Thomas Sergeant

Last updated
Thomas Sergeant
Pennsylvania House
In office
Secretary of State
In office
December 16, 1817 July 6, 1819 [1] [2]
Preceded by Nathaniel Boileau
Succeeded by Samuel D. Ingham
Pennsylvania Attorney General
In office
July 7, 1819 December 20, 1820
Governor Amos Ellmaker
Thomas Elder
Preceded by Amos Ellmaker
Succeeded by Thomas Elder
Associate Justice, Supreme Court of Pennsylvania
In office
February 3, 1834 [3]  1846
Personal details
BornJanuary 14, 1782
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
DiedMay 8, 1860 (aged 78)
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Spouse(s)Sarah Bache
Children4 survived to adulthood

Thomas Sergeant (January 14, 1782May 8, 1860) was a Pennsylvania lawyer, judge, and politician. He served as Secretary of State, Attorney General, and as an associate justice of the state Supreme Court.


Biography and career

Sergeant and his twin Henry were born the sons of Jonathan Dickinson Sergeant and Margaret Spencer. He graduated from the College of New Jersey in 1798. He then read law under Jared Ingersoll, and was admitted to the Philadelphia bar in 1802. [4]

In 1812, he married Sarah Bache, a daughter of Sarah Franklin Bache, who was a daughter of Benjamin Franklin. Their children were Henry Jonathan, Emma, Frances, Thomas Jr., and William, who died in infancy. [5] [6] His grandson, by Frances, was the scholar and linguist, Thomas Sergeant Perry. [7]

From 18121814, Sergeant served in the state legislature. From 18141817 [8] he was an associate judge of the District Court of Philadelphia. From 18171819 he was Secretary of the Commonwealth, from 18191820 he was state Attorney General. [4]

From 18281832 he was postmaster of Philadelphia. In 1831, Sergeant was elected as a member to the American Philosophical Society. [9] From 18341846 he served as an associate justice of the state Supreme Court. Upon resigning, he resumed private practice. He was president of the Law Academy and a trustee of the University of Pennsylvania. [4]

Sergeant wrote several books on Pennsylvania law.

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  1. John Augustus Smull; et al., eds. (1922). Smull's Legislative Hand Book and Manual of the State of Pennsylvania. p. 922.
  2. Pennsylvania Department of State. History of the Secretary of the Commonwealth, the Pennsylvania Department of State & the Great Seal of the Commonwealth. p. 41.
  3. "Historical List of Supreme Court Justices".
  4. 1 2 3 John Hugh Campbell (1892). History of the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick and of the Hibernian Society for the Relief of Emigrants from Ireland. March 17, 1771March 17, 1892. Hibernian Society. p. 518.
  5. "Friends of Franklin, Inc. Descendants Project records (Collection 3117)" (PDF). The Historical Society of Pennsylvania.
  6. "Descendants of Dr. Franklin". The New England Historical and Genealogic Registry. VIII (4): 374. October 1854.
  7. John Howard Brown (1903). Lamb's Biographical Dictionary of the United States: Newton-Sears. VI. James H. Lamb Company. p. 224.
  8. Memorial Biographies, 1845-1871. New England Historic Genealogical Society. 1885. pp. 74–5.
  9. "APS Member History". Retrieved 2021-04-08.
Legal offices
Preceded by
Amos Ellmaker
Pennsylvania Attorney General
Succeeded by
Thomas Elder