Isaac Wayne (1772-1852)

Isaac Wayne was born in 1772, the youngest of two children and the only son of Anthony and Mary Penrose Wayne of Chester County, Pennsylvania. Anthony Wayne was a distinguished Revolutionary War general who had served with Washington at Valley Forge and had contributed to the American victory at the Battle of Monmouth. Young Isaac was educated at the local common schools before graduating from Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania in 1792; he may have also attended Princeton for a short time prior to entering Dickinson. After graduation, Wayne studied law and was admitted to the Philadelphia Bar in 1795.

Just as his father had served his country in the military, Isaac Wayne served as representative of the people. He was elected to the Pennsylvania State House of Representatives in 1799 and served a two-year term; he was again elected in 1806. Four years later, he was elected a state senator. At the outbreak of war in 1812, Wayne helped to raise a cavalry troop from Chester and surrounding counties, and became a colonel in the Second Regiment, Pennsylvania Volunteers. When the war ended, he returned to public life, though he ran unsuccessfully as the Federalist candidate for Pennsylvania governor in 1814. He returned to the family farm in Waynesborough in Easttown Township, Chester County to attend to his estate there.

His hiatus from public service lasted for nine years; in 1823 he was elected to serve a two-year term as a senator in the Eighteenth Congress. In March 1825, Wayne retired for good and remained a farmer the rest of his life. He died at the family farm at Waynesborough on October 25, 1852 at the age of 80. He was buried at the St. David’s Church cemetery in the family plot along with his father, grandfather, and great-grandfather.

On August 25, 1802, Wayne married Elizabeth Smith, and the couple had five children: Anthony, William, Richard, Sidney, and Mary. Elizabeth preceded her husband Isaac in death by only a few months, dying on April 17, 1852 at the age of seventy-four.

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Dickinson College Archives
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