Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
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READ, Charles, jurist, born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1 February, 1715; died probably in North Carolina about 1780. His father, of the same name, was mayor of Philadelphia in 1725, sheriff of the county in 1729-'31, collector of excise in 1725-'34, afterward collector of the port of Burlington, New Jersey, and at his death was a provincial councillor and sole judge of the admiralty. The son succeeded his father as collector of the port of Burlington, studied law, and was admitted to the bar in 1753. About 1760 he became an associate justice of the supreme court, which office, as well as that of collector, he held till the Revolution, acting for a time as chief justice on the death of Robert H. Morris in 1764. He was several times mayor of Burlington. He was chosen colonel of a regiment of militia in 1776, was a .deputy to the convention to frame a new constitution, and on 18 July was made colonel of a battalion of the flying camp, but in December he made his submission to the British. Bancroft, in an early edition of his "History of the United States," confounded General Joseph Reed with the officer that submitted to Sir. William Howe. Read was afterward taken prisoner by the Americans and sent to Philadelphia, whence he was removed to North Carolina. He was one of the founders of the American philosophical society. --His brother, James, jurist, born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 29 January, 1716; died there, 17 October, 1793, studied law and was admitted to the bar in September, 1742. He was deputy prothonotary of the supreme court of the province, and also a justice of the peace. About the time of the formation of Berks county he settled in Reading, where in 1752 he became the first prothonotary, register of wills, and clerk of the courts, which offices he held for more than twenty-five years. He served in the general assembly in 1777, and in the supreme executive council from June, 1778, till October, 1781. From 1781 till 1783 he was register of the admiralty. In 1783 he became one of the council of censors whose duty it was to propose amendments to the constitution. From 1787 till 1790 he was again a member of the executive council. Shortly afterward he removed to Philadelphia, where he resided until his death. He was a man of scholarly attainments. His correspondence, which is still in existence, besides remarks on gardening and observations of nature, gives his views on education and politics and criticisms on current French and English works. His death was caused by yellow fever during the great epidemic.--James's son, Collinson, born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in 1751; died in Reading, Pennsylvania, 1 March, 1815, studied law at the Temple, London, and was admitted to the bar of Berks county on 13 August, 1772. He was appointed deputy register of wills for the county, and afterward practised law in Philadelphia. He was a presidential elector when George Washington was first chosen president of the United States. He published a "Digest of the Laws of Pennsylvania" (Philadelphia, 1801) ; "Abridgment of the Laws of Pennsylvania" (1804); "American Pleader's Assistant "(1806) ; and "Precedents in the Office of a Justice of the Peace" (3d ed., 1810). His daughter, Sarah, married General William Gates.
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