John Cadwalader (jurist)

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John Cadwalader
Judge of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania
In office
April 24, 1858 – January 26, 1879
Appointed byJames Buchanan
Preceded byJohn K. Kane
Succeeded byWilliam Butler
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Pennsylvania's 5th district
In office
March 4, 1855 – March 3, 1857
Preceded byJohn McNair
Succeeded byOwen Jones
Personal details
John Cadwalader

(1805-04-01)April 1, 1805
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
DiedJanuary 26, 1879(1879-01-26) (aged 73)
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Resting placeChrist Church Burial Ground
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Political partyDemocratic
RelationsHorace Binney
Edith Wharton
RelativesClement Biddle
John Cadwalader
George Cadwalader
Thomas Cadwalader
Mary Cadwalader Rawle Jones
Beatrix Farrand
EducationUniversity of Pennsylvania (B.A.)
read law

John Cadwalader (April 1, 1805 – January 26, 1879) was a United States Representative from Pennsylvania and a United States District Judge of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.

Education and career[edit]

Born on April 1, 1805, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania,[1] Cadwalader received a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1821 from the University of Pennsylvania and read law in 1825.[1] He entered private practice in Philadelphia from 1825 to 1855.[1] He was Solicitor for the Second Bank of the United States in Philadelphia in 1830.[1] He was Vice Provost of the Law Academy of Philadelphia from 1833 to 1853.[1] He was a Captain in the Pennsylvania State Militia in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania in 1844,[1] which was called out for the Philadelphia Nativist Riots.[2]

Congressional service[edit]

Cadwalader was elected as a Democrat from Pennsylvania's 5th congressional district to the United States House of Representatives of the 34th United States Congress, serving from March 4, 1855, to March 3, 1857.[2] He declined to be a candidate for renomination in 1856.[2] He briefly resumed the practice of law in Philadelphia.[2]

Federal judicial service[edit]

Cadwalader was nominated by President James Buchanan on April 19, 1858, to a seat on the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania vacated by Judge John K. Kane.[1] He was confirmed by the United States Senate on April 24, 1858, and received his commission the same day.[1] His service terminated on January 26, 1879, due to his death in Philadelphia.[1][3] He was interred in Christ Church Burial Ground at the old Christ Church in Philadelphia.[2] He was succeeded by Judge William Butler, who was nominated by President Rutherford B. Hayes.[4]


Portrait of the jurist's son, John Cadwalader Jr.
His granddaughter, Mary Cadwalader Rawle, painted by William Oliver Stone (1868)

Cadwalader was the son of Mary (née Biddle) Cadwalader (1781–1850), of the Philadelphia Biddle family, and military leader Thomas Cadwalader (1779–1841).[5] Among his siblings was General George Cadwalader.[5] His paternal grandfather was General John Cadwalader and his great-grandfather was Dr. Thomas Cadwalader.[5] His maternal grandfather, Clement Biddle, was also a military leader, having served under George Washington during the Revolutionary War.[5]

Cadwalader first married Mary Binney (1805–1831), daughter of Horace Binney, an Anti-Jacksonian United States Representative known for his public speeches; he founded the Hasty Pudding Club at Harvard.[6] Together, Mary and John had two daughters,[7] Following his first wife's death from complications of childbirth, he married Henrietta Maria Bancker (1806–1889) with whom he had six children.[8]

Through his eldest daughter Mary, Cadwalader was the grandfather of Mary Cadwalader Rawle (1850–1935), who was married on March 24, 1870 to Frederick Rhinelander Jones, the brother of Edith Wharton; their daughter in turn was landscape architect Beatrix Cadwalader Jones Farrand (1872–1959).[7]

Cadwalader's grandson, John Cadwalader III (1874–1934), became trustee of the estate of his aunt Sophia Georgiana (née Fisher) Coxe (1841–1926) which funded the MMI Preparatory School.[9]


External links[edit]

U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
John McNair
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Pennsylvania's 5th congressional district

Succeeded by
Owen Jones
Legal offices
Preceded by
John K. Kane
Judge of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania
Succeeded by
William Butler