Sept 23, 2018


    Old Buttonwood Hall

    9 am

    Rev. Megan LeCluyse



    11 am 

    Rev. Dr. Baron Mullis


 Worship Bulletins

Concerts @ First

Angela Kraft Cross

Organ Concert

Sunday, Sep 16

3:00 pm


First Church Signers of the Declaration of Independence

Three members of the First Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia were members of the Continental Congress and signed the Declaration of Independence. 

The most prominent of the three was Dr. Benjamin Rush (January 4, 1746 - April 19, 1813) who was born in Philadelphia and attended the College of New Jersey (Princeton).  Rush apprenticed under the prominent Philadelphia physician Dr. John Redman (a member of Second Presbyterian Church), and later studied medicine at the University of Edinburgh.  After returning to Pennsylvania, he became the Professor of Chemistry at the University of Pennsylvania and established a medical practice here.  He took a prominent role in the struggle for independence, and was instrumental in bringing about the reconciliation of John Adams and Thomas Jefferson in their later years.  Considered the “father of American psychiatry,” Rush became one of the most prominent physicians in the United States, and at the request of President Jefferson he advised Meriwether Lewis on medical care for his famous expedition.  Something of a religious radical for his time, he eventually became a member of the Universalist Church.   After his death in 1813, he was buried in Christ Church Burial Ground.

Thomas McKean (March 19, 1734 - June 24, 1817) was born in Chester County of Scots-Irish immigrant parents.  He was raised in New Castle, Delaware and remained an active leader in the cause for independence in that colony even after moving to Philadelphia, where he lived at the corner of 3rd & Pine.  McKean served as one of Delaware’s delegates to the Continental Congress.  During the war he was appointed Chief Justice of Pennsylvania (1777-1799) and was later elected Governor of Pennsylvania (1799-1808).  McKean was awarded honorary degrees by Princeton, Dartmouth, and the University of Pennsylvania for his service to the new nation.  He was buried in the First Church Cemetery (adjacent to Old Pine Church), but was re-interred in Laurel Hill in 1843.  

James Wilson (September 14, 1742 - August 21, 1798) was born in Scotland and immigrated to America in 1766.  He established a thriving law practice in Reading and Carlisle, and was among the founders of Dickinson College (along with Rush).  During the war, his home at the corner of 3rd & Walnut became the site of a famous incident known as the “Battle of Ft. Wilson,” though “riot” would be a more accurate description of what actually transpired.   After the war Wilson also served as a member of the Constitutional Convention and was among the most influential delegates in shaping the U. S. Constitution.   He was appointed an Associate Justice of the U. S. Supreme Court by President Washington in 1789 and held that office until his death in 1798.  Wilson’s last years were marked by severe financial difficulties and he died in North Carolina where he had fled to escape creditors.  He was buried there but re-interred in Christ Church Burial Ground in 1906.