The Encyclopedia Americana (1920)/Pennypacker, Samuel Whitaker

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PENNYPACKER, Samuel Whitaker, American jurist and author: b. Phœnixville, Pa., 9 April 1843; d. Schwencksville, Pa., 2 Sept. 1917. He received his education at the Grovemont Seminary at Phœnixville and at the West Philadelphia Institute. As a member of the 26th Emergency Pennsylvania regiment he participated in the first engagement at Gettysburg (1863). He then studied law at the University of Pennsylvania and after admission to the bar was elected in 1868 president of the Law Academy of Philadelphia. His legal productions include four volumes of ‘Supreme Court Reports,’ a volume of ‘Colonial Cases,’ a ‘Digest of the English Common Law Reports’ and he also assisted in the publication of 45 volumes of the ‘Weekly Notes of Cases.’ In 1889 he was appointed judge of the Court of Common Pleas No. 2 and was elected for two terms of 10 years each, acting for five years as president judge of that court. In 1902 he became governor of Pennsylvania and in that capacity instituted several notable reforms. During his administration a law was passed requiring newspapers to print the names of their owners and editors and making them responsible for negligence; the State constabulary, the health department and the highway department were created and a new capitol building was erected. Governor Pennypacker's session was particularly stormy. He repudiated his party, which opened his administration to violent criticism, and led a war on the easy divorce system of Pennsylvania. Economy and vigor marked his term. He was later president of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, a trustee of the University of Pennsylvania and held positions of honor in various German and Netherlandish societies. He was author of ‘Pennslyvania in American History’; ‘Pennsylvania, the Keystone’; 'Settlement of Germantown’; ‘Historical and Biographical Sketches’; ‘Annals of Phœnixville’ and numerous other historical documents. In 1915 he was appointed chairman of the Public Service Commission of Pennsylvania, which office he held until his death.