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Old Chester, PA: Biographical Sketches

Samuel Edwards

Samuel Edwards

(A biographical sketch taken from One Hundred Years, The Delaware County National Bank Chester, PA 1814-1914)

Years in parentheses are years of service as a Director of The Bank of Delaware County and/or The Delaware County National Bank

Hon. Samuel Edwards (1816-17, 24-32, 40-42, 47-49), son of Abner Edwards, was born in Chester township, March 12, 1785. He read law in the office of William Graham, and was admitted to the Bar of Delaware County, April 30, 1806.

In early life he was a Federalist, and when the young men of the party met at Chester, August 22, 1812, to denounce Congress for declaring war against Great Britain, Edwards was chairman of the meeting. In the following April he personally obligated himself to the State for the cost of sixty muskets, necessary accoutrements, and ammunition to arm a company of Chester soldiers, which marched to Frenchtown, then threatened by a naval fleet under the British Admiral Cockburn.

In the summer of 1814, when Dr. Samuel Anderson recruited the Mifflin Guards, Samuel Edwards went as a private in the ranks. Appointed company clerk (during all the service of that organization as part of the army of the United States), the minute book kept by him is now in the manuscript collection of the Pennsylvania Historical Society. While still in active military service, he was elected to the Legislature in 1814, and re-elected in 1815.

Mr. Edwards, as with many others, had gradually fallen away from the Federalistic party because of its attitude towards the Government in the second war with Great Britain; hence, in 1819, when elected to Congress on that ticket, he trained under the leadership of Henry Clay, but did not follow that great man into the Whig party.

In 1825, Mr. Edwards was again elected to Congress, serving as the colleague of James Buchanan, and like Buchanan, Edwards had become a strong advocate of Democratic party measures. Although Mr. Edwards served no other term in Congress, it was charged during Jackson's and VanBuren's administrations, that in Eastern Pennsylvania Samuel Edwards, George G. Leiper, Levi Reynolds, Joel J. Sutherland, and James Buchanan dealt out the federal patronage.

In 1824, Mr. Edwards was one of the committee appointed to receive General Lafayette. In 1832, he was elected Chief Burgess of Chester, and in 1838 to 1842 was Inspector of Customs at Chester. For years he was the leader of the Delaware County Bar. He and Benjamin Tilghman defended John H. Craig, convicted of the murder of 'Squire Hunter, in 1818, and from the organization of the P., W. & B. Railroad until Mr. Edwards' death, he was counsel for that company. He was one of the organizers and for many years a director of the Delaware Mutual Insurance Company, now of Philadelphia. Hon. Samuel Edwards died at Chester November 26, 1850, aged 65 years. He built the fine old mansion which stood at the head of Market street, where the Arcade Hotel now stands. His daughter married General Edward F. Beale, the celebrated Western soldier and explorer, whose remains lie in Chester Rural Cemetery. Their daughter, Mary, married John R. McLean, owner of the Cincinnati Enquirer, and Emily married George Bakhmetieff, Ambassador from Russia to the United States.






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2002 John A. Bullock III.

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This page last updated 10/17/05