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Happy to Be Here: Eminent judge welcomed


The Bucks County Bar Association added a touch of history and art at its welcome meeting for new members in December.

It hung a portrait of a former Bucks County judge on a wall at the association headquarters in Doylestown, adding an important missing link to a collection of judge portraits.

He was Henry Wynkoop, a member of the Continental Congress as well as a U.S. representative to the First United States Congress.

For many years, the portrait was held by the Northampton Township Historical Society until it presented the portrait to the Bucks County Historical Society. Some members of the Bucks County Bar Association, including Grace Deon and Frank Gallagher, thought the portrait would be a welcome addition to the association’s collection.

Today, Judge Wynkoop’s portrait hangs at a stairway in the association headquarters.

According to a history of the House of Representatives, Wynkoop was born in Northampton Township March 2, 1737; he was a member of the Pennsylvania Assembly in 1760 and 1761; associate justice of Bucks County Courts 1764-1777 and president judge 1777-1789; a member of the committee of observation in 1774; a delegate to the provincial conferences of July 15, 1774, and June 18, 1775; a major of Bucks County Associated Battalions; a member of the general committee of safety in 1776 and 1777; a justice of the high court of errors and appeals from 1783 to 1789; elected to the First Congress (March 4, 1789-March 3, 1791).

Wynkoop was appointed associate justice of Bucks County, and served until his death on March 25, 1816.

Not only is the subject of value, but the portrait painter was one of the most prolific of painters in the Colonial period, Rembrandt Peale.

Born in Bucks County in 1778, Peale was a son of Charles Wilson Peale, already a famous portrait painter when Rembrandt was born, one of 11 children from Charles Wilson’s first wife. The children were named for artists – Rubens, Raphaelle and Rembrandt among them – and were trained as painters.

Charles Wilson followed the Continental Army carrying his paintbox during the Revolution and painted officers, including George Washington, at the battlefields. Like his father, Rembrandt, became a painter of George Washington. At age 17, he did a portrait of Washington, the first “Patriae Pater,” of which 79 later helped to support him. In 1832, a “Patriae Pater” was purchased for the U.S. Capitol.

Wynkoop is buried in Addisville Reformed Church’s historic graveyard, across the street from the church, in Richboro; its graves date back more than 200 years.

The neglected graveyard had fallen into disrepair when the historical society donated funds to repair the stone wall and maintain it.

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