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Levy, Aaron

LEVY, AARON

LEVY, AARON (1742–1815), U.S. merchant and land speculator. Levy was born in Amsterdam. He went to Pennsylvania about 1760, where he established himself as an Indian trader and merchant. His major interest was in land speculation; he was one of the most active speculators in the colonies. He had large holdings in Northumberland and Centre counties and owned land in every other county of Pennsylvania. During the Revolution Levy made loans to the Continental Congress which, according to Robert Morris, superintendent of finance from 1781 to 1784, were never fully repaid. In addition, Levy helped to supply the colony's regular troops. After the war, in 1786, Levy announced plans for Aaronsburg, a town to be built in Penn Valley, Centre County. This was the first community in the United States founded by and named after a Jew. Although Levy actively promoted Aaronsburg, it was not a success. The failure left Levy land-poor, and to obtain cash he became an agent for other speculators. In 1796 he settled in Philadelphia, where he lived until his death.

bibliography:

S.M. Fish, Aaron Levy (1951); Rosenbloom, Biogr Dict.

[Neil Ovadia]

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