Showing posts from December, 2023

Founding Fathers - Thomas McKean

Thomas McKean Born: March 19, 1734 (New London, Pennsylvania) Died: June 24, 1817 (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) Happy New Year!  As we bid adieu to 2023 and move ahead, we're also getting close to wrapping up our list of Founding Fathers.  This week we'll meet the sixth and final Thomas from the group, who also represents the last member of the Delaware delegation.  As the second son of an innkeeper, William McKean, and his wife, Letitia, young Thomas was educated at home until the age of nine, at which time he joined his 11-year-old brother at the New London Academy to study with Rev. Francis Alison.  Thomas was one of three signers to be taught by the esteemed Latin scholar, alongside George Read and James Smith.  After seven years he moved to New Castle, which was in one of the Lower Delaware counties that were still only semi-autonomous from Pennsylvania, and a cousin named David Finney taught him law for four years.  At the age of 20, Thomas was admitted to the bar in Delaw

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas - 2023! I'm taking the week off to go to church and spend time with family.  I wish each one of you the very best that the season has to offer, finishing the year well and getting 2024 off to a great start.  Our study of the Founding Fathers will continue next week as we enter the home stretch with just a few men left.  I've got a couple of ideas of where we'll take the blog going forward, so stay tuned for what's next!  The Geographist

Founding Fathers - Philip Livingston

Philip Livingston Born: January 15, 1716 (Albany, New York) Died: June 12, 1778 (York, Pennsylvania) This week we dig into the life and history of the fourth and final signer from New York.  Born in 1716, Philip Livingston was raised in a position of privilege among a family full of wealth and political influence.  His father, also named Philip, was the second lord of Livingston Manor, an estate of some 160,000 acres just south of Albany, NY and his mother, Catherine Van Brugh, was the daughter of Albany's mayor.  As the fifth son, young Philip was not in line to inherit the title but he did gain much of the esteem (and not a little wealth) from his family.  He spent his childhood splitting time between his father's townhome in Albany and the manor house in the country, and when it was time to attend college he went to Yale, where he graduated in 1737 at the age of 21.  Philip moved to Manhattan and quickly became successful as an importer and merchant.  He also became a family

Founding Fathers - George Taylor

George Taylor Born: 1716 (probably Ulster, Ireland) Died: February 23, 1781 (Easton, Pennsylvania) To be perfectly honest, when I initially began my usual research process I had to check to make sure that we hadn't studied this week's patriot before.  Tell me if this sounds familiar: George Taylor was born in northern Ireland, but neither the date nor the location can be reliably determined.  Just because certain facts of his life are clouded in mystery, however, does not mean we shouldn't pay attention to a man who overcame tremendous obstacles to serve such an important role.  Likely the son of a minister, George was 20 years old before anything conclusive was recorded.  It was then, in the year 1736, that he became an indentured servant to Samuel Savage, Jr., an ironworker who owned the Coventry Forge just outside of Philadelphia and who paid for George's trip across the Atlantic.  After initially working as laborer, it was determined that George's education prio


Hello everyone!  Last night, this website officially passed the 100,000 mark for number of views.  I don't know what I really expected when first came into being, but for me this is a really cool milestone.  Thank you to all of my readers, whether you've only clicked here once or have been around since the earliest days.  If you haven't seen the old topics, such as Our Story With God or our look at the history of Boston, I encourage you to poke around and see if there is anything of interest.  I've learned a lot along the way and hopefully you've been able to pick up a nugget here or there as well.  Stick around as we continue to learn and explore!

Founding Fathers - Samuel Huntington

Samuel Huntington Born: July 16, 1731 (Windham, Connecticut) Died: January 5, 1796 (Norwich, Connecticut) This week we'll turn our sites to the final delegate from Connecticut, but although he might be the last on our list he can claim several other firsts.  Born on a farm just east of the town of Windham as the fourth of ten children, Samuel Huntington was the son of a farmer and clothier named Nathaniel Huntington and his wife Mehetabel.  The family was active in life of the community, as Nathaniel's father had helped found the town, but young Samuel was not given the advantage of a formal education.  Instead, he worked with his father on the farm and was eventually apprenticed to a cooper who trained him in the building of casks and barrels.  Samuel enjoyed learning, however, and began borrowing books to study, particularly focusing on the subject of law.  A nearby minister named Ebenezer Devotion was a source of both information and encouragement, and by the age of 23 Samue