Mary Borden McKeanMary Borden McKean
Wife of Thomas McKean, Signer of the Declaration of Independence
1774 – 1773 A.D.


Mary Borden, who in 1763, became the first wife of Thomas McKean, was the eldest daughter of Thomas Bordon of Bordentown, New Jersey, a wealthy and pubic-spirited citizen, who was later to become an active patriot during the war of the Revolution. Mary and her sister, Ann, were said to be the handsomest girls in New Jersey. Ann afterward married Francis Hopkinson, who like his brother-in-law, Thomas McKean, became a signer of the Declaration of Independence.

Thomas McKeanThomas McKean was the son of a well-to-do Irish-American parents who had settled in Chester County. He was educated in the celebrated school of Rev. Francis Allison of Philadelphia, after which he studied law in the office of David Finney, a prominent attorney of Newcastle, Delaware, where before e was twenty years old he was appointed deputy prothonotary [sic] and register of the probate court of Newcastle County.

The highly active public life of Mr. McKean, from his admission to the bar in the early fifties, almost to the day of his death, in 1817, was not exceeded in usefulness by any other public man of his day. During that period he held at one time or another most of the high official positions in Pennsylvania and Delaware, sometimes filling several offices at the same time. In 1777, for instance, he represented Delaware in the Continental Congress, was chief justice of Pennsylvania, and president of Congress. The chief justiceship [sic] he held for twenty-two years, after which he was governor of Pennsylvania for nine years.

Mary Borden lived only ten years after her marriage, not long enough to enjoy much of that success that came to her husband later in life, but long enough to bear him six children. Thomas and Mary Borden were the parents of Joseph, Robert, Elizabeth, Letitia, Mary (died in childhood) and Anne.


Reference: 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 by Harry Clinton Green and Mary Wolcott Green, A.B. Third Volume, Published by G.P. Putnam’s Sons.