William Macpherson (1756-1813)

Brigadier-General William Macpherson, of Philadelphia & "Stouton" Pennsylvania

Associated Houses

Mount Pleasant




He received a commission into the British army but after the death of his elder brother, John, at Quebec - who he had reprimanded for joining the American army - he resigned in favor of taking up arms with the Continental army. During the war, with the rank of Major, he was aide-de-camp to both the Marquis de Lafayette and General Arthur St. Clair, and was later given command of a partisan cavalry in Virginia. After the war, he wrote to his friend, George Washington, explaining he had no means by which to support his family and not wanting to live off his wife's money enquired if there were any government jobs then available. A few months later, he was appointed Surveyor of the Port of Philadelphia and Inspector of Revenue. Prompted by the Whiskey Insurrection of 1794, he was asked to raise a volunteer militia which was dubbed "Macpherson's Blues". He was afterwards promoted to Brigadier-General of the first the State then the Provisional army on the threat of war with France in 1798.

He was President of the St. Andrew's Society of Philadelphia and an original member of the Pennsylvania State Society of the Cincinnati, serving as Vice-President from 1807. He lived for sometime at 66 Spruce Street (most likely his first father-in-law old home) before moving to 8 North Eighth Street. He kept a county estate, Stouton, on Poor Island, jointly inherited by his first wife's maternal grandfather, Peter Keen, which became theirs after he bought out her uncle's (Reynold Keen's) interest in 1784. After the death of his first wife, he moved to a house on Chestnut Street "opposite Morris' building" and next door to that of Commodore Dale. In 1803, he married his second wife, the daughter of the Rt. Rev. William White, Bishop of the Protestant Episcopal Church in Pennsylvania. He had 5-children who lived to adulthood, three by his first wife and two by his second.  


Contributed by Mark Meredith on 15/03/2021 and last updated on 16/03/2021.