Gilpin, Thomas (1727-1778)

Philadelphia merchant and zoologist.

Toured England and Ireland (1752). Established the town of Millington, Maryland, then moved to Philadelphia. Traded in partnership with his wife’s father and brother, Joshua and Thomas Fisher; also invested in Maryland and Pennsylvania lands. Studied the wheat fly, seventeen-year locust, and herring; credited with helping to avert the devastation of crops by wheat flies in the 1760s. Also designed a horizontal windmill. Member of the American Philosophical Society (1768). Promoted the Delaware and Chesapeake Canal. Pacifist; arrested and exiled to Winchester, Virginia (1776), where he died.

Quaker. Son of Samuel and Jane (Parker) Gilpin of Cecil County, Maryland. Married Lydia Fisher (1764); five children, including Joshua Gilpin.

xvi, 31-2; Whitfield J. Bell, Jr., Patriot- Improvers: Biographical Sketches of Members of the American Philosophical Society (2 vols., Philadelphia, 1999), ii, 345-51.