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John Hewson
Date: 1744 - 1821
Remarks: John Hewson: Kensington's Revolutionary War Hero By Ken Milano John Hewson was born in 1744 in England, the son of a London woolen draper. His father, Peter Hewson, was descended from Col. John Hewson, a supporter of Oliver Cromwell and implicated directly in the execution of King Charles I. Peter Hewson was sometime governor of Dublin and a member of the Cromwellian House of Peers. Like his famous ancestor, and to the dismay of his parents, young John Hewson held extreme political views. Republican tendencies did not fare well under King George, and the elder Hewsons sought the help of that most famous of Philadelphians, Benjamin Franklin, to enable young John to emigrate to America. Franklin, while in London acting as an agent for the colonies, boarded at the home of Dr. William Hewson, a famous British doctor of the day and a relative of John Hewson and his parents. On one occasion the family asked Dr. Franklin if he would be able to take John and his dangerously republican ideas to America with him. Franklin agreed and in 1774 John Hewson arrived in Pennsylvania. Hewson was trained as a printer of calico fabrics and had worked for Talwin & Foster, a leading English textile printworks, at Bromley Hall near London. He very likely brought his equipment to Philadelphia, and perhaps half a dozen workmen as well. He opened a calico printing factory in 1774, near the Delaware River at the foot of Gunner¿s Run, now Aramingo Avenue. At that time Richmond Street was called Point-no-Point Road, and Hewson¿s address was listed on the Point Road. As closely as we can currently estimate, Hewson¿s place was located where (surprise! surprise!) Hewson Street, named for him, begins today. Not only was Hewson the first calico fabric printer in the colonies, his work was also of the highest quality. According to scholars of textile history, Hewson¿s textiles were unmatched in America at that time, and rivaled those of Europe. His chintz fabrics made him famous and were prin
Biography: John Hewson: Kensington's Revolutionary War Hero by Ken Milano in Artist File