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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MATLACK, Timothy, patriot, born in Haddon-field, New Jersey, in 1730; died near Hornesburg, Pennsylvania, 15 April, 1829. He had been a member of the Society of Friends, but at the beginning of the Revolution left it for that of the free or "Fighting Quakers," and is described by Christopher Marshall as "one of the most active spirits of the days of 1775-'6." When he first wore his sword in the streets of Philadelphia, some of the orthodox Friends ridiculed him, and inquired what its use was. " It is to defend my property and my liberty," he replied. He was one of the general committee of safety in 1776, a colonel of the battalion that served against the Delaware Tories, who in June of that year had cut off the land communication to Dover. He was also a deputy with Benjamin Franklin, Thomas McKean, Colonel John Bayard, and others from Philadelphia to attend the state conference of 14 June, 1776. He was a delegate from Pennsylvania to the Continental congress in 1780-'7, and for many years was master of the rolls of the state, residing in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, but, on becoming prothonotary of one of the courts of Philadelphia, he returned to that city. In 1783 the committee of safety of Philadelphia presented him with a silver urn " for his patriotic devotion to the cause of freedom, and the many services rendered by him throughout the struggle." With Benjamin Franklin, Robert Morris, and others, he established and contributed the funds to build the free Quaker meeting-house of Philadelphia. He lived to be more than ninety-nine years old, and retained his faculties to the last.
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