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February 2001

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Famous Foulkes

With a wonderful family like ours, we've had a few famous Foulkes, and we'll probably have a few more.  Here's a sampling of the more well-known Foulkes.

Theophilus Foulke served in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives from 1794 through 1797.  A great-grandson of Edward and Eleanor Foulke through Hugh and then Theophilus, Theophilus Foulke, Jr., had served as a Justice of the Peace in Pennsylvania before being elected to Congress.  Theophilus, Jr., was once invited to dine with George Washington while he was president.

Samuel Foulke, a grandson of Edward through his son Hugh, served in the Pennsylvania Colonial Assembly from 1761 through 1768.  Portions of a journal kept by Samuel reveal that he thought it no "remarkable" occurrence to receive mail from Benjamin Franklin, and even less so to meet with him on New Year's Eve of 1763.

William Parker Foulke was already a member of the Academy of Natural Sciences when he made a discovery in 1858 that would immortalize his (and our) name.  He was vacationing in New Jersey when he discovered the first dinosaur skeleton found in America.  The country's foremost vertebrate paleontologist at the time, Dr. Joseph Leidy, named the skeleton in honor of Foulke, and it still bears the name Hadrosaurus foulkii.

Charles Mather Foulke made a name for himself in the antiquities circles of the late 1880s.  His collection of tapestries was quite large, including the famous Barbarini Tapestries, acquired from Princess Barbarini of Italy, and which originally belonged to Pope Urban VIII.

The President of the 1898 Reunion, William Dudley Foulke, was a prominent attorney and public servant in Indiana and later on a national level.  He was elected to the Indiana State Senate and later became president of the Indiana Civil Service Reform Association.  He was a longtime friend of President Theodore Roosevelt, who appointed him to U.S. Civil Service Commission.  When Roosevelt unsuccessfully ran for a third term in 1912, Foulke was on the platform committee.

Dr. John Foulke, of Philadelphia, was one of the first doctors in that city, becoming a member of the College of Physicians in 1787.  Through his private medical school, he introduced the specialty of obstetrics to the city.  When he went to Paris to study in 1780, he carried with him a letter of introduction to Benjamin Franklin, a letter we have no reason to doubt he delivered.

Benjamin Foulke was elected to the Pennsylvania House of Representatives yearly from 1816 to 1820, dying during that session of the house.  His funeral was attended the governor and by all members of the house, who were wearing black crepe.

Everard Foulke was a justice of the peace and tax assessor in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, so appointed by the governor in 1798, when John Fries raised his "rebellion" holding the tax assessors prisoner in the Red Lion Inn.  Everard was one of those held prisoner.

Cadwallader Evans was a prominent surveyor in Gwynedd, elected to the Pennsylvania House of Representatives at the age of 28.  He was reelected every year from 1794 through 1814, serving as the Speaker of the House from 1798 to 1802.  He also served on the Board of Directors of the United States Bank after Congress renewed its charter in 1816.

Ellen Lyle Evans married U.S. Naval Captain Alfred Thayer Mahan, a naval historian and strategist whose books are still sold today and his lessons still taught in the Naval War College, where he was the first lecturer.

Although not a descendant of Edward and Eleanor Foulke, Sally Wister was related to the Foulkes, and lived in the Foulke Mansion at Penllyn when she wrote her now famous and widely published diary.

Jane Foulke is the only published Foulke poet we know of, publishing a book of poetry in 1873, entitled "Gleanings at Seventy-Five."

The Colonel von Montbe and his wife Ellie were members of the 1898 Foulke Family Association, although the connection is unclear.  The colonel was the second in command of the German Army in Saxony at the time.

And in present times the Foulke name lives on in fame; Boston Red Sox pitcher Keith Foulke is descended from the Samuel Foulke mentioned above.

Section last updated February 04, 2001
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