Family Tree Tuesday – Nicholas Biddle
Nicholas Biddle was an American financier who served as the President of the Second Bank of the United States. His ancestors were Quakers who emigrated from England to America in 1681 in part to avoid religious persecution. The Biddle family of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania produced numerous and diverse people of interest.
Biddle was born on January 8, 1786 to Charles and Hannah Biddle. Charles Biddle served as Vice-President of Pennsylvania (now known as the office of Lieutenant Governor) from October 10, 1785 until October 31, 1787, alongside President (now known as the office of Governor) Benjamin Franklin.
Nicholas was a very bright child and had entered the University of Pennsylvania at the age of 10. He later transferred to Princeton graduating in 1801, at the age of 15 and was the class valedictorian when the University of Pennsylvania refused to award him a degree.
Biddle lobbied for the rechartering of the Second Bank of the United States which was rechartered in 1816. Biddle became president of the Second Bank of the United States in 1822, the bank served as the nation’s federally authorized central bank during February 1817 to January 1836.
His uncle with the same name, naval officer Nicholas Biddle was an early naval hero. He was one of the first five captains of the Continental Navy during the American Revolutionary War. He commanded the Randolph and had engaged in battle with the British HMS Yarmouth, which was more heavily armed on March 7, 1778 off Barbados. After about twenty minutes the Randolph blew up killing all but four of the 305 on board including Biddle. Four ships of the United States Navy have been named for him. His brother Edward Biddle was a member of the Continental Congress of 1774 and 1775.
Nicholas Biddle’s (the financier) brother Thomas Biddle was a War of 1812 hero. He died in a duel with Missouri Congressman Spencer Pettis do to a feud that had started with Congressman Pettis harshly criticizing Thomas’ brother Nicholas who was President of the Second Bank of the United States at the time. Both men were buried with full honors, eulogized for choosing death before dishonor.
Check out Nicholas Biddle’s family tree and see how you may be related!