Immigrated to Philadelphia (1757). Learned printing trade from his uncle William Dunlap; took over his uncle’s business (1766). Published the Pennsylvania Packet, or General Advertiser, first as a weekly newspaper (1771-78), then as a thrice-weekly (1778-84), then as a daily (1784-95). Printed the Declaration of Independence (1776). Printer to Pennsylvania Assembly and Continental Congress (1778-79). Philadelphia common councilman (1789-92). Militia officer; rose to the rank of major (1794) and commanded the Pennsylvania cavalry in the suppression of the Whiskey Rebellion.
Born in Ireland. Married Elizabeth (Hayes) Ellison (1773).
xiii, 86n; DAB; John A. Garraty and Mark C. Carnes, eds., American National Biography (24 vols., New York, 1999).