Charles Biddle

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Charles Biddle
Charles Biddle. Vice Pres't of the Supreme Exece. Counl. of Pennsylvania - DMS (monogram). LCCN2016649133.jpg
7th Vice-President of Pennsylvania
In office
10 October 1785 – 31 October 1787
PresidentJohn Dickinson
Benjamin Franklin
Preceded byJames Irvine
Succeeded byPeter Muhlenberg
Personal details
BornDecember 24, 1745
Philadelphia, Province of Pennsylvania, British America
DiedApril 4, 1821(1821-04-04) (aged 75)
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Hannah Shepard
(m. 1778; his death 1821)
RelationsSee Biddle family
Children10, including James, Nicholas, Thomas, John, Richard
ParentsWilliam Biddle III
Mary Scull Biddle

Charles Biddle (December 24, 1745 – April 4, 1821) was a Pennsylvania statesman and a member of the prominent Biddle family of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Early life[edit]

Biddle was born to a wealthy old Quaker family on December 24, 1745 in Philadelphia in what was then the British Province of Pennsylvania. He was the son of William Biddle, 3rd (1698–1756) and Mary (née Scull) Biddle (1709–1789). His siblings included: Lydia Biddle, who married William Macfunn; John "Jacky" Biddle, who married Sophia Boone; Edward Biddle, a lawyer, soldier, delegate to the Continental Congress,[1] who married Elizabeth Ross, sister of George Ross; Charles Biddle, and Nicholas Biddle, Revolutionary War Navy captain.[2]

As a youth, Biddle was a schoolmate and close friend of Mathias Aspden and Founding Father Benjamin Rush.[3]


During the American Revolutionary War, Biddle was a captain in the merchant service and participated in the work around of the British fleet's blockade of American ports. He volunteered in the Quaker Light Infantry and, in 1778, he served under his brother, Commodore Nicholas Biddle, aboard the USS Randolph.[4]

Political career[edit]

Biddle served as Vice-President of Pennsylvania from October 10, 1785 until October 31, 1787 (also known as the Lieutenant Governor of Pennsylvania).[5] He served under John Dickinson and Benjamin Franklin and hosted George Washington.[6]

During his term, he was an ex officio trustee of the University of the State of Pennsylvania (now the University of Pennsylvania). He was a member of the Pennsylvania Senate from 1810 to 1814.[7] He also was an associate of Aaron Burr, having introduced Burr to his wife Theodosia shortly after the death of her first husband, Jacques Marcus Prevost.[8]

Although Biddle vacated his seat at Council on October 13, 1787 the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania records that his Vice-Presidential term extended to October 31, the date of the next Presidential and Vice-Presidential elections. Biddle was elected Secretary of the Council on October 23.

Personal life[edit]

Portrait of Biddle's son, John Biddle, by Thomas Sully, 1818

On November 24, 1778, he was married to Hannah Shepard (d. 1825), the daughter of merchant Jacob Shepard and Sara (née Lewis) Shepard, in Beaufort, North Carolina.[9] The Biddle family had a summer home outside of Philadelphia that was furnished sumptuously with English furniture and paintings.[8] Together, they were the parents of ten children, including:[10][11]

  • Mary Biddle (d. 1854), who married John Gideon Biddle (1793–1826), the fourth son of Clement Biddle, in 1820.[12]
  • Nicholas Biddle (b. 1779), who died in infancy.[10]
  • William Shephard Biddle (1781–1835), who married Circe Deroneray. After her death, he married Elizabeth Bordeon Hopkinson, daughter of Joseph Hopkinson.[10]
  • James Biddle (1783–1848), a commodore with the U.S. Navy who died unmarried.[10]
  • Edward Biddle (1784–1800), a midshipman with the U.S. Navy who died at sea.[10]
  • Nicholas Biddle (1786–1844), president of the Second Bank of the United States who married Jane Craig.[10]
  • Charles Biddle Jr. (1787–1836), who married Anna H. Stokes in 1808.[10][4]
  • Thomas Biddle (1790–1831), a War of 1812 hero who died after a duel with a Missouri Congressman over a perceived insult to his brother Nicholas. He married M. Ann Mulllanphy.[10]
  • John Biddle (1792–1859), Michigan politician who married Eliza Falconer Bradish.[10]
  • Richard Biddle (1796–1847), a U.S. Representative who married Ann Anderson.[10]

Biddle died on April 4, 1821 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. His widow died almost four years later on January 4, 1825.[13]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "BIDDLE, Edward - Biographical Information". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Retrieved 2016-04-09.
  2. ^ Biddle, Charles; Biddle, James S. (1883). Autobiography of Charles Biddle, vice-president of the Supreme Executive Council of Pennsylvania. 1745-1821. Philadelphia, PA: E. Claxton and Company. Retrieved 4 June 2018.
  3. ^ Rush, Benjamin (1981). Benjamin Rush's Lectures on the Mind. American Philosophical Society. p. 129. ISBN 9780871691446. Retrieved 4 June 2018.
  4. ^ a b Daughters of the American Revolution (1904). Lineage Book - National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution. Daughters of the American Revolution. p. 101. Retrieved 4 June 2018.
  5. ^ "Charles Biddle (1745-1821)". University of Pennsylvania University Archives. Retrieved 4 June 2018.
  6. ^ Stewart, David O. (2007). The Summer of 1787: The Men Who Invented the Constitution. Simon and Schuster. p. 231. ISBN 9781416554042. Retrieved 4 June 2018.
  7. ^ Cox, Harold. "Senate Members C". Wilkes University Election Statistics Project. Wilkes University.
  8. ^ a b Abraham, David (2013). Aaron Burr - Adventurer. AuthorHouse. p. 7. ISBN 9781481713146. Retrieved 4 June 2018.
  9. ^ Powell, William S. (2000). Dictionary of North Carolina Biography: Vol. 5, P-S. Univ of North Carolina Press. p. 328. ISBN 9780807867006. Retrieved 4 June 2018.
  10. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Jordan, John W. (2004). Colonial And Revolutionary Families Of Pennsylvania. Genealogical Publishing Com. pp. 167–168. ISBN 9780806352398. Retrieved 4 June 2018.
  11. ^ Davis, William Watts Hart (1975). A Genealogical and Personal History of Bucks County, Pennsylvania. Genealogical Publishing Com. p. 159. ISBN 9780806306414. Retrieved 4 June 2018.
  12. ^ Glenn, Thomas Allen (1970). Merion in the Welsh Tract: With Sketches of the Townships of Haverford and Radnor. Historical and Genealogical Collections Concerning the Welsh Barony in the Province of Pennsylvania, Settled by the Cymric Quakers in 1682. Genealogical Publishing Com. p. 145. ISBN 9780806304298. Retrieved 4 June 2018.
  13. ^ Biddle, Henry Drinker (1895). Notes on the Genealogy of the Biddle Family: Together with Abstracts of Some Early Deeds. W.S. Fortescue & Company. p. 8. Retrieved 4 June 2018.

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Sebastian Levan
Member, Supreme Executive Council of Pennsylvania,
representing Berks County

30 October 1784 – 13 October 1787
Succeeded by
James Read
Preceded by
James Irvine
Vice-President of Pennsylvania
10 October 1785 – 31 October 1787
Succeeded by
Peter Muhlenberg