Growing up in Cliveden


Sam Chew – Last one to call it home

Sam Chew is a 9th generation descendant of Benjamin Chew, a prominent attorney in pre-Revolutionary Philadelphia. Chew was the last person still alive to have lived in the house as a resident. In the 1960’s, when Sam was a teenager, the house did double duty as an historic destination attracting visitors, and a domestic home used to raise a family. When historic maintenance costs became unbearable, Sam’s father donated the house to the Landmark Trust in the 1970’s.


Benjamin Chew (1722-1810)

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Benjamin Chew served as Pennsylvania’s Attorney General and on its Supreme Court, He was the personal attorney for the family of William Penn and a friend to both George Washington and Thomas Jefferson. But when war broke out with Britain, Benjamin Chew placed his loyalties with the Crown, ultimately arrested and sentenced to serve time in New Jersey. Following the war, Benjamin Chew reintegrated himself back into Philadelphia’s elite.

During the Revolution the British occupied the Chew estate in Germantown, which was the site of a full-blown battle between General George Washington’s forces and the British Redcoats. This became known as the Battle of Germantown, which is re-enacted every year at Cliveden House.

On the upper floor, a British soldier was shot and, while dying, drew a rough sketch of his betrothed on the wall in his own blood. That blood has been meticulously preserved to this day.




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