archives BuildingSouthern Lancaster County Historical Society

Biographical Annals of Lancaster County" Beers inc printed 1903

page 1391-1392.

WILLIAM PENN BRINTON, in his time one of Lancaster's most prominent citizens, was born at the old family mansion on the Brandywine creek, near West Chester, Chester Co., Pa., June 20, 1824. His ancestors came from Birmingham, England, and settled in Pennsylvania a year after Penn's treaty with the Indians. They were in the possession of large means, and, took up extensive tracts of land in Philadelphia and Chester counties, and some of their descendants occupy portions of these lands to the present day. William P. Brinton, the youngest son of Caleb and Hannah Brinton, was named after the founder of the province, William Penn. Caleb Brinton was a prominent citizen of Chester county, owned several farms, and carried on farming an an extensive scale. William P. Brinton spent his early days at home, attended the district school, and later was sent to a boarding school and an Academy at New London, Chester county. In November, 1841, he entered the Freshman class of Washington College; in his Junior year he delivered the address at the anniversary of the Union Literary Society; and after a full course of study he was graduated with high marks. In the summer of 1848 he made an extended tour through the Eastern States and Canada, as correspondent of a Philadelphia paper. Later he began the study of the law in the office of Hon. Henry G. Long, and read a thorough course, but about the time he expected to begin practice he met with a serious accident, his right hand being injured so badly that he could not use it for several years, being unable even to hold a pen. In consequence of this injury, he abandoned the law, and engaged in other business in Lancaster and elsewhere. In 1856 Mr. Brinton was united in marriage to Miss Susan M. Reigart, eldest daughter of the late Emanuel C. Reigart, one of the foremost of Lancaster's lawyers a generation ago. They took up their residence in the house formerly occupied by Thaddeus Stevens, NO. 38 South Queen street, and occupied it during all their married life. Mr. Brinton was for a long time a director of the Philadelphia and Lancaster Turnpike, of the Lancaster and Middletown Turnpike; and was for six years before his death treasurer of the Lancaster and Williamstown Turnpike road. In 1859 Mr. Brinton was elected treasurer of the Lancaster & Susquehanna Turnpike Road Company, and held the office up to the time of his death. He was for many years in the management of the Inland Insurance & Deposit Company. He was elected a member of the Lancaster school board in 1863, and at once took an active part in school affairs. In 1860 be was chosen president of the board. He was regarded an excellent parliamentarian and an impartial presiding officer, while his thorough knowledge of the rules governing the board enabled him to transact business with dispatch and regularity. Although Mr. Brinton declined reelection to the presidency in 1873, he remained a member of the board until 1878, doing good work for the schools. In 1867 he was re-elected a member of the common council, and was chosen president of that body. The following year. he was re-elected a member from the Fourth ward, by a majority of one, he being the only candidate on the Democratic ticket who secured election. Mr. Brinton was always a stanch Democrat, and always took an active part in local, State and National politics. He was a delegate to a number of State conventions and senatorial delegate to the Democratic State Convention that nominated his warm personal friend, Judge Sharswood, an eminent jurist, for judge of the Supreme court, and in recognition of his services he was, with Hon. Richard Vaux, appointed to inform him of his nomination. He then served for three years on the Democratic State Committee, and was again chosen senatorial delegate to the Democratic State Convention of 1874. Mr. Brinton entered into rest on April 13, 1888, in the sixty-fourth year of his age, and no man who ever lived in the community died more lamented-for his was a genial, generous, noble nature. His widow now resides at No. 549 North Duke street, Lancaster. She is one of the managers of a number of charitable homes, hospitals and organizations, and is active in Episcopal church affairs. One daughter and two sons are still living: Henrietta, the eldest, is the wife of William L. Deming, vice president of the Deming Manufacturing Company, of Salem, Ohio: they have one child, Susan Brinton. Edward Penrose Brinton, Esq., was born Aug. 25, 1860.

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