Showing posts from February, 2023

Founding Fathers - Richard Stockton

Richard Stockton Born: October 1, 1730 (Princeton, NJ) Died: February 28, 1781 (Princeton, NJ) This week we will take time to look at a figure in the drama of American independence who was respected on both sides of the Atlantic - Richard Stockton.  The oldest of eight children, Richard was born to a wealthy landowner and his wife, John and Abigail.  He was initially educated in Maryland before attending the College of New Jersey, where he would graduate in 1748 at the age of 18.  Some years later, John Stockton donated land and was instrumental in relocating the college from Newark to Princeton, where it would eventually take on the name of the town and become Princeton University.  Richard continued his studies in the field of law under a notable lawyer named David Ogden, and in 1754 he was admitted to the bar.  His legal career was respected, not just in New Jersey but throughout the colonies, and he would eventually attain the highest legal degree available - Seargent-at-Law.  In 1

Founding Fathers - Thomas Jefferson

Thomas Jefferson Born: April 14, 1743 (Shadwell, Virginia) Died: July 4, 1826 (Charlottesville, Virginia) In honor of President's Day, I am turning my attention to Thomas Jefferson, the only remaining signer to have been elected to America's top executive office (other than John Adams, who had the distinction of being studied first during our current series  here ).  Obviously our third president provided one of the most famous names to have been affixed to our founding document, and he has been one of American history's most-researched figures.  Born on a Virginia plantation to a successful surveyor and planter named Peter Jefferson and his wife, Jane Randolph, Thomas was the oldest son of the couple's ten children.  The young man was just 14 when his father died in 1757, and although he received a large portion of land as his inheritance, Jefferson seems to have a difficult relationship with his widowed mother.  He soon left home to board with his schoolmaster, Revere

Founding Fathers - Benjamin Franklin

Benjamin Franklin Born: January 17, 1706 (Boston, Massachusetts)  Died: April 17, 1790 (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)  In honor of today's major sporting event (and because there are obviously no Founding Fathers from Kansas City) I decided to put this week's spotlight on Philadelphia's favorite son.  Benjamin Franklin's life actually began in Boston, Massachusetts, as the 10th and final son of a candle and soap maker named Josiah and his second wife, Abiah.  With parents of humble means and a total of 16 siblings, the young man was unable to have sufficient schooling to achieve his father's dream of him going into ministry.  With an older brother already established as a printer, however, Benjamin was apprenticed at the age of 12 to follow in his footsteps.  Three years later that older brother, James, founded a newspaper named The New England Courant, the first of its kind in Massachusetts and one of the first throughout the American colonies.  Young Benjamin was pr

Founding Fathers - Francis Lightfoot Lee

Francis Lightfoot Lee Born: October 14, 1734 (Westmoreland County, VA) Died: January 11, 1797 (Richmond County, VA) While the Adams boys of Massachusetts may have been the most famous family members to have signed the Declaration of Independence, Virginia boasts the only pair of brothers to have affixed their signatures.  This week we'll look at Francis Lightfoot Lee, the younger of the two, who was known to family and friends throughout his life as Frank.  Born on the Lee family plantation known as Stratford Hall near the Potomac River in a section of Virginia known as the Northern Neck, Francis was the seventh child of 11 born to Thomas and Hannah Lee.  After both parents had died by the time Francis was 16, his oldest brother determined that the young man would remain a planter on the land he had inherited, and that he would not travel to England for formal education as his three older brothers had.  He completed his studies at home under his tutor, a Scottish minister by the na