Benjamin Chew

Benjamin Chew Trustee.jpg

Benjamin Chew, c. 1890

Benjamin Chew, perhaps one of the most well‐known of the trustees, came from one of the wealthiest families in the Chesapeake region during this time period. His family owned multiple plantations and homes in Maryland, Delaware, and Pennsylvania, including the well‐known Cliveden property in Philadelphia’s Germantown neighborhood, which served as the Chew family’s summer home, and a townhouse on South Third Street. Chew was a protégé of the Penn family and was deeply involved in the Judiciary branch of Pennsylvania. In 1747, the Chew family owned at least 52 slaves, some of whom are named in their family papers. Notably, in Philadelphia history, the Chew family also owned African American minister Richard Allen, before trading him to another owner who later freed him. Allen later went on to found the African Methodist Episcopal Church in Philadelphia.

Pennsylvania Tax & Exoneration records serve as further proof that Benjamin Chew owned 4 enslaved people in the year 1776:


"4 Negroes"
Benjamin Chew Tax Records
Pennsylvania Tax & Exoneration Records, 1776