Kuhl
John C. Kunze
Lynford Lardner
John Lawrence
Thomas Lawrence*
Thomas Leech*
William Lewis
James Logan*
Joshua Maddox*
William Masters*
Timothy Matlack
Samuel McCall*
Joseph B. McKean
Thomas McKean
John Mifflin
Thomas Mifflin
Samuel Miles
Robert Molyneux
William Moore
Benjamin R. Morgan
Robert Morris
Samuel Morris
Frederick A.C. Muhlenberg
John P.G. Muhlenberg
John Nixon
Isaac Norris
John Penn
Richard Penn
Rev. Richard Peters*
Hon. Richard Peters
Charles Pettit
William Plumsted*
James Potter
Samuel Powel
William Rawle
David Redick
John Redman
Joseph Reed
David Rittenhouse
George Ross
James Searle
John D. Sergeant
Edward Shippen
William Shippen*
Jonathan B. Smith
Matthew Smith
William Smith
James Sproat
John Sproat
Alexander Stedman
Samuel Sterrett
Amos Strettell
Robert Strettell*
Philip Syng*
Abram Taylor*
Edward Tilghman
James Tilghman
Joseph Turner*
Thomas Ustick
Casparus D. Weiberg
Thomas White*
William White
Alexander Wilcocks
Charles Willing*
Thomas Willing
James Wilson
John H. Winckhous
Caspar Wistar
Lloyd Zachary*