Governor Samuel Whitaker Pennypacker

Governor of Pennsylvania 1903-1907




Portrait from THE SETTLEMENT OF GERMANTOWN and the Beginning of German Emigration to North America, Hon. Samuel Whitaker Pennypacker, LL.D. President Judge of the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas, No. 2, and Senior Vice-President of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania. William J. Campbell, Philadelphia, 1899.

Used with permission.



An early bio from "History of Chester County, PA" by J Smith Futhey and Gilbert Cope, 1881

"Samuel W. (Pennypacker), lawyer in Philadelphia, was born in Phoenixville April 9, 1843. He has a bachelor of laws of University of Pennsylvania, and in 1867 was elected president of a Law academy of Philadelphia. For several years he had been won the editors and proprietors of the weekly notes of cases, the leading wall journal of Pennsylvania, and he is one of the compilers of a digest of the "English common law reports" which was commenced by Chief Justice Sharswood. He has also giving considerable attention to local historical investigation. In 1872 he published the "Annals of Phoenixville and it's Vicinity." And an 1880 a paper on the "Settlement of Germantown." He was one of the Congress of authors, who, on invitation, wrote sketches, which were deposited in Independence Hall, July 2,1876. Some of these articles have been edited with approval by scholars in England, Germany, and Holland.

"PENNYPACKER, Samuel Whitaker, jurist, was born in Phoenixville, Pa., April 9, 1843; son of Dr. Isaac and Anna Maria (Whitaker) Pennypacker; grandson of Bishop Matthias and Sarah (Anderson) Pennypacker, and of Joseph and Grace Whitaker, and a descendant of Hendrick and Eve (Umstat) Pannebecker. Hendrick Pannebecker emigrated from Homborn, on the upper Rhine, to Pennsylvania, about 1699, and settled on Skippack Creek, where he became a large landholder and surveyor of public lands for the Penns. Samuel Whitaker Pennypacker was educated in the West Philadelphia institute; served as a private in the 26th emergency regiment in 1863, and was graduated at the University of Pennsylvania, LL.B., in 1866. He was married, Oct. 20, 1870, to Virginia Earl, daughter of Nathan B. Broomall, of Phoenixville, Pa. He was made president of the Law Academy of Philadelphia in 1868; served on the board of public education of Philadelphia and was controller of public schools for the 29th ward, 1886-89, and was admitted to practice in the U.S. supreme court in 1887. He was judge of the court of common pleas of Philadelphia, by appointment under Governor Beaver to fill a vacancy, 1889-90, and by election, 1890-1900, and served as president judge of the court. In 1902 he was elected governor of Pennsylvania by the Republican party. He was elected a member of numerous scientific, historical and patriotic societies; was a trustee of the University of Pennsylvania from 1886; state commissioner of the Valley Forge reservation; founder and manager of the Pennsylvania society, Sons of the Revolution; a vice-provost of the Philadelphia Law academy, and a member of the supervisory committee on the restoration of Independence Hall. He received the honorary degree of LL.B. from Franklin and Marshall college. In his library he collected about 7000 printed books on early Pennsylvania, of which 260 were from the press of Benjamin Franklin, and his collection relating to the German colonization of Pennsylvania was the largest ever made. He compiled, together with E.G. Platt and Samuel S. Hollingsworth, a Digest of the English Common Law Reports (1879); Pennypacker's Supreme Court Cases (4 vols.); Pennsylvania Colonial Cases, and aided in the preparation of Weekly Notes of Cases (40 vols.). He is the author of the Annals of Phoenixville and Its Vicinity (1878); The Pennypacker Reunion (1878); Historical and Biographical Sketches, many of which have been translated in Dutch and German (1883), and The Settlement of Germantown."


From SMULL'S LEGISLATIVE HANDBOOK and MANUAL OF THE STATE OF PENNSYLVANIA 1903, State of Pennsylvania, Harrisburg. "Biographical Sketches of State Officers," page 128.

"GOVERNOR Samuel Whitaker Pennypacker was born in Phoenixville, Chester County, Pa, April 9, 1843. His father having been appointed to a professorship in the Philadelphia Medical College, the family moved to that city, and young Pennypacker was sent to the Northwest Grammar School, from which he was given a scholarship to Saunders Institute, West Philadelphia. On the death of his father, after several years residence in Philadelphia, he returned to Phoenixville, where he attended the Grovemont Seminary. He prepared for Yale University, but through circumstances beyond his control was prevented from attending that institution of learning. In 1862 he took an examination for teachers' certificate in Montgomery County and that winter taught school in Mont Clare. In 1863 he enlisted and was sworn in as a United States volunteer, joining Company F, of Pottstown, Twenty-sixth Pennsylvania Emergency Regiment, which was the first force to meet the rebels at Gettysburg. On his return from military service he began the study of law, entering the Law Department of the University of Pennsylvania and at the same time registering as a law student in the office of Hon. Peter McCall. In 1866 he was graduated with degree of Bachelor of Laws and immediately engaged in the practice of the legal profession. In the same year he was elected President of the Law Academy. In 1886 he was appointed a member of the Philadelphia Board of Education. He was admitted to the bar of the Supreme Court of the United States in 1887 and in 1889 was appointed Judge of the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia by Governor Beaver. In the same year he was elected to the same position for a term of ten years and in 1899 was re-elected for a similar term. At the time of his nomination for Governor of Pennsylvania by the Republican State Convention he was President Judge of the Court of Common Pleas No. 2, of Philadelphia. He is President of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania and of the Philadelphia Club; Vice President of the Sons of the Revolution and of the Colonial Society; Past Commander of Frederick Taylor Post No. 19, Grand Army of the Republic; member of the Society of Colonial Wars and of the Society of the War of 1812. He is also a trustee of the University of Pennsylvania. For a number of years he was a member of the Valley Forge Commission. He is the author of "Pennsylvania Colonial Causes," "Pennsylvania's Supreme Court Reports," "A Digest of the Common Law Reports," the "Settlement of Germantown," "Historical and Biographical Sketches," and over fifty books and papers. His library of early Pennsylvania publications contains over 8,000 books and manuscripts. He was married October 20, 1870, to Virginia Earl, daughter of Nathan B. Broomall, of Chester County, and their family consists of three daughters and a son.


Additional Information:

He died September 2, 1916 and is buried in Phoenixville, Chester Co, PA, Morris Cem.


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Biography from Futhey & Cope submitted by Ron Mitchell. The Pennypacker side of the UM genealogy (descendants of Heinrich Pannebecker and Eve UM) is handled by Ron. Please contact him for further information and connection.

Biography from Smull's submitted by Ella Aderman of Pennypacker Mills.