North Carolina-Declaration of Indepedence-July 4

North Carolina People, Places, and Things-July 4

I am the dad to five adult children. As they were growing up I attempted to remind them they were special and to implore them to learn something new. My goal was to do that daily.

In 2016 my goal is to learn something new daily on the people, places, and things that make North Carolina special. Everyday this year I am doing a post on what I have learned new.

Declaration of Independence

I was curious about the signers of the declaration and began to wonder about the names on that document. Of course I know the obvious ones John Hancock, Thomas Jefferson, and Benjamin Franklin. What I wasn’t sure of us was how many names were on the document.

I also didn’t know for sure was who actually signed it from New Jersey, South Carolina, and North Carolina the states where I have lived. I did some research and here is what I found.

There were 56 men who signed the document and The Declaration of Independence came about through a process.

Photo depicts all 56 Americans who signed the Declaration


The names who signed the Declaration from New Jersey included:

Abraham Clark – Francis Hopkinson – John Witherspoon – John Hart -Richard Stockton

North Carolina included:

William Hooper – Joseph Hewes –  John Penn

South Carolina included:

Edward Rutledge – Thomas Lynch Jr. – Arthur Middleton -Thomas Heyward Jr.

Some info about North Carolinians who signed the Declaration.

William Hooper, was the oldest of five children of the Reverend William Hooper and Mary Dennie, daughter of Boston merchant John Dennie. Hooper was the grandson of Robert and Mary Jaffray Hooper of the Parish of Ednam, near Kelso, Scotland. Hooper was born on 17 June 1742 in Boston, Massachusetts. He died in Hillsborough, North Carolina on 14 Oct. 1790 at the age of 48, and was buried in The Old Town Cemetery, but in 1894 was re-interred in the Guilford Courthouse National Military Park in Greensboro, North Carolina.

Joseph Hawes, at the age of thirty Hewes moved to North Carolina. Before this move, he had been residing at New York and Philadelphia alternately, with visits to his friends in New Jersey. He moved to Wilmington, North Carolina in 1760 and established a prosperous shipping and mercantile business. He later moved to Edenton, North Carolina in 1763, where his business interest continued to prosper. In Edenton his shipping business was located on the corner of Main and King Streets. He formed a partnership there with Robert Smith, a lawyer, and the firm soon owned a wharf and their own ships. His first ship was named “Providence” after his mother.

He became engaged to Isabella Johnston. She was a sister of Samuel Johnston who served as one of North Carolina’s governors. Unfortunately, she died shortly before the date of their wedding. He never married and remained a bachelor the rest of his life. After her death, Hewes continued to be a steadfast friend of the Johnston family.

John Penn was born on May 17, 1741, at Port Royal, Caroline County, Virginia, the only child of Moses Penn and Catherine (Taylor) Penn.

Penn’s grandfather, also named John Penn, was born about 1690 and died in 1741, but it is not known when the Penn family came to America. He is often confused with another John Penn the grandson of William Penn, the founder of Pennsylvania. They are not the same person.

John Penn was notable for the following

He served in the Continental Congress for six years

He signed the Declaration of Independence

He signed the Articles of Confederation

He signed the Halifax Resolves (the North Carolina Constitution)

He was virtual dictator of North Carolina at what arguably was the turning point of the American Revolution in 1781-1782


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