Member Biography

Samuel Powell 


Metropolitan Museum, New York City, New York

Sessions Office Position District Party
1790-1791         Federalist
1791-1792         Federalist
1792-1793     Speaker   Federalist
1793-1794     Speaker   Federalist


10/28/1738 - 09/29/1793

Samuel Powell (Federalist) Delaware, Philadelphia City and Philadelphia Counties 1790-1793

Early Life:

Samuel Powel, born October 28, 1738, Philadelphia, Philadelphia County, British Colonial America; son of Samuel and Mary Morris Powel; The College and Academy of Philadelphia (now University of Pennsylvania), B.A., 1759; Common Council of Philadelphia; Justice, Court of Common Pleas, Quarter Sessions Courts; married Elizabeth Willing, 1769, two children, both died, infancy; mayor, Philadelphia, 1775-1776, 1789-1790; elected, Federalist, Pennsylvania State Senate, 1791-1793, elected, Speaker of the Senate, 1792-1793; died, yellow fever epidemic, September 29, 1793 (age 54 years, 336 days), Philadelphia, Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania; interment, Christ Church Burial Ground, Philadelphia, Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania.

Early Career:

President, American Society for Promoting Useful Knowledge, 1760; Common Council of Philadelphia; Justice, Court of Common Pleas, Quarter Sessions Courts; mayor, Philadelphia 1775-1776; co-founded, Philadelphia Society for Promoting Agriculture, 1785; mayor, Philadelphia, 1789-1790; trustee, Academy and College of Philadelphia, 1773, board treasurer, Academy and College of Philadelphia, 1778-1779; trustee, College and Academy of Philadelphia (now University of Pennsylvania), 1791-1793.

Professional titlesbusiness ownershipboard membershipslocal governmentclub memberships:

Birthright member, Society of Friends; Board of Managers, Philadelphia Hospital, 1778-1780

Pennsylvania Politics:

Mayor, Philadelphia, (the nation’s largest city; Capital, United States of America) 1775-1776, 1789-1790.

Elected, Federalist, original member, Pennsylvania State Senate, Delaware, Philadelphia City and Philadelphia Counties, 1790-1794, elected, Speaker of the Senate, 1792-1793. Died prior to opening of the 1794 Senate session. Floor leader, chaired, first rules committee; chair, committee that received first Pennsylvania Governor, Thomas Mifflin; presented the bill transferring presidential and executive council duties to the new executive; introduced the rule along with Franklin County Senator Abraham Smith, requiring the recording of each vote, by name, Senate Journal, December 14, 1790.


Best known for his two terms as Mayor of Philadelphia, from 1775-1776, 1789-1790. The office of mayor lay vacant between his two terms, having been abolished under the Pennsylvania Constitution of 1776; thus, was the last colonial era mayor of Philadelphia (charter, 1701), and the first mayor of the city after independence was secured, (charter, 1789).  

Philadelphia residence, Historical Landmark, 244 South 3rd Street, between Spruce and Walnut Streets. During Revolutionary War, Philadelphia campaign, British Army, confiscated the mansion for use as officers’ barracks. After the war, the Powel’s frequently entertained, the George Washington and John Adams families; was the location of 25th wedding anniversary celebration for George and Martha Washington. Frequent visitors, Founding Father Benjamin Rush, Benjamin Franklin and Major General, Continental Army Marquis de Lafayette.

Wife, Elizabeth Willing, was the daughter, Philadelphia mayor Charles Willing, sister of Philadelphia mayor and Continental Congressman Thomas Willing. Also the Senator and his wife portraits hang, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City.

Nephew, John Hare, Pennsylvania State Senate, 1st district, 1827-1830. Adopted by his mother's widowed and childless sister, Elizabeth Willing Powel. He legally changed his name (John Hare Powell) when he attained his majority, act of legislature and inherited the immense fortune of his late uncle, Samuel Powel.

John Hare Powell  - Pennsylvania Senate Library (

There is Samuel Powell Elementary School · Science Leadership Academy Middle School, located at 301 N 36th St, Philadelphia, PA 19104.

Casualty of the 1793 Yellow Fever Epidemic that took the lives of an estimated 2,000 Philadelphians.


Cox, Harold. "Senate Members P"Wilkes University Election Statistics Project. Wilkes University.

Samuel Powel (

A New Nation Votes (

Cox, Harold. Senate1790-1869 ( University Election Statistics Project. Wilkes University.

Samuel Powell (1738-1793) - Find a Grave Memorial