Sunday May 1, 2016 2:00 pm
Pennsylvania in its early history had many prominent founding fathers including namesake William Penn, Dr. Benjamin Rush and of course statesman, printer and scientist Benjamin Franklin.
These individuals were entrepreneurs and leaders in government and set the path to where we are today. Their resumes were impressive. Four other Pennsylvania founders also had outstanding resumes as we see below.
Thomas Mifflin – Successful merchant, Quartermaster General of the Continental Army, graduated from College of Philadelphia (now University of Pennsylvania), President of the Continental Congress, last President of Pennsylvania and first Pennsylvania Governor and Signer of the US Constitution for Pennsylvania and finally and most importantly, West Mifflin is named after him.
Thomas Fitzsimons – Successful merchant of West Indies trade, oversaw the Pennsylvania Navy, founded one of the first insurance companies, with the direction of Alexander Hamilton formed the Bank of North America, the first bank chartered by the United States, Trustee of University of Pennsylvania, member of the Continental Congress and signer of the US Constitution for Pennsylvania.
James Wilson – Successful lawyer in the Carlisle area, taught at the College of Philadelphia (now University of Pennsylvania), signer of the Declaration of Independence, member of the Continental Congress and Signer of the US Constitution for Pennsylvania and one of the six original justices appointed by George Washington to the Supreme Court of the United States.
Robert Morris – You know him from the local college, which he never saw as he had been dead for 115 years before classes started. He founded several canal companies, a steam engine company, and formed the first iron rolling mill in America. He loved to buy and sell land. He controlled the Continental Navy. Morris was a rare leader who signed our three most important documents, the Declaration of Independence, the U.S. Constitution, and the Articles of Confederation. A friend of George Washington, he is known as the “Financier of the Revolution” as he raised funds for the war and donated much of his fortune to the cause. It is said that he supplied funding for 80% of all bullets fired during the Revolutionary war and 75% of all other expenses. Fittingly he popularized the “$” sign.
Clearly, if you wanted to learn about leadership and governance, you could learn from these men. However when it came to finance later in their lives, they failed miserably and some went to debtor’s prison and all died in dire financial straits. Learn about their stories of pervasiveness, of speculation in early America and the economic volatility that characterized the area from our speaker Perry K. Blatz on Sunday May 1st at 2: 00 pm at the Township Municipal Center’s Council Chambers. Mr. Blatz taught United States history and public history for more than twenty-five years before his recent retirement from Duquesne University. He received his Ph.D. from Princeton University and has specialized in the economic and labor history of the 19th century. Please join us to learn about these men and their imprint on America and their subsequent financial struggles. As usual, the program is free to members and the general public and we will provide refreshments and light snacks.