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House Speaker Biographies

Photo credit:

"Thomas Wynne Geneology & History." Thomas Wynne Geneology & History.  www.thomaswynne.net

 

 


Photo credit:

"Thomas Wynne Geneology & History." Thomas Wynne Geneology & History.  www.thomaswynne.net

 

 

 

Thomas Wynne

Born: July 27, 1627, Caerwys, Flintshire, Wales.  Died: March 16, 1692.  Member of the Colonial Assembly: Philadelphia County, 1682-1683; Sussex County, 1688-1689.  Affiliation: Quaker, Pro-Proprietary.

Thomas Wynne was born on July 27, 1627, in Caerwys, Flintshire, Wales into a farming family.  Wynne married the former Martha Buttall in 1655 until her death in 1670, and the couple had 6 children together: Mary, Rebecca, Sydney, Hannah, Tabitha, and Jonathan.  In 1676 he married his second wife, the former Elizabeth Rowden Chorley.  Wynne was raised as an Anglican, but around the time of his first marriage, he converted to Quakerism.  Wynne began to preach around his home in Flintshire, and served 6 years of imprisonment for his religious agitation.  In 1682 Wynne and his family immigrated to Pennsylvania and settled in Philadelphia.

Wynne immediately became involved in provincial politics, and in 1682 served in the first Colonial Assembly.  Wynne and Nicholas More are identified as likely candidates to have been elected the first Speaker of the House, although no Speaker is identified in the minutes.  Since the first Speaker is not identified, Wynne is credited as being the 2nd Speaker of the Assembly, elected on March 12, 1683.  During his Speakership, Wynne was involved in establishing the rules of parliamentary procedure and rewriting William Penn’s original Frame of Government.  In 1688 he was elected to another term in the Assembly, this time from Sussex County.  During this term in the Assembly, Wynne was involved in the debate over whether the Assembly should attempt to print paper money. 

In addition to Wynne’s service in the Assembly, he served as a Provincial Court judge from 1690-1692, Attorney General of Philadelphia in 1683, justice of the peace for Philadelphia in 1684, and Sussex County justice of the peace from 1687-1691.  Wynne was one of the first Quaker emigres to Pennsylvania and remained active in his faith.  He was involved with the Philadelphia Monthly and Quarterly Meetings, and he was one of the Quakers involved in securing funding and overseeing the construction of the first Quaker Meetinghouse in Philadelphia. 

Thomas Wynne died on March 16, 1692.  He is interred at Friends Arch Street Meeting House in the city of Philadelphia, Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania.