Isaac Hazlehurst

Isaac Hazlehurst did an extensive shipping business in Philadelphia in 1789 from old No. 29 Arch Street, on its north side. This was a mansion of the first class, twenty-five feet front, large front entrance with columns and pediment finish. Mr. Hazlehurst afterward built up the south-east corner of Second and Drinkers Alley, a very handsome two-story brick, some thirty feet front, and had his counting-house in the rear.

Among the capacities undertaken by Isaac Hazlehurst during the Revolution was member of a committee charged with overseeing the finances of the first ships ordered built new for the American Navy by Congress, thirteen frigates being assembled in various colonies in 1776. Hazlehurstís committee consisted of four men who oversaw the four frigates being built in Philadelphia. His duties as laid out in a January 1776 letter of the Commissioners for Building the Philadelphia Frigates to the Commissioners of Naval Stores are no different than a government audit agency would undertake today: You are to collect all Bills of Parcells, Accounts and Contracts by you made, and send them as often as Necessary to Messrs Benjn Fuller, Thomas Fitzsimmons, Isaac Hazlehurst & Clement Biddle, who are a Committee for examining and passing all Accounts relative to these Ships, with power to correct Errors, point out Charges, remark on high prices &c. Ė The Accounts & Contracts will be returníd to us with the Committees remarks, and we shall immediately Issue dr[a]ft [on] the Treasurer for Payment of all just and reasonable demands.

In May 1776, we see Isaac Hazlehurst involved in another interesting incident. One Captain Robinson, who had moved from the side of the colonists to that of the British, decided he wanted to return. (This Captain Robinson should not be confused with Captain Isaiah Robinson, a heroic and always loyal leader of the Continental Navy.) When he applied to the Pennsylvania Committee of Safety for a position in the state navy, twenty-six prominent Philadelphians, including Col. John Bayard and five other men who also signed Continental Currency, petitioned the committee to allow Robinsonís return. Hazlehurst was one of these prominent men.

Isaac Hazlehurst had at least four children. The eldest of the four was Mary Elizabeth Hazlehurst. Mary was a close friend of Dolley Madison and was the second wife of the architect Benjamin Latrobe, who among many accomplishments was involved with the building of the Hall of Representatives for the U.S. Capitol in 1803-1807, and the rebuilding of the entire Capitol after it was burned and the interior destroyed during the war of 1812. He also designed the Bank of Pennsylvania on Second Street in Philadelphia (opening in 1801, it was the first major instantiation of Greek Revival architecture in the U.S.) and the decorations for the Madisonís public rooms at the White House. Three brothers followed Mary: Samuel, born in 1772; Robert, born in 1774; and Andrew Purviance, born in 1780.

Isaac Hazlehurst was authorized by the Continental Congress in the first authorization of Continental Currency signers on July 25, 1775. He signed notes of the first three issues of Continental Currency, May 10, 1775, November 29, 1775, and February 17, 1776. Notes bearing Isaacís signature are seen with some regularity.