Showing posts from August, 2023

Founding Fathers - Robert Treat Paine

Robert Treat Paine Born: March 11, 1731 (Boston, Massachusetts) Died: May 11, 1814 (Boston, Massachusetts) This week we return to studying patriots born on the west side of the Atlantic to find out a little more about one of the Massachusetts signers.  Born as the second-youngest of five children, Robert Treat Paine was the son of a Baptist minister named Thomas Paine and his wife, Eunice.  His family tree was fairly notable, descending from a merchant named Stephen Hopkins who had initially come to the New World in 1610, then returned to England before crossing the Atlantic once more as the only passenger aboard the Mayflower  with experience in the colonies.  The young boy took his name from his maternal great-grandfather, Robert Treat, who had been the governor of Connecticut as well as founder of Newark, New Jersey.  Another ancestor, Samuel Willard, had pastored Boston's Old South Church as well as served as vice president of Harvard College.  Before Robert was old enough to s

Founding Fathers - James Wilson

James Wilson Born: September 14, 1742 (Fife, Scotland) Died: August 21, 1798 (Edenton, North Carolina) My mom is currently on vacation in Scotland, so I thought this week would be a fun time to delve into the history of one of our Scottish-born Founding Fathers.  Born on a farm near St. Andrews, Scotland, James Wilson was the son of William and Aleson Wilson, who seemingly had a solid reputation but were certainly not financially well-off.  Young James was a bright student who received a scholarship to the nearby University of St. Andrews, and later also took classes at Glasgow and Edinburgh, but never completed a degree due to the passing of his father in 1763 and the need to help support several members of his family.  Before long he had helped stabilize their financial situation and, having studied many of the great minds of the Scottish Enlightenment, he abandoned his plans to join the clergy and choose to travel to the American colonies to pursue mathematics and law.  James emigra

Founding Fathers - Charles Carroll (of Carrollton)

Charles Carroll Born: September 19, 1737 (Annapolis, Maryland) Died: November 14, 1832 (Baltimore, Maryland) My oldest daughter recently graduated from high school and began attending college.  Like many senior classes, hers took time to label each other with so-called "senior superlatives" that guessed what the student would become or identified a trait for which they were best-known.  This week's focus could have been tagged with many superlatives by his peers.  He was the only child of two wealthy parents, Charles Carroll of Annapolis and Elizabeth Brooke, who were not yet married due to inheritance issues.  They would not, in fact, formally wed until their son was 20 years old.  Although Maryland was founded by a Catholic man and an Anglican majority, and had passed a law as early as 1649 defending the free exercise of any Christian religion, by the middle of the 18th century Roman Catholics were denied the right to hold public office or practice certain professions. 

Founding Fathers - Joseph Hewes

Joseph Hewes Born: January 23, 1730 (Princeton, New Jersey) Died: November 10, 1779 (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) Like many of the men who contributed to the birth of our nation, the focus of this week's study is a complex individual who seems to have had his share of personal contradictions.  Joseph Hewes was born to Aaron and Providence Hewes in their family home called Maybury Hill situated between Kingston and Princeton, NJ.  The Quaker couple, who had seemingly migrated to New Jersey from Connecticut in order to escape frequent Indian attacks as well as harsh treatment from the Puritan majority there, likely provided a strong education for young Joseph, possibly at the nearby grammar school that had been established by the Society of Friends.  Not much has been recorded about his early years, but he was accepted into the College of New Jersey (now Princeton University) before moving to Philadelphia to be apprenticed to a successful merchant named Joseph Ogden.  Joseph apparentl