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Jensen, Merrill; Kaminski, John P.; Saladino, Gaspare J. (ed.) / Ratification of the Constitution by the states: Pennsylvania
2 (1976)

Biographical gazetteer,   pp. 727-734

Page 731

of Independence; contracted with Congress for war supplies 1775 onwards. U.S.
Superintendent of Finance, 1781-84, formulated long-range plans to strengthen
central government. Political plans, business methods, and charges of corruption
forced resignation in 1784. Elected Philadelphia assemblyman, 1776, 1778, 1780,
1785, 1786; delegate Constitutional Convention, 1787. U.S. Senator, 1789-95. Land
speculation led to bankruptcy; in debtors' prison, 1798-1801.
Born Philadelphia County; attended University of Halle, Germany; Lutheran
minister, 1770-79. Member Continental Congress, 1779-80. Philadelphia assembly-
man, 1780-83; Assembly speaker, 1780-83. Philadelphia County delegate to and
president Council of Censors, supported revision of state constitution, 178384.
Appointed justice of the peace, register of wills, recorder of deeds of newly-organized
Montgomery County, 1784. Delegate state Convention, President of Convention,
voted to ratify, 1787. Member U.S. House of Representatives, 1789-97; Speaker
of House, 1789-91, 1793-95. Receiver general Pennsylvania land office, 1800-1.
NICHOLSON, JOHN (1757-1800)
Born Wales; came to Cumberland County before 1775. Sergeant Pennsylvania regi-
ment early in War for Independence; clerk chamber of accounts, Continental Board
of Treasury, 1778-81. Appointed state auditor of accounts, 1781; comptroller gen-
eral, 1782; receiver general of taxes, 1785; escheator general to liquidate estates of
those attainted for treason, 1787; resigned all offices, 1794. Opposed Constitution,
wrote pamphlet attacking it, 1787; organized petition campaign against legislative
confirmation of Constitution after state Convention adjourned; had major role in
calling Harrisburg Convention, 1788. Became partner of Robert Morris in land
speculation, 1794; went bankrupt and died in debtors' prison.
OSWALD, ELEAZER (1755-1795)
Born England; came to America, 1770; settled in New Haven, Connecticut;
apprenticed to New York newspaper publisher John Holt; married Holt's daughter,
1772. Continental Army officer, 1775-79; in regiment of Colonel John Lamb, 1777-
79. Published Baltimore Maryland Journal with William Goddard, 1779-81. Moved
to Philadelphia, established Independent Gazetteer, 1782; opened City Coffee House,
1783. Helped Holt operate Independent Gazette; or the New-York Journal, 1782-
84, and Holt's widow, 1784-87. Supported Constitution, then became opponent late
in 1787. Went to England, 1792 and then to France; commissioned colonel in French
revolutionary army; sent by French to Ireland in 1793 to see if Irish would rebel
against British. Returned to America, Nov. 1793, and became active in Democratic
societies of New York and Philadelphia.
PETERS, RICHARD (1744-1828)
Born Philadelphia; graduate College of Philadelphia, 1761; admitted to Phila-
delphia bar, 1763. Secretary Continental Board of War, 1776; member Board of
War, 1777-81; member Confederation Congress, 1782-83. Philadelphia County as-
semblyman, 1787-90; Assembly Speaker, 1788-90. Judge, federal district court, East-
ern District of Pennsylvania, 1792-1828.
PETRIKIN, WILLIAM (1761?-1821)
Born Scotland; came to Carlisle, Cumberland County, some time in mid-1780s;
tailor, merchant. Arrested and then released for part in Carlisle riot of 26 Dec.

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