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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LEIPER, Thomas, born in Strathaven, Lanark, Scotland, 15 December, 1745; died in Delaware county, Pennsylvania, 6 July, 1825. He was educated at Glasgow and Edinburgh, and emigrated to Maryland in 1763. In 1765 he removed to Philadelphia, where he engaged in the storing and exportation of tobacco. When the Revolution began the principal tobacco house was interdicted, and Mr. Leiper, seizing this opportunity, pushed his connection so that he soon became the principal factor in Philadelphia. A few years later he built in Delaware county, Pennsylvania, several large mills for the manufacture of tobacco and snuff, and in 1780 he bought and operated quarries in the neighborhood of his mills. By these means he amassed a large fortune, which enabled him to subscribe freely to the improvement of Philadelphia and that part of Delaware county in the neighborhood of "Avondale," his country residence. Mr. Leiper was one of the founders of the first troop of city light horse, better known as the Philadelphia city troop, and served with them as lieutenaant during the Revolution at the battles of Princeton, Trenton, Brandywine, and Germantown. As treasurer of the troop, he carried the last subsidies of the French to the Americans at Yorktown. He also acted with his corps in quelling several civil insurrections and riots, notably in the whiskey riot of 1794, and in the attack on the residence of James Wilson in Philadelphia, when he was one of the seven troopers that charged and routed the mob of rioters. Mr. Leiper was a staunch Democrat, and was generally chosen chairman of all Democratic town meetings, at one of which he was the first to nominate General Jackson for the presidency. He was a presidential elector, director of the banks of Pennsylvania and the United States, commissioner for the defence of the city in the war of 1812, and a member, and ultimately president, of the common council of the city of Philadelphia. In 1809 Mr. Leiper had constructed, from his quarries on Crum creek to his landing on Ridley creek, in Delaware county, what was the first permanent tramway in America. The road was three fourths of a mile in length, and continued in active use until 1828, when it was superseded by a canal, after the plan made by Mr. Leiper, but not carried into effect until after his death.--His son, George Gray, born in Delaware county, Pennsylvania, 3 February, 1786; died there, 17 November, 1868, was graduated at the University of Pennsylvania in 1803. He represented Delaware county in congress from 1829 till 1831, and for many years served as lay associate judge of the Delaware county circuit court.
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