Famous Phoenixvillians

We all know Phoenixville is home to incredible people! Here is a selection of some of our most Famous Phoenixvillians. This isn't an exhaustive list, but you can definitely visit the Historical Society of the Phoenixville Area to learn more about our history and notable residents.


Rebecca L. Price

September 8, 1837 – May 17, 1919

She was a leader of the Phoenixville Union Relief Society at the beginning the American Civil War, organizing sewists and knitters, running donation drives, and delivering supplies to troops. She was given a travel pass by Pennsylvania's governor Andrew Gregg Curtin to facilitate her work. She volunteered as a nurse at hospitals in Virginia, Baltimore and Philadelphia. She rode a cattle car to offer compassionate care to badly wounded soldiers, and replenish clothing, bandages, food, and other provisions, after the Battle of Gettysburg. Learn More 


Elizabeth Wendell Hunter Ewing

February 5, 1841 - April 30, 1905

She served as a nurse during the American Civil War, and later as president of the National Association of Army Nurses of the Civil War. Ewing served as an army nurse from 1862 to 1863 during the American Civil War. Her husband was wounded at Malvern Hill and she traveled, to find him at a military hospital in Baltimore. Initially refused by the Army nursing corps, but she persisted, and was enrolled in time to help her husband recover. In 1899 she was president of the National Association of Army Nurses of the Civil War Learn More 


Samuel Whitaker Pennypacker

April 9, 1843 - September 2, 1916

Pennypacker was the 23rd Governor of Pennsylvania from 1903 to 1907. Governor Pennypacker was born in Phoenixville; he was the son of Dr. Isaac A. Pennypacker and Anna Maria Whitaker. He and his grandfather Whitaker witnessed Abraham Lincoln's speech outside Independence Hall in February 1861, standing just 20 feet. As Governor he lay the foundation stone of the State Capitol building we know today and is responsible for preserving the most state game lands. He is buried in Morris Cemetery on Nutt Road. Learn More 


The Sundance Kid

1867 - November 7, 1908

His real name was Harry Alonzo Longabaugh he was an outlaw and member of Butch Cassidy's Wild Bunch in the American Old West. He likely met Butch Cassidy after Cassidy was released from prison around 1896. "The Wild Bunch" gang performed the longest string of successful train and bank robberies in American history.He fled the United States to escape the dogged pursuit of the Pinkerton Detective Agency. He fled first to Argentina and then to Bolivia, where Cassidy and Longabaugh were killed in a shootout in November 1908. Learn More or Watch Video 


Phoebe Underwood Hunter Gilkyson

April 3, 1891 - 1975

She played a significant role in the Founding of Americanist Archaeology. Published at age 14, she also received $500 for her story “The Amateur,” which was published in Harper’s Magazine in 1925. She had a column in the local Phoenixville Republican entitled “Our Yesterdays.” By the 1930s he became involved in local Pennsylvania archaeology and published a report in 1945, based on three years of archeological exploration that she conducted along the Schuylkill Valley between Norristown and Pottstown. She was one of the directors of the Society of Pennsylvania Archaeology. 


Terry Gilkyson

June 17, 1916 - October 15, 1999

Born in Phoenixville, Pennsylvania he was an American folk singer, composer, and lyricist. In 1951 Gilkyson appeared in, as well as wrote continuing songs for, the Cinecolor Western film Slaughter Trail In the 1960s, he left the group to work for the Walt Disney Studios, writing music both for movies and the television series The Wonderful World of Disney especially "The Scarecrow of Romney Marsh." In 1968, he was nominated for an Academy Award for "The Bare Necessities" from the 1967 animated film The Jungle Book. Learn More 


Joseph T. Rowan

May 15, 1934 - September 13, 1993

In the ring, he was one of the top fighters of his day. In everyday life, he was simply a good person. Rowan attended Phoenixville High School, then got into boxing in 1951 at the Italian Club. He was the Golden Gloves amateur champion for 1951-52. Rowan turned professional in 1952. He fought eight times in Madison Square Garden and twice in Yankee Stadium. There were also bouts in Seattle, Portland, New Orleans, Milwaukee and Houston. He is the only Phoenixville boxer ever to be featured in a main event at the Garden. Learn More 

Andre Thornton

August 13, 1949

Nicknamed "Thunder", is a former professional baseball first baseman and designated hitter, who played in Major League Baseball (MLB) for the Chicago Cubs, Montreal Expos, and Cleveland Indians during a 14-year big league career. Thornton grew up in Phoenixville, Pennsylvania, in a family of athletes, and graduated from Phoenixville Area High School. In 1967, a week before his 18th birthday, the Philadelphia Phillies signed Thornton as an amateur free agent. Although Andre, now a successful CEO of a supply chain management company, lives in Ohio he makes frequent visits to Phoenixville often on Andre Thornton Day. Learn More or Watch Video


Kevin Negandhi

March 20, 1975

He is a sports anchor for ESPN's SportsCenter as well as ESPN College Football on ABC. In addition to hosting SportsCenter, he also hosts Baseball Tonight, College Football Live and Outside the Lines on ESPN. He is the first anchor of Indian-American descent to be on a national sports network in American television history. Negandhi graduated from Phoenixville Area High School in Phoenixville. He received a degree in Communications from Temple University in 1997. Learn More 


Kate Bilo

June 20, 1986

Bilo, a native of Phoenixville, returned to the Delaware Valley from AccuWeather in State College, Pennsylvania where she had been a meteorologist since 2004. During her tenure with the weather service, she provided forecasts on TV and radio for numerous AccuWeather clients including FOX News, CNBC, ABC News Now and many local stations. She had also been the main morning weather anchor for the Bloomberg Television Network. Bilo is a graduate of Penn State University & Mississippi State University. Learn More