Sunday, August 18, 2019

Signers of The Declaration of Independence

This is our list of the signers of The Declaration of Independence. Thus far we have visited 21 of the 56 signers grave sites. Some of the signers are buried on private property, and are not accesible to the public.








Name DOB - DOD Burial Location Visited
John Adams30 Oct 1735 – 4 Jul 1826Quincy, MA2007
Samuel Adams27 Sep 1722 – 2 Oct 1803Boston, MA2007
Josiah Bartlett21 Nov 1729 – 19 May 1795Kingston, NH
Carter Braxton10 Sep 1736 – 10 Oct 1797King William, VA
Charles Carroll19 Sep 1737 – 14 Nov 1832Ellicott City, MD
Samuel Chase17 Apr 1741 – 19 Jun 1811Baltimore, MD
Abraham Clark15 Feb 1726 – 15 Sep 1794Rahway, NJ
George Clymer16 Mar 1739 – 23 Jan 1813Trenton, NJ
William B. Ellery22 Dec 1727 – 15 Feb 1820Newport, RI
Gen William Floyd17 Dec 1734 – 4 Aug 1821Westernville, NY
Benjamin Franklin17 Jan 1706 – 17 Apr 1790Philadelphia, PA2009
Elbridge Gerry17 Jul 1744 – 23 Nov 1814Washington, DC2019
Button Gwinnett1735 – 19 May 1777Savannah, GA2019
Lyman Hall12 Apr 1724 – 19 Oct 1790Augusta, GA2019
John Hancock12 Jan 1737 – 8 Oct 1793Boston, MA2007
Col. Benjamin Harrison, V13 Dec 1730 – 24 Apr 1791Charles City, VA2019
John Hart1714 – 11 May 1779Hopewell, NJ
Joseph Hewes23 Jan 1730 – 10 Nov 1779Philadelphia, PA
Thomas Heyward, Jr28 Jul 1746 – 17 Apr 1809Old House, SC2019
William Hooper28 Jun 1742 – 14 Oct 1790Greensboro, NC2019
Stephen Hopkins7 Mar 1707 – 13 Jul 1785Providence, RI
Francis Hopkinson21 Sep 1737 – 9 May 1791Philadelphia, PA
Samuel Huntington16 Jul 1731 – 5 Jan 1796Norwich, CT
Thomas Jefferson13 Apr 1743 - 4 Jul 1826Charlottesville, VA2000
Francis Lightfoot Lee14 Oct 1734 – 11 Jan 1797Warsaw, VA2019
Richard Henry Lee20 Jan 1732 – 19 Jun 1794Coles Point, VA2019
Francis Lewis21 Mar 1713 – 30 Dec 1803Manhattan, NY
Philip Livingston15 Jan 1716 – 12 Jun 1778York, PA
Thomas Lynch, Jr5 Aug 1749 – 1779Buried or Lost at Sea
Thomas McKean19 Mar 1734 – 24 Jun 1817Philadelphia, PA
Arthur Middleton26 Jun 1742 – 1 Jan 1787Dorchester County, SC2019
Lewis Morris8 Apr 1726 – 22 Jan 1798Bronx, NY
Robert Morris20 Jan 1734 – 8 May 1806Philadelphia, PA
John Morton10 Mar 1724 – 1 Apr 1777Chester, PA
Thomas Nelson26 Dec 1738 – 4 Jan 1789Yorktown, VA2019
William Paca31 Oct 1740 – 23 Oct 1799Queen Anne's County, MD
Robert Treat Paine11 Mar 1731 – 12 May 1814Boston, MA
John Penn6 May 1740 – 14 Sep 1788Greensboro, NC2019
George Read18 Sep 1733 – 21 Sep 1798New Castle, DE
Caesar Rodney7 Oct 1728 – 29 Jun 1784Dover, DE
George Ross10 May 1730 – 14 Jul 1779Philadelphia, PA
Dr Benjamin Rush24 Dec 1745 – 19 Apr 1813Philadelphia, PA
Edward Rutledge23 Nov 1749 – 23 Jan 1800Charleston, SC2019
Roger Sherman19 Apr 1721 – 23 Jul 1793New Haven, CT
James Smith17 Sep 1719 – 11 Jul 1806York, PA
Richard Stockton1 Oct 1730 – 28 Feb 1781Princeton, NJ
Thomas Stone1743 – 5 Oct 1787Port Tobacco, MD2019
George Taylor1716 – 23 Feb 1781Easton, PA
Matthew Thornton1714 – 24 Jun 1803Merrimack, NH
George Walton1741 – 2 Feb 1804Augusta, GA2019
Gen. William Whipple14 Jan 1730 – 28 Nov 1785Portsmouth, NH
William Williams23 Apr 1731 – 2 Aug 1811Lebanon, CT
James Wilson14 Sep 1742 – 28 Aug 1798Philadelphia, PA
Rev John Witherspoon5 Feb 1723 – 15 Nov 1794Princeton, NJ2017
Oliver Wolcott, Sr20 Nov 1726 – 1 Dec 1797Litchfield, CT
George Wythe3 Dec 1726 – 8 Jun 1806Richmond, VA2019



John Adams

(October 30 [O.S. October 19] 1735 – July 4, 1826)

Home:

Quincy, Massachusetts

Education:

Harvard University

Profession:

President, Vice President, Minister to United Kingdom and Netherlands, Delegate to Continental Congress from Massachusetts




Samuel Adams

27 Sep 1722 – 2 Oct 1803

Home:

Boston, Massachusetts

Education:

Harvard University

Profession:

Governor of Massachusetts, Lt. Gov. of Mass., State Senator of Mass., Delegate to Continental Congress from Mass., Clerk of House of Representatives of Mass.




Josiah Bartlett

21 Nov 1729 – 19 May 1795

Home:

Kingston, NH

Education:

Profession:

Delegate to Continental Congress, Signed Articles of Confederation, State court Judge, Member of Federal constitutional convention, Elected Governor of New Hampshire



Carter Braxton

10 Sep 1736 – 10 Oct 1797

Home:

King William, VA

Education

College of William and Mary

Profession:

Farmer, Virginia House of Burgesses, Delegate to the Continental Congress, Member, Virginia patriot's Committee of Safety, Signer of the Declaration of Independence

Other Info:

Before the American Revolution, Carter Braxton was possessed of a considerable fortune through inheritance and favorable marriages. While still in his teens he inherited the family estate, which included a flourishing Virginia tobacco plantation, upon the death of his father. He married a wealthy heiress who died when he was just 21, and within a few years he had remarried, this time to the daughter of the Receiver of Customs in Virginia for the King. As a delegate representing Virginia in the Continental Congress in 1776, he was one of the minority of delegates reluctant to support an American declaration of independence, a move which he viewed at the time as too dangerous.

Braxton invested his wealth in commercial enterprises, particularly shipping, and he endured severe financial reversals during the Revolutionary War when many of the ships in which he held interest were either appropriated by the British government (because they were British-flagged) or were sunk or captured by the British. He was not personally targeted for ruin because he had signed the Declaration of Independence, however; he suffered grievous financial losses because most of his wealth was tied up in shipping, “that trade which is so essential to the prosecution of the War” and which was therefore a prime military target for the British. Even if he hadn’t signed the Declaration of Independence, Braxton’s ships would have been casualties of the war just the same.

Although Braxton did lose property during the war and had to sell off assets (primarily landholdings) to cover the debts incurred by the loss of his ships, he recouped much of that money after the war but subsequently lost it again through his own ill-advised business dealings. His fortune was considerably diminished in his later years, but he did not by any stretch of the imagination “die in rags.” 2



Charles Carroll

19 Sep 1737 – 14 Nov 1832

Home:

Ellicott City, MD

Education

Jesuits' College at St. Omar, France; seminary in Rheims; Graduate, College of Louis the Grande; Bourges; studies in Paris; Studies, apprenticeship in London. (Scholar, Lawyer)

Profession:

Member of first Maryland Committee of Safety, Provincial Congress, Delayed member of Continental Congress, August, Signed Declaration of Independence; Appointed to board of War, Elected to Senate of Maryland, Elected U.S. Senator from Maryland, returned to Maryland Senate

Other Info:

Charles Carroll was the last surviving member of those who signed the Declaration. He died, the last survivor of the signers of the Declaration, in 1832 at the age of 95.



Samuel Chase

17 Apr 1741 – 19 Jun 1811

Home:

Baltimore, MD

Education

Classical education in Law, Baltimore

Profession:

Practiced Law in Annapolis; Elected to Continental Congress, Chief Justice of Criminal Court, district of Baltimore; Chief Justice, state of Maryland, Justice, US Supreme Court



Abraham Clark

15 Feb 1726 – 15 Sep 1794

Home:

Rahway, NJ

Education

Self-taught, Surveying, Law

Profession:

Land attorney; High Sheriff of Essex County, NJ., Member of New Jersey Provincial Congress; Elected to the Continental Congress

Other Info:

Clark saw two of his sons captured by the British and incarcerated on the prison ship Jersey. Reportedly, the British offered Abraham Clark the lives of his sons if he would only recant his signing and support of the Declaration of Independence; he refused.



George Clymer

16 Mar 1739 – 23 Jan 1813

Home:

Morrisville, PA

Education

Private

Profession:

Merchant, Member of the Philadelphia Committee of Safety, Elected to the Continental Congress, Member of Pennsylvania Legislature, Revenue Officer, Federal Indian Agent, First president of: Philadelphia Bank, Philadelphia Academy of Fine Arts, vice-president of the Philadelphia Agricultural Society

Other Info:

He was one of the first Patriots to advocate complete independence from Britain.



William B. Ellery

22 Dec 1727 – 15 Feb 1820

Home:

Newport, RI

Education

Harvard College

Profession:

Elected to Continental Congress, Judge, Supreme Court of Rhode Island, First Collector, port of Newport



Gen. William Floyd

17 Dec 1734 – 4 Aug 1821

Home:

Westernville, NY

Education

Profession:

Farmer, Soldier, Member of Continental Congress, Member of Congress, ,State Senator, New York,



Benjamin Franklin

17 Jan 1706 – 17 Apr 1790

Home:

Philadelphia, PA

Education

Self-taught, apprenticed as a printer. Honorary Doctor of Laws, Universities of Edinburgh and Oxford.

Profession:

Printer, Publisher, Scientist. Clerk of the Pennsylvania Assembly, Founded the Library Company of Philadelphia,Postmaster of Philadelphia, Member of Pennsylvania Assembly, Deputy Postmaster general of the British colonies in America,Founded Academy of Sciences of Philadelphia, Agent to Europe for Pennsylvania, for Pennsylvania, Georgia, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Elected to Continental Congress, Testified before Parliament concerning the Stamp Act, Postmaster General of the united colonies, Commissioner to the French Court, Minister plenipotentiary to the French Court, Negotiator in and Member of the Treaties with Great-Britain, Member of the Supreme Executive Council of Pennsylvania, President of Pennsylvania Society for the Abolition of Slavery, Senior member of the Constitutional Convention




Elbridge Gerry

17 Jul 1744 – 23 Nov 1814

Home:

Marblehead, MA

Education

Harvard College

Profession:

Member, General Court of Massachusetts, Elected to Massachusetts Legislature, Provincial Congress, Continental Congress, Envoy to France, Governor of Massachusetts, Vice President of the United States (with Madison)

Other Info:

The word "gerrymander" (originally written "Gerry-mander") was used for the first time in the Boston Gazette newspaper on March 26, 1812. Appearing with the term, and helping spread and sustain its popularity, was this political cartoon, which depicts a state senate district in Essex County as a strange animal with claws, wings and a dragon-type head, satirizing the district's odd shape.







Button Gwinnett

1735 – 19 May 1777

Home:

Savannah, GA

Nationality:

British

Education

Profession:

Commander of Georgia's Continental Battalion, Elected to Continental Congress, President of the Georgia Council of Safety

Other Info:

He lead an abortive attempt to invade Florida, in order to secure Georgia's southern border. That adventure was thwarted by Lachlan McIntosh and his brother George, and Gwinnett was charged with malfeasance. He was cleared of wrongdoing as he ran an unsuccessful campaign for Governor. Soon afterward, his honor challenged in public by McIntosh, he offered a duel. They met outside of Savanna on May 16, 1777, where both were wounded. McIntosh ultimately survived, Button Gwinnett died three days later at the age of 42.

Monument to Button Gwinett located in Colonial Park Cemetery
in Savanah, GA.  His remains are reported to be buried beneath this monument.

Plaque at Gwinnett's monument in Colonial Park Cemetery

Monument in Augusta, GA

Monument in Augusta, GA




Lyman Hall

12 Apr 1724 – 19 Oct 1790

Home:

Burke County, GA

Education

Yale College

Profession:

Elected to Continental Congress, Delegate to the Georgia House of Assembly, Elected Governor of Georgia, Judge

Other Info:

In January 1779, Hall's home in Sunbury was burned by the British. Hall's family fled to the North, where they remained until the British evacuation in 1782. Hall then returned to Georgia, settling in Savannah.

Monument and burial site of Lyman Hall and George Walton located
in Augusta, GA.  Gwinett's remains are supposedly buried in Savanah, GA






John Hancock

12 Jan 1737 – 8 Oct 1793

Home:

Boston, MA

Education

Harvard College

Profession:

Elected to the Boston Assembly, Delegate to, and President of, the Provincial Congress of Massachusetts, Elected to Continental Congress, Elected President of the Continental Congress, Member of Massachusetts state Constitutional Convention, elected Governor of Massachusetts




Col. Benjamin Harrison, V

13 Dec 1730 – 24 Apr 1791

Home:

Charles City, VA

Education

Attended William and Mary College

Profession:

Farmer, Elected to Virginia House of Burgesses, Member of the Continental Congress, Reelected to House of Burgesses, Selected as Speaker, Elected Governor of Virginia

Other Info:

His son, William Henry Harrison, was elected ninth President of the United States, and his great-grandson, Benjamin Harrison, became the 23rd President.

Berkeley Plantation in Charles City, VA






John Hart

1714 – 11 May 1779

Home:

Hopewell, NJ

Education

Farmer

Profession:

Farmer, Member of the New Jersey Assembly, Served on the Committee of Safety, Committee of Correspondence, Judge of the Court of Common Pleas, Member of Provincial Assembly, Elected to the Continental Congress

Other Info:

John Hart’s New Jersey farm was looted in the course of the Revolutionary War (possibly due his status as Speaker of the Assembly), and he did have to remain in hiding in nearby mountains for a short time, but his plight has been grossly exaggerated in the past. When the British overran the area of New Jersey where Hart resided in late November of 1776, he was not “driven from his [dying] wife’s bedside,” as his wife had already died several weeks earlier (and most of his thirteen children were adults by then). He certainly didn’t spend “more than a year” on the run living “in forests and caves,” as the Continental Army recaptured the area within a month (through General George Washington’s famous crossing of the Delaware River on Christmas night). Hart also did not die “from exhaustion and a broken heart” a mere “few weeks” after emerging from hiding — in 1778 he was re-elected to the New Jersey assembly, and he invited the American army to encamp on his New Jersey farmland in June 1778 before succumbing to kidney stones in May 1779.2



Joseph Hewes

23 Jan 1730 – 10 Nov 1779

Home:

New Jersey

Education

Princeton College

Profession:

Member of the Colonial Assembly of North Carolina, Member of the Committee of Correspondence, member of new Provincial Assembly, Elected to Continental Congress, Defacto first Secretary of the Navy



Thomas Heyward, Jr.

28 Jul 1746 – 17 Apr 1809

Home:

Old House, SC

Education

Private classical education, Law studies in America and England

Profession:

Elected to the Continental Congress, Judge

Other Info:

After signing the Declaration of Independence, Heyward returned to South Carolina to fight the British, joining the militia. In 1779, he was wounded during the successful battle of Port Royal Island, near Beaufort, South Carolina. He recovered, and a year later, helped to defend Charleston. On August 27, 1780, Heyward was taken from his Charleston home by British troops and detained in the Old Exchange Building. Just hours after being arrested, he and 28 other "ringleaders of the rebellion" were relocated to a guard ship in the harbor. On September 4, they were transported to St. Augustine, Florida, and remained there for about 11 months until they were freed in a prisoner exchange.

In 1779 the Heyward's family home, White Hall, was damaged by a fire set by the Tories. [refn: Robert B. Cuthbert and Stephen G. Hoffius, editors, Northern Money, Southern Land: The Lowcountry Plantation Sketches of Chlotilde R. Martin (Columbia, SC: The University of South Carolina Press, 2009) pg 171]





William Hooper

28 Jun 1742 – 14 Oct 1790

Home:

Hillsborough, NC

Education

Harvard College

Profession:

Elected to General Assembly of North Carolina, Member of Continental Congress, Judge of the Federal Court;

Monument and burial site of John Penn and William Hooper at the Guilford
Courthouse Battle Grounds.


Note: Joseph Hewes is buried in Philidephia, PA



Stephen Hopkins

7 Mar 1707 – 13 Jul 1785

Home:

Providence, RI

Education

Profession:

Surveyor, Speaker of the Rhode Island Assembly, Delegate to the Albany Convention, Member of the Continental Congress, Member of Rhode Island Legislature



Francis Hopkinson

21 Sep 1737 – 9 May 1791

Home:

Bordentown, NJ

Education

Graduate of the College of Philadelphia

Profession:

Delegate to the Continental Congress, Judge of admiralty for Pennsylvania, Appointed Judge to the US Court for the District of Pennsylvania

Other Info:

Hopkinson claimed credit for designing the American flag, but the evidence for his claim is not clear.



Samuel Huntington

16 Jul 1731 – 5 Jan 1796

Home:

Norwich, CT

Education

Self-taught

Profession:

Admitted to the Bar of Connecticut, King's attorney, tax collector, town-meeting moderator, justice of the peace, Norwich Connecticut; Appointed to the Superior court, Elected to provincial Upper House of Assembly, appointed to the Council of Safety, Delegate to the Continental Congress, President of the Continental Congress, Lieutenant Governor and Chief judge of Superior Court of Connecticut, Governor of Connecticut

Other Info:

Because he was President of Congress when the nation’s first framework of government, the Articles of Confederation, took effect on March 1, 1781, Huntington has been called the first real President of the United States.



Thomas Jefferson

13 Apr 1743 - 4 Jul 1826

Home:

Charlottesville, VA

Education

William and Mary College

Profession:

Farmer, Admitted to Virginia bar, Elected to Virginia House of Burgesses, Delegate to the Continental Congress, Virginia House of Delegates, Elected Governor of Virginia, Dispatched to England to treat for peace with Gr. Britain, Associate Envoy to France, Minister to the French Court, Secretary of State, Established Democratic-Republican party, Vice President of the United States, President, Established University of Virginia




Francis Lightfoot Lee

14 Oct 1734 – 11 Jan 1797

Home:

Warsaw, VA

Education

Private

Profession:

Member of the Virginia House of Burgesses, Elected to Continental Congress, Member of Virginia Senate

Private Property




Richard Henry Lee

20 Jan 1732 – 19 Jun 1794

Home:

Coles Point, VA

Education

Private school at Wakefield, Yorkshire, England

Profession:

Farmer, Justice of the peace, Virginia House of Burgesses, Continental Congress, First US Senator for Virginia

Other Info:

American statesman and Founding Father from Virginia best known for the Lee Resolution, the motion in the Second Continental Congress calling for the colonies' independence from Great Britain.


This burial site is located in the middle of soybean field.





Francis Lewis

21 Mar 1713 – 30 Dec 1803

Home:

Queens, NY

Nationality:

Wales

Education

Westminster in London

Profession:

Merchant, Elected to the Continental Congress

Other Info:

Francis Lewis represented New York in the Continental Congress, and shortly after he signed the Declaration of Independence his Long Island estate was raided by the British, possibily as retaliation for his having been a signatory to that document. While Lewis was in Philadelphia attending to congressional matters, his wife was taken prisoner by the British after disregarding an order for citizens to evacuate Long Island. Mrs. Lewis was held for several months before being exchanged for the wives of British officials captured by the Americans. Although her captivity was undoubtedly a hardship, she had already been in poor health for some time and died a few years (not months) later.2



Philip Livingston

15 Jan 1716 – 12 Jun 1778

Home:

Brooklyn Heights, NY

Education

Graduate of Yale College

Profession:

Merchant, Alderman, New York city; Delegate to the Albany Convention, Delegate to the Continental Congress, Later, State Senator in New York, Delegate to Federal Congress

Other Info:

Livingston lost several properties to the British occupation of New York and sold off others to support the war effort, and he did not recover them because he died suddenly in 1778, before the end of the war. The British used Philip’s Duke Street home as a barracks, and his Brooklyn Heights residence as a Royal Navy hospital.



Thomas Lynch, Jr.

5 Aug 1749 – 1779

Home:

Georgetown, SC

Education

Graduated Cambridge University

Profession:

Captain of a South Carolina Regimental Company, Delegate to the Continental Congress

Other Info:

After two more years of illness in South Carolina, where he resided with his wife at Peachtree Plantation on the South Santee River, many suggested that Thomas Lynch Jr. travel to Europe in search for a different atmosphere. Despite the dangers, he and his wife sailed for respite on a vessel to St. Eustatius in the West Indies in late 1779. The ship is known to have disappeared shortly after, standing as the last record of his life. Elizabeth and Thomas Lynch Jr. having fathered no children, died at sea in 1779. At the age of 30, he was the youngest signer of the Declaration to die.



Thomas McKean

19 Mar 1734 – 24 Jun 1817

Home:

Philadelphia, PA

Education

Studied under Francis Allison

Profession:

Lawyer, Deputy Attorney General to County Sussex, Admitted to Bar of Pennsylvania Supreme Court, appointed Clerk of the Assembly of Delaware, Member of Delaware Assembly, Delegate to the Stamp Act Congress, Collector of Customs and Commissioner of Revenue at New Castle, Delegate to the Continental Congress, President of Delaware, Chief Justice of Pennsylvania, Governor of Pennsylvania

Other Info:

Among his many offices, McKean was a delegate to the Continental Congress (of which he later served as president), President of Delaware, Chief Justice of Pennsylvania, and Governor of Pennsylvania. The above-quoted statement regarding his being “hounded” by the British during the Revolutionary War is probably based upon a letter he wrote to his friend John Adams in 1777, in which he described how he had been “hunted like a fox by the enemy, compelled to remove my family five times in three months, and at last fixed them in a little log-house on the banks of the Susquehanna, but they were soon obliged to move again on account of the incursions of the Indians.”

However, it is problematic to assert that McKean’s treatment was due to his being a signer of the Declaration of Independence. (His name does not appear on printed copies of that document authenticated in January 1777, so it is likely he did not affix his name to it until later.) If he was targeted by the British, it was quite possibly because he also served in a military capacity as a volunteer leader of militia. In any case, McKean did not end up in “poverty,” as the estate he left behind when he died in 1817 was described as consisting of “stocks, bonds, and huge land tracts in Pennsylvania.”2



Arthur Middleton

26 Jun 1742 – 1 Jan 1787

Home:

Dorchester County, SC

Education

Graduate of Cambridge

Profession:

Charleston Council of Safety, Delegate to the Continental Congress

Other Info:

British forces landed near Charleston in 1780 and ravaged the surrounding area and many of the plantations, including Middleton Place. While the buildings remained intact, the British and Loyalists stole anything of value they could carry, and destroyed everything they could not carry. The Middletons escaped capture at that point by fleeing to Charleston ahead of the British raid.

But when the British occupation of Charleston began, three South Carolina signers, Arthur, his bother-in-law Edward Rutledge and Thomas Heyward were captured, taken from their homes and were incarcerated for almost a year in Saint Augustine, Florida. In July, 1781 he was freed in a prisoner exchange, and was appointed by Governor John Rutledge (the brother of Edward Rutledge) to the state senate. He was re-elected to that seat in 1782. In November of that year, he returned to South Carolina to visit his family from whom he had been separated and to view for the first time the plundering and devastation wrought by the British during their occupation of Middleton Place.1

Middleton Place




Lewis Morris

8 Apr 1726 – 22 Jan 1798

Home:

Bronx, NY

Education

Graduate of Yale College

Profession:

Farmer, Member of Provincial Legislature; Deputy to New York Convention, Delegate to the Continental Congress, County judge, Worcester, Served in New York Legislature, Member of the Board of Regents of the University of the State of New York

Other Info:

Lewis Morris saw his Westchester County, New York, home taken over in 1776 and used as a barracks for soldiers, and the horses and livestock from his farm commandeered by military personnel, but he suffered those initial deprivations at the hands of the Continental Army, not the British. Shortly afterwards his property was appropriated, looted, and burned by the British when they occupied New York. (Morris and his wife were eventually able to reclaim their property and restore their home after the war.)2



Robert Morris

20 Jan 1734 – 8 May 1806

Home:

Philadelphia, PA

Nationality:

British

Education

Private and Apprenticeship

Profession:

Merchant, Delegate to the Continental Congress, Appointed Special Commissioner of Finance, Author of the plan for a National Bank, Financial Agent of the United States, Delegate to the Pennsylvania Legislature, Delegate to the Constitutional Convention, United States Senator, Appointed Secretary of the Treasury

Other Info:

One of the richest men in America at the time of the Rebellion; known as the "Financier of the Revolution". Along with Alexander Hamilton and Albert Gallatin, he is widely regarded as one of the founders of the financial system of the United States. His involvement in unsuccessful land speculation caused him to be imprisoned from debt from 1798 to 1801.



John Morton

10 Mar 1724 – 1 Apr 1777

Home:

Chester, PA

Education

Informal

Profession:

Judge, Elected to Provincial Assembly, Delegate to the Stamp Act Congress, President of the Provincial Assembly, Offices in Pennsylvania: Justice of the Peace, High Sheriff, Presiding Judge of the General Court and the Court of Common Pleas, Associate Judge of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania; Elected to Continental Congress

Other Info:

As he lay dying, he predicted that one day, people would realize that his voting for independence was “the most glorious service I have ever rendered my country.” John Morton was the first of the 56 signers to die, passing away at his birthplace on April 1, 1777.



Thomas Nelson, Jr.

26 Dec 1738 – 4 Jan 1789

Home:

Yorktown, VA

Education

Private, in England. Graduate of Cambridge

Profession:

Farmer, Member of the House of Burgesses, Virginia provincial Convention, Officer and Commander of the Virginia Militia, Delegate to the Continental Congress, Elected Governor of Virginia

Other Info:

In the fall of 1781, General Nelson led 3,000 Virginia Militiamen as part of George Washington's Army besieging Yorktown. The British surrendered at Yorktown on October 19, 1781, marking the end of the major fighting in the American Revolution. Thomas Nelson had sacrificed his health, his home and his fortune to help win independence. He died on January 4, 1789, at the age of fifty while living at his son's home in Hanover County, Virginia.

There are several stories about the destruction of his home during the Battle of Yorktown. All are interesting stories, but none have been proven. Whatever the truth, the Nelson home was certainly not “destroyed” as claimed. The house stands to this day as part of Colonial National Historical Park, and the National Park Service’s description of it notes only that “the southeast face of the residence does show evidence of damage from cannon fire.”2

Grace Episcopal Church, Yorktown, VA





William Paca

31 Oct 1740 – 23 Oct 1799

Home:

Wye Plantation, MD

Education

Philadelphia College, Studied Law at Annapolis

Profession:

Judge, Delegate to the Maryland Legislature, Member of the Committee of Correspondence, Patriot Leader; Elected to Continental Congress, Chief Justice of Maryland, Elected Governor of Maryland, Federal District Judge for the State of Maryland

Other Info:

William Paca suffered much in his personal life. His first wife, Mary Chew, died at age 38, and only one of their three children lived to adulthood. Paca remarried, to Anne Harrison, who died at age 23, and their only child died at age 2. Paca would have two other children; to women he did not marry. One of them was his daughter, Hester, whose mother was a free black woman, creating somewhat of a scandal at the time. Paca would raise Hester and send her to the finest boarding school in Philadelphia.



Robert Treat Paine

11 Mar 1731 – 12 May 1814

Home:

Boston, MA

Education

Harvard College

Profession:

Judge, Admitted to Massachusetts Bar, Elected to Provincial Assembly, Delegate to the Continental Congress, Attorney General for Massachusetts, Judge, Supreme Court of Massachusetts, State counselor

Other Info:

In 1770, Boston hired him to prosecute the British soldiers involved with the "Boston Massacre," and although he only convicted two of the eight soldiers (who were dismissed from the Army), he became popular among the patriots.



John Penn

6 May 1740 – 14 Sep 1788

Home:

Stovall, NC

Education

Informal

Profession:

Law Practice in Virginia, Accepted to the North Carolina Bar, Member of Continental Congress, Member of the Board of War

Other Info:

He was buried at his homesite, but was exhumed and re-interred at Guilford Battle Grounds near Greensboro, North Carolina in 1894.

Monument and burial site of John Penn and William Hooper at the Guilford
Courthouse Battle Grounds.


Note: Joseph Hewes is buried in Philidephia, PA



George Read

18 Sep 1733 – 21 Sep 1798

Home:

New Castle, DE

Education

Private school - Chester Pennsylvania, Philadelphia College, Law studies

Profession:

Admitted to Philadelphia Bar, Attorney General (in Delaware), Member of Delaware Committee of Correspondence, Elected to Continental Congress, Member of Delaware Constitutional Convention, Acting Governor of Delaware, Judge, Court of Appeals, State Senator, Chief Justice of the State of Delaware

Other Info:

He was frequently absent, and when the Congress voted on American Independence on July 2, 1776, Read surprised many by voting against it. That meant that Rodney had to ride overnight to Philadelphia to break the deadlock in Delaware's delegation for independence. However, when the Declaration of Independence was finally adopted, Read signed it despite his natural caution.



Caesar Rodney

7 Oct 1728 – 29 Jun 1784

Home:

Dover, DE

Education

Informal

Profession:

Commissioned High Sheriff of Kent County, Elected to Colonial Assembly, Delegate to the Stamp Act Congress, Member of the Delaware Committee of Correspondence, Elected to Continental Congress, Military Leader, Elected President of the State of Delaware, Member of the Upper House of the State Assembly

Other Info:

In 1776, he was suffering from cancer of the jaw, and returned to his home near Dover, Delaware. When the vote for independence neared, delegate Thomas McKean sent him a message to return immediately to the Continental Congress. Despite illness and a cold drizzling rain, he rode all night for 80 miles to Philadelphia, arriving just in time to vote. His vote for independence was absolutely critical, as the Delaware delegation was equally split between independence and remaining British, and Rodney's vote put Delaware squarely on the side of independence, two votes to one. After the Declaration of Independence, Rodney would recruit men to serve in the American Army, and even fought in the Army himself.



George Ross

10 May 1730 – 14 Jul 1779

Home:

Philadelphia, PA

Education

Private, Classical. Read law in Philadelphia

Profession:

Admitted to Pennsylvania Bar, Crown Prosecutor for Carlisle, twelve years; Elected to Provincial Assembly, Elected to Continental Congress, Colonel in the Continental Army, Vice president of the Pennsylvania constitutional convention, Judge of the Admiralty Court of Pennsylvania

Other Info:

He was also the uncle of the man who married Betsy Griscom in 1773, giving her her famous married name: Betsy Ross.



Dr. Benjamin Rush

24 Dec 1745 – 19 Apr 1813

Home:

Philadelphia, PA

Education

B.A. at the College of New Jersey (now Princeton), M.D. at the University of Edinburgh

Profession:

Physician, Professor of Chemistry at the College of Philadelphia, Writer, Member of the Sons of Liberty in Philadelphia, Elected to Pennsylvania provincial conference, Elected to Continental Congress, Appointed Surgeon-general to the armies of the middle department (of the Continental Army), Instructor, Physician, University of the State of Pennsylvania, Treasurer of the U.S. Mint, Professor of medical theory and clinical practice, University of Pennsylvania

Other Info:

In 1777 he was appointed surgeon-general of the middle department of the Continental Army. This office led to some trouble for him; he was critical of the administration of the Army Medical service under Dr. William Shippen. He complained to Washington, who deferred to the Congress. Ultimately Congress upheld Shippen and Rush resigned in disgust. As the war continued and Army forces under General Washington suffered a series of defeats, Rush secretly campaigned for removal of Washington as commander-in-chief, and went so far as to write an anonymous letter to then Governor Patrick Henry of Virginia. He was caught in the act and confronted by Washington, at which point he bowed out of any activities related to the war.



Edward Rutledge

23 Nov 1749 – 23 Jan 1800

Home:

Charleston, SC

Education

Graduate of Oxford, Studied at Middle Temple (London), Member of the English Bar

Profession:

State Legislator, Representative to the Continental Congress, Captain, Charleston Battalion of Artillery, State legislator, College of Electors, Elected Governor for South Carolina

Other Info:

After the signing, Edward returned home to South Carolina to help defend his state. In the spring of 1780, the British captured him during the siege of Charleston, and he served a year as a prisoner of war in Florida. Since the entire Rutledge family supported independence, the British also imprisoned his mother, Sarah Hext Rutledge, in Charleston.

We were unable to visit the gravesite...this counts as visit anyway.




Roger Sherman

19 Apr 1721 – 23 Jul 1793

Home:

New Haven, CT

Education

Informal, Cobbler, Surveyor, Lawyer. Honorary M.A. from Yale

Profession:

Admitted to Bar in New Milford Connecticut, Justice of the Peace, elected to General Assembly, representing New Milford Connecticut, Commisary for the Connecticut Troops, Elected to various Upper and Lower House offices representing New Haven, Judge of the Superior Court of Connecticut, Elected to Continental Congress, Distinguished member of the Constitutional Convention, Elected US Senator for Connecticut

Other Info:

Among the first patriot leaders to deny the supremacy of the British Parliament over the colonies, he became influential in the Continental Congresses defending that cause. He served on the committee to write the Declaration, and although his words did not go into the document, his views did. Roger Sherman’s greatest service to his country came after independence was won; during the drafting of the United States Constitution. During the Constitutional Convention of 1787, he presented the Connecticut Compromise, a proposal that resolved the major differences between the large states and the small states on representation in the national legislature – that each state would have a representative based upon its population, and an equal number of senators. It was this compromise that helped to get all of the states to agree on a constitution, and for this reason, Connecticut is called "the Constitution State."



James Smith

17 Sep 1719 – 11 Jul 1806

Home:

York, PA

Nationality:

Ireland

Education

Attended Philadelphia Academy, Apprenticed law with brother George

Profession:

Surveyor, Lawyer, Captain of the Militia, Appointed to the Provincial Convention in Philadelphia, Appointed to the State Constitutional Convention, and Continental Congress



Richard Stockton

1 Oct 1730 – 28 Feb 1781

Home:

Princeton, NJ

Education

West Nottingham Academy, Graduate of College of New Jersey

Profession:

Justice of the Supreme Court of New Jersey, Elected to Continental Congress

Other Info:

On November 30, 1776, Richard Stockton of New Jersey was the only signer taken prisoner specifically because of his status as a signatory to the Declaration, “dragged from his bed by night” by local Tories after he had evacuated his family from New Jersey, and he was imprisoned in New York City’s infamous Provost Jail like a common criminal. His estate, Morven, in Princeton was occupied by General Cornwallis during Stockton's imprisonment; his furniture, all household belongings, crops and livestock were taken or destroyed by the British. His library, one of the finest in the colonies, was burned. One historian wrote, "Morven the home of the Hon. Richard Stockton, was denuded of its library and furniture." Stockton was paroled on January 13, 1777. When his health permitted, Stockton attempted to earn a living by reopening his law practice and teaching new students. Two years after his parole from prison, he developed cancer of the lip that spread to his throat. He was never free of pain until he died on February 28, 1781, at Morven.



Thomas Stone

1743 – 5 Oct 1787

Home:

Port Tobacco, MD

Education

Parish School, Law Studies

Profession:

Admitted to the Maryland Bar, Elected to the Continental Congress, Elected to Constitutional Convention (declined)

Other Info:

Stone rarely spoke in Congress, and although he favored independence for the colonies, he initially urged a policy of reconciliation and negotiation with Britain. Even after he signed the Declaration of Independence, he still favored finding some way to make peace with Britain. While in Congress, he served on the committee that created the Articles of Confederation. After the war, he was elected to the Maryland senate three times, dying during his third term. In 1787, he was elected to represent Maryland at the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia, but held off going because his wife was extremely ill. When Margaret died in June 1787, he was so grief-stricken that he gave up his law practice and died just four months after his wife’s passing, dying of grief at the age of 44.

Haberdeventure located near Port Tobacco, MD






George Taylor

1716 – 23 Feb 1781

Home:

Easton, PA

Nationality:

Ireland

Education

Ironmaster

Profession:

Elected to the provincial Assembly, Member of the Committee of Correspondence, Committee of Safety, Elected to Continental Congress

Other Info:

In 1775 he was appointed to replace a member of the Pennsylvania delegation who refused to support Independence. He arrived too late to vote, but did sign the Declaration.



Matthew Thornton

1714 – 24 Jun 1803

Home:

Merrimack, NH

Nationality:

Ireland

Education

Physician

Profession:

Appointed surgeon to the New Hampshire Troops, Member of the Provincial Assembly, Colonel of the Londonderry Militia, Londonderry Town Selectman, Londonderry Committee of Safety, Speaker of the New Hampshire House of Representatives, Associate Justice of the Superior Court, Delegate to the Continental Congress

Other Info:

Thornton headed the committee that created New Hampshire’s constitution, and upon its adoption in January 1776, New Hampshire became the first of the original thirteen states to create a government independent of Britain. Thornton was elected to the Continental Congress in September 1776, and although the vote for independence was long past, he signed the Declaration as a New Hampshire delegate on November 4, 1776, the day he arrived in Philadelphia to take his seat. He was one of the last of the 56 men to sign the document.



George Walton

1741 – 2 Feb 1804

Home:

Augusta, GA

Education

Informal, perhaps self-taught

Profession:

Admitted to the Bar, Member, Secretary, Provincial Congress of Georgia, Member, Georgia Committee of Safety, 1776; Elected to the Continental Congress, Colonel of the First Georgia Militia, Governor of Georgia, Chief Justice of Georgia, Presidential Elector, Governor of Georgia, Superior Court Judge, US. Senator

Other Info:

He would serve in the Congress from 1776 to 1777. In late 1777, he left Congress to serve in the Georgia Militia, becoming a Colonel. During the Battle of Savannah in December 1778, he was shot in the thigh and knocked off his horse. Captured and imprisoned by the British, he was finally released in a prisoner exchange in the fall of 1779. Soon after being released, Walton was elected Governor of Georgia. Later, he was elected Chief Justice of the state, and from 1795 to 1796, he served in the US Senate. He died in his home in Augusta, Georgia, in 1804.

Monument and burial site of Lyman Hall and George Walton located
in Augusta, GA.  Gwinett's remains are supposedly buried in Savanah, GA






Gen. William Whipple

14 Jan 1730 – 28 Nov 1785

Home:

Portsmouth, NH

Education

Common School.

Profession:

Elected to Provincial Congress, Member of state Council, Committee of Safety, Elected to Continental Congress, Commissioned Brigadier General of the New Hampshire Militia, Appointed Associate Judge to the Superior Court

Other Info:

One of sixteen signers who served as soldiers during the war, he rose to the rank of Brigadier General and took part in campaigns in New York, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island. General Whipple led men in the successful expedition against General Burgoyne at the battles of Stillwater and Saratoga.



William Williams

23 Apr 1731 – 2 Aug 1811

Home:

Lebanon, CT

Education

Harvard College

Profession:

Town Clerk, Selectman, Provincial Representative, Council to the Legislature. Elected State Legislator, delegate to colonial conferences, Elected to Continental Congress, Delegate to the Connecticut convention to ratify the federal Constitution, Judge of the Windham County Courthouse.

Other Info:

In June 1776, delegate Oliver Wolcott had to leave the Continental Congress due to illness, and Williams was sent in his place. He arrived in Philadelphia on July 28, 1776, too late for the vote on independence, but he still signed the document on August 2.



James Wilson

14 Sep 1742 – 28 Aug 1798

Home:

Edenton, NC

Nationality:

Scotland

Education

Attended the Universities of St. Andrews, Glasgow, and Edinburgh; College of Philadelphia. Honorary M.A. from Philadelphia College, studied Law with John Dickinson

Profession:

Admitted to the Bar, Member of the Pennsylvania provincial meeting, appointed to a Committee of Correspondence, Elected to Provincial Congress, Commissioned Colonel of the Fourth Cumberland County Battalion, Elected to the Continental Congress, Director of the Bank of North America, Member of the Constitutional Convention, Associate Justice to the US. Supreme Court

Other Info:

Poor business decisions would ruin him financially, and he was twice imprisoned for debt: first in New Jersey and later in North Carolina. One of his last written comments was that he had been "hunted like a wild beast," by people attempting to collect money he owed them. James Wilson died in poverty in 1798, in North Carolina, less than a month before his fifty-sixth birthday. His body was originally interred on the Hayes Plantation near Edenton, North Carolina, and in 1906, was moved to the Christ Churchyard in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.



Rev. John Witherspoon

5 Feb 1723 – 15 Nov 1794

Home:

Princeton, NJ

Nationality:

Scotland

Education

Master of Arts, University of Edinburgh; Doctorate of Divinity, University of St. Andrews

Profession:

President of College of New Jersey, Delegate to the Continental Congress, Twice elected to State Legislature of New Jerse

Other Info:

On July 2, 1776, the day of the vote on independence, another delegate claimed that America wasn't yet ripe enough for independence. Witherspoon immediately declared "It is not only ripe for the measure, but in danger of rotting for the want of it." Witherspoon became the only clergyman to sign the Declaration of Independence. Between 1776 and 1782, Witherspoon would serve on more than 100 committees, wearing his minister's robes in Congress to remind the delegates that God was on their side. Despite personal setbacks Witherspoon never lost his belief that America would prevail in the struggle for independence. In 1777, his son was killed at the Battle of Germantown, and later that year, the British burned their home. In addition, part of the Battle of Princeton in 1777 was fought on the college campus – the college was so badly damaged that it was closed for several years.






Oliver Wolcott, Sr.

20 Nov 1726 – 1 Dec 1797

Home:

Litchfield, CT

Education

Graduate of Yale

Profession:

Sheriff of Litchfield County, Judge, Militia leader, Commissioner of Indian Affairs, Delegate to the Continental Congress, Brigadier General of the Connecticut Militia, Lt. Governor of Connecticut, Governor

Other Info:

In June 1776, he took ill and left Congress, to return home. While returning to Connecticut, he passed through New York City, where General George Washington ordered the newly approved Declaration of Independence to be read to the troops, on July 9. That night, New York patriots pulled down the statue of King George III, sending the head of the statue back to England in a display of rebellion. Wolcott placed the remaining pieces of the statue into a wagon and shipped it to his home in Litchfield, where it was melted down and made into bullets for the Revolutionary Army. According to one account, 42,000 bullets were made from this statue, to be fired at British troops. Recovering from his illness, Wolcott returned to Congress in October 1776, where he signed the Declaration of Independence. Because of his earlier experience as a soldier, Congress promoted him to Brigadier General and placed him in command of Connecticut troops. In 1776, he commanded 14 Revolutionary War Regiments that helped to defend New York City from British attack, and in the fall of 1777, he helped to defeat the British at the Battle of Saratoga, New York.



George Wythe

3 Dec 1726 – 8 Jun 1806

Home:

Williamsburg, VA

Education

Informal, Law Studies

Profession:

Admitted to the Bar in Virginia, Clerk of the committee on Privileges and Elections of the House of Burgesses, Attorney General of Virginia, Member of the House of Burgesses; Member of the Board of Visitors, William and Mary, Professor of Law, William and Mary, Elected to Continental Congress, Speaker of the Virginia House, Judge of the Chancery Court of Virginia

Other Info:

He would taught law at the College of William and Mary, among his pupils were two future Presidents, Thomas Jefferson and James Monroe. Thomas Jefferson, who had lost his own father at age 14, called Wythe, "my second father."

Over the years, Wythe had grown to hate slavery, and after his second wife, Elizabeth, died in the late 1780s, he began to free his slaves. He lived with two of his former slaves: a housekeeper, Lydia Broadnax, and a young man named Michael Brown. Wythe was so fond of Michael that he named him to inherit part of his estate. Also living with him was his great-nephew, George Wythe Sweeney. Sweeney, who was in line to inherit most of the estate, ran up huge gambling debts. Initially, Sweeney forged his uncle’s name on checks, but becoming more desperate for money, he poured poison into coffee that George Wythe, Michael Brown and Lydia Broadnax drank. George and Michael both died from the poison, but Lydia survived. There was plenty of evidence against Sweeney, but by Virginia law blacks could not testify against whites in court, so Lydia was not heard, and Sweeney was found "not guilty" of murder. George Wythe died at age 80 from the poison his great-nephew had given him.

St. John's Church in Richmond, VA






1Arthur Middleton - The Society of the Descendants of the Signers of the Declaration of Independence. December 11, 2011 by DSDI Staff.

2The Price They Paid - A popular essay outlines the fates of the signers of the Declaration of Independence, but many of its details are inaccurate. June 28, 2005 by David Mikkelson

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