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Pennsylvania House of Representatives
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House Speaker Biographies


 

Nicholas More

Born: c. 1638, England.  Died: May 1687, Philadelphia County (now Montgomery County), PA.   Member of the Colonial Assembly: Philadelphia County, 1682-1683, 1684-1685.  Affiliation: Anglican, Pro-Proprietary.

Nicholas More was born in England circa 1638.  While in England he trained as a physician.  In 1670 he married the former Mary Hedge, the daughter of a wealthy Quaker, and the couple had 5 children: Mary, Samuel, Nicholas, Sarah, and Rebecca. Despite his wife’s religious affiliation, More remained an Anglican throughout his life.

After purchasing 10,000 acres of land from William Penn, More traveled to Pennsylvania and arrived in October of 1682. From 1682 to April of 1684 he served as the first president of the Free Society of Traders, an organization Penn formed to promote economic development in the colony.  More quickly became an important figure in Pennsylvania politics upon his arrival.

More was a part of the first Colonial Assembly that convened on December 4, 1682, to ratify Penn’s Frame of Government. More was chosen twice during the first Assembly session as the chair to lead discussions when the Assembly formed a Committee of the Whole (a committee comprised of all the members of the Assembly to discuss important legislation or issues).  More or Thomas Wynne are identified as a likely candidates to have been elected the first Speaker of the Assembly, although no Speaker is identified in the minutes.  He also served on the Committee of Foresight, where he drafted legislation and chaired the Committee for Elections and Privileges.

More was re-elected for the 1684 session, and on May 10, 1684, was elected the 3rd Speaker of the Assembly. More returned for a final term in the Assembly in 1685. While not elected Speaker, on the opening day of the session he was selected to chair a Committee of the Whole for a debate regarding the Frame of Government.However, on the fifth day of session, a complaint was filed against More demanding his impeachment from the Assembly due to his alleged dictatorial behavior as Chief Justice of the Provincial Court, on which he served from 1684-1685.  Some of the complaints against him included badgering witnesses and jurors, refusal to hear a case, and giving a felony decision in a civil case.  More was forced to withdraw from the Assembly while they voted on the impeachment. Eventually More was called back to the Assembly to answer impeachment charges, though he refused on the procedural grounds that he must be voted back into the Assembly before returning.  He was ultimately expelled, thus ending his career in the Assembly.

Despite the charges of impeachment and his conflict with many of his Quaker peers, Penn appointed him as deputy governor on a five-member board in February of 1687.  The board did not take office until February of 1688, during which time More had passed away.  

More died in May of 1687 at his home in Philadelphia County (now Montgomery County), Pennsylvania.  His burial location is unknown.