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Old Chester, PA: Biographical Sketches

Jesse J. Maris

 Jesse J. Maris

Photograph from
One Hundred Years, The Delaware County Nation Bank Chester, PA 1814-1914

Jesse J. Maris

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

Jesse J. Maris (22-23, 34, 36, 41-60; fifth president [of The Bank of Delaware County], November 22, 1841, to December, 1860), son of Dr. Jonathan and Judith (Mcllvain) Maris, was born in North Wales, Montgomery county, July 18, 1793. He was a child of less than four years when his father died, and his mother returned to Ridley township, in the section now known as Leiperville, where she resided with her mother, then a widow.

Jesse J. Maris received his primary education in the old stone school still standing on the Post road a short distance above Crum Lynne station, and completed it at the New Garden Boarding School, Chester county, then under the management of Enoch Lewis, a noted mathematician. He entered the counting house of his uncles, R. and H. McIlvain, lumber merchants, of Philadelphia.

On attaining his majority and with the purpose of seeking a location to embark in business, in 1814, he and Pennock Passmore made a horseback journey over the Allegheny mountains, which, at that time was regarded as the extreme limit of "the backwoods," and visited Cincinnati, a struggling hamlet of a few houses. Through mountain passes and over public roads that were bridle paths, the travelers reached Buffalo, which was then a fire-marked ruin, for the British had burned the settlement in the War of 1812.

Returning, he settled on a farm in Montgomery county, which had been bequeathed to him by his paternal uncle, but the next year, 1815, he embarked in the lumber business at Ridley, near Leiperville. That year he married Mary, the daughter of Samuel and Mary West.

In 1820, the family removed to Chester township, now Upland borough, where they located on the farm, a gift from Samuel West, where the husband and wife lived the remainder of their days. Their house in Upland, now owned by John P. Crozer, still stands, and is now occupied by Albert R. Granger.

On November 22, 1841, Jesse J. Maris was elected president of The Bank of Delaware County, a position he held until his death. In 1844 he was nominated by the Whig party for County Auditor, but declined, giving as his reasons that he could accept no office where the military tax must be audited by him. He was an earnest advocate of anti-slavery laws, and it was largely through his efforts that the law to prevent kidnapping in Pennsylvania was enacted. On his death bed, before the actual outbreak of the Civil War, Jesse J. Maris declared that slavery as a legalized institution in the United States was nearing its end. That was three years before the Emancipation Proclamation of Lincoln was promulgated. Jesse J. Maris died December 16, 1860, aged 67 years. 





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