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Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton and Company, 1887-1889 and 1999. Virtualology.com warns that these 19th Century biographies contain errors and bias. We rely on volunteers to edit the historic biographies on a continual basis. If you would like to edit this biography please submit a rewritten biography in text form . If acceptable, the new biography will be published above the 19th Century Appleton's Cyclopedia Biography citing the volunteer editor





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Phineas Pemberton

PEMBERTON, Phineas, colonist, born in Lancaster, England, 31 January, 1650; died in Bucks county, Pennsylvania, 1 March, 1702. He was of Quaker parentage, was apprenticed to a grocer, and afterward began business on his own account at Bolton, England, where he subsequently served as an overseer of the poor. On account of his Quaker principles, he suffered persecution, being fined and several times imprisoned. In 1682, accompanied by his family and his aged father, Ralph Pemberton, he emigrated to Pennsylvania, where he purchased a large plantation in Bucks county on the banks of Delaware river, naming it Grove Place. In 1683 he was appointed deputy register of Bucks county, and commissioned by Penn clerk of the courts of the county, which latter office he held until his death, and in 1684 he became the register of the county. In 1685 he became a member of the provincial council, serving in this office most of the time till his death, and he was for many years a member of the assembly. In 1686 he was appointed deputy master of the rolls, and in 1696 succeeded Thomas Lloyd as master of the rolls. He ranked among the chief men in the colony. On hearing of his death, Penn wrote from England: "I mourn for poor Phineas Pemberton, the ablest as well as one of the best men in the province." Set "Annals of the Pemberton Family" in "Friends' Miscellany" (vol. vii.).--His son, Israel, merchant, born in Grove Place, Bucks County, Pennsylvania, 20 February, 1685; died in Philadelphia, 19 January, 1754, was carefully educated, and came to be one of the wealthiest and best-known merchants of his time. He served for nineteen years in the provincial assembly, and held numerous other offices. He occupied a position of great importance in the affairs of the Friends, was largely employed in looking after its property, in watching over the interests of its schools under its care, and in adjusting differences between its members. In 1729 he was chosen an elder, which post he held until his death, His house was the general resort of Friends from Europe. His mansion was large, and was the scene of a hospitality that was unrivalled in the province.--Israel's son, Israel, philanthropist, born in Philadelphia in 1715; died there, 22 April, 1779, received a liberal education, and engaged in business with his father, he was called the king of the Quakers, and stood in the forefront of those who sought to maintain Penn's peace policy against some of the governors. Owing to his outspoken criticism of Governor Thomas, a warrant was issued by the governor for Pemberton's arrest, but he obtained a writ of habeas corpus from the supreme court, and was released on bail. The governor declared this "the first instance of a habeas corpus being granted to take a person suspected of endeavoring to disturb and break the peace of the province out of the hands of an officer before examination," and he caused a second warrant of arrest to be issued, but it does not appear that Pemberton was taken into custody under it. Pemberton was a friend of the Indians, and the people dubbed him King Wampum. In 1756, when a majority of the people were calling for a war of extermination against the Delawares and other Indians, Pemberton, with others, went on a mission that resulted in a conference at Easton, where a treaty of peace was formed. He was one of the founders of the "Friendly association for regaining and preserving peace with the Indians by pacific measures," was active in establishing the Pennsylvania hospital, being a member of its first board of managers, and was also a manager of the Society for the cultivation of silk. To these, and to many other benevolent organizations, he gave liberally of his means. His Quaker principles led him, with others, to look with disfavor on the war for independence, and in 1777 congress, suspecting that their influence would be exerted against the colonies, recommended their arrest and imprisonment, whereupon, by order of the supreme executive council of Pennsylvania, he, with his brothers James and John and a score more of the wealthiest and most influential Quakers in the city, were arrested, and, without a hearing or trial, sent into Virginia, where they were kept in exile for eight months. See "Exiles in Virginia," by Thomas Gilpin (1848).--Another son, James, merchant, born in Philadelphia, 26 August, 1723 ; died there, 9 February, 1808, after completing his education in the Quaker schools, entered on a successful mercantile career. Although not so distinguished a man among the Quakers as his brother Israel, he wielded a large influence in both church and public affairs. He was one of the founders, and a member of the board of managers, of the Pennsylvania hospital, was early interested in the negroes, and became one of the organizers of the Pennsylvania abolition society, of which, on Benjamin Franklin's death in 1790, he was chosen president. During the Indian wars he united with his brothers to restore peace. Many of the Indian chiefs that came to Philadelphia enjoyed his hospitality. An important object with him during his life was the distribution of religious and instructive books, for which he gave liberally. In 1756, while holding a place in the assembly, he resigned his seat because the service, involving the consideration of military measures, was incompatible with his principles. In the following year he published "An Apology for the People called Quakers, containing some Reasons for their not complying with Human Injunctions and Institutions in Matters relative to the Worship of God." He was among those that, in 1777, were exiled to Virginia. His country-seat, on Schuylkill river, was occupied by some of Lord Howe's officers when the British held Philadelphia. It passed into the possession of the National government, and is now the site of the United States naval asylum.--Another son, John, Quaker preacher, born in Philadelphia, 27 November, 1727; died in Pyrmont, Westphalia, Germany, 31 January, 1795, received a good education, and engaged in business as a merchant. In 1750 he made a voyage to Europe for his health and the prosecution of some business matters. Shortly after his arrival in London, Pemberton accompanied his friend, John Churchman, on a religious tour. He subsequently travelled with Churchman, preaching the doctrines of the Friends, through England, Ireland, Scotland, and Holland, and after three years returned to this country. He took a deep interest in the Indians, and was active in his efforts to maintain peaceful relations between them and the whites. In 1777 he was among those Quakers who were arrested in Philadelphia and sent in exile to Virginia. His journal, containing an account of the same, is printed in "Friends' Miscellany" (vol. viii.). In 1782 he made another religious visit to Great Britain and Ireland, which continued until 1789, his meetings being frequently held in barns and in the open air, because other places could not be had. "An Account of the Last Journey of John Pemberton to the Highlands and other Places in Scotland in the Year 178%" written by his companion, Thomas Wilkinson, is printed in "Friends' Miscellany." Pemberton returned to Philadelphia in 1789, and in 1794 again went abroad on a missionary tour into Holland and Germany, in which countries he labored until his death. On quitting Amsterdam, he issued an address to the inhabitants of that city, entitled "Tender Caution and Advice to the Inhabitants of Amsterdam." See his journal of travels in Holland and Germany in "Friends' Miscellany" (vol. viii.). He left a large estate, much of which he gave by his will to the several charitable, benevolent, and religious organizations with which he had been associated, and for the purpose of aiding in the formation of like organizations.--The first Israel's great-great-grandson, John Clifford, soldier, born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 10 August, 1814; died in Penllyn, Pennsylvania, 13 July, 1881, was appointed to the United States military academy on his own "application by President Jackson, who had been a friend of his father. After his graduation in 1837 he was assigned to the 4th artillery, and served against the Indians in Florida in 1837-'9, and on the northern frontier during the Canada border disturbances in 1840-'2. He lieutenant on 19 March, 1842, and was on garrison duty till the Mexican war, during which he served with credit as aide to General Worth, receiving the brevet of captain for gallantry at Monterey, and that of major for services at Molino del Rey. At the close of the war he was presented with a sword by citizens of Philadelphia, and thanked, with other Pennsylvania officers, by resolution of the legislature of that state. In 1848 he married Martha, daughter of William H. Thompson, of Norfolk, Virginia. He was promoted captain on 16 September, 1850, took part in operations against the Seminole Indians in 1849-'50 and 1856-'7, and served at Fort Leavenworth during the Kansas troubles, and in the Utah expedition of 1858. At the beginning of the civil war he was ordered from Fort Ridgely, Minnesota, to Washington, and after his arrival there, in spite of the personal efforts of General Winfield Scott to prevent him, resigned his commission and was appointed lieutenant-colonel of Virginia state troops, to date from 28 April, 1861. He was intrusted with the organization of the artillery and cavalry of the state, and became colonel on 8 May, 1861. On 15 June he was made major of artillery in the Confederate army, and two days later a brigadier-general. On 13 February, 1862, he was promoted major-general, and at the request of Gem Robert E. Lee, whom he succeeded, was appointed to command the department that included South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida, with headquarters at Charleston. Here he strengthened the harbor defences, planning and beginning Fort Wagner and Battery B, and planting submarine obstructions. On 13 October, 1862, he was promoted lieutenant-general, and assigned to the charge of the department that comprised Mississippi, Tennessee, and eastern Louisiana, with headquarters at Jackson, Mississippi Pemberton's operations around Vicksburg and his de-fence of that city against General Grant are described in the article GRANT, ULYSSES S. After his surrender of the city and garrison on 4 July, 1863, he returned on parole to Richmond, where he remained until he was duly exchanged. As a man of northern birth he had many enemies at the south during the early period of the war, but he had always the confidence of the Confederate authorities. After his exchange, finding no command that was commensurate with his rank, he resigned, and was reappointed as inspector of ordnance, with the rank of colonel, in which capacity he served until the close of the war. He then retired to a farm near Warrenton, Virginia, but in 1876 returned to Philadelphia, which was the home of his brothers and sisters. In the spring of 1881 his health began to fail, and he removed, in the hope of benefiting it, to Penllyn, near Philadelphia, where he died.

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