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Biddle, Clement

Biddle, Clement

BIDDLE, CLEMENT. (1740–1814). Continental officer. Born in Philadelphia on 10 May 1740, Biddle entered his father's successful business as a young man and remained a merchant for his entire life except during the Revolution. In 1764 he organized a militia company to protect friendly Indians from the Paxton Boys. The following year he played a key role in promoting the nonimportation agreement, becoming a leader of the Patriot cause. He helped create the volunteer militia companies known as the Quaker Blues at the beginning of the Revolution. Congress appointed him lieutenant colonel of the volunteer Flying Camp on 8 July 1776. In November he became aide-de-camp to General Nathanael Greene, seeing action at several battles from Trenton—where he received the German officers' swords—to Monmouth. Congress appointed Biddle commissary general of forage in July 1777, a position he held until June 1780. During this period, Biddle and Greene entered into a business partnership that continued for many years after the war. Biddle resigned from the Continental army in October 1780. In November he was named marshal of the court of admiralty by the Pennsylvania Executive Council. In his new post, Biddle was responsible for selling captured enemy property. He was also named quartermaster and colonel of the Pennsylvania militia on 11 September 1781, holding that position until the war's end. Except for occasional duty as a judge on the court of common pleas and as U.S. marshal for Pennsylvania from 1789 to 1793, Biddle devoted the rest of his life to business. He died in Philadelphia on 14 July 1814.


Biddle, Clement. "Selections from the Correspondence of Colonel Clement Biddle." Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography. 42 (1918): 310-342; and 43 (1919): 53-76, 143-162, 193-207.

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