Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
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PLUMSTED, Clement, mayor of Philadelphia, born in 1680 ; died in Philadelphia, 26 May, 1745. He is believed to have been a native of Norfolk, England, and this belief is supported by the fact that his son William had marked on his silver the crest that was granted to Nathaniel Plumsted, of that county, in the 15th year of Queen Elizabeth. He was no doubt a kinsman, perhaps a son, of Clement Plumsted, citizen and draper of London, who was among the proprietors of East Jersey, associated with William Penn. He came to Philadelphia about the time he attained his majority, became a merchant, and was nearly all his life one of the wealthiest citizens. He was made a common councilman in 1712, afterward became an alderman, and in 1723 succeeded James Logan as mayor, to which office he was again chosen in 1736 and in 1741. He was commissioned in 1717 one of the justices of the court of common pleas, quarter sessions, and orphans' court, and was continued by subsequent appointments until his death. From 1727 till his death he was an active member of the provincial council, and in 1780 became a master in chancery. In company with David French and two gentlemen from Maryland, he was commissioned by the English court of chancery in 1740 to examine witnesses in Pennsylvania and the Lower counties in the case of Penn vs. Lord Baltimore. He was the intimate friend of Andrew Hamilton, and was concerned with him in extensive and profitable land speculations, and, no doubt, through Hamilton's influence, Plumsted, although a Quaker, came to show little sympathy with the "Norris party," as the stricter Friends came to be called, in the bitter contests between this party and the governor. In 1727 he was one of those that purchased the Durham tract in Bucks county, Pennsylvania, formed a stock-company for the manufacture of iron, and built the Durham furnace, where the manufacture has since been continued. The property was purchased in 1864 by Edward Cooper and Abram S. Hewitt. By his will he left £50 to be divided between ten poor housekeepers, five of them to be Friends and five of other denominations. He also gave five shillings to every poor person in the almshouse.--His son, William, mayor of Philadelphia, born in Philadelphia, 7 November, 1708: died there, 10 August, 1765, became his father's partner in business, and continued in trade after the latter's death. In 1739 he was chosen to the city council. In 1741, on his return from a voyage to England, it being suggested that he should be called to the provincial council, Governor Thomas wrote to William Penn: "Will Plumsted is a very worthy young man, but as his father is in the council he Will be always looked upon as under his influence, and so can give no reputation to the board. Besides, it is both your brother's opinion and mine that he would not accept of it." On the death of Peter Evans, a lawyer of the Inner Temple, in 1745, the office of register-general for the province became vacant, and, at Clement Plumsted's solicitation, it was given to William, who held the of-rice until his death. He was also many years a county judge. When about middle age he renounced Quakerism. In 1748 he was a subscriber to the Dancing assembly, the first that was held in Philadelphia. Subsequently he became one of the founders of St. Peter's church, and in 1761, when its house for worship was finished, he was elected a vestryman, and became the first accounting warden. He was one of the original trustees of the college that has since grown to be the University of Pennsylvania. He was three times chosen mayor of Philadelphiauin 1750, 1754, and 1755--and at the end of the first term gave to the city £75 instead of giving the entertainment that was expected from a retiring mayor. In 1757, although he resided at that time in the city of Philadelphia, he was chosen a member of the assembly from Northampton county. His daughter, Elizabeth, a lady of noted beauty, became the wife of Andrew Elliott, and his granddaughter, Elizabeth, daughter of Andrew and Elizabeth (Plumsted) Elliott, became lady of the bed-chamber to the queen of England, and wife of William Schaw Cathcart, who was created Earl Cathcart in 1814.
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