Sarah Morris Mifflin



Sarah Morris Mifflin
April 4, 1747 - August 1, 1790

Portrait of Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Mifflin is an oil on ticking by, John Singleton Copley, Circa 1772 – image courtesy of Philadelphia Museum of Art.
Sarah Morris, the daughter of Morris Morris and Susannah Morris, was born April 4, 1747 and was a cousin of her future husband, Thomas Mifflin.  According to John Adams, Sarah was “a charming Quaker girl."  In 1898, historian William Henry Egle wrote in his book, Some Pennsylvania Women During the War of the Revolution:

All descriptions of Sarah Morris, state that she was a very lovely woman, although in delicate health, and belonged to a prominent Quaker family. In many respects she was a remarkable woman. She married, at Fair Hill Meeting, on March 4, 1767, Thomas Mifflin. After her marriage her life up to the period of the Revolution was very quiet. She had no children of her own, but there were those around her, near and dear, to whose comfort she was constantly ministering. At the commencement of the War of the Revolution Mrs. Mifflin in writing to a friend in Boston said: 
"I have retrenched every superfluous expense in my table and family. Tea I have not drank since last Christmas, nor bought a new cap or gown since the affair at Lexington, and what I never did before, have learned to knit, and am now making stockings of wool for my servants; and this way do I throw in my mite to the public good. I know this, that as free I can die but once; but as a slave I shall not be worthy of life. I have the pleasure to assure you that these are the sentiments of my sister Americans. They have sacrificed assemblies, parties of pleasure, tea-drinkings and finery, to that great spirit of patriotism which actuates all degrees of people throughout this extensive country."
Prior to the occupancy of Philadelphia by the British, Mrs. Mifflin removed to Reading, where she mostly resided during the struggle for Independence. Her home was a notable one in that Provincial German town; and, it has been stated by historians, that it was at her residence that the noted "Conway cabal" was organized. But this falsehood was exploded a century ago. Like the lives of all the patriots' wives, hers was a very quiet one at Reading, but she accomplished much good with the aid of her neighbors there, in the preparation of delicacies for the sick and wounded who were quartered in the neighborhood. At the close of the war she returned to Philadelphia, where she remained until her death.

Mrs. Mifflin, after six month's of illness, died on August 1, 1790 and was interred in the Friends Burial Ground at Arch Street in Philadelphia.  Six months later, Thomas Mifflin was elected as the first governor of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

The Philadelphia Museum of Art notes of the Copley painting:

The Philadelphia merchant Thomas Mifflin, a firebrand of the American Revolution and later the first governor of Pennsylvania, convened in Boston in 1773 with like-minded rebels. While there, he and his wife, Sarah Morris, posed for Copley, the best painter in the colonies. Their radical politics may be subtly suggested by "Sally's" work on a portable loom, weaving her own decorative fringe to demonstrate support of a boycott of highly taxed imported English goods. Copley's masterpiece, immediately recognized as one of his finest and most complex portraits, captures the plain but elegant Quaker style of this young couple as well as the affectionate partnership of their marriage. Kathleen A. Foster, from Philadelphia Museum of Art: Handbook of the Collections, 2009.



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United Colonies and States First Ladies
1774-1788


United Colonies Continental Congress
President
18th Century Term
Age
09/05/74 – 10/22/74
29
Mary Williams Middleton (1741- 1761) Deceased
Henry Middleton
10/22–26/74
n/a
05/20/ 75 - 05/24/75
30
05/25/75 – 07/01/76
28
United States Continental Congress
President
Term
Age
07/02/76 – 10/29/77
29
Eleanor Ball Laurens (1731- 1770) Deceased
Henry Laurens
11/01/77 – 12/09/78
n/a
Sarah Livingston Jay (1756-1802)
12/ 10/78 – 09/28/78
21
Martha Huntington (1738/39–1794)
09/29/79 – 02/28/81
41
United States in Congress Assembled
President
Term
Age
Martha Huntington (1738/39–1794)
03/01/81 – 07/06/81
42
07/10/81 – 11/04/81
25
Jane Contee Hanson (1726-1812)
11/05/81 - 11/03/82
55
11/03/82 - 11/02/83
46
Sarah Morris Mifflin (1747-1790)
11/03/83 - 11/02/84
36
11/20/84 - 11/19/85
46
11/23/85 – 06/06/86
38
Rebecca Call Gorham (1744-1812)
06/06/86 - 02/01/87
42
02/02/87 - 01/21/88
43
01/22/88 - 01/29/89
36

Constitution of 1787
First Ladies
President
Term
Age
April 30, 1789 – March 4, 1797
57
March 4, 1797 – March 4, 1801
52
Martha Wayles Jefferson Deceased
September 6, 1782  (Aged 33)
n/a
March 4, 1809 – March 4, 1817
40
March 4, 1817 – March 4, 1825
48
March 4, 1825 – March 4, 1829
50
December 22, 1828 (aged 61)
n/a
February 5, 1819 (aged 35)
n/a
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65
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50
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23
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41
March 4, 1849 – July 9, 1850
60
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52
March 4, 1853 – March 4, 1857
46
n/a
n/a
March 4, 1861 – April 15, 1865
42
February 22, 1862 – May 10, 1865
April 15, 1865 – March 4, 1869
54
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43
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45
March 4, 1881 – September 19, 1881
48
January 12, 1880 (Aged 43)
n/a
June 2, 1886 – March 4, 1889
21
March 4, 1889 – October 25, 1892
56
June 2, 1886 – March 4, 1889
28
March 4, 1897 – September 14, 1901
49
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40
March 4, 1909 – March 4, 1913
47
March 4, 1913 – August 6, 1914
52
December 18, 1915 – March 4, 1921
43
March 4, 1921 – August 2, 1923
60
August 2, 1923 – March 4, 1929
44
March 4, 1929 – March 4, 1933
54
March 4, 1933 – April 12, 1945
48
April 12, 1945 – January 20, 1953
60
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56
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31
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50
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56
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56
January 20, 1977 – January 20, 1981
49
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59
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63
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45
January 20, 2001 – January 20, 2009
54
January 20, 2009 to date
45


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