John Cadwalader (jurist)

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John Cadwalader
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Pennsylvania's 5th district
In office
March 4, 1855 – March 3, 1857
Preceded by John McNair
Succeeded by Owen Jones
Personal details
Born (1805-04-01)April 1, 1805
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Died January 26, 1879(1879-01-26) (aged 73)
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Mary Binney
Alma mater University of Pennsylvania

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


Cadwalader was born in Philadelphia on April 1, 1805. His mother was Mary Biddle (1781–1850) of the Biddle family. His father Thomas Cadwalader (1779–1841), grandfather John Cadwalader (1742–1786) and great-grandfather Thomas Cadwalader (1708–1779) were all military leaders.[1] His maternal grandfather, Clement Biddle, was also a military leader, having served under George Washington during the Revolutionary War.

He received a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Pennsylvania in 1821, and read law in 1825. He was in private practice of law from 1825 to 1855. 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. He was a captain of the Pennsylvania State Militia in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania in 1844, which was called out for the Philadelphia Nativist Riots. He was elected as a Democrat as a U.S. Representative from Pennsylvania from 1855 to 1857. He did not run for re-election.[2]

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 John K. Kane (1795–1858). He was confirmed by the United States Senate on April 24, 1858, and received his commission the same day.[3] He served in that capacity until he died on January 26, 1879.[4] He was buried in the Christ Church Burial Ground at the old Christ Church in Philadelphia.[2]

Family tree[edit]

Portrait of the jurist's son, John Cadwalader Jr., 1843–1925.[5]

Cadwalader first married Mary Binney (1805–1831), daughter of Horace Binney (1780–1875) with whom he had two daughters.[6] Daughter Mary Binney Cadwalader (1829–1861) married William Henry Rawle (1823–1889) in 1849; their daughter Mary Cadwalader Rawle (1850–1923) married Frederick Rhinelander Jones on March 24, 1870, who was the brother of Edith Wharton (1862–1937); their daughter in turn was landscape architect Beatrix Cadwalader Jones Farrand (1872–1959).[6] The second daughter was Elizabeth Cadwalader (born 1831), who married George Harrison Hare (1822–1857).

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); Frances Cadwalader (1835–1881); Thomas Cadwalader (1837–1841); Charles Evert Cadwalader (1839–1907); Anne Cadwalader (1841–1878); John Cadwalader Jr. (1843–1925) who married Mary Helen Fisher (1844–1937); and George Cadwalader (1845–1846).[7]

Grandson John Cadwalader III (1874–1934) became trustee of the estate of his aunt Sophia Georgiana (Fisher) Coxe (1841–1926) which funded the MMI Preparatory School.[8]


External links[edit]

United States 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