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Philip Doddridge (Virginia politician)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Philip Doddridge
Philip Doddridge VA.jpg
Profile of Philip Doddridge
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Virginia's 18th district
In office
March 4, 1829 – November 19, 1832
Preceded byIsaac Leffler
Succeeded byJoseph Johnson
Chairman of the Committee on the District of Columbia
In office
Preceded byGershom Powers
Succeeded byGeorge Corbin Washington
Member of the Virginia House of Delegates from Brooke County
In office
In office
In office
In office
Member of the Virginia Senate from Monongalia, Ohio, Harrison, Randolph, Wood, and Brooke Counties
In office
Personal details
Born(1773-05-17)May 17, 1773
Bedford County, Province of Pennsylvania, British America
DiedNovember 19, 1832(1832-11-19) (aged 59)
Washington, D.C., U.S.
Resting placeCongressional Cemetery, Washington, D.C.
Political partyAnti-Jacksonian

Philip Doddridge (May 17, 1773 – November 19, 1832) was a lawyer and sectional leader of western (now West) Virginia. He served in the United States House of Representatives representing the "Wheeling District" in the Upper Ohio River Valley.[1]


Philip Doddridge was born in Bedford County in the Province of Pennsylvania. He was the son of John and Mary Wells Doddridge. Doddridge grew up along Cross Creek at Doddridge's Fort in frontier Washington County, Pennsylvania, site of Doddridge's Chapel frequently visited by Methodist circuit riders including bishop Francis Asbury. In 1796, Doddridge settled downstream at newly founded Wellsburg (then Charleston), Virginia (now West Virginia). He was active in civic affairs and a member of Trinity Episcopal Church founded by his brother, the Rev. Dr. Joseph Doddridge, a frontier author, physician, and Episcopalian missionary.[2]

Philip Doddridge married Julia Parr Musser in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, on April 30, 1800. They had five sons and five daughters.[3]

Doddridge's education included tutoring from his father, attending Canonsburg Academy (a forerunner to Washington & Jefferson College), and reading law with mentors in Wellsburg. He was admitted to the bar in 1797. From Brooke County, Virginia (now West Virginia), Doddridge distinguished himself as a frontier lawyer in Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Ohio specializing in land disputes common in his day. West Virginia founder Waitman T. Willey read law under Doddridge.


From 1804 to 1809, Doddridge served as member of the Senate of Virginia. In 1815, 1816, 1822, 1823, 1828, and 1829, he served as member of the Virginia House of Delegates. He was a leading advocate for the Virginia Constitutional Convention of 1829–1830 during which he was the leading voice for western reformers seeking greater say in Richmond amid east-west sectionalism.[4][5]

In 1822, he was an unsuccessful candidate to the Eighteenth Congress and in 1824 to the Nineteenth Congress. Doddridge was elected as an Anti-Jacksonian candidate to the Twenty-first and Twenty-second Congresses. During that time, he was an outspoken advocate of congressional authority during the 1832 Stanbery-Houston Affair. He was also chairman of the House Committee for the District of Columbia (Twenty-first and Twenty-second Congresses) tasked with codifying the district laws inherited from Maryland and Virginia. Doddridge served in the U.S. House of Representatives from March 4, 1829, until his death from illness in Washington, D.C., November 19, 1832, after which he was interred in the Congressional Cemetery.


Phillipsburgh, Ohio, was originally named for Doddridge. After the Brilliant Glass Company located there in 1880, the town and railway station adopted the name Brilliant. Doddridge County, West Virginia is also named in his honor.

Limited research has been conducted regarding the life of Philip Doddridge. One historian has argued that historical accounts of Doddridge often feature inaccuracies due to reliance on primary sources from the Virginia Tidewater. In autumn 2019, an article in West Virginia History argued that: "Some historians have reduced Doddridge to a caricature by relying too heavily on sources laden with the anti-Appalachian views of Virginia’s eastern elites motivated by self-preservation of their plantation lifestyles reliant on black slavery. In other instances, historians omit Doddridge’s name from accounts of historical events in which he played a key role. Similarly, advocates for an independent West Virginia later used Doddridge to fit their own purpose to highlight western needs to separate from Richmond. These competing approaches continue to influence lopsided narratives that sometimes bizarrely exclude Philip Doddridge from summaries of the Virginia Constitutional Convention of 1829–30 for which he was a chief proponent and the leading reformer."[6]

Further reading

  • Doddridge, Joseph. Notes on the Settlement and Indian Wars of the Western Parts of Virginia and Pennsylvania, 3rd ed., ed. John S. Ritenour and William T. Lindsey (Pittsburgh: J.S. Ritenour, 1912).
  • Doddridge, Philip. Speech of Mr. Doddridge, in the case of Samuel Houston, charged with a contempt and breach of the privileges of the House, by assaulting the Hon. William Stanberry, a Member from the state of Ohio, for words used in debate: Delivered in the House of Representatives, May 9, 1832. Washington: Printed by Gales & Seaton, 1832.
  • Grigsby, Hugh B. The Virginia Constitutional Convention of 1829-1830: A Discourse Delivered before the Virginia Historical Society in Richmond, December 15, 1853, in The Virginia Historical Reporter 1 (1854).
  • Richards, Samuel J. “Reclaiming Congressman Philip Doddridge from Tidewater Cultural Imperialism,” in West Virginia History: A Journal of Regional Studies 13, no. 2 (Fall 2019), 1-26.
  • Willey, Waitman Thomas. A Sketch of the Life of Philip Doddridge. Morgantown, W. Va.: Morgan and Hoffman, printers, 1875.

See also


  1. ^ Lawrence Kestenbaum (July 1, 1996). "Doddridge, Philip (1773-1832)". The Political Graveyard. Retrieved October 10, 2013.
  2. ^ Doddridge, Joseph; Doddridge, Narcissa (1912). Notes on the settlement and Indian wars of the western parts of Virginia and Pennsylvania from 1763 to 1783, inclusive. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania: John S. Ritenour and Wm. T. Lindsey. p. 253, 280.
  3. ^ West Virginia Historical Society (2009). Genealogies of West Virginia Families: From the West Virginia Historical. Baltimore, Maryland: Clearfield. pp. 24–29.
  4. ^ "A State of Convenience: The Creation of West Virginia; Chapter One: East v. West". West Virginia Archives and History.
  5. ^ Richards, Samuel J. (2019). "Reclaiming Congressman Philip Doddridge from Tidewater Cultural Imperialism". West Virginia History: A Journal of Regional Studies. 13 (2): 2. doi:10.1353/wvh.2019.0019.
  6. ^ Richards, Samuel J. (Fall 2019). "Reclaiming Congressman Philip Doddridge from Tidewater Cultural Imperialism". West Virginia History: A Journal of Regional Studies. 13 (2): 2. doi:10.1353/wvh.2019.0019.
U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
Isaac Leffler
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Virginia's 18th congressional district

March 4, 1829 - November 19, 1832
Succeeded by
Joseph Johnson
This page was last edited on 16 February 2021, at 00:18
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