Richard Bache

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Richard Bache
Portrait of Bache, by John Hoppner
United States Postmaster General
In office
November 7, 1776 – January 28, 1782
Appointed byContinental Congress
Preceded byBenjamin Franklin
Succeeded byEbenezer Hazard
Personal details
Born(1737-09-12)September 12, 1737
Settle, West Riding of Yorkshire, England
DiedApril 17, 1811(1811-04-17) (aged 73)
Bucks County, Pennsylvania, U.S.
(m. 1767; died 1808)

Richard Bache (September 12, 1737 – April 17, 1811), born in Settle, West Riding of Yorkshire, England, immigrated to Philadelphia, in the colony of Pennsylvania, where he was a businessman, a marine insurance underwriter, and later served as Postmaster-General of the American Post Office. He also was the son-in-law of Benjamin Franklin.

Early life[edit]

Bache was born on September 12, 1737, in Settle, West Riding of Yorkshire, the youngest child of William Bache, a tax collector, and Mary (née Blechynden) Bache, who were married around 1720. His older brother was Theophylact Bache,[1] who married Ann Dorothea Barclay (a daughter of Andrew Barclay and Helena (née Roosevelt) Barclay).[2]

In 1751, his elder brother Theophylact arrived in New York City, where he was taken under the wing of Paul Richard, a successful merchant and former mayor, whose wife was a Bache relative.[1][3]


Bache immigrated as a young man in 1760 to New York to join his brother Theophylact in a dry goods and marine insurance business. After a couple of years, he went to Philadelphia, where he prospered for several years. He was among nearly 30 young men who in October 1766 met at the city's London Coffee House to found the Gloucester Fox Hunting Club (GFHC), the first in America, to take up a pursuit closely associated with becoming "true Englishmen."[4]

In 1767, Bache suffered financial problems when debts contracted by him were repudiated by his London associate, Edward Green.[5]

Later years[edit]

During the American Revolution, Bache served on the Board of War, which was a special standing committee to oversee the Continental Army's administration and to make recommendations regarding the army to Congress. His wife, Sally, was widely known for her patriotism and charitable activities.[6] After immigrating to North America, he acquired ownership of a slave named Bob.[7]

Franklin later arranged an appointment for Bache, as the US Postmaster General (1776–1782), to succeed him. After Franklin's death in 1790, Bache and Sally lived off her inheritance from Franklin, moving their family to the Vandegrift residence in 1794,[8] along the Delaware River north of Philadelphia.[9]

Personal life[edit]

Bache's wife, Sarah Franklin, painted by John Hoppner (1793)
Bache's eldest son, Benjamin Franklin Bache.

In 1767, Bache had proposed to Sarah Franklin (1743–1808), known as Sally, the only daughter of Benjamin Franklin and Deborah Read.[10] They objected, given his precarious finances and rumors that Bache was a fortune hunter.[9] Although Franklin and his wife Deborah Read never formally approved, they acquiesced to the marriage in 1767.[9] Bache and Sally had eight children together, including:[11]

Sally, a leader in relief work during the War and for women in the pro-independence effort,[16] died from cancer in Philadelphia on October 5, 1808.[17] Bache died in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, on April 17, 1811. He was buried alongside his wife at Christ Church Burial Ground in Philadelphia.[11]


Through his son William, he was a grandfather of U.S. Navy surgeon Benjamin Franklin Bache (1801–1881). Through his son Richard, he was a grandfather of the physicist Alexander Dallas Bache (1806–1867) and Mary Blechynden Bache (1808–1873), wife of Secretary of the Treasury, Governor of Kansas, and U.S. Senator from Mississippi, Robert John Walker and mother of five children, including Union Army General Duncan Stephen Walker.[11]

Through his daughter Eliza, he was a grandfather of the United States Navy Admiral Andrew A. Harwood. Through his youngest daughter Sarah, he was a great-grandfather of Margaret Mason Perry (of the Perry family of Rhode Island) who married John La Farge.[11]


  1. ^ a b Lurie, Maxine N. (2000). "Bache, Theophylact (1735-1807), merchant". American National Biography. doi:10.1093/anb/9780198606697.article.0100040. ISBN 978-0-19-860669-7. Retrieved 3 September 2020.
  2. ^ Notes and Queries: A Medium of Intercommunication for Literary Men, General Readers ... Fourth Series. Oxford University Press. 1868. p. 580. Retrieved 3 September 2020.
  3. ^ "From Benjamin Franklin to Theophylact Bache, 3 February 1773". Founders Online. Retrieved 3 September 2020.
  4. ^ Doreen Skala, "Fox Hunting and Anglicization in Eighteenth-Century Philadelphia", in Locating the English Diaspora, 1500–2010, edited by Tanja Bueltmann, Liverpool University Press, 2012, pp. 61–62, accessed 5 November 2012
  5. ^ Tagg, James (1991). Benjamin Franklin Bache and the Philadelphia Aurora. University of Pennsylvania Press. p. 5. ISBN 978-0-8122-8255-9. Retrieved 3 September 2020.
  6. ^ America, History and Life: Article abstracts and citations. Part A. Clio Press. 1991. p. 14. Retrieved 3 September 2020.
  7. ^ Franklin, Benjamin, Last Will and Testament, FI, archived from the original on 15 February 1997, retrieved 5 July 2006.
  8. ^ "Eddington, Bensalem Township, Bucks County PA". Retrieved 21 June 2017.
  9. ^ a b c Herbert, Eugenia W. (1976). "A Note on Richard Bache (1737–1811)". Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography. 100 (1): 97–103. ISSN 0031-4587.
  10. ^ Benjamin Franklin and women. Tise, Larry E. University Park, Pa.: Pennsylvania State University Press. 2000. ISBN 0585382778. OCLC 49414692.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: others (link)
  11. ^ a b c d e f g h i Parton, James (1864). Life and Times of Benjamin Franklin. Mason Brothers. pp. 629–631. ISBN 978-0-608-40739-5. Retrieved 3 September 2020.
  12. ^ "Margaret Hartman Markoe". Independence National Historical Park. U.S. National Park Service. 1 December 2020. Retrieved 7 March 2021.
  13. ^ "Women of the American Revolution: Sarah Bache", American Revolution website
  14. ^ Carl Edward Skeen, "Citizen Soldiers in the War of 1812," Ch. 8, Federal-State Relations, Vol. 1998, p. 141,
  15. ^ Brown, John Howard (1903). Lamb's Biographical Dictionary of the United States, Volume 7. James H. Lamb Company. p. 16. Retrieved 3 September 2020.
  16. ^ Ellet, E. F. (Elizabeth Fries), 1818-1877. (1998). Revolutionary women in the War for American Independence : a one-volume revised edition of Elizabeth Ellet's 1848 landmark series. Diamant, Lincoln., Ellet, E. F. (Elizabeth Fries), 1818-1877. Westport, Conn.: Praeger. ISBN 0275962636. OCLC 38304353.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link) CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  17. ^ Aldridge, Alfred O. (1967). Benjamin Franklin : philosopher and man. Lippincott. OCLC 612354380.

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by United States Postmaster General
Succeeded by