Joseph Reed (lawyer) Article

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Joseph Reed
Pennsylvania Attorney General
In office
October 2, 1810 – January 26, 1811
Preceded by Walter Franklin
Succeeded by Richard Rush
Personal details
Born(1772-07-11)July 11, 1772
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
DiedMarch 4, 1846(1846-03-04) (aged 73)
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Spouse(s)Maria Ellis Watmough

Joseph Reed (July 11, 1771 – March 4, 1846) [1] [2] was a Pennsylvania lawyer and legal writer, who served briefly as the state Attorney General.

Biography and career

Reed was born the son of Pennsylvania lawyer Joseph Reed and Esther de Berdt. Shortly after Reed's birth, the elder Reed gave up his law practice and became closely involved with George Washington and the Revolutionary War, served a term as Pennsylvania's president, and was a delegate to the first Continental Congress, but died a few years after the war ended. Reed was then raised in the home of Jared Ingersoll. He graduated from the College of New Jersey in 1792 and was admitted to the bar the same year. [3]

In 1805, he married Maria Ellis Watmough (or Watmaugh), [4] they had four children. [5] Two sons, Henry Hope and William Bradford would become lawyers. Henry would switch careers and become a distinguished academic in literature. William Bradford would, like his father, serve as state Attorney General, and then also switch careers. He would be the U.S. Envoy to China, and become an academic in history, writing books on his paternal grandparents.

Reed served as prothonotary of the state Supreme Court from 1801–1810. [6] When Walter Franklin resigned in 1810 as state Attorney-General near the end of his term, Reed was appointed to complete the term. Reed was recorder of the city of Philadelphia, 1810–1829. [7]


  • The Laws of Pennsylvania, 5 volumes, 1822–4.


  1. ^ Archives of the General Convention (Episcopal Church). Volume 1. 1911. p. 206.
  2. ^ Samuel Davies Alexander (1872). Princeton College During the Eighteenth Century. Anson D.F. Randolph. p. 264.
  3. ^ Maeva Marcus and James R. Perry, ed. (1986). The Documentary History of the Supreme Court of the United States, 1789–1800. Columbia University. p. 331.
  4. ^ Maria Ellis's sister Margaretta married John Sergeant.
  5. ^ Jacob Whittemore Reed (1861). History of the Reed family in Europe and America. p. 459.
  6. ^ Joseph Jackson (1918). Market Street, Philadelphia. p. 115.
  7. ^ Thomas William Herringshaw (1904). Herringshaw's Encyclopedia of American Biography of the Nineteenth Century. American Publishers' Association. p. 778.
Legal offices
Preceded by
Walter Franklin
Pennsylvania Attorney General
Succeeded by
Richard Rush