Colonial Hall -- Biographies of America's Founding Fathers

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Mary Chew Paca


Wife of William Paca

Mary Chew, who married William Paca in 176I, was the daughter of Samuel Chew and Henrietta Lloyd, and a direct descendant of John Chew, who arrived at Jamestown in 1622, with three servants, on the ship Charitie. Of the young woman we have but little record except that she was the favourite granddaughter of Samuel Chew, head of one of the oldest and most prominent Colonial families. In his Historic Families of America, Spooner says of the Chews: "They belong to that remarkable group of families which, founded in the Southern Colonies by ancestors of excellent birth and breeding, assumed at once a position of social and public consequence, and subsequent generations, by the merits and character of their members, as well as by influential alliances, steadily maintained and strengthened their original prestige."

William Paca, at the time of his marriage, was a young lawyer who had just reached his majority, and had been elected a member of the Provincial Assembly. His young wife did not long survive to enjoy the successes and triumphs that came to her husband during his honoured public career, in which he was member of Congress, Justice of the Supreme Court of his native State, and finally its Governor. She died in the opening year of the Revolution. She was the mother of five children, only one of whom survived, according to Sanderson.1
This was a son, John P. Paca, who afterward married Juliana, daughter of Richard and Mary Tighlman.

In 1777, Mr. Paca married a second wife, Miss Anne Harrison, a highly respected young woman of Philadelphia, who died three years later, leaving one child, which did not long survive her. Governor Paca died in 1799 at his ancestral home, Wye Hall, Harford County.

Source: Wives of the Signers: The Women Behind the Declaration of Independence, by Harry Clinton Green and Mary Wolcott Green, A.B. (Aledo, TX: Wallbuilder Press, 1997). Orignaly Published in 1912 as volume 3 of The Pioneer Mothers of America: A Record of the More Notable Women of the Early Days of the Country, and Particularly of the Colonial and Revolutionary Periods (New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons). Pages 219-220. (Some minor spelling changes may have been made.)

1[From pg. 281, n. 13] 13 In the National Cyclopedia of American Biography it is stated that "One of Governor Paca's daughters was married to Consul Roubelle, a coadjutor of Napoleon. Their son bore such a striking likeness to the accepted ideals of our Saviour that he was often called upon to pose as a model." Other authorities agree that John P. Paca was the only surviving child. In her Colonial Families, Mary Burke Emory makes the statement that "Mrs. William Paca's second husband was Daniel Dulaney. They had two sons, Floyd, who was pierced with a sword in a duel with Rev. Bennett Allen, and Walter Dulaney." All other authorities seem to agree that both of Governor Paca's wives died long before his decease.


Designed and Edited by John Vinci
Last modified January 5, 2005