Wharton, Samuel

Wharton, Samuel

(1732–1800) merchant, land speculator; born in Philadelphia. A prominent merchant by 1763, he was a central figure in three attempts to gain large land grants west of the Alleghenies: the Grand Illinois Venture (1764–72), Indiana Grant (1768–69), and Vandalia (1770–75). None of the projects were ultimately successful; the start of the American Revolution in 1775 wrecked the Vandalia scheme. Wharton served in the Continental Congress (1782–83) and was a justice of the court of common pleas in Southwark, Pa. (1790–91).
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.