Ebenezer Maxwell was born on a farm in upstate New York in 1827. In his early twenty’s, he moved to Philadelphia to take a job as a salesman for a wholesale drug importer. Two years later, he went into the dry goods business with William Bangs. He and Bangs met in their city rooming house. They bought textiles from manufacturers, sold that material to jobbers, who sold the finished clothing to stores. In 1859 Maxwell married his second cousin, Anna Smith, daughter in a well-to-do Quaker family. That same year Anna’s father died and her inheritance contributed to the expansion of the Maxwell and Bangs textile trade. With their children, the Maxwells joined many other families who fled the city for the tranquility of the suburbs. As business prospered, Ebenezer became the director of a bank and charter member of the church across the street. He died from typhoid fever when he was only 43. His widow, Anna, lived another 36 years. Of the six Maxwell children, three died during childhood.