04 July 2013

Nine Pennsylvanians signed Declaration of Independence

Nine Pennsylvanians signed Declaration of Independence and Lancastrian attorney George Ross was among them. He was in fact the last representative from Pennsylvania to sign the Declaration.

Born 10 May 1790 in Newcastle, Delaware, he was a son of the Reverend George Ross, rector of Episcopal Church, and Catherine Van Gezel. Ross was admitted to the Philadelphia Bar at the age of 20. The following year (1751) he began his own practice in Lancaster, where he was well liked and respected.

On 14 August 1751 he married Ann Lawler, daughter of the widow Mary Lawler. The two had three children: George, James and Margaret.

He was elected to represent Lancaster in the Pennsylvania Assembly (1768-1776) and the Continental Congress (1774, 1776-77).  He was vice president of the Pennsylvania constitutional convention in 1776 and a Judge of the Admiralty Court of Pennsylvania in 1779. He was also a member of the Saint Andrew’s Society of Philadelphia, a society dedicated to protecting Scottish immigrants in the city.

Locally, he was also a member of the Lancaster County Committee of Observation.

He served as a Colonel in the Continental Army in 1776.

He passed on 14 July 1779 from gout. He is buried at Christ Church in Philadelphia. The graveyard - which is the final resting place of fellow Declaration signers Benjamin Franklin, Joseph Hewes, Francis Hopkinson, and Dr. Benjamin Rush - is open March through November, weather permitting. The hours are: Monday-Saturday 10-4, and Sunday 12-4.

The other signers from the Commonwealth were: George Clymer, Benjamin Franklin, Robert Morris, John Morton, James Smith, James Wilson, and George Taylor.

Photo Credit: "Signers of the Declaration" USHistory.org.

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