Thursday, April 28, 2016

Signers: New Jersey / Connecticut

For today's Signers post, we look at the Garden State and the Nutmeg State.

New Jersey
  • Abraham Clark (1725-1794), was a self-taught lawyer (as many were in that time period).  An active member of the Continental Congress, he was later selected to attend the Constitutional Convention but was unable to serve.  Clark Township in New Jersey is named in his honor.
  • John Hart (1711-1779), was a farmer in New Jersey.  Born in Connecticut, his family moved to New Jersey where he inherited the family farm.  He actively supported the American army, allowing the troops to encamp on the farm, which had been looted by British troops earlier in the war.  He died in 1779 at the age of 66.
  • Francis Hopkinson (1737-1791), was a lawyer, who was "a man of extraordinary talent and charm."  He was appointed by President Washington to serve as Federal District Judge for New Jersey in 1790.  He died the next year of an epileptic seizure at 53.  There is some controversy surrounding Hopkinson, as he maintained that he was responsible for the design of the American flag.  He also was involved in the design for the Great Seal of the United States.  The pizza dedicated to Francis Hopkinson at Declarations features sliced tomatoes, basil pesto, and reggiano parmesan
  • Richard Stockton (1730-1781), another lawyer, had developed one of the largest practices in the colonies.  After being appointed to the Continental Congress, he listened to both sides regarding independence before agreeing to sign the Declaration.  In 1776, he was captured by the British and imprisoned for several weeks and his property and belongings in New Jersey were destroyed.  Stockton later donated land that became Princeton University.
  • John Witherspoon (1723-1794), was a Reverend who held a Doctorate degree and was President of the College of New Jersey (Princeton) prior to his appointment to the Continental Congress.  He and the other delegates from New Jersey arrived shortly before Richard Henry Lee made his proposal for American independence to the Congress.
  • Samuel Huntington (1731-1796), was a lifelong public servant, serving in the Congress and as Governor of Connecticut.  There are some who maintain that Huntington is actually the first President of the United States, as the Articles of Confederation were ratified while he was President of the Congress.
  • Roger Sherman (1721-1793), was previously covered in the Declaration Committee post. The Declarations pizza for the "simple cobbler from Connecticut" has meatball, housemade ricotta, san marzano tomatoes, and roasted peppers on it - and it might be my favorite of all of them.
  • William Williams (1731-1811), arrived at the Congress too late to vote for independence, but signed the Declaration.  Williams had replaced Oliver Wolcott, who had fallen ill (but also later signed the document).
  • Oliver Wolcott (1726-1797), was the son of the Royal Governor of Connecticut, Roger Wolcott.  Upon graduating from Yale, Wolcott was a Captain in the American forces during the French and Indian War.  As a result of this service, Wolcott was involved in Indian affairs during his time in Congress.  He later served as Governor of Connecticut.

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