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Thomas Mifflin
""Thomas Mifflin.jpg
1st "Governor of Pennsylvania
In office
December 21, 1790 – December 17, 1799
Preceded by Himself,
as "President of Pennsylvania
Succeeded by "Thomas McKean
7th "President of Pennsylvania
In office
November 5, 1788 – December 21, 1790
Vice President "George Ross
Preceded by "Benjamin Franklin
Succeeded by Himself,
as "Governor of Pennsylvania
"Speaker of the "Pennsylvania House of Representatives
In office
Preceded by "John Bayard
Succeeded by "Richard Peters
3rd "President of the Confederation Congress
In office
November 3, 1783 – June 3, 1784
Preceded by "Elias Boudinot
Succeeded by "Richard Henry Lee
"Continental Congressman
In office
In office
Personal details
Born (1744-01-10)January 10, 1744
"Philadelphia, "Province of Pennsylvania, "British America
Died January 20, 1800(1800-01-20) (aged 56)
"Lancaster, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Political party "Federalist
Spouse(s) Sarah Morris
Profession "Merchant, soldier, politician
Signature ""

Thomas Mifflin (January 10, 1744 – January 20, 1800) was an American "merchant and politician from "Philadelphia, "Pennsylvania. He served in a variety of roles during and after the "American Revolution, several of which qualify him to be counted among the "Founding Fathers. He was the "first "Governor of Pennsylvania, serving from 1790 to 1799.

Born in "Philadelphia, Mifflin became a merchant after graduating from the "College of Philadelphia. He joined the "Continental Army after serving in the "Pennsylvania Provincial Assembly and the "Continental Congress. During the "American Revolutionary War, he served as an aide to General "George Washington and as the Continental Army's "Quartermaster General, rising to the rank of major general. Mifflin returned to Congress in 1782 and was elected "President of the Continental Congress in 1783. He served as Speaker of the "Pennsylvania House of Representatives from 1785 to 1787 and as "President of the "Pennsylvania Supreme Executive Council from 1788 to 1790.

Mifflin was a delegate to the 1787 "Philadelphia Convention and signed the "United States Constitution. He presided over the committee that wrote Pennsylvania's 1790 constitution and became the state's first governor after the ratification of the new state constitution. Mifflin left office as governor in 1799 and died the following year.


Early life[edit]

Coat of Arms of Thomas Mifflin

Thomas Mifflin was born January 10, 1744 in "Philadelphia in the "Province of Pennsylvania. He was the son of John Mifflin and Elizabeth Bagnall. His great-grandfather John Mifflin Jr. (1661–1714) was born in "Warminster, "Wiltshire, "England and settled in the "Province of Pennsylvania.[1] Thomas Mifflin graduated from the "College of Philadelphia (now the "University of Pennsylvania) in 1760, and joined the mercantile business of William Biddle. After returning from a trip to Europe in 1765, he established a commercial business partnership with his brother, George Mifflin, and married his cousin, Sarah Morris, on March 4, 1765.[2] He was a member of the "American Philosophical Society.

American Revolution[edit]

"The Death of General Mercer at the Battle of Princeton, January 3, 1777 by "John Trumbull, with Mifflin shown on the far left leading a cavalry charge[3]

Early in the "Revolutionary War, Mifflin left the Continental Congress to serve in the "Continental Army. Although his family had been Quakers for four generations, he was expelled from the "Religious Society of Friends because his involvement with a military force contradicted his faith's "pacifistic nature.[4] He was commissioned as a "major, then became "George Washington's "aide-de-camp and, on August 14, 1775 Washington appointed him to become the army's first "Quartermaster General under order of Congress.[5] Although it has been said that he was good at the job despite preferring to be on the front lines, questions have been raised regarding his failure to properly supply Washington and the troops at Valley Forge, as well as his having warehoused and sold Valley Forge supplies to the highest bidder. Reportedly, after Washington confronted him about this,[6] Mifflin asked to be relieved of the job of Quartermaster General, but was persuaded to resume those duties because Congress was having difficulty finding a replacement. His leadership in the battles "Trenton and "Princeton led to a promotion to "major general.[7]

In Congress, there was debate regarding whether a national army was more efficient or if individual states should maintain their own forces. As a result of this debate the Congressional Board of War was created, on which Mifflin served from 1777 to 1778. He then rejoined the army but took little active role, following criticism of his service as quartermaster general. He was accused of embezzlement and welcomed an inquiry; however, one never took place. He resigned his commission—by then, as a major general—but Congress continued to ask his advice even after accepting his resignation.

Political career[edit]

"General George Washington Resigning His Commission, by "John Trumbull, shows Mifflin standing on the left[8]

Prior to Independence, Thomas Mifflin was a member of the "Pennsylvania Provincial Assembly (1772–1776). He served two terms in the "Continental Congress (1774–1775 and 1782–1784), including seven months (November 1783 to June 1784) as that body's "presiding officer. His most important duty as president was to accept on behalf of Congress the "commission of General George Washington, who resigned on December 23, 1783. The importance of Congress declined so precipitously after the war that Mifflin found it difficult to convince the states to send enough delegates to Congress to ratify the "Treaty of Paris, which finally took place on January 14, 1784 at the Maryland State House in Annapolis.[9] Nonetheless, after the ratified versions of the Treaty of Paris were exchanged in France on May 12, 1784, Mifflin became the first United States president officially recognized by Great Britain.["citation needed] Mifflin had just appointed Thomas Jefferson as a minister to France on May 7, 1784, and he appointed his former aide, Colonel "Josiah Harmar, to be the commander of the "First American Regiment.

After serving as president, Thomas Mifflin was a delegate to the "United States Constitutional Convention in 1787. He was a signatory to the "Continental Association and the "Constitution.[2] He served in the house of "Pennsylvania General Assembly (1785–1788). He was a member of the "Supreme Executive Council of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and on November 5, 1788, he was elected "President of the Council, replacing "Benjamin Franklin. He was unanimously reelected to the Presidency on November 11, 1789.[10] He presided over the committee that wrote Pennsylvania's 1790 State Constitution. That document did away with the Executive Council, replacing it with a single Governor. On December 21, 1790 Mifflin became the last President of Pennsylvania and the first Governor of the Commonwealth. He held the latter office until December 17, 1799, when he was succeeded by "Thomas McKean. He then returned to the state legislature, where he served until his death the following month. Mifflin decreed that no less than six towns in Pennsylvania bear his name.["citation needed]

Death and legacy[edit]

Mifflin died in "Lancaster, Pennsylvania, January 23, 1800.[11] He is buried in front of "Trinity Lutheran Church in Lancaster.[12] A Commonwealth of Pennsylvania historical marker at the church commemorates both "Thomas Wharton and Mifflin, the first and last Presidents of Pennsylvania under the "1776 State Constitution. The marker, dedicated in 1975, is located on Duke Street in Lancaster.[13] It reads:

Holy Trinity
Lutheran Church
Founded in 1730.
A session for an Indian treaty was held in the original church building in 1762.
The present edifice was dedicated in 1766.
Here are interred the remains of Thomas Wharton (1778) and Gov. Thomas Mifflin (1800).

Entities named after Mifflin[edit]


  1. ^ "John Mifflin, II". Geni. Retrieved September 19, 2015. 
  2. ^ a b Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission entry for Thomas Mifflin Archived November 4, 2001, at the "Wayback Machine., accessed May 2, 2007.
  3. ^ Caldwell, John; Rodriguez Roque, Oswaldo (1994). "Thomas Mifflin". American Paintings in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. 1. "The Metropolitan Museum of Art. pp. 214–215. 
  4. ^ adherents.com entry for Thomas Mifflin
  5. ^ Risch pp. 30–31
  6. ^ Harlow Giles Unger, "Patrick Henry, Lion of Liberty", De Capo Press, 2010.
  7. ^ "Wright, Robert K. Jr.; MacGregor, Morris J. Jr. (1987). "Thomas Mifflin". Soldier-Statesmen of the Constitution. "U.S. Army Center of Military History. pp. 109–111. 
  8. ^ "General George Washington Resigning His Commission". "Architect of the Capitol. 
  9. ^ John K. Alexander, "Mifflin, Thomas", American National Biography Online, February 2000.
  10. ^ Minutes of the Supreme Executive Council of Pennsylvania, from its organization to the termination of the Revolution. [March 4, 1777 – December 20, 1790]. Harrisburg, Pub. by the State, 1852–53.
  11. ^ Robert K. Wright Jr; Morris J. MacGregor Jr (1987). "Thomas Mifflin". Soldier-Statesmen of the Constitution. U.S. Army Center of Military History. Retrieved November 26, 2013. 
  12. ^
  13. ^ Pennsylvania State Historical Marker for Thomas Mifflin Archived May 26, 2008, at the "Wayback Machine.
  14. ^ History of Mifflin Township, Franklin County, Ohio Archived March 11, 2009, at the "Wayback Machine. accessed May 24, 2010.
  15. ^ Ackerman, Jan (May 10, 1984). "Town names carry bit of history". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. p. 6. Retrieved October 31, 2015. 
  16. ^ History of Quartermaster Center, Fort Lee, Virginia Archived September 7, 2012, at "Archive.is accessed May 2010.
  17. ^ History of Mifflin Hall, Penn State University "Pennsylvania State University, accessed May 2010.


External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
"Elias Boudinot
"President of the United States in Congress Assembled
November 3, 1783 – October 31, 1784
Succeeded by
"Richard Henry Lee
Preceded by
"Benjamin Franklin
"President of Pennsylvania
November 5, 1788 – December 21, 1790
Succeeded by
As Governor of Pennsylvania
Preceded by
As President of Pennsylvania
"Governor of Pennsylvania
December 21, 1790 – 1799
Succeeded by
"Thomas McKean
Legal offices
Preceded by
Henry Hill
Member, "Supreme Executive Council of Pennsylvania, representing "the County of Philadelphia
October 20, 1788 – December 21, 1790
Succeeded by
Office abolished
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