Timothy Matlack (March 28, 1736 – April 14, 1829) was a brewer and beer bottler who emerged as a popular and powerful leader in the American Revolutionary War, Secretary of Pennsylvania during the war, and a delegate to the Second Continental Congress in 1780. He became one of Pennsylvania’s most provocative and influential political figures, but he was removed from office by his political enemies at the end of the war; however, he returned to power in the Jeffersonian era. Matlack was known for his excellent penmanship and was chosen to inscribe the original United States Declaration of Independence on vellum.
In 1760, Matlack opened a store called the Case Knife, and he and Owen Biddle purchased a steel furnace in Trenton, New Jersey in 1762. His shop failed in 1765, and he was disowned by the Quakers who complained that he had been “frequenting company in such a manner as to spend too much of his time from home”. He was confined to debtors’ prison in 1768 and 1769. By 1769, he had set up a new business selling bottled beer and opened his own brewery near the Pennsylvania State House (aka Independence Hall).
As a Colonel in the Philadelphia and Pennsylvania militia, Matlack crossed the Delaware River with Washington on December 27, 1776. When Benedict Arnold was appointed Commandant of Philadelphia, Matlack led an investigation of his wrongdoing which triggered a court martial resulting in the Arnold being officially reprimanded “reprehensible” behavior by the Commander-in-Chief (Washington). Arnold’s treason was discovered five months later.
In 1790, Matlack was commissioned to survey the “headwaters of the Susquehanna River and the streams of the New Purchase,” the northwestern portion of the state purchased from the American Indians. They were also charged with exploring a route for a passageway to connect the West Branch with the Allegheny River.
Matlack was all the things the Regimental Brewmeister represents: a brewer, a soldier, a surveyor, a man of arts and letters (member of Philadelphia Philanthropic Society), and a revolutionary. What’s not to love? (unless you are Benedict Arnold that is…, I’m sure he would have shot D Trump on sight if he lived today! Then had a beer.)