Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton
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NIXON, John, soldier, born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in 1733: died there, 31 December, 1808. His grandparents emigrated to America at the close of the 17th century from Wexford, County Wexford, Ireland His father, Richard, was a shipping merchant, in 1738 built Nixon's wharf on Delaware river, and was a member of the city council from 1724 till his death. On the organization of the "Associators," for home defence during the French and Spanish war, he was chosen captain of the Dock-yard company. The son success of his father, and in 1756, during the excitement of the French war, was elected lieutenant of the company of which his father had been captain on its organization. In 1765 he signed the non-importation agreement against the stamp-act, and from that time onward was foremost in opposition to the usurpations of the crown. He was one of the wardens of the port of Philadelphia in 1766, a member of the committee that was appointed at town-meeting, 20 May, 1774, to reply to the letter from the citizens of Boston, carried by Paul Revere, and a month later was made a member of the first committee of correspondence. He was a deputy to the conventions of the province in 1774-'5. In April, 1775, the Associators were again called into being, and he was made lieutenant-colonel of the 3d battalion, known as "the silk stockings." He was a member of the committee of safety from its organization until its dissolution, and presided at its meetings in the absence of its chairman. In May, 1776, he had charge of the defences of the Delaware, at Fort island, and in July he was placed in command of the guard of the city. On 4 July congress adopted the Declaration of Independence, on the 5th it was ordered that it should be proclaimed in each of the United States and at the head of the army, on the 6th the committee of safety of Philadelphia ordered that it should be read and proclaimed at the state-house on Monday, 8 July, at noon. At that time and place, by popular appointment, John Nixon read and proclaimed to the people publicly for the first time the Declaration of Independence. In July he took his battalion of Associators to Amboy, where they had six weeks' service, and in December, having been made colonel to succeed John Cadwalader, who had been commissioned brigadier-general, he marched with his battalion to Trenton, and remained with Washington's army until late in January, taking part in the battle of Princeton. He was a member of the navy board in 1776, and in the winter of 1778 was at Valley Forge with the troops. In 1780, on the formation of the bank to supply the army with provisions, he was made first director, and he was one of the organizers of the Bank of North America in 1783, and its second president from 1792 until his death. His son, Henry, married Maria, daughter of Robert Morris, and subsequently became fourth president of the Bank of North America.
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