Philadelphia, sometimes known colloquially as Philly, is the largest city in the U. S. state and Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, the sixth-most populous U. S. city, with a 2017 census-estimated population of 1,580,863. Since 1854, the city has been coterminous with Philadelphia County, the most populous county in Pennsylvania and the urban core of the eighth-largest U. S. metropolitan statistical area, with over 6 million residents as of 2017. Philadelphia is the economic and cultural anchor of the greater Delaware Valley, located along the lower Delaware and Schuylkill Rivers, within the Northeast megalopolis; the Delaware Valley's population of 7.2 million ranks it as the eighth-largest combined statistical area in the United States. William Penn, an English Quaker, founded the city in 1682 to serve as capital of the Pennsylvania Colony. Philadelphia played an instrumental role in the American Revolution as a meeting place for the Founding Fathers of the United States, who signed the Declaration of Independence in 1776 at the Second Continental Congress, the Constitution at the Philadelphia Convention of 1787.
Several other key events occurred in Philadelphia during the Revolutionary War including the First Continental Congress, the preservation of the Liberty Bell, the Battle of Germantown, the Siege of Fort Mifflin. Philadelphia was one of the nation's capitals during the revolution, served as temporary U. S. capital while Washington, D. C. was under construction. In the 19th century, Philadelphia became a railroad hub; the city grew from an influx of European immigrants, most of whom came from Ireland and Germany—the three largest reported ancestry groups in the city as of 2015. In the early 20th century, Philadelphia became a prime destination for African Americans during the Great Migration after the Civil War, as well as Puerto Ricans; the city's population doubled from one million to two million people between 1890 and 1950. The Philadelphia area's many universities and colleges make it a top study destination, as the city has evolved into an educational and economic hub. According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, the Philadelphia area had a gross domestic product of US$445 billion in 2017, the eighth-largest metropolitan economy in the United States.
Philadelphia is the center of economic activity in Pennsylvania and is home to five Fortune 1000 companies. The Philadelphia skyline is expanding, with a market of 81,900 commercial properties in 2016, including several nationally prominent skyscrapers. Philadelphia has more outdoor murals than any other American city. Fairmount Park, when combined with the adjacent Wissahickon Valley Park in the same watershed, is one of the largest contiguous urban park areas in the United States; the city is known for its arts, culture and colonial history, attracting 42 million domestic tourists in 2016 who spent US$6.8 billion, generating an estimated $11 billion in total economic impact in the city and surrounding four counties of Pennsylvania. Philadelphia has emerged as a biotechnology hub. Philadelphia is the birthplace of the United States Marine Corps, is the home of many U. S. firsts, including the first library, medical school, national capital, stock exchange and business school. Philadelphia contains 67 National Historic Landmarks and the World Heritage Site of Independence Hall.
The city became a member of the Organization of World Heritage Cities in 2015, as the first World Heritage City in the United States. Although Philadelphia is undergoing gentrification, the city maintains mitigation strategies to minimize displacement of homeowners in gentrifying neighborhoods. Before Europeans arrived, the Philadelphia area was home to the Lenape Indians in the village of Shackamaxon; the Lenape are a Native American tribe and First Nations band government. They are called Delaware Indians, their historical territory was along the Delaware River watershed, western Long Island, the Lower Hudson Valley. Most Lenape were pushed out of their Delaware homeland during the 18th century by expanding European colonies, exacerbated by losses from intertribal conflicts. Lenape communities were weakened by newly introduced diseases smallpox, violent conflict with Europeans. Iroquois people fought the Lenape. Surviving Lenape moved west into the upper Ohio River basin; the American Revolutionary War and United States' independence pushed them further west.
In the 1860s, the United States government sent most Lenape remaining in the eastern United States to the Indian Territory under the Indian removal policy. In the 21st century, most Lenape reside in Oklahoma, with some communities living in Wisconsin, in their traditional homelands. Europeans came to the Delaware Valley in the early 17th century, with the first settlements founded by the Dutch, who in 1623 built Fort Nassau on the Delaware River opposite the Schuylkill River in what is now Brooklawn, New Jersey; the Dutch considered the entire Delaware River valley to be part of their New Netherland colony. In 1638, Swedish settlers led by renegade Dutch established the colony of New Sweden at Fort Christina and spread out in the valley. In 1644, New Sweden supported the Susquehannocks in their military defeat of the English colony of Maryland. In 1648, the Dutch built Fort Beversreede on the west bank of the Delaware, south of the Schuylkill near the present-day Eastwick neighborhood, to reassert their dominion over the area.
The Swedes responded by building Fort Nya Korsholm, or New Korsholm, named after a town in Finland with a Swedish majority. In 1655, a
John Adams was an American statesman, diplomat and Founding Father who served as the second president of the United States from 1797 to 1801. Before his presidency he was a leader of the American Revolution that achieved independence from Great Britain, served as the first vice president of the United States. Adams was a dedicated diarist and corresponded with many important figures in early American history including his wife and adviser and his letters and other papers are an important source of historical information about the era. A lawyer and political activist prior to the revolution, Adams was devoted to the right to counsel and presumption of innocence, he defied anti-British sentiment and defended British soldiers against murder charges arising from the Boston Massacre. Adams was a Massachusetts delegate to the Continental Congress and became a principal leader of the Revolution, he assisted in drafting the Declaration of Independence in 1776 and was its foremost advocate in Congress.
As a diplomat in Europe, he helped negotiate the peace treaty with Great Britain and secured vital governmental loans. Adams was the primary author of the Massachusetts Constitution in 1780, which influenced the United States' own constitution, as did his earlier Thoughts on Government. Adams was elected to two terms as vice president under President George Washington and was elected as the United States' second president in 1796. During his single term, Adams encountered fierce criticism from the Jeffersonian Republicans and from some in his own Federalist Party, led by his rival Alexander Hamilton. Adams signed the controversial Alien and Sedition Acts and built up the Army and Navy in the undeclared "Quasi-War" with France; the main accomplishment of his presidency was a peaceful resolution of this conflict in the face of public anger and Hamilton's opposition. During his term, he became the first president to reside in the executive mansion now known as the White House. In his bid for reelection, opposition from Federalists and accusations of despotism from Republicans led to Adams's loss to his former friend Thomas Jefferson, he retired to Massachusetts.
He resumed his friendship with Jefferson by initiating a correspondence that lasted fourteen years. He and his wife generated a family of politicians and historians now referred to as the Adams political family, which includes their son John Quincy Adams, the sixth president of the United States. John Adams died on the fiftieth anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration of Independence, hours after Jefferson's death. Surveys of historians and scholars have favorably ranked his administration. John Adams was born on October 1735 to John Adams Sr. and Susanna Boylston. He had two younger brothers and Elihu. Adams was born on the family farm in Massachusetts, his mother was from a leading medical family of Massachusetts. His father was a deacon in the Congregational Church, a farmer, a cordwainer, a lieutenant in the militia. John Sr. supervised the building of schools and roads. Adams praised his father and recalled their close relationship. Adams's great-grandfather Henry Adams emigrated to Massachusetts from Braintree, England around 1638.
Though raised in modest surroundings, Adams felt pressured to live up to his heritage. His was a family of Puritans, who profoundly affected their region's culture and traditions. By the time of John Adams's birth, Puritan tenets such as predestination had waned and many of their severe practices moderated, but Adams still "considered them bearers of freedom, a cause that still had a holy urgency." Adams recalled that his parents "held every Species of Libertinage in... Contempt and horror," and detailed "pictures of disgrace, or baseness and of Ruin" resulting from any debauchery. Adams noted that "As a child I enjoyed the greatest of blessings that can be bestowed upon men – that of a mother, anxious and capable to form the characters of her children."Adams, as the eldest child, was compelled to obtain a formal education. This began at age six at a dame school for boys and girls, conducted at a teacher's home, was centred upon The New England Primer. Shortly thereafter, Adams attended Braintree Latin School under Joseph Cleverly, where studies included Latin, rhetoric and arithmetic.
Adams's early education included incidents of truancy, a dislike for his master, a desire to become a farmer. All discussion on the matter ended with his father's command that he remain in school: "You shall comply with my desires." Deacon Adams hired a new schoolmaster named Joseph Marsh, his son responded positively. At age sixteen, Adams entered Harvard College in 1751; as an adult, Adams was a keen scholar, studying the works of ancient writers such as Thucydides, Plato and Tacitus in their original languages. Though his father expected him to be a minister, after his 1755 graduation with an A. B. degree, he taught school while pondering his permanent vocation. In the next four years, he began to seek prestige, craving "Honour or Reputation" and "more defference from fellows", was determined to be "a great Man." He decided to become a lawyer to further those ends, writing his father that he found among lawyers "noble and gallant achievements" but, among the clergy, the "pretended sanctity of some absolute dunces."
His aspirations conflicted with his Puritanism, prompting reservations about his self-described "trumpery" and failure to share the "happiness of fellow men."As the French and Indian War began in 1754, Ada
Thomas Heyward Jr.
Thomas Heyward Jr. was a signer of the United States Declaration of Independence and of the Articles of Confederation as a representative of South Carolina. He was born in St. Luke's Parish, South Carolina and educated at home traveled to England to study law where he was a member of the Honourable Society of the Middle Temple, he was elected to the Continental Congress in 1775 and signed the Declaration of Independence in 1776. Heyward returned to South Carolina in 1778 to serve as a judge. In command of a militia force, he was taken prisoner by the British during the siege of Charleston, he continued to serve as a judge after the war, retiring from the bench in 1798. He is buried at Old House Plantation near Jasper County, South Carolina, it was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1997. Located in Ridgeland, South Carolina, there is a school named after him called Thomas Heyward Academy, their nickname is the colors are maroon and white. Heyward was married twice, at age 26 and at age 40, each wife was named Elizabeth.
The first Elizabeth, daughter of Col. John and Sarah Gibbes Mathews, born 1753, whose brother, was Governor of South Carolina, died in childbirth in 1782 in Philadelphia, where she had gone to be with him upon his release as a prisoner of war, she is buried there in St. Peter's Episcopal Church yard, they had six children, but only one son, survived childhood. The second Elizabeth, 1769-1833, daughter of Col. Thomas and Mary Elliott Savage of Charleston, S. C. had three children to live to adulthood, Thomas and Elizabeth. There are a number of descendants today in the 21st century surviving his four children. Notable descendants include DuBose Heyward, whose novel and stage play Porgy portrayed blacks without condescension, was transformed by George Gerswhin into the popular opera Porgy and Bess, an American musical masterpiece. 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 and remained there for about 11 months until they were freed in a prisoner exchange. United States Congress. "Thomas Heyward Jr.". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Rev. Charles A. Goodrich, "Thomas Heyward Jr.", in Lives of the Signers to the Declaration of Independence, New York: William Reed & Co. 1856, pp. 440–443 Thomas Heyward Jr. at Find a Grave
Samuel Huntington (Connecticut politician)
Samuel Huntington was a jurist and Patriot in the American Revolution from Connecticut. As a delegate to the Continental Congress, he signed the Declaration of Independence and the Articles of Confederation, he served as President of the Continental Congress from 1779 to 1781, President of the United States in Congress Assembled in 1781, chief justice of the Connecticut Supreme Court from 1784 to 1785, the 18th Governor of Connecticut from 1786 until his death. Samuel was born to Mehetabel Huntington on July 16, 1731, in Windham, Connecticut, his house is now accessible off of Route 14. He was the fourth of the oldest son, he had a limited education in the common schools was self-educated. When Samuel was 16 he was apprenticed to a cooper, but continued to help his father on the farm, his education came from the library of books borrowed from local lawyers. In 1754 Samuel was admitted to the bar, moved to Norwich, Connecticut to begin practicing law, he married Martha Devotion in 1761. They remained together until her death in 1794.
While the couple would not have children, when his brother died they adopted their niece. They raised Frances as their own. After brief service as a selectman, Huntington began his political career in earnest in 1764 when Norwich sent him as one of their representatives to the lower house of the Connecticut Assembly, he continued to be returned to that office each year until 1774. In 1775 he was elected to the upper house, the Governor's Council, where he was reelected until 1784. In addition to serving in the legislature, he was appointed King's attorney for Connecticut in 1768 and in 1773 was appointed to the colony's supreme court known as the Supreme Court of Errors, he was chief justice of the Superior Court from 1784 until 1787. Huntington was an outspoken critic of the Coercive Acts of the British Parliament; as a result, the assembly elected him in October 1775 to become one of their delegates to the Second Continental Congress. In January 1776 he took his place with Roger Sherman and Oliver Wolcott as the Connecticut delegation in Philadelphia.
He signed the Declaration of Independence and the Articles of Confederation. He suffered from an attack of smallpox while in Congress. While not known for extensive learning or brilliant speech, Huntington's steady hard work and unfailing calm manner earned him the respect of his fellow delegates; as a result, when John Jay left to become minister to Spain, Huntington was elected to succeed him as President of the Continental Congress on September 28, 1779, one reason why he is sometimes considered the first president. The President of Congress was a ceremonial position with no real authority, but the office did require Huntington to handle a good deal of correspondence and sign official documents, he spent his time as president urging the states and their legislatures to support the levies for men and money needed to fight the Revolutionary War. The Articles of Confederation were ratified during his term. Huntington remained as President of Congress until July 9, 1781, when ill health forced him to resign and return to Connecticut.
In 1782, Connecticut again named him as a delegate, but his health and judicial duties kept him from accepting. He returned to the Congress as a delegate for the 1783 session to see the success of the revolution embodied in the Treaty of Paris. In 1785 he built his mansion house just off the Norwichtown Green at what is now 34 East Town Street and the current headquarters of United and Community Family Services, Inc. In 1785 he was elected as Lieutenant Governor for Connecticut, serving with Governor Matthew Griswold. In 1786 he followed Griswold as Governor of Connecticut, he remained in charge of the Supreme Court during his tenure as Lieutenant Governor but vacated that position upon election to Governor. He was reelected Governor annually until his death in 1796; that same year, in a reprise of his efforts in Congress, he brokered the Treaty of Hartford that resolved western land claims between New York and Massachusetts. The following year he lent his support to the Northwest Ordinance that completed the national resolution of these issues.
In 1788 he presided over the Connecticut Convention, called to ratify the United States Constitution. In years he saw the transition of Connecticut into a U. S. State, he resolved the issue of a permanent state capital at Hartford and oversaw the construction of the state house. He died while in office, at his home in Norwich on January 5, 1796, his tomb, extensively restored and renovated in a 2003 project, is located in the Old Norwichtown Cemetery behind his mansion house. Both Samuel and his wife Martha's remains were disinterred during the course of the project and reinterred in a formal ceremony on November 23, 2003. Huntington, was named in his honor in 1789, but renamed to Shelton, when that town incorporated with Shelton to form a city in 1919, he is the namesake of Indiana. Huntington Mills is a small town in northeastern Pennsylvania which derives its name in honor of Samuel Huntington; the home that Samuel was born in was built by his father, around 1732 and still stands. The area is now within the borders of the town of Connecticut.
In 1994 the home and some grounds were purchased by a local historic trust. As of 2003 restoration is underway, but parts of the home and grounds are open to visitors at limited times; the Samuel Huntington Birthplace is a Nationa
Signing of the United States Declaration of Independence
The signing of the United States Declaration of Independence occurred on August 2, 1776 at the Pennsylvania State House, Independence Hall in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The 56 delegates to the Second Continental Congress represented the 13 former colonies which had declared themselves the "United States of America," and they endorsed the Declaration of Independence which the Congress had approved on July 4, 1776; the Declaration proclaimed that the former Thirteen Colonies at war with Great Britain were now a sovereign, independent nation and thus no longer a part of the British Empire. The signers’ names are grouped by state, with the exception of President of the Continental Congress John Hancock; the final draft of the Declaration was approved by the Continental Congress on July 4, although the date of its signing has long been disputed. Most historians have concluded that it was signed on August 2, 1776, nearly a month after its adoption, not on July 4 as is believed; the Second Continental Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, with 12 of the 13 colonies voting in favor and New York abstaining.
The date that the Declaration was signed has long been the subject of debate. Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, John Adams all wrote that it was signed by Congress on the day when it was adopted on July 4, 1776; that assertion is confirmed by the signed copy of the Declaration, dated July 4. Additional support for the July 4 date is provided by the Journals of Congress, the official public record of the Continental Congress; the proceedings for 1776 were first published in 1777, the entry for July 4 states that the Declaration was engrossed and signed on that date. In 1796, signer Thomas McKean disputed that the Declaration had been signed on July 4, pointing out that some signers were not present, including several who were not elected to Congress until after that date. "No person signed it on that day nor for many days after", he wrote. His claim gained support when the Secret Journals of Congress were published in 1821; the Secret Journals contained two unpublished entries about the Declaration.
On July 15, New York's delegates got permission from their convention to agree to the Declaration. The Secret Journals entry for July 19 reads: Resolved That the Declaration passed on the 4th be engrossed on parchment with the title and stile of "The unanimous declaration of the thirteen united states of America" & that the same when engrossed be signed by every member of Congress; the entry for August 2 states: The declaration of Independence being engrossed & compared at the table was signed by the Members. In 1884, historian Mellen Chamberlain argued that these entries indicated that the famous signed version of the Declaration had been created following the July 19 resolution, had not been signed by Congress until August 2. Subsequent research has confirmed that many of the signers had not been present in Congress on July 4, that some delegates may have added their signatures after August 2. Neither Jefferson nor Adams wavered from their belief that the signing ceremony took place on July 4, yet most historians have accepted the argument which David McCullough articulates in his biography of John Adams: "No such scene, with all the delegates present occurred at Philadelphia."
Legal historian Wilfred Ritz concluded in 1986 that about 34 delegates signed the Declaration on July 4, that the others signed on or after August 2. Ritz argues that the engrossed copy of the Declaration was signed by Congress on July 4, as Jefferson and Franklin had stated, that it was implausible that all three men had been mistaken, he believes that McKean's testimony was questionable, that historians had misinterpreted the July 19 resolution. According to Ritz, this resolution did not call for a new document to be created, but rather for the existing one to be given a new title, necessary after New York had joined the other 12 states in declaring independence, he reasons that the phrase "signed by every member of Congress" in the July 19 resolution meant that delegates who had not signed the Declaration on the 4th were now required to do so. Fifty-six delegates signed the Declaration of Independence: Eight delegates never signed the Declaration, out of about 50 who are thought to have been present in Congress during the voting on independence in early July 1776: John Alsop, George Clinton, John Dickinson, Charles Humphreys, Robert R. Livingston, John Rogers, Thomas Willing, Henry Wisner.
Clinton and Wisner were attending to duties away from Congress when the signing took place. Willing and Humphreys voted against the resolution of independence and were replaced in the Pennsylvania delegation before the August 2 signing. Rogers had voted for the resolution of independence but was no longer a delegate on August 2. Alsop favored reconciliation with Great Britain and so resigned rather than add his name to the document. Dickinson refused to sign, believing the Declaration premature. George Read had voted against the resolution of independence, Robert Morris had abstained—yet they both signed the Declaration; the most famous signature on the engrossed copy is that of John Hancock, who signed first as President of Congress. Hancock's large, flamboyant signature became iconic, John Hancock emerged in the United States as an informal synonym for "signature". Future presidents Thomas Jefferson and John Adams were among the signatories. Edward Rutledge was Benjamin Franklin the oldest; some delegates were away on business when the Declaration was debated, inc
The United States of America known as the United States or America, is a country composed of 50 states, a federal district, five major self-governing territories, various possessions. At 3.8 million square miles, the United States is the world's third or fourth largest country by total area and is smaller than the entire continent of Europe's 3.9 million square miles. With a population of over 327 million people, the U. S. is the third most populous country. The capital is Washington, D. C. and the largest city by population is New York City. Forty-eight states and the capital's federal district are contiguous in North America between Canada and Mexico; the State of Alaska is in the northwest corner of North America, bordered by Canada to the east and across the Bering Strait from Russia to the west. The State of Hawaii is an archipelago in the mid-Pacific Ocean; the U. S. territories are scattered about the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, stretching across nine official time zones. The diverse geography and wildlife of the United States make it one of the world's 17 megadiverse countries.
Paleo-Indians migrated from Siberia to the North American mainland at least 12,000 years ago. European colonization began in the 16th century; the United States emerged from the thirteen British colonies established along the East Coast. Numerous disputes between Great Britain and the colonies following the French and Indian War led to the American Revolution, which began in 1775, the subsequent Declaration of Independence in 1776; the war ended in 1783 with the United States becoming the first country to gain independence from a European power. The current constitution was adopted in 1788, with the first ten amendments, collectively named the Bill of Rights, being ratified in 1791 to guarantee many fundamental civil liberties; the United States embarked on a vigorous expansion across North America throughout the 19th century, acquiring new territories, displacing Native American tribes, admitting new states until it spanned the continent by 1848. During the second half of the 19th century, the Civil War led to the abolition of slavery.
By the end of the century, the United States had extended into the Pacific Ocean, its economy, driven in large part by the Industrial Revolution, began to soar. The Spanish–American War and World War I confirmed the country's status as a global military power; the United States emerged from World War II as a global superpower, the first country to develop nuclear weapons, the only country to use them in warfare, a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council. Sweeping civil rights legislation, notably the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and the Fair Housing Act of 1968, outlawed discrimination based on race or color. During the Cold War, the United States and the Soviet Union competed in the Space Race, culminating with the 1969 U. S. Moon landing; the end of the Cold War and the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 left the United States as the world's sole superpower. The United States is the world's oldest surviving federation, it is a representative democracy.
The United States is a founding member of the United Nations, World Bank, International Monetary Fund, Organization of American States, other international organizations. The United States is a developed country, with the world's largest economy by nominal GDP and second-largest economy by PPP, accounting for a quarter of global GDP; the U. S. economy is post-industrial, characterized by the dominance of services and knowledge-based activities, although the manufacturing sector remains the second-largest in the world. The United States is the world's largest importer and the second largest exporter of goods, by value. Although its population is only 4.3% of the world total, the U. S. holds 31% of the total wealth in the world, the largest share of global wealth concentrated in a single country. Despite wide income and wealth disparities, the United States continues to rank high in measures of socioeconomic performance, including average wage, human development, per capita GDP, worker productivity.
The United States is the foremost military power in the world, making up a third of global military spending, is a leading political and scientific force internationally. In 1507, the German cartographer Martin Waldseemüller produced a world map on which he named the lands of the Western Hemisphere America in honor of the Italian explorer and cartographer Amerigo Vespucci; the first documentary evidence of the phrase "United States of America" is from a letter dated January 2, 1776, written by Stephen Moylan, Esq. to George Washington's aide-de-camp and Muster-Master General of the Continental Army, Lt. Col. Joseph Reed. Moylan expressed his wish to go "with full and ample powers from the United States of America to Spain" to seek assistance in the revolutionary war effort; the first known publication of the phrase "United States of America" was in an anonymous essay in The Virginia Gazette newspaper in Williamsburg, Virginia, on April 6, 1776. The second draft of the Articles of Confederation, prepared by John Dickinson and completed by June 17, 1776, at the latest, declared "The name of this Confederation shall be the'United States of America'".
The final version of the Articles sent to the states for ratification in late 1777 contains the sentence "The Stile of this Confederacy shall be'The United States of America'". In June 1776, Thomas Jefferson wrote the phrase "UNITED STATES OF AMERICA" in all capitalized letters in the headline of his "original Rough draught" of the Declaration of Independence; this draft of the document did not surface unti
John Hart (New Jersey politician)
John Hart was a public official and politician in colonial New Jersey who served as a delegate to the Continental Congress and signed the Declaration of Independence. Sources disagree as to the place of Hart's birth, he was born in 1706 in Stonington, Connecticut, or in 1713 in Hopewell Township, Burlington County, New Jersey. Hart was baptized at the Maidenhead Meetinghouse on December 31, 1713, he was the son of Captain Edward Hart, a farmer, public assessor, Justice of the Peace, leader of a local militia unit during the French and Indian War, grandson of John Hart, a carpenter who came to Hopewell from Newtown, Long Island. In 1741, John Hart married Deborah Scudder; the couple would have thirteen children: Sarah, Martha, John, Mary, Edward, Scudder, an infant daughter and Deborah, of whom only Daniel and Deborah were still minor children at the time of John Hart's death in 1779. Deborah Hart predeceased her husband, dying October 28, 1776. In 1747 he donated a piece of land in his front meadow to local Baptists, seeking a place to build a church.
The location was known for some time thereafter as the Old Baptist Meeting House. John Hart is buried there. Hart was elected to the Hunterdon County Board of Chosen Freeholders in 1750, he was first elected to the New Jersey colonial Assembly in 1761 and served there until 1771. He was appointed to the local Committee of Safety and the Committee of Correspondence, became a judge on the Court of Common Pleas, he was called "Honest John." When New Jersey formed a revolutionary assembly in 1776, he was elected to it and served as its Vice President. Prior to June 1776, the New Jersey delegation in the First Continental Congress was opposed to independence; as a result, the entire delegation was replaced, Hart was one of those selected for the Second Continental Congress. He joined in time to sign the Declaration of Independence, he served until August of that year was elected Speaker of the newly formed New Jersey General Assembly. He would take on additional duties as Treasurer of the Council of Safety, President of the Joint Meetings of the New Jersey Congress, Commissioner of the State Loan Office.
In December 1776, the British advance into New Jersey reached Hunterdon County. A marked man due to his status as Speaker of the Assembly, Hart was obliged to escape and hide for a short time in the nearby Sourland Mountains, his farm was raided by Hessian troops, who damaged but did not destroy the property. The Continentals' capture of Trenton on December 26 allowed Hart to return home. Prior to the Battle of Monmouth, Hart invited Gen. George Washington and the Continental Army to make camp on his farm, his offer was accepted. From June 22–24, 1778, 12,000 men occupied his fields, on at least one occasion Gen. Washington dined with their host. On November 7, 1778, John Hart returned to Hopewell from the Assembly in Trenton. Two days he indicated that he was too ill with "gravel" to return, he continued to suffer from the painful affliction for more than six months until his death on May 11, 1779, at the age of 65. The following obituary for John Hart appeared on May 19, 1779: On Tuesday the 11th instant, departed this life at his seat in Hopewell, JOHN HART, Esq. the Representative in General Assembly for the county of Hunterdon, late Speaker of that House.
He had served in the Assembly for many years under the former government, taken an early and active part in the present revolution, continued to the day he was seized with his last illness to discharge the duties of a faithful and upright patriot in the service of his country in general and the county he represented in particular. The universal approbation of his character and conduct among all ranks of people, is the best testimony of his worth, as it must make his death regretted and lamented, will ensure lasting respect to his memory. Hart Boulevard in Flemington, New Jersey Great-great-great grandfather of Congressman John Hart Brewer Hart Avenue in Hopewell, New Jersey Hart Lane in Ringoes, New Jersey Signing of the United States Declaration of Independence – List of Signers of the US Declaration of Independence Hammond, Cleon E. John Hart: The Biography of a Signer of the Declaration of Independence. Newfane, VT: Pioneer Press, 1977. John Hart at Find a Grave