This Father's Day, we share the story of one of Philadelphia's most notable father-son pairs, Benjamin Chew and Benjamin Chew Jr. In the 1700s, the Chew family was one of the most wealthy and influential families in the city.
Benjamin Chew and his son had a close relationship. They were both lawyers and practiced together; the elder Chew was chief justice of Pennsylvania. They also both lived for a time at Cliveden, a summer home in Germantown.
The estate was built by the elder Chew in the 1760s as a respite from the city. During the American Revolution, Chew's loyalty to the colonies was called into question, so he was put under house arrest in New Jersey while Cliveden sat vacant. In October 1777, the British broke into the house and, from behind the safety of Cliveden's stone walls, fired on American soldiers. About 77 Americans were killed in this assault, known as the Battle of Germantown.
Chew sold Cliveden in 1779, but then bought it back in 1797. When he died in 1810, his son inherited the house. Members of the Chew family lived at Cliveden until 1972, when they gave the home to the National Trust for Historical Preservation.