John Cadwalader (jurist)

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John Cadwalader
Judge of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania
In office
April 24, 1858 – January 26, 1879
Appointed byJames Buchanan
Preceded byJohn K. Kane
Succeeded byWilliam Butler
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Pennsylvania's 5th district
In office
March 4, 1855 – March 3, 1857
Preceded byJohn McNair
Succeeded byOwen Jones
Personal details
Born(1805-04-01)April 1, 1805
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
DiedJanuary 26, 1879(1879-01-26) (aged 73)
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Political partyDemocratic
Mary Binney
(her death 1831)

Henrietta Maria Bancker
(his death 1879)
RelationsClement Biddle (grandfather)
John Cadwalader (grandfather)
ParentsMary Biddle
Thomas Cadwalader
Alma materUniversity of Pennsylvania

John Cadwalader (April 1, 1805 – January 26, 1879) was an American lawyer, jurist, and politician from Philadelphia.[1]

Early life[edit]

Cadwalader was born in Philadelphia on April 1, 1805. He was the son of Mary (née Biddle) Cadwalader (1781–1850), of the Philadelphia Biddle family, and military leader Thomas Cadwalader (1779–1841).[2] Among his siblings were brothers General George Cadwalader, Thomas Cadwalader, Henry Cadwalader, and William Cadwalader.[2]

His paternal grandfather was General John Cadwalader and his great-grandfather was Dr. Thomas Cadwalader.[2] His maternal grandfather, Clement Biddle, was also a military leader, having served under George Washington during the Revolutionary War.[2]

Cadwalader received a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Pennsylvania in 1821, and read law in 1825.[1]


From 1825 to 1855, Cadwalader was in private practice. He was a lawyer for the Bank of the United States in 1830, and was vice provost of the Law Academy of Philadelphia from 1833 to 1853.[1] He was a captain of the Pennsylvania State Militia in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania in 1844, which was called out for the Philadelphia Nativist Riots.

U.S. Congress[edit]

He was elected as a Democrat to the U.S. Representative, representing Pennsylvania in the 34th United States Congress from 1855 to 1857. He did not run for re-election.[1] After completing his term in Congress, he resumed the practice of law in Philadelphia.[1]

Federal Judge[edit]

Cadwalader was nominated by President James Buchanan on April 19, 1858, to be a federal judge on the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. He replaced former Attorney General of Pennsylvania John Kintzing Kane, who died in office. He was confirmed by the United States Senate on April 24, 1858, and received his commission the same day,[3] serving during the entirety of the U.S. Civil War and until his death in 1879.[4] After his death, he was succeeded by William Butler, who was nominated by President Rutherford B. Hayes.[5]

Personal life[edit]

Portrait of the jurist's son, John Cadwalader Jr.
His granddaughter, Mary Cadwalader Rawle, painted by William Oliver Stone (1868)

Cadwalader first married Mary Binney (1805–1831), daughter of Horace Binney, an Anti-Jacksonian U.S. Representative known for his public speeches; he founded the Hasty Pudding Club at Harvard.[6] Together, Mary and John had two daughters:[7]

  • Mary Binney Cadwalader (1829–1861), who married lawyer William Henry Rawle (1823–1889), grandson of William Rawle, in 1849.[7][8]
  • Elizabeth Binney Cadwalader (born 1831), who married George Harrison Hare (1822–1857), the son of chemist Dr. Robert Hare.[9]

Following his first wife's death from complications of childbirth, he married Henrietta Maria Bancker (1806–1889) with whom he had six children:

  • Sarah Bancker Cadwalader (born 1834).[10]
  • Frances Cadwalader (1835–1881).[10]
  • Thomas Cadwalader (1837–1841), who died young.[10]
  • Charles Evert Cadwalader (1839–1907).[10]
  • Anne Cadwalader (1841–1878).[10]
  • John Cadwalader Jr. (1843–1925), who married Mary Helen Fisher (1844–1937).[11][12]
  • George Cadwalader (1845–1846), who died young.[10]

Cadwalader died on January 26, 1879.[4] He was buried in the Christ Church Burial Ground at the old Christ Church in Philadelphia.[1]


Through his eldest daughter Mary, he was the grandfather of Mary Cadwalader Rawle (1850–1935), who was married on March 24, 1870 to Frederick Rhinelander Jones, the brother of Edith Wharton; their daughter in turn was landscape architect Beatrix Cadwalader Jones Farrand (1872–1959).[7] Mary was prominent in New York society during the Gilded Age. She was included in Ward McAllister's "Four Hundred", purported to be an index of New York's best families, published in The New York Times.[13] Conveniently, 400 was the number of people that could fit into Mrs. Astor's ballroom.[14][15]

His grandson, John Cadwalader III (1874–1934), became trustee of the estate of his aunt Sophia Georgiana (née Fisher) Coxe (1841–1926) which funded the MMI Preparatory School.[16]


  1. ^ a b c d e f United States Congress. "John Cadwalader (id: C000011)". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress.
  2. ^ a b c d "All-in-One Tree of John Cadwalader, Brg. Gen" (PDF). Cadwalader collection. Historical Society of Pennsylvania. Retrieved March 11, 2011.
  3. ^ John Cadwalader at the Biographical Directory of Federal Judges, a public domain publication of the Federal Judicial Center.
  4. ^ a b "Death of Judge Cadwalader: The Career of a Remarkable Jurist Ended" (PDF). New York Times. January 27, 1879.
  5. ^ "Butler, William". Federal Judicial Center. Retrieved 21 June 2018.
  6. ^ "Binney family papers 1809-1894". Manuscripts Division William L. Clements Library University of Michigan. Retrieved 1 December 2017.
  7. ^ a b c Charles Penrose Keith (1883). The provincial councillors of Pennsylvania, who held office between 1733–1776: and those earlier councillors who were some time chief magistrates of the province, and their descendants. W.S. Sharp Printing Company. pp. 260, 381–382.
  8. ^ Waite, Morrison Remick; Rawle, William Henry (1900). The Orations of Chief Justice Waite and of William Henry Rawle on the Occasion of the Unveiling of the Bronze Statue of Chief Justice Marshall at Washington, May 10, 1884. T. H. Flood. pp. 19–20. Retrieved 21 June 2018.
  9. ^ Jordan, John W. (2004). Colonial And Revolutionary Families Of Pennsylvania. Genealogical Publishing Com. p. 131. ISBN 9780806352398. Retrieved 21 June 2018.
  10. ^ a b c d e f "John Cadwalader Descent to Thomas F. Cadwalader II". Cadwalader Family Genealogy web site. Archived from the original on November 20, 2010. Retrieved March 11, 2011.
  11. ^ Chamberlain, Joshua Lawrence (1902). University of Pennsylvania: Its History, Influence, Equipment and Characteristics; with Biographical Sketches and Portraits of Founders, Benefactors, Officers and Alumni. R. Herndon Company. p. 117. Retrieved 21 June 2018.
  12. ^ Who's Who in Finance, Banking, and Insurance. Who's Who in Finance, Incorporated (N.Y.). 1922. pp. 110–111. Retrieved 21 June 2018.
  14. ^ Keister, Lisa A. (2005). Getting Rich: America's New Rich and How They Got That Way. Cambridge University Press. p. 36. ISBN 9780521536677. Retrieved 20 October 2017.
  15. ^ Homberger, Eric (2004). Mrs. Astor's New York: Money and Social Power in a Gilded Age. Yale University Press. pp. 199, 289n.99. ISBN 0300105150. Retrieved 6 March 2018.
  16. ^ "John Cadwalader, III Collection" (PDF). Collection 3014. Historical Society of Pennsylvania. 2007. Retrieved March 11, 2011.

External links[edit]

U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
John McNair
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Pennsylvania's 5th congressional district

March 4, 1855 – March 3, 1857
Succeeded by
Owen Jones
Legal offices
Preceded by
John K. Kane
Judge of the United States District Court for
the Eastern District of Pennsylvania

Succeeded by
William Butler