Thomas McKEAN, Congress, DE (1734-1817)


McKEAN, Thomas, a Delegate from Delaware; born in New London, Chester County, Pa., March 19, 1734; was privately taught; engaged as clerk to the prothonotary of the court of common pleas for two years; deputy prothonotary and register for the probate of wills for New Castle County, studying law at the same time; was admitted to the bar in 1755 and commenced practice in New Castle, Del.; appointed deputy attorney general for Sussex County in 1756 and served until 1758 when he resigned; went to England and resumed the study of law at the Middle Temple in London; member of the Delaware House of Assembly 1762-1775 and served as speaker in 1772; appointed one of the three trustees of the loan office for New Castle County in 1764 and served until 1776; member of the Stamp-Act Congress in 1765; appointed by the Governor sole notary for the lower counties of Delaware July 10, 1765; in the same year received the commission of a justice of the peace, of the court of common pleas and quarter sessions, and of the orphans’ court for New Castle County; appointed collector of the port of New Castle in 1771; Member of the Continental Congress 1774-1776, 1778-1782 and served as President of Congress in 1781; a signer of the Declaration of Independence; member of the state house of representatives in 1776 and 1777 and served as speaker in the latter year; president of the state of Delaware in 1777; chief justice of Pennsylvania 1777-1799; served in the Revolutionary War; member of the convention of Pennsylvania which ratified the Constitution of the United States December 12, 1787; delegate to the state constitutional convention in 1789; Governor of Pennsylvania 1799-1808; died in Philadelphia, Pa., June 24, 1817; interment in Laurel Hill Cemetery.


Rowe, G.S. Thomas McKean: The Shaping of an American Republicanism. Boulder: Colorado Associated University Press, 1978.

Source: Biographical Directory of the United States Congress, 1771-Present