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THOMAS STONE was born in Charles county, Maryland, in 1743. He was a descendant of William Stone, who was Governor of Maryland during the protectorate of Oliver Cromwell.
After acquiring a tolerable acquaintance with the learned languages, he entered upon the study of the law. Having obtained a competent knowledge of the profession, he commenced practice in Fredericktown, Maryland. After residing at this place two years, he removed to Charles county, in the same State. At the age of twenty-eight, he received by marriage, the sum of one thousand pounds sterling; and with it purchased a farm near the village of Port Tobacco, upon which he continued to reside during the revolutionary struggle.
the revolutionary struggle. Although his business was by no means lucrative, nor his fortune considerable, his well known honesty and ability caused him to be sent a Delegate to the Congress of 1776, to which body he was elected for several subsequent years. After the Maryland Legislature had relieved him and his colleagues of the restrictions which bound them, he joyfully affixed his name to the Declaration of Independence.
Mr. Stone was a member of the committee appointed by Congress to prepare Articles of Confederation; and the manner in which he discharged the duties devolving upon him in that station, was highly satisfactory. After seeing the Confederation finally agreed upon in Congress, he declined a re-appointment to that body, but became a member of the Legislature of his native State. In 1783, he was again chosen to Congress; and in the session of 1784, acted for some time as President pro tempore. On the adjournment of Congress this year, he retired from that body, and engaged actively in the duties of his profession. His practice now became lucrative in Annapolis, whither he had removed; and he soon rose to distinction at the bar. As an advocate, he excelled in strength of argument; and was often employed in cases of great difficulty.
Mr. Stone died on the 5th of October, 1787, in the forty-firen year of his age, and while on the point of embarking for Europe, for the benefit of his health.
GEORGE TAYLOR was born in Ireland, in the year 1716. At a suitable age he commenced the study of medicine ; but his genius not being adapted to his profession, he relinquished his medical studies, and soon after set sail for America. On his arrival he was entirely destitute of money, and was obliged to resort to manual labor to pay the expenses of his voyage. He was first engaged in the iron works of Mr. Savage, at Durham, on the Delaware, and was afterwards taken into his counting-room as a clerk. In this situation, he rendered himself very useful, and, at length, upon the death of Mr. Savage, he becarne connected in marriage with his widow, and consequently the proprietor of the whole establishment. In a few years, the fortune of Mr. Taylor was considerably augmented. He now purchased a handsome estate, near the river Lehigh, in the county of Northampton, where he erected a spacious mansion, and took up his permanent abode. In 1764, he was chosen a member of the Provincial Assembly, where he soon became conspicuous. In this body he continued to represent the county of Northampton until 1770; but he afterwards returned to Durham, to repair the losses of fortune, to which the change of his place of business had led.
In October, 1775, he was again chosen to the Provincial Assembly; and the following month, was appointed, in connexion with others, to report a set of instructions to the Delegates which the Assembly had just appointed to the Continental Congress. Pennsylvania was for some time opposed to an immediate rupture with the mother country; and it was only by the casting vote of Mr. Morton, that her consent to the measure of Independence was secured. On the 20th of July, 1776, the Pennsylvania Convention proceeded to a new choice of representatives. Mr. Morton, Dr. Franklin, Mr. Morris, and Mr. Wilson, who had voted in favor of the Declaration of Independence, were re-elected. Those who had opposed it were at this time dropped, and the following gentlemen were appointed in their place, viz. Mr. Taylor, Mr. Ross, Mr. Clymer, Dr. Rush, and Mr. Smith.
Mr. Taylor retired from Congress in 1777; and died on the 23d of February, 1781, in the sixty-sixth year of his age.
MATTHEW THORNTON was born in Ireland, about the year 1714. When he was two or three years old, his father emigrated to America, and after a residence of a few years at Wiscasset, in Maine, he removed to Worcester, in Massachusetts. Here young Thornton received a respectable education, and subsequently commenced the study of medicine. Soon after completing his preparatory course, he removed to Londonderry, in New-Hampshire, where he entered upon the practice of his profession, and soon became distinguished, both as a physician and a surgeon.
In 1745, Dr. Thornton was appointed to accompany the New-Hampshire troops, as a surgeon, in the well known expedition, planned by Governor Shirley, against Cape Breton. His professional abilities were here creditably tested; for of the corps of five hundred men, of whom he had charge as a physician, only six died of sickness, previous to the surrender of Louisburg, notwithstanding the hardships to which they were exposed.
Under the Royal Government, Dr. Thornton was invested with ti
office of Justice of the Peace, and commissioned as Colonel of the militia. But when that Government was dissolved, Colonel Thornton abjured the British interest, and adhered to the patriotic cause. He was President of a Provincial Convention, assembled at Exeter, in 1775.
The next year he was chosen a Delegate to the Continental Congress, and signed his name to the engrossed copy of the Declaration of Independence. During the same year, he was appointed Chief Justice of the Court of Common Pleas; and shortly after was raised to the office of Judge of the Superior Court of New Hampshire, in which office he continued until 1782. Two years previous to this latter date, he had purchased a farm, pleasantly situated on the banks of the Merrimack, near Exeter, where he principally devoted himself to agriculture. He was a member of the General Court for one or two years, and a Senator in the State Legislature, as also a member of the Council in 1785, under President Langdon. Dr. Thornton died while on a visit at Newburyport, on the 24th of June, 1803, in the eighty-ninth year of his age.
He was a man of strong powers of mind, and was remarkably entertaining and instructive in conversation.
George WALTCN was born in the county of Frederick, Virginia, about the year 1740. He was early apprenticed to a carpenter, who, being a man of contracted views, not only kept him hard at work during the day, but refused him the privilege of a candle, by which to read at night. Young Walton, however, was resolutely bent on the acquisition of knowledge, and contrived to collect, at his leisure moments, pieces of lightwood, which served at night, in place of a candle. His application was intense; and his attainments were rapid and valuable.
At the expiration of his apprenticeship, he removed to the province of Georgia, and entering upon the study of the law, commenced, in 1774, the practice of that profession. At this time the British Government was in the exercise of full power in Georgia. Mr. Walton was one of the most zealous of the few advocates of the patriotic cause. member of the committee which prepared a petition to the King; and in 1776, he was elected a Delegate to the Continental Congress. In this station he continued to represent the State of Georgia, until October, 1781. He wa: extremely useful on many important committees, and always evinced much zeal and intelligence in the discharge of his duties.
In December, 1778, Mr. Walton received a Colonel's commission in the militia, and was present at the surrender of Savannah to the British arms. During the obstinate defence of that place, he was wounded in the thigh, in consequence of which, he fell from his horse, and was made a prisoner by the British troops. A Brigadier General was demanded in exchange for him, but in September, 1779, he was exchanged
He was a
for a Captain of the navy. In the following month, he was chosen Governor of the State; and in the succeeding January, was elected a member of Congress for two years.
The remainder of Mr. Walton's life, was filled up in the discharge of the most respectable offices within the gift of the State. He was at six different times chosen a Representative to Congress; twice appointed Governor of the State ; once a Senator of the United States; and at four different periods, a Judge of the Superior Courts. He was a man of no ordinary talents; and was conspicious for his uniform devotion to liberty. He died on the 2d of February, 1804.
WILLIAM WHIPPLE was born at Kittery, Maine, in the year 1730. His education was limited, a..d on leaving school, he entered on board a merchant vessel, and devoted himself for several years to commercial pursuits. His voyages were chiefly to the West Indies, and proving successful, he acquired a considerable fortune.
In 1759, he relinquished his seafaring occupation, and commenced business at Portsmouth. He entered with spirit into the controversy between Great Britain and the Colonies; and in 1775, represented the town of Portsmouth in the Provincial Congress, which met at Exeter. In 1776, he was appointed a Delegate to the General Congress, of which body he continued a member, until September, 1799.
In the year 1777, while Mr. Whipple was a member of Congress, the appointment of Brigadier General was bestowed upon him, and the celeebrated John Stark, by the Assembly of New-Hampshire. He was present at the desperate battle of Saratoga; and his meritorious conduct on the occasion was rewarded, by his being jointly appointed with Colonel Wilkinson, as the representative of General Gates, to meet two officers from General Burgoyne, and settle the articles of capitulation. He was also selected as one of the officers, who were appointed to conduct the surrendered army to their destined encampment, on Winter Hill, in the vicinity of Boston. In 1778, General Whipple, with a detachment of New-Hampshire militia, was engaged, under General Sullivan, in executing a plan for the re-taking of Rhode Island from the British.
During the remaining years of his life, Mr. Whipple filled many important offices. As a representative to the State Legislature, he was highly popular; and in 1782, he received the appointment of Receiver of Public Moneys for New-Hampshire, from Mr. Morris, the superintendent of finance. He relinquished the office in 1784, and continued in the station of Judge of the Superior Court of Judicature. The duties of the latter office he discharged until the 28th of November, 1785, when he expired, in the 55th year of his age.
WILLIAM WILLIAMS was born in Lebanon, Connecticut, on the 8th o! April, 1731. At the age of sixteen be entered Harvard College, and after the usual period was honorably graduated. For some time after his return home, he devoted himself to theological studies, under the direc. tion of his father. In 1755, he belonged to the staff of Colonel Ephraim Williams, the founder of Williams College in Massachusetts, and was present at the celebrated battle fought at the head of Lake George, between the provincial troops, and the French Canadians. contest. Colonel Williams was shot through the head by an Indian, and killed.
Soon after this occurrence, William Williams returned to Lebanon ; and in 1756 was chosen Clerk of the town, an office which he continued to hold for the space of forty-five years. About the same time, he was appointed a Representative to the General Assembly of Connecticut. In this latter capacity he served for many years, during which he was often appointed Clerk of the House, and not unfrequently filled the Speaker's chair. In 1780, he was transferred to the Upper House, being elected an Assistant ; an office which he held for twenty-four years.
Mr. Williams was a member of the Continental Congress, during the years 1776 and 1777; and took an honorable part in the deliberations of that body. During his campaign at the north, he had been disgusted with the British commanders, on account of the haughtiness of their conduct, and the little attachment which they manifested for his native country. The impression was powerful and enduring; and led him to form a sincere and devoted wish for the independence of America.
The following anecdote has been related as a proof of the patriotic spirit of Mr. Williams. Towards the close of the year 1776, the military affairs of the colonies wore a gloomy aspect
. In this doubtful state of things, the council of safety for Connecticut was called to sit at Lebanon. Two of the members of this council, William Hillhouse and Benjamin Huntington, quartered with Mr. Williams. One evening, the conversa. tion turned upon the gloomy state of the country, and the probability that, after all, success would crown the British arms. “Well,” said Mr. Williams, with great calmness, “ if they succeed, it is pretty evident what will be my fate. I have done much to prosecute the contest, and one thing I have done which the British will never pardon-I have signed the Declaration of Independence. I shall be hung.” Mr. Hill
. house expressed a confident hope, that America would yet be successful
. Mr. Huntington observed, that, in case of ill success, he should be ex. empt from the gallows, as his signature was not attached to the Declara. tion, nor had he written any thing against the British government. To this Mr. Williams replied, his eye kindling as he spoke, “ Then, Sir, you deserve to be hanged, for not having done your duty."
Mr. Williams died on the 2d day of August, 1811, in the eighty-first year of his age.