Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography/Chew, Samuel
CHEW, Samuel, jurist, b. in Annapolis, Md., 30 Oct., 1693; d. 16 June, 1743. He was a descendant of John Chewe, who landed on Hogg's island, opposite Jamestown, Va., in 1622, and in 1623 is styled “merchant.” Samuel was for a time a practising physician, and afterward became a judge, and was chief justice of the district of Newcastle. He was influential among the Quakers, but provoked criticism by an address to the grand jury of Newcastle on the lawfulness of resistance to an armed enemy (1741; reprinted in 1775). — His son, Benjamin, jurist, b. at West River, Anne Arundel co., Md., 29 Nov., 1722; d. 20 Jan., 1810. He studied law with Andrew Hamilton, an eminent Philadelphia lawyer, and in London, settled in 1743 on the Delaware, removed to Philadelphia in 1745, was recorder from 1755 till 1772, register of wills, attorney-general, resigning in 1766, and in 1774 became chief justice of Pennsylvania. He was also for several years speaker of the house of delegates of the three lower counties in Delaware. When the revolution began, both parties courted his support, but after the Declaration of Independence he opposed the patriots, and, because he declined to give a parole in 1777, was imprisoned in Fredericksburg, Va. From 1791 until the abolition of that court in 1806 he was president of the high court of errors and appeals. Chief-Justice Chew resided in Germantown, in a spacious stone mansion, still standing (1897), which is represented in the accompanying illustration. During the battle of Germantown, 4 Oct., 1777, the doors of the house were riddled by bullets, and cannon-balls passed through its walls and shattered the statuary in the surrounding grounds. At the opening of the battle, when the central American column, under Washington, descended the main street, they first overwhelmed a small British outpost under Col. Musgrave. Most of the British were scattered, but Musgrave, with a small party of infantry, took refuge in Chew's house, and set up a fire from the windows. The Americans opened an artillery-fire upon the house, but its stone walls were too solid to be beaten down by the three-pound and six-pound field-pieces of that day; and so Maxwell's brigade was left to besiege the house, while the main American column pressed on. The chief effect of this incident was to retard and weaken the American charge, and to give the British time to prepare for it.