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Joseph Reed

Gov. Joseph Reed

  • December 1, 1778 - November 15, 1781
  • July 27, 1741
  • March 5, 1785
  • New Jersey
  • Married Esther de Berdt
  • Resigned
  • Representative
  • Army


Born in Trenton, New Jersey, JOSEPH REED was a lawyer and jurist. He served as aide-de-camp to General George Washington during the war of independence. Reed is credited with having been the first to expose the treason of Benedict Arnold. After retiring from the military, he was elected to the Continental Congress, where he signed the Articles of Confederation. He also served as Chief Justice of Pennsylvania’s Supreme Court. In 1778 he was chosen President of the Supreme Executive Council of Pennsylvania, the equivalent of state governor. Reed advocated the gradual abolishment of slavery. After leaving office, he retired to private life but served as a commissioner on the claim of Connecticut to lands in northern Pennsylvania. And in 1784 he was elected once more to Congress, but was unable to take his seat due to failing health.


The National Cyclopaedia of American Biography, Vol. 2. New York: James T. White & Company.

Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission


Biographical Directory of the U.S. Congress

Recent Pennsylvania Governors