Maclay, William

Maclay, William (1737-1804) Politician: William Maclay was born in New Garden, Chester County, Pennsylvania, on July 20, 1737. After pursuing classical studies; he took part in the French and Indian War as a lieutenant in various expeditions, including one to Fort Duquesne in 1758. Maclay studied law, and was admitted to the bar in 1760. He worked as a surveyor hired by the Penn family, and as a chief official and clerk of the courts of Northumberland County. During the Revolutionary War, he was a commissary in the Continental Army. A frequent member of the Continental Congress in the 1780s; he became Indian commissioner, judge of the Court of Common Pleas and a member of the Executive Council. After the Constitution was ratified, he ran for the US Senate, was elected and served from 1789 to 1791. During the first session of Congress, he kept a journal that remains the only systematic record of those proceedings, since no official notes were kept. After his time in the Senate, Maclay retired to his farm in Dauphin, Pennsylvania. He returned to politics, serving as a member of the state House of Representatives for three terms (1795, 1796, 1797) ; a member of the Electoral College in 1796; a county judge from 1801 to 1803 and returning to the state House of Representatives in 1803. Maclay died in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, on April 16, 1804, and was buried in the Old Paxtang Church Cemetery.